One saying that has stuck with me for years and there have been many others is “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” After years of feeling disconnected from others and most definitely from myself, I finally reached the point of willingness to open my mouth. I admitted that my gregariousness, stoicism, non-stop doing, and humorous tap dance weren’t working for me anymore.
The truth is that I was tired, tired of pretending that I could be all things to all people, except to myself. My ego-driven and fine-tuned defenses, which showed the world that I was just fine, morphed into a dark shroud over my heart and stamped out my truth. What I once believed was an armor of strength and resilience grew stinky and heavy. I desired lightness and true connection more than ever. I just didn’t know how to unravel the defenses and get real.
Why is vulnerable such a scary word?
I had experienced the abundant fruit of the words, I need help, when I hit my bottom with alcohol years ago. For a reason unbeknownst to me, I couldn’t surrender as easily to this emotional bottom. I guess I thought I should be able to buck up with gratitude and God’s love. I should be further along spiritually. I should be able to handle this all on my own. I’d been shoulding all over myself into a place of stuckness.
It took a year of therapy for me to even know the names of emotions, and that was only after my therapist suggested I go see the movie Inside Out. I watched Brene Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability TED Talk dozens of time, also at the suggestion of my therapist. It all made sense to me. I understood the points she delivered true connection comes from being vulnerable enough to show up in an authentic way. I knew this intellectually but couldn’t allow it to drop into my heart. It was only after a state of complete overwhelm last fall that I finally opened my mouth and admitted I needed help to find, nurture, embrace my own truth.
I’d busied myself with doing for others, with a false sense of selflessness. My doing for others fed my ego and distracted me from sitting with the facts: I was lonely. I was tired. I was scared. I was stuck. My therapist could see me and my need for a deep shift, one that couldn’t be achieved in every-other-week sessions. She recommended that I check out The Wilderness Walk.
Without a doubt, I knew I’d found the soul feeding I’d been hungering for. I didn’t know what it would look like or how I’d show up for the experience, but I knew I had to take the step. I brought my defenses with me to the trailhead of The Wilderness Walk and tried to hide behind the familiar shroud. But that doesn’t last long on the trail.
A simple admission that I needed help to stop drinking has yielded seven years of sobriety. A less-simple admission that I needed help to find myself has yielded new awareness, deepened self-love, truer spiritual connection to my Higher Power (and ultimately myself), a loving tribe, and renewed sense of being ALIVE. Why did I ever hesitate to open my mouth in the first place? I only move at the speed of my pain, and that threshold lowers more with each passing day. Today, I know that I do not walk alone unless I choose to do so. And that’s the tastiest truth.
Are you willing to open your mouth, ask for help in order to get fed the freedom that lives within you?