• Dr. Amy Morris

The Power of Vulnerability

Most people, throughout most of their lives, go through life with multiple faces depending on who they are in front of. Most people aren’t even aware of these masks they put on, as it becomes such a habit, a regular part of existence. Social and societal expectations rule over true authenticity over our feelings and experiences. People say everything is ok when it isn’t, say their marriage is happy, their career successful, the children are good, life is just great isn’t it? Look at the vacation we just took, or the achievements my children have made. We are trained to share the happy parts, and keep the difficult parts to ourselves.

Vulnerability is an opportunity to be truly seen by another, to open oneself up to sharing one’s experiences, truths, feelings, fears, self-doubts, failures, hopes, and dreams. When we truly share ourselves in totality, it is a relief for the nervous system. A reset button is pressed, our guard goes down, and there is a deep feeling of relief. To let go of all that we were holding on to, the parts of ourselves we were afraid to share. The nervous system is able to go to a place of ease, a place where healing can now happen because there is room for more.

When we are filled to capacity with life’s challenges, there is no room for growth. Our system goes into defense, the sympathetic part of the nervous system goes into a continual “fight or flight” mode. Physiologically, when we are running in sympathetic mode, the heart rate increases, blood pressure raises, digestion is inhibited, pupils dilate, blood vessels constrict, and stress hormones are released. When we are in this mode for much of our lives, our body is in a stress response. A chronic stress response can cause things such as anxiety and depression, difficulty sleeping, shaking, perspiration, constipation, difficulty urinating, difficulty maintaining sexual arousal or low sex drive, and poor digestion.

By shifting the bodymind out of this chronic stress response, we have an opportunity to be more fully ourselves, more whole, more real, and the opportunity to really live a life of deeper meaning. Being vulnerable is the first step. Asking a trusted friend to listen with an empathetic heart, to hold the space for all that you feel, think, grieve, desire. To be witnessed in all that you are, all that you feel, all that you have been through.

For many people with our modern lifestyles, a second step is needed though beyond the vulnerability of sharing. When stress is stored so deeply in the body, in the nervous system, talking about it and being vulnerable, although beneficial, may not be enough to release the deep tension that is now physically held in the body. Modalities such as Access Bars, Cranial Sacral, and Network Spinal Analysis release the tension on a deep physical level by releasing tension along the spinal cord and fascial and muscular systems, which all directly effect the autonomic nervous system. This leaves the system in a place of ease, receptivity, open-ness, peace. This is where health and healing start – through the power of vulnerability and these body therapies that reset the stress response.