RS ch 9

Rising Strong International cyber-bookclub Ch. 9

Well, we're really down to the nitty-gritty now. After this week, we only have two chapters left. I can't believe how quickly our time together has gone by. If anyone has a thought about how we can bring our amazing bookclub to a satisfying end, other than just ending, please let me know. I'd love to hear your ideas.

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

Okay! Here we go. Thank you Patty.

Chapter 9: Composting Failure, An observation by Patricia Viscione Young

You know, there are no accidents. Everything happens for a reason. If it is meant to be it will be – and just when I thought if I heard that pearl of wisdom one more fricken time, I’d scream.

And then something happens, and I hear those pearls giggle.

This chapter giggled at me. Now I have to be honest, I read this chapter completely different from the others and it’s because Tracey asked me to facilitate it. I was excited, honored and scared to death. How on earth could I compete with all those before me? What could I possibly say that would make any more of an impact or spark an ah-ha moment? Then it occurred to me – I’m not competing! None of us are competing. We are showing a bit of ourselves, sharing our thoughts and ideas, in a place we are not judged. How safe and wonderful is that?! So taking a deep breath I began to take notes:

Painful failures. Those were the first words that popped into my line of sight. Of course I recognize myself within Andrew’s story. Every single one of us has experienced the stressful working conditions and fierce competition – it’s all relative. If you’ve ever had to work in a group, or watched nurses shun another nurse from another floor. Or a Principal blatantly showing favoritism towards one teacher while scolding another for suggesting a new idea. We’ve all had to deal, cope, and tango with that kind of stress, plus a gazillion other forms of it. What I did find interesting was the use of her words when describing Andrew’s talent, “…framed the tension between art and money.” That was brilliant and gave me pause to think how mothers, fathers – people – do that when navigating through their day, week, month, lifetime. But what stood out for me, was the lesson to be learned here, that was not looking at what you are navigating, who you’re trying to work with/ for, or what you need to get done and by when.  It is not the outside stuff. It is the inside stuff. It is YOU. The entire key to the universe is YOU.


Knowing your true self is paramount in being able to go from what looks like putting your finger in a electrical outlet, to a skillful, graceful waltz. Knowing yourself – the good the bad, the ugly – recognizing it, learning to understand it, change it if you wish to – but knowing what you can do.

What I find so funny about this chapter is just this week I wrote a piece for my blog on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and who pops up on page 201? Yep – there are no accidents. BrenΓ© quotes Dr. King’s definition of power:  the ability to achieve our purpose and to effect change.

Isn’t what I’ve said above just that – power? The power to do this, do that, and make this decision. We are powerful in the fact that we can effect change – but it must come from within ourselves first.  And yeah. That is incredibly scary. And – yes and there will absolutely be the sinkholes BrenΓ© speaks of. How many times have we stumbled? Countless! All those things that make us human let us down, our emotions, our inability to see something clearly, being voted out of a position or passed up for a promotion. And oh yeah, you’d better put up that defensive wall we think will protect us – but all it does is give a cold rigid place for us to lean on when we’re shot at. Then we have nothing to hold onto except that rock of shame. I carried mine around for years and years. I was the only one who can throw it away, or at the very least, toss it far from where I stood, until I was strong enough to throw it away.

Once you do that, once I did that – then we become honest with ourselves. And suddenly your sight is clear and you can see the honesty or dishonesty in others. How cool is that? Remember – do not underestimate anyone – look at Cynthia for example. Sometimes it is the people like her that surprise us the most.

I loved the “Ah-Ha” moment best. When Andrew’s team rose up together, failed together, helped one another up and really began to see one another for their positives – how can you not grow from that? Unfortunately some do not, but at least you can recognize it now, and know they are still trying to carry their own rock up that hill. With hope, a little luck and perseverance – you can go from drowning in the negative feelings to begin to walk towards the shore and move forward.  But you can’t do it for someone else, before you do it for yourself – first.

What I can vividly remember now, was how many times my husband had said this to me.  Literally, for years he said it. I choose not to believe him. He wanted me to put myself before the children, before himself – put me first. Go exercise, go do something for myself, let’s do something together. And I fought with him. Hook, line and sinker I fought him. My mother gave up her life for mine. She always put her children first. How could I think about putting “me” above my own children? What kind of mother would I be?!

Now I know I would be a better mother, a better wife and would have liked myself a hell of a lot more and been a hell of a lot more patient if I’d just tried it. Fear causes you to do stupid things. And sometimes fear causes you to do absolutely nothing at all. Which is just as dangerous. Maybe even more so.


My summary of Chapter Nine, we need to rumble with failure. We need to simply jump in and experience failure knowing, if we’re brave, that many times it will lead to change – and then we can work with that. We don’t have the emotional baggage, the labels, the guilt, we now have choices.  Which is, IF, we choose to be responsible for it and accountable for it, is powerful.

I know there is much more in this chapter to learn from, pull from and blend into what we need to see in ourselves. Yet perhaps it is best to end on this note – read this book again next year. Drink it in, experience what you can with awareness and an open mind. Then when you re-read it, you may be just be surprised to see what a wonderful, strong, powerful, content, happy, proud to be you kind of  person you really are.

Breathe Deep, Think Peace

P.S. Tracey was kind enough to allow me to invite you to my blog, if you’d like to read my piece on Dr. King. I began "Touched By Words ~ the journey of a writer” ( following Laura Munson’s assignment of “Do the Work” when I returned from Haven in 2012. Your opinions, comments, critiques and insights would be greatly and deeply appreciated.

Up Next: Chapter 10, spearheaded by me, Tracey Yokas


I'd like to thank Sue Schwartz and Xeno Hemlock for their inspirational words and their participation in this bookclub. I have grown and learned from both of them. I know all of you have, too. I hope you like your memes. I'm worried about that!


  1. Patricia, thank you for sharing your insight in this chapter. When you spoke of your husband asking you to put yourself first in the midst of raising your children, I could feel your maternal instincts. What? Me? What kind of mother would put herself over her children? Definitely a rumble. I home educated our boys at a cost to myself. Would I do it again? Yes. But I would do it differently…

    My stomach churned reading the stories in this chapter about shame/failure/perfectionism. A visceral reaction to such relatable stories. One of the things that struck me was Brene's recounting of her book "composting". "You can do everything right. You can cheer yourself on, have all the support you can find in place, and be 100 percent ready to go, and still fail. It happens to writers, artists, entrepreneurs, health professionals, teachers-you name it. But if you can look back during your rumble and see that you didn't hold back-that you were all in-you will feel very different than someone who didn't fully show up. You may have to deal with the failure, beauty won't have to wrestle with the same level of shame that we experience when our efforts were halfhearted." That is my rumble. I am a freelance photographer who doesn't put herself out there. I use the excuse that I don't need to make it my living and I am not at peace with that. I must value my work – no one will do that for me.

  2. Hello, Patricia, and thank you for your honest rumble with Chapter 9. You mention facing failure head-on and learning from it, how this is really the only way to grow and succeed on the other side of failure. This reminds me so much of what I'm learning about trusting the writing process to take us where we need to go. Critical to this is letting go of fear so the process can work its magic. It goes back to what Brene said earlier about letting go of the stories we tell ourselves. As long as we hang on to these, white-knuckled, they hang onto us and we remain stagnant and unable to grow. So, leaning in, as they say, to failure, to writing, to what frightens us most, ultimately is the only way forward. Not avoiding, not stepping over, not hiding, not blaming others or wallowing in self-pity. Just sitting with the discomfort, asking the right questions of ourselves and others to elicit truth. Drilling down to our core where things hurt deeply. All of this moves us forward. Only all of this. But we need to sit patiently and openly and wait for the answers to surface or for the story to tell itself. For me, that has proven most challenging. I want answers quickly but the answers come only when I am receptive, ready for them. Even this relates to your opening comment about things happening for a reason. The answers come to us only when we allow ourselves to receive them. Only then can they make sense to us. On another topic, you mention regrets. I had to smile a bit. My biggest regret/failure is that I was too self-focused when my daughter was growing up. Long story. I was lost and confused and focused on finding myself in all the wrong places. My point is that we all have regrets, the human condition. Mine were killing me until one day – and I recall the precise moment of my epiphany – I knew the only way out of my quagmire of self-loathing was straight ahead. The only way I could get past this huge failure was to fully own it, say my apologies, and be the very best mom and grandmother I could possibly be from that day forward. Promising myself this, I felt an immediate sense of release. That was 12 years ago and I can honestly say that I haven't wallowed once since then. I essentially faced the regret head-on and conquered its stranglehold over me. Of course, I recall that time in my life but now it is a memory from which I learned and grew, much more than a regret. So go to the spa, be good to yourself. Your husband is right – you deserve it! Thanks for your thought-provoking review. I love your relatability!

  3. Thank you, Patricia, for your honesty and insights. You are right about how participation in our cyber-book club, whether as a "spearheader" or "commenter" (hey, if Tracey can make up a word, so can I) is not a competition. If only our experiences outside this book club were always with people as open, honest and respectful!

    You also wrote of power and how scary change is. Oh, yes! I find it counter-intuitive how the fear of the rumble prevents many people, myself included, from getting to the other side – to seize the power and feel better about themselves. Certainly, for ages, most people who feel physical pain seek help if that pain doesn't get better soon. Psychological pain has a very different history. Change, within an individual or a society, can take a long time.

    What hit me most in this chapter was at the very beginning, where Brene states her opinion about regrets. I've seen memes that profess the concept of "life is too short to have regrets" or "don't look back because you can't change the past."

    Those sayings didn't feel right to me because I have regrets. Was I supposed to forget about my mistakes? Does someone else know the key to happiness and I've been missing an opportunity here?

    I couldn't formulate exactly why I took issue with those memes.

    And then I came across this, from Brene: "To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make and no opportunity to be braver with your life."

    Thank you, Brene. Perfect.

  4. Tracey, thank you for creating the meme for me! You picked a quote that sums up my journey very well. : ) <3

  5. Dear Stephanie,

    Thank you so much for your kind words, and the impact this Chapter revealed to you. Looking back I to would have just made minor differences – but they would have made a major impact for me – and probably the relationship with my husband.

    I have several friends who are gifted photographers. Each and everyone believed no one else would want to see their work. Thankfully they posted it on FB and the reaction was outstanding. One approached her local library who was thrilled to give her a venue for her first 'show'. Another is finally realizing she has the making of a book paired with her writing. Now she sees all the material clearly in front of her and cannot deny it any longer.

    I would LOVE to see your work. My brother was a photographer, it takes someone very special to "see" – like in Avatar – "I see you" – it is SO much more than what is in front of you. I know, YOU know what I mean. I would say I wish you the best of luck – but there is no need. You do not need luck – you know exactly what you need to do to make this happen. Now do it! (Please keep me posted too!!)

    Breathe Deep, Think Peace

  6. Dear Nancy,

    Wow! You kicked regret's butt! What a great post! It really is wonderful when you find that kindred spirit – knowing that you are not the only one who feels a certain way, or made a decision in isolation. I find myself sometimes thinking of how in the world my grandmother and mother survived. They either had to be very careful of who they opened up to – be labeled for it – or stayed silent – that was much easier and safer.

    Besides growing up without car seats – we've really come a very long way in our life time so far haven't we? I think our ancestors would cheer. And our children are much better for our own self explorations.

    Thank you for being you. I always, always learn something new, see things from a fresh perspective and smile with tears in my eyes. Being unafraid to stand up and face the wind, and to show this is what you did – this is where you came from and this is how you rallied to succeed. I truly believe it makes you a more balanced, grounded person. And a hell of a lot more interesting. Being a writer? Oh yeah, you got that hands down! Hugs!

    Breathe Deep, Think Peace

  7. Dear Susan,

    I absolutely agree with you! Sometimes those 'Rah Rah' quotes made me want to barf! There were years and years I felt everyone had a book of the rules and an outline for making the best decision – and I didn't. There are still days I do not feel 'worthy' or perhaps adult enough to really understand this life we're living.

    AND what you say about psychology is spot on! Get this, my daughter is in a doctoral program. Now there are days I look at this kid and have no idea where she came from or how she got so smart. She's one of 'those' who dives into books – can navigate the storms – then jump out and explain – "Oh, yeah, it means this – – – yada yada yada" And I sit there with my mouth open. But one day she said something that completely floored me. In her program – an 85 is an academic warning/probation. Below that is failure and if you have not gotten your grades up by a certain time, you are asked to leave the program. She is studying Leadership Psychology – the clinical psychologists in the program also must have at the very least a 90. IF you were in medical school – you can become a physician with a 65.

    This blew my mind! But it makes so much sense when I think of all the doctors I have met. My mother in law looked at doctors as Gods. She was the head of Maternity in Bellevue for years. (she's 99 now) She told me once how proud she was to carry the basin and follow the doctors into each room – hold the basin, while he'd wash his hands and drape the towel over her arm. I was appalled and I guess my face showed it. She said it was an honor! In the scheme of things that was not that long ago. Knowing that – and seeing what is expected of doctors who treat physical pain – and seeing how much we desperately need the understanding of psychology – takes my breath away!

    I'm so sorry for rambling when I should be rumbling! Lol! Thank you so much for your post πŸ™‚

    Breathe Deep, Think Peace

  8. Hugs to you, too, Patty, and I'm honored to be a kindred spirit! You so openly share yourself within this book club circle and on Facbook in general. I felt so alone trying to thrash through my confusions in my 20s, 30's, and even into my 40s. I had such low self-esteem and fear of being seen that I built layers of walls around myself keeping people who could have helped me out. Sad but true. I've learned that sharing my greatest insecurities, being vulnerable as Brene teaches us, is the only path to peace in life. That can only happen in a place of mutual trust. This forum is one of those very rare places of trust. ❀️

  9. Yes Nancy…I, too, spent years hiding myself. I'm taking Brene's new online class and something she said in the very first class floored me. She said she spent years engineering smallness in her life. Whoa…I'd never heard it put like that–so succinctly. Years engineering smallness in our life. Oh yes, indeedy. I think more of us than not can relate to the idea of spending many of our years building layers of walls around ourselves to keep away people who could have helped. I know I did for sure. Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful, kind, beautiful and vulnerable posts.

    PS. How did you get that cute little heart?!?!?????

  10. I so agree Stephanie re: the difference of how failure would feel when we know we were "all in" as opposed to only thinking about being all in. When I look back on my life and think about the things I most wanted when I was young and what I actually DID to achieve those things, the answer is almost nothing except think about it a lot. Oh, I certainly took some risks. I moved 3,000 miles away from home by myself to a state where I knew no one and made a new life here. I'm not saying that I just sat around on my ass eating bon-bons, but if I'm really deeply honest, fear pulled the hand break and I skidded to a stop before taking the real chances that may have made those old dreams come true. One of the exercises we had to do in the new class was determine our top two values. I'd never thought about it until that exercise. Well, long story short is that I picked courage as one of them. From here on out, if I fail, I want to be able to look back and, as you say, know that I showed up, fully. Thank you, again, for your generous comment here.

    And, ps. I've seen some of your work. Go out there and grab it babe! I know what you can do and you rock it.

  11. Wow Patty! That's shocking and a bit disgusting. I'm sure it's getting worse instead of better too because of the desperate need for doctors. But it's also fascinating. And wow, also, re: your mother in law. As someone who over the last few years has had an unfortunate amount of experience with doctors, nurses, therapists etc I can say, for sure, that there are a lot of unskilled uncaring and generally not that nice people out there working in healthcare. I can also say that there are the most caring, most skilled and most dedicated people out there, too. I guess it's like anything else – but one of the biggest lessons I learned was to trust my gut and not just listen to a doctor because he was a doctor. They, often, unfortunately, don't know more about what they're talking about than the average Joe. Thanks Patty….some really great food for thought here. xo

  12. Thank you Sue, so much for this thoughtful comment. Brene's point on regrets struck me too, but not exactly in the same way. I learned or heard somewhere when I was young that it is such a waste of time and energy and all things good to have regrets. So, I worked hard to try not to have any because I didn't think they'd do anything positive for me. I really don't remember at all where I heard or learned that life lesson. Now, pls don't misunderstand. I made PLENTY of mistakes and still had regrets, I guess I just tried to ignore them or push them away or whatever. I agree with you. And with Nancy–regrets are part of the human condition. But "Regrets are a waste of time"…the words still ring in my ears today. Those kinds of memes never bothered me the way they bothered you and Brene since I think that life is too short and that we can't change the past! There’s another difference that’s just striking me now. I probably won’t be able to articulate it very well, but here goes. I’ll use the situation with my daughter because it’s why I started this blog and why everything in my life has changed and almost completely for the better. When I look back though at the mistakes I made re: parenting or how I felt about myself or choices I made, for me, it’s not even in the realm of regret. It’s so far beyond regret that I don’t think I have words for it. My feelings were more around being fundamentally wrong as a person…so regret wasn’t a vocabulary word I applied to the situation.

    This probably doesn’t make much sense because it’s a semantics game that I play in my own mind. It’s just another example for me of how we can look at something we think we all understand in the same way–like regrets–and I realize that my thinking about it was so different maybe than other people’s.

    Also, after reading The Power of Now, I tried and still try to be very aware about staying in the present. One of the most powerful things I read in that book was about all the negative emotions that are generated inside of us from too much forward or backward in time thinking. I know that, for sure, is true for me. But what Brene wrote about regret really stopped me in my tracks. "To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make and no opportunity to be braver with your life." Hmmm. I certainly believe that I have a million TONS worth of stuff left to learn. I guess I never thought about using regrets as catalysts in this way. It’s a change in thinking–like permission slips as intention setters. SO MUCH's making my head start to hurt πŸ™‚

    I guess the point, for me, is that I sort of agree with both. I completely agree with Brene in terms of using regrets to learn and ask for forgiveness and be more brave, but I think regrets can also be dangerous…I tend to ruminate. It's not good to let regret take over, to get so mired it in that one cannot learn or implement those important changes, thus stagnate. I guess that's Brene's point–using them as a way not to be stuck. Thanks Sue, great "discussion!"

  13. Wow Nancy. I just can so relate to everything you wrote here about not hanging on and letting go and not letting our stories own us, but owning them instead, about leaning in to what scare us and letting the process work the way it needs to work. I learn and relearn this lesson through my writing all the time, too. I was just talking to my editor about it not long ago. She mentioned she's seen a real shift in my writing and i told her it was because I finally applied some of the lessons I learned with my daughter, acceptance, letting go, the difference in energy between want and desire. My writing is more open now, I hope, and I think it's because I'm more open to letting the process unfold the way it's supposed to, not the way I want it to. I'm thrilled to read about your epiphany and how it changed your life and how you haven't looked back. What an incredibly beautiful gift for your daughter and your grandkids. They are lucky to have you. They will all grow because you took that first leap of faith. Thank you so much for sharing that story with us.

  14. Thank you so much Patty for your wonderful post! I know you were nervous and you knocked it out of the park. Yes, very easy to relate to. Like Stephanie, I could feel your maternal instincts when you wrote about your husband encouraging you to do things for yourself. Wow! What a great guy. My husband did, too, but I'm with you. Only a selfish hag of a person puts herself over her kids. Man, I wonder how many times i said that to myself. I wonder how many times I called myself selfish even when I was doing stuff for my daughter and my step kids and my husband. I agree. I'd do most of what I did again, but I sure would make a lot of changes too!

    I love what you wrote, "the entire key to the universe is you!" Beautiful. I'm working hard to believe that's true. Thank you, thank you for your humor and your insightful words.

    I was struck by everything all of you wrote here, plus one more thing: the connection between failure, feelings of powerlessness and hope.

    I've just started teaching NAMI's Family To Family class again so hope is something that's on my mind. It's hard to maintain hope in the face of some of the profound difficulties these family members are facing with loved ones living with severe mental illness. In fact, I'd bet that almost every single one of them feels powerless. I know I sure did when we were in the thick of things. Nothing I did changed a damn thing, at least not at the time. Feeling powerless is overwhelming. It's debilitating. It made me want to crawl under a rock and stay there forever. (Instead, I crawled into a wine bottle and spent an awful lot of time there and in front of the television.) Anyway, we talk a lot in the class about hope and what it takes to maintain hope, but what I've never addressed before, but will now is hope’s role in moving out of powerlessness and despair. "Hope happens when we can set goals, have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue those goals, and believe in our own abilities to act…Hope is a function of struggle." I'm sure Brene mentioned resiliency in here somewhere too but I can't find it right now.

    WOW. This is so powerful. Per usual, I didn't think in this way about hope before. I figured hope was an emotion that we either did or did not have. Then I learned it's a process. Now, I learned that recently about compassion and gratitude so it makes complete sense to me, but I'm very excited about having this new language around hope to bring into the classroom. We'll be empowering the participants to generate hope by Snyder's "goals, pathways, and agency." I think that's incredibly powerFUL. We don't have to sit around hoping to have hope…we can work our way towards hope!

    Thank you again Patty for this wonderful post and for your comments on everyone's comments!

  15. Nancy,

    Thank you for articulating that. Low self-esteem is an invisible enemy. Imagine if all the people afflicted by it will raise their hands, I bet there's many and I was one of them. I believe that admitting and recognising that one has it is the first step to fixing it.


    I like that term "engineering smallness".

  16. Thanks for the meme too Tracey. I was surprised by the selection but I liked it. Can you give me a higher resolution version?

  17. Pat,

    Thanks for the wonderful write-up above and also for sharing your story about putting ourselves first before we can help other. I was instantly reminded by this following event.

    Last week, I lectured my mother about the way she tended to nag when assigning household chores to my youngest sister. I had been informed earlier about their argument that day. When I got home in the evening, while my sister and I were eating dinner, she started the nagging again, scolding my sister for her irresponsibility that day. Then she began scolding my sister for her still-to-come irresponsibility the following day. It didn't sit right with me. Normally, I'd let my mother reprimand whoever it was as I understood how tiring household chores can be. But there she was nagging for something that has not happened yet and that might not happen at all. Tears fell from my sister's eyes as my mother continued her tirade. I understood how she felt. Who'd like it if they were automatically accused of doing something in the future just because they made some mishap earlier.

    I stepped in then.

    I told my mother to stop and explained to her how what she was doing was not helping at all. She reprimanded my sister earlier in the day before I got home and that should've been the end of it. There was no need to drag it on for the whole day, and assume it would happen again tomorrow. We were getting old, the entire family. We needed to stop yelling at each other and "stereotyping" one another. We had to take to the next level our style of communication. That yelling thing's deeply rooted in her side of the family. Our relatives are the same. Of course, I was fed up with it.

    She was surprised when I stepped in. She answered back. It became a brief argument between us. It was probably the first time I defended my sister from her, so her response was natural. I didn't press on. I said my peace and left the rest of the night at that.

    My sister and I observed that the yelling and nagging had greatly subsided after that. Sure, household chores must be delegated but it can be delegated without screaming at each other. And yes, anyone can make a mistake but acknowledge it, provide a solution, and then let it go.

    The biggest surprise for me was my action. I didn't imagine one day I'd step up between my mother and my sister to defend the latter. What you said Pat about taking care of ourselves first before we can help each other rang true in this situation. If I hadn't allowed myself into the world of self-improvement over the past couple of years, I wouldn't have that. I'd have no courage to do that. I'd probably sided with my mother and joined in the scolding of my sister. But I see differently now, I see the bad habits our family must eliminate once and for all. But if I didn't fix myself, I don't think I'd be able to see our family's problem and do something about it.

  18. REGRET

    Reading about everyone's take on regret above put a smile on my face.

    When I saw the pre-chapter slogan thingy, I shook my head. Okay, regret. "No regrets" is one of my mottos. What the hell is BB saying here?

    Then I got to that page where BB defined regret and, once again, she has amazed me. My opinion on it has not changed, at least not overnight. I have to reframe my mind to adapt her meaning of regret. But I understand where she's coming from.

    There are people who use "No Regrets" as a facade to mask their insecurities and hurt, and to protect their ego. And I believe this is the destructive use of No Regrets BB meant. I'd like to say I apply the slogan positively in my life, in that there's no point for me to waste time on something I cannot change. I don't like being anchored in the past. I prefer being a present-oriented person.

    And this line:
    If you have no regrets, or you intentionally set out to live without regrets, I think you're missing the very value of regret.

    Ouch! Okay. Ouch!

    Then we got to this part further:
    "What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness."

    A hundred Ouch!
    She's right. We feel right when we acted misaligned with our values. And when we claim we have no regrets, in a way it's like shunning that misalignment, pretending it didn't happen, and denying the lessons and values we learned from that misalignment.

    I think my journey with regret is about to start again.

  19. Xeno – I would have given my right arm if my brother had ever defended me. What you did was amazing – something that may appear so simple does indeed have huge impacts. For whatever reason your mother got on a roll – I bet was from her own childhood – the behavior (right or wrong) is learned. She may have been frustrated about something totally unrelated – but your sister was in her line of fire.

    YOU coming to defend, and reprimand was probably a shock – but I would think your mother, after some time and thought – would actually be very proud of you. You put things into perspective – redirected the energy and intent. Without creating another fire to put out.

    And your sister – the relationship with her becomes more solid, more trusting. To have someone you look up to and respect stay silent – is in fact interpreted as approval or agreement to what is being said and can be devastating. To be defended is very powerful – it creates a very special bond.
    To realize you have strength to do what is ultimately the right thing is scary sure, but how is wonderful to not just recognize it, but act upon it. Good for you! So glad you shared your experience πŸ™‚

  20. Wow Xeno,

    Once again, to recognize within yourself, what you wish to reflect on or change really is outstanding. I agree with you, 'what the heck was BB trying to say – you've got to be kidding me right?' ??

    It really goes to prove that no matter what we think we think – we have to give it a fair moment to take it in – stir it up – and savor another way of looking at something we thought we knew!

    One of the best insights I was ever given, was from a retired Marine who made me laugh when he said Marines are completely different beasts than the typical soldier. He then gave the example that if you have a battalion of Marines – and must get over a wall to something important on the other side – the battalion would most likely let out a battle cry and go right through the wall. He said as he got older he began to search for the door! It was much easier to open the door and get to the other side!

    It goes along with the turning of the ring three times – tie your shoe – in your head sing the ABC song – whatever. Just take that moment and settle yourself. I wonder, for myself, how many regrets I may have eliminated, or greatly reduced or walked around if I had known that twenty five years ago.

    Wonderful insight Xeno!

    Breathe Deep, Think Peace

  21. Dear Tracey,

    Thank you for your kind words. Thank you for pushing me – to go into an uncomfortable place – within myself and within my writing.

    What struck me just now reading your post – was when you said, "Nothing I did changed a damn thing." Perhaps you're right, not at that moment – but thats where things really change. You doing or saying something can have a profound effect/affect – when the person is ready to hear it, and accept it. You can lecture till your blue – but until the individual listens instead of just hears the words, nothing can happen.

    Even in the face of horror – without hope, we might as well just nuke ourselves. We can never forget nightmares we have seen – the cruelty, abuses, tortures etc. Humans are the worst monsters on the planet. Then a young girl, shot in the face for simply going to school, writes a book, talks to world leaders, organizing the building of a school, etc…and receives the Nobel Peace Prize before her 21st birthday. And that's just one example.

    This is when we really, really need help in understand the psychology of humans – males, females, children, seniors – so we know the best way to help them listen to the words and believe in themselves. Find that hope, and never let it go.

    Okay – I've gotten preachy again! Lol! Forgive me. I'm stepping off the soap box and looking forward to Chapter Ten πŸ˜€


  22. It's just a little emoticon, one of zillions, on my IPad! It is cute, isn't it? As always, Tracey, you come up with just the right words to make me feel supported and to confirm that my trust is well-placed. Powerful and a priceless gift!

  23. So well-articulated, Xeno, as always. I believe that regrets are the gateway to healing. If they tug at us or bury us deeply enough, we can be motivated (forced?) to stare them hard in the face and walk through them to the other side. But, and this is key, it is a walk through, not around or over or under. Walking through (rumbling) becomes the means to survival. It did for me.

  24. Patricia,

    Thank you. You're absolutely right. I love how you described it.

    As of today, I still haven't heard any screaming or yelling over household chores. Hope this change continues for good.

  25. Patricia,

    That Marine story was funny but it's true!

    25 years is a long time but it's not too late. We're here. We're willing to change. I discovered that people who are willing to change and do not want to be rigid for the rest of their lives are braver than their opposite. I have friends who are still young but have become set in their ways already and I shake my head and think how much they're missing in life by refusing to be dynamic.

  26. Well said, Nancy! Walk through <- this is the keyword. Anything else is an excuse and a way of evading the real challenge.

  27. I came in a little late to this post because I have been doing exactly what everyone has been trying not to do and that is putting myself and needs last on the list! I don't have children yet, but one day I hope to. I can imagine if it's hard to put my needs first now, it will be even harder with kids. I don't mean I am not doing what I need to do, but I'm doing less of what I want to do. While I would love to give more time every day to writing and reading, I find myself doing everything else on my to do list first, leaving no time for anything I actually enjoy. It leaves me feeling resentful and angry at pretty much everything and everyone else around me for "taking up my time." I realize it's all within my control although I let that escape me way too often. I write in a gratitude journal everyday and in addition to that I started writing down things I like to do. I seemed to have forgotten the many things I like to do in life that bring me joy. It's a great way to remind myself and make sure that I do something I like at least every day. On another note, as a writer, I loved Brené's story about the journey of her first book. It's always encouraging to hear of a successful writer's early struggles, especially when it comes with a message to trust yourself over anyone else:) Thank you all for your insightful and encouraging comments!

  28. You all are amazing! Such wisdom in the application of BB's words to your lives. The depth of sharing is really remarkable. It looks to me that lots of terrific rumbling and BRAVING is going on.

    I appreciated her BRAVING acronym, especially how she turned it around to assess our level of self-trust. A recent failure has me facing how I let myself down in the B, V, I and N areas. A spiritual counselor of mine has helped me sort through this experience, and forgive myself for not taking better care of myself. She reminded me, as BB does, that the people who hurt me in this situation have taught me valuable lessons. And, she gave me a great suggestion which may be of help to you: When thoughts of that failed situation come to mind, mentally say to the people involved, "Thank you. Goodbye." For me, it's proved to be a wonderful way to redirect my thoughts and release the regret. Among the lessons: "Regret is what taught me that living outside of my values is not tenable for me."

  29. Thank you so much Nancy. This will probably sound ridiculous coming from someone who calls herself a writer and who blogs and is working on a book, but I've been plagued most of my life with feeling not only like I don't know what to say, but that when I do step out on a limb and say something, that something is usually the wrong thing. I spent $30,000 on a graduate degree mostly because I hoped to solve this very problem–of feeling like I always said the wrong thing. Even here, after I leave my comments, I worry and wonder if I've said the right thing–have I gotten my true feelings across to the person or have I written words that could be easily be misconstrued or that left out some important detail or another to make their meaning more clear. It means so much to me that you find my comments supportive and trustworthy. That means everything to me. XO

  30. Wow Xeno. That's so great, what you did. It takes a lot of work to change a family system–the dynamics. I happen to be a devotee of what is called Family Systems Theory. I won't bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say, when one person in the system changes, the whole has no choice but to change. This is the main way I tried to make sense of what was happening with my daughter and my family when I felt so powerless and was filled with hopelessness. The system itself fights to remain in what is called homeostasis, but with diligent effort, one can change the whole. You are the one in your family who can change the whole.

  31. Me too Crystal re: Brene's composting story. It was disheartening and heartening at the same time! If someone like Brene can face what she faced, surely the rest of us have an uphill battle. That is both encouraging and discouraging. Onward!! Zoom yourself right to the head or your list, at least for a few days! Thanks for you comment.

  32. Oh that's a wonderful suggestion Maria. I think I will try to implement it. "Thank you. Goodbye." There are no negative connotations to it, we don't fall victim to our lust for revenge. That's a great quote you picked of Brene's too. Someone above wrote Brene's quote about regret being failures of kindness. This was like a knife plunging into my heart. I don't have to think very hard every day to come up with ways that I failed to be kind enough to the people around me–known and unknown–who surely could have benefited from more kindness. Excellent reminder. Thank you Maria!!

  33. I'm sitting in a waiting room at City of Hope, a hospital known for its amazing care of cancer patients. My husband is getting a procedure done here. Patty, in my lap is the book I started a few days ago, "I am Malala."

    On the subject of regret, after reading comments posted here, I would like to incorporate both sides of the debate into what seems to make sense to me.

    Tracey, yes, life is too short to let regret hang its shadow over you. Maybe the idea is to learn from our past and then move on without regretting we've spent too much time feeling regretful!

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