The Hustle and Grind Of Vulnerability

Vulnerability Defined: the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed either physically or emotionally.

It’s a scary word really. I wanted to stop writing at ” the possibility of being exposed”…. but in exposure the latter is true as well.  There’s a possibility of feeling attacked or even harmed in vulnerability.  Maybe not outright. Sometimes the harm creeps in subtly when someone simply doesn’t totally understand where we’re coming from. Sometimes you feel attacked when people second guess your deepest thoughts. But, nevertheless if we are to get anywhere in this life we have to be true to who we are. We have to be vulnerable to other people’s opinions of us. The antidote to harm in a vulnerable position is confidence met with courage. Brene Brown defines Courage as: “telling the story of who we are with our whole heart. Courage is the ability to show up imperfect. Courage is kindness and compassion first towards ourselves and then to others. Courage is connection as a result of authenticity. Courage is the willingness to let go of who we think we should be in order to be who we actually are.”

Vulnerability is a thing to be embraced. We have to be so very confident that our voice, our opinion, our process of thought matters. We need to know deeply that whatever is slung our way will burn up in the fire of our truth. When it burns up it either produces something valuable that sustained the heat and is worth taking in or it disintegrates into thin air. That’s not to say that other people’s opinions don’t matter. I’ll be the first to admit that they do. There are a billion people smarter, wittier and wiser than myself. But, that doesn’t disqualify my voice, or my thoughts, or my state of being.

Vulnerability is powerful. According to my hero Brene Brown, “Vulnerability fosters connection and belonging which gives purpose and meaning to our lives. In order for connection to happen we have to be seen…. really seen.” Vulnerability can feel like standing naked in a field with only a towel of honesty wrapped tightly around you. Vulnerability and truth however are the gateway to your soul. It’s the gateway to true love. It’s the gateway to sustained growth. It’s the gateway to learning and perceiving. It’s the gateway to you living out your best you.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity” -Brene Brown

I believe in us and the ability to enact the courage to be who we truly are.

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Homeostasis In Both the Mind & Body

Homeostasis defined: the tendency toward equilibrium between interdependent elements. A coordinated response of parts to maintain equality secondary to any situation or stimulus.

Our bodies and our minds fascinate me. My former background is in nursing. My favorite class in college and the one I excelled in was anatomy and physiology. So, forgive me while I geek out for a second….

We are literally addicted, at an underlying, constant level, to homeostasis. We have interdependent elements working at all times to achieve a state of equilibrium.  We can actually be an active participant in this process both psychologically and physiologically by the choices that we make. We can help create harmony in our mind and body.

Here’s what I’m saying…. we crave balance. We crave peace in our innermost being. The second we put food into our mouth our body gets to work breaking it down and releasing chemicals and elements to neutralize the fats, carbs and proteins. If we are out of balance in any category it knows how to pull what it needs from storage. It’s a genius. Same goes for us psychologically. The second we encounter a tense situation, be it positive or negative, our bodies send out hormones and chemicals to help us break down the scenario and file that experience away in our brain. Our bodies are a machine y’all. They are efficient machines working around the clock on all levels to process life. It would behoove us then to help the body out! We can partner up with this machine by feeding it well and speaking to it well. It actually matters what we put into our bodies by way of nourishment. It matters on the same level what we nourish our brain with. This is where the positive self talk comes in. When we have a negative internal dialogue our bodies read that as tension. It then goes into actual overdrive to achieve a positive state of homeostasis. It seeks to pull from storage a positive narrative to counter balance your negative one. If you allow your stream of consciousness to speak crap to you then you are actually overworking your chemical and hormonal balance. For real.

So, why don’t we do ourselves a favor shall we? Why don’t we become keepers of the gate and head off the negative self talk at the pass. Why don’t we get a touch vigilant about which active and passive thoughts are allowed to run through our minds. If you suffer from a constant state of exhaustion (there are countless contributors to this obviously) I would suggest that you need to check your mental tension and speak some positivity over yourself. If you lack the words right now- that’s ok. Here are a few for the taking:

I am pretty freaking amazing.

I am beautiful right now as is.

I believe I am worthy of love and belonging.

I am a boss at managing my life no matter what it looks like.

In truth, I am a wonder to behold.

I am an endless gift to this world and to the people I encounter.

Those are just a few thoughts I offer you to insert into your stream of consciousness to literally interrupt the negative chatter in your brain. Do yourself a favor. Take care. Take great, intentional, gentle care of you. You are precious and wise, noble and beautiful, magical and intelligent. You are a gift to this world and to all the people you encounter. The world is a better place so long as you are in it. Do not let yourself believe or feast on a thought that would suggest otherwise. We have a choice. Every day. Choose which thoughts get to serve your state of equilibrium.

I believe in us wholeheartedly. I believe in our ability to balance our mental homeostasis with some real truth about who we are.

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Finding Joy

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Finding joy is sometimes akin to a kid picking through their spaghetti dinner and finding the one, minuscule, green fleck of parsley and mistaking it for lettuce. It’s hidden sometimes beneath the noise of our day-to-day lives.

The clamoring sound of the obligations in our day-to-day call desperately for our attention. We have to slow down, catch our breath for just a moment and count our blessings. Literally count them. Acknowledge them. Shine a light on them as if they were the star of the show. Our days are FILLED with competing emotions. We can name our to-do lists like a bunch of bosses. But can we find our daily silver lining? I suppose that’s what the gratitude movement is all about. It’s a charge to grind life to a halt just long enough to see the concentration of its goodness.

When we see something we have to say something. We have to train our minds to connect with our hearts and to then feel the pleasures of this one, beautiful life. Joy is found in simply lighting your favorite candle or watering your stupid huge collection of houseplants. Joy is found in deliberately sipping your hot coffee slow. Joy is the smell of freshly mopped floors. Joy is watching the sunrise and taking in its beauty. Joy is listening for that fleeting moment to the laughter of a child. Joy is scoring that clearance item at the end of the Target aisle. Joy is your favorite song popping on the radio in that seventeenth car ride of the day. It’s a moment found mixed with the pleasure of LIVING. It’s everywhere you want to be. Acknowledging the joy-filled moments strengthens our resolve to withstand the chaos of our days. It softens our hearts and preps us to weather the storms.

Slow down. Slow way down. The hustle and grind of life will wait for you as you pick through the moments and name the joy. Life is full of them. It takes a deliberate attempt to find them and call them to the forefront. It just does. It requires a choice and a cultivated practice to see the silver lining.

I believe in us and the power to harness joy.