Meditation on Courage and Vulnerability

I am learning to let down my guard. We all know about the deep instinct to respond to difficulty and stress with either fight or flight, with force or swift retreat, with decisive attack or prompt withdrawal. When faced with stress or difficulty or challenge, I am learning to let down my guard. I am learning to be vulnerable. I am seeking the courage to be open.

I would have my vulnerability be a choice made from my courage rather than my fear. I would have my vulnerability be my strength.

May my strength be not found as a hard shell of defense or a sharp weapon of attack. May my strength, instead, be found in an open stance of kindness and empathy, like a tree bending gracefully in the wind storm. May my strength be found in a willingness to join in the suffering of others, like a forest of trees together in a storm. May I choose to be receptive rather than protected, sharing rather than shielded.

In this way, may I face my own suffering and the suffering of others with a nimble capacity to respond with compassion. In this way, may my vulnerability be an invitation for others to meet me in the open field with a yearning for understanding and peace. I know this is a risk, I know I may be hurt, I know things may not go well.

But still, I will seek the courage to set aside the closed fist, the stinging retort, the barbed judgment of others. I will seek within myself the strength to stand exposed and unguarded before the world, in the wind, open to difficulty; not because I cannot be any other way but because I have chosen this better way.

I am still learning to be vulnerable. I seek the courage to be so vulnerable. May I have others who can help me to be so courageous. May my example serve others as well as myself. And may my strength be our strength in sharing this life openly with others.