Posted on June 5, 2013
This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, … that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, ‘Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?’ just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, ‘I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.’” – Brene Brown
And isn’t that the truth? There are no guarantees. It makes it really scary sometimes. Actually, if I am being honest with myself here, it makes it scary a lot of the time – most of the time – hell…almost all of the time. You can put your heart out on the line and nothing may come back. That truly is a frightening realization. In fact, I would venture to say that this realization can be paralyzing for many. It has been paralyzing for me. Because while we read quotes and hear speeches about people who say that all of the strength we ever need is within ourselves, the people around us do play an incredibly important role in our happiness. As the great Into The Wild quote said, “Happiness is shared.”
It makes me very uncomfortable at times to think about how fragile it all actually is. Over the past year I have been shown a whole different world – and the world I have seen did not impress me. I understand what people are saying when they say “The Real World” trust me, I get it. Being in school my whole life brought a completely different set of challenges – who knows if they are worse or they are better – but what I see now is something completely and totally unique.
The world tries its best to drag you down into the river of mediocrity.
As a salmon swimming upstream, you end up losing the rest of the gang and on a part of the journey, you are confronted with things that were once fleeting. Things get very quiet. Weaknesses get exposed. Fears surface. Doubts cause inaction. Authenticity diminishes. Your sparkle dulls. Life begins to life you. And then it comes down to asking yourself, “What the hell am I going to do about this?”
I’m going to be very honest here, the fight in me turned into a charcoal briquette after baseball ended. That was almost three years ago. Life just took a bucket of water and poured it right on my fire. And when I tell you there was a fire inside me for that game, there really was. Nothing has matched up to the feeling of being on the mound competing my ass off. What was even better was I knew “why” I was competing – I was competing because my dream was right around the corner. A dream that I had since I was 5 years old. But then there was no more why and life just because a whole lot of who, what, when, where, how.
Speaking of vulnerability…
It’s really easy to get lost…and I am glad that I just got all of that out there. It’s also really easy to pretend that everything is okay when it’s really not. But I think I will always remember what my history teacher in college taught me over and over again…”accept your condition – that is the only way you can create a new one.” So off I go to create something new.
The Better Man Project
I love that you quoted Brene Brown, she rocks! It’s the hardest thing to do, accepting our vulnerability, all that dark, shadow stuff. I have a copy of Rumi’s poem The Guest House which I keep handy to remind me to stay open to whatever arises. Sounds like you’re doing a good job of that yourself, and have company on the journey home.
My “condition” is relative. Sometimes better, sometimes not as good. I have a lot to offer; I have limitations which are human. Sit that condition inside a “sea of conditions”. We are waves; it is the sea. Still, waves can align. Nothing is as powerful as water at wearing away rock over time. Think Grand Canyon. It’s easy to get stuck on a wish whose time has passed… grief will do that to your condition. Patience, developing options, moving forward. Letting go of one thing in order to grab onto something else. In order to start again. Don’t Wait to Be Ready http://wp.me/p39F3Y-sZ
Reblogged this on prayersdream and commented:
So true. Thanks for this post!
I’m intrigued by your comment that the Real World hasn’t impressed you.
It seems to me that we’re on similar journeys, but for different reasons, and I find that the further along the path of self-improvement I travel, the more impressed I am with the Real World.
Definition: Real World: that which occurs naturally with or without human intervention. The mountains, seas, fields, woodlands, sunsets, etc, etc, with all their flora and fauna all offering a fantastical, incredible experience that we call life.
The Real World is NOT academic achievement, career sucess, owning the nicest car and living in the best neighbourhood. That is one way of getting ‘lost’.
You said that you are feeleing a little lost, and I can’t help but wonder if maybe you’re looking in the wrong direction for something to fulfil you.
Here’s hoping you find your true direction. 🙂
Wonderfully well expressed. I too join the comment made by Dan4Kent fully endorsing what is expressed in it.
Some ‘real deal’ here. Congrats for opening up without whining on. The balance you display in calling Fear for what it is, is refreshing. My hunch is your history teacher would be really proud to see you creating your own. Good stuff. Dan
“As a salmon swimming upstream, you end up losing the rest of the gang and on a part of the journey, you are confronted with things that were once fleeting. Things get very quiet. Weaknesses get exposed. Fears surface. Doubts cause inaction. Authenticity diminishes. Your sparkle dulls.”
This definitely hits home for me. Growing up, we’re told that as long as you’re smart, a good person, and stay true to the things that make you unique- you can accomplish anything. But there are realities in life (the economy, health issues, complex relationships, lack of funds to finance education, etc) that threaten to chip away at what makes you “YOU”. Thanks for writing this post. And good luck on creating something new for yourself.
Really excellent insight into yourself and also others! I live with PTSD and Bipolar disorder so I “get” fear and vulnerability quite readily. However, I refuse to let that prevent me from going out and trying. Even if it means painful failure.
Really good post Evan. Really really good.
This was a wonderful post. Thank you for these thoughts, and for sharing some of your story with us.