I have a wooden horse. It’s about 8 inches tall and is a modern art piece of sorts. I remember fairly clearly how I came to posses it. And I have looked upon the horse with that memory for all these years. I didn’t love the memory, so it is rather curious as to why I have kept the horse front and center over all these years.
I was of grade school age and was in a shop with my Mom, siblings and my grandpa down in Portland OR near where my grandparents lived. I fell in love with this wooden horse. I think it might have been a little pricey for what it was, but regardless my Mom said no when I asked if I could have it. I proceeded to have a bit of a melt down. I don’t remember the details other than I cried and carried on and we had to leave the store. Later that day, my grandpa presented me with the horse. I don’t remember thanking him properly, likely I didn’t. I remember feeling surprised by it but grateful and relieved. Like a weight had been lifted. I was supposed to have this horse. For some reason. And I guess I knew it. But why?
Recently I looked up at the horse sitting on a shelf in my tiny house. Storage is limited and precious as is display space. Yet the horse made the list to be here with me, in my small home. At that moment when I gazed at it recently I suddenly forgave my younger self for crying and carrying on so much about wanting it. Or maybe I forgave the adult me who shamed the younger self all these years. I thanked my grandpa (long passed of course) for knowing this one was important in some way.
I still don’t know exactly what significance this wooden horse possesses but I do know it is enjoyable to look at. I always loved horses and wanted one for a while when I was young. I used to wish for a horse every time I saw a white car (I think that was the catalyst). When you saw a white car, you made a wish, licked your thumb and rubbed it in the palm of your other hand three times. Perhaps this wooden horse was the answer to my prayer. Rather than the living version, a more manageable and less expensive as well as a longer companion on my journey.
Simple little things like these in our lives that are curious little treasures we might even miss as such. It could have just remained something from my childhood that I kept moving from place to place with me. I knew it was special. And even though I still am not sure as to the significance, I have expanded my appreciation for it and the part of my story it is. Thank you younger me, Grandpa Higby and the craftsperson who created it. All part of the rich tapestry of a good and curious life.
"Your vulnerability is your power. Your willingness to sense and feel what’s really there in your body, and to let yourself experience it and work with it, is vulnerable because it’s acknowledging the real, true you. You have to let go of all the defensive strategies the protective personalty employs to shield you from getting hurt and connect, through sensation, with the very places inside you that feel painful, stuck and wounded.”
“The Energy Codes” by Dr. Sue Morter, pg. 133 (paperback)
People used to think vulnerable was synonymous with week. It is actually the opposite. It is hard to be vulnerable. This is because our ego or protective personality dislikes the unknown. And by definition, allowing vulnerability includes not knowing what will happen if/when/next. And we can be so afraid that we are more willing to stay in a bad situation or in discomfort and misery simply because we know what to expect in those situations. Change and the unknown is scarier than the known to the ego. It’s primary job is safety. Even if that perceived safety is not actually safe in the long run.
We didn’t come here into this life to be comfortable at all times. Yes, we all like comfort! But don’t mistake that as our primary concern. We also desire some level of growth, learning, and to contribute and engage with the world around us. And that means some level of discomfort will be necessary. Adventure is rewarding because there is a level of discomfort involved, be it the unknown, risk, challenge or fear. After our adventure we love to tell the story don’t we? People are interested in our adventures and like to either see themselves in you, consider doing something similar, or are grateful they learned something along with you, but without having to do it themselves.
Consider vulnerability as your greatest ongoing adventure. No matter the outcome, learning and growth occurs. This contributes richly to our life as well as those lives we touch. We offer a possibility for others to witness. By showing that being vulnerable is a super power, others just might open themselves up to it the next time it is looming, revealing a deeper truth and amaze themselves. We all move along our path, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, but we all need to move. Comfortable is slow and steady, but can be stagnant at its worse.
Be open to exploring your resistance to vulnerability and what role your protective personality is playing. Realize that you are not a young child that needs all these protections. In fact, too much protection keep you from living the life you came to live. The sooner you go exploring, the sooner you will be journeying on your path with joy and harmony, with fewer and less dramatic bumps or detours along the way. Trust me. It happens all the time. It did for me. It will for you.
Get your vulnerable on!