Dr. Hollie Levine, MSW, ND
When my clinic ‘nurse’ and beloved dog-buddy Punim died in early July I was heartbroken but reluctant to bring that information into the clinic. What if I cried? What if that information upset my patients? I removed his bed from the waiting room and put his picture on a table for a few days, but then took it down again. Even though Punim had been very much a part of life at the clinic, I wondered if it was better to pretend nothing had happened. But too many people noticed his absence and it began to feel that this pretense was all wrong.
I spend much of my day counseling people about the importance of simply being who they are and feeling what they feel, and how healthy it is to do this. And yet here I was being a doctor and therapist, but afraid to be a grieving human. And then one lunch hour, as I rode my bike to Fairhaven and back, the idea for the Vulnerability Project was born.
By now, most of us have heard Brene Brown give her TED talk on the power of vulnerability. If you haven’t heard it, or even if you have, there’s a link to it below. In it she talks about the courage to be imperfect, and the importance of having compassion for ourselves (as well as others). And that if we can take emotional risks, it creates connection with others, it allows us to love unabashedly and to find both joy and creativity in our lives.
Wow!! That is what I want for all of us. And so the Vulnerability Project starts with creating a space where we can begin to talk about how scary it is to show up, to be real, to let go of the quest for perfection. I’m curious to know what will it take to drop the ‘never good enough’ and truly believe that we are all, each and every one of us, worthy of love and belonging? I don’t have the answers but I can support the discussion, the process of coming into the light with our beautiful and scary vulnerability.
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