As we head into the holiday season and begin to wind down 2019 and look towards 2020, a dose of grace and gratitude is in order.
The holiday season can mean a spectrum of things depending on the day as you move through the joys of tradition, the complexities of relationships, dreading expectations and just trying to accomplish all.the.things.
We are living in a culture that quickly defaults to judgement, criticism, shame and blame when tensions get high, defenses are entrenched, sleep is deprived and the tierney-of-the-urgent hijacks presence and peace.
Some of us are better at disconnecting and numbing than others and we acknowledge the privilege of being able to tap out of the hard things.
But you are here because you want more than a quick fix and we admire that a ton.
We see grace as the underserved gift and gratitude as a practice beyond just a feeling that gives thanks for the small and big and the everyday. When practiced together, they can serve as a powerful multivitamin for your emotional and relational wellbeing.
Grace and gratitude are important anchors for this season and beyond. Take some time to reflect on your life and let’s stand together – with grace and gratitude – and do the hard and brave things of being human.
Note: Grace is not remiss of accountability and gratitude can coexist with discomfort.
Resources for Grace and Gratitude
this article by NPR. If you’re feeling thankful, check it out!
Gratitude journals. These are a great way to start noticing everything you are grateful for throughout the day and can shift your mindset.
Staff Reflections on Grace and Gratitude
Gratitude is an active practice of noticing the good. – Andee Woolf, LMFT
We won’t experience gratitude without intentionally cultivating a practice of gratitude into our lives. By slowing down, being still, and purposefully paying attention to our lives and our emotional experience, we can begin to see what we have to be grateful for, and that can change the way we experience the world. Intentionally engaging in a gratitude journal, meditation, or prayer that emphasizes our gratitude can begin to change our emotional experience, our relationships, and our perspective on life. – Chris Cessna, LMFT
Extending grace with others originates with extending grace and kindness towards yourself. – Lauren Bryan, M.A, ASW
You are gratuitous and kind to many people. It’s time to extend that gratitude and kindness to yourself – you are just as worthy of it as anyone else. – Holly Kelley, LMFT
Mindful eating, or simply slowing down, is one way we can begin to reconnect with food, thus bringing joy and an attitude of gratitude to even the most ordinary meals or snacks. – Megan Holt-Hellner, DrPH, MPH, RD
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I was so grateful to share space with a woman who cares passionately about family, faith, and making an impact on this planet through meaningful work in areas that I also care deeply about.
My respect for her research grew and a year later I would attend my first training in her work in San Antonio, TX. And four years after that first meeting, I found myself in Texas last week, yet again, sitting with my fellow The Daring Way™ Case Consultants getting trained in her latest research featured in her new book: Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. (This book is coming out August 25th – pre-order here so you can have it in your mailbox as soon as it releases! )
Brené’s research calls you to do more than recite definitions and, what has become to some, trendy lingo. It inspires action… and sometimes some regret because there is no turning back from the learning process this work fosters.
Her integrity along with her talents as a communicator and leader have changed the international conversation on shame, authenticity and courage. Brené is so gifted in making complex concepts easy to understand.
But do not be fooled. Taking the insights from her research and putting them into action is nuanced, hard work and not comfortable. Not. At. All.
It takes time and effort. Addressing traumas, grief and loss are inevitable if you start the journey of developing a shame resilience practice. Facing failure, frustration and doubt is also inevitable in this work, too. Which is why the Rising Strong process so important.
I appreciate Brené clarifying in Rising Strong that her work is not a quick fix to healing but a guide to a life-long practice involving struggle, failure, fear and shame resilience – all based on the results of her research.
No matter what your brain is drawn too, there is no such thing as a quick fix to heal from pain, traumatic or distressing experiences, loss, transition, mood issues, eating disorders, and more. It just takes a life time commitment to curiosity, compassion and doing the work.
Workshops, therapy, books, programs can all be wonderful tools on the journey, but be wise as to who you invite to support you on your path. As I wrote in my last post on struggle, good marketing is just that, good marketing. Be an informed consumer of media, services and products.
Rising Strong will feel like a letter of encouragement to many of you who show up day in and day out – reckoning and rumbling with the stories you tell yourselves which are filled with inaccurate data – validating your struggle and persistence to find a better way to engage in your life.
This work is subversive, gritty and painful at times as the message to (re) define failure pushes new edges. The rush of “Me, too!” is often followed by “What now?”. Which is why Rising Strong in such an important read.
Here are some of my favorite nuggets from Rising Strong and my training last week that are provocative conversation starters in your circles of influence:
“The physics of vulnerability = If you are brave enough you will fall. Daring is saying, “I know I will eventually fail and I am all in.” p.5 If you dare to show up and be seen you will fall and fail. It is not an if, it is a when. Taking this posture challenges the stories you tell yourself about failing and instead normalizes failure as a part our. It also teases out very quickly where you have externalized your worth and value.
“Experience and success don’t give you easy passage through the middle space. They only grant you a little grace, a grace that whispers, This is part of the process. Stay the course.“ p. 27/28 Grace, the undeserved gift from God flows deep with this work. Expertise is not the the savior in this journey, only God’s grace is what heals and offers oxygen when you feel like you are suffocating from your pain.
“Falling in the arena in the service of being brave is where our courage is forged.” You do not develop courage by studying it. You develop it by show up, falling and rising again. The struggle is hard as you fight to stop living from stories that are keeping you stuck.
“You cannot do anything brave or courageous without getting attacked. The alternative to avoiding the attack is silence – then you are complicit with the problem.” This is scary. But we are living in a time where we need less fear-based silence, less screaming, less critics and more respect+courage as we challenge harmful narratives that are taking lives and crushing souls.
“When we go into struggle, our brain’s job is to make up a story about what is happening. The brain does not take into account the need for vulnerability and still classifies vulnerability as danger.” Building up the bandwidth to tolerate vulnerability – risk, uncertainty, emotional exposure – is a non-negotiable on the path to love and belonging (not fitting in where you are show up in life how you think others want you to be verses who you uniquely are.). That is why developing a shame resilience practice is crucial in this work.
“We get a dopamine rush when we find patterns that can fill in the beginning, middle and end of story” Even if the story is inaccurate, your brain wants to find a conclusion. So much so that you get a bit of a chemical boost when your brain writes an ending to a story. There is power in the stories we tell ourselves. Get curious about the stories you are telling yourself. Make sure these stories fuel bravery and courage instead of fear, shame and blame.
“Men and women who rise strong challenge conspiracies and confabulations (my new favorite word!) in the stories they are telling themselves.” A confabulation is when you tell a story you believe is true but it is not true. Conspiracies are based on some fact and also inaccurate data and assumptions.
“Sometimes we get so busy self-protecting we do not get curious… and then we protect at the expense of the other person.” Relationships are hard, messy and challenging. When you protect yourself in ways that are not reflective of your core values, through shame, silence, blame – you often may end up hurting both yourself and someone you care about.
Our healing can never be dependent on our access to other people or the feedback from other people.” It is often helpful to engage with those who have hurt us in healing process but may not be possible or appropriate.
“Shaming someone else diminishes my humanity.” Shame is never a necessary ingredient in the healing process, though it often shows up. How we respond to shame when it surfaces can impact the trajectory of your healing process.
“When we allow ourselves to be defined by what everyone else thinks, we lose our capacity for courage. When we do not care what anyone thinks, we lose our capacity for connection.” These reminders are so powerful. And so you will find yourself in the grey zone of vulnerability as you turn away from the exhaustion of numbing out from caring what other people think or people pleasing and worrying what everyone else thinks.
“He or she who is the most willing to be uncool will gain the most from this work.” Being uncool is not about attention-seeking behavior. It is about tolerating the vulnerability of being seen and potentially misunderstood. Cool is overrated and sometimes exhausting. Laughter, song and dance fuel the freedom to (re) define cool.
“We tolerate physical discomfort but not emotional discomfort.” I am amazed at how so many people devalue emotional pain and see it as less-valid than physical pain. Your emotional pain deserves respect, care an attention – or it will start to run your life.
“Speak truth even when your voice shakes.” Speak up and inspire. Your voice is needed.
Trust, love, joy, creativity, innovation are all inaccessible without vulnerability. This leads to darkness.” When shame and perfection are the responses to feelings of risk, uncertainty and emotional exposure – tolerating vulnerability seems impossible and courage feels far away.
‘People get scared when you try to do something, especially when it looks like you’re succeeding. People do not get scared when you’re failing. It calms them… But when you’re winning, it makes them feel like they’re losing or, worse yet, that maybe they should’ve tried to do something too, but now it’s too late. And since they didn’t, they want to stop you. You can’t let them.”
When you are constantly thinking about what others will think if you fail – or succeed – than you are letting shame and fear drive your life while squelching your precious and unique story from being told and lived.
Yes, we are the brave and the brokenhearted. It is time to (re) Define Failure: Reckon. Rumble. Rise. Repeat.
Cheering you on –
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