Books · life · reviews

Recent Reads and Rising Strong

I’ve started a bit of a Brene Brown reading marathon and plan to share a bit about it below but first I’d like to briefly share a few other recent reads.

It’s been hot hot hot this weekend so I’ve indulged in a novel (thanks Libby!) starting and finishing The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore from Goodreads:

Two kids with the same name lived in the same decaying city. One went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison.

I found this a powerful description of the environment these boys both grew up in. Reflecting on reviews people were disappointed that they book was all about the ‘what’ rather than the ‘why’ but I think that could be part of the moral of the story – the why is up to the decisions we each make, the interpretations we make and yes environment hugely shapes that but our potential is always there.

Two other recent great reads were Say Hello by Carly Findlay a disability activist and The Art of Taxidermy by Sharon Kernot, a surprising and incredible piece of prose with a theme of grief and a unique Australian flavour. Get reading these two folks.

Last night I also caught a fantastic movie on SBS, The Dark Knight. Edited from Wikipedia:

Based on the real-life story of Genesis Potini, a brilliant New Zealand chess player who suffered from severe bipolar disorder. He is released from hospital into the care of his brother. Upon hearing about a chess club run by his old chess buddy, he asks to join with permission given on the proviso he promises to not “rock the boat.” Genesis lead sthe Eastern Knights Chess club  to the Junior National Championships in Auckland.  The movie also brings in Genesis’s nephew and his father’s gang.  The movie won many awards and I was suitably moved.

But back to Brene, who had been on my radar for awhile before I picked up one of her books from my local library at the end of last year. It took me a little while to get through it but already I’ve found myself referencing it in conversations with friends and clients. Unfortunately I got an email this week to say it was due back and I was unable to extend. Fortunately I AM determined to go through the notes I wrote as I read and I’m doing it RIGHT now!

This book was about vulnerability, shame, failing and a suggested mud map for ‘Rising Strong’.

Brene defines vulnerability as the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome, indeed perhaps with some expectation that you may stumble, fall and get your ass kicked (she doesn’t mince her words). She believes that such vulnerability is part of wholehearted living – waking up in the morning and thinking, no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. I am worthy of love and belonging.

She describes that failing is painful. She describes that it fuels the should and wouldas which I feel I know so well. She describes how with these thoughts judgement and shame often lie in wait. It took me the whole book to really resonate with the idea of shame and I look forward to reading some of her earlier books to learn a bit more about this. I don’t think many people would easily identify their feelings as shame…although perhaps it’s just me. She also talked about how if we stop caring what people think we lose our ability to connect but even worse perhaps is when we are defined by what people think. Similarly she explains that comparative suffering is a function of fear and scarcity.

Brene’s path to rising strong was a lot to do with curiosity, particularly curiosity about our emotions and being brave enough to face discomfort straight on. So step 1 is recognising emotion and step 2 is getting curious about it and asking lots of questions, step 3 is pay atttention to it  and then keep practicing. She believes we are born vulnerable but in order to self protect we turn to certainty and false beliefs for example doing not feeling fixes problems. Often case we are taught that feelings arn’t worthy of our attention. Brene states that recognising and feeling our way through emotions is choosing freedom, with the alternative of avoidance taking over our lives.

There were many metaphors about our story – integrating our whole story and human beings being wired for stories. Rising strong is to defy how we choose to end our stories. In our lives we often make up our own stories – our own reasoning of why people are acting a certain way. It’s hard to be vulnerable and open up about these stories we tell ourselves with others.

Briefly:

  • She  spoke about expectations of others being resentments waiting to happen
  • ‘The middle is messy but it’s also where the magic happens’. When you are in the middle of a story, it isn’t a story, only confusion and darkness.
  • You can’t skip day 2
  • Connection doesn’t exist without giving and receiving we need to give and we need to need.
  • Perfectionism and shame. Shame derives power from being unspeakable, it loves perfectionists.
  • Failure feels like powerlessness, a lost oppurtunity leading to fear and desperation.
  • You can do everything right and still fail
  • Regret is a call to courage and a path toward wisdom
  • Brene believes hope is a cognitive process.

 

Wow – a job done, almost can’t believe it! Have you heard of Brene Brown? Do you enjoy reading non-fiction? What has been your favourite recent read/movie?

Praying we can all Rise Strong as we move into a new week and month.

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life · mental health

Mein Manifest

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This so accurately, I believe describes my life purpose. The reason I am so interested in brain health, community and helping people.

In a dramatic nutshell I have been afflicted on and off with depression for over ten years, I have lost a child (stillbirth), I’ve been on the verge of suicide, I lost my sister-in-law, 3 beloved grandparents and a dear friend within a short period and I am at times an unappreciated mother and wife.

Of course there is so much more to me and we all have our own varied and complicated challenges, and in all in all I’ve been tremendously blessed. Life is good. However the greatest purpose I have found in my personal struggles has been that I can one day help someone else. At the moment I like to think I am doing that through my care for friends and family, volunteering and counseling.

Do you have a quote that describes your life purpose? What meaning do you find in life’s challenges?

For an example of someone who has achieved great things with their life purpose (in my opinion) I highly recommend reading Carly Findlay’s Say Hello, I can’t speak highly enough of it 🙂 http://carlyfindlay.com.au/

Wishing you all a wonderful, blessed weekend.

life

Priorities 2019

I’ve struggled a lot with motivation and I think prioritising so to start the New Year I’ve decided to write a bit of list to keep me on track….

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I’m sure there’s a few more things I should consider i.e. friends, gym…… but I think this is a good starting point / guide post.

Having said that priority No. 1 for this week is…..holiday time on the beach 🙂

Wishing you all a blessed week.

What priorities do you have – for 2019?

Books

Six degrees of separation from the French man’s wife to the Australian convict

Six Degrees of Separation is hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  and gets you to take one title, and link through five other titles to see where you end up.

January’s starting point is The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles. I was randomly gifted this book at our annual bookclub Christmas bookswap however never finished it.

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Another older book I recieved at this annual event was Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert. It appears unread in my Goodreads account but I’m sure I finished this thanks to it also being a bookclub read. I seem to remember an interesting feminist discussion was had.

Madame Bovary’s title characters first name was Emma which takes me to another more classical book Emma by Jane Austen. I don’t believe I’ve read this book nor seen the complete movie however I do know I have watched the complete series of Pride And Prejudice along with reading the book which I seem to remember enjoying.

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Another classic I’m sure I’ve read and enjoyed was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte when I was a teenager living at home. It sounds like I need to re-read a few of these to refresh my memory. Another book I read from the shelves at home was For the Term of his Natural Life by Marcus Clarke which for a long time I’ve wanted to re-read to see if it still as good as I remember.

Well I didn’t mean to take a classical theme but there you have it.

Do you have any thoughts on these links/books? Happy Reading 🙂

life · Uncategorized

Front-yard Cricket

Welcome to 2019 🙂

The weather finally cooled down enough to actually be outside and we had a family moment ❤

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December was a tough month. It’s the anniversary of my stillborn son’s birthday. I slowed down early and then when break time really came around I felt I had to ‘do’ especially as I had Hubby home ‘thanks’ to an achilles injury. So then the guilt started and the flatness spread and I just couldn’t get into the Christmas energy. Thankfully I trust my family and friends and feel no need to act, so much food and joyful fellowship was still had. My energy is gradually returning and I’m working on focusing on the moment rather than stressing about what hasn’t been done and what I feel needs to be done in the future (and trying to be understanding towards my family). I still generally feel like an over-privileged princess as I constantly choose puzzles, reading and tv over houshold tasks. But I get the washing and dishes done and I’m confident my children feel loved which is priority no. 1.

I usually like New Years Resolutions but havn’t had the motivation yet – still working on my Christmas letters! Having said that things must be improving…..

  1. One blog a month.
  2. I’d like to do something political this Australian election year. I got some ‘beginner’s guide’ books for Christmas
  3. Finish my counselling degree – to be honest I’m pretty scared about this, I had hoped to finish last year but due to mental health slowed this right down
  4. Make our spare room functional
  5. Rehash last years goal of spending more time outdoors/exercising

Each day is an open book for me at the moment – such a gift – such a responsibility.

There’s going to be good moments, nothing moments, some shockers and a whole lot in between. I pray I continue to seek connection. I’m not sure what God’s purpose for my life is but I will try and trust that each step in this journey, even the one’s I take in a dysfunctional direction are teaching me what I need to know.

 

Uncategorized

WWW Wednesday 4th December 2018

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I’ve missed sharing about a number of books recently but have made my way back for another round of WWW Wednesday with Sam from Taking on a World of Words. This is a fun and simple meme, with just three W questions to answer: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? You can also join by answering and linking your blog post back on Sam’s post here.  

What did you recently finish reading:

Rosie Coloured Glasses By Brianna Wolfson – I picked this off the library display shelf quickly for a weekend read. From Goodreads

Just as opposites attract, they can also cause friction, and no one feels that friction more than Rex and Rosie’s daughter, Willow. Rex is serious and unsentimental and tapes checklists of chores on Willow’s bedroom door. Rosie is sparkling and enchanting and meets Willow in their treehouse in the middle of the night to feast on candy.

After Rex and Rosie’s divorce, Willow finds herself navigating their two different worlds. She is clearly under the spell of her exciting, fun-loving mother. But as Rosie’s behaviour becomes more turbulent, the darker underpinnings of her manic love are revealed.

I found this to be a wonderfully written story, with insightful characters, however it was also incredibly sad and for that reason difficult to read. Not a light weekend fluff but worth a look 4/5.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe – again I picked this one up from the library, as an audiobook for the car. The narrator Mirron Willis was fantastic. I’m glad I listened to this book as I’m sure some parts would have dragged and yet it felt like such an important book about american slavery, a must-read which was truly heart-breaking. The characters created were so easy to imagine 5/5.

Also recently read Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about the Nigerian civil war and Walking the Boundaries by Jackie French about the changing landscape of a property and the people who come before, I love Jackie French (and my son’s class just had a letter to her replied to)

I really enjoyed all of these books and would love to hear what other’s have thought about them.

What are you currently reading:

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

What do you think you’ll read next:

I’m coming into summer holidays so I might be able to allow myself a longer read. I’ve got some politic themed books I bought for my hubby to give me for Christmas but actually I don’t know what I’ll pick up next.

*Updated – thank you for the comments which gave me the motivation to add a bit more detail. And thanks to Goldenager’s review a Kate Kerrigan book may be next for me

Happy Reading 🙂

 

community · life · mental health

#4 Sunday ABC

I had so many thoughts for blogging this week and now that I’m finally sitting in front of the computer, it’s sadly quite a chore. But writing posts in my head is therapeutic, reading others words often inspires and connecting can turn a day around, so here’s Round 4.

Please feel free to join in with your own responses either in the comments or as your own post 🙂

My week in a nutshell – I’ve been flat and then productive and now tired and worried. My husband  has injured his foot just as we start harvest and I’m fairly well the worst nurse-wife ever.

A is for Affirmation

My motto for the week is to ride it out…..maybe not quite like this fella :p

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B is for Best, Worst and OMM

Best – Coming through a fog of flatness and the gratitude of feeling energetic again. enjoying some favourite episodes of Grey’s

Worst – Seeing jobs that need doing and having no desire to do them

OMM – (On my mind) How I will cope doing all the cooking and supporting my husband who will understandably get frustrated as he heals.

C is for Community

Katie from How I Killed Betty wrote two blogs this week that really hit home for me.

Attacking Life, or Running Away

and, What do you do to combat depression and/or anxiety?

She describes her blog as a diary on how to tackle depression and anxiety and it definitely helps me to have others share their journeys, ideas and challenges. Sometimes it can all feel hopeless or just hard work but when the skies clear…..

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You know it’s worth pulling through and that you can do it, time and time again.