Chapter 4 Becoming vulnerable


Continuing on with the processing and integration of the insights during my covid hiatus in bed, I am discovering that many of the wisdoms take time and require patience to be truly understood and expressed. A big one that surfaced for me was becoming vulnerable.


We all roam around our day oblivious of our true vulnerability. Of course why not, because if we kept thinking about it, we would be living in fear. Yet each of us are invited to face this at some point in our lives and for me this was the time for me to explore vulnerability in its depths. This is not the same as the vulnerability one might feel riding a bike on a busy street ( another story ) but uniquely this was the vulnerability of become a patient.


To transform myself into what I had “feared” to become despite taking care of tens of thousands of patients myself over the last 20 + years being a physician. Most of us in healthcare go about our days and nights taking care of the sick. But do we ever stop to wonder what it would be like to be in the opposite chair or hospital bed of that patient. NO. Why? Our time is busy enough to stay engaged in the science of medicine and healing, than being preoccupied with these thoughts which would distract us from our chief aim.


This was not a feeling that could be balanced out with the mind. This had to be experienced within every cell of my body. I had no control of anything that was happening. My wife brought me food to eat at the appropriate time, I could not do it myself. She told me when to swallow my vast array of pills through out the day ( another fear for another post), I had no concept of time. She set up my nebulizers and told me when to do my spirometer, I was too weak to do it myself. My doctors prescribed my pills, I as a doctor had no control of it. My vital signs ( blood pressure, oxygen, blood sugar, heart rate) had to be checked frequently, my gracious wife did that and logged it all, for I again was too weak to check them. AT every step I was disempowered to become a patient and not a doctor, and become vulnerable.


Vulnerability for me was about having no control, or no say in my circumstances or future. Each of us interpret vulnerability uniquely whether through a financial crisis, loss of a loved one, a change in our living situations, a demanding vocation, yet it is experienced in the same way, a force of powerlessness. And perhaps it was more about letting go of our ego that keeps us “ invulnerable” and requires us to rest, drop our guard, and put our burden down, so we may recoup.


This was a much necessary pause in a life that for me starts at 200mph at 430am each day in a 1000 different directions simultaneously, yet now during this illness, I was in a forced and sudden deceleration that was out of my control. I surrendered and submitted to the reality that I was a patient. This was very hard and emotional as I had become that which I did not want to be. I had to accept reality as it was and not as I was fantasizing it to be. Vulnerably grounded me. I was invited to surrender.


So I felt through it all. The pain of it, the lack of control, the rawness of the emotions, the nakedness of my ego and then something amazing happened. As I went deeper and deeper, and held space for all that shouted up with tears of anguish, and i went through that long dark vulnerability passage, I started to heal. I got better each day. The more I accepted my mortal body and grounded my life for where I am and how things are, in that vulnerability I healed. MY cells became invulnerable ! Fighting off the infection and the inflammation was a sign that I had gone from vulnerability to surrender to invulnerability.


Still each day in my recovery, I find myself accelerating again, trying to control my environment, but I am presently more aware of what the lesson of the universe was teaching me, in which trying to control the flow is not possible, or warranted. Staying in a state of grace and gratitude supplemented by innumerable pauses throughout my day, reminds me that control was an illusion of my mind and not of my heart. Staying vulnerable affords me the necessary gear shifting to appreciate life and not squander it on the road of my journey.


This is where the art of medicine and humanity return to us as a gift. Our emotions are guides to helps us evolve. Vulnerability certainly was this gift for me. Do I have even more empathy than before towards those who suffer? Absolutely. For it is only once we experience that we truly know. Till then it is just a holographic illusionary game of the mind that we call life.


I love you

Author: Brown Knight

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