Vulnerability is the New Black

Vulnerability. I get the sense this is what 2013 is going to be all about.

Yesterday marked the New Moon and ushered in the year of the Water Snake in Chinese culture. I’m hit strongly by this year’s turning, as it feels so true and so intensely in my bones as the shifting is occurring. My body is detoxing something powerful the past few days, and my dreams have been filled with scenes of shedding, letting go, breaking free, and running wild in bliss and fullness.

So what is this really all about? The snake is a strong symbol in many cultures. In shamanic tradition, snake represents transmutation and shedding of old ways- emotional, physical, spiritual, mental- to be born into a new way of being in the world. As the snake sheds it’s skin, parts of it’s past, it’s history, where it has been and where it has travelled, are shed to reveal a new layer, and new way to travel in the world.

When you look at the image of a snake, you can see that every part of it’s body is in constant contact with the ground, always grounded before moving forward, and taking all or nothing with it when travelling on it’s path. If a part of it is meant to be left behind, it sheds that skin and continues to move forward, the shell left to dissolve and let go. This symbology has always been strong for me, and it seems to be doubly strong now as we enter this opportunity of a year to shed our old ways of being, let that which isn’t serving us anymore break free to create a whole new way of being in the world.

That’s one way of looking at snake. The tantric and yogic ways of looking at snake are a little different, though just as potent and applicable to what is happening now. In this tradition, the snake is the embodiment of the Kundalini energy, the rising of the sacred masculine and feminine in our energetic body, merging and balancing and traveling up our body, leading to ultimate bliss and enlightenment. In this view, the snake sits coiled in our sacrum, waiting, turning, creating our experiences and how we sit in the world. As we heal, as we move through our life, the snake has the opportunity to rise up the energy centers of the body, known as the chakras, to open us up to new ways of experiencing the world. Once we do the work to address one chakra, the energy moves up to begin healing the next, until ultimately, it is said, we reach the 7th, or crown chakra, where the masculine and feminine unite as one and we experience the serpent energy throughout our entire body and being. If you’ve ever had the gift of meeting a Master, you can normally see a slight swaying of their spine and being. A pulsing that indicates this energy is running through them. They have let the snake uncoil, be free, be one with all, and they are truly alive because of it. Here is a view of the chakras and what each relates to:



It feels so potent this year, this shift into the year of the Water Snake, this shedding of the skin and moving through the various energetic centers of my being. And I must say, it feels pretty damn vulnerable.

As it should be. 4 days ago with my last post, I allowed my old skin to be shed, and here I am, standing in front of all of you with my soul bared, my purpose and my ‘why’ laid out clearly.

And now, I must wait to see if you all accept me, as I am, in this new place.

And so the past 4 days, I have spent my time balanced between excitement, terror, pure elation, energetically detoxing, crying and mourning, and everything in between. 4 days ago, I let a part of myself die, to reveal a deeper layer that I wasn’t even sure I was ready to see yet myself. Yet I knew I had to do it, and it had to be done now.

In restructuring my business and how I work with each of you, in cutting out certain services and requiring commitment to work with me, I made myself very vulnerable. Very raw. I removed a layer of protection that I had built 4 years ago when I began my practice and offered up any service at practically any price that anyone would grab. There was a lot more to it than that of course, but I bent and broke a lot of my own rules to make things happen, and I sometimes didn’t even realize I was doing it.

But it never felt quite right, and I never really felt like I was being true to myself, though I wasn’t sure how most days. Especially when it came to offering oil massage- my heart was never in it, and I always felt it was scratching the surface instead of diving in, and so my soul was unsettled with it.

Here is what I have come to learn the past few days:

Vulnerability leads to strength. Vulnerability IS strength. In diving into our vulnerability, we have an opportunity to ask ourselves what it is that will make us happy, what is currently making us unhappy, and in that asking, in that knowing, we gain the strength we need to transform our lives.

I’ve known this on a conceptual level for a long time, and I’ve employed it at various times in my life- like when I left corporate- to make changes. But often I was too worried about safety and the practical realities of life to really put it into practice on a daily basis. Sure, I’ve revealed parts of myself over the years, been very open with many of you about what I’ve done in my life, my regrets and my triumphs. But on a practical level, I still maintained the status quo. Doing what I thought I had to do to run a successful practice, when inside I was burning out and exhausted and not sure how I could go on somedays.

I’ve received some amazing feedback from all of you after my post last week, and I want to thank you for being so supportive. I know that what I am offering now is really for the best of each and every one of you- and ultimately, it’s the best for me, which means that I will be able to take care of you and support you in a much more grounded, loving, and fulfilled place than I have been able to lately. Which is a win-win for everyone.

It’s not easy taking the steps to be vulnerable. To shed our skin to make room for something more beautiful to take shape. To step into our power, into our grace, into our wisdom. And it’s vulnerable as hell to rip that final piece of skin off to make it happen.

But I’m glad I did. And I’m glad that so many of you are willing to join me as we step into a whole new way of working together.

Because you see, if we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable, I wonder, are we allowing ourselves to really live? To really be free?

Is it in that vulnerability that we find our strength? Is it in that vulnerability that we find happiness? Is it in that vulnerability that we find out who we really are, and who we are meant to be?

I believe the answers are Yes. And I’m proud to wear my Vulnerability like it’s a sexy dress, slithering and writhing and making my mark wherever I go, just as the snake.

Because after all, Vulnerability is the new black.

And I’m enjoying wearing it already.

Jennifer Blackstock