Vulnerability, I keep finding it in the bits of life I dabble in. I finished reading Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape, taking in as much as I could with it. In terms of vulnerability, I've learned best that there is opportunity for men to come to terms with the aggressive, sexual predator mentality we usually slide into and we can understand there is more possibility than being a bulldozer wrapped in armor. Like in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you don't get better if you don't lose constantly. You're always vulnerable to get choked, to break a limb, to smash your back on the mats. You're vulnerable and it makes you stronger.
The simple act of giving makes you vulnerable. I'll give you an example. I'm trying to move out of my hometown (for the third time since graduating college) and I'm trying to live Spartan. No need for anything much more than my books, journals, films, and bed. Regardless, I've salvaged tons of junk. I made the vulnerable decision to post on Craigslist to give items away for free to someone who took a second to tell me why they'd love Family Guy DVDs or some books from the 1970's. Some people might be leery to open their home to a stranger but I didn't even think to second-guess it. I screened people via email to know they really wanted the random stuff and could use it for something worthwhile. No incidences so far, knock on wood.
The best thing yet to come from the Craigslist postings was meeting Amber. She is the cute bibliophile that showed up to grab a box of any books I had lying around. She was also the only person to email again after meeting to say thank you. Naturally, I kept the conversation going and we both discovered we had a passion for books on psychedelics. I'll admit I've never used them but they fascinate me and she hit me with an awesome recommendation I can't wait to dive into: The Beyond Within: The LSD Story.
Like the Japanese swordsman for hire, Musashi, said in A Book of Five Rings; The Classic Guide to Strategy, "From one thing, know ten thousand things." Master being vulnerable, opening up, giving, and being human in one discipline and you can do it everywhere. Be genuinely vulnerable in all walks of life and you'll be that much more capable, that much more alive, that much more real.
We've all heard the whispers of secrets to a better life. You know you can eat clean and build a community and do what you love for money or not. We know all this, and life happens regardless. One lesson I could never gather to understand and follow closely enough was the concept of giving. Nothing feels better than giving to those in need, they say, and by all accounts there is no denying charity. Volunteering time, donating clothes, and contributing to a food drive are well enough but the true concept of giving didn't hit me until I listened to ex-footballer Bo Eason's talk 3 Most Critical Steps to Storytelling. He brought it around eloquently and excitedly to the concept of giving not of time, money, clothes or anything else, but giving of yourself. When you give of yourself, you're vulnerable and you connect with everyone else. When you're giving of yourself, you raise people up, you make them feel loved and better about themselves. You recognize that life is worthy of living cause it is here to share, no one does it alone.
The kicker of the whole big vulnerable story comes back to Amber and the Craigslist gifts. With our back and forth messages, I started to half-feel like she was stalking me somehow, recommending books I had already read and loved, and telling me about TED talks while I'm eyeballs-deep in watching another speaker on stage. When I decided to share Bo Eason's talk with her, in exchange for Graham Hancock's TED awe-inspiring talk about psychedelics, The War on Consciousness, she called him "over the top". My heart hurt to disagree with my new bookworm friend and therein lies the beauty. I was vulnerable enough to share what moved me and it didn't land. The great part about it was I was willing to share and glad to do it, and nothing should ever stop that.
Until next time...
I explode into space.