“May you welcome your own vulnerability as the ground where healing and truth joins.” – from the poem, “A Blessing for the One Who Holds Power” by John O’Donohue in To Bless the Space Between Us
I have always been fascinated with the concept of transformation. Recently I performed a search in the amazon.com online books section for the word “transformation.” (Some might call this sort of activity time-wasting or dawdling, but we writers call it research!)
My search came up with 45,409 results in thirty-eight categories with “Politics and Social Sciences” as the category with the most hits at 5,575. The second highest number of hits was in the category of “Religion and Spirituality” with 5,566. I guess we are looking for transformation a lot in politics and religion these days. The other categories listed under my “transformation” search ranged from “Cookbooks” (82 hits) to “Law” (450 hits) to “Engineering & Transportation” (1,722). The category with the least number of hits was in the fiction category of “Epic Fantasy” with fifty. Transformation is a very popular topic, indeed.
During the course of my research I discovered a lot of books touting the “Ten Secret Keys…” or “Five Essential Steps…” to transformation. They promised the reader everything from financial success to a new love life. I will venture to say that few, if any, list what I have found to be the three essential keys to transformation: Vulnerability. Accountability. Authenticity.
I know, the idea of becoming vulnerable isn’t sexy. A subsequent search for the word “vulnerability” in the book section of amazon.com netted exactly forty-six results. Six of them were books by author and researcher Brené Brown, PhD, a groundbreaking researcher on the subjects of shame and vulnerability, and, whose books I would highly recommend.
Numerous hits from my “transformation” search yielded results that promised to “eliminate negativity” or “prevent you from walking in circles.” Oh my. The whole thrust of my upcoming book Soul of the Seasons is to encourage you to walk in circles! But back to the subject of vulnerability.
The key to transformation, many authors will claim, lies in such nebulous instruction as following your bliss, mastering your ego, or embracing gratitude. Though it’s true that those who are emotionally resilient in life–those more able to express joy and happiness–have created a space of gratitude in their lives, I have not found gratitude to be the key to transformation so much as a byproduct of it. What I have found, is that within nearly every instance of transformation, lays a willingness to be vulnerable, a commitment to being accountable for one’s actions, and living a life of deep authenticity.
Let’s look the first key to transformation: Much like the words “submission” or “surrender,” when we hear the word vulnerability, we think: weak, unprotected, disempowered—and who wants to go there? But the willingness to become vulnerable to our emotions and experiences—a willingness to surrender to our experience, is key to transforming our emotional states and, our lives.
In order to fall in love we must first become vulnerable to intimacy with another. In order to empathize with another we must become willing to be vulnerable to our own frailties and neediness. In order to fully acknowledge the precious nature of our loss, we must become vulnerable to our grief. In order to start a new business or project we must become vulnerable to the unknown, to taking a risk.
In becoming vulnerable to our emotions–both their light and dark sides–we can assess our motivations and unmet needs in the light of divine truth. Illuminated by the this divine truth, we can become accountable for our actions, and then respond with greater authenticity to the matters at hand.
By meeting the seasons of life with these three keys; vulnerability, accountability and authenticity, we can respond to whatever flows our way with grace and resilience, rather than continually reacting to (or recovering from) the inevitable challenges we all face.
For example, when we accurately perceive the roots of our anger issues we can address any boundary violations or injustices before they erupt into full-blown meltdowns. As we become more vulnerable to joy, our hearts strengthen and expand. We will not only love more deeply, we can also receive more love. When we take responsibility for nurturing ourselves on all levels, we are less likely to manipulate others to get our needs met. When we learn to honor and respect our grief, we can then offer compassion to those in the midst of their own grief. When we face our fears and enter the stillness, we can hear the wisdom that calls to us and, we are less likely to spin out of control with anxious, fearful thoughts.
“Just as the seasons flow in a continuous progression, moving from one season to the next in a regular rhythm, so are our emotions meant to move and transform our lives with fluidity. They reveal our strength and our vulnerability, our courage and our reticence, our generosity and our need to withhold.
“We are created with a full spectrum of emotions for a very good reason. For instance, without the guiding energy of anger we might fail to set or restore boundaries—or to respect the boundaries of others. Without joy we would lose the rich and heart-felt experience of connection. Lacking sympathy, we can fail to understand and attend to the plight of others. Without grief, we become frozen in our loss, unable to truly value what we once loved so dearly. Without fear, we can lose the ability to perceive danger or to respond to our fears from a place of intuitive wisdom.
“In order to decipher the wisdom embedded within our emotions, however, we must first become intimately acquainted with them—all of them. We must come to experience the depth of our grief as well as we know the expansiveness of joy. We must both illuminate the darkness of our anger and the brilliance of our generosity. We must be willing to explore our deep-seated fears of survival, death, and the unknown. In short, to fully master a higher way of being in the world, we must become familiar with both the light and the dark side of our emotions. Without emotional awareness, it is easier to be buffeted about life’s seasons, rudderless and powerless to affect true change.” –from Soul of the Seasons by Melody A Scout (c) 2015
With Blessings and Grace,
Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.