I was intending to write about this stellar walk that I took last week, but I go to attend Brené Brown’s book promotion talk at CU Boulder tonight, and I think it would be better to give a brief synopsis.
For those who do not know, you should immediately watch THIS video. Brené Brown’s work is all about cultivating self-worth and courage in our lives through the everyday work of being vulnerable. She has several books including, The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong, all which come from her work as a social work researcher at the University of Houston. Through these works, she gives us clear, actionable steps to cultivate what she calls “wholehearted living.” One such step is to let go of comparison and cultivate creativity. I’ve written about her principles before, and her writing has had a huge influence on how I live my life.
She entered to a huge round of applause and graciously waved to us all. She cracked hugely relatable jokes almost immediately and put us all at ease. She was there to talk to us about the content and message of her new book, Braving the Wilderness, which is about finding a sense of belonging.
She started by talking about meeting Maya Angelou. After she was on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah, she was introduced to Maya Angelou in the studio. Apparently, Maya Angelou told Brown that she was doing good work and stay steady. And staying steady has become even harder with this new work, wherein she uses the concepts of finding belonging to enlighten us about the sickness in our culture caused by our current political climate.
There was a dramatic moment about halfway through her talk when a woman in the crowd stood up to presumably go to the bathroom and ended up passing out in the aisle. There was a collective gasp as Brene said, “Oh my God!” and rushed toward her. She then commanded everyone to stay in their seats as a bunch of medical personnel went to attend the woman. She was wheeled out on a stretcher but she was sitting up and conscious so she was presumably okay.
It was fascinating mostly because Brene had just finished talking about the way in which we transcend our differences in times of great need. It’s not as if we rush to someone and need and ask who they voted for first. We help someone who needs help because, fundamentally, we all know that we are connected, and it behooves us to be connected to each other. The way that so many people rushed to that woman’s side to help the moment they saw her in need perfectly exemplified what she had just said.
We did pick things up again after the incident, and her message was as profound as ever. Her message called us to yet another endeavor to improve our lives and our culture. Her parting words of advice were, “Talk to yourself the way you would talk to someone you love.”