Vulnerability as your strength

January 24, 2022

“Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences. It is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.” (Brené Brown).


I hope that you had a pleasant beginning of this new year of 2022 despite the ongoing challenges in the world.

Almost half a year passed since I sent out my last message with part 10 of my Aloha Summer Series. During December 2021, besides reflecting on myriads of experiences of the past years, I was on a profound journey to prepare for the passing of Joy, our beloved dog in Switzerland, and having to let her go. Joy had been an angel dog for our family in Switzerland for almost 16.5 years and she took her last breath on December 30 last year.

Those of you who currently live or once lived with pets would agree that your furry friends become an integral part of your family. Since animals who are close to us humans give such unconditional love and comfort, losing that unconditional love can be incredibly painful and sad. Depending on the relationship and shared life’s experiences we had with our animal friends, grieving the loss of a beloved pet can be as challenging as (or even more devastating at times than) losing a human friend or family member.

When you must let go of someone you deeply love, it leaves you very ‘raw’. I found that this feeling of rawness is one of the keys to embracing your vulnerability as it involves healing your fractured parts while you merge with the wholeness of who you truly are. This can be challenging especially if you associate vulnerability a feeling of uncertainty or weakness and does not allow yourself to be or appear vulnerable.

The loss of a beloved, whether a human or an animal, can serve a blessing in disguise as it can help break down the barricades we sometimes build around us not to get hurt so we can begin to realize the strength, wisdom, courage, and beauty that comes with allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. Instead of avoiding feeling vulnerable or other unwelcomed feelings, we now can begin to fully embrace ourselves and others, and begin living a more genuine, fulfilling, and authentic life.

Sharing about my most recent experience about Joy’s passing with you today leaves me vulnerable. Saying I love you to someone you love, taking the risk of sharing an unpopular opinion even if you might face rejection, admitting when you don’t know something or where to go, speaking up when you feel hurt by someone, recovering from an illness or accident: all these exemplifies vulnerabilities too.

I shared Joy’s passing on social media 2 weeks ago for the first time, and I am still deeply touched by so many kind messages and responses. I first doubted a bit if sharing such a personal letter on social media would be the right thing to do. However, this experience was a confirmation that we should not hold back from sharing our vulnerability because it encourages others to share their inner thoughts and concerns too so we can all support each other and heal together.

Here is my tribute to Joy:


Dear Joy

Thank you so very much for gifting my family in Switzerland and me 5970 days of your life. For most of your life, you enjoyed an incredible journey full of joy, happiness, adventure, and freedom, and you gifted me with so many glimpses of profound insight and awareness into the true meaning of what it means to be here on Earth at this time of great transformation and change.

This past month of December 2021 I spent with you was one of the most challenging, difficult, and yet profoundly meaningful times of my life’s journey so far. It was such a tremendous blessing and honor for me to help you (and I) prepare for your passing and journey beyond the rainbow bridge just as I had promised you 11 years ago when you saved my life in 2010.

For many nights, we both cried – you showed me that animals do cry too with tears in their eyes at emotional times – and our hearts broke wide open as we both felt that the time of your departure was close. Knowing that our time together is very limited, we cherished each moment of our time together unlike I had ever experienced it before in my life.

You were a master teacher of mindfulness, living in the now and sharing from the heart. This journey with you allowed me to realize more than ever how precious life is. When the end of someone’s life journey approaches, we are reminded that we should not take any moment of our lives for granted as only God knows when our time will be up here in this form.

One of the most difficult parts of this incredibly saddening and yet joyful journey with you was that for the last 6 weeks of your life Eunjung who you deeply loved, appreciated, and honored as much as I do couldn’t be with us in person. So many times, we felt the empty space she left although we connected with her online every day.

When you and I returned to the magical Niederhorn area where we always enjoyed hikes together for a week before Christmas, we both felt it would be our last journey there. When we were hiking outside in the beautiful nature, you regained strength and sometimes even ran down the slope just like you did in your younger years.

Yet, when we were back at our home in Beatenberg resting, we both knew that the time of your passing was approaching quickly. For so many hours I cried and desperately prayed so you may pass peacefully and I would have the strength to stay with you until the end. Then on Christmas eve, you stopped eating and drinking to prepare …

It will still take some time for me to integrate what happened during the last few days and nights with you. As heartbreaking as it was to witness your preparation to be released from your physical collapse and suffering, I found comfort that you loved so much our final ceremonies I arranged for you placing rose pedals, crystals, and the many candle lights around you and playing healing music in the room.

The image of you lying peacefully in the midst of these beautiful rose petals and crystals with candle lights around you were incredibly beautiful and deeply touching. Whenever I gifted you with these rose petals during your last days, my impression was that you seemed to really appreciate and enjoy their beauty, vibration, and fragrance.

After we went for a last visit to a holistic vet on December 28, it was up to me to give you the medicine to help you let go and prepare for your passing. Giving you this medicine 3 times and then driving you to the vet for more than an hour 2 days later was incredibly hard for me knowing that there would be no way back after that trip.

However, after we arrived at the vet for your final journey, you mustered all your strength, sat up for a short moment and gave one last big smile on your bed. I could not believe my eyes but I strongly felt your heart. It was as if you were saying to me ‘I will be ok… see you later… I love you and thank you…’.

In the afternoon of December 30, 2021, you took your last breath and fell asleep very quickly and peacefully. As hurtful it was and still is, it was my deep honor to be there with you while you transitioned. Since then, I feel you powerfully close to my heart, and I am very grateful you traveled back to the US with me in spirit.

Dear Joy, from all the animals I ever met, you were the true love of my life, and I love and miss you so very much! You were a very special and unique dog who brought so much joy to many peoples and other dogs’ lives and opened their hearts and touched their spirit. I will never forget you and you will always have a special place in my heart until we meet again on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

In deep memory, and with so much love and appreciation, Yves


The time leading up to Joy’s passing and afterwards, and writing this tribute reminded me that vulnerability is an essential part of what it truly means to be human. I also came to realize that honesty and vulnerability are not necessarily the same. Vulnerability is more about the reasons why we share something, while not just overwhelming others by sharing every single feeling we have.

No matter how often we try to avoid it, we all are vulnerable. We were born vulnerable and remain vulnerable during our childhood. Later, as we grow into adulthood we often begin to abandon, suppress, and avoid being vulnerable. We put up protective armor to prevent getting hurt by others or painful memories, to remain in what we perceive as our comfort zone, and we pretend to be fine when we are not.

While that protective armor may spare us from emotional injuries, it also shows up as rules we established for ourselves. Quite often we no longer even recognize these rules because we are so unconsciously accustomed to living by them. Over time, we even forget our essence and how to express authentically who we are and how we feel.

Especially when we are busy and are overwhelmed by the many things unfolding in our lives, just the thought of being present, centered, and aware to our emotions can be overwhelming. An authentic healing journey takes time and it requires us to have patience and compassion with ourselves and those we share our life’s journey with to go through whatever arises during this process of transformation.

Imagine that your wounded parts reside in a guarded room in the mansion of your soul, a place of how you try to protect yourself. For a certain time, it can in fact serve a useful purpose as it may allow you to build the awareness and resources you then will need to address and resolve your situation. However, when you do not enter the room for a long time, it may become a place you avoid at all costs.

Living in such a contracted state is not attainable in the long run. Right when we lose someone we dearly loved, it may be the right time to open that room and rescue the aspects of our soul that have been waiting for such a time. By embracing the unhealed parts and affirming our strengths, we begin to sense at a deep level that we have been and will always be loved and spiritually guided.

There lies enormous strength in embracing vulnerability. By allowing yourself to show up vulnerable, you show courage while expressing how you feel. Wellbeing is largely a feeling, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable will assist you to work through your emotions easier and be open again instead of trying to neglect them or attempting to make them disappear by other means.

So I am grateful to Joy that through her passing, she taught me to be more present, more open hearted, feel the vulnerability and grieve fully instead of suppressing my emotions, which helped me to release other buried sadness from other losses in my life too. She helped me rely even more on my heart’s whispers instead of listening to sometimes conflicting voices in my head. This helped me connect with others more meaningfully who have had similar losses and experiences.

May this New Year of Tiger (according to the Chinese Zodiac) fill your heart with love and true strength to help you be powerfully vulnerable, release all the blockages, and embrace every part of yourself. If you feel needing support with this, I am always available to listen and lend support.

And it is my sincere wish for you and your loved ones that the New Year brings great blessings to any endeavor you pursue, and that all your heartfelt dreams and desires for 2022 and beyond manifest effortlessly.

With vulnerability and in deep memory of Joy, Yves

Please leave me a comment below. If you are not on Facebook, click on WordPress to leave a regular comment. I will read and respond to every one. ~Yves Nager

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To live a life on purpose, acknowledge your thoughts andnemotions and redirect them toward your dreams.
~Yves Nager