vulnerable presence

On my second day of being aware of how I am powerless in the world, this is what stood out for me:

• The eventual demise of my kitty, Magic
• Whether the plant I transplanted will survive
• Keeping the deer away from the hibiscus and new fruit-bearing trees
• Whether the people I live with will clean up after themselves
• If it will rain today
• What the heck are we going to do about that oil leak in the Gulf?

There are consequences for being in the world. Being powerless makes me vulnerable. When the Magic-cat moves on to the next iteration of her existence, she will leave me behind and I will miss her companionship. If that plant dies, I will wonder if it was through some neglect on my part. Keeping my plants and trees completely safe from marauding deer would require an immense indoor terrarium or tactics not completely legal that would also land me on the wrong side of the Bambi Society. Not being able to make people clean up after themselves reflects my concern over the larger scope of responsibility we all have to each other on a global scale. Whether it rains or not does not matter to me – I just want to know when so I can organize my exercise schedule. And that mess on the ocean floor – well, other than going to get my hair cut at a salon that will donate the hair to help the efforts to soak it all up – there is nothing I can do. I can’t plug the leak. And it makes me afraid.

Being powerless largely results in being vulnerable. A near and dear friend of mine admitted to feelings of fear over being vulnerable and being open. He said that the irony in this is that the very people he most wants to love and accept him respond with love and acceptance when he lets them see who he really is. He believes that the reason he wants acceptance and love from these people is that he senses that they resonate with, appreciate, and need his authentic self. He said “the love that we need most is from those who most need who we really are.”

Then, he said, “Authenticity always plays better than the roles/persona we manufacture in search of acceptance.”

What I has been coming to the surface for me is my need for my eternal presence (aka: authentic self) to connect with the “me” persona (the me who I perceive myself to be and the me I present to the world) and become more and more of my true presence in all of my interactions. No more guarding and hiding — when I am connected with my true presence and am being my true presence, guarding and hiding are nonissues; they are unnecessary because I am whole no matter what happens.

I believe (and I am testing this out in small increments) that the eternal presence/authentic self in each of us recognizes that presence in others. In that connection, no one is afraid. We are living from truth and the wisdom that comes from the beginning of existence of who we really are. If I can make a connection with the eternal presence in others in every circumstance, I think I would be a more effective counselor, and certainly a more whole and effective person in the world. But first, I need to connect with all of me and live more and more consistently as my true presence.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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7 Responses to “vulnerable presence”

  1. ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:

    Wonderful and really sincere. I wish I could get behind the hiding part, lying to myself, deceiving myself, being afraid. Of what? you ask? I have no idea adn how to explain that one.

    From your depiction, I would add that a good core of substance abuse or not is the ability to know the difference between power and powerlessness. The ability to distinguish the two and take the power that we can back and own it.

    Kim
    Snoopykg2@aol.com

    Butterfliesgalore.wordpress.com

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Kim — treatment for substance abuse is based upon the premise that it is a disease — a disease that we have no power over. It is not our fault that we have this disease any more than it is our fault that we got diabetes. Admitting our powerlessness allows us to let go of control and accept the help of others and our higher power. Just like diabetes, though, once we are diagnosed with the disease, we are obligated to take care of ourselves. For substance abusers, that means staying away from the substance and finding other coping skills. That is where our true power lies. Drinking and drugs were never a problem for me (I don’t do either) but I did smoke and was addicted to nicotine for 16 years. Quitting smoking was singularly the most powerful thing I have ever done for myself. My next power move is becoming my true presence. There is a bazillion times more power in bringing my true presence to life. In those tiny moments where I am truly present, I have no fear, no worries, and I know without a doubt, that I have existed forever and will continue to exist forever.

  2. holessence Says:

    “If I can make a connection with the eternal presence in others in every circumstance, I think I would be a more effective counselor, and certainly a more whole and effective person in the world. But first, I need to connect with all of me and live more and more consistently as my true presence.”

    Barbara, I know you can’t see me, but I’m giving you a standing ovation. This is extraordinary — thank you for sharing it.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Okay, Laurie, imagine this: me with my puffy ego bowing and only pretending to be humble!

      Truly, though, it is much easier to write this stuff than to be it. It is what I aspire to. Being present with it, staying connected, being my eternal presence in the real world requires focus and constant reminder. As you have always said, I have to get out of my own way. However, the peace I gain is clear evidence that it is my right and true path. There are always challenges and as each one rises, I am working to bring my true presence to them one by one.

  3. sandiwhite Says:

    I have nothing but admiration for you, Barbara, you have chosen a path that can be overwhelming and yet I have never seen you overwhelmed by any of the challenges you have faced in the past year, and Lord knows, there were many. We often say ” Namaste`” as a mere aloha but let me say in plain old English, ” The Divine in me recognizes the Divine in you.”

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      (bows pretending humbleness again) – thank you, Sandi. It is easy to be with the divine in you (and Laurie, and Jeff, and Kathy, and Kim, . . .) because that is who you are looking to be. Every one of us is reaching for and moving our egos aside to be who we truly are. The hard part for me is being with people who don’t recognize that they are divine beings, and thus cannot recognize others as divine beings. How can I be an eternal presence in a world full of people who believe themselves to be mere mortals? There is going to be a forever and the question is: who do I want to be in that forever?

  4. holessence Says:

    “puffy ego bowing”

    Barbara, that makes me think of Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down!

    Have a great day.

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