I’m listening to the Wailin’ Jennys sing “Deeper Well” and thinking more and more about the needs for clean, accessible water around the world. “I need water from a deeper well,” they sing over and over again.
Even those of us who have clean water to drink and bathe in need the water from a Deeper Well. We all need water that comes from deep within our own hearts and from the deep, dark places of the Divine. In the class I had this past Tuesday, I observed as the participants shared right away with one another.
They opened up, they dug deep, and they allowed themselves to be perceived by one another. They were vulnerable.
How frequently do we do this work?
How often do we allow ourselves the benefits of vulnerability?
Vulnerability is not always appropriate, right? There are many environments in which it is not safe to be intentionally vulnerable. There are many reasons to be more closed than not. Many of us, for example, people with disabilities, fat people, and people of color (especially in predominantly white circumstances), are vulnerable every time we go out into the world, whether we like it or not.
Vulnerability as a choice is different from being unsafe in a hostile world. Vulnerability with people who feel safe, in environments that are set up to be safe…that’s a whole different ballgame.
Or at least it seems so. The unfortunate reality is that sometimes people who seem safe aren’t always so. Well-meaning people can hurt us. People we trust can let us down.
Nonetheless, there are times and places—and Tuesday’s class appeared to be one—when vulnerability, the hallmark of deep authenticity, yields beautiful results. And furthermore, trying to be safe at all costs cuts us off from life, as a good friend of mine says.
Sometimes vulnerability, especially when we bring ourselves into awareness of the Divine, is what helps us reach down to the “Deeper Well.” Vulnerability—acknowledging our “imperfections” and our powers, both—can help us lean back into the support of Life, of the Universe that is conspiring to shower us with blessings at all times.
We won’t always choose in ways that pan out. Sometimes people disappoint us. Person-to-person vulnerability, then, is also an exercise in courage and discernment. Courage, because even if it has “worked out” in the past, it might not this time. And discernment, because we need to be mindful of to whom we are giving our gifts.
Today, though, I am struck by how authenticity and the vulnerability it carries can have such beautiful gifts attached. I am thinking of how daring, how risking, how leaping from the cliff into the arms of Life and the arms of other human beings changes us profoundly.
I have made a new commitment to authenticity and to the vulnerability it demands.
That means talking about my polyamorous past. It means owning my identity as a long-timer kinkster. My love, over and over and over, for trans* people in all their gorgeous specificities. My life as a very fat woman.
These experiences, these self-descriptions lead to my desire to work for folks with these and other marginalized identities.
What is living within you that needs courage, discernment, and vulnerability? Where are you already being vulnerability and authentic? Where are you daring not to be safe? Where do you need support? Whom can you ask for that support?
Can I help?
Can I offer you the support you need to come to terms with your own checkered life? Let me know. I’m here for you.
Bowing in gratitude to you, Catharine, for showing up with such authenticity and vulnerability…and offering a safe place for others to do the same.
What a beautiful theme, Catharine, needing water from a deeper well. Sometimes the well is a well of vulnerability, but it can also be a well of deep resource. Feeling connected in a safe place, such as your Tuesday class, sounds so healing.