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Fire or Water

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"I learned that taking the edge off is not rewarding, but putting the edge back on is one of the most worthwhile things we can do. Those sharp edges feel vulnerable, but they are also the markers that let us know where we end and others begin."

-Brené Brown (Atlas of the Heart)

When life seems hard, many of us choose to harden ourselves to meet it. We may remain in these unnecessarily arduous states for years, even decades. But this misunderstanding only makes our lives harder, by putting us on a path of more resistance, where we’ll be working harder at life, not smarter.

This path is far from a shortcut to what we all seek — more joy. It's like we're throwing more wood into a fire that's already out of control, when what we need to feed it is water.

When we stop and look deeply, we can see that misunderstandings like these are often created out of a fear so many of us have — embracing our vulnerability. This fear can drive us to behave in many ruinous ways, as our poor habits link up, forming unfortunate chains of events — handcuffing ourselves to our own self-inflicted difficulties.

To be free, we must first become aware of this prison we’ve built, where we're serving as warden, prison guard, prisoner, and sometimes even our own executioner.

Freeing ourselves can seem counter-intuitive, but that does not mean it is complicated. We can find that if we soften our fists, these shackles that bind us to our troubles can slip right off.

With this new kind of calm and gentle outlook, we may feel open and vulnerable to attack from all sides, but we're able to recognize this as our hardened habits clinging to their outdated existences. The only real 'attack' taking place is our own against the ignorance that has imprisoned us to our misunderstandings.

The victor in these 'battles' is always joy; won through the wisdom we earn from embracing and understanding the power of vulnerability.


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