There are all different kinds of bravery here in the woods.
I'm pretty good at solo bravery - setting out alone to accomplish a herculean task is much easier when no one is there to watch you maybe fail. I'm also pretty good at being brave when everyone else is doing it with me. That's easy and fun. "If everyone else jumped off of a bridge, would you?" Well, yes, if we were all doing it together and if it seemed remotely advantageous to do so (like adding "bridge jumping" to my resume).
The hardest kind of bravery, to me, is what Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh calls "the intimate bravery of letting ourselves be seen." By this he means being vulnerable, connecting with an open heart and truly revealing our inner selves. For most of my life, this has been the hardest thing of all.
And then there was art. Creating these pieces, each a little bit of my heart and soul, allowed me a way to be vulnerable. When you show someone a painting you created, it is a huge trust fall! But the more I painted and showed these tiny heart fragments, the easier it became. Until I started this blog.
Showing a piece of art is one thing, but telling my stories, sharing my thoughts...I cannot tell you how many times I nearly deleted an entire blog post in the beginning, rather than risk being vulnerable. And again, over time, it became easier and more organic. Now it is just something I naturally want to do. A painting doesn't really feel finished until there is a post to go with it.
If you ready to march headlong into the forest of vulnerability, ready this lovely bit about hugging meditation, created by Thich Nhat Hanh. And the next time we meet, dear reader, I will embrace you with all of my heart. :)
Jen Walls and her imaJENation