Why There is Victory in Vulnerability


Being a “Signs From The Universe” junkie has its charms. How can I resist making a wish upon the sight of 11:11 on the clock? Or, when a streetlamp goes on or off above me, I cannot help thinking that I must be vibrating at an optimal frequency. And sure, there are lovely moments of synchronicity—like, say, when you’re musing about the best way to get your book optioned by a movie studio, and you are working on the film treatment, and you happen to find yourself sitting next to the COO of a major movie studio in the chilly outskirts of a suburban Chicago Starbucks.

Yeah, things like that.

I gong bath often. That helps, too.

My atheist friend says I should be on 10 milligrams—of anything. I say, I’ll just keep vibrating along. Life has been magical thus far … why would it stop being so now?

Ah, but here’s a twist.

What happens when we suddenly find ourselves at a major turning point in our lives? What happens when we find ourselves vulnerable to the changes taking place and the changes we sense must be identified to make in order to keep moving on? What happens then?  Do we cave into the fear and doubt or do we keep moving along, taking the hands of Trust and Faith? (Fine, sometimes I grab those hands and, yes, even I know that’s kind of needy and actually smacks me back down to another frequency.)

All of this comes to mind for a few reasons. For starters, it’s 2016 and I sense that many of us out there are making shifts, and maybe Shifts are making all of us into new humans. It’s the New Year. It’s that time of regrouping and moving into new realms and possibilities. It’s that time when we are faced with something so easily understood yet, at times, so curiously funky to implement and that is this: That inevitably we will reach a point in our lives when the THINKING that got us to where we are currently situated may not be the THINKING that will move us beyond it. What do you do when the YOU that you knew yourself to be is no longer the YOU your soul is nudging you to be?

What then? How do we maneuver through the terrain of vulnerability and significant life change?

Several years ago, it was clear to me that I was to pursue finishing a memoir about my Polish’s family’s mindbending odyssey during WWII. (The book was released in 2015.) I didn’t know it at the time, but by following that path, I would step into an epigenetics playground of unresolved family trauma and, oddly,  be thrust upon a nomadic journey that eerily mirrored my family’s plight as refugees during the 1940s. That’s not to say it hasn’t been luscious at times. It has. But upon reflecting back on it, it’s clear to me that something deeper within me has been attempting to turn the SHIP that is/was ME around.

The list of happenings still intrigues me. I lost a longtime job in 2014 (yet was OK with that).  I left a community I had known for more than a decade. I traveled across the U.S. and landed in places like Menomonie, Wisconsin! … and gaggle of house-sitting gigs in and around Chicago … while the book was about the be launched. I found myself hosting a vigil in Chicago for the 75th anniversary of Stalin’s mass deportation of Polish people. I passed up an opportunity to get back into the conventional workforce because The Universe gave me a sign to be a caretaker and head to Maui to oversee baby olive trees in a freshly planted olive grove. After 90 days, I returned to the Midwest for more booksigning gigs and came out the other side of 2015, realizing that I cashed in my 401ks and lived off my savings to make it all happen.

I also realized this: When you’re suddenly convinced that the phantom ghosts of your ancestors absolutely LOVE the idea that you are a creative receptor and you can be tapped in, tuned in and turned on like a radio, there’s no telling how many of them want to come out to play. Needless to say, all of this does something to one’s concept of home and place, yet it has offered me a tremendous opportunity to practice the art of Being Vulnerable.

Would I do it all again? In the same way?  In a heartbeat. Well, perhaps I’d Doubt less and Faith more.

Why? Well, there’s something quite powerful—if not perversely comedic—about vulnerability. As humans, we want to push it away; go back to the familiar; feel safe. We want to make sense of EVERYTHING. We have this need to FIGURE IT ALL OUT and MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN. But can we also experience a kind of victory by simply admitting the truth about where we are when WHERE we are doesn’t feel anything like “home?”

Wouldn’t that open the doors for new possibilities?

Recently, I caved into pressure and attended a Christmas service at my Polish mother’s megachurch. Truth be told, I think she’ll always be a Catholic, but for the sake of her marriage and such, why not gather in an arena filled with 7,500 Christians? I digress. They looked and smelled nice and that’s a good thing. The writer in me saw the dark comedy in all the Go To The Light business. Besides, for me, life is a spiritual smorgasbord, anyway, so I can find some Divine Truth just about anywhere. Needless to say, I asked for some guidance and a sign prior to heading into the service and I was pleasantly surprised when the pastor revealed the topic of his sermon: Home.

Coincidence? I think not. (Especially since I have been regrouping and determining where my next home will be.)

But the theme of the service was more than “home.” It was about those moments in our lives when we feel as if everything is being rearranged on the inside; times when Faith and Trust and Surrender are the best paths to take. I guess it’s akin to a kind of cosmic renovation—when our interior walls are being gutted and the insulation has come apart at the seams. It can look and feel messy, but ultimately, something new is being constructed.

To that end, like seeing our own exterior homes through their own renovations, I sense there’s something empowering to be experienced when we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable during a major interior remodel.

Maybe that is the one of the quickest ways to feel as if we’re back home—or, at least in the right neighborhood.


For an extended chat on the topic of vulnerability, listen to the podcast I was invited to appear on with the guys from IdeaLemon.





14 thoughts on “Why There is Victory in Vulnerability

  1. Pingback: Why There is Victory in Vulnerability | knowplacelikehomeonline

  2. Greg. Hello. It’s Dyane’s mom. Happy New Year to you. Just read your blog and must say I am overwhelmed with your thoughts and feelings about vulnerability.
    Today is a special day for me as I both mourn and reflect the passing of my husband seven yrs ago. Dyane adored him as you know.. But I digress or do I ? I continually am amazed by your writings Greg. Today your subject matter really hit a nerve and perhaps someday we can meet if you ever come to LA .
    I turn 80 in a few weeks and am in the midst of writing a storyline about my husband. Would love to find myself sitting next to a COO to hell me along. But hey… I have you .
    Seriously, please keep sharing your wisdom and poetry with words. The future is yours dear Greg.🎻

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Marie Abanga's Blog and commented:
    … But the theme of the service was more than “home.” It was about those moments in our lives when we feel as if everything is being rearranged on the inside; times when Faith and Trust and Surrender are the best paths to take… With these lines taken from Greg’s post, I reblog in all gratitude to Greg for sharing his journey and his quest with us all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe what I write is a sign? Strange how people from across continents, cultures and all could have some of these similarites. I love signs too and once wrote a post about them. Aw your book rocks, reading it now and can’t wait to finish and attempt a meagre review. Please don’t use your editor fingers when typing a reply to that 🙂 Well, currently I am coping to be honest – don’t know all but em hopefully I’ll get back on some board eventually, thanks and same to you 🙂


  4. Greg, Yesterday I read your poignant blog and responded in a lengthy and perhaps off the beaten path of words not addressing your message. I was to be honest in a state of mourning over the passing of my husband and Dyane’s father seven yrs ago.
    But as usual with my sense of computer illiteracy or lack of it , the comments didn’t get thriugh.
    So now in the wee hours if the morning I awakened and reread your thoughts. As I approach 80 in a few weeks I find that my personal search for home base is one of reflection and memories. Vulnerability is a welcomed virtue as one matures and see in the future both an inevitable end and a new and unforeseen future.
    I always look forward to reading your inward feelings of where you are in your life right now and where you have been. I see a future for you filled with continued exploration of your past and an exciting new life.
    Happy New Year!🎻🎵

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A usual I found your words so penetrating and touching Greg. I replied two time but I did not succeed in getting through. As I approach 80 years of age in a few weeks I find that my home is within my heart and memory bank.
    I treasure reading your blogs as they often reach the core of my youth and life and I visualize so much of what you write about finding yourself as you pursue your dreams. You already have accomplished so much. THANK YOU!


  6. It feels GOOD to read this hopeful, fascinating mocha coconut milk latte of a post when I have a bad case of the ugh-y blahs on a gloomy, cold, rainy day! At least I’m safe & sound in my HOME, which I appreciate more now thanks to the attitude adjustment I got by reading your post.

    (And at least I’m cozied up next to Miss Lucy and a brand-new, groovy, futuristic Dyson space heater courtesy of Mom & QVC!)

    I’m also very happy to see that my friend Marie reblogged it – she has great taste.

    As for this line of yours, my intrepid soul:
    ” you happen to find yourself sitting next to the COO of a major movie studio in the chilly outskirts of a suburban Chicago Starbucks.” I

    I’d like to hear more about THAT, please! I love :)))))))))))
    Dy “30 mg” Harwood


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