Vulnerability – Definition: the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally
That right there is everything the subconscious mind of all mammals is trying to keep us from. Pain itself (although still defined in the dictionary as a sensation caused by physical damage), is now understood more as a sensation produced by the brain in response to a perceived threat to your physical or emotional safety.
Then add in our brain’s innate negativity bias, this is where if something you’ve successfully done 30 times goes wrong on the 31st go, you remember the negative experience over all others.
Between this wonderful combination of natural tendency and the supremacy culture prevalent in the Western culture I live in, its not surprising that vulnerability is not often seen as a person attribute to aspire to. Far from it in fact, vulnerabilities are to be avoided at all costs.
And yet some of the greatest things you’ll ever do are best done with a dose of exposure to the risk of harm. Falling in love, having kids, devoting yourself to a less than perfect horse- non of those experiences are worth doing unless you occasionally take a blind step of faith.
Backing up just a sec to supremacy culture, that’s the white cis male, hurry hurry, perfectionist, do it the “right” way or we will all be eaten by monsters, my way or the highway culture which is being so seriously questioned and dismantled during this period of time we are now in, known as the Great Awakening.
It’s the way things have been done through living and written memory. But as the saying goes, just because something has always been done one way doesn’t mean it always has to. Supremacy culture makes the curious mind a dangerous thing to confess to. So I guess I’m inviting you to a life a little closer to the conceptual edge.
Now we are all roughly on the same page about what I’m trying to address, I’d like to suggest a reframing of vulnerability as a personal act of self-revolution. What is needed in the world at large and for us as equestrians in our own barns and riding practices, is a little self revolution.
Standing up to our mistakes and short comings with a bravery which says “I made a mistake on that and now I’ve changed the way I do things”. Acknowledging that all our lived experiences add a coloured lens to how the light of the world materialises in our consciousness. And that that self same lens affects how our divine brilliance shines out from us into world to be perceived by others.
Denial of ourselves as frequently flawed, reactive creatures leads to ever increasing pressure for perfection. And yes of course there are times when the potential for harm to others means we do have to get something spot on- brain surgery and missions to the moon spring to mind.
But maybe by accepting our imperfections in the every day; in our relationships with ourselves and those near us; in how we choose to react or interact, we could create a world where being vulnerable was seen as a virtue. Where being exposed to the risk of harm but still acting with grace, kindness and thought was valued over never allowing anyone to know there had been a risk.