Captivated by the Aftermath of Sandy and a Conversation on Vulnerability

Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 11:01 pm

Captivated by the Aftermath of Sandy and a Conversation on Vulnerability

“We’re drying them out. But I’m looking closely — a lot of these pages, it’s not reparable. This is just heartbreaking to look at.”

Rabbi Avremel Okonov’s words At Mazel Academy in Brooklyn, Torah scrolls were unrolled to dry after being damaged by the floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Ben Harris.— and this image of Torah scrolls being unrolled to dry after a Brighton Beach yeshiva in Brooklyn was flooded — put another face on what has been lost in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. We’re based in Minnesota and, much like the rest of the world, our imaginations and conversations have been captivated by the devastating aftermath of Sandy.
To all of our friends and fans on the East Coast affected by the storm, Downtown Darkwe wish you a healthy recovery and hope that you’re safe and warm, and with power.
Our producer Nancy Rosenbaum (who grew up in New Jersey and whose parents are without electricity) reminded us that “this Rilke poem from the Book of Hours that Joanna Macy reads at the end of this week’s show has Sandy written all over it.” These opening lines seem so fitting for this moment:

You are not surprised at the force of the storm—
you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. Their flight
sets the boulevards streaming. And you know:
he whom they flee is the one
you move toward. All your senses
sing him, as you stand at the window.

On Thursday, Krista interviewed Brené Brown, a qualitative researcher who has spent more than a decade studying shame and vulnerability:

Enjoying preparing for interview tomorrow with @BreneBrown: Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.

Brene' Brown speaksIn 2010, Dr. Brown presented “The Power of Vulnerability” at TEDxHouston. Her talk exploded onto the scene and has been viewed more than six million times:

“We numb vulnerability. The problem is that you cannot selectively numb emotion. You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects or emotions. You cannot selectively numb. And when we numb those, we numb joy. We numb gratitude. We numb happiness.”

"To welcome the suffering is the sign of our humanity."While editing this interview the next day, I (@TrentGilliss) “time-shift-tweeted,” if you will, the conversation. These ideas particularly resonated with our followers (@beingtweets):

“When I meet you, vulnerability is the first thing I try to find in you. And the last thing I want to show you in me.”

“I think it’s the long walk from ‘what will people think’ to ‘I am enough.'” ~@BreneBrown, on the courage to hold vulnerability as a value
“The most beautiful things I look back on are coming out from underneath things I didn’t know I could get out from underneath.”
“Hope is a function of struggle.”

“To me, vulnerability is courage — the willingness to show up and be seen in our lives.”

After listening to her interview, Krista humorously tweeted:

@BreneBrown, was that a therapy session or an interview? Either way a pleasure. We’ll broadcast/podcast in a few weeks – watch this space.

And, if you get a chance, check out some of the questions for Brené Brown people posted on our Facebook page. They’re fantastic! Like this one from Joy Wotherspoon Hoppenot:

Joy Wotherspoon Hoppenot“Any insights on how to find community/your tribespeople when you’re one of those wholehearted, vulnerable types? Western society certainly doesn’t affirm this path. I find the journey quite isolating, even though I am sure others are going through it as well, silently. How can we locate one another?”

Election Day Communion Planning GuideWith the upcoming U.S. elections on Tuesday, we continue to look for convening places aimed at healing our fractured civil spaces. Election Day Communion is one of those noble efforts (and a kindred project to our CCP series). The site leads with this manifesto:

Some of us will choose to vote for Barack Obama.
Some of us will choose to vote for Mitt Romney.
Some of us will choose to vote for another candidate.
Some of us will choose not to vote.

During the day of November 6, 2012, we will make different choices for different reasons, hoping for different results.

But that evening while our nation turns its attention to the outcome of the presidential election, let’s again choose differently. But this time, let’s do it together.

Is your congregation participating?
And, each Sunday, Krista (@kristatippett) declares a “Twitter sabbath.” It looks like she found time to read Taking the Leap:

Pema Chodron: Pausing becomes something that nurtures you; you begin to prefer it to being all caught up.

Like the idea of practicing pausing – throughout the day – as spiritual and even civic discipline.

"Wildness is not just the 'preservation of the world,' it is the world. We need a civilization that can live fully and creatively together with wildness." -Gary Snyder, photo by Ivan Corbett
As you take in these darkening days of autumn, I’ll leave you with our most popular Instagram of the week: Ivan Corbett’s photograph of Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic that forms the northernmost part of Norway (also home of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault), paired with a passage from Gary Snyder’s The Practice of the Wild:

“Wildness is not just the ‘preservation of the world,’ it is the world. We need a civilization that can live fully and creatively together with wildness.”

As always, please send us your feedback about our work. Contact us any way you like: contact us on our website, share your suggestions and critiques on Facebook or Twitter (@beingtweets, @KristaTippett, @TrentGilliss).

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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as chief content officer and executive editor. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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