The Power of Vulnerability

Jane Anetrini

Lord, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

This is the first line of the well-known “Serenity Prayer.” The word serenity means calm and untroubled. We are so often troubled by the things we cannot change. People, their behavior, circumstances, our past, the weather! Don’t we wish we could bring rain to where the fires are or stop the rain where there is flooding?

It is a powerful desire to have serenity—to be calm about the things we cannot change.

The second line of the prayer is:

The courage to change the things I can.

Why does it take courage to change? Change requires vulnerability. It requires being open to something different—changing your expression, habits, relationships, leadership, and job…!  All these things go from what you know and are familiar to something new and unknown. And what is unknown makes us feel vulnerable. To be vulnerable is a courageous act. Brené Brown, a researcher and teacher, says:

The definition of vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. But vulnerability is not weakness— it’s our most accurate measure of courage. Being brave is feeling scared or awkward, accepting those feelings, and moving forward anyway.

In a current book I am reading, How to Forgive What You Cannot Forget, the author says this:

We can’t change what we have experienced. But we can choose how these experiences change us.

This summarizes parts one and two of the Serenity Prayer in one sentence!

The third line of the prayer is:

and the wisdom to know the difference.

The entire prayer is:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Ah, Wisdom!

I am at that stage in my life where I could be labeled a Crone. No longer a girl or a young woman. Past middle age. I don’t know at what age you become a crone but I know I have passed it! One of the blessings of this stage of life is supposed to be greater wisdom. With wisdom, as the prayer suggests, comes the ability to see what we can and cannot change.

Recently, David Karchere wrote about walking our life path, acknowledging that our paths are thorny at times.

We cannot deny that we were born into a non-ideal world and that there are things not of our own making that come with the territory of being a human being. Some of the thorns we deal with result from the world we were born into—some as close as our earthly family and some as large as the country where we arrived.

There are also the thorns that have resulted from our choices: some direct, some indirect. The friends we choose and the job we choose can come with thorns. Usually, there are more blessings than thorns, but the thorns are there to be dealt with.

Sometimes the thorns come from making a decision we really thought was wise. I moved to Colorado to partner in a Chiropractic business, be close to Sunrise Ranch, and have new adventures. That partnership turned into a financial, emotional, and vibrational mess. I never thought my partner would behave as she did. I left the practice, lost money, and lost friends who were once mutual but felt sorry for my partner and judged me harshly. I had people I respected dismiss me without knowing any of my part of the story.

It was a thorny path. I learned a lot. I touched my strength, my own assurance, and began a new life. I have practiced on my own since 1987, and I am doing fine! I would have worked at a checkout stand in a grocery store if I needed to. I had the courage to change the things I could and the wisdom to choose.

I have good news for you! I did all that when I was 32. So, you don’t have to be a crone to be wise. I took steps to be calm and untroubled in a troubled, thorny situation, and in that serenity, I became wise. In the untroubled and calm state, I opened to the possible, to the potential. We can all do that.

David Karchere said this in last week’s Pulse of Spirit:

We are here now, and the truth of us is present in the realm of potential…available to be manifest. We are here to let that truth live and let it have its way here and now—to let it have its way with us individually, for sure, and then collectively.

Let that truth live and have its way with you. To let something have its way with you means you are willing to be in union with it and allow that union to manifest through you. You need to be vulnerable and courageous! That’s how it is for me. Let Thy will, the will of the Wonderful one within me, be my will. Let my human capacities yield to my Being.

And let me not be distracted by the things in my world that are not in my own best interest. Even though I’ve made decisions that have taken me down challenging paths, let me continue to say yes to the truth in every moment. I don’t want to be a part-time creator. I want to be vulnerable and open to the possible. I want to have that kind of courage where no moments are wasted being afraid of change and no moments are given away to reaction or the circumstance.

That requires some discipline. Staying calm and untroubled often requires assistance. At times, I need to ask for God’s grace. I need to ask for a greater vision. I need to put things on my altar and let them rest there until the wisdom shows up. As I said, things can get thorny even when we are paying attention to our greatest wisdom. And things may be working out just perfectly. Either way, when we surrender to it, we have a greater vision of the big picture.

With that vision, we also have the opportunity to see how we may have participated in creating those thorny situations. Was I being honest? Was I paying attention? When I came to Colorado for that new work opportunity, there were no signed agreements—no paper trail. The person who helped us separate heard both our stories and said he couldn’t believe we were ever in the same room together! I co-created that mess.

I would like to add my own words to the end of the Serenity Prayer:

As I choose, may I be honorable. May I be in my integrity. May my choices increase my stature as a daughter of God. May I be trustworthy.

As we do these things, we create a powerful vibrational field—a field that can be searched like the Internet. When someone is looking for integrity, your image pops up! Looking for honor, there you are! You or someone else in this powerful vibrational field. We are like a website that has great search engine optimization.

All the qualities of a conscious creator direct people to this website. It’s a website that is updated with every act of love, integrity, honor, and courage——not a real website!

Let us welcome serenity, be courageously vulnerable, and wisely steward our worlds, strengthening the vibrational network present in the world today.

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laurence Mendes
laurence Mendes
August 27, 2023 12:21 pm

Today I again enter personal spiritual retreat. Words that dovetail with vulnerability are mellow, soft, open, tender, and yielded, many more no doubt. These are divine feminine qualities and in this, Life can intercede and pour into my vessel to renew. Then a new butterfly is born to fly, and manifest also the single eye qualities of the sacred masculine, in Oneness. Such practical Spirituality here to live, TO LIVE I say to myself. In repentance and forgiveness. Salutations, Laurence in England.

Fiona Gawronsky
Fiona Gawronsky
August 26, 2023 8:13 am

The Serenity Prayer of American, Reinhold Niebuhr, offers humble reassurance. Jane quotes the first three lines, but there is a further verse which reflects a more Christian sentiment.

Here is a line in the second part: “Accepting hardships as a path to peace,” for accepting the world the way it is.

Niebur came from German immigrants. I imagine, coming to America was full of possibility for the parents though history would take a turn and plunge the nation in a grave conflict of interest as America took sides with the Allies and participated in both the First and Second World Wars against German aggression in Europe. As a theologian, Niebur was not shy as a commentator on politics and public affairs.

Niebur also says, “Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time.” This is all we have. This gives us an immediate experience and an immediate opportunity as well. What could you do if this was all you had, moment to moment? Each moment is pivotal.

To quote Martin Exeter’s poem, “Thus It Is”:
“Return to calm and noble
Character of life.
Blaze forth pure virtue;”

Accepting our vulnerability, often in the face of difficulty, we have a moment to consider the wisdom of knowing what is our right action, what is incumbent for us to do. To bring pure virtue.

August 25, 2023 1:26 pm

So beautifully expressed Jane – thank you!!!!

Jerry Kvasnicka
Jerry Kvasnicka
August 24, 2023 7:31 pm

Many human beings try to make themselves invulnerable by connecting to something in the external world, a relationship, a job, family, money, a belief system, etc. I am vulnerable in that regard. But in connecting to the ordering power of Love that is at the core of my being, I have found true stability and centering.

David Karchere
David Karchere
August 24, 2023 2:56 pm

Beautiful, Jane! Hard to imagine that the most powerful way to walk through a thorny world is with vulnerability. But it is. And in that vulnerability is the courage to be ourselves, the courage to own our creatorship.

Sue Statham
Sue Statham
August 24, 2023 9:10 am

Amazing to look back into the thorny patches and see the Grace that guided us even when we may not have been fully aware of it. Loved this piece thanks you.

Ernie Riedel
Ernie Riedel
August 24, 2023 2:59 pm
Reply to  Sue Statham

Isn’t this true! Thanks for reminding me Sue.

Ernie Riedel
Ernie Riedel
August 24, 2023 4:01 am

Thank you, Jane for your beautiful expression and words. Your thoughts are my thoughts!

Ron Free
Ron Free
August 24, 2023 2:33 am

I looked up the word crone and guess what…It ain’t you. Not even close.

I know you didn’t mean for the word to be taken literally. I recognized your usual wit and good humor.

And brilliance! Thank you for letting it shine.

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