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I Thought It Was Just Me


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  • 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
  • Rhythm And Repose
    Rhythm And Repose

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

    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

shame v. guilt 



Based on my research and the research of other shame researchers, I believe that there is a profound difference between shame and guilt. I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful - it's holding something we've done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort.

I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging - something we've experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. 

I don't believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.

From Daring Greatly

I believe the differences between shame and guilt are critical in informing everything from the way we parent and engage in relationships, to the way we give feedback at work and school. 

From Daring Greatly

A couple of weeks ago Steve McCready (a friend on Twitter) sent me a link to a fascinating blog post from researcher Dan Ariely. I love Dan's work and highly recommend his book, The (Honest) Truth about Dishonestly. 

In a set of experiments, the researchers investigate a very subtle difference in language and labeling. They don't look at it through the shame/guilt lens so we may be evaluating different constructs, but I think it's very interesting (although counter to what I've found and believe).  

"In a series of three experiments, participants were given a chance to claim unearned money at the expense of the researchers.  There were two conditions in each experiment, and the only difference between them was in the wording of the instructions. In the first condition participants were told that researchers were interested in “how common cheating is on college campuses,” while in the second, they wondered “how common cheaters are on college campuses.

This is a subtle but, as it turned out, significant difference. Participants in the “cheating” condition claimed significantly more cash than those in the “cheater” condition, who, similar to when we tempted people who had sworn on the bible, did not cheat at all. This was true in both face-to-face and online interactions, indicating that relative anonymity cannot displace the implications of self-identifying as a cheater.  People may allow themselves to cheat sometimes, but not if it involves identifying themselves as Cheaters."

I believe that if we want meaningful, lasting change we need to get clear on the differences between shame and guilt and call for an end to shame as tool for change. That also means moving away from labeling. 

What do y'all think? What's been your experience? Could Dan's research tell us how to motivate better behavior while the findings about shame and guilt point to the danger of labeling in the process of changing behavior? Lots of good questions! I heart my job (and my grad students who push me).


ushering in 2013 with three new books (and a trip to Birmingham)

I'm back from a wonderful three week technology sabbatical! Key learnings from my computer-free time?  I missed the community-based connection (blog, Twitter, etc). I did not miss email one bit. 

I spent the holidays resting, playing, reading, and painting with my kids and parents. It was exactly what I needed. There are three books that totally grabbed my attention and I'd love to share them with y'all (and yes, those are my new reading glasses). 

Dan Pink and Seth Godin both have new books out and they're fascinating. 

Dan's new book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others is an eye-opener. My first reaction was, "I'm not in sales and I don't even like being pitched - I'm not sure this is for me." I was wrong.

Dan writes, "We devote upwards of 40% of our time on the job to moving others - this is non-sales selling - it's cajoling and convincing others in ways that don't involve anyone making a purchase. And it is critical to our professional success." This makes so much sense to me - I think we all want to move others in some way. 

You can learn more about To Sell is Human here and check out the great trailer.


I probaby don't have to tell you how excited I was when I got this box in the mail:

And, let me tell you that the inside was as thought-provoking as the outside! Seth Godin's new book, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly is all about courage, art, and why we need to fly a little closer to the sun. I love this:

Art isn't pretty.
Art isn't painting.
Art isn't something you hang on the wall.
Art might scare you.
Art might bust you.
But art is who we are and what we do and what we need.
Art isn't a result; it's a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and soul.

Need I say more? You can check out The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly here! 



Seth's other new book is V is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone. It's a full-color ABC book for grown-ups. It's full of powerful messages about doing great work. It highlights twenty-six of Seth Godin’s principles about treating your work as a form of art, with illustrations by cartoonist Hugh MacLeod. 

You know it makes me happy to see that V is for vulnerable and S is for shame
You can learn more about V is for Vulnerable here.

To celebrate 2013 and the possibility of more art, more vulnerability, and moving people, I'm giving away three sets of these books. Leave one of your favorite words in the comment section (e.g., A is for Awesome) and I'll draw names on Thursday. Mine is D is for Daring! 

Also - if you're in Birmingham, come out and join us on Thurday, 1/10. I'll be St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Info and tickets are here. 



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. 

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