Courage to be Vulnerable

As any regular reader of CP101 will tell you, I’m typically finding any tact I can find to lean us toward new ways to wonder, look at, or consider the work we each still need to do around “showing up well” in our closest and most intimate relationships.

I have on a couple of occasions mentioned the work of Brene Brown who has spoken and written extensively on the topic of vulnerability and shame (the primary focus of her research).  Her TED talks have topped the charts – one at over 18 million views – more than just hinting at her very accessible conversations on the topic, both as a researcher and as a wife, mother and human.

I also subscribe to the interview series: On Being. A fascinating collection of interviews exploring the spiritual and human search.  I listened recently as host Krista Tippett interviewed Brown on the topic of Vulnerability as an essential component of Courage; both of them modeling the difficulty and desire to explore the myths and deep truths of what it looks like to, as Brown seeks to expand, live wholeheartedly.

There is a specific part of this related to parenting that I find to be completely resonant with what I have speaking to for a long time.  So, I’d like to encourage you to take the time, with your parenting partner and/or with you daughter/son, to sit down and listen to the truths explored here.

Peace all around, Dane



Longing to Leave

The following is an excerpt from Irish writer/poet John O’Donohue from his book, Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on our Yearning to Belong (italics added).

I hear in John’s words the very heart of the message of what it means to parent well and to be an attentive human with strong intention. May his words serve us well…

Peace, Dane

“The loneliness and creativity of being a parent is the recognition that family is inevitably temporary. Good parenting is unselfish and, to encourage independence in a child that has received unconditional love, acts to reinforce the sense and essence of belonging.  Nothing, not even departure, can sever that intrinsic sense of belonging.  Children are created to grow and leave the nest.  Family provides the original and essential belonging in the world.  It is the cradle where identity unfolds and firms.  Such belonging outgrows itself. Home becomes too small and too safe.  The young adult is called to new longing to leave home and undertake new discovery.  The difficulty for parents is Continue reading “Longing to Leave”

Holding on to our hope

As we lean ever further into this idea of “letting go” of our agendas for our daughters and sons, there is a point at which we can find the core of our hope.  I don’t believe we can parent without having some basic hopes for our children: hope that she will be healthy, hope that he will be successful, hope that she will live a meaningful and productive life, and our list of hopes can go on and on.

The poem below presents the same question in a different form; an opportunity to see and experience our daughters and sons differently.  When we encounter the invitation to do the work of letting go of OUR agendas – and it is OUR work – we may find that Continue reading “Holding on to our hope”

The Power of Vulnerability

I sat for a time this Thanksgiving weekend looking at the year that has passed and the little left that remains.  I often find myself doing this around Turkey day because of the concentration of gratitude; gratitude for what my life has become and what it continues to hold open for me.

One of those pieces happened recently.  My wife and I make a point around mid-fall to host the students from my First-Year Seminar course at our house.  The dessert fare always consists of some amazing made-from-scratch brownies and Mexican hot chocolate.  I recognize that this can be a pretty cool thing for new college students – to show up at their professor’s house, meet his wife and dog, and see where he spends his off-campus time.  I know I never had the opportunity until grad school, and then only once.

Our class spends a lot of vulnerable time together, as you might suspect in a course called: The Art of Continue reading “The Power of Vulnerability”

The Spaces in Between

Just as life is made up of day and night, relationships with those we care deeply for, are made up of times of being in touch and spaces in-between.  Being human, we sometimes fill these spaces with worry, or we imagine the silence is some form of punishment, or we internalize the time we are not in touch with someone we love or care about as some change of heart.

Our minds work very hard to make something out of Continue reading “The Spaces in Between”

Peace for the Journey, Fall

As we move into the beauty of fall, witnessing the world change around us, I can’t help but wonder about the questions we have about how our daughters and sons are changing while away at college.  What is shaping them?  What new ideas or experiences is she encountering that will make her a different than the person I knew?  What challenges is he facing that cause him to Continue reading “Peace for the Journey, Fall”

Peace for the Journey — My Life

As we move into the fullness of the Fall Semester, our kids are away and settling in to this new life; this new world they will soon see as a home of sorts.  I know that I wondered on occasion what my life would look like with the kids gone.  What was this new version of myself? How was I seeing my new identity?

So, as I sit with the poem from Billy Collins (former poet laureate of the US) as he considers his life as it is and wonders Continue reading “Peace for the Journey — My Life”

Peace for the Journey…Spring II

I was introduced to this poem at a retreat recently.  I bring it to this on-going conversation about what and how we bring what we bring to our relationship with our daughter/son during this ever-evolving transition.

I find it helpful to ask, “What do I offer in/to my relationships?”  In the words of this poet, do I offer Continue reading “Peace for the Journey…Spring II”

Peace for the Journey…Spring

This is my new favorite poem!  It captures the part of our human nature that too many times refuses to see what it right in front us.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

I              I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost… I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes me forever to Continue reading “Peace for the Journey…Spring”

What goes ahead of you…

Each week I sit with a group of Freshman in the First-Year Seminar course I teach, entitled “The Art of Paying Attention,” in which we explore the myriad ways in which we might more deeply engage with the internal and external world around us, and how we each pay attention to how we navigate each one.  As a regular practice,  we share silence or a guided meditation together once a week – often, as the students tell me, the only silence or meditative space they have in the entire week.

This week, as we set aside the time to focus our breathing and attend to the demands that are pressing in at this point in the semester, one of the students asked Continue reading “What goes ahead of you…”