Daring greatly


The other night I began re-reading the book Daring Greatly, and posted on Instagram:

Re-reading a most important book tonight. Brené Brown's research on vulnerability & Wholeheartedness is life-affirming and necessary and miracle-making. If I haven't already given you a copy, let me know and I will. It's that good. Pairs beautifully with a Sunday night IPA or iced tea.

Brené researches vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame. She delivered an amazing talk on the power of vulnerability at the 2010 TEDx Houston conference and presented on shame at the 2012 TED Conference. Her research is game-changing and its relevance is universal.


I'm a complete devotee and student of Wholehearted living, as Brené outlines and teaches through her research and writing. I've underlined far too many sentences and written far too many words on her work for one post, so let's start a bit of a series, shall we? Reflections on daring greatly and living wholeheartedly. Not quite a book club, but if you'd like to read or re-read along and chime in with your own thoughts and responses or write about them elsewhere, I'd like that.

Today, we introduce the concept of daring greatly. The phrase comes from a 1910 speech by Teddy Roosevelt, ol' rough-ridin' TR:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. 

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, 

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; 

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly...”

Daring greatly is everything. It's imperative. Daring greatly doesn't have to mean living loudly or acquiring fame and wealth and Instagram-worthy travel photos. Daring greatly happens at home with family and every morning when you wake up and look in the mirror. Daring greatly is being present with a friend in need. Daring greatly is taking a chance and putting yourself out there.

Whisper along now, "Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen." 

Thanks for indulging, and happy 4th of July! I've had this posted written for weeks, but didn't have the chance or the bravery to post it until this morning after quietly reflecting with my Saturday cuppa coffee. Let's talk more about comparison and vulnerability and creativity and leadership and growing mint for mojitos and buying charming little houses and everything else that goes on in our crazy beautiful lives, ok? 

Go to the library

A quick public service announcement for the start of National Reading Month...

Visit your local library!

It's been brought to my attention that people aren't using their libraries as much as they should. You guys, you know you can borrow stuff for free, right? Books, e-books, audiobooks, DVDs... For free. It's a dream. I remember packing a backpack full of library books as a kid and thinking I had just scored the deal of the century.

I'm on a halfhearted quest to pare down my own personal library. It's halfhearted because I'm never going to get rid of my books completely, but I am trying to be more thoughtful about which books I keep. For an obsessive reader, that can be pretty tricky, but here are two things that make it easier:

My kindle. I was on the fence about a kindle for awhile, and you can read about my decision here. I'm happy to report that it has been an awesome investment. I read books on my Kindle more than I do in hardcopy. It's lightweight to carry around with me, I can read it in bed without keeping Chris up and I have instant access to a gazillion books. I love it, it's awesome, the end. And! It doesn't mean you can't still use the library...

The library. Libraries are goldmines. You just walk in, find a book you like, flash your library card and they let you walk out with the book. Did you also know that many libraries have an e-book collection? Our library does and I borrow from it all the time. The downside is that the collection is less comprehensive than the hardcopy collection and also the wait time is generally longer. But still, I can borrow and download free e-books on my Kindle.

Libraries have more than books. A true story:  My friend recently lent me season one of The Newsroom. Chris and I watched it and were totally hooked. But how to get our grubby hands on season two? It's not on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Guess where it was? The library, of course. Sitting there, waiting for us to watch it for free instead of do anything productive around the house.

Ok, that was my public service announcement. Rediscover your libraries. Borrow books and whatever else they have. Ours even has free museum passes that you can borrow. And all sorts of events and classes. For free.

ps- If you are serious about buying a Kindle, or other e-book reader, may I suggest that you get a Kindle Paperwhite or other reader that is solely a reader and not also a tablet? Tablets are great, but dedicated e-readers are better for reading. Much easier on the eyes, better battery life, no distractions. The regular Kindle is on sale for $59 right now, but the Paperwhite and fancy Voyager have built-in lights which is a huge bonus for me.

pps- Not sponsored by my library, Kindle or the Nerd Association of America.


Photo: A shelf in our own personal library :)

Dear Sugar

I don't know where I first heard about this book or who recommended it... was it you? Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar is a collection of advice columns written by Cheryl Strayed. For years, Dear Sugar was an advice column run anonymously on TheRumpus.net, where it attracted a huge cult following. I wasn't hip enough to know about it then, but when this book appeared on my e-book queue from my local library, I snatched it up and then devoured it.

Strayed, as Dear Sugar, is funny and direct and empathetic. At times, the book is heartbreaking. It's about messy human life is and the strange human experience is. It's wise and memorable. I loved reading it.

When I was almost done with this book, I realized that the new Reese Witherspoon movie is the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Then, as I sat down to write this post, I read that Dear Sugar is becoming a podcast! Signs from the universe, friends, and you'd better pay attention to them.

I find myself thinking through advice more when I'm asked for it, making sure it's what I really believe and what I think is right. When I'm not asked, I really do try to keep my mouth shut but when a friend comes knocking, I want to be able to shine a bit of perspective on their situation. Being careful not to judge, but maybe illuminating the parts they can't see and then let them chart their course. It's probably too pretentious or presumptuous of me, but then again, I've never claimed otherwise :)