It's hot in Seattle. I don't dare complain because all I wanted was for the bright, beatiful sun to shine her face upon me and warm my bones after another long Pacific Northwest winter.

Well, a'shining she is and melting we are...gladly, of course! All smiles for me!
(And no, that is not a sweaty swamp puddle I left on the metal chair I was just sitting in, but thanks for asking.)

A week ago the heat was relentless. Then it became predictable Seattle again.

This week?

More heat...hotter heat...dry heat that makes the inside of my nose crack and bleed sometimes.

But it's okay, because it means the sun is out!

Here's the thing, heat or not, sun or not, what do I actually want?

I couldn't tell you. I can't tell you. I never know what I want (some exclusions apply: my in-&-out and taco bell order, good coffee, new experiences, twinkle lights, only showering twice a week, etc.), but I almost always know what I don't want.

If I tell you what I want (which I don't know, of course), that could mean putting myself out there in an unusually vulnerable way for me.

If I tell you what I want, and I don't get it, I am setting myself up to have expectations that I may actually get it, and if I don't...

...well...then I'll be disappointed.

If I'm disappointed, not only do I have to navigate that pain for me, but I also would be inviting you into that pain since you also would know what I want and that I didn't get it.

There is a lump in my throat having typed that and my heart is beating faster. (Nevermind the espresso I just drank at 9:00pm...this is purely emotion expressing itself physically).

You see, I've got this on my own.

Let me be invited into your story, your pain, your place of vulnerability; but good luck trying to figure out how to enter into mine.

I'm not saying that to sound like a jerk (which sometimes I am, although it may be hard for you to believe with my softspoken demeanor and deep humility), but because I have come to realize that there is a fortress built around my heart, protecting me from depths of pain that I rarely, if ever, allow myself to experience. My heart is hiding behind ivy that's grown over and masked it as being full of life and beauty, wisdom, rootedness, health, and steadfastness.

It's been years of avoidance, but not really on purpose.

When something that could be classified as "painful" happens, I feel it, I respond, I move on.

Or maybe it's more like, I feel it just enough, I respond just enough, and then I bury it deep in the fortress to stay in the company of the other pains of my past.

As a champion of vulnerability, this may surprise you. Honestly, it surprises me even. There is no way that I am not fully vulnerable and don't experience pain. "Do I not acknowledge what the journey has been like for me?" I wonder. "It has been hard. It has hurt; and I willingly share that with others all the time. How is that not vulnerablity?"

The thing is, sometimes,
being stuck in my head,
I think more about how it has impacted me versus actually feeling how it has impacted me. (Zing. That one stung a little.)

Don't get me wrong here:

Both are important.

But both are very different.

And both belong together.

I am living in my head and not quite as much in my heart.

And with that realization,
on another hot day,
here is my manifesto to the sun:

Shine bright on me, and burn away what should not be.
Burst forth, spilling your liquid gold over my hidden heart,
And melt...
...melt the stone to puddles of gentle reflection.

Break me open and stir something both fierce and fragile,
Inviting the fullness of life and the healing of being openly exposed.

Maybe that is what I actually want.