Niagara Gazette —
Death has always seemed a more perplexing puzzle. I started reading books about death in my 20s, to get a head start on the inevitable losses to come. I’ve since learned you can research something to death and still not be prepared for it. So, I’ve begun the research on decline. But, for now, my plan is simple — find more pockets of joy to brighten my days, and continue to try and figure out the best ways to live full out.
I’ve recently stumbled across a presentation on my favorite website Ted.com, where the world’s most interesting humans speak about their lives work. The talk was by Dr. Brené Brown, a college professor and researcher who has concluded that vulnerability is the key to happiness. Apparently, one cannot be happy when emotionally shielded, armed and helmeted against any and all danger. The key to a better life, she said, is found through opening yourself to relationships and experiences and being as honest as possible with yourself and others about who you are.
She says that joy lives there. And creativity. And better relationships.
Dang. I don’t like being vulnerable. And neither does she. As a scholar and researcher, the news that everything good comes from being vulnerable led her to a nervous breakdown. Or, as her counselor called it, “a spiritual awakening.” She’s pretty funny on that Ted talk. You should catch her if you can. She was also on a recent Super Soul Sunday on Oprah’s channel, which you can check out on Oprah.com.
She says we all have moments of vulnerability and that we often turn them into rage or disconnection or numbness or perfectionism, but we all do something with them. The key is to recognize them, feel them and ultimately make the choice to simply stand in the uncertainty. “When you know what you’re feeling and why, you can slow down, breathe, pray, ask for support — and make choices that reflect who you are and what you believe,” she says.