A short Scandinavian Mythological Story & talk inspired by Tara Brach
“The King & Queen had fallen unto hard times, some sort of dicey financial trouble and they needed to raise some money from the Dragon’s hoard. So, they went to visit the dragon and ask for some money.
The dragon agreed to assist them for a small favor in return: their daughter’s hand in marriage.
As the story goes, the parents went to the daughter and said something like, “Honey, it’s time for you to be betrothed and well, we have decided to betroth you to the dragon.” And they explained why this was necessary.
Although the princess was afraid of the dragon, she was a resourceful princess so she went to the village where she knew of a wise old woman who lived there and shared her story.
The wise old woman asked her if she wanted to be married to the dragon and the princess replied, “Absolutely not!” So, the wise old woman told her that she had a way for her to handle the situation where she would be safe.
So, the old wise woman whispered a little something in the princess’s ear, telling her that she had to get 10 wedding gowns for her wedding and sent her on her way.
So the day came for the wedding, and everything went as planned but then it was time for the dragon and the princess to retire to their chamber.
Once inside their chamber, the dragon says to the princess, “Well dear, isn’t it time that we consummate our wedding?”
And the princess replied, “Yes, my dear husband but for me to do so I must remove my wedding gown, is it not so?”
“Absolutely my dear!”, replied the dragon.
“I have a small favor from you in return”, asks the princess. “Would you not remove a layer of your own so as to be more pleasing to me?”
So, she took off one wedding gown and the dragon took some decorative attires that he had worn on his dragon body.
To his surprise, he noticed that she had another wedding gown underneath the first one.
So, she took that one off and as dragons are used to taking off their scales, you know like reptiles they have to shed here and there, he peeled off another thin layer but then oops….she had another dress on!
So as she peeled off her wedding dresses, one by one, he had to peel off his dragon skins, where he had to dig deeper and deeper into his own flesh, into his own skin.
At the 8th wedding dress removal, the dragon had taken off parts of himself that were stuck and his form began to change.
And on the 9th, it changed more remarkably and by the 10th gown, the dragon had taken off so much dragoness that, as happens to be so much the way with these types of myths and fables, the dragon turned out to be a handsome prince, of course!
And so they spent a night of wedding bliss ;-)”
I use this story to illustrate the wisdom and courage it takes for us to show up as our vulnerable selves and face our fears with patience and kindness.
In Art of Alignment Academy programs, we learn to let go, and let go, to open — an opening that can sometimes leave us feeling fragile or the sensation of a vulnerability hangover.
What we are letting go of can sometimes feel like
those scales that have been stuck to us and not always easy to release especially if we have been identifying with the scales for a long time, the peeling off leaves us with a fresh and delicate new skin.
When we look at what it really means to be together in an intimate way, what it really means to heal or wake up, it does have to do with disarming ourselves and choosing to trust.
We are learning to recognize and shed our defensive strategies, the judgments and the preoccupations and pretenses that we have.
When we cover up our real feelings, we create distance.
And it can be challenging because pretty much all of us have the same core fear that we’ll be rejected for who we are. And at the same time, we intuitively know that the growth is in the letting go, the trusting of self-expression and the choice to be seen.
The author Madeleine Engel expresses it this way:
“Over the years I’ve worked out a philosophy of failure which I find extraordinarily liberating. If I’m not free to fail, I’m not free to take risks, and everything in life that’s worth doing involves a willingness to risk failure. Although I have had 30 books published, there are at least six unpublished books which have failed, but which have been necessary for the book that then gets published. The same thing is true in all human relationships. Unless I’m willing to open myself up to risk and to being hurt, then I’m closing myself off to love and friendship.”
Instead of pulling away and fighting, we are choosing to show up, take a stand for one another and allow ourselves to be fully seen in a space of love and compassion.
When we open up to the present moment, we can process emotions or whatever shows up with a tender heart and open arms.
At Art of Alignment Academy, the teachings are a little bit different, a little bit more unorthodox because the style of teaching is experiential. And that means that we practice in real time by developing a mindful awareness to what shows up in the space and responding to it with focused attention and a loving intention.
It is also based on “unscaling” ourselves, letting go of what no longer serves us and being willing to do the deep work, with a compassionate approach.
Learning to remove our scales can leave us in a state of rawness, kind of like the soft underbelly of a kitty cat or puppy.
For me, this is a beautiful and tender place to be. I have learned that the best way for me to experience my own “vulnerability hangover” sensations is to practice more loving-kindness towards myself, more self-forgiveness, more self-compassion.
I wish you tender moments of self-compassion today.
May you be at peace. May you feel safe. May you know that you are loved.
Always Higher With You,