In this episode of the VulnerABILITY Podcast, host Marisa Donnelly welcomes Rabbi Simon Jacobson, founder of The Meaningful Life Center and author of Toward a Meaningful Life to talk about the challenge of embracing your vulnerability and learning to let go of all that you can’t control, a message that’s all the more relevant in pandemic times.

Highlights From the Episode:

[2:05] “In times like this, when our outer lives are so disrupted, the key thing is to remember that your inner life is completely within your control. You may not control your calendar, especially now, but you can control your attitude.”

[3:10] “Usually when we lean on our comfort zones, our security blankets – our jobs, our calendars, our schedules – so that provides some security. But when that’s not there, it’s absolutely vital and critical to build that inner resource.”

[3:45] “We can’t control any of these outside things. The only thing that we can control is ourselves and what’s within. And we have to figure out ways to build that inner self in order to respond to what’s around us.”

[5:35] “The more we can find peace in ourselves and then give it out to people, the more healing it brings.”

[5:50] “The truth is, we are social animals, we are social creatures. We need each other.”

[6:45] “For many people, vulnerability is a very frightening prospect. We don’t want to be vulnerable, it sounds defenseless.”

[7:00] “Love, true love, is a celebration of your vulnerability with another person.”

[7:45] “We learn as children that we need to protect ourselves, and vulnerability becomes very threatening. But in truth, vulnerability is really our most natural state — the way we’re born and the way we deserve to be loved and protected and nurtured.”

[8:30] “When you know how to celebrate your vulnerability, you become, paradoxically, invulnerable.”

[10:10] “Technology is not going to save you. You’re not going to become a more loving person because of technology.”

[10:20] “We became so attached to our gadgets that often we lack the ability to just have an eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul connection without checking your text.”

[11:35] “Some people say your entire life comes down to one word—love—the love you give and the love you receive. It is the essence of all of life.”

[12:00] “This vulnerable time is allowing us the opportunity to connect in ways that we perhaps took for granted.”

[12:25] “We can look at what’s happening right now through a positive lens and even if we are going through very traumatic changes or stresses, we can still see it as an opportunity to self-reflect and say, “Okay, where in my life was I not maybe aligned?” or “Where in my life do I need to do some work?” or “Where in my life can I strengthen relationships [or] get off of technology?”

[14:00] “We must not be reactive, we must be proactive.

[14:30] “Even if you lose control in your life, there are other things you can rely and build on.”

[15:30] “We’re so stimulated. We live so much on that sensory level—what we see, what we hear, taste, touch, and smell—but you’re not left alone. You’re left with the real you. The you that’s not interacting or hyperstimulated by what’s around you.”

[18:30] “We need to think of things in terms of journey. We’re in a process. This isn’t the end of the story, it’s like a film that’s still unfolding… we wish it was less painful, but again, anything that shakes you from your comfort zone is going to be painful. But if you have the right attitude, it can lead you to new revelations, new insights, and a new world.”

[19:20] “These difficult moments come with pain, but how can we allow it to shape us, and grow us… we’re faced with difficult moments but perhaps we can bind together and face this as a whole.”

[21:00] “Each of us is a musical note, each with our uniqueness. And when your time comes you have to sing your voice, your note. But need others, too… a harmony, a synergy.”

[22:20] “We can turn this pandemic into a pandemic of goodness and kindness.”

[25:50] “We go through these things, we feel these emotions — we can feel the frustration, and the anger, and the stress and whatever it is for us individually — but then what do we do after we feel that? We have to walk into it, through it, and out of it. And then look to the positives instead of sitting in the negatives.”

[26:10] “They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. When we deal with the psychological fears and we build inner strengths and fortitude, you actually become stronger than before the fear set in.”

[26:45] “I think we really need to recognize that this moment is teaching us to disconnect from the distractions.”

Resources Mentioned:

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