Last week I was wondering down Colombo Street (near my home) distributing flyers to some of the business owners who might need a bit of extra support. After the recent earthquakes in Christchurch, I know that anxiety levels have been higher than ever and I also know that the antidote for a lot of that is simply allowing people to be heard. Being able to share how we're feeling with someone who listens completely and allows you to feel what you want to feel is massive when it comes to processing emotion.
It was quite busy in most of the businesses and most people didn't really have much time to talk. Near the end of my paper route, I spotted a sign outside that said "Devonshire Tea". I thought "That's weird, I didn't know there was a cafe here", but devonshire tea and air conditioning sounded like a great idea so I began to walk into the carpark. As I got closer, I noticed that the roof came up to an Apex and I started to stagger my steps. A woman was coming out of a car at the same time and must have seen how uncertain I looked. She asked if I was coming in. "Sure..." I answered, "But...um, is this a church?" "Yes," she answered. "Come on in."
Despite a Catholic upbringing, its been a long time since I've set foot in a church. I was apprehensive. But not wanting to be rude, I followed her in. Inside was a beautifully set up room with old fashioned china, a tea service, home made scones, raspberry jam and cream. All free. A couple of women sat at tables chatting to each other. When I asked her what all of this was about, she said it was something they were putting on for people in the community who might need a break, someone to talk to or a bit of personal connection. I laughed, thinking that was exactly what I was out doing. We ended up chatting away for hours about disconnection in our society, the way people don't feel valued and how the unraveling of many communities has meant that people don't feel that they are a necessary part of contributing to a big picture vision for the future.
I walked home thinking about the amazing people in my life who are so 'successful', so well qualified but who are all dealing with the same struggle: finding a sense of meaning in their life and wanting to know that they belong and are needed in the world.
We have so much abundance available at our finger tips but so many of us are feeling more and more unfulfilled. A big part of this is because we try too hard to control everything and 'have it all together' rather than being okay with saying "You know what - I don't know." Without this honesty and vulnerability we can't have real love and connection.
I was reminded of Brene Brown's amazing talk about vulnerability and how not being vulnerable impacts us, not only from having loving relationships but in terms of numbing out though food and other addictions. When we are not willing to feel vulnerable, we usually do things that negatively impact our physical and mental health as well, including over eating. You can watch here TedX talk "The Power of Vulnerability" over here.
What comes up for you after seeing this?