braving the wilderness

braving the wilderness.png

by Brené Brown



everywhere and nowhere


sometimes the most dangerous thing for kids is the silence that allows them to construct their own stories – stories that almost always cast them as alone and unworthy of love and belonging..

not yet scrambled ness..


never underestimate the power of being seen – it’s exhausting to keep working against yourself when someone truly sees you and loves you..t

invited to exist.. maté basic needs


don’t study this moment. be in it.

21 those permission slips to myself were actually an attempt to belong to myself and to not one else..


i belong no place.. everywhere i go now i’m an outsider breaking the rules and talking about things that no one else is talking about.. i’ve got no crew. and it’s been this way my whole life.


you will always belong anywhere you show up as yourself and talk about yourself and your work in a real way

maya angelou: you are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. the price is high. the reward is great.

2 – the quest for true belonging


belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. because this yearning is so primal we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it.. because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self acceptance  .. wrote in 2010.. incomplete..

maté trump law


i kept reading the words ‘inextricably connected’ over and over. we’ve broken that link. and in the next chapter, i’m going to show you how and why we broke it. the rest of the book is about fixing it- finding our way back to one another.


to brave the wilderness and become the wilderness we must learn how to trust ourselves and trust others..


trusting others via brave acronym..

i don’t know.. seems like a checklist..  (oh.. she calls a checklist) i think you trust people. period.. or you don’t.. the i know you ness.. assume good ness..

3 – high lonesome: a spiritual crisis


rather than pitching wild and innovative new ideas that could potentially change everything, we’re staying quiet and small in our bunkers and loud in our echo chambers..

loud pitch.. can you hear me..?  a nother way

when i look thru 200 000 plus pieces of data my team and i have collected over the past 15 yrs.. i can only conclude our world is in a collective spiritual crisis.. .. esp if think about core of that defn of spirituality: spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected.. t

thurman interconnectedness law


diff between loneliness and being alone.. i don’t think there’s anything lonelier than being with people and feeling alone


loneliness tells us that we need social connection – something as critical to our well being as food and water..

cacioppo explains that loneliness is not just a ‘sad’ condition – it’s a dangerous one.. less empathy, more defensiveness, more numbing, and less sleeping


our response to the warning sign should be to find connection.. t

2 convos .. as the day..

study: living w air pollution increases odd of dying early by 5%.. living w obesity by 20%.. excessive drinking by 30%..  living w loneliness by 45%..t

maté basic needs


how we got here: fear

terrorism is time released fear.. goal is to conduct strikes that embed fear so deeply in the heart of a community that fear becomes a way of life.. fuels so much anger/blame that people start to turn on one another..


if what unites us is a combo of shared hatred and stifled fear that’s eventually expressed as blame.. enemy we can rally against.. we’re in trouble

thurman interconnectedness law

what feels like a rallying movement is really a cover for fear..


can we find our way back to ourselves and to each other, and still keep fighting for what we believe in? no and yes. no, not everyone will be able to do both, simply because *some people will continue to believe that fighting for what they need means denying the humanity of others..

*i don’t believe that. i think if we re set ourselves right.. (and today we have the means to do that).. then  it’s an all of us can thing.. (which it has to be if we want it/us to work)


ideological bunkers protect us from everything except loneliness and disconnection.. worst heartbreaks of all

we have to learn how to get thru, or even better, learn how to become the wilderness..

wilderness ness

own our pain and share it instead of inflicting pain on others.. if we can find a way to feel hurt rather than spread hurt.. we can change..

i believe in a world where we can make and share art and words that will help us find our way back to one another

2 convos


4 – people are hard to hate close up. move in.

i imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal w pain – james baldwin



the women and men i interviewed who had the strongest sense of true belonging stayed zoomed in.. they worked against the trap that most of us have fallen into: i can hate large groups of strangers, because the members of those groups who i happen to know and like are the rare exceptions..

zoom dance


what if what we experience close up is real and what we hear on the news and from the mouths of politicians who are jockeying for power needs to be questioned? it is not easy to hate people close up..

almost everyone i’ve ever interviewed or known will tell you that it’s easier to be pissed off that it is to be hurt or scared..


not caring about our own pain and the pain of others is not working.. t

pain is unrelenting. it will get our attention. despite our attempt to drown it in addiction, to physically beat it out of one another, to suffocate it w success and material trapping,s or to strangle it w our hate, pain will fin d a way to make itself known..


pain will subside only when we acknowledge it and care for it. addressing it w love and compassion would take only a minuscule % of the energy it takes to fight it.. but approaching pain head on is terrifying. most of us were not taught how to recognize pain, name it, and be with it.. our families/cultures believed that the vulnerability it takes to acknowledge pain was weakness, so we were taught anger, rage, and denial instead.. but what we know now is that when we deny our emotion.. it owns us..

anger is a catalyst.. holding on to it will make us exhausted and sick.. internalizing .. takes away joy. . externalizing.. makes us less effective in attempts to create change and forge connection..


all his life this little boy will defy you by being happy and free.. because you will not have his hate either.. leiris (wife killed) on paris attack 2015


david smith in less than human: dehumanization is a response to conflicting motives.. (wanting to hurt someone and violating human nature)


successful dehumanizing creates moral exclusion

happens in school..  seeing people as less than our defn of success..


much of our work now is more a matter of ‘rehumanizing’.. t

natiaonality: human


we must never tolerate dehumnaization – the primary instrument of violence that has been used in every genocide recorded throughout history

when we reduce muslim people to terrorists or mexicans to ‘illegals’ or police officers to pigs, it says nothing at tall about the people we’re attacking. it does, however, say volumes about who we are and the degree to which we’re operating in our integrity..


all lives matter but not all live need to be pulled back into moral inclusion.. not all people were subjected to the psychological process of demonizing and being made less than human so we could justify the inhuman practice of slavery

can say same of school..  ie: so we could justify the inhuman practice of labeling/grading/selecting/sorting/training

this matters because often the rights obviously/visibly dehumanized people request is Ed.. but that’s because we’ve clouded the issue.. of what it means to be human and alive..

is there tension and vulnerability in supporting both the police and the activists? hell yes. it’s the wilderness..

strange defn of wilderness.. maybe go deeper.. let’s make the titles (police/activist/et-al) irrelevant in a nother way\wilderness


when the culture of any org mandates that it is more important to protect the reputation of a system and those in power than it is to protect the basic human dignity of the individuals who serve that system or who are served by that system, you can be sure that shame is systemic, the money is driving ethics, and the accountability is all but dead.. this is true in corps, nonprofits, unis, govts, faith communities, schools, families, and sports programs..


michelle buck: one of most courageous things to say in an uncomfortable convo is ‘tell me more’ .. t..listen to understand in same way we want to be understood

danger of single story.. assume good


viola davis: they tell you to develop a thick skin so things don’t get to you. what they don’t tell you is that your thick skin will keep everything from getting out, too. love, intimacy, vulnerability.


viola: today i live by a few simple rules:

1\ i’m doing the best i can

2\ i will allow myself to be seen.

3\ advice from acting coach: go further. don’t be afraid. put it all out there. don’t leave anything on the floor.

4\ i will not be a mystery to my daughter (she didn’t know until his death bed that her dad hated his job). she will know me and i will share my stories w her.. the stories of failure, shame, and accomplishment. she will know she’s not alone in that wilderness..

5 – speak truth to bullshit. be civil.


harry frankfurt’s on bullshit: how it’s diff from lying..

bs ness

lying as a defiance of the truth and bullshitting as a wholesale dismissal of the truth

we often rely on bullshitting when we feel compelled to talk about things we don’t understand


we don’t even bother being curious anymore because somewhere, someone on ‘our side’ has a position… in a fitting -in culture.. curiosity is seen as weakness and asking questions equates to antagonism rather than being valued as learning..


the ability to think past either/or situations is the foundation of critical thinking, .. t.. but still, it requires courage

binary ness


1\ approach bullshitting w generosity when possible.. don’t assume people know better and they’re just being malicious..

2\ civility: claiming and caring for one’s id, needs, and beliefs w/o degrading someone else’s in the process.. disagreeing w/o disrespect.. so that all heard..none ignored..


i could’ve opted to stay quiet, or i could have lost my shit, but instead, i belonged to me. i did the best i could to debunk the either/or argument..  i chose to be out in the open – away from the safety of the ideological bunker that the room had become..  i felt alone in the wilderness.. but it was ok i may not have been liked, and that didn’t feel so great, but i was in my integrity..  i didn’t betray myself.. to know you can navigate the wilderness on your own – to know you can stay true to your beliefs, trust yourself, and survive it – that is true belonging..

begs 2 convos .. as the day.


pete carroll: when you push a ‘fitting in culture’ you miss the opp to help people find their personal drive..t.. what’s coming from their hearts

this is the energy we are missing today

curiosity and fitting in

6 – hold hands. with strangers


not eough of us know how to sit in pain w other.s .. i have started to believe that crying w strangers in person could save the world..


i believe joy is probably the most vulnerable emotion we experience.. we’re afraid that if we allow ourselves to feel it, we’ll get blindsided by disaster or disappointment..

7 – strong back. soft front. wild heart


vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage.. are we willing to show up and be seen when we can’t control the outcome..?


denying our children the opp to gain wisdom directly from the trees and dance in the moonlight w the other high lonesome renegades and limping outlaws is about our own fear and comfort. their hearts need to know the wild too..



means for 7 bn to leap to the wilderness

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way