When we see through our hearts, we recognize that every single one of us is infused with creativity. Divine Sparks are embedded in everyone and everything. It's up to us to be courageous, to look and listen deeply, to find the sparks, gather and release them back into the universe, transformed into something new. Join me as we wake up to the sacred-ordinary blessings waiting to greet us each and every day.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I cultivate compassion for my imperfections.
I embrace my vulnerability.
I am present to what is.
I open to gratitude.
I am enough.
a river of stones
This is a powerful TED talk by Brene' Brown that I saw linked on my friend Donna's fb page last week. If you haven't seen it yet, it is well worth taking the time to watch this 20 minute presentation, she's funny, engaging, brilliant...but if you are impatient or pressed for time, I've transcribed a few of my favorite kernels of goodness, gleaned from this master "storyteller-researcher" for you.
“Stories are just data with a soul."
"Connection…is why we are here…it gives purpose and meaning to our lives”
“Shame [is]…fear of disconnection….’is there something about me, that if other people see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection?’”
“Beneath “I’m not good enough…[is] excruciating vulnerability…in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.”
[Shame] “boils down to [two categories]…people who have a sense of worthiness…a strong sense of love and belonging…and people who are always struggling, always wondering if they are good enough.”
She poses the question: What do the people who feel worthy have in common?
"[They are]... ‘Wholehearted’…they [have] a sense of courage…from the Latin word Cor (heart) defined as to ‘tell your story with your whole heart’…[they have] the courage to be imperfect…. the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others…We can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly…They had connection as a result of authenticity…They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be…They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They didn’t talk about vulnerability being comfortable, nor did they really talk about it being excruciating, they just talked about it being necessary. They talked about the willingness to say, “I love you” first, the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees, the willingness to breathe through waiting for the doctor to call after your mammogram, willing to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out. They thought this was fundamental.”
“I know that vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love…”
“We numb vulnerability… the problem is, you cannot selectively numb emotion…you can’t numb the hard feelings without numbing the other affects or emotions, so when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness, and then we are miserable and we are looking for purpose and meaning and then we feel vulnerable so then we have a couple more beers and a banana nut muffin, and it becomes this dangerous cycle…We make every thing uncertain certain [well we try to]…We perfect. We perfect our children…they are hardwired for struggle when they get here…our job is not to say ‘look at him look at her she’s perfect’, our job is to say ‘you know what? You’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle but you are worthy of love and belonging’…There’s another way, [besides numbing]…let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen…to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee…to practice gratitude and joy…to believe that we’re enough.”
“When we work from a place that says, “I’m enough,” then we stop screaming and start listening. We’re kinder and gentler to the people around us and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”
After scribing Brene's brilliant words (and for me she is truly a shining, inspiring light), my summation of her teaching, seems to be the essential life lesson that I wake up to over and over again these days. I am not a scholar. I am not a Brene' Brown. I am just a very ordinary person who has learned over time to believe that I am worthy of connection. (Therefore I blog!) This has not come easy to me all of my life. There have been very dark periods that slashed through my teens, twenties and early thirties, but I guess beneath it all, I always knew I was loved by my family, and even in the depths of indigo depression I did not loose faith in God/Something/Beyond/Within the smallness of me. As an educator, coach and spiritual director, I have read enough and witnessed, experienced enough to know that this is a critical part of brain development during childhood. I also believe it can be learned as adults, so do not fret if you fall into the category of people who are always struggling, always wondering if you are good enough, yet. Growth is always possible, change is inevitable! And even if I've never met you in person, I'm absolutely sure you are deserving of love and connection and are good enough right this moment now...and always have been. (Interestingly "connected" is the word I chose to focus on this year!) It could be argued that Brene's conclusion is what I write about the most on my blog, paired down into today's small stone awareness.
To me, living with "wholeheartedness," means seeing clearly, listening attentively, gently and continuously learning to accept all of the broken pieces of our hearts as they are revealed to us in the womb of this moment. It means understanding that all of the fragments are held together in unity, that all of the cracks must remain visible, vulnerable, so that we can appreciate our wholeness, shard by shard, connected through the sticky, golden-honey strength of l o v i n g k i n d n e s s. ~gentle steps, Laura