On Tenderness, Support and Fortitude : When things don’t go as planned

empty class room require self supportLast Saturday I was to have conducted my Vulnerability 101 class for the first time.

It has been cancelled due to lack of attendees.

In the interest of walking my talk, I felt compelled to write about that under the illumination of the Full Moon.

It was an exercise in working the edge of own my vulnerability to offer this class.  It has called to me for awhile.

Having this response to the class has left me with more. More awareness, and more sitting, more internal connecting and showing up for myself. After processing through the weekend, a good many things have popped clear for me.

It is further stretching my edge to write about it publicly. It feels less edgy than it would have a couple days ago.

It’s not easy, but writing feels like a necessary flexing of the muscles I’ve built. In order to do so, I’ve trusted the practices that I use and share with others, to slow down and take care. Over the past 6 days I’ve done exactly that.

Responding to a Tender Heart

Slowing down allowed me to recognize my tender bits and how doubt and shame were showing up. When doing anything felt heavy, I allowed this rather than pushing through in an effort to distract and ignore myself. What did this look like? From the outside sometimes it may have still looked like distracting and ignoring.

  • Netflix
  • Sitting very still and quiet
  • Becoming immersed in a necessary task and forgetting for awhile
  • Warm mugs and soft blankets.

However on the inside, when participating less in the shaming and doubting, I could also have space for self-compassion and just allowing what felt right.

Sometimes we can take the uncomfortable feelings and whip them into a frenzy; spiraling stories which usually involve a lot of imagination and very little fact. We can circle those around to encompass what we are doing to try and self-soothe as well, scolding ourselves for being lazy or weak. A tender heart asks us to swaddle and comfort, remaining steadfast. Even if we spin for a bit into fraught distraction,  it is soothing to come back, ask, “What would feel good now?” respond accordingly, with no admonitions for forgetting ourselves to the frenzy for a bit.

Seeking Support

In the face of disappointment and the emotional labor of self care, it is advisable to seek support. For me, this was another edge of learning. Sometimes you can sort of know a thing about yourself.  Then it can become clear, even as you continue to do that thing, what you’re up to.

In the first few days of a very tender heart, I craved support but also had a “foot on the brake/foot on the gas” response to taking care of that need. I didn’t want to be disappointed again if I asked for nurturing (too vulnerable).Therefore, when what my heart wanted was comfort from a trusted loved one, I couldn’t reach for it outright. I subconsciously designed my requests so they were a bit sideways and had about a 50/50 chance of being met. (Example: texting someone, “Hey, how’s your day. Busy?” during a time when they were likely not going to see the words for a couple hours.)

Like I said, you can sort of know a thing, then see it fully. While the above is my pattern, this time I could apply compassion to this behavior, and appreciate that at least headway was made in asking for support at all.

I can imagine a world in which next time I would contact someone and actually say the thing that I need, “Hey, I realize you might be busy now. I’m feeling really tender and shaky and could use some support. Let me know when we can chat?” The truth is, despite whatever internal stories I weave to keep myself “safe”, my people want and need to offer support in the same way I do for them.

Fortitude for what feels important

In the end, the whole experience has coalesced into a clear picture of how and why the class offering went down like it did. The interior learning has been wide and swift and very gratifying. It feels like it fits perfectly with the energy of the start of this year, as well as what it will ask as it unfolds.

I appreciate that this time around the bend, I can remain with a more unflinching, loving gaze when care is needed. Once I was squinchy and afraid of feeling things fully and taking care of them well.

This leaves me ever more resourced to step out again, following the calling of my heart and intuition.

The class will resurrect this fall. It will benefit from the nuances learned through this offering that didn’t get off the ground.

In the meantime, I continue to refine and integrate. As always, I’m available for 1:1 mentoring and energy support, and through our monthly Soul Salon gatherings.