Vulnerability is the path

February 25, 2013   |   4 Comments  |   FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites


“The only true elegance is vulnerability.” Chogyam Trungpa

Thank goodness for Brené Brown and that Ted talk on vulnerability. That over 7m people have watched is pretty mind blowing and pretty fantastic. What, I have wondered, was in those 7m+ minds as they clicked “play” or “forward” or “replay”? Were they looking for some recognition for their inner experience? Did they want their friends and family to understand something they had been trying to communicate for a long time? Did they want to reassure loved ones that it is okay to feel? Did they want to be reminded again and again that what is sweetest and most tender about them is also a source of power? 

I don’t know, but I have certainly felt all of these things in connection with that talk and this topic altogether. I’ve longed to be respected rather than doubted for my sensitivity. I’ve wanted to assure so many people—loved ones, readers, students—that their sorrows and fears are gateways to wisdom and brilliance. And I’ve needed continual support for the view that, okay, the meek may inherit the earth, but first they must protect it and ensure its survival. They are the only ones who can do it.

Solving our problems—personal, creative, global—through aggression has failed. To conquer the forces that threaten us—personally, creatively, globally—will require strengths far more profound and a thousand times more fierce than brute force and/or diplomatic formulae, no matter how sophisticated and well researched.

No army can conquer the human psyche which, when wounded beyond reason, acquires savage force.

No treaty or agreement, no matter how perfectly designed or worded can create peace when the terror in our hearts outweighs the dignity. It will simply never work.

The changes we require to stop killing each other and destroying the earth will not arise on the outer level through warfare or policy. At this point, neither battlefield nor political victory can cause me to celebrate. The changes must happen within our hearts.

When we set down our continual quest for entertainment to distract ourselves from anxiety and instead meet that anxiety with courage, I will celebrate.

When we offer tolerance rather than fundamentalist denial to those who think differently than we, I will celebrate.

When we look at our world: our loved ones, strangers, enemies and all the living beings of this earth and the earth itself as friends to be cared for, as worthy of our compassion rather than our fear, anger, or manipulation, I will celebrate without end. We all will.


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  • Posted by:  Marita Hollo

    I celebrate you. Thank you

    • Posted by:  susan

      You are so welcome. Celebrating back!

  • Posted by:  Katherine

    I’ve loved Brene Brown since I first “fell upon” her TED talk. I’ve watched her talk so many times I can’t remember how many – her work on vulnerability and shame is truly amazing and I think transformative as people (myself at the head of the line!) realize we are not alone. I take great heart from her work and its popularity. I’m working my way through her newest book now, Daring Greatly.

    • Posted by:  susan

      She is fantastic!

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