Vulnerability & Story


March 21 is the 81st day of this leap year in the Gregorian calendar.   In the northern hemisphere the March vernal equinox (20th/21st) marks the start of spring and has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth.  In astrology, March 21st is the first full day of the sign of Aries.  It is also the traditional first day of the astrological year.

If you made New Year resolutions on the 1st of January this year how are you progressing?  If you are still on target; congratulations to you. If you have lapsed, start again on this celebratory day of new beginnings.


Today I abstain from alcohol for a year to support a very dear friend.  Her health is not good, she has been told by her doctors that her weight has to come down as it is putting pressure on her knees and hips, which will have to be replaced in the near future if she continues to behave as she does now.   She lives in the US; beer, wine, bread and sweet food are what cause her weight to fluctuate.  She has been yo-yo dieting for the past ten years.  Prior to that she was healthy, trim and happy in her body.  She is a creative director in a graphics company, food and drink are her ways of dealing with stress; she stuffs her mouth as tough it will keep the stress on the inside, and when she is calm she is back in the….‘when I get this job done….when I am thin….I will start tomorrow….I will be good…..I lost a stone last year so….I have no junk food in the house….I know I can do it, but it is not happening.”  The inner monkey story is always ready to get her over the hump in the same way each time, a revolving door of promises she makes to herself.  She says she is very vulnerable now and it started ten years ago when a relationship broke up, since then she tells herself stories about herself that are not true and if she keeps busy ‘working and eating’ she can avoid them.  I suggested she takes herself off to ‘Hippocrates’ instead of going on a holiday.  She is heading there today for a month.  She needs a clean break and focus on what is blocking her way to enjoying health.   She can just about afford a month there. Hippocrates will introduce her to a new way of understanding health and then embracing it as a way of life for the rest of her life.

Each week we have planned to check in and see how we are doing.  She is an important person in my life, we share a lot of memories and if I can help her build health again I am there for her as she was for me when I needed her help.   As I am having great success with abstaining from coffee I expect the same with alcohol.  There will be times of vulnerability and there will be lots of temptation.  Living between Ireland and France, alcohol is part of the daily diet and both countries produce their own variations.  If you want to make a change in your lifestyle; how you feed, nourish and exercise your body why not join us and see where it takes you too.  It takes courage to ask for help when you are vulnerable and we have all been there.  Moral support without judgment is one of the greatest gifts you can give to another and to yourself.  Is there someone you can support and is there someone to support you to  achieve your resolutions?


I took this photo on Monday and in some way I use it as a metaphor for our own ‘personal tree of life’.  The main trunk symbolizes your time line and the branches are the individual experiences you have had along the way.  This is a two or three-day exercise we do during a typical Possible Self program.  Draw your own tree of life from birth to now, each branch is a five-year period with sub-branches for events, people you lived with what you were doing etc.  You can do each one in a different color and do it all the way to now.  Take a small notebook and write vulnerability on a couple of pages.  Travel over your tree of life, and stick as many note papers by the number of times you felt vulnerable throughout your life.  Sit back reflect and observe if the feeling that went with each time you felt vulnerable was the same or different.

What did you do about your vulnerability each time?

Why and what does that tell you about yourself

Start to write your own story….once upon a time I was a small child who grew up to feel a sense of excitement, joy, terror, love, peace, anger, fear, creativity, imagination, playfulness, wonder and vulnerability living inside my body, mind and spirit, and in the world around me.  My journey is a roller coaster of feelings and emotions as a result of my experiences of the past, in the now and will be in the future.

What are my patterns and behaviors of thought, word and deed that inform my story of who I am to myself each day?

What story am I telling myself about myself?

Is it true?

Is it a fantasy?

Is it tangible and based in reality?

Am I in crisis?

Am I calm?

Am I out of control or in control?

Am I doing what I am saying?

Am I willing to be vulnerable about my own story?

“A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.” James Allen

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” Charles Darwin

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”  Havelock Ellis

“Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.” Anton Chekhov

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.”  William James

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”  Buddha

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”  Mark Twain

“Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.”  Henry David Thoreau

“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”  William Wallace

©Copyright the Possible Self 2012

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