Stop walking through the world looking for evidence that you don’t belong because you will always find it. You don’t negotiate belonging externally; you carry it in your heart. No one belongs here more than you.
Dr. Brené Brown begins her newest book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, with characteristic vulnerability:
“When I start writing, I inevitably feel myself swallowed by fear.”
The antidote to her fear, she tells us, is to seek inspiration from those with tenacious courage. Among those she turns to: J.K.Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, author and activist bell hooks, Oprah Winfrey, and–at the top of the list–Maya Angelou.
What Brené Brown seeks, she also gives. She is one many of us turn to when in need of inspiration and courage. Her TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is among the top five most watched, with over 31,000, 000 views. The titles of her books alone are enough to invoke our innate strength and resilience: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong.
On Sunday October 1, we’re blessed to have Dr. Brown as preacher and forum speaker at Washington National Cathedral. Thanks to the streaming and online services of the Cathedral, those who can’t be present in person can watch either on Sunday morning or anytime at your convenience.
Brown defines true belonging as:
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.
While her writing is profoundly personal, the social implications are high. As she told Joshua Johnson on WETA’s radio show The 1A, “It turns out you can’t write a book on connection and belonging without being really honest about how difficult it is today, given the level of vitriol and mean spiritedness.”
Brown is unflinching in her sober assessment of the spiritual crisis of disconnectedness of our time. “The world feels high lonesome and broken to me right now,” she writes. “We’ve sorted ourselves into factions based on our politics and ideology. We’ve turned away from each other and toward blame and rage.”
Yet Braving the Wilderness is full of great stories, humor, and specific ways we can find our true belonging and the courage to stand alone. Her sermon and forum presentation are sure to be full of the same.
We’ll also have the opportunity to learn how faith informs her life and work. Brené Brown is a Christian and active member of Christ Episcopal Cathedral in Houston. She and her family have been deeply involved in rescue and relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey.
Join us in person or online as we welcome Brené Brown and draw inspiration from joyful presence and hard won wisdom. “The price of true belonging is high,” she warns us in advance, “but the reward is great.”