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A few nights ago I watched a TED video of researcher Brene Brown speaking about the power of vulnerability. TED is a fabulous video spot where a variety of brilliant minds share on the subjects for which they are passionate. Brene Brown is wonderfully funny and interesting and her subject kept me glued to the screen the entire time. She has spent years researching the difference between people who are “wholehearted”–people who have healthy connections with other people and feel good about themselves and life–and people who are “brokenhearted”–people who have lost their connections with other people because they are wrapped up in shame and self-loathing. The common factor among the wholehearted people was a puzzle to this researcher. It was vulnerability. What keeps people from feeling shame–what connects them to others– is to be vulnerable before others! Isn’t that wild? It makes me think of my upside down asparagus plants.
Yesterday I had a chance to be vulnerable. I could have remained in shame and confusion. Instead I chose to reach out to someone. OH, but it was embarrassing! 🙂
I was very tired after performing two shows the day before and I had a list of ten errands to run before I could rest that afternoon. Half way through I took a little break at Sonic during 1/2 price drink Happy Hour for a strawberry lime slush. I was feeling revived and ready to tackle the next errand on my list.
But I couldn’t back out.
There was a car very close to me in the next lane and that worried me…but the real issue was how my side mirror would literally catch and pull down the menu sign if I did indeed back out! I pulled back in and tried again. And again. And again. Then I just sat and puzzled. What to do? It was humiliating! I have been driving for 23 years and I know how to back out but I simply couldn’t remember what to do!
I considered my options. I could sit there forever. I could maneuver my way out the passenger door and ask some stranger for assistance. I thought about calling my husband but how could he help me from a distance? And, besides….how embarrassing!
I finally did call my husband and started the conversation with, “I am about to cry so please, please do not laugh” (he later told me he had to bite his tongue to hold in his laughter, but, to his credit, he sounded loving and empathetic). After I explained the situation, he simply replied, “turn the steering wheel hard to the left and back out slowly”.
An amazing thing happened after this Sonic-lane experience. I didn’t feel ashamed and stupid (well…maybe I felt a little silly….). I left that parking lot with so much love and gratitude for my husband I could feel my heart literally swelling within my chest. Who would have guessed that being vulnerable would reap such huge rewards?