Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, by Dr Brené Brown.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, joy, trust, intimacy, courage — everything that brings meaning to our life.” Brené Brown
A dictionary definition for vulnerability: “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” There is no question that experiencing abuse and neglect leaves us feeling vulnerable and in protective mode. We know in our bones that we can be attacked and harmed. It has already happened.
In a conversation yesterday, a friend commented on my interview with Scott Kiloby for Radical Recovery (watch here). “I can see you are at ease with Scott. You seem to be at ease with yourself.”
It’s true. I am at ease with myself now. I resonate with Braving the Wilderness because Brené reflects back so much of my ongoing journey to feeling safe enough to be authentic and open. The complexity and tenderness of this becomes clear when I reflect on the end of a long term relationship several years ago.
Protecting myself had killed intimacy. I was out of alignment with myself, hunkered down, getting through. As much as I had tried to make it work, it wasn’t. I needed to be out of that relationship in order to have a possibility of living my own life. It was a move that honored who I am and set a direction for my life now.
“Our work is to get to the place where we like ourselves and are concerned when we judge ourselves too harshly or allow others to silence us. The wilderness demands this level of self-love and self-respect.”
Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.
“If we strengthen our backs, metaphorically speaking, and develop a spine that is flexible but sturdy, then we can risk having a front that is soft and open.” Roshi Joan Halifax
“We can spend our entire life betraying ourself and choosing fitting in over standing alone. A wild heart fights fitting in and grieves betrayal.” Dr Brené Brown
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver, from the poem The Summer Day
There are so many ways we can work with this. Here is one.