(205) 870-1117 Mon - Sat : 6am - 10pm / Sun : 7am - 10pm Get Directions

Brené Brown's Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

September 12, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

 

During an appointment with the first therapist I ever met with, I asked him if there’s something wrong with me because I’ve never had a best friend who lasted more than a couple of years. He said, “No. Of course not. Plenty of people don’t have a lifelong best friend. We grow and change so much over time, and it’s normal for relationships to come and go.” During another appointment, we talked about loneliness. And that’s when he broke the news to me: “Some people have a greater sense of loneliness and aloneness. You are one of those people. It’s a blessing and it’s a curse.”

 

Now, more than 13 years after those appointments, I’m a lot less insecure about my friendships. I’m also way more comfortable in my loneliness and aloneness. And while I’ve been managing pretty well in these areas, Brown’s book and her latest research are nourishment for my mind and soul.

 

Early on in Braving the Wilderness, Brené Brown defines “true belonging.” She writes:

True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.

 

Brown unpacks this definition throughout the rest of the book. She invites readers to hold onto the idea of paradox while exploring what “true belonging” means in their lives.

 

Every chapter of Braving the Wilderness holds A-ha moments that speak to situations I face and think about often. She offers helpful information to help me answer certain questions that have been rattling around in my head. Some of those questions she addresses are:

  1. How do I navigate the current political climate without isolating friends and family and neighbors?
  2. How do I parent children who seem to have inherited my blessing/curse my therapist told me about?
  3. How do I hold space for others without losing myself?
  4. How do I engage social media in a healthy way?
  5. What are the best ways to offer others love, belonging, and joy?
  6. How do I stand in my desert places with courage?

 

Brown packs new research, new theories, and plenty of personal experiences and examples into Braving the Wilderness. I’ll continue to turn to, highlight, underline, and dog-ear these pages and read these words in the coming weeks, months, and years.

 

Charlotte lives in Homewood with her husband and their two children. She’s earning an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University, and she does freelance writing and copywriting. You can find her online at www.charlottedonlon.com and on Twitter at @charlottedonlon. You can sign up for her newsletter about books and writing here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Brené Brown's Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

September 12, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

  During an appointment with the first therapist I ever met with, I asked him if there's something wrong with me because I've never had a best friend who lasted more than a couple of... read full article

John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien

September 05, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I must confess I've never read any of Tolkien's books. But after reading the children's book John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien written by Caroline McAlister and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, I'm now convinced... read full article

Grief, Resilience, and Option B

September 01, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Since I married my husband almost twenty years ago, one of my greatest fears has been losing him to some kind of tragic early death. After I became a mama, this fear expanded to include losing... read full article

Author Interview: Gin Phillips on Fierce Kingdom, Writing, and Motherhood

August 14, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Gin Phillips and I hung out on her back porch recently and talked about her new book, writing, and motherhood. Here’s some of what we discussed:   When did you start writing? I’ve always written... read full article

Making a Mark: She Persisted and Radiant Child

August 10, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I grabbed two children's books from Church Street a couple of weeks ago for my kids (ages 12 and 14) and me to read. We believe you're never too old for children's books and have been enjoying... read full article

A Review: Becoming Ms. Burton

August 03, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Many conversations I hear about social justice issues are taking place among people who aren’t necessarily suffering from oppression. There are a lot of well-meaning people who talk about the effects of racism. They advocate... read full article

Author Interview: Kristen Iskandrian

July 28, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I got to spend some time with local author Kristen Iskandrian yesterday. We talked about books, writing, and her first novel Motherest which I definitely recommend. This coming-of-age story explores the dynamics of complex relationships... read full article

It's a Marvel and a Wonder I Liked It

November 25, 2015 | The Crew

  My wife and I just spent the weekend going through all of our books, getting rid of the ones we’ll never read again, the grad-school textbooks we never read in the first place, the... read full article

Hollow Fruits and Spiritual Totems: A Review of Gold Fame Citrus by Clair Vaye Watkins

October 04, 2015 | The Crew

  Disregarding weather reports of temperatures reaching 102º, I strapped on my pack and started out on the Tuxachanie Trail in Stone County, Mississippi, for a night in the woods with a flask of rum... read full article

Haiku Review: 100 Years of Solitude

July 28, 2015 | The Crew

Our haiku reviewer, Anonymous, treats us to a poetic appraisal of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez classic.     I must disclose: This Is my very favorite Book. Ever. La verdad.   Generations of Buendias fall... read full article

Armada: Sci-Fi, but Accessible

July 21, 2015 | The Crew

  I had a conversation with a friend the other night about his wife’s laundry list of problems with America—rampant consumer culture, disconnection from the land, inability to live harmoniously in diverse communities, Walmart, etc.... read full article

Ready Player One: An Adventure in New Antiques

July 14, 2015 | The Crew

[Ready Player One has been reviewed here before, but I thought I’d give it another look since Ernest Cline’s new book, Armada, comes out today. I’ll be reviewing it within the week, but until then... read full article

Throwback Review: Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye

June 17, 2015 | The Crew | 1 Comment

Anthony Vacca takes us back to 1953 and the hard-boiled world of dames and detectives. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler When it comes to Raymond Chandler’s novels starring the smart-ass, misanthropic PI Phillip Marlowe,... read full article

Haiku Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

June 02, 2015 | The Crew

It's an oldie but a goodie, and here's your Anonymous Haiku Review of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.     Wellington has a Garden fork in his left side. Pretty... read full article

Walking to Hollywood by Will Self

May 19, 2015 | The Crew

This week's review of Will Self's Walking to Hollywood comes from Anthony Vacca: author, librarian, and director of Write Club at Hoover Library.     Will Self is a little known novelist this side of the... read full article

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

May 11, 2015 | The Crew

This weeks review of Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning comes to us from Cassia Kesler, mother of two boys and a freelance writer. She and her husband Scott live in Birmingham. Her favorite activities include lying on the... read full article

Haiku Review: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

May 04, 2015 | The Crew

This week our Haiku Reviewer, Anonymous, tackles Americanah.     Ifemelu is Letting her hair go nat'ral. Americanah.   It's race, not color That limits us, separates Us. We made it up.   Black, White,... read full article

An Anti-Review of an Anti-Memoir: A Field Guide to Tom Robbins' Tibetan Peach Pie

April 27, 2015 | The Crew

  It’s impossible for me to write about Tom Robbins without getting personal. I’ll get to Tibetan Peach Pie, but bear with me briefly.   Throughout my childhood Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume,... read full article

Haiku Review: The Painter by Peter Heller

April 21, 2015 | The Crew | 1 Comment

This Tuesday’s review in haiku comes to us from Anonymous—a pot-making, songwriting, card-sharking, chicken-raising doula and mother of two.   Peter Heller’s The Painter   Currents and canvas Churning desert sky above Jim, whatcha thinking?... read full article

Return of the Blog

April 19, 2015 | The Crew

Hello Church Street Community,   Because such a wonderful shop as Church Street is worthy of website content lively as Cal and wise as Heather, we’re dusting off this old blog to provide a (somewhat)... read full article
View More Posts

Login

Lost your password?