This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown. Braving the Wilderness is a timely and important book that challenges everything we think we know about cultivating true belonging in our communities, organizations, and culture.
As I dug deeper into true belonging, it became clear that it’s not something we achieve or accomplish with others; it’s something we carry in our heart. Once we belong thoroughly to ourselves and believe thoroughly in ourselves, true belonging is ours.
Belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness - an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared.
True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness.
Art has the power to render sorrow beautiful, make loneliness a shared experience, and transform despair into hope. Only art can take the holler of a returning soldier and turn it into a shared expression and a deep, collective experience.
The world feels high lonesome and heartbroken to me right now. We’ve sorted ourselves into factions based on our politics and ideology. We’ve turned away from one another and toward blame and rage. We’re lonely and untethered. And scared. So damn scared.
Terrorism is time-released fear. The ultimate goal of both global and domestic terrorism is to conduct strikes that embed fear so deeply in the heart of a community that fear becomes a way of life.
Pain is unrelenting. It will get our attention. Despite our attempts to drown it in addiction, to physically beat it out of one another, to suffocate it with success and material trappings, or to strangle it with our hate, pain will find a way to make itself known.
Anger is a powerful catalyst but a life-sucking companion.
When the culture of any organization 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 certain that the shame is systemic, the money is driving ethics, and the accountability is all but dead.
Being alone in the midst of a widely reported trauma, watching endless hours of twenty-four-hour news or reading countless articles on the Internet, is the quickest way for anxiety and fear to tiptoe into your heart and plant their roots of secondary trauma.
We are wired for connection. But the key is that, in any given moment of it, it has to be real.
There are days when I love everything about social media, from the swift and powerful justice they can deliver to the endless stream of pictures of cupcakes decorated to look like succulents. Then there are days when I’m sure that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram exist solely to piss me off, hurt my feelings, remind me of my inadequacies, and give dangerous people a platform.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the way we engage with social media is like fire—you can use them to keep yourself warm and nourished, or you can burn down the barn. It all depends on your intentions, expectations, and reality-checking skills.
It takes real courage to allow ourselves to feel pain. When we’re suffering, many of us are better at causing pain than feeling it. We spread hurt rather than let it inside.
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.
The mark of a wild heart is living out the paradox of love in our lives. It’s the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid—all in the same moment. It’s showing up in our vulnerability and our courage, being both fierce and kind.