Hello and Happy Day to You!
I am writing today about my experience at a weekend long Brené Brown training at Pathways in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mostly I will be talking about the power of the expressive arts as a way to process information and emotion.
THE POWER OF THE VISION BOARD MAKING PROCESS
First I have to tell you how amazing it is to me that this weekend training was offered, I was available, and invited to attend.
You see, on two of my vision boards from the past couple of years, I have had something about Brené Brown on each one. When making vision boards, you are letting images choose you. You learn to listen to that gut reaction of "yes", and you gather images that call to you. You don't need to understand or know why, you just listen to that inner voice and grab that image.
So on my two vision boards, here's what I have. On one I have a cut out image of the Daring Greatly book I found in a magazine. The other vision board simply has her name "Brené Brown" next to the words "Expand Your Horizons", which came from a different source.
I knew that people I admired were talking about the work of Brené Brown, but I wasn't all that familiar with her work myself. There was just something there for me, so I listened to that inner voice.
After being invited to attend this weekend intensive training at Pathways, I hit up my local library for Brené's books and audio books. I listened to Rising Strong and loved it! I've heard that reading the book itself can be challenging. Brené's work is better listened to or seen live or on video. Click here to see Brené's videos.
A SUMMARY OF BRENÉ BROWN'S WORK
To summarize briefly, Brené does qualitative research to learn about human behavior and experience. She wants to know what the people who keep showing up to live a full life have in common. We all go through struggles and experience loss. However, some people seem to stay stuck, while others are able to move through it.
One of the main points Brené Brown makes is that being brave means you are going to fall. And the more attempts you make at being brave, the more you're going to fall. The key is to get back up, dust yourself off, seek support from those who have earned your trust, and do it all over again. When you do show up to life, you get to really experience life. Yes, you'll experience pain and heart break, but you also get to experience joy, love, peace, and dare I say, bliss. Brené calls this "whole-hearted living". Being wholehearted is believing that you are enough with all of your imperfections and knowing that you are still worthy of being loved anyway. Note, these are my own interpretations, so it's best to read or listen to Brené's material to get her direct definitions.
Brené Brown's process of Rising Strong gives people some language and ideas around how to get back up when you're face down. A lot has to do with the stories that we tell ourselves in our brains, but these stories are not always true. Brené encourages people to identify when they've been triggered emotionally, so that the individual can take a deeper look at what's causing those emotions. The Rising Strong process is broken down into "The Reckoning", "The Rumble", and "The Revolution". In other words, "Stop. I feel emotionally triggered. What's going on here?" "Let me take a deeper look at myself and figure this out." and "Here's the truth of the matter. Now I see things differently."
Within all of this, it's important to remember that there's no such thing as perfect. No one's life is perfect, no matter how wonderful it all seems from the outside. The human experience is messy. We will all experience grief, and grief is hard. It takes courage to be vulnerable, and we all have special gifts to share with the world. Most importantly, we are all worthy of love and belonging.
MY EXPERIENCE AT THE WEEKEND INTENSIVE TRAINING AT PATHWAYS IN BRENÉ BROWN'S WORK
Brené's intense curiosity about people's resiliency reminds me of the question I asked while doing my graduate studies in Human Development. The question I asked was, "How do people heal from emotional pain?"
Pathways has been on my radar since I was in graduate school over ten years ago. However, I only walked through the door about one year ago. I am now a certified Renewing Life facilitator, and specifically, I facilitate Renewing Life through the Expressive Arts. Since I am a volunteer at Pathways, that's how I was invited to this weekend workshop on Brené Brown's work.
I am so grateful for Pathways, the staff, the practitioners, and the volunteers. Carol Burling, the Program Manager, did her graduate work on shame. She later studied with Brené Brown. The weekend intensive training in Brené's work was facilitated by Carol. Carol integrated the expressive arts throughout the weekend's training. We did sandplay, doodling, drawing, writing, listened to many poems, engaged in breath work, as well as some creative movement. Carol invited some of the workshop participants to lead us in various breathing and movement exercises. The whole body and BEing was recognized and invited into the experience of the weekend. All things were integrated, mind, body, spirit, and soul.
Below are some examples of the sandplay items that were available for us to choose.
I took each lunch break as an opportunity to express my feelings and thoughts through art making. This was very grounding for me. As I mentioned this was an intensive training; there was a lot of information to process mentally and emotionally.
On the second day of the training, we placed a few items in our sand tray. Then we were asked to draw what was in our sand tray.
Below is my sand tray at the beginning of day two.
Here's a part of my drawing below.
I like to incorporate words with my images, but that's only my personal preference. I think that's my way of engaging both sides of my brain.
Here's another part of my drawing of my sand tray at the beginning of day two.
We watched Brené's DVDs over the weekend, talked in dyads, small groups, and within the larger group. There was a lot of getting up and down, so our bodies could both stretch and absorb all that we were learning. Carol was fantastic at reading the room and checking in with us to see how we were all doing.
We received handouts, copies of poems, and were able to peruse a plethora of resources, thanks to Carol Burling and Pathways.
I am completely grateful for this experience. I learned so much and am filled up by the experience I had at this weekend intensive training in Brené Brown's work. I spent the past six hours writing this blog post for you in the hope that you may feel inspired to learn more about yourself and your emotions. I want you to know that no one is perfect, and please don't expect yourself to be. Perfectionism is a losing battle. I want you to know that you are worthy of love and belonging as you are, with all of your fear, pain, and imperfections.
This is all very personal work. I am attempting to be both vulnerable and brave with what I am sharing here. If you have comments to share with me, or questions to ask me, I would appreciate it if you would check in with yourself first, and comment from a place of love. Thank you kindly! I would love to hear your thoughts about this post.
Thank you for being here!
Blessings to You,