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.
- 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.