You know the moment when you have to ask for what you want? Or, when you have to stand in front of a 300 person audience and tell your story? Better yet, when you realize you have to tell the truth? All of these moments make your heart race, your hands sweat, and your ears ring. We mistake these physical reactions as weakness or fear, making us run from anything that elicits those reactions. The moments in our life that spike our adrenaline have one common thread: vulnerability. We look at that word and some of us cringe. I will be the first to say that there have been times when I would rather pull out that infamous Paula Abdul workout DVD and break my knee again before jumping into the arena of vulnerability. I will also be the first to tell you that I have fallen in love with the act of being vulnerable. It's a bitter sweet act that has given me the freedom to grow - the freedom to realize that living with an open heart produces immeasurable strength.
The relationship that vulnerability and strength share isn't always the most obvious relationship. And, living with an open heart isn't always ideal because it means you are putting your heart on the front line. Some people live their lives running from vulnerability; however, when you allow vulnerability to blanket you, it's sweeter and gentler than the snow that quietly and slowly falls from the sky. When I finally accepted my vulnerable nature, I understood that pain could result from walking with a heart laid bare but I was no longer bothered by the possibility. The idea of feeling a tinge of pain was okay because I knew that more joy would result. It's like Newton's Third Law. With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I now embrace any tears that fall due to vulnerability because I know they aren't beads of weakness and I know that equal amounts of laughter will follow.
As I sit and watch the February snow fall softly to the vulnerable earth and clothe the naked trees, I see the beauty that will come. I see the beauty in the vulnerability of the earth because I know that the earth accepts the cold white blanket because it will be stronger and the colors of spring will laugh longer with brilliant color and sing louder with soft winds.
I encourage you to take a moment to think about living a vulnerable life. I will be the first to say that it's scary but the impact is quite lovely. You might not get the reaction that you desired but know that you will sing louder and the color in your spirit will be brighter than it was before. Challenge yourself to live with a heart wide open.