All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.

~ Galileo Galilei



The Power of Vulnerability

Brene Brown

Vulnerability, Shame, Courage, Connection, Fulfillment

To her great surprise, Brene Brown discovered (through years of research) that being vulnerable is the key to connecting with people and living a full,  content, “whole-hearted” life.  If you’re thinking “UGH!” you aren’t alone; she felt the same way and had to work hard–with the help of a therapist–to overcome her resistance.  But she’s glad she did.  Maybe she’ll also convince you it’s worth a try.

A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success

Alain de Botton

Success, Happiness, Kindness, Luck

Mary Schmich (the actual author of “Wear Sunscreen“) advised:

Don’t waste your time on jealousy.  Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.  The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself. . . .

Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either.  Your choices are half chance.  So are everybody else’s.

Alain’s talk also explores the role of luck in success and failure; explains why high school reunions can be so hard; and suggests we “move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work.”  He’ll make you both think and laugh.

How to Make Stress Your Friend

Kelly McGonigal

Stress, Health, Connection

Stress does not have to be bad; how you think about it and how you act determine if it is bad or good for your health.  The studies she cites provide evidence that stress can actually lead to greater physical health, build resilience, and make you more social.  And really, couldn’t changing your perspective to see stress as helpful also reduce stress and anxiety?  Two quotes from her Talk:

  • [Stress] is my body helping me rise to this challenge.
  • Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort. . . . Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.
Pile of books
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Marriage and Other Acts of Charity by Kate Braestrup

Ms. Braestrup believes that love—agape, caritas love—is the purpose and meaning of life.  But she doesn’t have simplistic ideas about love; the book is  an examination of the how challenging it is to live agape/caritas in daily life as well as in romantic love. 


Animas programs helped me sort through my “stuff” so that I could heal old wounds, develop parts of myself long ignored, and contribute to the world in a positive way.  They have also helped me cultivate a greater connection to the more-than-human world.  (I’d never in my life gone camping before Animas.)  I would not be how or where I am today without the Animas programs and amazing mentoring provided by the guides.

An Animas Quest was the first program I completed:

[A] dynamic wilderness rite for men and women seeking greater depth and clarity about life purpose and meaning . . .  in which you die to your familiar way of belonging to the world, uncover the passion and wisdom of your soul, and retrieve the gift that is yours alone to bring to the world, enhancing personal fulfillment and genuine service . . . [and inhabiting] deeper layers of true adulthood.

WIP is a powerful, moving, women-only weekend of Shadow Work.   (The Mankind Project is the equivalent program for men.) Another important step on my journey, before Animas, Women In Power helped me name and process some anger (rage, really) that I’d held in since childhood.  About a year before I did the program, a mentor had mentioned that I was very angry; I honestly denied it—I didn’t consciously feel a great rage churning just below the surface—but he was right.  (Amazing what is obvious to others but totally unseen by us.)  I left the weekend quite a bit lighter after releasing much anger and standing in my full power—regal as a cormorant drying its wings in the sun.  It wasn’t the end of my heavy work, but it was a significant step forward and helped to prepare me for Animas.  I have since served as volunteer staff for a weekend and hope to volunteer again.

It’s Time To Free Our Predators . . . 

  • To express anger cleanly
  • To share vulnerabilities safely
  • To re-energize our sexuality
  • To strengthen our ability to “speak truth to power”
  • To heal our relationship to the abusers and victims in our inner landscape
  • To reclaim our power from the shadows of past vows we once promised
  • To find a community of women dedicated to our growing fullness
  • To advocate for what is sacred to our hearts and souls

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