About Vulnerability

Feb 8, 2024 | Transformation


“I am holding a baby.
Its head gets ripped away & rolls on the floor.
I pick it up.
On the back of the skull, a massive wound revealed its brain. 

There is no blood. It is just like disarticulation.
I cut large slabs of garlic to soothe the wound & wrap the head in a shroud.
I know I must take care of it.”

I wake up from that dream with a sense of calm.
The timing is perfect; a few hours later, I am meeting virtually with eight peers, as we have done weekly for the past four years, to talk about our dreams.
When all the faces pop up slowly on Zoom, F immediately jumps in.
They’ve had in the past week a very horrific dream where a baby is violently abused & molested.
Everyone is somber & entirely triggered by the vivid images that F’s dream provokes. The world at large & the constant stream of news depicting raging violence is perforating our sleep as we are trying to process the unspeakable.
The string of our dreams depicting babies being violented (I do share my snippet) leads the group to confront what is right here for us to see daily:
A society and a world at large that has a cultural contempt for the things perceived as vulnerable.

I hold my breath, my left palm feeling the back of my newly shaved head.
Tears roll down inside my chest: no sorrow, just water gushing down like a river.
A truck is relentlessly honking outside as the sun is pouring through the front windows into my apartment.
The world at large & my own stories seem intertwined.
I recently unveiled certain realities about their past & family heritage, betrayals from primal relationships, and more to my children, who are now young adults.
With that, I revisited the years I spent protecting those little guys from all the harm & danger coming directly at them, physically and emotionally.
I don’t think I deserve a medal for exemplary parenting (but I will take it if you have one! Ha-ha!) because
a) I don’t think I was perfect
b) It was in the job description when I signed up to be a parent. 

At least, that is how I understand my role: one of my duties for my children when they are young & vulnerable and not one where I can exercise rights or power over or manipulate.
For many, many, many years, I stood in that place where I held my sons close to my chest, becoming myself a target: one cannot run very far or very fast when she carries two youngsters on her back, and yet, she can feel that she can move a mountain because more than her life depends of her, her vulnerability disembodied and in plain sight day in and day out.

There is a cultural misconception that vulnerability is weakness.
I believe it is the opposite. If one can embrace the place in their psyche that is the most tender, one can draw an endless aliveness.
Not power, but aliveness because it is the place of origins & beginning, where one’s essence is the only thing left after all has been removed.
That our societies and politics consistently promote the eradication of that very place through disembodiment, violence, extraction, and abuse of power (to name just a few) endlessly puzzles me.

I have had countless conversations with very different people about vulnerability as a place of deep intimacy and how to inhabit it relationally with others without anyone going into panic, rescue mode, annihilation, or devouring mode.
Most could conceptually understand it, but fewer could stand there as it is a place they never visit in themselves.
Much of the “work” we need to engage in the face of the global collapse can stem from a deeper understanding of where our vulnerability lives and befriending it, withstanding its intense fire without self-inflicting violence or dissociation.
And from that place, re-engage in a world that desperately needs care, love & respect in all its diversity & complexity & vulnerability.

A lot of my work, personal & professional, aims to reconnect to that very place.

Dear Friends, close & afar, I hope that many of you can meet me there.