Vulnerability is about being honest, and this includes embracing our dark side. No matter whether we find ourselves on the conservative spectrum or liberal, we often abuse morals and ideals in order to avoid our own shadow. In this turbulent ‘Trump era,’ where values fly high for all sides, vulnerability could become the currency that returns our sanity. My intention here is not political, but recent events coinciding with personal ones have created some urgency around the issue.
In the name of righteousness and higher ideals — personal, social, or political — we often establish a perimeter of comforting beliefs around us. This way we don’t need to face our own fear and insecurity. Instead of taking responsibility for our insufficiencies, we respond with judgment and morality. Fearing to face our simplicity and delicate humanity, we try proving our sophistication through how good, spiritual, or moral we are. Survival at any cost justifies the means to an end, but is basic survival what we really want?
If you’re interested in understanding how comfortable you are with your own vulnerability, take a moment to sense how you respond to abandonment, rejection, judgment, or betrayal.
Vulnerability Wasn’t Top Priority Growing Up
For most of us, childhood experiences left lasting imprints. When we got out of line, according to the values and needs of others, judgment or ridicule often followed. It became unsafe to express feelings and fears. Almost as a natural consequence, we began pretending that we don’t need anything and can do it ourselves. Hiding our true needs became the best strategy and we embarked on a journey of manipulating our way through life. To say the least, we became creative in coming up with ways to keep our true needs hidden — even from ourselves.
We learned to trust that suffering shown through sadness, crying, or pain point to or represent our vulnerability, though even these seemingly obvious markers may not really be signs of such at all. Often they are more representative of (un)conscious of manipulation of our partners. It’s safer to express needs through suffering. Not from bad intentions, but because it’s not as exposing.
What we call a ‘need’ easily turns into ‘demand.’ And what we often call ‘vulnerability’ becomes our personal way of blackmail and punishment. Even waiting silently and lonely for a response after an argument can ‘look and feel’ vulnerable. However, deep down hides a righteous expectation to be seen or heard. If we look close, we can discover pain buried beneath.
Practicing Vulnerability With Those Close to Us Makes Us More Human
When we’re truly vulnerable, we don’t use morality as a weapon in judging who’s right or wrong. What we do is recognize and acknowledge our feelings, fears, and needs. We do not generalize or base our arguments on past events, but respond to the feelings stirred through a specific event. We take off our masks and become available to ourselves and others. In many ways, we actually choose to become choice-less.
Betrayal, sacrifice, and other patterns that result in disappointment become central themes in our close relationships, but this is mainly because we enter those connections protected and guarded in the first place. Sacrifice, for example, is a tricky form of manipulation. We feel pain and righteousness at the same time. Sacrifice always leaves us with anger in our belly and the sense of missed opportunities.
I remember the deep pain I felt when my partner rejected my attempts to ‘help’ her time and time again. My response was to shut down and give her the silent treatment, while at times also throwing some moral judgment her way, such as “I give you everything I have, and what about you?”. But was I open when I gave so much, or rather feeling morally superior by loving ‘more’? I placed myself in an untouchable place and at the same time lost my vulnerability.
In relationships with those close to us we have a rare opportunity to exit the spiral of survival that gives us the illusion of staying on top of our game. That place which makes us believe we’re protected by high ideals, values, and other virtues — and sometimes also by self-judgment that we’re evil beyond repair.
Search for truth is a delicate process and doesn’t follow any defined path other than facing the complexity of our human existence as honestly, responsibly, and sincerely as we can. So long as we choose our personal safety and false importance, we prevent the power of vulnerability to guide us back to our hearts.
Vulnerability Can Be One of Our Greatest Teachers
There’s a big difference between saying and feeling things, and so a sentence like “I don’t need anything and can do it alone” can easily slip off our tongue. Nevertheless, the pain of loneliness and abandonment remains. There is no doubt that we can and could do many things by ourselves, like raising children, being without close friends, a lover, touch, recognition and the list goes on.
But what we really want is to learn to express our fears, and needs. Our demand for acknowledgment, the requirement to have our needs satisfied, or maintaining moral high ground, all leave us in a state of fight, in which receiving becomes impossible. Vulnerability forms the basis for our receptivity.
In expressing true vulnerability we hold the ground for our feelings and needs. We sense it as a state of integrity in which we accept the totality and complexity of our human imperfection. It’s a place of power, in which we accept that we need and thereby acknowledge our dependency on each other. It’s empowering when we connect with our humility and simplicity.
Where to begin being vulnerable?
Vulnerability is best expressed in the “I” form. We take responsibility for our own state of mind and feelings, and don’t hold our partners prisoners to our moral standards and ideals. We don’t use sacrifice, guilt, shame, or judgment to drive our point across.
It’s challenging, since it leaves us with little or no protection other than the acceptance of who we are. The “I” form takes the guessing game out of the relationship, where we expect our partners to ‘know’ what we fear, feel, or need.
This way those close to us can decide to satisfy our needs or not. Everything else turns into an expectations game in which there are no winners, and this triggers resistance. They feel manipulated. And for us, vulnerability holds the key to accepting more parts in ourselves, which forms the basis of coming out of hiding and denial, and into our light.
8 Incredible Reasons Witch Hazel Should Be Added To Your Medicine Cabinet
- The Facts:
There are many harmful chemicals lurking in most personal care products. There are enough natural alternatives out there, such as witch hazel that could eliminate your need to use these chemical-containing products at all.
- Reflect On:
How important is it for you to limit the number of harmful chemicals that you, your family and the environment are exposed to?
Witch Hazel is an ancient Native American remedy for a wide variety of ailments and people are starting to see why. Generally, in stores, we see witch hazel available in a clear liquid form in a bottle, but prior to that, it starts off as a shrub with yellow flowers.
There are two ways of getting the extract from the witch hazel bark, one as a distillation, this is commonly found in stores and generally has alcohol added to act as a preservative, or as a decoction. Many herbalists agree that the decoction method is superior because it makes a more concentrated version which means higher levels of tannins, which is the component that gives witch hazel its superior astringent properties. The distilled version is more shelf-stable, but just be aware of the alcohol that’s added, as some are sensitive to this.
Witch hazel can typically be used in the place of alcohol for treatment of many different skin irritations. It is recognized worldwide as a natural cleanser and toner, it’s clear that this product is absolutely great for the skin, so what benefits does it provide?
1. Clear Up Acne
A study, which was published in the Journal of Aesthetic and Clinical Dermatology showed that Witch Hazel was one of the most effective acne treatments out of 52 tested products.
This liquid can slow bacterial growth, speed up healing of scabs and reduce inflammation, redness, oil production and even the development of blackheads and whiteheads.
2. Protect From Skin Cancer
A study that was published in Chemical Research in Toxicology found that the polyphenols and tannins found naturally in witch hazel reduced the number of free radicals and stopped the growth of melanoma cells.
3. Cleanse Hair & Hydrate Dry Scalp
Witch Hazel is a common ingredient in many homemade, all-natural shampoos. It can reduce oil build up on the hair, which could leave your hair clean, shiny and potentially add more volume.
According to this study, witch hazel was able to reduce symptoms of a dry, itchy and irritated scalp.
4. Reduce Degenerative Effects Of The Skin
Because of the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of witch hazel, it can help to protect collagen and the skin’s elasticity. This provides a super cheap alternative to many of the expensive wrinkle creams, cleansers and toners out there. Try mixing Witch Hazel with vitamin E oil and some herbs or flowers such as rose or lavender for your very own home-made anti-aging serum.
5. A Useful Addition To Homemade Baby Wipes
If you are someone who is crafty, economical and practical then the idea of homemade baby wipes might be exciting for you. Witch Hazel is a perfectly safe ingredient to use in homemade wipes to wipe your babies bum clean. This is a great alternative to whatever chemicals may be lurking in those store-bought wipes. Making your own is also much better for the environment as homemade wipes don’t come packed in plastic.
6. Heal Stretch Marks?
Some claim that a witch hazel spray applied directly onto stretch marks once a day can help to eliminate the appearance of stretch marks. It’s so simple so at least it’s worth a try, considering it assists with inflammation and scarring this only makes sense.
7. Itch Remedy
Witch Hazel can be an excellent remedy for anything from bug bites, to eczema to chickenpox and poison ivy. You can put some in a spray bottle and add a few drops of lavender essential oil and find relief next time you or your children have an itch that scratching won’t help.
8. Heal Mouth Sores & Freshen Breath
Canker sores, bit lip or cheek? Simply swish some witch hazel around your mouth to help reduce irritation. This is also a great natural mouthwash that can help freshen breath. You can add a drop or peppermint essential oil for a more powerful fresh feeling, just be careful not to swallow.
All Natural Products, All The Way
With so many all-natural alternatives to our everyday products, one might begin to wonder why we even use mainstream store-bought products that are laden with chemicals and preservatives in the first place? It seems that the plant kingdom has a remedy for almost anything that ails us; it’s just that a lot of this knowledge has been lost and unfortunately it’s not a focal point for most manufacturers. Aside from countless recipes for natural homemade personal care and cleaning products online, some retailers are starting to understand our desire to eliminate chemicals from our lives and offer many alternatives, which are generally found at health food stores.
Study Reveals Popular Vaccine “May Kill More Children From Other Causes Than It Saves”
- The Facts:
Multiple studies have shown and emphasized that the DTP vaccine may actually kill more children than it protects from DTP. This is one of the latest to show it, known as the Mogensen study.
- Reflect On:
Reflect on the fact that this information is never really brought up within the mainstream medical community. All it takes is one CDC study to "debunk" several studies that show opposite results. What's really going on here? Is our health a priority?
There are numerous vaccine safety issues. It can boggle your mind how health authorities and pharmaceutical companies can deem them to be completely safe, necessary, and responsible for saving millions of lives. When people hear this, they usually just believe it without ever looking into it and doing their research, and don’t realize they are only presented with one side of the story. If you have 100 studies raising an issue with a vaccine, all it takes is one study from the CDC to say it’s safe, and that’s the research medical associations dish out to doctors as well as medical schools. After all, the pharmaceutical companies are the ones paying for the whole shebang; what they say, goes.
“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.” – Richard Horton, current Editor-in-chief of The Lancet
One example would be the vaccine ingredients themselves. Heavy metals, like aluminum and mercury, have been added to vaccines for approximately 100 years without any appropriate safety testing. Numerous studies point this out. You can access some of those studies and see some examples here.
Fast forward to 2017: researchers have now identified, in animal models, that the aluminum from a vaccine does not exit the body like aluminum from, let’s say, our food; it actually stays in the body, travels to distant organs and eventually ends up in the brain. Not only that, researchers also found some of the highest brain aluminum content ever measured in autopsies of the brains of people who were autistic.
You can read more about that and access those studies in the articles linked below:
It is simply no longer possible to believe…or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. – Dr. Marcia Angell
Questioning Vaccine Safety Is Suppressed
With all of these issues, why is there such a harsh reaction to questioning vaccine safety? Why can’t a doctor or professor keep their job if they question vaccine safety? Isn’t science about openly questioning? The day we stop questioning, when there are clearly multiple concerns and questions to be asked and addressed, is the day we abandon the possibility of doing real science.
“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” – Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard professor of medicine and former Editor in Chief of The New England Medical Journal (source)
The issue here is, vaccines are marketed as completely safe, and anybody who questions vaccines is made out to look crazy, dumb, or unscientific. This couldn’t’ be further from the truth, and there are a number of valid reasons why parents should not be forced to vaccinate their child.
The DTP Vaccine
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has long been a vocal critic of the lack of scientifically-based vaccine testing:
The public in both poor and rich countries has a right to scientifically-based evidence that international vaccine programs are as safe as possible and that they have been thoroughly safety-tested. The best metrics for measuring safety are studies comparing health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated cohorts. Yet, both the CDC and the WHO have aggressively discouraged the pursuit of such studies. – RFK Jr.
He wrote an article that goes into more detail about the DTP vaccine, it’s history, and what the current research suggests. It is becoming difficult to avoid the conclusion that the DTP vaccine is causing more harm than good.
In the video below, I go into more detail about the DTP vaccine. HERE is the study I reference in the video.
Simple Exercises To Help Reverse Damage Caused From Excessive Sitting
- The Facts:
In our modern lifestyle, we are sitting too much and for too long periods of time. This level of sedentary lifestyle is not natural for our bodies and could lead to very serious health issues if we do not address this issue.
- Reflect On:
How could you be more active throughout your regular day to reduce the impacts of sitting too much? Can you make some of these simple excises a daily habit to help limit the damages of sitting?
If you are here and reading this, chances are you have a job that involves long periods of sitting, and most likely staring at a screen. This has become the norm in our modern society and because our bodies are designed to move, to stretch and well, basically to be used, sitting for extended periods of time is causing us some serious damage. Some people are going as far as to say that sitting is the new smoking.
Have you experienced those moments when you finally get up from a sitting position and your butt is completely numb? Excessive sitting causes your legs and hips to become tight and leaves your glutes completely inactive, which does nothing to strengthen these areas. Then there is the dreaded slouch over the desk and computer that could be ruining your posture as well.
Think about how our society was before the industrial revolution, stock market and even recently with the invention of the computer. Us humans were tending our own gardens, washing and hanging our own clothes, we didn’t have cars and were, by default, much more active than we are today. We didn’t even have couches to sit on at the end of the day or more screens, in various shapes and sizes to stare at whilst sitting. It is straight up unnatural for our bodies to spend so much time being inactive and we are starting to see the consequences.
However, having awareness is the first step towards change, and there are some simple ways that you can begin to undo the damage that is caused by sitting. So without further a due, here are 7 simple exercises you can do now to reduce the damage caused by sitting.
Sit Less & Move More
Prevention is the best remedy. By simply being aware of how much you are sitting, you can begin to negate its effects. Whenever possible stand up, go for a little walk around the office, perhaps a little stretch or plank while you’re at it. To remind yourself to do this you can set a timer to go off every 30-60 minutes.
Consider using a standing desk perhaps to keep you on your feet and activating your muscles for longer, although you will still want to ensure you are incorporating some movement, as standing for hours on end is not necessarily good for you and your body either. A friend suggested a great idea to me once, which was to drink plenty of water. This will force you to get up often, not only to get more water but to also relive your bladder, this sounds silly, but it totally works. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with staying hydrated!
Stretch Out Those Hips
If you are really tight, the following exercises may be difficult at first, don’t push it only go to your level of comfort. With time you will gain the flexibility to go deeper as it will get easier after a while.
Nothing like some good old-fashioned squats to engage your glutes and your legs. Stand up tall, have the feet about hip width apart and facing a little bit outwards, bend down so your knees are at about a 45-degree angle, come up and flex your glutes when you do. Repeat 10 times to start, increasing every time you do this.
This is a classic move that you may already know if you’ve ever taken a yoga class. If you haven’t — no sweat, it’s a fairly simple exercise. Stand up straight and bend over, place your hands in front of you on the ground and slowly walk them out. If you are on your tiptoes for this, that’s totally fine, you want your body to be in a “V” shape. Hold this pose for 10 – 15 seconds at first, then increase the duration as you get comfortable. To come out of this position, walk your hands slowly back to your feet than stand up tall. You may be able to eventually have your feet flat on the ground as you do this, but it may take some time to achieve this.
The plank position is great for whole body strength. Simply get into a standard push up position, or rest your elbows on the floor, ensure your back is flat, like a plank and hold for 20 seconds to start. Over time, you can increase the duration of this exercise. It is an excellent way to strengthen the core and gets your legs and glutes involved as well.
Lay on your back on the ground, bring your legs up so your feet are about 1 foot away from your butt, place your hands flat on the floor and begin to raise your pelvis off the ground. Repeat 20 times, ensuring to flex those glutes every time you lift up. As this becomes easier, increase the number of repetitions.
Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. To start, bring in your right knee and cross your foot across your left leg, hug your right leg into your body while sitting up straight. Hold this pose for 10 seconds then switch legs. As this becomes easier you can move on the
Start this exercise by finding something to hold onto for balance. Start by swinging your right leg backward and forwards as high and as far back as feels comfortable to you. Repeat 20 times then switch legs.
Next up is side to side leg swings. Keep holding onto something for balance and swing your right leg out to the side as high as is comfortable and then in front of you towards your left as far as you can. Again, do 20 swings then switch legs. You may repeat if you are feeling especially tight.
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