The Healing Art of Vulnerability

The Identity Series

Recently I found myself sitting in a circle of women.

An elaborate “mesa” of healing tools was set out before us, the epicenter of giving and receiving spiritual guidance inside this sacred space. It was an altar of earthly remnants: rocks, stones, crystals, wooden implements, dried leaves and herbs – a beautiful bounty.

The healer, a shamanic priestess, called us to commune in this sacred space with a deep melody from her ancient instrument.

Each of us was there to heal and reclaim our own journeys to “walk with beauty.” The walk being one of balance and harmony in our relationship with ourselves, with others, with the Earth, and with our own spiritual practice.

Being surrounded by these incredible women, I felt held. Some of them I knew and others I didn’t, though each of us was connected in sisterhood and community. We were unified in purpose and commitment to healing our bodies, minds, and souls. I felt safe to release – to confess what was buried in my body in that crack between my conscious and unconscious.

The healer shook the chakapa, a shamanic shaker tool made from bundled leaves, to clean the energy of women in the circle and with its wind I felt a surge of emotion and a deep desire to weep.

As the healer sought to “clean” the energy around me, she stopped at my heart and asked if I had lost anything. I knew at once what she meant.

Since becoming a mother, I have felt like I’ve been losing my freedom. My love and devotion to my independence is FIERCE. Just as fierce as my love and devotion for my children.

Sometimes I would find myself gazing into the empty air as if I could watch my freedom leave me, carried off like sparks scattering from its fiery source.

I started to equate these feelings with loss of self. And because of this I became starved for any free moments, scavenging time that I could hoard. With this came frustration and a sense of desperation that weighed on my ability to be present with my family.

I needed to be brave and step out of this shadow I was casting on my life.

Here in the circle of healing, I told these women how afraid I was of losing my independence. It spilled in sound, tears, and energy out of me. I confessed how scared I was that I would never be good enough as a mother or do justice to my free-spirited soul. That somehow, I couldn’t have both. That I was terrified of continuing to live in an unresolved state of limbo.

I needed this space to initiate the healing of myself. I needed to transform my thought patterns and fears. I needed someone to witness me and hold space for me.

Once I had confided these deep fears, I felt lighter. I felt witnessed. I felt empathy. I felt released from these fears I had been holding something so tightly inside, even though deep down I knew them not to be true.

This is the power of confession.

This is the impact of being witnessed in your raw state.  

This is the incredible healing magic of being vulnerable.  

To get where you are going, you must go through the damn thing. You must say it and feel it. With the release of fearful thought patterns from my body and mind, I knew I would figure the way forward. I knew answers would fill the void and drive me to thrive, where once the fear had lived and drained. I knew I was capable of lifting myself up.

This is the gift that emerges from believing that you have the power to heal yourself.

This is the first step in creating resilient patterns in your life.