Wednesday, April 24, 2013

On Connections and Vulnerability.

I've been musing about this subject a lot over the past two years or so, and finally the moment has come for me to bring my thoughts and feelings out there into the world. Just as part of my healing process, that might help someone else's healing as well. It's part of my own story, the story of who I am and what I do to try to embrace my vulnerability each and every day, to become a "better me".

"Together", from my art journals.

My instinct like an introvert is so strong to turn inwards

I have deliberately stepped back from any possible in- person connection for years. I've lived my life as a solitary bird... and mind you, I really LOVE and find profound joy and peace in that! The more the years passed by, the more I've stepped back from any connection, my husband and family included (just for you to get the idea, the best, richest, most inspiring conversations ever, I have with my husband... via email! LOL).

Being an artist, and seeing and feeling what others seemed to be unable to see and feel, has always looked like the worst and scariest of nightmares to me since I was very young- people around me really didn't "get me". I believe this strengthened my need for solitude, and for finding a spiritual connection with Nature and the "Universe" rather than a physical connection with anyone around me.

After years and years of questions, pain, struggles with the world and its patterns, I've started becoming aware that I hadn't to find the answers outside, they already dwelled inside of me, in my perfectly beautiful "imperfection". Buried under layers of social superimposition, lied the real magic- surprisingly, I could make it visible thanks to my given artistic abilities and my strong sensitivity /introversion. 
I discovered all of that thanks to my blog (I had totally ignored the existence of blogs until I was in my half thirties, and discovered them just after a great pain due to a broken, special friendship) and to those precious, heart- warming, online connections, inspired readings, artists insights, opinions and share of feelings that like-minded people were so courageous to offer online. That way, I've started to learn that there were many other people just like me, with the same feelings, struggling for the very same reasons, and trying to survive in a world of extroverts that celebrates extroversion and social connection as the only and right way to be. The fact that I work from home and spill my heart out onto canvas, paper, my art journals, a magazine article or a blog post, or though my lens, doesn't mean I don't feel a strong connection with the rest of the human beings, actually being the contrary. I just and simply feel this connection in more of a spiritual, rather than physical, form- and bring to the world the beauty and magic I see, for anyone to partake of it and be inspired by, my own way- simply being what I truly am and doing what is calling me loudly. 

After I started dicovering the online community of my kindred- spirits, I've gradually (if not out of the blue) became conscious of what made me come alive, what kept me alive, what was calling me, and it definitely was my art, my creativity, my introversion. It may sound odd, but even if I've always needed my art and creativity like breathing, I wasn't conscious of that until my mid thirties. And the more I stepped back from extroversion, from in- person connections, the more I caged myself in my "den" doing what made me feel happy, well- the more my work kind of exploded, showing beauty, inspiration, freedom, joy. I have feared for many years that connection with others could affect my art, my creativity, my well being. And the "essence" of my being an artist.

"Solitary bird", from my art journals.

The internet gave me the opportunity to remain very much of an introvert (in spite of what I've written before, put the word hermit here), and reach out for other kindred souls at the same time. Also because I believe that the true essence of everything is spiritual, so this has always been very natural for me. And I can tell you those online connections I made, become crucial for one that used to lack connection in her offline life, in her unexisting community. My blog and those people I now call friends, scattered around the globe, unexpectedly and quickly became my safety net, my steam, my tribe, and there was no need (no room, either) for in-person connections, also because those I had previously had were so heartbreaking (not that I tell the contrary, mostly because of my strong sensitivity).

After 4 intense years of spiritual journey and growth, both in my personal and professional life, I have finally realized that I have so much to offer through in- person connections, too. My heart now is full, big, and eventually... ready.


The cracks in this life, as the quote by Leonard Cohen splendidly states, have allowed the light to get in. Without those cracks, and the consequent fractures they caused deeply in my heart and soul, there wouldn't have been any light, any growth, any blooming.
I'm sure of that, because I've made wonderful art/photographs that way (and my husband made me notice that too the other day). The more I felt broken, the more I felt the pain, the more I was able to produce beautiful work.


I now have much space in my heart to be filled with in- person connections. Some of those hurtful cracks are still there, and the only way for them to be filled is with the beauty of physical connection. Opening my heart to something new (and oh, soooo scary!) doesn't mean my work will loose its magic- it can become even more inspired, more vibrant, more powerful- bringing into the world new thoughts, ideas, feelings, vulnerability, not only filtered through my own heart+ mind, but through the mind and heart of someone else, through the sweetness of our connection; through our laughter, shared grief, even hugs and facial expressions. Yes, I have to learn to accept more faces that don't have a smile painted across their mouths (... also because I don't always have it, either!).


So here I am, on my journey, fully embracing my vulnerability, my imperfection and inspiring others to do the same. And trying my best to embrace their own vulnerability and imperfection as well.
After all, what if all stones were perfect, rounded pebbles? There wouldn't be the thrill (and beauty and magic) of finding a heart- shaped rock!!
Monica x

17 comments:

  1. Monica, you are so dear and wonderful. We all get hurt, extroverts, introverts, we all get hurt. I am glad that you are seeing that you can open up to people in your physical life as well as your online life. You are so lovely, remember the people you let in will be blessed by you just as much as you will be blessed by them
    Meredith

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  2. Hi Monica,

    I've just finished reading the book Quiet and if you haven't read it, it sounds like something you would enjoy. It is written all about this very thing - the introversion aspect. I found it fascinating. And in a round about way it comes to a similar conclusion that you have found as well. Let me know if you read it and what you think.

    ~ginger

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  3. This beautiful post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your deepest feelings and fears.

    I use to call myself a hermitess, for I too, stayed clear of close relationships. I really didn't have them. I had a deep seeded fear from childhood, that they would use me or take something from me. It has not been until recent years (and I am old...67) that I have reached out and discovered a world of sweet, loving, giving people! I was floored!

    I so admire you for speaking from your heart....it made my day!

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  4. Dear Monica, I thank you for opening your heart and sharing your feelings, I am very much on the same road so I appreciate your thoughts. I recently discovered Brene Brown (through super soul sundays by Oprah) and just started her book The Gifts of Imperfection, about a lifelong journey from "what will people think" to "I am enough".. engaging with the world.. I think you are wonderful as you are and have so much to share with people. I enjoy your photos every day. Big heart shaped rock hugs, Catherine x

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  5. Monica, this is a wonderful post that expresses much of what I feel, in real life and in blogging. I have not had a close friend for at least 20 years, since one friendship ended in great sadness. I've just not been able to make myself vulnerable.
    In blogging I've found affirmation for my introvertedness and likeminded creative souls.
    I'll second the opinion on the book Quiet. I found it very helpful.

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  6. Gosh, you sound so like me, I am such hermit/introvert and step back from everything but yet I do know that I need people and I am feeling so isolated, but yet, I fear reaching out, I feel safest at home and alone, it's a bit of a paradox.

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  7. Imagine me reaching out to touch your heart. Do you feel the love? I am sending love from me to you.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your deepest thoughts with us. I appreciate the art you create! Di

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  9. Oh, Monica!
    I love this post so, so much. I completely understand everything you have said. We guard our hearts and as introverts that wall is twice as thick. I took my wall down a few years ago with the help of a couple of good friends (who "got" me, which was a first for me) and this amazing community of bloggers. It feels so good to walk around with an open heart now.
    I feel blessed to call you a friend, Monica, even if we never meet in person.
    Love and hugs,
    Alisa

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  10. Dear Monica,

    You have written a beautiful note dear friend and thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.
    It is lovely to have got to know you through blogging and I am grateful for your friendship. Your precious gift you so kindly gave me is hanging on my Memory board, next to the computer.
    Congratulations, too for the gorgeous Cover Girl photo, in the previous post.

    Enjoy the rest of the week
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  11. I really enjoy your words and work.
    Thank you for sharing.
    p.s. I love Leonard Cohen's work !

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  12. A beautiful post dear Monica,
    I know and feel what you explain, and have felt the same way, when younger--now with my heart (I think) very open, I have joined these wonderful blogging grups- which filles my life with a daily joy-that I would not be without !! Thankyou for being one of my joyes and inspirations.
    Hugs,Dorthe

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  13. This was a very wonderful post ~ it's so nice to know I'm not the only one!!
    Thank you for sharing such an integral part of yourself, and for opening the doors to some self-exploration.

    Peace.

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  14. Monica,your words are pearls of wisdom. I read our way isn't a soft grassland, but it is a rocky path that always rises towards the sun.
    I say your words are often a staff for me, on my path.
    Great your picture sulla poesia d'amore!
    Hugs
    Franca

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  15. I have found..in almost 40 years of marriage..he is the best friend.
    I too in 60 yes have felt a broken heart over a friendship..but what happened to me..is that I look at friendships..as that..but never best friends..as with my husband.
    My mom was also a best friend..
    And I consider my daughters to be..
    But that's it..
    And with time it became easier and easier.
    There are so many many good people:-)
    I just don't ever bond in that way..I bond..but not cross your heart and let's be best friends way.
    Happy for you..that you are feeling joy etc..
    Very open hearted post:-)

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  16. Monica, this post touched me so deeply. I am so glad that I decided to go back and read the posts I had missed of yours or I wouldn't have had this experience today. Thank you for voicing these things that some of us have a hard time expressing. I have always shied away from 'real' connection (except with my husband and children) because of an unknown fear.
    I just really, really needed to read this today.
    sending many hugs...

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  17. it's been lovely to read this Monica. I'm really starting to view being sensitive in a new way since meeting you! I'm starting to recognize it's strength so thank you, Heather x

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Thank you! I love connecting with you!