The wind blows, she stands firm as she has nothing to hide.

Waves crash and the torment howls about her.

It cannot touch her; she knows who she is.

Words hurled to control her,

jealousy to subvert her.

She does not drop her gaze, nor feel shame.

When pain is known

and self-love present,

we can stand in the storm of anything.

Vulnerability is strength, authenticity impenetrable.

Bloody hell being vulnerable is scary, I feel like it’s my home ground at the moment. Everything I am doing is putting me out there on the edge. I’m creating and asking if the world likes it. I’m making mistakes—some very public—and having to walk my dog for miles to rid myself of my inner critic. I’m tearing off my armour and exposing skin, to add to a conversation that is harrowing and ugly but must be agitated.

At times I feel shaky—not so shaky that I’ll stop, or tear things down, as has been my want in years gone by. I have tools now to handle the ebb and flow of an emotional life. One of those tools is to get some distance from the feelings when they are super raw—to watch them curiously, knowing they can do no real harm, ache for a while then, with patience, be on their way.

It means sitting in discomfort, or the pain of disapproval, without trying to fix it.

When we gaze directly into the soul of things, seeing it all and all at once, as if the landscape was laid out before our eyes, we grasp the abyss and the potential of all things. Here we discover that vulnerability is strength and in that desolate place, where we have nothing to hide, no one and nothing can hurt us.

A little trick I have learnt that takes me out of fear and puts me in the driving seat, is to say to myself when I’m scared or pissed off, “I choose this”.

Try it—it’ll flip your lid. With that simple statement voluntarily uttered, we can no longer blame and wail and thrash about; with those words we stop reacting and start owning the next moment, the next emotion, the next choice.

Acknowledging that every thought, action and feeling is a choice; one we can choose to continue, or choose to not—douses the drama and brings the action hero out in all of us.

More than my own navel-gazing and fascination with myself, what is tearing my heart asunder and inspiring me the most, is watching the incredible humans in my world tackle their demons as they go through their own journey of self-discovery.

It’s exciting, beautiful, raw and real. Self-awareness is the only way to the golden land—the utopia that on occasion I have glimpsed—peace of mind.

Most people don’t do it, or stop the moment they start; because even cracking open the door, just a bit and peeking at what lies inside, can feel like the gates of hell flung open and the beating wings of demons rushing out.

They’re not really demons and they can’t hurt you at all—they are just feelings and they have no bite; they can’t draw blood or break your bones. We wouldn’t think so though, the way we hide from our emotions, shut them down, flick them off.

What are we really afraid of? We’re afraid of fear. We are actually staying stuck, reacting, judging, saying NO, because we are afraid of the feeling of fear—not of a wound or a loss, just a feeling that vanishes the moment we tell it to be gone.

There is no actual danger here, just the unfamiliar and unknown. As long as we put energy into dancing with this beast, this phantom who is not real, our worlds will by defined by this spectre birthed from our imagination.

Your status quo has got you here; the patterns and habits, the way you communicate, the way you show up, has created your career, your relationships, your wealth and your happiness thus far. If you have everything you want, “bloody awesome!” and I say that with true respect in my heart. Don’t change!

But, if you, like me and most of the world, don’t quite have it sorted—if you want more love, more life, abundance and fun—or maybe just a good night’s sleep, then you’ll need to do something different; you’ll need to choose to change and that means holding hands with vulnerability.

The greater the risk, the bigger the leap, the braver you are, the more raw the emotion you will feel.

When you step off the edge into the unknown—maybe exposing your heart in love, creating something to send out to the world, or making an unpopular choice—in that moment when you draw in your breath and your skin prickles up and you feel like you are hanging in mid-air, catch yourself, don’t flinch, or react. Don’t reach for your safety blanket—humour, saying you don’t care, or (if you are like me), don’t use too many words to cover your fear; instead, close your eyes and pause.

In that silence you will find yourself and you will know from a well deep inside, that you can do anything.

If this world turned to shit and all rules were gone, you would find within yourself resourcefulness and strength, creative solutions in abundance and a depth to your resilience and tolerance waiting for you there.

In this place, the centre of all things, you will discover how truly remarkable you are.

You are not a homogenised cut-out. You are different from him and her; you are an individual with your own unique gifts and insights.

That is why humans are so awesome, our unpredictable weirdness and heart. We are at our best when we stop competing and consuming and we give more than we get; when we embrace our squeaks and cracks, admit our mistakes and use guilt as a guide – but feel no shame.

We get to choose the world we create; vulnerability is a strength, compassion—a tool of the brave and forgiveness the dominion of warriors.

When you let go of fear and embrace self-love, you’ll discover you are enough.