Navigating Vulnerability

Physically, I find myself in a season of tenderness, where my body and mind feel particularly fragile. It’s a delicate dance of being okay and not, where both truths coexist.

I’m not doing great right now physically so I’ve been avoiding people. Sometimes it’s simply I don’t know how to respond to the ‘how are you?’ message. But really I don’t want to tell people I’m not doing well. I don’t want to share that. Avoiding them doesn’t help though, avoiding them makes them worry too. 

When people ask me in person how I am, I instinctively respond with surface-level affirmations like “okay,” “good,” or “grand,” all of which hold elements of truth but don’t capture the nuanced reality beneath. I’m not fine. I’m not fine at all. 

Lately, my lungs have become a vocal part of this journey, their symphony of discomfort impossible to ignore. Simple tasks like climbing stairs or walking and talking leave me breathless, requiring pauses to catch my breath. When I tell people how much my lungs are affecting me right now, I usually try and follow quite quickly but my spine isn’t bothering me the way it was last month. It’s always let’s look on the positive, it’s always trying to convince them I’m not really that bad. 

Or else I try to make a joke. Usually about how I now understand so much more what it’s like to be my 94 year old nana. My aunt started to laugh when I said this but caught herself very quickly and said ‘that’s actually not funny at all’. And that’s the truth of it, it’s not funny. I shouldn’t have any idea how it feels to be 94 or if I did it should just be body aches and pains from a fleeting illness like flu that provided a brief moment of understanding.  But now I’ve had over two years of lessons. It hasn’t always been continuous but this stretch now has been long and intense.

My lungs are talking loudly right now. They’ve presented as an issue from the beginning but it’s never been  so symptomatic. But now I feel them, it’s loud and there is no avoiding it. It’s also not like other pain, you can’t just push through. When I’m breathless from stairs or doing something there is no avoiding it. I need to stop, to slow down, to take a moment, to take a pause and catch my breath. My lungs and nervous system need to relax. 

Sometimes this is easier said than done, sometimes it catches me in my tracks and overwhelms me. I mean it’s your breath after all, there is no denying how vital that is. Sometimes I start to panic and have to remind myself that when I’m relaxed I can breathe.To settle my breathing and nervous system I lean on some yogic breathing techniques which really help. Even just the action of something to do helps relax me. 

So no, I’m not fine. I’m not doing ok. I’ve slowed down and there is so much I can’t do right now. 

Right now I don’t have much capacity for pushing through. I reach my limit and that’s it, there is no pushing through, no hanging in for another half an hour, I’m done and I need a break. I knew this would all get intense. It’s been a wild ride the last few years but the intensity of this season hasn’t been there before, or maybe it’s just that I’m more vulnerable now. Maybe it’s just the pieces that are coming up for healing now. It’s not surface level stuff anymore, it’s deep, it’s vulnerable and the intensity of everything in my body reflects that too. 

I need more support right now, I can feel that in my bones and in my soul. I’m not afraid of dying but I want to get through all of this and I can’t do that alone. I have so much more to do, this is just a chapter, it’s a transformational death and rebirth chapter not a death and ending one. I’m done hiding how spiritual I am, I’m done hiding how alternative I am, I’m done hiding how powerful I am. People may not understand my journey and I get that, I mean in ways I don’t either but I’m letting my intuition guide me every step of the way. My journey isn’t like other peoples’ because it’s mine. We are all different and how things affect us is different as well. I’m just looking after myself in the best way I can. 

I don’t take any medication for pain

No paracetamol, no ibuprofen, no nurofen plus

I know they do me more harm than good 

But it’s hard sometimes not taking anything

It’s hard not having something to drown it out 

Something to hide the pain away

Something to pretend it’s all ok 

I spent years trying to drown it all out, years trying to squash it down. When people let me down I justified their actions, I intellectualised their actions, I made excuses for them and I abandoned myself further. Instead of seeing their actions as a reflection of them I took it as a reflection of me.

It built up and up, years taking every knock, every disappointment and not processing them. If I had felt them, processed them fully as they happened then they wouldn’t have built up but I also would have had to face reality a lot sooner. So instead I kept myself small to keep myself safe. I kept myself small so that I could belong, so that I would be accepted but really I just abandoned myself again and again. Now this journey is forcing me to find true belonging. It’s made me go inward, to uncover pieces that were chipped away, to bring down the walls and learn to express myself fully. I’ve come to understand that this journey requires me to confront each emotion, process disappointments, and honour the healing process in its entirety.

I’ve also learned to ask for more support. Well really I’m still learning this one, but I am so much better at it than before. Last week, I was listening to an astrology video by Pam Gregory, she was talking about the healing power of intention and she mentioned Lynne McTaggart’s, ‘Power of Eight’ healing circles. Something about this really resonated.  I deeply believe in the power of intention and energy healing and so I wanted to try it. I needed 7 others and I wanted people who also believe in intention and energy healing. We held the first one last Wednesday on zoom, a few minutes of arriving and settling into the body, then 10 minutes of meditation where everyone focused on the intention and sending me healing energy, closing with a few minutes of sharing anything that came up. The focus for the first one was my lungs, so that I could breathe with more ease. They genuinely felt better the next day but it wasn’t even just that, it was the asking seven people for support, asking them to do something for me, sitting in circle (well on zoom) and being the focus of the whole call. It was about looking to my community for support and finding a deeper sense of belonging within it. I held another one on Sunday and I will continue to hold more. 

Along with the healing circles I have a reiki session tonight and I have acupuncture coming up on Thursday so I know those will help I haven’t had acupuncture yet as part of this healing journey, I’ve done so many other things but it hasn’t felt like something I needed to do before. I mean it’s always been there but I felt no pressure or real desire to book it. My mum has been going to Gillian for a few years now, so I know she’s really good. I asked her if she thought I could get an appointment, she said she would try but Gillian has a long waiting list and isn’t taking anyone on. Two days later mum had an appointment and ended up there with her.  I met Gillian very briefly when I went in to use the bathroom before walking the dog while I waited. When mum was back out she handed me a full appointment card. She didn’t even have to ask, Gillian said as soon as she saw me she knew I was coming. So my first one is this Thursday and I know that will help shift so much. It’s coming at the perfect time, she’s always been there but I wasn’t ready for it. 

This seems to keep happening, something crops up but the appointments, treatments or supports are already there or fall easily into place. It reminds me how held I am in all of this, I’m not alone on this journey. In these moments of vulnerability, I am reminded of the profound support that surrounds me. Even on the difficult days, when retreat feels necessary, I am not alone, I am held.

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