Episode 8 – How to Let Your Wine and your Creative Soul Breathe

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Episode 8 – How to Let Your Wine and your Creative Soul Breathe

This spacious episode features some great (creative commons) music and concerns the aerating of wine and (more importantly) of your creative soul.

(Yes, I have asthma and you can tell! Please forgive all my gasping for breath. It’s been a hard few weeks for me.)
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This episode is brought to you by…

Life As Prayer: Revived Spirituality Inspired by Ancient Piety
(on the life and legacy of Brother Lawrence’s habit of “practicing the presence of God”)

How can YOU find an enduring sense of God’s presence with you? Learn about 16th century Brother Lawrence and how his understanding of God’s presence continues to enrich lives today.


Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast AND to my newsletter!

Both your wine and your life must be able to to breathe!

Full and aware breathing can inspire your creative muse and enrich your life in so many ways.

minute 1:00

I excitedly announce two upcoming interviews:
• Daniel J. Lewis interview (a virtuosic creator who’s received national awards for podcasts he produces).

• Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist author) Interview (discussing her new Out of Sorts book).


 

WINE SEGMENT: Letting wine breathe!

minute: 5:00

In wine terms “aeration” is the process of bringing air into wine.

The term dumb (i.e. “dumb wine”) refers to a wine that has little flavor or fragrance.
• Swirling wine mixes it with air and allows it to both breathe and speak!
• Flavor and aroma and the beauty and richness of the wine emerges as space for air gets in (just like us).

TIPS to make a better speaking wine:

(If buying excellent wine isn’t an option….which is most of us!)

Option 1.

Use a blender.

Option 2.

Use a hand blender (this is a method I use)

Option 3.

A cheap and simple solution:
Pour wine into a bowl and whisk it with a fork or whisk (like you would for scrambled eggs).


 

minute 5:50
Sparking your muse

• Aeration of the soul

• (a short recording) Insights from the middle of my retreat time at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Wernersville, PA.

Forgetting how to breath.

My asthma and stress; and tightness of breath and soul.

8:30

Sprit of God = breath of life

9:30

On slowing down.

9:50

The fantastic 4-7-8 second breathing exercise I learned to get your breath (and life) back.

11:30

Retreat invitation
(click link to learn more)

12:20

Giving breath to the creative soul…

Creating space and breath for the Creative muse/your soul to truly thrive

13:00

The Scriptural inspiration, history, and meaning of “Breath Prayer”
(as a Christian devotional practice)

Luke 18:9-14

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

minute 15:00

Breathe Prayer: A simple cry for help and connection

• How to do “breath prayer”

• My important adaptation to breath prayer (that helps me identify as a loved child of God).


 

Did you enjoy the podcast?
I hope you’ll share this episode with friend or family member who might need more space and air for her soul to breathe.

Cheers! Here’s to your health.


I’d like to hear from you.

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Episode 7 – Vine Grafting; special guest Ray Hollenbach

Show Notes Episode 7 – On Grafting Grape Vines and Special Guest Ray Hollenbach

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This episode was brought to you by…

Life As Prayer: Revive Spirituality Inspired by Ancient Piety


Learn about 16th century Brother Lawrence and how his understanding of God’s presence continues to affect lives today.


 

It’s a fact: the plants that produce wine grapes don’t come from seeds. You can’t “sow grapes”. More on that soon.

And later, Student of Jesus blogger and disciple-maker Ray Hollenbach and I talk about the fruit of the spirit (debunking the most common myth about it), and a little bit about the Vineyard church he is a part of, and what his “Deeper” seminars and workshops are all about.
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1. Wine segment:

Wine grape plants don’t come from seeds, so how are vineyards created?

There are two main ways commercial growers get their fields ready for a grape harvest:

The first way is to plant seedlings taken from healthy and mature grape vines. This means that a harvest of good grapes for wine is 4-5 years away. Booo.

The second way is to use an older and mature vineyard and graft in (attach) new plants into the vine.

They prune down the top of the plant. They chop it nearly down to the ground, and expose some of the top to the vine stem. Then, they graft living plants into it. The grafting process means that whole new varieties of grapes in just one year, using the original root system to obtain all the necessary nutrients. Grafted in plants can also inoculate older vines against certain diseases with disease resistant pants (usually hybrid seedlings) that make the whole system healthier.

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It can cost $150, per plant, to graft in new vines and it’s done in a precise sort of way with notching the root stem, adding in plants and sealing them together so they merge.

André_Thouin_1

Grafting plants has been done for thousands of years. In the bible, the church is compared, by the apostle Paul, to a wild olive plant grafted into an olive tree. The first audience hearing Paul’s words would understand this word picture: the church is an introduction of something very new. Something able to impart a whole new vitality into the current understanding of religion and closeness with God.

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2. Sparking your Muse

An interview with Ray Hollenbach

Ray Hollenbach writes at Students of Jesus.com

He does the Deeper Seminar nationwide.

View his YouTube Videos on his new channel.

Interview Notes –

Minute: 4:30

Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 New Living Translation (NLT)

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

 

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

4:48

“Fruit of the Spirit is not a gift that we get; but come as a result or outcome of natural (spiritual) health”. -Ray Hollenbach

6:30 – How parenting matures us in the same way that “making disciples” matures us.

7:30 – The Impossible Mentor 

8:30 –

“The goal of the Christian Life is NOT to get to heaven.”

9:47

The Vineyard Church

• John Wimber

10:06 –

Fuller Seminary

George Eldon Ladd 

Dallas Willard

Richard Foster

Eugene Peterson

NT Wright

12:20

Grape Vines

13:50

Grafting

14:40

“Jesus taught practically and transpositionally.”

(i.e. interacting with the transcendent in a practical way)

15:30

Student of Jesus Videos


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Episode 6 – The Skinny on Wine Spritzers and Friendship as Creative Fuel

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Show notes –
Spark My Muse podcast: Episode 6 – The Skinny on Wine Spritzers and Friendship as Creative Fuel

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Today’s episode covers the skinny on wine spritzers and also how friendship fuels our creative muse.

This episode is brought to you by
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10 essays inspired by the life lessons learned while befriending with the family canine. Heart warming, full of wonderful photography and good humor. Click the links to learn more to get a copy.

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What is a wine spritzer exactly and why now is a good time to make one?

First, what’s up with the word “spritzer”?

The word “spritzer” comes from the German spritzen “spatter, squirt, spray, sprinkle”.

(additional note: just saying it involves some spritzing, right?)

The wine sprizter is just a simple drink combination of chilled wine and something that sparkles, such as sparkling mineral water, club soda, or seltzer water.

It’s consumed more for refreshment than anything else!

(It’s easy on the liver.)

• Drinking wine in warm weather or in the hot sun is always a bad idea. The spritzer is a good choice for summer because of its lower alcohol content, less calories, and being less inexpensive than straight wine consumption. Serving them is a great a way for you or your guests to not drink too much before the hambergers are ready at your cookout.

Too much wine (or any alcohol) during the summer will dehydrate you and you can quickly feel tired or ill.

Spritzers are mixed in various ratios and sometimes fruit juice is added.
The two most common are 50/50 or,
1/2 cup club soda to 1 cup of wine.

• The Spanish use red wine, fruit, and lemon soda. That sounds delicious!

I think wine or juice Spritzers are the go-to outdoor party beverage that provides a less expensive refreshing treat for outdoor entertaining and outdoor fun, sunny get-togethers, and bonding with friends. (They can be made without alcohol for teetotalers or children too–just skip the wine and add more fruit juice.)

• For parties, you can fill a punch bowl with the right ratios.

Some of my favorite wine spritzer recipes!

The Super Simple Spritzer

Just two ingredients:
6 ounces of a reasonably priced of white wine – or a blush wine–
plus 6 ounces of 7-Up (or try sprite or ginger ale).

 

Sublime Citrus Spritzer
2 lemon slices, 2 lime slices, 5 ice cubes.
4 ounces of your your favorite white wine and 2 ounces of lemon-lime seltzer.

Peach Dream Party Bowl Spritzer

6 quartered peaches and 2 tablespoons of honey.

Mix into a blender and puree. Place in a pitcher and chill for about two hours, then mix in a bottle of white wine, and stir well.

Finally, add a liter of cold sparkling water or seltzer.

Garnish with mint and extra slices of peach.

 

Citrus Ice Cube Party Pitcher Spritzer
2 lemons, zested
2 small oranges, zested (or 1 large orange, zested)
1 bottle white or blush wine
3 cups sparkling water
Directions:
Place the zest as a mixture into an empty ice cube tray, add water and freeze for 3 to 5 hours.

In a large pitcher, combine the wine and the sparkling water and then the citrus zest ice cubes.

Stir and serve.

 

White Wine and Fruity Sweet Party Spritzer
1 bottle of sweet white wine
3/4 cup white grape juice or apple juice
1 liter bottle desired-flavor low-calorie sparkling water, chilled.

(optional and delicious Assorted fresh fruits (such as raspberries, blackberries, pineapple, sliced kiwifruit, blueberries, lemon slices, lime slices, halved strawberries, or red grapes)
Directions
1 In a large punch bowl combine wine and grape juice.

Just before serving, slowly pour in sparkling water.

If desired, garnish individual servings with fruit. Makes 10 (6-ounce) servings
——

SPARK MY MUSE: On friendship….

David Whyte:

Friendship is a mirror to presence and a testament to forgiveness. Friendship not only helps us see ourselves through another’s eyes, but can be sustained over the years only with someone who has repeatedly forgiven us for our trespasses as we must find it in ourselves to forgive them in turn. A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in sight, a companion to our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs, when we are under the strange illusion we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die.


Little Prince

(previous entry)

C.S. Lewis

Friendship, unlike cooperation, is unnecessary to human survival.
Friendship, like philosophy and art is one of the things that gives value to survival.
how friendship differs from the other three types of love by focusing on its central question: “Do you see the same truth.”

Anne Lamott

In the course of the years a close friendship will always reveal the shadow in the other as much as ourselves, to remain friends we must know the other and their difficulties and even their sins and encourage the best in them, not through critique but through addressing the better part of them, the leading creative edge of their incarnation, thus subtly discouraging what makes them smaller, less generous, less of themselves.


My essay:

Pertaining to sparking one’s muse. Good friends, that offer selflessly the balance of honesty and gentleness, toughness and acceptance, encouragement and motivation breath life into our lives and our art. Being social creatures, as humans, we crave social bonds even though they inevitably cause us pain at times. Isolated, for too long, we shrink into ourselves with self-delusion, self-absorption, unwarranted loathing and aggrandizement.

Aloneness is a dread for many or a craving for those misfit. And even those misfit hope, sometimes, to find someone else in the dark that might recognize him and name him and finally tell him he is well enough and valuable. Only in the mirror of friendship can we have solid footing and might be drawn out into our best selves. Erotic love has too much fire and entanglement for that. Agape love too much work and abdication. Brotherly love too much responsibility and duty. Only a soul friend can birth you into your actualization most purely.

Friends and confidants help us be continually born into the next stage of development. We risk with them and they with us and the synergy makes us stronger. At its best it is a fountain of grace sourced in Originator of Love and Goodness.


Do you have a question or do you have an idea for the show? Please let me know! :)

 


Episode 5 – The god of Wine and re-thinking the nature of creative process

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Episode 5 – The god of Wine and re-thinking the nature of creative process

dionysus

Today’s episode is about the Greek god of Wine and rethinking our ideas about the process of creation, and a better understanding the notion of “creative genius”:

 

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wine segment

What the Greeks thought about wine is reflected in the god of wine that they worshiped. (I don’t recommend worshiping the god of wine, or any god except the benevolent Creator.)

• Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and grape harvest

• The only god to have a mortal parent. Born from Zues’ thigh. That’s because his mother burnt to a crisp when Zues showed himself to her in his glory. Whoops.

Symposium means “drinking together”.

Additional note: These originally-small gatherings were for upper class men and with carefully imposed rules about consumption. They occured for leisure and thoughtful discussion.

• I will be offering a symposium-stlyle web-event where we will all have a glass of wine at the same time and discus a topic–possibly in July. Only patrons will get to come. This is your invitation. :)

If you want in, or you are curious about the rewards for being a sponsor of the show, go to Patreon.com/sparkmymuse

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• Most of the great Greek plays were initially written to be performed at the Spring feast of Dionysus. . . .when the buds of grape leaves start to open. It was a most sacred festival.

• Dionysus was a patron of the arts!

For Greeks, Dionysus was credited with creating wine and spreading the art of viticulture (the horticulture of grapes).

• He had a dual nature; on one hand, he brought joy and divine ecstasy; or he would bring madness, brutal and blinding rage–a good depiction of the dual nature of wine.

• He was brought back to life…like grape vines that undergo brutal pruning and look dead, but then burst back to life.

• Blood and red wine are often linked for the ancients.

(Blood gives the body life, wine has powerful bodily effects.)


And now to spark your muse!

——

• Nikolai Berdyeav

“All the products of a man’s genius may be temporal and corruptible, but the creative fire itself is eternal, and everything temporal ought to be consumed in it. It is the tragedy of creativeness that it was eternity and the eternal, but produces the temporal, and builds up the culture which is in time and a part of history. The creative act is an escape from the power of time and ascent to the divine…”

Today we’re thinking of the creative process as re-imagined and being “divinely co-operative”.

We (commonly) think of genius as applied to us in a personal way like a characteristic. A natural capacity, but the Greeks seem to have a much healthier view of what the process of creation is truly like…

• For the Greeks …divinity is always present.

• A genius = an unseen guardian, or custodial and protecting spirit…who gives a human inspiration: For the Greek, we each have one. (It’s not us; but it will help us.)

Three reasons why depersonalizing our part in the creative process is helpful:

1. Failure is not personal

2. Success shouldn’t cause arrogance

3. Patience and giving up control (not forcing it) will reinvorgate your creativity

What do you think?

Is the creative process a “divine cooperation”?

 


In the next episode we will cover “the proper rites of friendship”  and skinny on “wine spritzers”. 


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Episode 4 (Wine Tasting Crash Course and how to do a Retreat)

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Spark My Muse – Episode 4 (Wine Tasting Crash Course and how to do a Retreat)

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This episode is brought to you by:

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Wine segment:

Involve all the senses as to wine and enjoy wine.

Take your time and build your awareness. (This makes for a great spiritual practice as well.)


Sparking your Muse:

Today’s topic:
A personal Retreat
– critical for creativity, spiritual sensitivity, and well being.

The retreat center I go to.

Spiritual Thirst:

By the time you are thirsty, your kidney’s have sent an emergency signal to your brain. Now the brain tries to regain health for your body with urges to drink. It’s better to provide for the body ahead of time, of course. The same is true for a thirsty soul. Don’t let yourself get morbidly parched. It’s not healthy for you or anyone in your life. It’s terrible for your art and your creative muse, and your mission in the world. You have to be well to do right by others. You have to be well to do well. But most of all you have to properly BE.

 

Getting it wrong:

A retreat that’s more of a social gathering with activities…That’s a Protestant, Western, answer to a problem that misunderstands the question.

Catholic tradition with it’s long history of spiritual retreats and spiritual guides was too much spurned by Protestant protest against it in favor of being busy at work and productive, while too often letting the soul starve for want of divine tranquility and peace.

God is best found in stillness and when the boisterous yammering of our heart and mind are soothed by rest and unplugging in every way.

The real question is not how can I find a party so I can feel whole….but How do I find my whole way home?

Home is within.

You become quiet and you go inside. God is within. You won’t find a God of Sabbath rest “out there” or at a place.

3 Most Important Tips:

1. put it on the calendar. mark it off. It’s a vacation day.
Or as the British say it (better) “you need to go on holiday!”

HOLY DAY.

Holy means set apart. That’s exactly what retreat should be.

If you take take off from work for doctor’s apps, then think of it like that.

Block off 4-6 hours at minimum

8-10 is better and 24-48 is really when things get very beneficial.

AND Go away from home and people. A retreat center, a natural setting, a private room at a church or someone’s home.

 

2. Do all you can to minimize all distractions and obligations.

Plan ahead. Tell people you WILL be off the grid. Not able to be contacted. at all.

Leave your phone in your car. A few hours won’t kill you. If you think that it might, or that you can’t possibility be out-of-contact…or maybe that you are too important and busy to do this.

Then you have to be even more serious able doing it. Delusion has set in. You have become blind. You are starting to die a soul death. Get away RIGHT away!

(You may be afraid of what thoughts are going to come up when things get quiet. Be brave!)

3. Let the chatter die out.
If your mind is clamoring…and it will be if you have a lot to be responsible for….then you really can’t get to a place of rest.

•  Jot everything down quickly and put it to the side. It will be there when you get back and you will be able to deal with it better.

A simple Worksheet that’s perfect for retreats:

• The SHARPENING Ritual 

• The SHARPENING Ritual
(PRAYER-centered VERSION)


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Episode 3 (Five best tools for opening wine and guest Natalie Hart)

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Spark My Muse – Episode 3 (5 best tools for opening wine and guest Natalie Hart)

 

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Spark my muse is The podcast for curious creatives types, wine newbies, and those willing to put up with my occasional silliness. Thank you so much for sharing your time with me.

This episode is brought to you by:
Life As Prayer:
Life As Prayer: Revived Spirituality Inspired by Ancient Piety

Today’s wine segment!

I open dozens of bottles of wine per week as a manager of a wine tasting room at Spring Gate Vineyard. We use a simple tool, I hadn’t seen before to make it quick and simple with very high levels of success.

BASICALLY only the cork should get screwed.  No broken corks, no puncture wounds–for you!

Cork screw is also called a wine key, or a waiter’s pry.

There are a few tools that are poor choices for opening bottles….

There are the best tools which may include some you may want to avoid.

These (affiliate) links will get them for you at a good price.

• Basic lever corkscrew – very inexpensive, small and portable, comes on an army knife. (There’s a better option below…keep reading.)

• Electronic one – large, slow, overly complex for my taste. It can be glitchy, run out of power…

• Winged or butterfly…It has arms that go up as you twist it down into the cork…Easily can cause broken corks when not done right. (Tip: hold the arm down tightly until you get it firmly pinned down to the cork and begin twisting straight down.) It’s slow, and has higher failures.

• The rabbit style. Large, more complicated than necessary. Table mounted options. If you have the room, like a full bar in your house…go for it.

• Air pressure bottle opener. It uses a needle CO 2 80 bottles…meh.

What’s the best tool?

The 2 lever waiter’s corkscrew!
It’s portable,fast, and low tech. The secret is the double hinge. It only takes about three rotations. (TIP: Go straight down and use the lever to pull the cork straight up. Don’t crank the cork to the side. First you use the top lever and then you switch to the bottom one.)

Here’s a video of the same tool I use at work and how to use it. Skip to minute 1:00.



Spark My Muse guest:
Writer – Natalie Hart

Natalie’s Webiste
• Her book: The Giant Slayer

We discussed:

• Biblical fiction genre

• Her favorite way to get unstack creatively

• Identity (David’s, and the rest of us.)


Thanks for listening / reading. Please subscribe, or leave comments. I’d love to hear if you like the show.

 

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Episode 2 (Wet Dog Fur Wine and Brene Brown)

Show notes:

Episode 2 (Wet Dog Fur Wine and Brene Brown)

Make sure your wine never tastes like wet dog fur. huh?

 

Spark my muse is The podcast for curious creatives types, wine newbies, and those willing to put up with my occasional silliness. Thank you so much for sharing your time with me.

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Today:

How wine can go to the dogs and how to best store wine in the wine segment.

Plus, a bit about a topic and a book that has made a huge difference in my life.

This episode of the podcast is brought to you by:

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Today’s wine segment!

Why might your wine taste like wet dog fur….and what to do about it?

Basic Stats:
A wine bottle has 25.33 oz. (750ml).
A serving (a glass) of wine is 5 oz . (Half way up the glass is full. Where the glass is widest (aroma reasons in the design)
1 bottle = five glasses.

If your wine smells stale or like wet dog fur…it is Corked!

(The cork is not working and too much air has mixed with the wine.)

Wine last 24 hours if the air is pumped out
Here’s the one I recommend we use it at work. It pays for itself after two uses.

Wine lasts only a few hours if it’s not pumped. It’s not harmful, but it won’t taste its best. Pushing the cork back in won’t help too much because air is trapped in there.

Another reason Wine is stored on its side to expand the cork. A bottle corked with a plastic cork won’t be helped by horizontal storage.

On the next PODCAST – I’ll talk about my favorite tool for opening wine and why, and the bottle opening tools you should (probably) avoid !

 

Now to spark your Muse

Brené Brown’s work made its mark on me before she did her famous 1st TED TALK which lead to you famous ins TED Talk on her research about shame and vulnerability at the University of Houston.

 

 

The topics in the book and some of the passages I’ll read to you have really gained new significance  because putting up a podcast is risky. I feel vulnerable and I feel like I might get rejected. Some people won’t like it and I can’t change that. I don’t want to fail. And I don’t want to look like an idiot. And looking like an idiot is extremely probable.

When we are about to step out into unknown territory or if we doing something that makes us more vulnerable the two main things we think are “who do you think you are?” and “You’rd going to look like a fool” and I might add one to that “You won’t do it right” (it ’s related to the 2nd one) Maybe you can think of others that come to you mind.

We seem okay to handle other people’s vulnerability but really reluctant to risk that ourselves.

Excerpts from Daring Greatly:

Pg 35 “I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure”

My note: We can’t risk feeling vulnerable if we are dealing with shame.

pg 68 “people who don’t experience shame lack the capacity for empathy and human connection”

My note: Social also social pain. We fear rejection and isolation.

pg 67 “shame derives its power from being unspeakable”

Language and story bring light to shame and destroy it

pg 71

Guilt is “I did something wrong”

Shame is “I am bad” (or “I am something wrong”)

• When new feel shame we lash out, get anxious, hide, or numb out, and really we need to do the opposite of those things to have victory.

• Instead of lashing out or hiding we need to reach out, to some one we can trust.

• Instead of overcompensating we have to cut ourselves a break. “I make mistakes. I’m moving on past this one.”

Pg 80 Brené says “If I own the story I get to write the ending.” I just heard a fascinating TED TALK from Monica Lewinsky and she sounds like she’s taking this advise. She said it was time to take back her story and control her own narrative.

Reaching out and being honest creates an environment of empathy, and that’s really why I’m sharing all this with you.

Don’t be afraid to create and do things that are your passion. And mess up while doing them. I’m messing up a lot, but I’m trying to not let those mistakes put me in a choke hold of shame and inaction.

I hope you will be inspired to do the same.

Thanks for listening today!

Or if you have read Daring Greatly, what was the most powerful thing you learned. I’d love to hear from you! Leave comments at sparkmymuse.com or the email contact@sparkmymuse.com

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