discover the vulnerability

It's been a hectic past few months (as evident by my lack of blog posts) between starting up New Leaf and developing business plans for a talent agency I'm helping to create. And in the midst of all the formal and official business, I've also had the chance to get to know the dentist on a much deeper level recently, with visits at least once a week. They've taken my wisdom teeth, numbed my gums more times that I care to remember, and poked and prodded at my teeth with instruments that I would never wish to have in my mouth. But, it's been great to get to know all of them and we're now on a first name basis (unfortunately with the one lady, I also bit her finger accidentally, so we know each other even better than just first names). But, I've reached the end now and from here on out it's just checkups and the standard procedures - no more teeth removal and vicodin (fingers crossed).

With all the time at the dentist and sitting drugged up in the family room chair recovering, it's given me some time to think and reflect over the past few year. A lot of my sustainability ponderings and thoughts (I know, the really exciting stuff) have been moving over to New Leaf's blog to help that get going, so feel free to take a look and let me know what you think - all kinds of feedback is welcomed!

But I wanted to take the time before Christmas comes and go to share a video that really hit me on a more personal level and which sums up a lot of the thoughts spinning in my head. Take the time to listen through (it's 20 minutes but worth the time - and we could all use a break at this time of the year). A lot of my thoughts below are repeating the ideas of Brene Brown in the video, so I want to start by thanking her for making some of these thoughts a bit clearer.

Every now and then we bump into those rare individuals who seem to have discovered an incredible mystery that the rest of us are blind to. They posses a certain magic that we are drawn to and which captivates our attention. It creates an incredible connection that we don't want to let go of in fear that we might forget all of these wonderful things we discover about the world around us through them.

But perhaps we shouldn't be as concerned about the connection - and more focused on ourselves. Perhaps there is something blocking that mystery from being discovered within ourselves because we are afraid to fully uncover it. And instead of face the messiness of our inner self, we cling onto others who have managed to get through that pain and uncomfortableness already.

Perhaps that mystery we are afraid to uncover is vulnerability...

We all long for love and belonging, meaning and purpose. Some of us strive towards perfection to find it, others build a wall of disguise to pretend like we have found it. There are individuals who act as if the messiness within them is in fact ordered, confusing uncertainty for certainty. And there are some of us who belittle the accomplishments of others to make our own purpose feel greater.

Yet all along, no matter how hard we try, we manage to evade the simple truths of what actually lead to true happiness.

We refuse to deal with vulnerability.

The vulnerability of stepping out and saying "I love you" first. The vulnerability of switching career paths and starting all over again. The vulnerability of letting go of something that meant so much to you for so long.

The vulnerability of change, and exposing yourself for who you really are, both to the world around you, and to yourself.

Christmas unfortunately can be a time where people numb that vulnerability and set it aside while they focus on the 'real issues' at hand - like buying the right gift, or making the right meal, or wearing the right outfit to impress the right person. But perhaps during a season intended to focus on the pure source of happiness and goodness in the world - we've managed to confuse the real issues that are important.

There have been a few of those rare people in my life - the ones that remind me of the real issues in life. Those people that challenge me and confuse me. The ones that make me search deeper and uncover unsettling truths about myself. The ones that refuse to give up on me yet never force me. The ones that have lent a listening ear and reassuring smile. The ones that have helped me uncover my vulnerability and let me peel back layers one at a time. The ones that stood by me and rejoiced as I discovered who I truly was. And the ones who are aware of all the learning and growing still ahead.

I surely don't have things figured out, and god knows how many times I wish I could have done some things differently. But I am grateful that despite the hiccups and despite the curvy and indirect roads to get to my final destination, I have always been blessed with the best friends one could ask for.

There are the friends who have stuck beside me from elementary school onward to the friends I have bumped into for a few hours on a train, just long enough to share stories of our vulnerability. There have been the friends who ventured into new countries and new fields alongside me and the friends who refuse to let distance or timezones stop sharing our stories.

You all know who you are, and I wish I had a couple sets of hands and computers to simultaneously write letters to each of you. But alas, I procrastinated to the last minute and will have to settle with this for the time being. Thank you for everything each and every one of you has done over the last year - if only I could show the specific impact that each of you has made.

Jesus would often talk about seeds in his parables, and I've always found it a reassuring picture to sum up the impact you all have made. Some seeds germinate quickly, and others take awhile to fully flourish, but regardless, I am grateful for each impact you have made.  And some of those impacts have yet to fully develop, you'll have to keep waiting to see what they turn into.

May we remember the true reason for the season this Christmas and be open to the vulnerability within all of us. It's often the uncomfortable we avoid, yet the uncomfortableness which leads to beautiful discoveries. Continue to uncover those mysteries this upcoming year, and I pray that I might be apart of some of those discoveries alongside you!

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