By Georgianna Kern Kosciusko
November, 2016: Telling a New Story After a year of reflection on the past 50 years, what are the highlights of your life and what you have learned? What is the new story of your discoveries? What is your best story you want to share?
Perhaps like me you have been impacted by the cultural allergy to vulnerability. Recently I discovered the work of Brené Brown, Professor and author who believes that
“Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.”
What I’ve read in our biographies about our last 50 years is that we have experienced significant challenges which have shaped us, taught us and allowed us to soften and accept mistakes, mis-steps, dark times leading us to lives of greater acceptance, love, belonging and joy.
Ken Wilber describes four key practices for reaching our highest potential: “Growing up,” “Waking up,”
“Showing up” and “Cleaning up.”
At this time in our lives I know we all have practiced these as evidenced in our sharing. With this awareness, I find myself unable to label times, people, places as good or bad, and pondering the stories of Jesus in the gospels from the perspectives of embracing vulnerability. The gospel stories of Jesus reflect a lived life of vulnerability. He chose his companions among the vulnerable and demonstrated the surrender to vulnerability in his death. Radical vulnerability was part of the fire of the early followers as they formed their communities or traveled out to spread the “good news.” My experience of our sharing together has been a sharing of the good news.
Many of the “holy people” of the many traditions of faith in our world also shared this radical experience. This “ability” seems linked to authentic courageous living. Our heroes include many of those making the path in our lifetimes; our own sisters in the prisons of China and interned in the Philippines; our martyred sisters in El Salvador, Oscar Romero, Ignacio Illacuria and his martyred companions, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Native American leaders seeking their own birthright lands; Martin Luther King Jr.; Cesar Chavez; and Bobby Kennedy.
Our own shared biographies reflect that we embraced a life of openness to the growth possible during vulnerable times and we continue to reap its fullness in new wisdom we have gained. The road ahead for each of us is marked by richness of compassion, kindness, love, encouragement and guidance.
Today we stand in the fullness of life. Our stories over the last year have highlighted our wisdom gleaned through experience. Last May we explored the Jubilee tradition and our reflections to date included: Assess, Release, Harvest, Integrate, Recreate, Reengage, Reflect, Respond, Act, and now … Tell a New Story.
All the people who shared from the heart on our journey together were vulnerable enough to acknowledge the actual challenges of life, moving into them from strength and with the wisdom that vulnerability has to offer. How can we focus on the solution, not the problem? When we learn to tell our story from the wisdom we have gained, there is compassion, kindness, love, encouragement and guidance to move forward effectively. When we come together next month let us share the fullness of our strength born and tempered in our vulnerable times.