Chapter Seven, Spearheaded by Martha Sullivan
Happy first full week of 2016. We’re off to a great start.
Before we get to the post on Chapter 7, I wanted to throw out an idea. I know a few of us have signed up for Brené’s Living Brave Semester. I learned about this new program when she stopped in Santa Monica on her book tour for Rising Strong, and signed up right away.
This is how the program is described:
“The Living Brave Semester is a unique, online learning experience that provides participants with the opportunity to explore what it means to fully show up in our lives – to be brave, to lean into vulnerability, and to rumble with the challenges that come with living a daring life.” Find more information on the two six-week sessions here.
I believe all of us already are living examples of Brené’s work. That being said, I’m wondering if anyone would be interested in continuing our work by participating in some kind of “supplement” to Brené’s class here on my website? I have no idea what the format of her new class is, so I can’t yet specify what the supplement would look like. If it’s anything like the class she taught in conjunction with OWN, there will be arts and crafts involved. I sure hope so. I could never get my art to upload on the OWN site because too many people were involved. But here, it would just be us. You could email pictures to me and I could upload them. If no arts and crafts are involved, we can still "meet" here to process what we're learning, and ask and answer each other's questions. If you are interested, shoot me an email message or leave a comment below and we can “talk” more about it. The Living Brave Semester starts on January 11, so it will run concurrent with the last few weeks of our precious bookclub. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this, and on this week’s post.
Catch up on the previous chapters here:
Okay! Here we go. Thank you Martha.
Chapter 7: The Brave and Brokenhearted
Claudia's reckoning has so many facets, I wonder if she will ever be able to sort through and work out the solution. I feel like her best ally in the rumble is her husband, who is glad to listen and has agreed to share difficulties with each other. When we have a spouse, friend, or other person who is willing to listen, it can make a huge difference in how we battle or rumble with our reckonings.
My original thought about spearheading this post was to choose one of the emotions involved in Claudia's reckoning and speak to that. There are so many emotions intertwined in her story and I like the parts in Chapter 7 where BB tries to explain each one. I feel like each emotion could fill its own book! The descriptions and definitions, the comparing and contrasting of sympathy, empathy and compassion was so intriguing. All these years, I think I have used each term incorrectly or at least interchangeably. It is worth taking another look at each one and really understanding what it means.
And forgiveness is such a huge topic. I really thought forgiveness is what I would write about. Instead, I have other plans! Most books I read do to me exactly what I think they should do - make me want to learn more about the main topic, or one of the ideas involved in the story. For example, when I read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot, I studied maps of Virginia where Henrietta Lacks had lived, learned about DNA (as much as I could as this is quite an intricate science,) and looked at the legalities of how your personal medical information can be used. So... forgiveness! I plan to delve into and learn more about forgiveness and what it really is and can be. There are so many sources, including books, internet essays, insight from Oprah and other personalities, friends' opinions, etc.
But when I started to write my Chapter 7 post, my first few lines led me to reflect on my own recent interaction with a beloved friend and how Claudia may be able to get through her rumbling with her own best friend, her husband.
I know that sometimes I need to talk to a good listener, which can be very hard to find, to sort out my feelings and help me to rumble. If you find a good listener, be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them. I have found that there are very few good real listeners. I am so lucky to have a few in my life!
A couple of weeks ago I had a dilemma, and it too was holiday related. It's not so important the details of what it was, but suffice to say it also had many facets for me to deal with and seemed overwhelming to figure out. After going round and round in my head and rumbling with the possibilities and solutions, I called (actually texted) my friend and asked for her time. She is one of probably four friends who I can turn to with complete honesty. I have some really incredible friends. We do all take time to let each other know our love and appreciation for one another.
I asked if she could help by listening to me. Not only was I asking for her time, I wanted her advice, but I told her what I really needed was to hear myself talk and hash things out loud with a sympathetic (empathetic? compassionate?) ear. She was willing to listen! In the short half hour that we spent together, I not only gained some valuable insight from my friend, but as I talked I heard my own truths rise to the surface. It truly helped me to hear myself speak and rumble out loud. My friend had her ideas and suggestions, but was most helpful in the questions that she posed and the reflection of my thoughts that she provided.
That walk and talk was my rumbling and helped provide the revolution that I needed! My difficulties were addressed and answered. Though this particular dilemma was only part of a major problem that I have in my life now, it helped to move me forward in the bigger rumble.
So, my theory in Claudia's story is that her husband may be a key player in helping Claudia to sort out her rumblings. He was able to point out her disconnection with her parents. Though he cannot be expected to provide the solution, I hope it can help her to talk out loud with him and hear his reflections and questions. But more importantly, she may hear herself loud and clear, and learn from herself the best solution, or revolution.
For the new year, my wish is that everyone can have a friend or friends like I do. I am truly blessed.
Up Next: Chapter 8, spearheaded by Xeno Hemlock
P.S. Last week, Nancy mentioned Brené’s super excellent TED talk on vulnerability. It is not to be missed. If you’re interested, you can watch it here.
P.P.S. This Byron Katie meme was too good to pass up since we've been talking about this very thing!
Oh my goodness! And I just saw this meme on Facebook. I think a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert's drew this for her. It applies here. You are ALL my favorite badasses!