Category Archives: Wholeness

Leaning Into Masculine Vulnerability

By David Visiko

In the healing circles that I have interacted with, I have often heard the phrase “lean into the pain.” As if the act of experiencing the pain of a breakup, or job loss, or disappointment was not hard enough, I am supposed to expose myself to even more suffering, and invite this “pain” to dinner? Sometimes, the answer is yes. I have experienced that leaning into anything involves the opposite of trying to fix, quickly move past or recklessly improve upon something.

As I have talked with men and women about male vulnerability and have reflected on my own experiences, I have discovered my own hesitancy to masculine vulnerability, despite my desire to practice and strengthen how vulnerability appears in my life. The act of leaning into something involves a level of acceptance, a self-acceptance that this pain or joy or whatever one’s feeling is a part of a person’s life and is present now.

Vulnerability can feel potentially dangerous, yet it is important. I once equated vulnerability with a reckless sharing of my private self. To be vulnerable one does not have to share their innermost secrets with everyone they meet. It is important to be vulnerable enough to know one’s self and move through the world authentically. I have come to understand that vulnerability requires boundaries to be used or practiced for vulnerability to be in its healthiest most beneficial form. It is important to be vulnerable enough to allow true connection. I am learning that it takes healthy vulnerability to allow people into my life, my world and my thoughts so that I can connect with others.

It may seem that men receive the most shaming for being vulnerable from other men who may feminize authentic sharing, keeping the sharer in a traumatized state, pushing him toward the inner isolation of one’s masculine box. What I have discovered is that although this can be true, many men in fact do want to engage with other men in brotherhood – to exchange authentic vulnerabilities – because they too have their own experiences, questions and perceptions that they want to share safely in the company of other men. However, a great undermining of masculine vulnerability also comes from a man being poorly received by an important woman in his life. As men are shifting toward expressing vulnerabilities and practicing a new found strength within it, the way we receive them in this process is an important societal issue. It is important for men’s partners, women and society to work to understand vulnerability for both men and women. We must work to receive men – as well as women without berating or ridiculing them. Let us strive to work together in support of authentic, vulnerable expression as we strengthen relationships, community and society.

Vulnerability is more expansive than sharing those parts of you that remain under lock and key. As a whole man, I don’t want to live out my life omitting connection around what is most close to my heart. Vulnerability can be inclusive of how one shows happiness, joy and the positive feelings that we associate with the most beautiful of life moments.

Until I embraced vulnerability as a positive aspect of my manhood, I kept many wonderful parts of myself locked inside – including the positive feelings that I have associated with cutting the umbilical cord at the birth of my son and the joy of experiencing a drumming performance in front of a receptive crowd. I now share these things. Through this level of sharing I am becoming more connected to quality people that allow me to share the more challenging items of life, lessening the unhealthy impact of the mask of false bravery.

It is my hope to be a living example of masculine vulnerability, to enrich my own life and lift up those around me. I challenge you to open to your own healthy vulnerability and support the people you interact with in their journey too.

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Know Your Wholeness

By Amy Turner, The Courage Tribe Founder
In leading The Courage Tribe I am both teacher and student.  This suits me well; when we stop having an openness to learn, we cease being an expert.  I lead a weekly inspirational group in Bend, OR called Tribe Tuesday.  Recently we were talking about purpose, getting clear, and being in wholeness.  Everything in me paused when one person summarized the collective wisdom of the morning with, “Know your wholeness.”  As the power of those words landed on my ears, they humbly pierced my heart.  

I felt a shift in my whole self.  In the hustle of life I’d temporarily moved away from my wholeness, and that powerful, simple phrase was enough to bring me back. 

How does that phrase sit with you?  

There is wholeness within each and every one of us.  We are brought into ease of wholeness when what we’re doing is aligned with the truth of our hearts, aligned with what is right in our bones.  It doesn’t happen when we are merely appeasing social conditioning, fear, or mind chatter.  We have to get quiet to hear our hearts among the noise of everything else around us. Wholeness happens when we live in courage beyond our fears.  

When we know something is right, but aren’t doing it (or when we know something is wrong and we do it anyway), it tugs at our hearts.  We feel broken and things in our lives become blocked.  Relationships deteriorate, we become uncreative, life feels grinding and lonely – even in other people’s presence.  

Feeling broken can come in the form of not speaking up when you know you need to or yelling your head off when grace is what’s called for.  It can come in the form of gossip, trying to control people, having weak boundaries, judging others.  A list of what brings people out of alignment with wholeness is endless.  When we feel broken, we become self-reprimanding into a downward spiral – disconnected, depressed, despairing, anxious, addicted.  In living from this space, we drag other people down too.  We’re left wondering why things are difficult and falling apart.  We can become so used to feeling broken that it becomes our baseline normal.  This is not what we’re after.

 

We have the power to acknowledge this when it happens and change it.  We need reminders and each other – we weren’t meant to go it alone.  We were born to thrive, to help each other and be helped, to love and be loved, to use our talents and receive the talents of others – to be connected in our jobs, in our homes, in our communities.  We are human and err often, so we need to pause for humble self-checks often.  Movement between being in wholeness and feeling broken happens all throughout life, but wholeness is there to return to.  The trick is getting back on track as often as we can.  It takes awareness, openness, humility, forgiveness, and courage at least.  

Personally, I have to pause far more often than my social conditioning tells me I should.  As a result, I sometimes push until I’m out of balance, stagnant, uncreative, and short with myself and my kids.  When I heard the words “know your wholeness,” I knew I’d shifted into this out-of-balance state fueled by shame and a need to get things done.  I believe in walking the talk, so it was time for honest self-awareness, to forgive, adjust, and courageously move back to wholeness.  Instead of pushing through tasks, I practiced saying, “Let it be.”  I connected with my kids and sought time with old and new friends.  

Important achievements usually happen through consistent action over a period of time and they don’t have to come at the cost of what we love in life.  Within this framework there is time for a balanced, well lived, connected life.  It’s not enough to say we believe in something and we’ll live it someday.  We have to catch ourselves and do the work of living it now.  When we are courageously in line with wholeness our lives become in flow.  

Know your wholeness and courageously live it.

 

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