“When we embrace wounds instead of escaping them, when we are broken open from the prison of self, we become worthy of deeper connections and different understandings. When we surrender fear so that we can know the pain of longing, we enter into a wondrous journey of discovery, transported by the eternal dance between self and other. The ultimate source of power is the courage of empathy.” – Payam Akhavan, 2014 Vancouver Human Rights Lecture
“Making happiness the focal point of your life trivializes it, because in order to regard anything as truly important, you also have to regard its loss as truly meaningful. Opening yourself up to moments of deep meaning simultaneously means that you have to open yourself up to the possibility of deep hurt and sorrow. You do that anytime, for example, you make a relationship profound, you put your emotions on the line and that has to be real, or else the relationship can’t be real. To hope that sort of risk could be obliterated by the indulgence in a simplistic form of happiness is to shrink in cowardice from the demands real human existence places on people.” -Jordan B. Peterson, CBC Idea’s “Say No to Happiness” P.S. There’s a reason for these quotes – stay tuned!
I don’t usually like New Year’s resolutions, but I couldn’t help but be inspired by the list over at Philosophy for Change (a blog everyone should check out). Number two on that list most resonated with me, because it speaks of a theme I’ve found myself returning to again and again on Ekostories. It’s a subject I’ve been grappling with over the past year: The power of love to affect change.
A friend recently introduced me to Brené Brown’s TEDx talk on vulnerability. If you haven’t seen it, check it out – there’s a reason why it went viral. Brown is an excellent speaker, or as she likes to call herself, a researcher/storyteller. There are great nuggets scattered throughout the talk: A story is just data with a soul, that numbing ourselves from the bad also numbs us from the good, that we constantly fear we are not worthy of love, belonging, and connection. What makes her talk especially powerful is that Brown doesn’t simply lecture. She reaches deep inside herself to share something shameful, uncomfortable, and genuine with a group of strangers. She demonstrates being vulnerable. Brown argues that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. Anyone can boast about exploits and accomplishments, but to share one’s shortcomings honestly for the purposes of self-improvement demands true courage. As I wrote in the piece Tao Today: A Sage’s Take on Modern Society, being vulnerable is essential for cultivating empathy in others. Only when we acknowledge …