Friday, April 13, 2018

A Strong Thread

Wow, it's been ten months since I've posted here. Way too long. Please leave a comment to let me know if anyone is still here!

I actually have a stack of topics I've collected to write about but I never seem to make it a priority in my time or energy budget.  But here I am. And I'll try to get to those topics soon.

This week my friend and neighbor, a health economics researcher and blogger and Twitter god, wrote about a health issue he is experiencing. Then he wrote about the experience of writing publicly about a personal health issue, including the positive feedback he received, the rapid widening of his knowledge of the topic via input from his circle, and the response from a few people asking if he worried about future ramifications. He also wrote that he found the experience cathartic.

I sent him praise for his openness, and I asked if he was familiar with Brené Brown. It turns out he is quite familiar with her and strives to learn her lessons.

Well, that brought to mind my friend and former coworker Yair (who has consented to being identified here). In the middle of cancer treatment Yair praised me for my honesty and vulnerability on this blog and told me about BrenĂ© Brown, whom I had never heard of. I watched her famous TED talk videos (2010 and 2012). She speaks my language. Through years of therapy and 12-step groups and other work, the most important accomplishment of my life was finally arriving at the sense of worthiness that she describes, accurately, from my experience,  as the core of happiness.

Having that brought to mind by my friend/neighbor's recent writing caused me to go watch those videos again. Powerful stuff.  I highly recommend you invest the 40 minutes to watch them. I want my teenage daughters to watch them.

That, in turn, caused me to go back and reread many posts from this blog. I do that from time to time to remind myself where I've been. I started with Why Am I Here?, the post that prompted Yair's comment, but then moved backward in time into the worst parts of treatment. Yair was mainly praising my willingness to show weakness and fear, like in A Crying Shame and Ultraviolence. That last post, especially its last two sentences, caused me to cry tonight!

The core of Dr. Brown's message is the title of that 2010 TED Talk: "The Value of Vulnerability". Vulnerability is what enables connection, and connection is what we all crave. She says, "it's what we're wired for."

With this post I thank Yair for connecting years ago, and for the thread that runs through a growing connection with my neighbor today.

Go forth and be seen!

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