I recently returned from a retreat in Tennessee. Over the past year, I’ve been participating in a small group led by two Master Coaches. Our year together culminated in a weekend in Knoxville, where we talked and laughed and ate and played with horses.

And I cried.

Now, this may not be a big deal for some, but for me it’s huge. I’m one of those people that locks herself in the bathroom before the first tear begins to trickle. For years, I didn’t cry at all. I still pretty much avoid crying whenever possible.

But in Knoxville, surrounded by a group of compassionate women, I. LOST. IT.

We were given a writing exercise, and at the end were offered the opportunity to read aloud what we’d written. Even before I opened my mouth, I could feel the lump in my throat forming. What I’d written was deeply personal, and there was a part of me that wanted to turn away from sharing, to pass the moment to another person. But I didn’t.

Because I’ve recently made a commitment to myself that I will lean into vulnerability as much as possible.

And that moment felt about as vulnerable as it could get.  

So I read what I wrote. And I cried. I cried big, fat, ugly tears. I had to stop reading when my throat was thick with them. I sobbed, shoulders shaking and breaths coming in desperate gasps. At one point, I howled, anguish and rage pouring out in waves. Multiple times I was tempted to quit, to wave them on to the next person. But each time, I took deep breaths and began again, and through many stops and starts I read my words out loud to them.

And you know what? I didn’t die.

Instead, these women sat with me. They gave me the gift of their presence, holding the space for me while I processed some old and heavy feelings, ones that needed to be felt and then released.

At the end of it, one of the Master Coaches turned to me and said simply, “Thank you for letting us see You.”

And that pretty much summed up how I felt – I had been seen.

I’m starting to believe that this is what Life’s all about. It’s about showing up and being seen.

It’s about being willing to share our humanity openly and honestly, to bare our soft and tender and messy selves, even if it’s scary and even if it means that some people might turn away from us.

It’s about giving the people in our lives the chance to see our whole selves, not just the polished and perfected bits, but the messy and broken bits too.

It’s about letting go of control long enough to let the light in, and recognizing that it’s when we are at our most vulnerable that we are able to receive the most love.

Now, I’m not proposing that you go around sharing all of your business with everyone you meet. To paraphrase Dr. Brené Brown, we should share our stories with the people in our lives who have earned the right to hear them. The people who deserve our trust, not because of title or relation, but because through their actions they’ve shown themselves to be worthy of it.

As scary as it can be, I want to show up as much as possible for these people in my life. I want to let them see me – truly see ME – with all my fears and insecurities and dark bits.

I want to trust them with my truth, to share with them my failures as well as my victories, because they deserve that level of honesty, and I deserve it too.

I want to allow them to hold space for me even when I ugly cry, because I know what a privilege that is, both for the seer and the one being seen.

Sharing vulnerably is a precious gift, and when we open ourselves to giving it, we become open to receiving the gifts of love and acceptance in return.

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

with love,


The thought I’m playing with this week is: “I give the gift of vulnerability, and I receive the gifts of love and acceptance.”  
Try it on, and pop over to Facebook and let me know what you think. I would love to hear.