Book Club Notes July 13th, 2013

Guidepost #7   Cultivating Play and Rest,

Letting go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth.

In this chapter Brene discusses the importance of Play in a balanced, happy life.  She quotes Dr. Stewart Brown as saying that “…play shapes our brain, helps us foster empathy, helps us navigate complex social groups, and is at the core of creativity and innovation.”  Pg 100

She describes play as purposeless activity; we do it simply because it is fun.  In our society of accomplishing, accumulating and getting ahead, few people take time to play or to rest.  On pg 101 she states that play can help us deal with difficulties, bring back excitement and newness to our job, provide a sense of expansiveness promotes mastery of our craft and is an essential part of the creative process.

Just as our bodies and mind need play, they also need rest.  We have become a sleep deprived nation, with always just one more thing to do before I go to bed.  On page 101 she states that insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression.  Yet many of us continue to believe that exhaustion is a status symbol of hard work and that sleep is a luxury. “We are a nation of exhausted and overstressed adults raising overscheduled children.” Pg 101

Brene then shares that she and her husband had a “Dream List” that they had drawn up of things that they wanted over time.  After she started working on this book they sat down and made an Ingredients for Joy and Meaning List.  They realized that the things they were working toward on their dream list did nothing in terms of making their lives fuller.  Realizing this they both cut back at work and also cut back on some of their children’s activities so they had more time to play, rest and enjoy life together. She ends this chapter with a challenge to all of us to draw up an Ingredients for Joy and Meaning list.  Keep this list handy and then check it against your to do list.   Cross something off your to do list and write in Take A Nap!

 

Guidepost #8 Cultivating Calm and Stillness …Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle

This chapter is about practicing ways of decreasing anxiety rather than finding more ways to work through our increasing anxiety.  I found Brene’s descriptions of calm and still, very interesting and she stresses that there is a difference between calm and still.

Her description of calm, “…as creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity.” (pg 106)  So, calm is the awareness while you are in the moment, that you have a choice in how you handle the situation.  She goes on to say that..”anxiety is extremely contagious but so is calm.”  (pg 107)  She says the best way for her to stay calm is to focus on breathing.  This gives you time to think about what you want to say or do, or if you even need to respond.

Her description of Stillness is …”creating a clearing.  It’s opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question.” (pg 108)  She says that when we do this of course we have to look at our lives and many of us live in fear of this.  We are either overfunctioners and look after everyone else’s business which helps us avoid looking inward and assessing our own situation or underfunctioners who wait for someone else to take over and solve our problems.  Many of us see ourselves as just this way, rather than realizing we have learned these behaviors so we can change them once we become aware.  For overfunctioners that means having the courage to face our own vulnerabilities and underfunctioners can learn to amplify our strengths.

Look for different ways that each of you can find calm and stillness in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

Guidepost #9 Cultivating Meaningful Work Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”

I liked her statement “We all have gifts and talents.  When we cultivate those gifts and share them with the world, we create a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.” (pg 112)  She goes on to say that if we do not use these gifts, we suffer emotionally and physically.  We can feel empty, disconnected, frustrated, resentful, fearful and disappointed.  We are often looking for a spiritual connection, but looking in the wrong places.  Sharing our gifts with the world is our surest connection to God (pg 112)
Many times using our gifts takes tremendous commitment as it is often not what is paying the bills.  The meaning we are seeking in life is unique to us, as are our gifts.

Self doubt undermines our process of finding our gifts and sharing them with the world.  She goes on to say that if “developing and sharing our gifts is how we honor spirit and connect with God, self-doubt is letting our fear undermine our faith.” (pg 113)  We often let the idea of what we are “supposed to do” (ie: make money) get in the way of doing what we love.  On page 115 she says “Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Make a list of work that inspire you, what do you want to do when you grow up?  What brings meaning to you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guidepost #10 Cultivating Laughter, Song and Dance Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”

“Laughter, song and dance create emotional and spiritual connection; they remind us of the one thing that truly mattes when we are searching for comfort, celebration, inspiration, or healing:  We are not alone.” (pg 118)

She quotes Anne Lamott who defines laughter this way.  “Laughter is a bubbly, effervescent form of holiness.”  (pg 118)

Music adds so much to our lives, whether we are conscious of it or not.  Brene gave an example of listening to a part of a movie, first with sound and then without sound.  With music, even thought she wasn’t conscious of the music per se, she found the scene tense, anxiety producing.  When she played the same scene again without the sound,  the same scene seemed flat, unemotional.  She goes on to say that music reaches out to us in many different ways and helps us feel more connected.

Although good for the soul “…there is no form of self-expression that makes us feel more vulnerable than dancing.  It is literally full-body vulnerability.” (pg 119)  As children we feel so comfortable dancing and moving when we hear music, but over time feeling the need to be cool or fit in, we start to feel self conscious and dancing becomes one more area where we doubt ourselves.

Laughter, so good for all of us, starts to become an area too where we worry that we are being uncool, stupid or foolish.   Rather than take a chance we take the quiet approach, choosing to look in control instead of quirky, or downright silly.  “We hustle for our worthiness by slipping on the emotional and behavioral straitjacket of cool and posturing as the tragically hip and the terminally ‘better than’ .”  (pg 121)  She goes on to say that we want to be a situation where we can control what others think about us.  This constant need to be in control of ourselves leads to betrayal of our true selves and eventually to the betrayal of our family and friends. (pg 123)  Take time at home to turn the music up, dance, laugh…get moving and have fun.  Dare to be goofy, take time to laugh.

I loved this book, and the members of the Book Club all enjoyed it as well.  I hope those of you who followed along on line will get the book and read it yourselves if you haven’t all ready.  Reading Brene Brown’s book will make you wish she was your next door neighbor who you could invite over for coffee and possibly a cookie!

Book Club is taking a break now until the middle of August.  We will announce the new book shortly.

Have a wonderful rest of July.

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Book Club Notes Guidepost #4 and #6

Cultivating Gratitude and Joy

The people Brene interviewed who were joyful, without exception practiced gratitude and “attributed their joyfulness to their gratitude practice”. (pg 78)  They also described joy and gratitude as spiritual practices, believing in a human interconnectedness and in a greater power. (pg78)  The difference between happiness and joy noted by these individuals is that happiness is a human emotion connected to external circumstances and joy is a spiritual way of practicing gratitude.

“I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration and faith.”  (Pg 81)  She goes on to discuss how vulnerable we feel when we experience intense joy, love and gratitude.  It is often during these moments we let our mind take us to the what if dark place of worry and fear.  She says that to truly experience joy, we must believe that we are sufficient, that no matter what happens we know that we are enough and that there will always be enough.  (pg 83)

On page 84 she addresses how our society values those who are affluent and famous and often overlooks the quiet, hardworking individuals seeing them as ordinary and at times meaningless.  This is in spite of the fact that most of us see some of the most ordinary times and people in our lives as the most meaningful in terms of joy and love.  (pg 84)

She ends the chapter with ideas for practicing gratitude and for appreciating the ordinary that makes our lives so full.

 

Guidepost #5

Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith.

Often reason and intuition are pitted against one another rather than seen as two parts that can make a whole.  She says “intuition is a rapid-fire, unconscious associating process—like a mental puzzle.  The brain makes an observation, scans its files, and matches the observation with existing memories, knowledge and experiences.  This results in the “gut“feeling we all get from time to time.  Often, though we ignore these feelings, we don’t trust them or ourselves.  As she says, many people when asked what their gut tells them could reply “I don’t know, we haven’t spoken in years.” (pg 88)Sometimes our gut tells us something we don’t want to admit to ourselves, sometimes it tells us that we need more information before we can make a decision and sometimes it just tells us to act now.  She goes on to say “Intuition is not a single way of knowing- it’s our ability to hold space for uncertainty and our willingness to trust the many ways we’ve developed knowledge and insight, including instinct, experience, faith and reason.” (pg 89)

“…Faith and reason are not natural enemies.”  (pg90)  “Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.”  She quotes theologian Richard Rohr:”my scientist friends have come up with things like ‘principles of uncertainty’ and dark holes.  They’re willing to live inside imagined hypotheses and theories.  But many religious folks insist on answers that are always true.  We love closure, resolution and clarity, while thinking that we are people of ‘faith’!  How strange that the very word ‘faith’ has come to mean its exact opposite.”  (pg 91)

She ends this chapter with the challenge for us to learn to live with uncertainty; we don’t always know for certain what is going to happen and that is ok.   For times when anxiety is getting in the way of handling a situation she recommends the Serenity Prayer.  God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Amen!

 Guidepost #6

Cultivating Creativity

She starts this chapter describing her early years at home when her father was still a student at University and her family lived in a small apartment in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  Her mother was very creative, every wall had handmade art work, window curtains were made by her mother and the home was colorful.  She remembers the fun they had doing projects, art and otherwise with neighbors all along the street.  When her father finished University, they moved to an upscale neighborhood in Houston.  This was when the creativity stopped.  As she says “My parents were launched on the accomplishments-and-acquisitions track, and creativity gave way to that stifling combination of fitting in and being better than, also known as comparison.” (pg 94)  She goes on to state that fitting in becomes so important and we “…(are spending) enormous amounts of energy conforming and competing.”  There is no time left for creativity.  She quotes her friend Laura Williams ‘Comparison is the thief of happiness.’ (pg 95)

When we are comparing and fitting in, we often dismiss creativity as something we have no time or talent for.  She says there is no such thing as creative people and non-creative people.  “There are either people who use their creativity or people who don’t.  The only unique contribution we will make to this world is with our creativity and as long as we are creating we are cultivating meaning.”  (pg 96)

Letting go of comparison is a constant commitment, it requires constant awareness.  “It is so easy to take our eyes off our path to check out what others are doing and if they’re ahead of behind us.  …Creativity helps us stay mindful.” (pg 97)

She ends this chapter with this comment;”when I make creating a priority, everything in my life works better.”  She challenges us all to find like minded people, take a class, take a risk or do something you have always dreamed of doing.  Get started today!

 

There will be no Book Club for the next 2 Saturdays, but we will meet again on July 13th to discuss Guideposts 7,8,9 and 10 to finish this book.

Have a wonderful week and see you on the 13th of July.

 

 

 

 

Book Club Notes June 15th

Guidepost #3

Cultivating a Resilient Spirit.

When talking with people about resilience Brene states that she “learned about people’s capacities to stay mindful and authentic under great stress and anxiety, and … how they were able to transform trauma into Wholehearted living.” (pg 63)  People who are resilient are:
Resourceful, good problem solvers
Seek Help
Feel capable to do something to manage their feelings
Have social support
Feel connected with others  (pg 64)
As someone in group pointed out 3 out of 5 of these points referred to interacting with others.

Brene goes on to say that all of the resilient individuals had one other thing in common and that was a deep sense of spirituality.  “Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.  Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.” ( pg 64)

Resilient individuals also have 3 other significant patterns in common;  cultivating hope, practicing critical awareness and were able to let go of numbing and taking the edge off vulnerability discomfort and pain. (pg 65)

This was interesting to me and to several others in the group.  “Hope is not an emotion; it is a way of thinking … a thought process” (pg 65)  This comes about when we are able to set realistic goals, figure out a way to achieve these goals and believe in ourselves. (pg 65)  These are the individuals who also believe in hard work and persistence, and see this as a necessary part of life.

Practicing critical awareness is about “reality-checking the messages” we give ourselves.  (pg 67)  When we practice this instead of zooming in on our perceived faults or weaknesses, we zoom out and become more aware of others around us who also struggle.  (pg 68)

Numbing and taking the edge off becomes a way of life for many of us.  As Brene says when we numb our feelings, we not only take the edge off the sad/difficult feelings, we also take the edge off the happy positive feelings.  Feelings can be numbed by “alcohol, food, drugs, sex, relationships, money, work, caretaking, gambling, staying busy, affairs, chaos, shopping, planning, perfectionism, constant change and the Internet.” (pg 70)  Resilient individuals are “not immune to numbing.  The primary difference seemed to be that they were aware of the dangers of numbing and developed the ability to feel their way through high-vulnerability experiences.” (pg 70)  On page 71 she says “I’ve spent most of my life trying to outrun vulnerability and uncertainty.  I wasn’t raised with the skills and emotional practice needed to “lean into discomfort”.  (pg72)  Most of us weren’t and now it is time to unlearn the old ways and start to understand that leaning into vulnerability although scary is ok.  We will survive and in essence begin to thrive.  I think this ties in so well with what Sandra discussed at our Breath Workshop on Saturday.  Using Breath as one huge coping skill is a wonderful gift.

Under Dig Deep I like her vowel check AEIOUY

A= have I been Abstinent today?
E= have I Exercised today?
I= what have I done for myself today?
O=what have I done for Others today?
U= am I holding on to Unexpressed emotions today?
Y= Yeah!  What is something good that’s happened today?

Look at what works for you to set the tone of your day.  Try meditation and/or prayer.  Find the way to spark the light within.  (pg 74)

Thanks to all for coming and sharing at Book Club today.  It is so good to hear everyone’s take on the book and on life itself.  Next week we will start at 1 again at Tomi’s office and will do Guideposts 4, 5 and 6.  See you there!

 

 

 

 

Book Club Notes – June 11

Guidepost #1  Cultivating Authenticity

“…authenticity is not something we have or we don’t have.  It’s a practice – a conscious choice of how we want to live.”  (Pg 49)  The choice is ours to take the risk and let others see our true self or to “be anybody you need me to be”.  (Pg 50)  “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.” (pg 50)

Taking the risk of being our true self can create all sorts of angst within us.  As Brene says on pg 51, “What if I think I am enough and other’s don’t? What if I let my imperfect self be seen and known and nobody likes what they see?  What if my friends and family like the perfect me better…you know, the one who takes care of everything and everyone?”

Speaking out is a challenge for many women and begins to feel like a major balancing act, being honest but yet “fitting in”.  Being authentic “isn’t always the safe option.” (pg 52)  But by not being true to ourselves, we are hiding our many gifts and talents from the world.  She goes on to say that “if you trade in your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following:  anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.”  (pg 53)

I love her line under Dig Deep.  “Don’t shrink.  Don’t puff up.  Stand on your sacred ground.  I think there is something deeply spiritual about standing your ground.”  (pg 54)  “You have to brave with your life, so others can be brave with theirs.”   (pg 54)

Guidepost #2 Cultivating Self Compassion

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”  Anna Quindlen (pg 55)

Brene starts this chapter with her story of writing her first book “I Thought it Was Just Me” where she discusses shame.  One of the letters she received from a fan, said that she really didn’t think she herself had shame, but if she ever did something on perfectionism, she would be the first in line for a “read along.”  She goes on to say that “Where perfectionism exists, shame is always lurking.  In fact, Shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.”  ( Pg 55) “When we don’t claim shame, it claims us … through perfectionism.” (pg 56)  She explains perfectionism as “the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame.  It’s a shield. … It is the thing that is preventing us from taking flight. … Perfectionism is trying to earn approval and acceptance.”  (pg 56)

I found it interesting that she goes on to say perfectionism hampers success and is often the pathway to “depression, anxiety, addiction and life-paralysis.”  Pg 56 we become so afraid of failure, we neglect to put anything out into the world just in case it is not right or not what others want to hear.

To overcome perfectionism we need to develop “shame resilience, and practice self compassion.”  ( pg 57)  She suggests starting with self kindness, being warm and understanding to ourselves when we suffer, fail or feel inadequate.  Practice common humanity, recognizing that suffering and feelings of personal inadequacy are part of the shared human experience.  Practice mindfulness, not over-identifying with thoughts and feelings, just acknowledge them and let them move on by.  (pg 60)

There is a site online  www.self-compassion.org where you can take the self compassion scale, and see how you are doing.  Check it out and find out the areas of strength and areas you can focus to make changes.

We had a great group again, and lots of good discussion.  We did not get through Guidepost #3, so will continue on that next week and also do Guideposts #4 and #5.

Have a wonderful week and see you next Saturday.

Book Notes May 22nd Chapter 2 Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging and Being Enough

“Love and belonging are essential to the human experience.  …only one thing separate(s) the men and women who felt a deep sense of love and belonging from the people who seem to be struggling for it.  That one thing is the belief in their worthiness.” Pg 23  She goes on to say that to really feel love and acceptance we must believe we are worthy of love and belonging.  It is important to believe that no matter what, we are “enough” just as we are, right now.

I liked her comparing the difference between fitting in and belonging.  “Fitting in gets in the way of belonging.” (pg 25)  “Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted.   Belonging …requires us to be who we are.”  (pg 25)

I found this quote interesting: “…Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”(pg 26)  She goes on to say that it is important to practice self love (acceptance) by “learning how to trust ourselves, to treat ourselves with respect, and to be kind and affectionate toward ourselves.”  (pg 27)  “Given how difficult it is to cultivate self-acceptance in our perfectionist society and how our need for belonging is hardwired, it’s no wonder that we spend our lives trying to fit in and gain approval.  It is much easier to say “I’ll be whoever or whatever you need me to be, as long as I feel like I’m part of this.”   (pg 27)  “Incongruent living is exhausting.” (pg 28)

To live congruently we have to understand when it is and why it is we are hustling for worthiness, rather than just accepting ourselves as we are, we are enough we are worthy.

 

Chapter 3, The Things That Get In The Way.

In this chapter, she focuses on the things that get in the way of us moving forward in our lives.  As she says we all know what to do to lose weight, to make good choices with our money, how to take care of our emotional needs yet…”We are the most obese, medicated, addicted, and in-debt Americans EVER.” (pg 36)

What gets in the way is our shame, fear and vulnerability.  (pg 36)  She refers to this as “the swampland of the soul”.  This is not the area we need to “camp out in” but we do need to go there, look at what we are carrying and share our story with a trusted, “worthy” friend.  It is time to talk honestly about our fears, our shortcomings, our areas of life where we feel less than adequate, as it is only in the talking about that we can overcome them.  She says that Shame cannot survive in the open, it needs secrecy to thrive.  She gives some excellent examples of this from her own life and shares the sense of relief she felt once she had shared her story.

We all carry shame, ALL OF US.  It is only when we can look at it and talk about it that we can move on to the next phase of our lives.  She talks about the high expectations we put on ourselves.  We carry the message that we need to be perfect in all things and at all times.  She refers to these self messages as the messages that fuel the “never good enough” feeling and belief.   “Shame is basically the fear of being unlovable-it’s the total opposite of owning our story and feeling worthy.” (pg 39)  Shame is the fear that if people know all about us they will think less of us, distance themselves from us.  “Shame loves perfectionists- it is so easy to keep us quiet.” (pg 39)  Secrecy gives shame control over us.

I think she has much important information in this chapter and I think the most important piece in all of this is in finding someone WORTHY of hearing your story before sharing it.  Telling the wrong person can result in increased feelings of shame and unworthiness.  People have to earn the right to hear your story.

Her description of the differences between shame and guilt is also very helpful.
Guilt = I did something bad.
Shame = I am bad.
Shame is about who we are, and guilt is about our behaviors.”  (pg 41)  Shame keeps it a secret, guilt talks about it and uses it to help us move on to do better.  “Shame is often destructive.  …it corrodes the part of us that believes we can change and do better.”  (pg 41) “Shame is related to violence, aggression, depression, addiction, eating disorders, and bullying.” (pg 42)

What a great chapter.  We had some interesting discussion about the extra voices in our heads going non-stop during certain times of our lives and what we can do to get beyond these “tapes”.

Next Saturday, June 1st is Dream Interpretation week at my home(1-3pm)  If anyone needs information on getting here or wanting to car pool please contact me at dvmoptions@hotmail.com Then on June 8th we will discuss Guidposts 1,2,&3.  Also in the chapter on Guidepost #2, pg 61 there is a site with the Self Compassion Scale.  It is www.self-compassion.org.  I recommend going to the site and doing the scale before we meet on the 8th.

Have a Wonderful Memorial Day Week-end.

 

 

 

Book Club Notes May 19th, Preface, Introduction & Chapter 1

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”  Brene Brown The Gifts of Imperfection

Brene Brown has researched shame, fear and vulnerability for years.  She says that she noticed over time there were a group of people who managed to live amazing and inspiring lives in spite of all they had been through.  She was curious as to what these Wholehearted (pg x) individuals had in common.  She wanted to know what these people valued, how did they create this resilience in their lives.  She decided to create two lists, Do and Don’t.  Under the Do list she wrote words like worthiness, rest, play, trust, faith, intuition, hope, authenticity, love, belonging, joy, gratitude and creativity.  Under the Don’t side she had words like perfection, numbing, certainty, exhaustion, self-sufficiency, being cool, fitting in, judgment and scarcity.  (pg x)  She said as she sat there and looked at the list, really reading the words she had written, she realized with absolute horror that the Don’t list was her life.  Following this realization she went into therapy to look at her own issues and it was only when her therapy was over that she pulled the lists out again and decided to write this book.

How much we know and understand ourselves is critically important, but there is something that is even more essential to living a Wholehearted life: loving ourselves. (pg xi)

She goes on to say that knowledge is important, but only if we are kind and gentle with ourselves… (pg xi)  She describes mid life crisis more as an unraveling, a time when we feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re supposed to live. (pg xii)  It is a time to start to worry less about what others think and pleasing others and a time to do what feels right for us to do.  A time to set better boundaries, saying No when we do not want to do something and saying yes to relaxation and play.

She finishes the preface with “I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do.” (pg xiv)

 

“Wholehearted Living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.  It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connections to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.  It’s going to bed at night thinking Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

So many times in life we feel exhausted, yet we push ourselves to go on, push through to get everything done.  She says there is a better way and she refers to this as DIG Deep.  She says when Wholehearted living people get exhausted they get

Deliberate in their thoughts and behaviors through prayer, meditation or simply setting their intentions

Inspired to make new and different choices;

Going.  They take action.  (sometimes this means something restorative) (pg 5)

She ends the introduction with this paragraph.  “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy-the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Chapter 1 Courage, Compassion and Connection: The Gifts of Imperfection

Brene Brown initially talks about shame in this chapter and as is her style she is brutally honest about times in her life when she felt shame.  She tells of a time when she knew that a talk she was giving was not going over well and how she tried repeatedly to win over one particularly surly looking man.  She then goes on to say “…trying to co-opt or win over someone like that guy is always a mistake, because it means trading in your authenticity for approval.  You stop believing in your worthiness and start hustling for it.” (pg 9)  Following an incident like this the feeling of shame washes over us and we are feeling like we would like to hide under a rock.  Instead, this is the time to use our Courage to find a person worthy of hearing our shame, and to share our shame with them.  Shame cannot survive in the open, it seeks secrecy.  On Oprah I heard her describe the difference between shame and humiliation like this: When a teacher mocks a child in front of the class and the child feels angry to be treated this way so comes home and tells someone, that is humilitation.  When the same thing occurs and the child tells no one, that is shame; they have incorporated the wrongdoing within, seeing themselves as the problem.  So living wholeheartedly means having the courage to accept ourselves warts and all and still feel worthy.

Compassion means “to suffer with”.  “Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.  Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” (pg16)  “The heart of compassion is really acceptance.  The better we are accepting ourselves and others, the more compassionate we become.” (pg 17)

Connection is “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued: when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”   She says we have an innate need for connection, which makes the sense of disconnection more dangerous.  She briefly addresses the difference between connection and communication, particularly in the age of facebook, texting and computer time.

I had never thought of this before but Brene states that “Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.  When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”  (pg 20)  It is important that not only do we like to help, we know when we need to reach out and ask for help and we feel safe to do so.

 

Next week we will do Chapter 2 and 3 and start Gaitpost #1 if we have time.  We are meeting Wednesday evening at 5:30 just this week.  See you Wednesday.  Have a wonderful week.

Book Club Notes April 13th, Chapter 10 Startrekking (or Lucid Dreaming, Out of Body Experiences, and Exploring Other Dimensions of Reality)

This chapter’s focus on Lucid Dreaming was interesting.  Lucid dreaming means being aware that you are dreaming as you dream and being able to control your dream as you dream it, or of being conscious as you sleep.  Often when this occurs one feels like they haven’t really slept, yet often the body is refreshed in the morning, but the mind has been “on the go”.  When this occurs it is much easier to recall dreams vividly when awakening.  Often if people find a level of consciousness in a scary dream, they will fight the “bad “guy or get rid of him in some way. “…it is not at all clear that the essence of a slain dream enemy is or will be helpful to the dreamer’s psyche.”  (pg 245) She suggests that the ideal way to handle this is to get to know what part of you this “bad “guy represents and understand what it is that you are needing to pay attention to or to learn from this situation.  During our discussion someone said “that is much like in real life, taking time to find out why someone is acting the way they are is much more helpful than escalating the situation.”

Lucid Dreams according to Gayle are almost irresistible, as …”The colors are filled with sunlight and moonlight and one often has the impression that everything in the dream is more real and vivid than in waking reality.” (pg 243 )  Because they seem so real it is important to tell yourself that you are dreaming and that you are safe.  Next ask the dream figures to help you understand what they represent or what it is that you are needing to learn from this dream.  “Just remember that you have much more to gain if you use lucidity to explore rather than to manipulate and repress.” (pg251)

The second part of this chapter is on “false awakenings” or out of body experiences (OBE) or “experiences in which one seems to perceive the environment from a vantage point outside of the physical body.” (pg 259)  She also discusses Flying Dreams, and states that these are an easier route to Lucid Dreaming.  Flying dreams give one the feeling of freedom from the body.  Some people will be able to look down and see themselves in the bed as they start to fly in a dream.  Other people believe that when one leaves the body, it is “the intuitive part of the consciousness that leaves the body and travels somewhere else while the physically oriented portions of consciousness remain in it.” (pg265) When one awakens from a dream like this it is common for them to feel that there is much more to the dream than they can remember or they will say “I understood things about myself on a very deep level but I can’t put it into words.” (pg 266)  Others have had the experience of being in someone else’s body, and experiencing what they think is someone else’s state of mind.  (pg271)

On page 273 it is interesting that she says “in the out of body state, the dreamer attracts experiences that correspond to his expectations, fears, and level of psychological development as well as emotional state of mind.”  It is similar idea to what we think about we bring about.

The chapter ends with areas of exploration you can use in a dream when you realize you are experiencing a lucid dream.  A couple of suggestions she makes are;  1) initiate pleasurable flying dreams  2) turn frightening figures into helpful, informative ones.

This whole idea of expanding our awareness of our multidimensionality is fascinating.  (pg276)  I look forward to discussing this further next meeting.

Thank you Karen for coming to see us, it was so good to have you in group again.  We all enjoyed your visit and are continuing to pray for you and Jason!

Next week there will be no Book Club, but we will meet to discuss the last chapter (11) and continue with discussion on chapter 10.  We will meet at my home for lunch and then discussion on April 27.  For directions please contact me at dvmoptions@hotmail.com

 

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