L5, a Bathroom Fan and Meditation – Vulnerability 101

L5, a Bathroom Fan and Meditation – Vulnerability 101

The past three weeks have been a wild ride. As I am typing this, I can hear the song “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt” by Maroon 5 rolling through my head. This verse in particular seems very fitting …”She wants it all, she’s always taking something, and now I am left with nothing, I am ripping off, oh, I am ripping off that bandage, because I just can’t stand it”….”This summer’s gonna hurt like a mother…”.

In 2004 I was given the opportunity to become acutely aware of the lumbar and sacral area of my spine.

I did some seriously challenging work in restoring the strength, comfort and flexibility to the lower 31816912_sregion of my spine. It was healed and that was that, moving onward and upward. I am done with this, fixed it.

For about a year I have worked with some minor, yet annoying challenges in the same area – a place where I store vulnerability. This time, I was well equipped with many more tools like yoga, Reiki, Biomat, hypnosis, meditation, aromatherapy, herbal remedies, massage, chiropractic, vitamins, walking and probiotics – all part of my regular self-care kit.

In early July a visit to the local emergency room allowed me to meet up with vulnerability yet again.

I had to accept help from others.

I was ‘stuck’ in the bathroom for an hour before I finally called my husband to come home and take me to the ER. If I wanted the grocery shopping done, I had to send the list with my mother and daughter. If I wanted clean clothes, I was forced to accept my daughters help with the laundry. I had to ask clients to reschedule – OMG I had to admit to my clients that I was not okay.


This is not how this was supposed to play out. I am not this vulnerable. I am strong and sturdy and I can take care of myself as well as all those around me.

If you can’t tell, I don’t do vulnerable very well.

I am pig-headed and independent to a fault and don’t take kindly to being told no. The quickest way to get me to take on a challenge is to tell me I can’t do something.

As I scheduled my first physical therapy session I looked at some images of my spine from 2007 and re-read the physician’s notes recommending procedures. There it was – L5, my vulnerability, staring me right in the face.

I healed this. It was history so why was it rearing its ugly head again? Maybe it was because it was history that I brought into the now? More lessons and more layers to explore, and even more healing to be done? Am I really this vulnerable?

Sometimes life offers very interesting opportunities for spiritual enlightenment, any crack will do.

While I was held captive by L5 in the bathroom waiting for help, the exhaust fan was running. The fan had needed some attention for months. It sounded like a metal squirrel trapped inside a plastic hamster exercise ball swirling around and around and around.

I could not reach the switch to turn it off and I was certain that my demise would come as this fan sucked me to the rooftop. I could not find quiet space to meditate to help relieve the pain because the fan was so darn loud. Finally, the timer expired just as Mike arrived to transport me.

A few weeks have passed and each day is a little better.

However, I am reminded that I must still rely on my tribe for support.

Yesterday I had the strength to investigate the bathroom fan. As I removed it from the housing, it was clear to see the struggles were exacerbated by the amount disgusting crude that had accumulated over the years. When I think about the function of the fan as it removes moisture and all those delightful bathroom aromas, it is no wonder it was rebelling so audibly. With some elbow grease, hot water and a few dousing of penetrating lubricant, the bathroom fan quietly returned to service.

As I continue to embrace my vulnerability and allow the help that is flourishing abundantly, I think about my own internal ‘fan’.

What muck have I released and what am I doing to keep my motor running well? What emotional vapors have I trapped? As I now have a quiet space to soak in an Epsom salt and lavender bath while the steam is exhausted, I look forward to meditating with laser like focus on my vulnerable vault in the Area L5.

A book that I found particularly helpful during the recent months is: “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW. I find her writing style, content and wholehearted honesty offer great encouragement to me as I dig deeper.

I am ripping off the bandage because I just can’t stand it.

This summer is all about finding comfort and courage in the midst of vulnerability.

I am strong enough to remove the bandages and allow even deeper healing. I have had enough experience at failing and being wounded to know that this too shall pass.

What bandage are you ready to rip off?

Is there a ‘bathroom fan’ that is screaming for attention?

Are you struggling to manage chronic pain?

Check out my website for upcoming workshops, classes, private sessions and community outreach events that offer you support along our journey of vulnerability.

Blessings for all the very best!



  • Nancy
    Posted at 07:45h, 01 August Reply

    After 11 years I finally found relief (not freedom) from pain thanks to physical therapy. So good luck with yours. If it doesn’t work, try another therapist. Mine didn’t work the first time. The amazing Melissa keeps me pain free so I bet I know what chiropractor you use. It just frightens me to know that I am still vulnerable. Only those of us who have endured pain so bad you can’t move without help can know the pain you experienced. It truly takes your breath away. But you have the strength to recover and the spirit to help so many others in their journey. Peace.

    • Beth Whitman
      Posted at 06:14h, 04 August Reply

      Vulnerability can seem pretty scary but I think embracing it offers a chance to grow and heal.

  • Beth
    Posted at 07:57h, 01 August Reply

    Beth! So sorry to hear about the old L5… Keep digging, you’ll get to the root of it all. I’ve been meaning to tell you, I’ve noticed that there is always a song association when you speak of your struggles (and mine!). You should run with that, it’s good 🙂
    xo- b

    • Beth Whitman
      Posted at 06:16h, 04 August Reply

      It is amazing how music can facilitate time travel….right back to the big hair era for me most of the time.

  • Mairi
    Posted at 09:13h, 01 August Reply

    Beth, so sorry to hear of this! I’m also glad that you’re addressing the situation, and accepting your vulnerability 🙂 Sending love and gentle hugs your way lady. I like your song associations too! M.xxxx

    • Beth Whitman
      Posted at 06:20h, 04 August Reply

      Thank you Mairi. Every day is better and better.

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