Isaac went to music camp for Spring break.
He’s in 4th grade and has participated in everything from MMA to football to playing trumpet at school. But until we started hiring an instructor to teach him guitar in our home, I’d never found him completely committed to anything. Guitar, however, seems to be the thing that has finally sparked his creative and ambitious nature. He practices every single day, without complaint, and wouldn’t you know it–he’s actually getting pretty damn good.
So, I figured I’d give him a chance to be immersed in music all week, rather than spend 6 hours a day playing video games and annoying his parents. Needless to say, it was a smashing success; Isaac is even more excited about playing guitar than he was before camp and he’s making incredible progress.
On the last day of camp, all of the parents gathered in the main music room to watch their kiddos perform with everything from pianos to violins to guitars. Some performances were solo, others were in groups, and as each mini musician took the stage, I found myself getting increasingly emotional.
I’m a highly sensitive person, and it’s not uncommon for me to be deeply moved, but in this particular instance I was shocked at the tears that began to well in my eyes. Why the hell was I crying? Some of these kids could barely hold a tune, and Isaac hadn’t even took the stage yet–still, I was completely overcome with emotion; so what was actually going on here?
After a few moments I realized what was so touching about this scenario; it had nothing at all to do with music and everything to do with vulnerability.
These kids were standing up on a stage, in front of a group of people comprised of mostly strangers, and just putting it all out on the line. Most of them were obvious beginners, yet there was no shame in their lack of expertise and no visible apprehension. They may not have been overly confident in their abilities, but they didn’t let that stop them from taking the stage.
They just got up there and played.
It was such a beautiful thing to witness, and I was truly grateful for the opportunity to see vulnerability in action. These kids inspired me to continue to be more vulnerable in my life, to take risks and let go of outcomes, to figuratively take the stage regardless of the presence of fear. As adults, we can often get so tied up in our stories, so bogged down by our bullshit, that we don’t take many opportunities to be vulnerable.
We’re scared like hell of vulnerability.
This makes complete sense, of course–vulnerability is scary. But it’s also liberating, growth-enhancing, and inspiring. It’s a powerful tool in helping us connect with others on a real level; it gives us the courage to trade in the darkness of our shame for the light of our worthiness. If we can find that courage to be vulnerable, we can also find ourselves in a most auspicious position–one in which we’re able to better understand others by virtue of accepting and understanding ourselves.
Attaining the courage to be vulnerable is tough, but it’s often found in the most unlikely places–in this case, on an otherwise uneventful Friday afternoon, in a completely ordinary music room.
Where can you find the inspiration to be more vulnerable? In your children? Your partner? A co-worker? A friend? A parent or a sibling? Is there someone in your life who exudes this most inspiring level of vulnerability–the kind that makes you feel like you can put it all out on the line too, without the fear of rejection or ridicule?
Chances are, there is at least one person like this in your life. The rest are looking for someone to help them embrace their own vulnerability–maybe that person is you.