Yesterday the wind blew fiercely and with it came an ice cold wind. Yet, despite the wind we had such a lovely time visiting with friends, that it was well worth it to venture out into the wind and cold. I normally do not like the wind, especially those kinds of winds that howl around the corners of the house. It usually makes me feel quite vulnerable, maybe because it reminds me of times when I feel fragile, like a butterfly tossed in the wind. Times that I feel like crawling into my cocoon and hiding. This feeling of vulnerability is quite scary, but even more frightening is the idea that others might notice my frailness. Being vulnerable is perceived as being weak, shameful. Vulnerability is tagged as being emotional, even irrational. Weakness leaves us exposed and at the mercy of others, therefore we go to great lenghts to hide it.
We become quite adept at concealing our vulnerabilities. Some people don the mask of cynicism or sarcasm to hide behind. Others use criticism or hostility to hide their fragileness. Others wrap the cloak of aloofness tightly around their delicate frame. The consequence of this, however, is that often it is the very mask we wear that end up hurting us even more. The cynic who is yearning to believe, to trust, finds that what he suspected is true, the critic, fearing judgement, ends up being judged because of her judgemental nature, and the aloof who bulletproof themselves from rejection, tends to stay on the sidelines, feeling excluded.
We armour ourselves with defence mechanisms, strong armour to keep hurt at bay, but the opposite is also true, we keep healing, love and nurturing away from ourselves. Inside our cocoons we are safe, but also alone. The bad cannot easily reach us there, but neither can the good. Tightly wrapped up inside our cocoons, we can never be free, never develop the strength of our wings.
Despite what the world says, being vulnerable is not being weak, it is being truthful to ourselves. It is facing the true me and accepting myself for who I am. By climbing out of my cocoon, I open myself up to the chance of being hurt, yes, but I open myself up to so much more. I open myself up to love, to acceptance, to joy and beauty, to my own uniquely created self. I expose myself to growth and transformation. A butterfly can only become what it is destined to be by leaving the cocoon behind. Its true beauty can only be revealed when it spreads its fragile wings. Maybe it encounters strong winds, but maybe, it will be carried along by a gentle breeze underneath its wings.....