I’m feeling very vulnerable today. This feeling dovetails well with a conversation I had with one of my swordplay students last night. In the conversation my student and I talked about dealing with nerves in tournament and performance environments.
I told him that I still get nervous when I compete, even though I have competed hundreds of times. I still get the shakes and stomach knots. What changed for me at some point along the journey was how I felt about these symptoms. I decided that they were helpful. The shakiness can be quickness and responsiveness. When I work with it I can add precision and timing and make something powerful out of something potentially worrying.
How we judge our feelings can often be more impactful than the initial feelings themselves.
This got me thinking about how I respond to vulnerability and insecurity in myself. What does it mean to receive vulnerability in myself with love? What can it do for me? How can I play with it?
The world is insecure and truthfully so are all of our relationships within it. Nothing is permanent, timeless, nor impervious to change. Instead of creating constructs of artificial security, how can I acknowledge and be at peace with insecurity?
Sitting in this place I first realize that vulnerability and insecurity themselves are not inherently damaging or risky. I can close my eyes and feel this soft space deep in myself – below my heart, above my stomach. I can be at peace with it, quiet with it, know it. In this space, when I am quiet, when I unclench my arms and open myself up, when I stop trying to protect the soft heart, when I know that truly nothing can wound me unless I let it. That holding hurt out does not require walls and barricades, counter-offensives or guarded retreats. In this space I can truly hear. In this space I can truly listen. There are so many nuances of myself and others to know. So many ways to move and be moved. So much to gain from feeling and knowing down here where I am most soft, and most taut. Taut like the skin of a highly sensitive microphone or a very precise speaker.
If I am present to vulnerability and insecurity. Perhaps I can be truly present to knowing myself and others.
Like tournament nerves. The only way to be at peace with vulnerability and insecurity is to move toward them with intention and love. Expose myself to these feelings knowing that in time they will help me grow.