75RS ch 11

Rising Strong International cyber-bookclub Ch. 11

Catch up on the previous chapters here:
Introduction/Chapter 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
Ch. 10

Chapter 11: The Revolution

I will start this off by saying how honored and grateful I am to have shared this experience and growth with all of you over the past months. I have learned so much from all of you, and from everyone’s unique perspectives and openness on how vulnerability, shame, courage, fear, insecurity, forgiveness and trust have shaped your lives.

I knew I was in for an emotional post when I realized I had highlighted pretty much the entire chapter…

“Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance.”

This one sentence captures the essence of this chapter, and really the entire book, and therein lies the problem. Our society places unlimited street cred on perseverance, hard work, conformity and stoicism, and infinite judgment and shame on vulnerability or “failure”. I half believe that the unofficial definition of authenticity in our culture is “dangerous and unacceptable non-conformity”.

We desperately need a revolution to change our culture. The key takeaway in this chapter is the idea that in order to make any impact with this work, the practice of rising strong needs to expand beyond individuals and into workplaces, family units, and communities. This is the only way to achieve revolutionary change.

Cheryl Mines

Case in point: I’ve been called infectious before. “In a good way”, my colleague assured me.  I teach a training program in sustainable operations, and have worked with hundreds of people on behavior change in organizations. And trust me, behavior change is freaking hard.

It’s also completely doable. The woman who called me infectious was commenting about the fact that she can never go into a hotel room again without noticing if the cleaning staff still gives her clean towels every day, even when she hangs them up as instructed on the pretty little “we’re environmentally friendly” card. All because we had a conversation about this, and I made her think and question things, rather than continue on autopilot through life.

Behavior change is incremental and evolutionary, much like the rumble and the reckoning. Personally, I have experienced incremental, evolutionary change, in both good ways and in bad. In my marriage, the descent into fear and self-doubt and captivity happened so slowly that I couldn’t see it until I was up to my eyeballs in shit with no idea how I got there from the happy-go-lucky kid I used to be.

And again once I left that marriage, and trudged along on the slow road to recovery and reclaiming my life. On this road I have experienced more growth and change than I could ever have believed possible, and it happened by taking baby steps one day at a time. 

Brené talks about the rising strong process being nowhere near as powerful as the rising strong practice. This practice is what guided me along that road, and kept me going every time it got hard, every time I wanted to turn back to the comfortable world of conflict avoiding and people pleasing.

On this road I experienced deep, tumultuous, groundbreaking, no-turning back transformation, as Brené describes. This is where the magic happens, and is a direct result of the incremental, evolutionary change. This is where the revolution starts.

Over the past 8 years, I have evolved from a paralytic conflict avoider who was so steeped in shame I almost believed I didn’t have a right to exist in this world to unapologetically owning my truth and telling it on the TEDx stage. (Watch Heather's Tedx talk here.) It has led me to share my experience, strength, and hope with others who are struggling.

It has taught me to be curious without judgment, to feel my feelings—all of them. It has led me to starting my own coaching business, helping women who are steeped in fear and judgment and insecurity and self-doubt learn to open themselves to vulnerability and discover their authentic selves to show up wholeheartedly for life.

RS ch 11

One of the most impactful parts of this chapter for me was in The Story Rumble at Home.

My daughter is 9. She and I have always been very close, and I’ve worked my hardest to create a safe, loving environment where she feels comfortable and allowed to experience any and all feelings.

She’s struggled with anxiety and chronic constipation for the past 7 years, since I left her dad. He has been involved in her life at varying levels, gotten remarried, had a kid, and then divorced, and is now engaged again. My daughter has a step-sister and half brother that she is not allowed to see. From what I can discern, she is not really allowed to have inconvenient feelings when she’s over there.

Over the years, she has come home from time at his house so emotionally constipated that the first day or two home are a veritable shit storm of feelings and emotions. They come out sideways and cover the walls of our home and my heart, pent up fear and confusion and hurt. Recently, she came home devastated and frustrated because her dad got angry with her when she said she missed me, and told her she was “old enough to not miss your mom anymore”.

I haven’t yet practiced the SFD or “the story I’m making up” with her, but after reading this chapter I’m excited to try this with her. I see her starting to stuff her feelings, to not allow herself to feel uncomfortable, and to hold on with all her might to those shitty first drafts as if they were written in stone. It’s breaking my heart. I also have to remember that I did this for more than half my life, and being face down in the arena looks completely different at 9 than at 29, when I started my rumble toward revolution.

A revolution starts with one or two or 10 people. It ignites when their flicker catches their children’s, or their neighbor’s, or their church group’s wick. And those flames spread to the next wick, and the next, propelled by love and courage and support and truth. This is how a revolution is fueled, and becomes this raging fire that started with the spark of one person who had the courage to let themselves be vulnerable.


maria rodgers O'rourke
P.S. Thank you Maria, Cheryl, and Nancy, so very much, for your participation here during our bookclub.

I wanted to add, since I forgot to include it when Maria spearheaded her chapter, that my friend, Maria Rodgers O’Rourke, is a mom, wife, author, and speaker who cries at movies! There's a whole lot more to her, too. Find out more about Maria and her writing here.

Check out Heather's "Show Up for Life SoulFull" Facebook community here. It's a closed community, but if you contact her I'm sure she'd be happy to add you! And her website is here.

Up Next: Good question! And sadness over the end of our time together. Thank you all! Please feel free to contact me here or via email if you have comments or suggestions for future posts or future projects we can do together.


  1. I'm definitely sad this is over! It has been one fascinating and satisfying journey. I have appreciated everyone's insight, vulnerability and courage. Thank you again Tracey for starting this book club and introducing me to Mrs. Brown! I keep reminding myself that it's better to be face down in the arena than not in it at all. I have also come to realize that the rising strong practice applies to every part of life no matter how small or insignificant I may think something is. Our bodies read stress and anxiety all the same, whether it's from work, home or a short interaction with a stranger. Rather than shoving those undesirable feelings under a rug, I find myself much more curious about them. There are so many rumbles to be had! Reading about Brené's personal experiences and all of yours has helped me give myself permission to be imperfect, vulnerable, courageous, lovable, afraid, and brave. It is the human experience and it is one I am so grateful for.

  2. Wow! Well done Heather! You have not only captured what the last chapters treasures are, but summarizing the entire book! I love reading your thoughts, ideas and stories. I cheer for your daughter too – keeping communication open between you is one of the most powerful, precious gifts you can give and share with her. She has no option but success because you are her mom.

    Two images/sayings popped into my head when I was reading – one was from a southern gentleman named Bud I know, who was the first one I ever heard say, "When the deification hits the ventilation." Always makes me smile and able to handle more of the deification that comes my way. And the second when you mentioned that same deification rising to eye ball height. Another gentleman from CT used to say, "I'm up to my eyeballs in alligators!" Again, it made me giggle and instantly I was able to maneuver/tap dance/sneak behind and through those alligators much more easily – which of course is our own perception of what life lays in front of us.

    What a joy and pleasure this experience has been. I cannot imagine reading this book any other way – then with each and every one of you. It has been insightful and delightful. It doesn't get much better than that.

    Thank you Tracey – for pulling this all together – no matter what each of us was juggling with in our lives, you kept us anchored and steady as we navigated through the process. Getting up from the arena able to brush ourselves off, tend to one another wounds and get ready for the next blow.

    I believe we are all better people for sharing this time together. I sincerely hope we do not lose touch in some way shape or form. Be it another book, or a reunion or simply touching base as a group every now and then just to reassure, share, bitch & moan, whatever is needed at the moment to remind us that we are not alone.

    In has been a pleasure and an honor. XOXO

  3. Though I probably didn't enjoy the ride as much as others in the book club, I am pleased that I read the book. As a librarian (not one with a degree, but one who works in the library) I am ashamed to say I should read more. I would not have chosen this book to read. However, Tracey's passion for BB drew me in and everyone else's very personal and moving stories and comments kept me moving forward. There were quite a few jewels of wisdom that I have taken and will probably remember forever. I'm glad I participated and am proud of myself for sticking with it! Thank you, Heather, for your comprehensive wrap-up. Thank you, Tracey and all, for this experience!

  4. Thank you for that write-up, Heather.

    I love the ending: "A revolution starts with one or two or 10 people. It ignites when their flicker catches their children’s, or their neighbor’s, or their church group’s wick. And those flames spread to the next wick, and the next, propelled by love and courage and support and truth. This is how a revolution is fueled, and becomes this raging fire that started with the spark of one person who had the courage to let themselves be vulnerable."

    Tracey, thank you for bringing this book club to life. You're that spark Heather wrote above. Even if the book review has ended, I'm positive we're all going to work on bringing our different revolutions to life and attract more people to this cause.

    This book club has made me a braver person. Lately, I've been defending my youngest sister from the mistreatment of her from our family members. Being honest and vulnerable with myself and to others has taught me how to stand up for other people as well. I suppose it's part of my rising strong process, I'm not just strong enough to stand for myself but also for others as well. It starts with my sister and I'm sure it will be the same for others as well. So I have my plate full with this mission but I'm excited.

    The timing of this chapter and the release (in a couple of days) of my self-published book is a nice coincidence for me. In a way it symbolises my revolution, coming from a life where I felt dissatisfaction, pain, and apathy, if I wasn't catapulted into that journey of taking control of my life (understanding the pain, owning my story, and creating a better picture), I wouldn't be here. I'm very happy.

    Last, I'm honoured to have met everyone here. I'm definitely sure, we'll cross paths again.

  5. Thank you so much Heather, for this incredible post–so honest and inspirational. I have never experienced what you have with an ex and everything that you've gone through, but I can certainly understand that feeling of waking up one day and not having a clue as to how you ended up in life where you are. And, I understand the despair and pain related to seeing a child in pain. I'm so sorry your ex said those incredibly hurtful words to your daughter. I'm sure he probably didn't intend to hurt her so deeply, but regardless. That is what happened and it was up to you to deal with the aftermath. What is so …hmmm. What's the right word here. I don't know. What I do know is that it may take a little while, but your daughter is going to be fine because she has you. She has you, the living and breathing embodiment of a woman who now lives her life based on courage, compassion, and connection. A woman who understands the reckoning, the rumble and the revolution. Who not only understands, but who lives her life by these principles and who helps other women to do that same. As Brene says, it's not what we know but who we are that's the best indicator of what kind of parent we'll be…Your daughter is so lucky to have you.

    And I couldn't agree more with everything you took away from Ch 11 and wrote in your post here about how hard it is to get this information out into the world, and how hard change can be. I, too, have tried to make the process a practice. It's doesn't always work, not by a long shot. But each day I try to think of one little change that I incorporated that I hadn't the days or weeks or years before and realize that I'm on the right track.

    I wholeheartedly believe that every single one of us that participated in this club is on the right track. We're bringing this knowledge into our hearts and our worlds. It's a gift, not only to ourselves but also to everyone around us. We are the revolution.

    Thank you Heather.
    And thank you all, again.

  6. I'm so glad you had a positive experience Martha, and that you joined us on this journey! Thank you. I'd love to hear, down the road, if you have a moment when you think, "Hmmm. I learned that from Brene!" Let us know! Best to you.

  7. Ditto to everything you said here, Crystal. Thank you so much for your open and honest sharing and the words about your rumble. There certainly are so many rumbles to be had! I look forward to your continued work in this area in your arena: your blog! And your other writings. We're in this revolution together!

  8. Thank you Patty. For this comment and your kind words. I hope so, too–that we can/will reach out to one other here when we are "up to our eyeballs in alligators." It's bound to happen. And often. Now we know that we've got each others' backs. I appreciate you and your honest and insightful participation here. Best to you.

  9. You are an incredible inspiration Xeno. I have ZERO doubt that you will change the world. I want the information on how to purchase your book so I can share it with everyone here and beyond. That you for your bravery and your vulnerability. I'm getting "old" so it gets easy for me to forget how much harder it can be for young folks today, even though I have a young one living under my roof. You really opened my eyes. I'll work hard to keep them that way. Thank you!

  10. Thank you, Heather, for your summary of our final chapter. Your passion and pain are palpable in your writing. Brene's emphasis in practice over process is vital to the revolution that is necessary if we wish to cultivate a world that is nurturing and safe for our children and generations to come. I, too, have a daughter with whom, in spite of or maybe because of my unstable, traumatized childhood, I have tried to practice honesty, openness, and vulnerability. She is now 45 with 3 children of her own. I hope that I have modeled vulnerability for her and that it has had some small impact upon her relationships with her children. She has had to overcome so much because of the overwhelming baggage I carried into motherhood. I can only hope the positives outweigh the negatives and that she is forgiving. Bottom line is that the sea change Brene promotes can happen but we have to model vulnerability and demonstrate its rewards so that our children will follow suit. This is probably the hardest thing I've had to attempt to do but, through the rewards that practice brings, it is becoming internalized. One day at a time. I wish you and your daughter so much happiness and love, Heather. Stay the course!❤️
    Tracey – I can't find words to properly say how much I appreciate the nurturing, supportive bond you have created. You have a gift that few can claim.I hope you will continue to find creative ways to foster community in the virtual community. To everyone in our group, thank you each for your kind and thoughtful comments and responses. Yoy have each shown trust and vulnerability. Brene would be proud!

  11. Thank you so much Nancy for the kind words and for your generosity of spirit here with your words and your wisdom. We have all grown because of your input. There's more to come for all of us, I'm sure. I hope, in small ways and large, we continue to connect here once in a while with each other. We are not alone.

  12. Xeno, I hope you will let us know more about your book. I would be interested in reading it. That goes for the other courageous people in our cyber club – I would love to know more about your books so that I can read them. Your comments in this club make me want to know more.

  13. Heather, thank you for your facilitation and inspiration. I listened to your TED talk as well and have shared it with a close knit group of women friends. I know they will enjoy it as much as I did.

    I feel so supported as a person and particularly as a mother. As I move forward practicing vulnerability, I feel encouraged that this will have a ripple effect on my children who are now 22 and 20. I brought a lot of baggage to motherhood. I am sure this rubbed off on them. I tried as hard as I could NOT to show any vulnerability. I thought presenting a stable presence was what they needed. I grew up with a lot of chaos, alcoholism, and sexual abuse. Because of this, I wanted them to have the opposite. As a result, they do not know me. They know the side I wanted them to see. I am a work in progress.

    Tracey, IBID to what everyone else has said about your creation of this wonderful group! This has been a wonderful experience. Thank you, thank you!!

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