Vulnerability May Be the Key to Finding Mental Strength
Okay, let me just tell you that Gabrielle Bernstein's new book The Universe Has Your Back has been wildly inspirational to me already, and I'm only on page 50. It basically inspired this post as everything Gabby has written, in just 50 pages, is potent and so relevant to me at the moment. It's not only inspirational & informative, but encouraging and believable as well. You know she's 100% dedicated to bettering your life by helping you get on your spiritual path to find freedom and happiness. She doesn't fill it with fluffy verbiage -- she's to the point in the best way. Essentially, the novel is about replacing all fears with love, at least so far, and letting the universe take you where you need to be. Put love behind every decision. Don't let fear rule your life. And she does an amazing job at outlining (through steps, meditations, and stories) how exactly to let go of that fear thats blocking you from happiness, security and direction in your life. You can tell she dedicates her life to the universe because, spoiler alert, the universe serves her in major ways.
Gabby also talks a lot about surrendering. Surrendering your power to the universe to guide you in what you need the most. Side note: if you're still weirded out by the whole universe/spiritual guidance idea, thinking it's too 'woo-woo' for you, just wait a year and it will be the next kale, soul cycle or smoothie bowl. Aka, trendy. But, it's actually way deeper than that.
The universe is basically your own spiritual guide. It's always there, you just have to tune into it, you have to believe in it, you have to allow it in. It's a perfect thing for me, as I'm not a religious person. However, I believe there is something out there that is guiding, but not dictating, our lives. I believe in connecting to some other sort of consciousness, but not necessarily on a fixed figure or following a certain dogma. My path is individual. I'm finding happiness within myself, and being independent, not depending on a something or someone else to do that for me.
Anywayssss, how this relates to vulnerability is that it's important to recognize vulnerability in the process of surrendering to the universe to guide us. In our culture, we don't like surrendering. We don't like sitting back and letting something else guide us; we don't like feeling any sort of weakness or vulnerability. That being said I think vulnerability means different things for everyone. For me, when I feel vulnerable it's when I feel unsuccessful, unproductive, not confident, or just stuck, not heading in a clear direction, you know? It directly relates to my ever-present third chakra imbalance.
The third chakra, the sacral chakra, governs self-empowerment and self-esteem, and also the digestive system. When one's off, the other's off. My stomach turns to knots the second I feel self conscious, unproductive, or stuck. It's taken me a while to tune into it, but it's like my digestive system reacts completely to how I feel about myself at the time.
So when my third chakra is off kilter, not only do I feel digestive discomfort almost immediately, but I lose self esteem and power. I'm vulnerable.
The mind-body connection is REAL.
If you really pay attention to how your body reacts to certain feelings, thoughts, interpretations or outside experiences, you'll start to understand this connection and how these seven chakras really do govern our bodies. SO COOL.
The problem is that I have a hard hard hard time being okay with feeling vulnerable. I'm so fixated on the idea of being productive 24/7/365 -- something I've alluded to in a few of my Instagram posts -- that when I'm not, I feel like I'm not living up to my potential. I feel off and stuck, but I never really do anything about it and then I just feel worse! The stomach tension kicks in and I've become vulnerable to negativity. The real issue though, is how I'm so resistant to feeling vulnerable. The problem is not the fact that I feel unproductive that puts me off, it's the fact that I get upset that I'm unproductive. It welcomes a ton of self critical thoughts into my mind which ultimately clouds any productivity. Welcome to my critiquing, virgo world.
Anyway, I've been really trying to work on being okay with feeling unproductive, mainly, but also just not on my game. I'm trying to feel good just relaxing, letting my mind gooo. Feeling this way isn't permanent, but I'm not going to feel on top of the world 100% of the time either. No matter how much that throws me off, it's something I've got to be cool with. I've got to allow myself to feel all the feelings, good and bad! I'm usually such a stress-free, stable, sort of non-reactive (to other people's emotions, really) person - with a side of sarcastic humor - and I love being that way. So, naturally, you can imagine how I react when I've just had an off day, or didn't "do" as much as I'd have liked to.
So, how does this vulnerability we feel relate to mental strength? Long story short(-ish), I am trying to be completely present and aware of my feelings, and allowing myself to actually feel them, without judging. Eliminating the "should-haves". My sister, Hallie, has even noted that she doesn't want to have any idea of what's going on inside my head most of the time. Real. It's overwhelming sometimes, I'll tell ya. Trying to silence this voice in my head, telling myself I'm not productive enough, or that I should have done X instead of Y, can be hard, and obviously requires that mental strength to overcome. So yeah, working on quieting this negative voice, letting myself be okay with any feelings I have, and truly just living through the good energies and the bad energies will give me much more mental strength than feeling positive 100% of the time. Just surrendering to my thoughts with non judgement is working in its own way.
As Gabby says, the universe puts nothing before you that you cannot handle. I can handle the voice in my head and I can handle some not so hot feelings once in a while, right?
What makes you feel vulnerable? Do you feel it in your third chakra, like me, or say in your first? Do you feel unrooted, unstable and ungrounded? There's really so many different ways to feel vulnerable, so we just have to tune into that and use that mental strength to accept it and move on!
Anyway, time for this old soul-virgo to go MEDITATE. The ultimate mind clearing and strengthening practice!
P.S. The second Thanksgiving ended, I've been listening to Christmas music. Without any of that guilt for being too early, that's useless. Anyone else start getting in the cheery mood as early as I do?