Considering the Inherent Strength of Vulnerability and Fragility.
Hubs has a wonderful eye for the unusual and beautiful - he spotted this downed but intact birds nest when we were out walking Cully this afternoon. No sign of eggs, but we have had incredibly strong winds over the past few days so it is hardly surprising that there are some casualties from the treetops at the moment.
This beautiful and delicate structure resonated quite powerfully for me as I am considering vulnerability from many angles of late - both personal and professional. This is what I am writing about today. In no particular order, some of the vulnerables and fragiles I am thinking about include:
* I have a sore left arm from a measles/mumps booster vaccination earlier this week as I will be traveling overseas and do not wish to risk passing along preventable diseases to vulnerable persons via passive exposure; measles is on the rise again. Herd immunity needs to be retained, and the devastating harm to a foetus that the measles virus can cause can be catastrophic in scope. This is not a vulnerability of my own, therefore, but a precaution for the vulnerable around me.
* One of the families that I am working with right now as an End of Life Doula is a tight unit, and the mother has been living with dementia for some time so she is now in a home and the husband is living alone. The daughters take good care to feed and be present with their mother to ensure her quality of life, and everyone visits the mother every day. Up until recently they all went for walks and lunch out twice a week, but a recent fall has meant a change in the lifestyle and activity rhythm of the entire family. The mother is so in love with walking and cuddling her soft toy doll, still so vibrantly involved with her world that the increasing frailty and vulnerability of her body is challenging for the family to encompass. I stay in touch, but as lightly as possible - the family bond is strong, and I do not need to exert my involvement, so this relationship of End of Life Doula and client is also delicate yet strong.
* I am writing a good deal of academic material at the moment, and deadlines are looming - but I still need to be available to my spouse, my dog, and my friends. I need to balance the needs of clients as well as my own personal needs to work towards a healthier work/life balance for myself. I am vulnerable at times to old patterns that saw me subsuming my own needs and wishes to that of everyone else around me - I am happy to know that I get better at this balance every day, but sometimes it is hard work for me. Occasionally it is good for me to remind myself that the vulnerable and fragile person in need of support and compassion is myself. In professional terms, both my academic and End of Life Consultant self benefit from this reminder and mindfulness on my own behalf.
No matter what the winds of change bring you this week Gentle Reader, I wish you a safe harbour that you can create for yourself and lovingly tend to as you need. I hope that you are able to understand that vulnerability is not weakness, but is often the foundation of our strongest and wisest self.
If you are looking for support for yourself or someone you know at end of life, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I am an End of Life Consultant and Doula who is always available to listen and offer support and compassionate responses. I will answer your questions honestly, and I will allow you to be fragile yet resilient simultaneously.