Is there an appropriateness of displaying/ being Vulnerable?

As a woman, the concern is “My gentleness should not be taken as my weakness”

Our lachrymal (tear) glands are often hyperactive. Most of us cry when sad, angry, happy or while chopping onions! Barring the last one, what is it with women and tears? Psychosomatic? Social-conditioning? Physiological evolution/regression? I get the need to vent, or a cathartic relief from crying. I don’t get why the tears are sometime helpless.

Vulnerability: Strength or Weakness?

‘What is it with women and tears?!’

Sadhana was sitting in front of her altar. Her face showed all her confused emotions…from sadness to anger to exasperation to just a plain unknowable feeling. For no reason at all she had burst into tears in her appraisal interview.

She had gone in super confident. She had worked hard and had so much to show for it. She knew she was competing against two very sane, logical, competent male colleagues, who seemed to know exactly where they stood in the scheme of things. They knew how to play the game. How to compete in the dog-eat-dog world. And she too had learned the same skills very well. Long ago she had promised herself ‘my gentleness will not be taken as my weakness’. And when she overheard her juniors snigger that she was just a ‘man in woman’s clothing’, far from being affronted, she had been secretly pleased.

And then her HR head had asked, ‘you know you have to move to the naxalite area as part of your promotion. Are you sure as a woman you are up to it?’

She had anticipated that question, rehearsed her carefully chosen blasé, brave words. Yet, suddenly, out of nowhere, her throat tightened, her voice thickened, her face crumpled and tears welled up…

Those god-awful tears!!!!!

‘See Sadhana, we hire people regardless of their gender. You are expected to do a job. All promotions here are based on that competence alone. Do not expect any molly coddling or ‘fair sex’ status. Emotions have no place in a meritocracy.’

She apologized as she hurriedly ended the interview and left the room. Even as she berated herself for her loss of composure, she knew she had somehow failed..not just the interview, but herself.

And so here she was, at her altar, her refuge. Her gaze searched for strength in the eyes of her beloved deities and sacred objects given by her mother and collected from temple and church stalls. She had failed them. She was so so sorry to be just a weak, weepy woman after all.

‘Mother, how do I stop FEELING? It is feelings that make me vulnerable. They are my Achilles heel! No matter how hard I try to crush them, deny them, be strong and stoic, they just won’t go away. If I repress them I become numb and feel like an automaton. As if something in me is dead. When I suppress my fears, guilt, shame, I also can’t feel joy, harmony, beauty, the GOODNESS of life.’

‘I may stuff feelings and learn to live rationally, but why can’t I control tearing up? It is so embarrassing, humiliating and disempowering when I just burst into tears at the most inappropriate times. I don’t just cry when I am sad. I cry when I am angry, or helpless and even when I am supposed to be happy! My vulnerability is my weakness. Its display is inappropriate! I get taken advantage of because of it…

And the all seeing and compassionate eyes of the Great Mother spoke:

My child. All is indeed well. It is just as I have intended. As a human and as a woman, you have a prime place in my Creation. You are here to unfold all the capacities of My own infinite nature. The feelings you are deploring, that make you vulnerable, are your most exquisite resource. Vulnerability is an ability I have built into your system. Your ability to get emotionally wounded is necessary for your complete, indestructible Being to manifest all that it can be and all that it can experience.

Do you remember when you were a child and you fell sick with chicken pox? Your immune system got triggered to fight it and in the process your body developed a resilience and biological immunity to never catch that disease again. Feelings and emotions are equally my way of triggering your psychological immunity. So you learn to bend, not break. Become resilient like Bamboo..

But it is so much more than that! I haven’t created you to just survive. I have created you to thrive! To live fully and savour deeply every rasa possible. This is my Lila, my Play. Through you I experience every possibility in Myself.

The age of Mind has overvalued rationality and reason, objectivity and an ascetic detachment as a sign of strength. When Man denies his feelings and emotions as weaknesses, messy and unmanageable, he also denies my shakti, the vitalizing power, the juice of Life which is contained in them.

Your vulnerability is precious. Your wound keeps you real, in touch with all the creative potential awaiting you. It is not your weakness, it is your glory, your doorway to your true strength.

That’s why I made feelings and emotions beyond the control of your thoughts and beliefs which can limit you. Especially your tears! Those I wired directly to your body, which lives in the Truth at all times. Your body cannot lie. And your tears cannot be controlled. You cannot fake them either. When My Presence in your soul is touched, when you are touched by the truth of something, your raw, unconditioned authentic core rejoices! For it knows it lives. It tells you it does, by making the tears flow, so you stop and take note! For a brief moment, the veil has shifted and my Mystery, the sacredness of Life is present in your slumbering, unconscious world of make-believe importance. Stop and enter through the doorway of your wound. On its other side lies your Divinity. Your indestructible vulnerability. Where you can claim your whole-woman, fully-human self. Rejoice and rest in the release of your wholeness! Even the gods envy you your vulner-ability. For they do not feel the depths you do.

Nilima