Vulnerability, Where I am Not

What is vulnerability? What does it mean to be shy? I ask these questions of my therapist as we work through my most recent dreams because I don’t know how to be these things. I don’t know how to be where I am not. She continues to point out the “chatty”, aloof or bravado places that keep coming up in the dreams; how I jump out of my feelings of shyness or vulnerability by going into story. She asks me what that is about, what would happen if I didn’t do that. I tell her I don’t know. I ask her what would I DO? What would happen to ME? I don’t know how to BE in those moments.

I have an association between shyness and shame that is difficult to break. The type of shyness that comes from vulnerability can turn to shame if in our moment of vulnerability we are hurt, and especially if our vulnerability itself is shamed. To feel shy is very uncomfortable for me because it triggers a feeling of shame that causes me to jump away from the feeling. It doesn’t matter that the shame may not be real in the moment today, because my reaction is deeply grooved. Changing my most deeply grooved “instincts” is no small task. But each time I experience the psychic shift, where one set of values or ideas is uprooted and replaced with another, my faith grows. One could call these shifts spiritual awakenings. The dreams continue to show the splits in me; the places where the truth and the lie are at odds. The places where the real me is and where the persona or ego self, in its defensiveness, covers the real me. The dream carries the information which can lead us to the truth, if we are honest, open and willing to be where we are not.

The idea of being where we are not is discussed in the teachings from The Red Book in the Carl & Me class taught at the Center for Archetypal Dreamwork. Where God is, is where I am not. All of the ways I have lived and coped, all of the story of who I think I am is not who I am and therefore not where God is for me. I must go beyond where I am to where I am not. This is a difficult thing to do. I can’t will it to happen, nor can I wish it and make it so. I cannot demand it. I can only do my work and when it comes allow it and accept it.

Vulnerability. I don’t want to show this side of me because I might get taken advantage of or hurt. I believe this because it has been true in the past as both a child and an adult in this lifetime and perhaps others. If it continues to happen it is because I look for it and expect it. It is a lot like saying “No one loves me.” and then pointing to each moment of disagreement or pain and saying, “See? No one loves me.” There is always someone to blame because there are always places of pain and hurt in the world and the real me can stay underground, “safe”. The shy vulnerable girl hides.

But she shows herself in the dreams:

I am on the sidewalk and a man on a motorcycle pulls up. I step off the curb and put my hand on the tank of his bike. The bike is yellow and really big and fast with huge shocks. I look up at the man who is really tall. He has on a black full faced helmet with a reflective visor so I can’t see him. Then he takes off the helmet and I see is a young, handsome guy. He asks me if I like the motorcycle. I tell him I have been riding since 1985. He just looks at me and then I realize that I have just dated myself and he will think I am too old for him.
I am a girl in this dream. I have the curiosity and desire of the child. I want to be with him going for a ride on his motorcycle. At first he is intimidating with his reflective visor and he is so tall! And when he takes of his helmet and I see him, I feel shy. I want to say “Yes!”, but instead, I immediately jump away from this feeling of vulnerability. I go into my story about how I know all about motorcycles because I have been riding since 1985. There are lots of stories to be told here and this takes me even further from my girl and into the “I am not good enough” place. I am no longer the girl here. What is so hard about accepting my desire for what I want or need, to say Yes! Some old fear of rejection or hurt. It makes no sense, right? But doesn’t it make just perfect sense.

I see a man walking into a huge sun. He turns and looks back at me.

I know he wants me to follow him and I want to. Who could follow someone into the sun? Only the girl with the flame in the palm of her hand. This girl, in her passion and fire, cannot be burned.

1 comment:

  1. As always, great to hear about your work Laura.

    Bill St.Cyr