Being Vulnerable Without Giving Up Your Authority

by | Nov 21, 2017 | Creativity

Working as a body coach and hands-on body healer, I ask to be vulnerable with my clients. Funnily enough, being vulnerable doesn’t come to me as easily as I had thought. However, what I’ve noticed is when I ask to lower my defenses, it helps get me out of my preconceived notions about myself, about the person, and about what might unfold during the session. Likewise, I wonder, will this spark a possibility of more openness in them?

Professionalism does not have to create separation…or does it?

Most bodyworkers, massage therapists and healers have been trained to keep a professional distance from their clients. Probably to avoid burn-out, to avoid the sexual component of body work, to avoid being sued. As a result, this creates an unnecessary invulnerability, a fake separation. This dynamic can foster a “I-know-better-than-you” attitude which is off-putting to clients and does nothing to open the client to their own healing capacities. Furthermore, it stops the practitioner from receiving all energies and information that could contribute change for them and the client.  I often wonder, what if the healer can also be vulnerable, open and present to all energies, awareness and information from their client and the universe?

Here’s a piece I wrote – poetic style – as I was attempting to put into words how I work with being vulnerable without giving up my authority or diminishing myself.

What does it mean to be vulnerable in my work with you?

By vulnerability I mean utter presence with myself and the energies around me.

I mean the strength of never giving up me for you.

Being vulnerable is like me standing naked in the wind with you before me.

With your body.

With your being.

With all the baggage you’ve gathered through the years

Being present with all of it.

The truth and the lies.

The beauty and the ugly.

What you say you want to be healed or changed.

What your body shows it can or cannot change.

And what you and I believe will or will never heal or change.

And all the reasons why and why not.

And all of this lasts for a moment. And then it changes.

Some days I am tempted to assume . . .

THAT what you ask for will show up how you imagine it will.

THAT you are basically good and kind.

THAT you actually desire to change something.

THAT you function essentially the way I do.

If I assumed any of the above, it would be like wrapping a layer of armour around myself, with each assumption, creating an invulnerability and no receiving of what is actually available to both of us in that moment.

And this leads me to the strength that vulnerability is.

It takes strength to eliminate and un-define my projections, expectations and judgements of you and your body, of me and my body. 

It takes strength to stand with you, with my barriers down, perceiving everything, and letting go my points of view. 

This strength of vulnerability contributes to my inner authority and expertise as I trust myself to trust you and the moment.