Archive for January, 2012

power of vulnerability

January 28th, 2012

If you haven’t seen it already–run, don’t walk to the YouTube presentation entitled The Power Of Vulnerability given by Brené Brown.  Not only is she a fantastic presenter, but she shares valuable information that touches all of us.  Below are some of the notes I compiled based on the video so get your popcorn and sit back for 20 minutes to listen to this research-based, whole-hearted, engaging presentation.

(My notes):

Connection is why we’re here—it’s what gives our lives purpose and meaning.

Humans have the ability to connect—we’re biologically wired for connection.

Shame:  fear of disconnection; Is there something about me that if other people knew or saw would make me unworthy of connection?

Underpinning = excruciating vulnerability

For connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen – really seen.

Sense of worthiness: strong sense of love and belonging; belief that you’re worthy of love and belonging as opposed to others who feel they aren´t worthy of love and belonging (i.e. those who carry shame).

Whole-heartedness = deep sense of worthiness

Qualities of the whole-hearted person:

  • Courage (to be imperfect)
  • Compassion (to be kind to yourself and then to others)
  • Connection (as a result of authenticity – letting go of who you think you should be in order to be who you are)
  • Vulnerability (fully embraced): “what makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful” (not comfortable or excruciating—simply necessary)

Examples of Vulnerability:  saying I love you first, doing something with no guarantees; investing in relationship that may or may not work out

Vulnerability: Birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, love, aliveness

When we numb vulnerability, we numb everything (e.g. addictions numb our pain but also numbs our aliveness)

Examples of how our society numbs:

Most in debt / Most obese / Most addicted / Most medicated adult cohort in  U.S. history

How we numb:

  • We try to make the uncertain, certain
  • We perfect (e.g. plastic surgery)
  • We pretend (what  we do doesn’t have an effect on people)

Blame: A way to discharge pain and discomfort.

Therefore, blame prevents vulnerability.

Ways to lean into vulnerability:

  • Let yourself be seen– deeply seen
  • Love with your whole heart (without any guarantees)
  • Practice gratitude and lean into joy
  • Believe that “I am enough”


January 14th, 2012

Because addictions and compulsions generally lead us to cross all sorts of boundaries, establishing and sustaining boundaries is an essential part of recovery.  I recently read a book called Never Good Enough by Carol Cannon (the founder of  The Bridge to Recovery) and here are some notes I compiled based on her perspective:

  • A boundary is the means by which we protect ourselves without offending others
  • A boundary is where you end and the other begins.
  • Mutual boundaries are a sign of mutual respect.

Pia Mellody’s 4 Basic Premises of Boundaries:

  1. Physically: the right to determine when, where, how, and who touches us and how close they will come to us.
  2. Sexually: the right to determine with whom, where, when, and how we wish to be sexual.
  3. Emotionally: the right to evaluate messages expressed by others about ourselves before we take them in — anything another person says or does to us at any given moment is more about that person and their history than it is about us.
  4. Intellectually: the right to think and believe as we wish, knowing that we are accountable for the consequences.

Types of Boundaries:

After-the-fact boundary: an honest statement of your feelings is a gentle way of letting someone know when you have been offended (no response requested from the listener).

Before-the-fact boundary: differs from the after-the-fact boundary only in timing and in the addition of the statement “When ___________ happens, I feel _____________ and I want _______________.      (no response requested from the listener).

Contingency boundary: suggests what you will do if your boundary is violated.

Spur-of-the-moment boundary: when feeling uncomfortable with a person’s suggestions or behavior, the ability to say “no” in the moment.

Buying time: when faced with a situation of uncertainty, you can simply buy time by saying,”  I have to think about it—I’ll get back to you.”

Laser-beam boundaries: a clear, direct, honest boundary e.g. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Broken-record technique: when someone won’t take no for an answer, calmly repeat your statement of refusal over and over.

I hope that these ideas will resonate for some of you as we learn to develop healthier boundaries and cleaner, healthier, more-satisfying relationships.


January 4th, 2012

As we embark on this leg of the journey in 2012, it can be a time of mindfully looking at our intentions for the new year. I prefer the word intentions over resolutions because it leaves a lot more wiggle room and flexibility for the unfolding of what we want and desire. So the first question is, “What do we really, really want this year?” And the second question is “What do we truly desire?” These questions are not to be taken lightly because they both require some soul-searching and generally some quiet time to unplug and really listen to your rhythm within.

In some ways my life has become simpler and simpler as I know that my heart’s desire is to create more balance, more fun, more play and more spontaneity into my life–both personally and professionally. It also takes boundaries–knowing what works for me and what doesn’t and sticking to them. 2011 was a huge opportunity for me to see that boundaries can always be re-visited and refined. As a result, I know that they will free up my energy and my spirit to focus on and pay attention to what really counts in my life.

Now is the time to say “no” which in turn will free us up to say “yes” in a bigger way on the other side. As you contemplate your wants and desires, consider boundaries to be your greatest ally and I wish you a very boundary-conscious, fun and peaceful New Year.