Thursday, September 17, 2015

Healing through Vulnerability

The letter below was written to a new friend that came into my life a few months ago. For the first time I felt scared to share the beautiful journey I have been on. The first day I met him he shared with me that his mom had cancer, and that it had metastasized, so he and his brother had moved back here to be with her.  It felt immensely beautiful to have him share with me about his family.  But I instantly started to feel nervous and scared to share with him how much I could relate, as my ego screamed at me that if I shared that he would want to run away. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to lose a loved one, especially a mother, and I don't know what would be easier, losing them instantaneously or slowly saying goodbye.  One thing that I have learned is how precious life is and how feeling lost and feeling fearful and feeling sad and feeling pain are a part of this magical physical journey here on this earth.  This past weekend I went out to Joshua Tree, in the desert for Bhaktifest.  The message that was shone brightly and spoken loudly to me from the universe was, "The more you're pushing, the more it's pushing back, so you can't rush you're healing. Darkness has it's teachings. Love is never leaving. You can't rush your healing." - Trevor Hall

The message of allowing space, not pushing or rushing, allowing darkness and not needing answers, has been shining through in so many areas in my life.  It has shone through with my healing, with my profession, and with people in my life. I am realizing more and more the importance of allowing darkness into my life and accepting it, like a seed in the ground. The seed in the ground needs to be comfortable in the dark and accept the water that is coming in and the dirt all around, in order to be able to slowly grow upwards into the sunlight. And just because I feel like a seed lost alone in the darkness doesn't mean that love isn't still feeding it's way in and creating space for me to grow. Space is another intention that has seeped in over the past month. The beauty of allowing space, not rushing, and accepting and allowing and not needing answers, as well as giving love a chance. Love for myself, love for others, and love for love.  That being said, the letter written below was to this amazing man I recently met but it was also to myself. I read the letter to my sister a few days ago and she asked me to post it in my blog, so here it goes. 

Dear Friend,

I can't remember the last time I wrote a letter, but a pen just appeared in my hand and vulnerability just knocked me over and swished me back up.  I cannot even fathom what you are experiencing in your life right now.  The other day I stopped by my girlfriends house, who has been experiencing some of her own life challenges. She wailed about a near death experience she had gone through and seemed to be reliving it through a panic attack. Suddenly the energy snatched me and I felt taken over and my body tensed up and my breath choked. I felt as though I was strongly shoved against the wall and unable to move. I began to cry, my stomach turned over and over and I suddenly felt as though my mother had died. My mom right now at this moment is alive and still here, but it was as though for a split second, the universe had thrown me into your shoes, reminding me of this physical experience called life and how small and precious it is. A quote I read recently kept running through my mind, "Life is a brief intermission between birth and death." I feel fearful even writing you this letter, as I don't even know what to write and feel scared to bring more pain...but I am allowing my vulnerability and feeling love for it.

The day I met you, your vibrational authentic energy mesmerized me.  Something about cats approaching you several times on our walk to say hello, was beautiful, and the time you took out to give each one attention. Also having you teach me what a peppercorn plant-seed looks like, feels like, tastes like, smells like...opening all of my sensations...oh pepper! You asking me permission to hold my hand and asking to give me a kiss goodnight was meaningful and felt good.  I can't remember the last time a man has ever done that. I felt touched that you cooked me an amazing delicious dinner and took care of me on my birthday.  I appreciate your steadfastness, strong drive, and outlook on life. I adore that you never wear shoes and are able to fully connect with nature and the earth. It meant a lot to me to have you send me wonderful pictures and words while you were backpacking with your friend in Colorado.  The fact that you and I can lay on my bedroom floor and not say a word to each other and just be there...LISTENING...to the many sounds that most people never notice or take the time to do. Time. I believe time is irrelative, at times it seems slow, at times fast, and sometimes doesn't seem to exist at all. Hmmmm.

Your physical body is stunning! So strong yet soft. Everything about it turns me on... Your eyes, your ears, your freckles, your mustache, your lips.  Your mother produced a handsome man. You are strong and tall; a man of few words, but the words you say seem true and solid.  I haven't known you very long at all, there , I'm sure, is much about you you I do not know. Maybe I will get the privilege of experiencing or maybe I will get the privilege of just writing you this letter, or maybe I will burn this letter and never give it to you... Whatever the case... None of it matters... Or maybe all of it matters.  The song by Pretty Lights just started playing... All I can hear right now is " oooooooh sometimes I get a good feeling! I get a feeling that I've never never never never had before, no no,"

When I first met you and you told me about your mom, I instantly felt terrified to tell you about my own kick-ass story! Which until that moment I had never felt scared to share. Fr some reason I immediately felt shy, like my journey would send you running the other way.  But I realize life is too short and too magical to have that be a concern. This moment is all that exists. At any moment any one of us human beings could take our last breathe in this physical body. Life be too precious to hold back. If something or someone doesn't mesh with the wave I am currently on then so be it.

Almost two years ago was one of the most life altering, life changing events of my life. I think I mentioned to you that I was in a big moped accident... What I didn't mention was what came from that.  While I was in the ER, they informed me I had broken my shoulder.  They came in later and informed me they would be running a CT  scan on my head to make sure there had been no head damage in order to release me from the hospital.  After running the CT scan, the doctor came in looking concerned and told me they would like to run an MRI as the CT scan had showed some inflammation.  After the MRI, a pre-med student came in...and I will never forget his words. He look up at me as if he was talking to a piece of paper and recited, "there is inflammation showing upon the MRI that signifies that there is a tumor in your brain. This is not related to the accident, but seems to be a form of a malignant glioma.  You will need to undergo further testing as well as possibly a surgery/biopsy to identify the type and grade of the tumor." AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. In that moment the only thing my brain heard was that I was dying.  Shortly after they came in and informed me that since i had no health insurance they would have to release me, giving me the name of the hospital that treated uninsured patients (somewhat). I can still see myself sitting outside the hospital alone on the sidewalk having no idea what the purpose of life even was, WTF!!  My shoulder pain seemed instantly irrelative to the pain in my mind, as my brain was emasked in "thoughts" about that thing they call "cancer."

Its a crazy sensation that the word "cancer" has seemed to create in this world.  Two days later (with the help of my nurse friend) I got admitted to another hospital where I spent the next couple weeks.  In the first few days there, I lay there blanketed by the shadow of my ego which screamed through my mind, "Why me? WTF!! I have never ever had a symptom, this is not real!  What did I do to deserve this?  Why are the worst things ever happening to me?"  Instantly the news flashed on the TV and was showing the tsunami that was happening in that moment in the Philipines and the thousands and thousands of people that were dying.  I feel tears running down my face as I write this right now.  In that moment my ego dropped to the ground!  My entire life story dropped to the ground and it was like I was laying there naked, experiencing a rebirth down the birth canal...emerging and taking my first gasp of air, bringing me life.  Suddenly I looked around thinking. "WHY AM I ALIVE?  I AM ALIVE! I am breathing. I am here in this physical body more alive then I have ever felt.  I have been through so many near death adventures, how am I still alive?"  This "diagnosis" aka GIFT, has made me the most alive I have ever felt.  I feel gifted to have been given such a massive life awakening.  The past couple years since the biopsy have brought me wonderful challenges.  It has not been easy breezy healing from the brain trauma of having my head sliced open.  There has been regret that has arisen from allowing fear to make the decision of having my skull cut open.  Healing from the surgery has definitely been tough, but for the first time  I have realized who my true friends are, and learning who I truly am and what I value, obtaining the capability of dropping the bullshit and learning to say hello to and making friends with fear, sadness, frustration, anger, and loneliness; accepting those feelings when they come and basking in them, instead of always fighting them to leave.  Allowing the beauty of death to be my friend and to be with me everyday.  Saying hello to death and recognizing its presence and importance.  Death is what brings me life...or so I feel in this very moment.  Like anything that thought could change.  Like the ocean, always changing. I believe that's why the ocean brings me so much peace, calmness, freedom, clarity, and so much more.  It is overflowing, ever-changing,  strong, and washes everything away each day.  I don't know if its age and growth or undergoing this life experience, but I have started seeing, feeling, hearing, and sensing life in a different way.

I can't remember exactly what it was that you wrote in one of our first messages to each other, but it had something to do with the beauty of death, which immediately attracted me to you.  Our conversations and dates have been far from the "norm."  Your life outlook and demeanor fascinate and captivate me.  Not many people I know (men I know) are vulnerable the way you were when we met.  You beat me in sharing vulnerable life stories, sharing stories about your family, your upbringing, as well as your moms health. You shared with me your personal stories about your friends, your job , and your past relationships, much more than most people share within months of getting to know each other. 

I miss the joy of climbing trees, and sitting in tree houses, and playing with cats, and picking flowers, and sitting on old toilets on the side of the road, and aimlessly walking through neighborhoods for three hours in the dark.  Thank you for bringing that back out in me, and thank you for sharing your family story with me, as well as for sharing your friendship.  As much as I have felt eager to see you (feel eager to see you) and to hear your voice, I have appreciated the beauty of allowing space in a time of emotion and pain, and granting things to flow as they are meant to flow.  I cannot imagine fully what you are encountering right now...and the pain and sadness that is running through.  I feel special that you have shared with me where you are in your life, and included me in your thoughts.

Aaaaah It feels good to breathe...as well as to lay here on my floor and let emotion pour from my body, relaxing my mind, my body, and my soul...which perhaps are not even mine.  I like to remind myself, that I own nothing.  The tumor came to visit, it never belonged to me.  The thoughts, the materials, the world, the universe -- are not mine!  I own nothing.  I AM...and that is all.  Or perhaps this entire letter is rubbish...all these words are nothing... or they are something.  I don't know.  But I do know that you are a rock!  I am grateful that I met you.

Much love,
Gabrielle

I never intended to actually send this letter (but, I did), and I never intended to actually post this letter in my blog (but, I did).  My intention was to write it and burn it, and let it blow to the wind. But I have learned that what we intend does not always pan out.  Setting intentions I believe is powerful but also allowing the intentions to be carried in whatever direction they like is also powerful.  That being said, I feel completely raw and vulnerable right now and am learning to accept that feeling.  Maybe I will hear from this man again, and maybe this letter will move him, or maybe not, but  whatever happens is what is meant to happen, and vulnerability is a beautiful thing.  Lastly, a couple months ago I posted onto facebook the question, "What is vulnerability?" Below are the responses that I received.  Thank you friends, for being vulnerable and sharing your thoughts on vulnerability. x



"Openly acknowledging and admitting to others the things about myself that my inner judge most dislikes..." - Jarrett Green

"Being able to be completely honest and authentic on all levels." - Lisa Olko

"Open to whatever happens." - Lisa Warren

"Raw" - Abby Gallagher

"...to remove your walls and be subjected to all the energies of our universe... to surrender... to willingly invite change and challenges... to abandon preconceived notions with a free mind... to have the strength to embrace your fears and weaknesses... to be vulnerable is to be open and prepared for a shift to higher vibrations!!!" - Eryn Withay

"Exposed. Naked. Without exception." - Carla Morris

"Letting my guard down and getting hit with a left hook (metaphorically speaking)." - Sidney Falco

"Vulnerability = courage = love = fearlessness." - Omar Chaudhry

"Vulnerability is an emotional concept/condition created by the mind.  It is another obstacle that prevents us from knowing the truth of who we are.  When we truly understand who we are then there is no definition for vulnerability - you are pure and simple, I AM or Beingness!!!" - Julianne Gardner

"Allowing myself to reveal emotional pain or physical weakness in front of others and looking like I need help, admitting to myself and others that I need help, asking for and being ignored, refused or accepting help.  I have been working on this one a very long time. After 42 years it is still a challenge to sometimes let go of my defenses and be, admit, ask and accept the result, ask without judgement or attachment to who I thought I was or what I thought I needed from myself and who I love. - Andrea Renee Rivera



"Vulnerabilty is part of the definition of any living being.  To be receptive to vulnerability is to be a participant in the process of becoming (a being).  To hold onto that vulnerability, however is one of the many attachments that hastens the withing of the heart-mind." - Seth Leon







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