{Thoughts on Vulnerability}

I’m hesitant to write about vulnerability in a place dedicated to farming and simple living, but in an effort to be BOLD in places that make me scared to death I’m going for it.  

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…” Theodore Roosevelt 

What I’ve learned along the way is that to be fully present, to show up, to dig deep into our lives we must be willing to be vulnerable.  And vulnerability is hard work (in fact, it really stinks at times).   From the beginning my calling has been to speak up for families and help them overcome the obstacles in their lives that keep them from their best.  I love this work and truly believe in it.  But over and over again I kept facing the same thing.  I couldn’t put my finger on what it was until I finally recognized it as shame.

I’d show up, express my thoughts in a vulnerable way and moments later that feeling of dread would take me over.  I’m not worthy to be doing this work.  Who do you think you are to be offering advice to other people?  You are just asking for others to call you out on your imperfections.  My calling and my shame were linked to one another.  My past (full of insecurities, difficult circumstances and several bad decisions) had given me the dedication and gumption to help others on a similar journey, but it was the same thing that would halt me in my tracks and make me question myself.  

“If we want to be able to move through the difficult disappointments, the hurt feelings, and the heartbreaks that are inevitable in a fully lived life, we can’t equate defeat with being unworthy of love, belonging and joy.  If we do, we’ll never show up and try again.”  Brene Brown

I can’t say that I’ve overcome shame or the insecurities that rise up when I do something vulnerable.  That brings me back to my fear of talking about vulnerability in a place dedicated to the joys of life on a farm.  What if no one “likes” my post?  What if people are uncomfortable by my vulnerability?  What if someone thinks I’m talking about them and not myself?

The thing about shame is that it can cause us to become critics of others or at it’s worst begin disengagement with the people we care about most.  For that reason I’ve become determined to recognize it, name it and move away from it before I allow it to hurt others…especially my family.  Because in the end food, birth and community is all about our relationships with others and without vulnerability in those relationships we lose the true meaning of life.  I want you to know that if shame or fear hold you back from time to time that you are not alone!