Vulnerability

December 15, 2017

There’s a moment in your life, when you’re getting ready to step into a new place. In that place you should be so scared that there is a little pee running down your leg.
— Iyanla Vanzant
 Photo credit: Lucas Myers

Photo credit: Lucas Myers

My journey is filled with moments when I’m stepping into a new place. It’s never easy. I’m often scared. Yet, I’ve made the step time and time again and know that there will be many more such moments on the road ahead.

I’m going to take you back, however, to the first period of vulnerability. In order to gain an understanding of the experience, picture the time when the term Travelling Kindness Rocks did not exist, the concept had never been explained. Most people were not familiar with dot mandalas, hadn’t seen one. I was entering my tenth year of teaching and just started to explore and develop my own mandala techniques, at my kitchen table, where no one could see.

A few events unfolded that lead me to the concept of Travelling Kindness Rocks (a story for another time). I knew how to start this concept: to approach my school community to support financially the travels of the rocks. I’d paint them, bring them to work each day, and pass them on ready to be mailed by volunteers.

Each year at my school begins with an evening called Meet the Teacher (us teacher folk affectionately refer to this as Meet the Creature). Parents and kids gather in the school gymnasium. Staff members line up at the front and are introduced by the principal, who takes the opportunity to share important school news as well.

This early September event was a perfect chance to explain the Travelling Kindness Rocks concept, show my dot mandalas, and gather names of volunteers to post packages. I felt my principal would be supportive as I planned to connect learning opportunities for students to the project by tracking the locations of the rocks around the world.

But I was scared.

I was fearful of my mandalas being criticized. Feeling I am not an artist, posting photos to social media was intimidating, sharing with those close to me and the people in my school community even more so.

I worried that the support simply wouldn’t be there. My life partner scoffed at the Travelling Kindness Rocks concept when I explained it to him. Others likely would do the same, wouldn’t they? I was asking people to send a gift and to spend money for the benefit of complete strangers with nothing in return. And I needed lots of people to do this!

I was afraid because I didn’t know how it would all work. There would need to be a balance between requests to fulfill, my time to paint the rocks, and volunteer mailers. How could this all happen? What were the steps needed to get from point A, this vision of mine, to point B, it existing?

Despite all of my fears, I moved forward, knowing I must do so. I asked my principal for her support to initiate the project in the school and to speak to the crowd on Meet the Teacher evening. Trembling, heart racing, I stood at the mic, in front of about two hundred parents, coworkers, and students. I explained my vision. I showed examples of Travelling Kindness Rocks and asked for volunteers to mail them.  

I was vulnerable.

To me, vulnerability is a position we move to. We move from a position of comfort and predictability. We stand like a tiny seedling tree that is planted in a wide open field, vulnerable to the elements. When we move into this position, we are actually giving the Universe feedback. We are saying, “I’m willing to be here, in this space. I’m open to the possibilities that will flow from here, to bigger and greater things for my life and what I bring to this world.” This is the language of the Universe. Your message will be received.

Slowly, a foothold in this space is gained. The vulnerability diminishes over time. The seedling tree grows its roots.

Explaining the Travelling Kindness Rocks concept to the Meet the Teacher crowd was the first of thousands of times. I continue, practically on a daily basis, to outline my vision. It’s posted on our website, on every tag that accompanies a sale. I speak of it to large groups when I teach a dotting event and am even pretty comfy as I share through media platforms. Today, nearly two and a half years later, it’s easy to do. Somewhere between the first and the thousandth explanation, I moved from vulnerable to confident.

This is because the Universe responded with all that has unfolded... once, of course, I made the first move to the position of vulnerability.

Ginger LeBoutillierComment