We cannot know the truth of who we are without experiencing vulnerability. It is a natural human experience. Vulnerability is not pathological. Rumi, the ancient Sufi poet and mystic, writes, “Kiss the snake to discover the treasure.” Many of us run from the snake, not because we don’t long for the treasure, but because we were never taught to kiss the snake. In fact, in this country, many of us were taught to run.
Activist and teacher, Joanna Macy, writes, “Many of us who grew up in the dominant society or operate within it hide our pain from the world, even from ourselves.” Today we are invited – through pain killers, food, the enticing distraction of social media, and more – to move away from that deep, vital space within us. As we continue to experience less and less of our lives, we slowly become emotionally illiterate, less connected, and, therefore, less loving – mostly to ourselves. As we become more skillful at hiding, the masks that we wear then start to become rigid, and, slowly over time, we begin to forget what is truly living within us.
The design that I teach is called Sourced Design. It starts with the self and comes from decades of working with vulnerability in myself, people, communities, and organizations. Through a cultural design program at Springhouse, I use this design to teach and mentor those interested in thriving. Letters of intent are being accepted for Fall 2024. It’s low-residency, so you can be right where you are in the world, come a couple of times to beautiful Floyd, VA in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and learn about creating the conditions for thriving in community. Click here for more information about the Cultural Design Program.