Five Kick-ass Authors Who Write About Shame, Vulnerability and Wholehearted Living (Who Are Not Brené Brown)

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I love me my Brené Brown.

From that first TED talk, I was smitten. My admiration grew deeper as I read each of her groundbreaking books. And of course my commitment was sealed when I flew to San Antonio two years ago to become a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator.

Can you blame me? The woman has become a leading voice in the growing global conversation about the power of shame and the practice of vulnerability to create a “wholehearted” life.

However, there are definitely other voices out there contributing to the shame-resilience conversation: Remarkable writers who bring their own unique lens, language and practices to the themes of shame, vulnerability and wholehearted living.

Looking for a fresh perspective on the topic? Look no further! Over the next five weeks, I’m going to introduce you to five kick-ass authors whose books need to be on your bookshelf. Get ready to build your summer reading list!

I begin with…

Tara Brach, Ph.D.,  Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

This book is for you if: You’re into meditation, mindfulness, and the teachings and practices of Buddhism 

To me, Tara Brach is the Buddhist-Buddy of Brené Brown. I absolutely adore the writing of Tara Brach, and feel that her books bring a sacredness and spirituality to shame-resilience work that Brené’s books don’t quite capture.

In Radical Acceptance, Brach calls shame the “trance of unworthiness” and explains that, “trapped in this trance, we are unable to perceive the truth of who we really are.” The book touches on perfectionism, numbing, self-criticism, scarcity and fear… and then beautifully describes the path to freedom from these sufferings.

 

“Brach writes with such warmth and clarity that

you’ll feel like she’s your own personal Buddhist teacher

guiding you to self-love and acceptance.”

 

What I especially love about Radical Acceptance are the meditation exercises Brach has sprinkled throughout the book, offering these as practices to build shame-resilience. They are beautifully written and easy to follow, even if you don’t practice meditation.

Tara Brach writes with such warmth and clarity that you’ll feel like she’s your own personal Buddhist teacher guiding you to self-love and acceptance. And, if you fall in love with her writing, you can also follow Tara Brach’s work through weekly podcasts that feature her speaking to large groups and leading meditations.

Interesting tid-bit: Radical Acceptance was published in 2003, a full four years before Dr. Brown published her first book on shame (I Thought It Was Just Me)!

 

Have you read Radical Acceptance? Love it or not-so-much? Tell me what you think of it in the comments section below or on my Facebook Page. Or, if you plan to read it, remember to come back to my Facebook Page when you’re done to tell me what you thought of it. Happy reading!

 

 

The Work/Life Lab, Week #40: Armour Down

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Welcome to The Work/Life Lab: 52 Weeks of Daring Experiments To Shake Things Up and Learn More About Yourself At Work and Life

Experiment #40 – Armour Down

Thanksgiving is almost here and for some of us that means lots of family drama. Sometimes the drama begins once the door opens to the first guest; for others, it’s a slow build to a climatic outburst that happens anytime between the turkey course and pumpkin pie. And still for others, the drama simmers low and slow, never quite bubbling over but providing an equal amount discomfort, pain and exhaustion.

This is a holiday where a lot of people “armour up” to stave off any feelings of vulnerability among family and friends. Let’s see… there’s the armour of perfection: running around like a mad person to make everything “just so” in an impossible attempt to avoid any utterance of criticism. Then there’s the armour of numbing: eat, drink, eat, eat, drink, drink, watch tv, watch tv, drink, drink, eat, eat… anything to take the edge off the tense feelings. And then there is the armour of “the best defence is a good offence”: I’m going to zing you first with criticism, judgement, sarcasm and passive aggression before you can do it to me! And last, but not least, is the armour of catastrophizing so much that you actually squander whatever joyful moments might actually be happening in the moment. That armour goes something like, “Ya, everyone is getting along now, but just wait. The other shoe is about to drop and I’ll be ready.”

Yikes, I have an ache in my stomach just writing about it. You might think all of this armour keeps you safe, but in the world of Daring Greatly, it’s really just keeping you small, unseen, disconnected and inauthentic.

The experiment for the Work/Life Lab this week and upcoming weekend is to… you guessed it… armour down. This is going to look different for each of you but the basic premise is this: figure out your biggest “go to” armour when you’re feeling vulnerable with your family or friends and make a choice to take that piece of armour off. It’s not forever. And it’s not all your armour. Just pick something and try taking it off for an hour. Or for the evening. If you’re feeling especially courageous, maybe for the entire weekend. You might experiment with taking different pieces of armour off at different times.

So in real terms this might mean letting a part of Thanksgiving weekend be imperfect and just letting go of your need for approval. Just one thing. Or maybe just for one hour.

It could look like less numbing – one or two fewer drinks or one less serving of pumpkin pie – and choosing instead to lean in to the discomfort, knowing that it won’t be forever and you might be present-enough to learn something new about someone else or yourself.

Or it could be making the choice to be kind and authentic and gracious with the other people, and not on the offensive (or defensive). What would one hour of no judgement or harsh words feel like?

Finally, it might look like staying in the present moment long enough to fully embrace the joy and happiness that could be found there.  Mindfulness will always be the thread running through an attempt to Dare Greatly.

If the armour is stuck on tight and you’re having a hard time taking it off, then just bring your attention to the fact that you are wearing and using the armour to protect yourself from vulnerability, and then at least the choice to wear it becomes a conscious one.

Good luck. This is not an easy experiment. It is for those who want more connection, love, meaning and joy in their life, and this is always a risky affair. The trick is to know – whether the experience is a good one or bad one – that at least you tried. At least you were Daring Greatly.