I just got done watching this, Brene’ Brown with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. First of all, I am incredibly grateful that there is a live simulcast, and that later today the video will be available on demand. I had to miss Brene’ when she was on Katie, and was so bummed. We don’t have cable tv, and even if we did, we probably wouldn’t have OWN as part of our package, but I was able to turn on my tv and the computer hooked up to it, go to the website and watch with everyone else. It was so good, (I took five pages of notes!), I plan to show up again at noon. (P.S. It’s now available to watch online, on demand).
When the opening credits started, and Oprah was introducing Brene’, I cried. I know how much it meant to Brene’ to get to do this, and it made me so happy for her. I spent the next hour crying off and on for myself, because I was so grateful to get to see it. By the end, my heart felt sore it was so tender. If you’ve been reading this blog for long, kind and gentle reader, you know how much I adore Brene’ Brown, how much her work has changed my life.
I first encountered her work two years ago. A friend and I formed a “book couple” (with only two of us, we couldn’t really call it a club) and read Gifts of Imperfection. It made me see I had been in a long term abusive relationship–with myself–and helped me to understand the way out of it. I’ve had the opportunity to hear her talk multiple times about her work and research, her life and experience, most notably this past summer at The World Domination Summit, and also at The Power of Vulnerability, a two day workshop she held in Boulder this past May. I am currently working on finding funding to have her invited to speak at Colorado State University (CSU, where I do my paid work), with the hopes of creating a CSU Reads program leading up to her visit in which I can reread her books and talk about her work with my local community.
By showing up, opening her heart, sharing the truth (part research, part personal experience) about shame and vulnerability, daring greatly, and living a wholehearted life, Brene’ Brown is helping so many to discover the value of being brave, in being exactly who we are, in living a wholehearted life.
The wisdom I have been drawn to over the past six years (always?) is about opening your heart, keeping it open. In this episode of Super Soul Sunday, Oprah said her definition of spirituality is living with and having an open heart. Brene’ at one point said that “vulnerability is the birthplace of everything we are hungry for,” and that if we want greater courage and greater clarity, vulnerability is the path. Brene’ shared that the word courage originated with the Latin “cour,” meaning heart, “sharing your whole story with your whole heart.”
Living with an open heart. Being wholehearted. Showing up and being seen, being vulnerable, open to what is as you are. Oprah said she viewed vulnerability as the “cornerstone of confidence.” It gives you the confidence to be yourself, confidence as Susan Piver describes it, “the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.”
Brene’ suggests in her interview with Oprah and in her books that vulnerability is the key to having meaningful human experience, that it is “terrifying and liberating,” and that “you can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.”
This message is reinforced for me through my work with The Open Heart Project and Susan Piver. Susan says that “having an open heart can feel kind of dangerous, unsettling,” but she also suggests that Vulnerability Can Save the World and reminds us,
To feel, we have to open—our eyes, minds, hearts, senses—while putting aside what we expect/hope/fear we will find, otherwise the only communication we have will be with ourselves. To open, vulnerability is required… When we become vulnerable, we can feel. When we can feel, we can connect. When we can connect, our hearts open. When our hearts open, we cannot hate.
And if all that feels just too overwhelming for you today, watch this episode of Soul Pancake and rest in the knowledge that you are loved.