Braving the Wilderness

“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.”
― Brené BrownBraving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

I love that true belonging, is a spiritual practice.  Having anything worthwhile and fulfilling will always take devotion.  And devotion in and of itself, IS that spiritual practice. Knowing that discipline, dedication, belief and passion despite the uphill battle, will eventually lead to victory.  Faith that you will come out on the other side with a deep understanding of worthiness, self love and a sense of belonging, not without any battle scars, but the courage to still fight.  I am such a HUGE fan of Brené Brown!  I first discovered her, as millions have, through her TED talk on Vulnerability which went viral.  It’s listed at the top of the “25 most popular talks of all time” on, with over 30 million views and it’s easy to see why.  Ever since, I’ve downloaded audio books of Daring Greatly & The gifts of Imperfection, followed her guest talks on podcasts, interviews with various media outlets, which include her guest spot(s) on Oprah’s Supersoul Sunday and have been lucky enough to hear her speak at the first SUMMIT LA in November last year. She was the opening keynote speaker and I couldn’t have been more excited!  I had already purchased this book, but hadn’t had a chance to dive into it yet.  As she began her speech, this book concept was her main topic and she dove right into it’s inception and her core findings that include an acronym she refers to as B.R.A.V.I.N.G. which is all about trust. And in this trust, there are seven main elements that are observable and measurable.






N-on judgement


In the book, she goes into detail about what each of these mean.  I won’t go into that here and leave it up to you to read and discover for yourself, but it’s a great acronym for building trust, which to me, has been the most diffucult thing to do in my life. It cost me years of anguish and therapy to finally understand and unpack this for myself, but that’s another blog altogether.  However, what I love most is when she writes:

“Dehumanizing and holding people accountable are mutually exclusive. Humiliation and dehumanizing are not accountability or social justice tools, they’re emotional off-loading at best, emotional self-indulgence at worst. And if our faith asks us to find the face of God in everyone we meet, that should include the politicians, media, and strangers on Twitter with whom we most violently disagree. When we desecrate their divinity, we desecrate our own, and we betray our faith.”

To me, I couldn’t agree more with this stance. How many times do you find yourself in these types of dehumanizing conversations without even thinking twice about what you said? The irony behind it all is that this is what we use as a source of “connection” with someone else who “hates” the same person. We bond over the shit talking as we laugh our way through ridiculous scenarios in jest. But is that even connection? Take all of that away and what do you have left? She also writes,

“Here’s what I believe: If you are offended or hurt when you hear Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters called bitch, whore, or the c-word, you should be equally offended and hurt when you hear those same words used to describe Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, or Theresa May. When the president of the United States calls women dogs or talks about grabbing pussy, we should get chills down our spine and resistance flowing through our veins. When people call the president of the United States a pig, we should reject that language regardless of our politics and demand discourse that doesn’t make people subhuman.

When we hear people referred to as animals or aliens, we should immediately wonder, “Is this an attempt to reduce someone’s humanity so we can get away with hurting them or denying them basic human rights?” There is a line. It’s etched from dignity. And raging, fearful people from the right and left are crossing it at unprecedented rates every single day. We must never tolerate dehumanization—the primary instrument of violence that has been used in every genocide recorded throughout history.”

catching Dr. Brené Brown after her keynote talk at Summit LA!

The world we are living in is a very scary one at the moment. There is so much discourse that people are yearning for community, connection and belonging.  The problem is if you aren’t clear and in alignment with your true nature, fear can take over the driver seat and lead you down some pretty dark and narrow roads. Fear should always take a backseat.  It is always a dangerous thing to have fear lead the way, with that pesky little ego that usually always rides shotgun. Like the old addage goes, “The road to hell was paved with good intentions”,  so really be clear on what your intentions are. I think books like this are important because it shows us how to truly go back to all things that make us “human” rather than treating each other as anything but, regardless of our colorful backgrounds that make up faith, politics & ethnicity. We should be celebrating that instead of fighting against it.

At the end of the day, I believe, that we are all the same, when you take all of it away.  I believe in humanity first. I believe that we need to return to love, especially in times where it seems impossible. This is the true nature of who we are. This has been the mission statement of “SneezeFrame”, an organization I founded  a few years ago as a way to spread love and unity through the very humanizing (and amusing) act of sneezing. A human experience that we all share can bring awareness to personal missions to give back to various charities posing the questions “What do you want to sneeze out of this world”? and “Are you brave enough to share your SneezeFrame”? If you want to know more about this campaign, you can check out

This is just one of the ways I choose to “Brave the Wilderness”.  My hope is that we all choose to be brave.  Stand brave alone and for one another, especially during heated climates, where we need it the most, because if we aren’t fighting for our humanity, than what are we fighting for?



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