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Publications
  • Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
    Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
    by Leigh Newman

    Can't wait! 

  • Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit
    Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit
    by Krista Tippett
  • The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves
    The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves
    by Dan Ariely
  • Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up
    Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up
    by Harriet Lerner
Publications
  • Rhythm And Repose
    Rhythm And Repose
    Anti/Epitaph

    Tender and beautiful. 

  • Boys & Girls
    Boys & Girls
    by Alabama Shakes

    Love this album! So happy when I saw BrainPicker post this on her site! 

  • City of Refuge
    City of Refuge
    by Abigail Washburn

    Pure magic!

  • Some Nights
    Some Nights
    by Fun.
  • She Ain't Me
    She Ain't Me
    by Carrie Rodriguez

    I'm such a fan. 

  • I'm Your Man
    I'm Your Man
    by Leonard Cohen

    Take this Waltz is on my top ten list of all songs!

  • Babel
    Babel
    by Mumford & Sons
Publications
  • Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Original UK Unedited Edition)
    Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Original UK Unedited Edition)
    PBS

    So totally addicted to this series! Absolutely amazing!

  • Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking [Blu-ray]
    Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking [Blu-ray]
    starring Rufus Sewell

    Based on your recommendations from a recent blog post! It's another wonderful BBC mystery series! 

  • The Good Wife: The First Season
    The Good Wife: The First Season
    starring Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Josh Charles, Matt Czuchry, Archie Panjabi

    One of the best shows on TV. Juiliana Marguiles is incredible. 

  • Doc Martin: Collection - Series 1-4
    Doc Martin: Collection - Series 1-4
    starring Martin Clunes, Caroline Catz, Lia Williams, Stephanie Cole, Ian McNeice
gifting
Tuesday
Dec182012

wishing you love and light

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I'm signing off for the next couple of weeks to spend time with my family and friends. My plan is to rest, play, and practice a lot of gratitude. 

Nothing has been a greater gift to me than the three lessons I learned about joy and light from people I've interviewed who have spent time in sorrow and darkness. Even before Sandy Hook I was reflecting on these learnings as a way to stay centered during the holidays. They're from Daring Greatly (p. 125). They feel very relevant today.  

1. Joy comes to us in moments—ordinary moments.

We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary. Scarcity culture may keep us afraid of living small, ordinary lives but when you talk to people who have survived great losses it is clear that the most profound joy we experience is in those small moments that are so easy to overlook.  

My intention: I'm going to slow down enough to recognize the joy in these moments. 

2. Practice gratitude for what we have.

When I asked people who had survived tragedy how we can cultivate and show more compassion for people who are suffering, the answer was always the same: Don’t shrink away from the joy of your child because I've lost mine. Don’t take what you have for granted—celebrate it. Don’t apologize for your healthy parents or your great relationship. Be grateful and share your gratitude with others. 

One quote that I heard over and over was simply: "When you honor what you have, you’re honoring what I’ve lost.”

My intention: To let the people I love know how grateful I am to have them in my life. I'm also joining the #26Acts movement started by Ann Curry. 26 random acts of kindness to honor the lives lost in Newton. 

3. Don’t squander joy.

We can’t prepare for tragedy and loss. When we turn every opportunity to feel joy into "I better not let my guard down and feel too happy - that's inviting disaster" we actually diminish our resilience.

Yes, softening into joy is  uncomfortable. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s vulnerable. But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen—and they do happen—we are stronger.

My intention: To lean into joy. To remember that traumatizing myself with too much news or letting my imagination run wild doesn't create empathy - it generates fear and blame. I'll try to remember that joy requires vulnerability and that if I want more joy (and I do) I need to stay openhearted. 

I'm wishing all of you love and light this holiday season. Thank you for being a part of our wholehearted community. Thank you for sharing yourselves, your stories, and your light with us. I am grateful. 

« ushering in 2013 with three new books (and a trip to Birmingham) | Main | our stories matter because we matter: thoughts on the power of our voices »

Reader Comments (26)

Brene, Your words and work have opened up my heart and life so much-- I am different because of what you have written and spoken. May you be blessed with a Christmas in which you are fully present to you blessings!
12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMissy K
Thank you for your comforting words. In times of global crisis I think it is even more essential to go within and be grateful for what you have; honour oneself and experience the joy in everyday life. your words always shine. Blessings to you and your loved ones.
12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDianne
Thanks for your tender heart opening for all of us. Blessings peace joy and laughter to you and yours this blessed Christmas season.
12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPam
Thank you. Brene. I read your book a couple of months ago, but had forgotten some of these specific words, and how much they apply. Yes, the joy and contentment are found in moments, and I think they can only be noticed, not forced. Thank you for your postings the last few days. They have been very helpful. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your family.
12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBev Long
Wise words, thank you for sharing. One thought: including the mother of the perpetrator, there were 27 victims in Newtown, not just 26. I know it is a movement started by Ms. Curry, but adding another act of kindness on your part can't hurt.
12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Thank you so much for this reminder. I want to make leaning into joy a daily practice.
12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria
Thank you for your insight and openness . wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season filled with joy and peace
12.18.2012 | Unregistered Commenterpatti carson
Thank you, Brene. I needed to be reminded of this. I have tended to watch too much of the news and told a friend tonight that I felt like turning off the tv was an indication that I didn't care about what happened. Your words have helped me see that this is not the case and to look for ways to honor those who died and those who are moving forward to finding joy in their lives again. Gratefully, Deborah
12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah
I am thinking the same thing as Lisa but if we are to do an act of kindness for all the lives lost, then there must be 28. In learning to embrace kindness and compassion we've been advised to avoid judgement. Obviously killing people is wrong but I suspect the shooter was a victim of many things in life. Who knows what kindnesses he missed or wasn't able to accept. If we are to mark respond to this tragedy with vulnerability we must act for all involved.
12.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet
Thankyou dear woman. Blessings to you this Christmas time. Thank you from every dimension of my heart for unknowingly keeping me sane this last year. Some tough things have happened - they aren't over yet but you're words have helped me understand the difference between guilt and shame. This understanding alone has turned my viewpoints around 360 and kept me alive and kept me experiencing healthy vulnerability. Thank God for you! Much love, Fiona.
12.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterFiona
Have a wonderful holiday. I am grateful for your words. I have learned so much from your books and interviews.
12.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
Thank you - beautiful words - a balm to our hearts!
12.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy
I have to agree with Janet. There were 28 lives lost last week, including the young man who lost his way. All deserve kindness and compassion. I will also take on this challenge, to honor all the lives lost. Thank you, Brene, for all your hard work to research these very important topics! Have a peaceful and joyous holiday with your family!!
12.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim
Just joined the 26 Acts of Kindness movement that you suggested. What a great idea! Even though I am not there physically in Newtown, Connecticut, my mind and heart have been there. I think performing acts of service is a great way to teach my children how to respond to traumatic events such as these. Although it will take time for all of our hearts to come to an understanding of the situation and to heal - reaching out to others helps me from going into "auto pilot" mode and from feeling helpless.

Merry Christmas Brene Brown - you have helped create some little miracles in my life the last several months as I have read your books and began to practice authenticity and have tried to live whole heartedly. Dena
12.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDena
Brene - So grateful for the 'truths' you share and always with warmth and kindness. Many blessings to you and yours. Cheryl
12.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl Australia
Happy holidays Brene! Your wisdom and generosity has helped me this year in more ways than you could imagine, even though we have never met. I am planning a very ordinary holiday with my family and am certain that this is going to be one of the best ever. Your light has brightened my darkness and chased away my gremlins. Bless you and yours!
12.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
I'm hopeful to see that people are remembering the 27th and 28th deaths. By omitting them, we risk keeping those with mental illness - or a loved one with mental illness - isolated by shame and unwilling to reach out for help. Only by reaching out to 27 and 28 can we prevent there being another 26 lives to mourn.
12.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Thank you for this timely reminder. This has been the year where I discovered your books, your talks and your research work. It's been, and continues to be, an inspirational journey!
12.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterWL
Couild you elaborate on the following quote" when you honor what you have, you’re honoring what I’ve lost.”. I dont understand.
12.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBGG
How are there not more responses to this post?
The simple brilliance alone has my heart warmed but I'm also eager.

Eager to attend a function and look at it through a different lens. Being grateful for what I have, honoring those I am with, who have lost and finding joy in the dysfunction. Because it is, what it is.
I am grateful you reminded me of these most basic but forgotten principles.

Thank you, Brene.
12.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Reeves
Brene..

I first heard about you through a friend. Boy! Do I have good friends or what! :-)

Thankyou for the insights, for your obvious love of people and the real gift of attracting other good people to respond to your blogs, and books and videos.

God bless the people who make a difference.

Steve in Indianapolis
12.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
Merry Everything and Happy Always!!!!!
12.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn
BGG - That quote means that if you celebrate what you have, it honors what someone else has lost.
Example: If you show love and gratitude for your children, it honors the child I lost.
(I have not lost a child, but that's the example Brene used reg. Sandy Hook).

Celebrating life, honors those who have lost life.
12.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha
I so needed these words tonight on this eve of so many expectations to be extraordinary. Thank you Brene for your ever constant reminder that the small and ordinary are where joy and peace can be found in abundance. I return to your book(s) when I'm in my shame spaces, and they always open the door wide enough to see my own light. Happy new year Brene, and thank you.
12.31.2012 | Unregistered Commenterpatti
Brene,

I was able to hear you speak in Austin this past October, and I wanted to share how deeply your words and message have impacted me. A very great man always encouraged me to live in the arena, but it seemed that the more successful I became, the less courage I had. You were my wakeup call. You have also encouraged me write again, and for that, I will always be grateful. Many thanks!
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke
Have I missed the drawing for the books? My letter would be C for Creativity! I have just been introduced to you... I love the little bit I've read in your blog regarding shame vs guilt. Growing up in a rural, small-town, dysfunctional, religious, don't ask/don't tell household with a Mother who labeled and shamed, I'm looking forward to reading more of your work. Thanks so much for putting your good vibes out there. Much Love, Nikki
01.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

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