Here is a video from one of my favorite sources on vulnerability. I like how she posits that vulnerability is the center of the negative as well as the positive. That means the direction we choose determines our response to our environment. Enjoy!
My first podcast! My caveat is that this is a homework assignment. In fact, this blog has been modified over the last 6 weeks because of homework assignments. This last week I ventured into podcasting. What struck me about it was, for those who won’t listen, the vulnerability one feels when a microphone is in your face. Or you have to go on stage. Some folk just can’t do it. They won’t. I may not be exactly an “A Type” personality, maybe just a “B Type,” or maybe an “A-” personality. So a mic doesn’t frighten me too much, nor does acting. What I realized is that a mic makes me feel exposed. What I am about to say will be recorded, and it will go out over the air. It will be judged, by potentially a far bigger audience than what I experience doing my Shakespeare acting in the summer.
So be it. Despite my love of sharing the story, which drives why I act and why I will podcast, despite my “B+” personality, I am still feeling vulnerable, and what I want is to always move from that place of vulnerability. I will get used to the microphone. I’m already considering a hands free version. I don’t want to lose that feeling of vulnerability in my life though. It is that genuine place of softness we all have.
So feel free to comment! It’s how I can make this blog and future podcasts better.
I am very guilty of eating my own shoes. Opening my mouth contrary to my vulnerability and gentle nature and letting it all out there. I have been cutting recently at the root of this issue, but there you have it. I still do it on occasion. One great place for it to happen is in discussions of religion and politics on a social network.
You see, there is a certain level of anonymity on the social networks, bio pic not excluding. I don’t have to face the person who I am talking with, so it’s easy to sling a barb. I can’t see the hurt in their eyes, or hear it in their voices. I can ignore the next comment, and feel like I came out on top. I can sarcastically point out flawed logic, lousy sources, the hate, the racism, the ideology, dogma, and I fall into the trap of saying, “See, I was right.” So what if I’m right? That’s only pride talking. It does nothing to develop unity or gather the ideas from those I deem “wrong” to help solve problems. That is not at all beneficial. I can be right, but I can be dead right, and I just might meet that neighbor at the next disaster and need to count on them, or want to ask the guy I just offended to donate to a nonprofit, or support my web page or business Facebook page.
I have spent much time in trying to be right. For that I have regret. For me being right was a sense of control, a sense of power. Those qualities are hardly wrought from mere intellectualism. They are better hammered in the furnace that creates character.
So I am faced with doing right, which is a different arena than who is right altogether. Like a Venn diagram, the intersecting section is a person. How am I connecting by proving I’m right? Or am I staying disconnected? What does it look like to be locally and globally connected?
Who can I help today? Who can I compliment today? Who can I share joy with, be excited for? For example, locally, if I meet the director of the last play I was in, I can ask how he’s doing. What’s he involved in? I can show an interest in his life. Globally, via the aforementioned social media used constructively, I have some Israeli friends who are blues players, and wanted to attend the International Blues Challenge in Memphis this year. Their fundraiser met its goal, and in a very crowded competition, they made it to the semi finals. After it was over, they traveled to Chicago and played in one of the oldest blues joints known, B.L.U.E.S. on Halstead, and after that they met with the Israeli Consulate General for the Midwest, Roey Gilad. I was thrilled for them, and told them so, all via the “interwebz machine” we all love so much.
I don’t necessarily need to be tackling the big issues of the world. I find that in my certain locale, there are people with needs all around me. What can I do to help them, what can I do to help myself included, live better lives? How can I reduce suffering? What can I do to stop killing (even bugs), lying, stealing (credit for ideas and similar thefts), gossiping, criticizing, discouraging, craving, grasping, attachments, well, I’m sure you get the idea. The change always starts with that person looking back at me from the mirror. Annoying, isn’t he?
If I can focus on doing right, it will matter far less who is right, if at all. Because everything is impermanent, I would rather be in the position now of being interdependent with my neighbor in finding solutions to our local challenges and develop a dynamic relationship that can result in fluid solutions in a constantly changing environment. At the end of the day, I for one sleep much better, not when I have proved I am right, but after having spent a day knowing I have done what is right. And I don’t have the taste of shoe in my mouth….
I like this post at The Polyman. http://thepolyman.com/2012/12/the-masculine-vulnerability-paradox/
Meaning, my body’s life. Interdependent with that, is that of the life force the body acts as a vehicle for: the heart/mind as Buddhists like to call it. That true nature of wisdom, compassion and emptiness that makes us up when coupled with the body. All of that was thrown into stark relief when my doctor said, “That has to go.”
I was at the doctor because I needed my prescription re-upped. That required a physical. The physical uncovered the mole. The mole that was the target of the doctor’s order. Not recommendation, her order. She was already describing it into her recorder. She turned to me and asked, “Any history of sun exposure?” A pause. No smile, no wavering of any kind, just waiting for the answer that I knew coupled with the description of my mole, wasn’t a good sign. “Twenty years as a carpenter, so yes,” I reply.
The date was set, no other comment, and off she went. Really?
That got my mind racing a bit. My heart rate too, and likely spiked my blood pressure a bit, which is why I was in there to begin with. So I went to WebMD for a little info, which led to other places. Turns out that I have few of the signs of having skin cancer. Less than 50%, and it doesn’t run in the family. So I was a little relieved.
So in I went for my biopsy. I was shown all the tools, had the procedure explained, no big deal, done in an hour. The needle puncture and injection caused more pain than anything. So off I went with 2 stitches in my back. Off my body piece went to the pathologist. Time to wait…
For what seemed like an eternity. A little more reading and I was certain that what I had would be benign. I can do a little more to improve my health, and I’ll be fine. I chose not to tell anyone, except my partner who accompanied me to those biopsies. I had conferred with other cancer patients and they all said not to until you have definite information. That isn’t easy.
I was in the bathroom (yea, that’s exactly right…) of a local coffee house when the call came in from the doctor. “We want another biopsy. The pathologist stopped just short of calling it cancer,” was what he said, and after that I don’t recall much. I was stunned. Whatever I had certainly was not nothing. It was serious.
Serious and severe as it turned out. Severe Dysplastic Nevus (SDN). I do think that’s medical-ese for Crazy Assed Mole (CAM). Now they wanted a bigger chunk of me, and yes, being without insurance, that will take on a literal and figurative meaning.
Severe Dysplastic Nevus is where 50% of all melanoma comes from. I perused a lot of web sites then, and discovered that quite a few people get it, and it turns into nothing. So the second biopsy was really just a means to make sure that they got all they thought they were seeing the first time. The odds were still in my favor.
I won’t share the details of what it felt like to have someone cutting you while you’re awake. Even my partner, who knows how weak kneed this EMT is, had moments she couldn’t watch. I want to leave you with this instead. When I shared the results with the doc that diagnosed the CAM in the first place, she said, “Thank God we caught it.”
Yes. We caught it. I wasn’t getting it. I had gotten it, but we caught it. I suppose I could extrapolate that many of the reasons I had it, I also caught and reversed, and this was just the manifestation of it. That mind set helped me frame correctly my circumstances around this Dysplasticity. Reaction is removing it. Prevention is not getting it.
As I mull over what an SDN means, I think about how vulnerable life is. I wasn’t looking for the mole, someone else found it. Yay for that interdependence. I couldn’t see it. In one brief moment, my vulnerability became apparent. Since then, I have started looking at a lot of my life, particularly that one moment we can’t escape. I have too much I want to do before that moment arrives, and I have decided that even if it is a crazy assed mole that makes the period for the end of my life story, from now on it’s going to be a crazy assed life.
What’s your story?