God of Letters

13 October 2013
9:21 pm
Edinburgh

T. —

Quotes from great new book:

Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brace and worthy of love and belonging.

This definition is based on these fundamental ideals:

  • Love and belonging are irreducible needs of all men, women and children. We’re hardwired for connection — it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The absence of love, belonging, and connection always leads to suffering.
  • If you roughly divide the men and women I’ve interviewed into two groups — those who feel a deep sense of love and belonging, and those who struggle for it — there’s only one variable that separates the groups: Those who feel lovable, who love, and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging. They don’t have better or easier lives, they don’t have fewer struggles with addiction or depression, and they haven’t survived fewer traumas or bankruptcies or divorces, but in the midst of all of these struggles, they have developed practices that enable them to hold on to the belief that they are worthy of love, belonging, and even joy.
  • A strong belief in our worthiness doesn’t just happen — it’s cultivated when we understand the guideposts as choices and daily practices.
  • The main concern of Wholehearted men and women is living a life defined by courage, compassion, and connection.
  • The Wholehearted identify vulnerability as the catalyst for courage, compassion, and connection. In fact, the willingness to be vulnerable emerged as the single clearest value shared by all of the women and men whom I would describe as Wholehearted. They attribute everything — from their professional success to their marriages to their proudest parenting moments — to their ability to be vulnerable.

— Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

*

And the kind of letters I really should be writing:

p.s. We went to the museum. We took a page from his notebook and ripped it in half, and on each half we wrote projects we hadn’t finished yet. Then we asked the bartender for some tape, and a purple crayon. We taped the page back together, drew wide wax circles around each unfinished project, decorated the paper with purple Vs to represent birds. We ordered two ginger beers but didn’t drink them. I pulled the tape slowly from the paper, wondering if there was a different way to put it together where half of his and half of mine would equal all of ours, but I couldn’t make the tape stick after that.
We snapped the crayon and left the paper on the bar along with a blll and some coins. We walked down to the pier. It was raining lightly but the walk was so long that by the time we arrived at the river we were soaked. We could see Newark as a black outline. He said he thought he saw a dolphin. A dolphin in the Hudson, I said. He said when he was younger he’d worked on one of the whale watching boats that docked in Portland, Maine. He couldn’t remember if he saw, or only heard told, that a captain of one of the boats had climbed over the edge of the ship and gained purchase on the back of a whale and briefly rode the animal like a surf board in the ocean.
– Stephen Elliot, The Rumpus
I’ll admit it — Stephen Elliot can annoy me sometimes, but he is a god of a letter-writer.
Goodnight,
M
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