Rethinking Vulnerability

Rethinking Vulnerability

The world doesn’t need more Vulnerability.

As something often asked of us in relationships, leadership, and the latest meme, Vulnerability has never sat right with me.

There’s much more to what we actually want from ourselves and each other.

Too often these days, Vulnerability is used as an accusation, a veiled demand, and sometimes even a threat.

If someone isn’t vulnerable, it’s often perceived or assumed that something is wrong, there’s something to hide, or the person isn’t willing to “do the work” with us.

(To be clear, this isn’t a gendered thing, though I do believe men are often left holding more of the request of this due to our current power dynamics and how traditionally men held more power, which means we hold more of the cards, control, and as such, responsibility to create and offer safety.)

What I see us actually wanting, is Transparency.

We want people to take their masks off, to let us see through the roles and personas we all navigate the world with.

Surely, this can be and feel Vulnerable. And while there can be great intimacy created when we share ourselves, unless it is an empowered and consensual act, it often can end up feeling like coercion, both consciously and on a somatic level.

To me, asking someone to be Vulnerable often creates too much wobble within a relationship. It implies that we must throw open our inner gates and let someone in, and if we don’t, we’re doing it wrong.

This may seem extreme, but feel this in your body and see how it resonates. Asking someone to be Vulnerable, can often be felt by the receiver as a subtle, and often unconscious, power play.

It asks too much of another person to let their guard down and denies their sovereignty and consensual choice. When someone is vulnerable, while also not quite ready to reveal themselves but thinking they should, they end up overstepping their boundaries.

Done too often, this dynamic can create resentment, caution, and over time, potentially resulting in the exact conditions that lead people astray and away.

I’m not saying asking or desiring our partners to be vulnerable is wrong. Instead, this is an invitation towards a more mature and mutually empowering way to contextualize what, to the body and younger parts of us, is a big ask.

As we mature as people, it benefits us to inspect and ensure the words and requests we make of others, and ourselves are maturing as well. Our ability to hold more context and subtly increases, and is a natural process when infused with care and awareness.

Let’s be sure we (collective we) haven’t latched onto a word given to us in a meme or book written decades ago.

Instead, I’d present what I see to be a more stable way to navigate the need and desire to know and be known that is mutually consensual and empowering.

Within the context of conscious interpersonal relationships, what I’ve come to is the following…

Transparency is the request
Vulnerability is the choice
Revealing is the action
Receiving is the gift

Let’s break this down…

When someone asks us to be Vulnerable, what do they actually want? If their intentions are pure, they want to know us better.

There’s a range and nuance to (all of) this, from simply wanting to know what we think and how we feel, to wanting to feel safer with us on both somatic and philosophical levels.

Here’s the rub.. To be Transparent, which requires both safety and bravery, we also need space to say no. This is how Vulnerability becomes less of a directive and more of a Choice.

But what is actually being chosen when we choose to be Vulnerable? It’s the Action of Revealing.

Within Revealing is the awareness of regulation and responsibility, both towards others and within ourselves. Sometimes, what wants to come out, isn’t appropriate (to me, if there’s a lack of compassion and care, and the relationship is valuable to me, it probably isn’t ready to be spoken or seen, yet).

As people who desire to know and be known, our ability to regulate what we share with others, along with what we truly want from those we are in connection and relationship with, becomes an offering and invitation, rather than something that if lacking or not present, indicates something is wrong.

The last aspect of this, the complete circle, is the Receiving of the Revelation and what’s been Revealed by the person who has requested more from us.

This is crucial. If the person who is asking us to be “Vulnerable” doesn’t actually want to hear what is needed or wanting to be expressed, is experiencing too much dysregulation to be a steady space for our expression, and/or we sense they don’t actually want to ride our Relation-Ship and weather some storms together, let it be ok that they don’t get the gift of our Revelation.

This way, there is shared responsibility and mutual empowerment that comes from a place of consent, honor, and wholeness.


What’s been your experience with Vulnerability, both as something desired and received? What do you find works, and what doesn’t? Do you need certain conditions before you’re willing to reveal yourself?

The Myth of Safe Spaces

The Myth of Safe Spaces

Once upon a time, a peaceful people found themselves together.

As seasons changed, so did the people, and they found their peace became disrupted and disturbed. And the people said this was bad.

Disagreements arose where steady ground once was, and the people said this, too was bad.

A call arose from those loudest, “Our space needs Safety!” And the people said this was good.

As time progressed, the people created rules, laws, and culture that sought “Safety.” And they said this was good.

Yet their shadows, the disagreements, the untended felt-but-unspoken, began to fester and quake. And the people, within their perception of Safety, did not see.
Until one day, the formless shadows found form. In a crash of expression and need to be seen, what once hidden, became known. And the people, though not all, said this was bad.

They went to the elder council and asked, “What do we do? What of our Safety?” they demanded.

The council took pause and said they would discuss and return with their guidance in the morning.

All throughout the day, and all throughout the night, the people heard and felt within the council’s tent discourse, silence, shouting, and laughter.

All the while, the people waited with emotions swirling and needing release. Holding each other, some shook, some cried, some called out in grief of the safety that once was.

Upon the morning, the elder’s tent opened and the council formed its shape around the people.

“Safety is an Illusion,” one voice spoke clear as a bell.

“Without Control, it is but a dream.” a trusted voice spoke.

“Who here, desires to be Controlled?” the eldest of them asked.

Silence covered the crowd as they looked to one another. Controlled? Not I they each thought!

“Is there no one present, who desires dominion over others, desiring also to be dominated?”

“But… what of our Safety? How can we be safe?” a small but steady voice asked from the crowd.

“If there is no Safety, what is left?” asked the first voice, still clear as their voice carried.

Murmurs and discussion arose as the people turned to each other, eyes wide and present to the inquiry, and each other.

As the crowd found they had no sure answers, they began to look back toward the elder council, silent and present in their wisdom.

Finally, breaking the silence, spoke a young initiate who had but only recently returned from their quest.

“What’s left is Bravery.”

At this, the crowd looked to each other with confusion and curiosity in their eyes. The elders smiled.

“Speak further,” the eldest of them requested.

Shy but sure, the youth spoke, “If Safety is an illusion, and what seeks it is Control, then what’s left if, we are to remain with each other, is Bravery.”

Looks of budding awareness crossed the crowd, and smiles arose on the faces of the elders.

“And it is so,” spoke the first voice, “Our space is Brave, perhaps not Safe. Yet we remain together, present, willing, and without the illusion of Control. There may be conflict, there may be disagreement, yet our Circle remains. And we will be Brave.”

At this, the people looked at each other with fresh eyes. They knew, the days ahead would be hard, and there would be strife, and yet they felt something new.

A spark of what had always been there, once stifled by the blanket of illusion, now given space to breathe. Each finding more space for themselves, and each other as fires burned bright within and without, all the days and nights evermore.

And the people, said this was good.

The Demands of Freedom

The Demands of Freedom

Recently, I was privileged enough to be in Vietnam to experience their National Day, which celebrates the declaration of their independence from French colonization in 1945.

It’s quite a feeling to be in the midst of such relative revolution.

Unlike the far distant and quite disconnected feels I get during July 4th (more and more so these past cycles), it’s uniquely humbling to be in the felt presence of elders who witnessed and lived through that brutal experience.

What does it mean to be free? And what costs are worth its attainment?

It’s surreal to see joyful children playing in motorized toy tanks driven by smiling, hopeful parents whose own parents were undoubtedly doing quite the opposite in the real thing decades ago.

These days, the concept of Freedom seems overly angsty and comes with an energy far from honorable and benevolent. It seems too often a weaponized method of destruction rather a force used for collective betterment.

But perhaps that’s the nature of things. Does Freedom inherently mean more for some, and restriction for others?

Something I’ve felt strongly here as I’ve walked the streets of Hanoi, eaten the food of the land, and interacted with its indigenous people, is how the Vietnamese live (and surely fight) with their hearts.

There’s an unpretentiousness here that I find refreshing (and challenging at times) compared to Thailand’s ready smiles and warmth.

And yet, it has me wonder how that manifested, at what cost, and in today’s context, is it ever worth it?

While I’m far from qualified to speak in depth about generational trauma, it seems to me the impact and influence of colonialism and domination upon the human psyche is undeniable.

What’s tough is how it’s hard to not see in their reflection how the harsh depths of war, subjugation, and racism are still very much alive (and dare I say well) in the world.

When is it justified to resist, raise a voice, and to rebel?

As I see the bubbles of families on motorbikes buzzing in the bustling streets of chaos, children protected by fierce parental energies, and the strong sense of ownership and celebration of ancestral land, it becomes clear that, in this case, the strife and bloodshed of those seasons many years ago, was worth it.

Perhaps it’s always worth raising a fist, when it’s in service of a new hope, a renewed future, and a generative outcome.

This is a stark difference from what I see happening in the lands of the West.

Instead of Freedom being something that breathes life to the ground, I see it used as a reason, an excuse, and for those less grounded to be treated as weeds instead of seeds.

What will become of us when we have no more roots in the ground? When we lose the vibrancy that comes with a multi-cultural garden? What flowers will no longer grow? What will we do when the birds and bees no longer return?

Freedom is a choice, but it’s also an offering. An offering to future generations that requires heart, grit, and protection.

It also seems to come at a cost. Perhaps anything worth its weight requires sweat, sacrifice, and when needed, blood.

Even the seed’s action of pushing through the dirt as it reaches for the sun can be seen as forceful, yet without this movement its beauty and potential would wither the dark.

Perhaps there’s enough for everyone. Maybe it demands we free ourselves from excess and offer back land so that there’s more to share. Instead of dominating each other, we can learn to subjugate the shadows of humanity through maturity and tending of our collective hurt and grief.

This would require us to get dirty, to spend time in the fields with the heat of the sun on our backs, to slow down and discern what is in fact a weed and what is a seedling that needs our protection.

Perhaps this means we remember what our ancestors knew, that laughter and effort go hand in hand in cultivating the land, and each other.

And, perhaps not. Perhaps these are the overly idealistic ramblings of a hopeful human who’s been touched by the spirit and beauty of benevolent Freedom.

One who dreams one day of abundant harvests from collective gardens that grow fertile, flourishing, and free.


What does Freedom mean to you? What Future vision do you hold, that makes it worth fighting for?

Navigating Blind Spots

Navigating Blind Spots

I’ve been thinking about lately is the idea of blind spots and how they relate to relationship and intimacy.

We all have aspects of ourselves that are unknown to us. Ways of being that we can’t see that are often unconscious and cause us to do or act in ways we seemingly have no control over.

Our blind spots often stem from places of lack and often have roots from our upbringing and ancestral or familial patterns.

I share a lot about how awareness is a vital part of conscious relationships. The ability to non-judgmentally name what is happening is what gives us access to reflection, choice, and ultimately change.

All relationships will inevitably face challenges. There really is no way for two humans to interact on a deep, meaningful level without stuff coming up.

This is why intimate relationships can be either beautiful experiences of growth and transformation or can feel like constant grids of trigger and confrontation.

I see that these moments of trigger, challenge, and insecurity can be viewed in two very different ways. We can either see them as obstacles, roadblocks to getting what we think we want, and reasons to play the blame or victim game.

Or we can see them as opportunities for growth, reflections of the current state of our internal world, and manifestations of our deeper needs that seek to be heard, felt, and loved in their innocence.

The difference between whether we see challenge or opportunity in the face of disagreement or discord is often rooted in how we approach the relationship as well as the intention we bring into a relationship dynamic.


As dramatic as it sounds, I believe that as humans, we are all intrinsically flawed.

Like precious gems, we have the capacity to shine brightly and reflect our beauty, but only after a period of attention, friction, and refinement.

The process of turning a stone into a gem isn’t easy. Often this comes in the form of rubbing, chiseling, and sometimes even requires cracking through old layers of stone that aren’t part of the gem itself.

Like these gems, the old layers of dirt, earth, and sediment can be considered our history, upbringing, traumas, and patterns.

In conscious relationship, we approach the unrefined aspects of ourselves and our partners not as flaws, but as opportunities to see what’s underneath and to loving process whatever is in the way of our brilliance.


The challenge is that as much as we may want to shine bright; the hard, rough, and unrefined parts of our being are often unknown to us.

From our inner perspective, the amount of light that shines into the gemstone of our being is just enough, and often the possibility of there being more light can be utterly absurd.

Ironically, even when we are actively in a conscious relationship, and the good-intentioned process of chiseling begins, we resist because it is hard for us to see past the limitations of our ego.

As social creatures it’s vital that we know ourselves, fully and deeply. Within each of us, we hold inner beliefs which inform our relational values, which lead to real-world actions, and results in experienced impact.

Even more important when it comes to conscious growth is how we navigate the process of discerning the thoughts, beliefs, values, and subsequent actions from how we engage with the world, and to extract that which does not serve.

But as much as I may know and see myself in all the ways I can, there are blind spots, or unconscious aspects, of my behavior, communication, and impact that are hard for me to see.


What’s ironic about our blind spots, is how most of us already have a sense of what they are!

The path of Mastery asks of us to courageously engage, refine, and shine our light on the aspects of our unresolved humanity that is already part of our identity, regardless of how much we would like to escape it.

Sometimes seeing these aspects of ourselves comes with a groan and facepalm, sometimes a chuckle, and sometimes revelations of impact and power dynamics are hard to be with, accept, and integrate.

When I’m hit with a reflection of how my actions, words, or intentions have created harm or hurt in another, it’s hard not to be flooded with a swirl of emotions, sensations, and self-judgment.

While there are ways to mitigate and manage the emotional process of receiving our blind spots, I’ve found what’s more important to be how I relate to them.

On the one hand, a part of us wants to avoid, negate, and even push away what we don’t like or want to see about ourselves. This can lead to passive aggression, resentment, and all kinds of stuff that gets in the way of authentic and easeful relating.

Owning the impact and influence of our experience requires both self-reflection and backbone, although seeing ourselves has its limits. Often what we miss, our blind spots, are what creates the most impact and dissonance in our relationships and external world.


We’re not supposed to see our blind spots, but we are responsible for them.

As an individual, we aren’t expected to know what we don’t know. But as humans in connection, I do believe it is our responsibility to be open to perspectives outside ourselves, especially if our actions create impact that harms others.

One of the best ways to become aware and integrate our blind spots is by eliciting insight and perspective from those we trust, have experience of us, and are generous in spirit.

The process of becoming Aware of ourselves doesn’t always require others. Still, one of the best ways to become aware and integrate our blind spots is by asking for reflection, perspective, and direct feedback from those who we trust, have experience of us, and are generous in spirit.

Here is what I call the three-step ARA Process for Blind Spots:

The first step to working with blind spots is to be open to the idea that we have them. Sometimes simply acknowledging that we have unconscious patterns and habits that play out in our relationships gives us access to awareness we didn’t have before.

Blind spots often show up in times of stress, emotional challenge, or confrontation. Therefore I have found the most gentle way to work with them comes after or when a situation has settled. Often when we are triggered or in a place of reaction, it’s just not the best time to process or assess from a place of clarity.

After the dust has settled, we can begin asking questions. Why did I do what I did? Why did I react that way? What caused me to become angry, sad, or lose control?

Sometimes this can be done effectively through personal inquiry. By journaling or some other creative outlet, we can find answers that are often out of reach.

And sometimes, it helps to have the reflection of another. Especially in the case of repeated events or actions, our partners can lovingly show us what we may not be seeing.

When I work with couples, setting the context for meaningful reflection and feedback is vital before stepping into a space of mutual inquiry. Asking our partners to share what they see as being our patterns, perhaps not so much their assessment or analysis, but simply what they see as being our habitual disempowering patterns can be extremely insightful.

As confronting as this may be at times, we all know that most often, our partners know us best.

The biggest caveate for this to be effective, is for our partners to also not be in a place of trigger or reaction. Sometimes this isn’t possible, and this is when outside guidance or professional support may be useful or even necessary.

This next step is more of a solo journey. After we have received feedback or reflection as to the inherent nature of our unconscious patterns and blind spots, the next step is to allow a period of personal reflection.

Our blind spots are often tied to really deep stuff from our childhood, upbringing, and traumas. Even when the awareness of our blind spots hit us like a flash and we feel their impact deeply, integration takes time and I always recommend giving space for a gradual and gentle process.

The important consideration is that the process be slow, and steady. Creating a container or intention period of time to process a particular insight with beginning, middle, and end checkpoints helps to keep the process meaningful and prevents the feeling of being stuck in the water.

This isn’t to say that the process needs to stop at the end of a set period of time, rather that there is an intention of progression that is connected to time frames. Often if a week or a month isn’t enough, a new period of time can be established.

The closing step to this, and perhaps any process of personal development and integration, is to appreciate what has been.

It is often easy to see a blind spot, recognize its undesirable impact in our lives and relationships, and then seek to distance ourselves from it as much as possible.

While we may be striving to unwind our unconscious patterns and step into a brighter sense of inner freedom, acknowledging that often these patterns were born from a place of innocence is an important step in the integration process.

The way we react when our partner doesn’t respond in a way we would like, or the emotions aries when we feel criticised, are all often protection mechanisms that come from the past. As children, we reacted, and our unconscious minds created ways to keep us safe and make the world around us make sense.

What is interesting is that when we step into gratitude for how our mind or ego protected us, we create space for our unconscious minds to relax a little bit more, and this makes the next process or blind spot that we work on to be less intense.

And so, with gradual and steady gratitude, we create a new pattern, a pattern where our innocent self can let go as it feels safe knowing that it won’t be blamed for protecting us or shamed for doing it in a way worked before.


I believe that our blind spots are one of our greatest access points and when we actively participate in the process of bringing the unconscious into conscious awareness, we gain a tremendous amount of personal power and presence.

The stories of the past become simply that, and instead of becoming life sentences of behavior, become seeds choice and empowerment.

I believe our highest purpose in this life is to become the most refined and bright version of ourselves. To that end, conscious relationships can be our greatest tool.

One that helps us grind away the edges of our egos and cracks us open to the fullness of our hearts.

Reclaiming Body Wisdom

Reclaiming Body Wisdom

Your body is a gateway, a bridge between the energetic and cosmic nature of being human and the gritty reality of flesh and bone.

Unfortunately, most of what we were modeled growing up leads us to relate with our bodies as mere machines or, at best, vessels for our consciousness.

But there is so much more to our bodies.

As we continue to evolve and explore our inner and outer realms, I find the the idea of Embodiment to be increasingly relevant to our collective evolution.

Embodiment is a combination of a few words. “Em” refers to “being in a certain state,” or “to be in something.” “Body” of course refers to our physical form and structure. While “Ment” refers to the result of something previous.

All together we can see that Embodiment is the result of “being in within our phsyical structure.” In perhaps simplier terms, living through the inner world of our bodies.

How does this relate to our daily lives?

When we think about it, it is through our physical bodies that we experience everything. Even what we perceive as thoughts are simply electrical impulses run through a highly intricate network of nerves, fascia, and brain matter.

All too often, our attention is so focused on the external world that our inner experience is set aside, either being viewed as inconsequential or considered to be simply an experience of imagination and the digestion from our last meal.

When we consider that our bodies are more than just mechanical machines, that they, in fact, have their own intelligence, guidance, and memories, we can see how our bodies are much more than a jumble of flesh, fluid, and carbon.

Instead of an inconvenience, we can begin to learn how to utilize our body, and its wisdom.

A big aspect of Embodiment practices and awareness is the understanding that our bodies remember, everything.

It is often from emotions and sensations held in the body that haven’t been fully felt, processed, and integrated that we experience the disease, limiting beliefs, and other challenges of our human experience.

This has a lot of ramifications to how we understand trauma and unconscious patterns, and how to create more ownership of our experience.

Sadly, we live in a culture that seems more to demand the stoic approach.

For both men and women, in perhaps different ways, the expression of emotion is often viewed in our modern culture as being unwelcome, crass, and is often even viewed as being uncivilized.

Instead of naturally releasing our emotions, we tend to hold onto them. This often creates disease in the body, tensions in our muscles, and form much of the neurosis, doubts, addictions, and uncertainty that plague our daily lives.

The challenge for many of us is how the paths between our conscious minds and our unconscious body wisdom have for years, perhaps decades, been neglected and often it will take attention and intention to enliven our inner communication.

This requires intentionally slowing down in a world that seems to demand us to move quickly, and usually well before we’re actually ready and willing.

By intentionally create time and space for process and experimentation, and to actively engaging in the inspiring process of reconnecting with our bodies and viewing them as gifts instead of burdens, we reclaim a deep aspect of our human experience.

As we bring more embodied and somatic awareness into our daily lives, we begin to rebuild a deeper relationship with our closest ally, our bodies.