Brené Brown

Relieved

Don't you love those mornings when the sunrise is painting the clouds pink at precisely the time when you're out to enjoy it?  Most days, the sun comes up too early or too late.  Today was my day. I am feeling so much better today.  I have been seriously under the weather with either allergies or a virus--whatever it is, it's had me out of commission for the better part of a week now.  I spent the weekend whimpering and whining, with very little room in my head for thoughts besides, I hope Brené and her family survive Ike.  I hope they are safe.  I hope they are not too afraid.  Hearing the news that they are safe and sound somehow made it okay again for me to prattle on here about lesser things. And none is less natural-disaster-ish than this. I am feeling 75-80% well this morning, after a new friend told me about these yesterday afternoon.  Looking back, I think it must have taken at least a little courage for her, since nasal cleansing systems have to be the least sexy conversation topic ever.  And this was only the second time we had spoken. I had seen these little pots before in the store--hell, I even have friends who use them--but what exactly they were for remained shrouded in mystery.  Last night I was desperate for relief, and after being clued in, I couldn't resist giving it a try. A. Ma. Zing. My ears were literally popping as the pressure in my passages was released, and my eyelids could open past half-mast again.  I could breathe through my nose all night long.  Today, the rush of all that oxygen coming in feels foreign and elating. All morning I've been trying to remember the last time someone recommended something life-changing to me.  There have been things I've enjoyed, things I've been glad to have discovered.  But every time I walk past this little guy I think, What would have happened if I had known about you 20 years ago?  How much better would my quality of life have been? And, as with any great discovery, I feel compelled to tell the world. Go forth and be relieved.

On Speaking Out

Our Welcome Table with Tracey Clark, originally uploaded by jenleedotnet.That womanthe precious I've been protectingI Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't)Brené Brownunwanted identitiesspeaking out
What makes us vulnerable to shame in these areas are the "unwanted identities" associated with each of these topics.  For example, many women used adjectives like loudmouth and pushy to describe unwanted identities associated with speaking out.  These specific unwanted identities surfaced in the interviews as women described the difficulty of navigating all of the messages and stereotypes that discourage them from taking an unpopular stand on an issue or sharing opinions that might make others feel uncomfortable. . . . Sometimes we perceive others as assigning these unwanted identities to us, and other times, we pin them on ourselves.  For example, I don't think any of us would ideally describe ourselves as pushy loudmouths, nor  would we want others to describe us this way.  These hurtful stereotypes are often used (successfully, I might add) to keep women quiet.  We don't even have to be pushy or boisterous to fear these labels--it's been socialized in us.
Someone who speaks out is: disloyal, unappreciative, unpatriotic, insensitive, selfish, angry, holier-than-thou (aka, righteous), disrespectful and hurtful.
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Someone who speaks out: is committed, acts in service of others, brings sight to areas of blindness, brings freedom, is courageous, is a light-bearer and a healer.
that woman

"Courage Gives Us a Voice"

Fire Time, originally uploaded by jenleedotnet. It isn't easy being a story teller. People don't always receive our words as enthusiastically as a toddler at bedtime. Sometimes, when we tell our own stories, the people they involve don't agree with the telling, or the sharing. The stories we make up can be even more revealing than the ones that have really happened, whether we know it or not when they appear on our imagination's stage. Reading this passage was a great encouragement to me, and I gladly take all the encouragement I can get:
When we tell our stories, we change the world. I know that sounds dramatic, but I believe it. We'll never know how our stories might change someone's life--our children's, our friends', our parents', our partner's or maybe that of a stranger who hears the story down the line or reads it in a book. --Brené Brown, Ph. D., L.M.S.W in I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't)
Books of Wonder Madeleine L'Engle
Stories require voices to speak them and ears to hear them. Stories only foster connection when there is both someone to speak and someone to listen. . . . Courage gives us a voice and compassion gives us an ear. . . . But courage, especially the ordinary courage we need to speak out, is not simple or easily obtained. So often, we hear people say, "Just tell your story!" or "Speak your mind!" It's much more complicated than that. Sometimes we face real threats and consequences when we speak our minds or tell our stories. . . Sometimes compassion is listening to someone's story and other times it's sitting with her in her fear about not being ready to share.
Traceycommunity of courageyou

Oh, the Sorrow

Photo: One of our neighborhood gardens, by Meg.Brené BrowntoldwantParenting CD Discussion GuideThe Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion and Connectionwhen we numb shame, fear, anxiety, sadness, vulnerability, grief, uncertainty, and disappointment (and teach our children to do the same), we automatically dull our experiences of joy and compassion.