We all inherently belong here because we are an inextricable part of any here or any there.

‘We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness, which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world’  (Marcel Proust, cited in a Stephen Batchelor)

As I have mentioned I sometimes listen to talks and presentations when I am drawing. Once I have ‘set up’ my drawing  I seem to be able to focus on both activities. If I do miss something it doesn’t really matter and I can always rewind. These two drawings today were created with talks by Brene Brown PhD, in the background, which eventually led me to download her book Braving the Wilderness on my Kindle device. The title felt like home to me. I was also intrigued because if my memory is serving me well, I don’t think I have ever used brave as a verb or gerund. So, the title grabbed my attention. I haven’t finished the book yet, but it is basically about belonging, which does not require we change who we are, but instead to be who we are. It is about authenticity and courage and not about shrinking or changing ourselves to fit in. Brene Brown discusses what it means to truly belong using the results of her qualitative research findings and her own experiences. She suggests that true belonging asks of us to belong to ourselves and to be able to find sacredness both in being part of a community and standing alone and it is a practice that requires courage, integrity and authenticity. To find our way back home to ourselves we need to walk through or rather brave the wilderness. She writes: “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”

Brene Brown also uses BRAVING as an acronym for defining and developing trust filled relationships in all contexts. She has often talked about trust as a marble jar. We talk about hard things and we share our soul stories to people who have over time gained their trust marbles and have proved trustworthy. In a nutshell, B stands for boundaries. R stands for reliability. I can only trust you if you do what you say you’re going to do and you do what you say you’re going to do over and over and over again. A is for accountability, which involves owning mistakes and apologizing or making amends. V is for vault, which means that we acknowledge confidentiality and you will hold in confidence what I share with you and I will do the same with what you share with me. She also uses an interesting term common enemy intimacy because intimacy is built on hating the same person or people, but that’s not real trust. Common enemy type intimacy supports divisiveness  both at a familial, circle of friends or work level and at a large societal level.  I is for integrity, which she defines as choosing courage over comfort, choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy, and practicing our values, N stands for non-judgment, which means that I can fall apart, ask for help, and be in struggle without being judged by you. Likewise you can fall apart, and be in struggle, and ask for help without being judged by me. So, when there is real trust help is reciprocal and non-judgmental. Finally, G is for generosity and this is about first making a generous assumption about others’ words, intentions, behaviours and then checking it out before assuming the worst

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