Monday, 24 June 2013

The Heart Chain

"Don't worry if you wake up in the middle of the night and find that I am gone from my bed, Mummy. I might be out rampaging. You know, cause it's a full moon and that means werewolving"
-My son, this past Friday night.

After you stop laughing, or wondering what the? You may also be thinking - what could that possibly have to do with the title of today's blog? It is coming, just wait for it.

The myths and legends around the full moon and moon culture in general are interesting. Does it really only seem like more "crazies" come out during a full moon, and are there are small epidemics of strange things that happen during those times? Is the planet more vulnerable during full moons? This past weekend we even had a supermoon.  I did not ask my son how that effects the werewolves. Just in case you are wondering what a supermoon is:

"A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. The technical name is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system...The association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides has led to claims that the supermoon phenomenon may be associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but the evidence of such a link is widely held to be unconvincing" - Wikepedia.

Now that you know what a supermoon is, what I really wanted to talk about today is how my son's bedtime fantasy story prompted me to think about vulnerability. Werewolves are vulnerable, in most versions of the story, to the moon. Superman is vulnerable to Kryptonite.  I mention that because we just watched Superman Returns.

In the movie, Superman returns after a 5 year absence. During this time Lois Lane writes a Pulitzer Prize article called "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman" - easily translated to why she doesn't need Superman. Without a goodbye from him, or any explanation, her way of blocking the pain was to put a box around her heart, chain it and lock it up. It was the only way she thought she could survive the pain. She locked out (or in?) her vulnerability.

Superman is vulnerable too - not only to Kryptonite, but by his need to "save the world" and balance his love for Lois at the same time. Feeling alone as the only one of his kind (another vulnerability - loneliness), he flew away in search of his destroyed planet to try and find a connection. Connection is one of the first topics that Brene Brown talks about in her Ted Talks on vulnerability (see link below).

The problem is, the fight with vulnerability is a fight we can never win, and I am now returning to the belief we shouldn't want to win. I have recently experimented with trying to put my heart in box, chain it and throw away the key, while letting the lid to the other box swing wide open. I was thinking it could work if I could stick to some rules and allow myself to become dominated by logic and control. But my need for vulnerability is in fact very strong and its waging a tough war.

A friend of mine recently reminded me of this very insightful Ted Talks with Brene Brown on vulnerability: It has had almost 10 million views and so there is a good chance that you have watched it. If you have not, I highly recommend it.

She talks about a group of stories from individuals who she termed "whole-hearted" - these were people who were successful and emotionally strong, who did not "numb their emotions", but understood that “staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection [and joy].”

A few blogs ago I wrote about "The Contract". I still support clear, open and transparent communication in my tongue and cheek way of suggesting we preplan and contract all of our relationships. I think that in this case, the vulnerability comes from what is proposed in "the contract" - the expression of our wants and needs and likes and dislikes and it outlines what we understand to be the risks. Assuming the risk is, of course, the hardest part, and requires the most courage.

Our vulnerability ebbs and flows every day, every week, every year. Right now I am at a high point. Every time I apply for a job or go for an interview, I have to embrace vulnerability. But I am not going to get a job if I don't.  Every time I write a blog (serious or funny, it doesn't matter) and post it, I am baring myself. Every time I make a mistake in front of my children, in something I have said to them and I have to apologise - I open myself up to shame. But only if I look at it that way. I am also teaching my children that one makes mistakes and one must apologise. An example of how to be a noble human "being".

And, even if I tried to throw away the key that will unlock the chains around my heart in a box, I don't need it and I don't need to give it to somebody either. My heart will break the chains and the box on its own. There are two scenes I have watched many times in my life that make me think of hearts and vulnerability. One is the powerful image of the Grinch's expanding heart which gives him super Grinch strength (10 Grinches plus 2!) after he discovers the Whos are singing, holding hands in a circle, even though he stole all their presents. He realizes of course that their connection, even though they were vulnerable to theft, is what gives them joy.

The second is the speech that Gigi gives Alex in the movie, He's Just Not that Into You, after she potentially misreads his signals and is rebuffed after trying to express her interest in him (very awkward and funny make-out seen for those of you who have not seen the movie). She says to him:

"I may dissect each little thing and put myself out there so much but at least that means that I still care. Oh! You've think you won because women are expendable to you. You may not get hurt or make an ass of yourself that way but you don't fall in love that way either. You have not won. You're alone. I may do a lot of stupid shit but I'm still a lot closer to love than you are".

Most of the songs I researched on chained hearts - including an awesomely cheesy song by Toto, referred mostly to others having chained their hearts. As I have said before, and it seems to be a common preach throughout my blogs, is that I am accountable for and to myself. In this case I tried to put the chains on - but I know they won't stay. Because my heart, which is me, chooses emotion and I know my destiny (or density as George McFly says) is to be a wholehearted person.
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