Katie Rose
from: Katie Rose
Category: General Discussion

Rest & Vulnerability - The Song of Stillness

Rest and Vulnerability - The Song of Stillness
My recent learning has taken me by surprise - which is not really surprising, because to learn is to be willing to be constantly surprised- but something crept up on me that I was not aware of and it was to do with resting and, by extension, vulnerability.  

Being firmly instructed to rest by a fiercely compassionate acupuncturist has proved to highlight that Western culture is wired up to burn out, and so, unless I am mindful, am I.  Even though I checked out of the conventional crash-and-burn corporate lifestyle, I realise I have nonetheless been driving myself along without a full understanding of the importance of rest.  So I have started dismantling the engine that powers my tendency to over-work and what I am discovering is that it is the willingness to be vulnerable that is key to allowing rest.  

After listening to Brene Brown’s TED Talk
The Power of Vulnerability, whilst on air with Energy Brown on Inspired Talk, Radio Verulam, I have been reminded that vulnerability is the key to creative expression and fulfilling relating, as it allows us to drop all masks, pretences or shields and let the full spectrum of our humanity - with all its imperfections - to be seen.  To be open to any transformative, loving or creative process requires being willing to be vulnerable and to enter and surrender to the still, restful, receptive place. In this space we can more fully receive the inspiration, love and abundance of life.

So what prevents us from being more open and vulnerable? Ultimately fear and shame.

It is our fears, and ultimately the fear of death, that keep many of us running around at break-neck pace.  Deep within there is a fear of being obliterated by the stillness of rest, the stillness of death.  Yet, as the powerful celebration by the 5 Rhythms community of dear, beautiful
Gabrielle Roth’s recent death demonstrated, Stillness can be understood and embraced simply as a natural, deep and rich rhythm in life.

Shame is the fear that we are not enough - that at core we are inadequate and that we cannot be seen for our real selves - which may lead us to attempt to fill up the ‘not-enough’ place with externals - “I feel not enough unless my diary is full, unless I have 5 billion friends on Facebook, unless I have the latest iPhone, unless I am constantly earning and achieving, unless I have saved the world and helped all my sick friends and gone shopping and cleaned the house this afternoon...” which basically boils down to “I am not enough unless I am a good girl/boy according to whatever belief system I am judging myself/being judged by.”

Shame arises from competition and comparison - we tell ourselves or have been told we are not good enough according to a measuring stick. Take the measuring stick away and there is no shame  - which means to say “I Measure Up As I Am” - ie - “I am inherently good and my inherent goodness cannot be measured, commodified or pressurised into conformity to any systems or structure - and that all these cultural tape-measures, grading systems and numbering processes are only helpful to me for very practical things like buying apples.”  

One reason we buy into the measuring stick game is because it gives us a sense of self and way of simplifying reality into what is good or bad.  So there can be fear when we consider letting go of the measuring sticks that we might suddenly become amoral or monstrous in our behaviour.  I hear clients with cancer talk about the difficulty of saying No to friends and family whilst having treatment, because they feel guilty.  Yet actually when we slow down and listen for the truth of who we really are and what we really need, we naturally begin to act with more integrity - which means ‘wholeness’ - acting in alignment with the truth of all levels of our being - which in turn makes us more truthful with others.  

Vulnerability has its roots in the word ‘wound’ and shame is often a covering we develop to cover our wounds.  It is however, only a sticking plaster.  Our wounds often contain the seeds of our brilliance and when we allow another trusted soul to witness us at the core place - where it hurts, where it matters, where it’s scaldingly painful and searingly ecstatic at the same time - there and then magic happens.   For just the process of allowing it to be seen is transformational. The witness takes on the role of the wizard - the reflection of our own wisdom - and whizz! - the wound becomes a site of learning, creativity, insight, development.   

In rest and in meditation, we become our own witness.  We are able to embrace the wounded child or battered lover inside that is bleeding and heartbroken and to say “yes I see you, I am coming for you. I will no longer leave you here alone, I will gather you up in my arms and hold you while the tears flow, I will sing to you, I will bathe you, I will take care of you. Tell me what you need.”

Rest allows us to become creative - in stillness ideas, insights and daydreams emerge. Some will evolve into breakthroughs if given space, for vision is just the empowered bigger sister of daydreaming.  Others may need to be discarded or upgraded - for rest gives us the resources to be brave and let go. I may discover that the project/ job/ relationship I once cherished has now fulfilled its purpose and can be lovingly released.  Rest allows me to step away from that which no longer fits and to find my own inner fit with myself.

As we dive in our own deep waters, we become aware of archetypal swells within collective tides. As
Jeff Foster discusses in his description of Depression as an invitation to Deep Rest - we become able to put aside the exhausting false story of our life and to become aware that we are in truth a home for the waves of the ocean of existence.  

Originally the root of the word rest comes from Proto Germanic ‘rasto’ - meaning ‘a measure of miles’ - so rest is actually not a diversion from the journey but an integral part of it. The rest we take is moving us forward. In the stillness we are dancing. In the silence we are singing.


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If you are seeking respite and a creative space amidst the seasonal madness please do join me at the following events:
* Singers Salon- 1st, 8th, 15th December - flap free singing in Crystal Palace - 2-4pm
* Forest Hill Singing Group - Nov 21st & Dec 19th, 7.30-9.30pm
* Garden of Roses Christmas Tree Party - Dec 6th, InSpiral Lounge
* The Big Om - 12.12.12 - Zu Studios, Lewes - tickets going fast!
* Sonic SoulStice Celebration, Buddha on a Bicycle - 7-9pm
* Naked Dragon Interactive Solstice Concert, 7.30-10.30pm, Chertsey
All info available on my
Events Page

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