Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Upper Peninsula, MI.
The open road can bring up a whole heap of emotion. From uncertainty and splendor, to deep fear and the finest fulfillment. And every time I’m out there, cruising America’s freeways of freedom, the Youniverse always speaks in a clearer, much more emphatic dialect. For whatever reason, the road plugs me in.
For starters, a focal point of Gus and me’s Authentic Adventure is nature-based – long hikes through the woods, mountain treks, and swims in basically anything that gets us wet. The great outdoors nourishes our spirit. Show us a grassy knoll, and we’ll show you Heaven on Earth.
Beyond the physical activity though, meditation (aka conscious breathing) is a key ingredient to the pie. Wherever the path, road, or trail winds, whether a traffic delay in Nevada or getting lost in no-man’s land in the middle of the sticks of an Indiana state park, deep, deliberate breaths sustain my every step.
Inhale love and light. Exhale divine timing.
Inhale love and light. Exhale divine timing.
(Claim, command, and repeat as necessary).
And finally, I rarely listen to music while on the road – two, three times tops in a multi-week jaunt. On those days, it’s max volume and liberating. But in between, as part of the Higher Purpose of my journey, I prefer to bask in that space of stillness and solitude (my holy ground and magic spring) as often as I can. It’s the art of what I like to call vehicular meditation.
This past excursion of American bliss, through Michigan’s true-blue waters and idyllic August landscape, was about as serene and stimulant-free of a road retreat as I’ve had to date. And with each experience, a variety of emotions arise.
This episode’s contestant? Vulnerability. Yikes!
Now, I wouldn’t exactly call this feeling “new.” Far from it actually. Truth be told, I’ve been to the bottom’s bottom of the most hallowed depths of vulnerability and back. And when logging chunk-mileage, it’s actually my most commonly visited emotion.
Well, when you’re on a two-lane highway in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with nothing but your dog (albeit a miracle one), your thoughts, a cell phone without two days of service, not a car nor human in sight for miles on end, and a sign that says “Welcome to the End of the World” all while juggling to uphold your faith and innate compass’s credibility for guiding you out here in the first place, and that it will in some way, somehow lead to something extraordinary, trust me, vulnerability is the perennial flavor of the day.
That said, anything that connects me to a deeper layer of who I AM and what I represent on this planet, I’m game to explore. That perpetual, code-chiseling search for meaning and purpose dictates most of my days. But vulnerability, that’s often triggered flight mode, and been an entrée served with a side of avoidance.
In the best-selling book Daring Greatly, Brené Brown defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” She debunks the myth that it’s synonymous with weakness, and adds that, as humans, we don’t do it, it does us. Isn’t that the truth?
In other words, our choice isn’t whether it appears, but how we respond to its presence. We can push it away and distance ourselves further from our truth, or we can embrace it as an inevitable and beautiful part of the human experience.
Years back, option A was my route of choice. I loyally subscribed to the “head-led” misconception that feeling deeply somehow made me less of a man. That and a confidence-lack of sitting fully in my own skin. The thought rang:
If I feel “that,” that could lead to “this.” If “this” leaks, I could lose “that.” If I lose “that” and allow it all to just flow, what will I possibly latch onto to protect myself in a big, daunting world?
vulnerability: capable or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon; open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.
Unfortunately, academia tells but one side of the story, and simultaneously gives vulnerability a stuffy, misunderstood persona. Thus, it’s a quality both judged and made wrong, suited for weaklings.
But the resplendent, mountain-moving side of vulnerability is this: as daring and risky of a space it can be to sit with, it’s one of the most rewarding and heroic gifts bestowed upon the human spirit.
That’s right, ‘heroic,’ a golden attribute available to courageous souls willing to be seen.
Vulnerability: the willingness to be seen; liable to profound happiness, internal clarity, and the utmost self-love; doorway to miracles and the official drug of writers, musicians, actors, and artists of all kinds.
Personally, when I’m vulnerable, I get showered with blessings:
…. I’m more open and considerate.
…. I’m surrendered, but active.
…. I’m the ultimate vibration of all I desire to create.
…. I’m a force of LOVE to be reckoned with.
…. I’m the image, the likeness, and the activity of God.
….I see only the perfected, grace-unfolding flow of brilliance and divinity in all things.
This isn’t to say that vulnerability is all rainbows and unicorns. It can just as easily be an uncomfortable and overwhelming shitstorm of emotion. A lot of times it is. But if you ride out your inner weather and refuse to turn your back, you’ll find the reward greatly outweighs any repent for emotional integrity.
MICHIGAN AND BEYOND
“The highest form of human intelligence is the ability to observe yourself without judging yourself.” –Jiddu Krishnamurti
Traversing the U.S. has proven to be my best vulnerability professor to date. For 15 days and 3,500 miles to and through Michigan, I gave myself the OK to sit in a space of complete, non-judgmental receptivity. Another road trip, another opportunity met.
Were there moments of frailty and angst? Of course. But in that unfamiliarity, I never felt more alive and on purpose. As a result, some of my most powerfully-championed wisdom was born.
As I continue to move forward with my vision and step even further into my heart activity, I know that every square inch of patience and gumption I can conjure will get its chance at the podium. To start the kind of conscious conversation I want to spark, I must be so willingly transparent to the point of having a see-through soul.
The entire process of getting KLITE off the ground has been an experiment and commitment to true vulnerable acceptance. No vulnerability = no KLITE. And for this platform to grow, availability to myself, for myself is of the essence.
Feeling deeply. Loving loudly. Acting faithfully.
The only protection I’ll ever need.
own the glow