This just happened. I swear. I’m sitting down fireside to write about hardcore vulnerability. The doorbell rings. A burly black man stands at my door. We look at each other across a mile long cultural divide, though it is only a glass window. Me, safe inside my toasty home. Him, outside…wet with cold icy rain. I take a full breath and feel my vulnerability here. A deep interior soft and supple melting that includes an abiding compassion. It seems to far outweigh the fear I know I should feel. A woman, alone at home.
I stand up, breathe into a hardcore don’t-mess-with-me gene I’m very familiar with, have always been able to count on. I turn the key, open the door to him, listen quietly to what he needs. He is confused and wants something I really am unable to provide. I speak clearly, wish him well, close the door. Commence writing again. What can I say here? It was a moment that held the essence of hardcore vulnerability.
Kate Shela and Tim Booth are ready to explore the territory of HARDCORE VULNERABILITY March 2-4 with the uniquely mixed tribe who have been showing up for six years now:
“Lets dance together along our tender edges, the places that trigger us, where we come alive and seek understanding. This creative edge is the doorway. The tender heart is the tool. In this 3-day workshop, we’ll explore the difference between boundaries and barriers as we heighten our sense of attunement to others and ourselves.
Hardcore Vulnerability is a creative laboratory where we garner our power and our vision and listen to the unknown knowing that longs to be heard. Kate and Tim will lead you through dark alleys, merry-go-rounds and fields of balloons where you will meet the beating of your own heart.”
Boundaries and barriers, indeed. Fifteen years ago I was pretty new on that dance floor. It was a class on boundaries at Clunie, focused on embodying clear lines and angles, dancing a solid “no”, exploring too close vs. just right. As class progressed, I saw some of my partners shift from a loosey goosey vulnerability toward a more hardcore definition. It was visible in their bodies, tangible in their movements. It was a watershed moment for me. I had a true glimpse of the nature of work I had in front of me. In those days, I’m sure it would strike fear into your heart to be my partner and feel how well I could embody clarity and no and too close. My defense systems were super-alive and well. I had no need to build my hardcore-ness. I needed to find out about loosey-goosey.
I came to the dance floor with long standing barriers erected to survive a childhood you wouldn’t wish on anyone. I knew nothing about the subtle pliability of healthy boundaries. And I am grateful to the rhythms for honing my practice all these years around softening edges, learning to stay open, to respond accurately as each moment requires, cultivating a permeable focused quality that can adjust in a flash.
It’s a long continuum between heavy duty barriers and wishy-washy. And we stand in different places on that line depending on the situation. We might have long-standing, imprinted, habitual places we prefer to operate from. To be free to glide along this continuum? Well maybe that is hardcore vulnerability. The ability to open that door, feel our feet on solid ground, 100% be with whatever life throws our way…all this with a courageous, caring and resilient heart. Sign me up.