Archive for vulnerability

What’s Your Anthem?

What’s my Anthem? I need an Anthem???

Yes! In fact you may need more than one. An anthem is a song or speech or poem – or whatever it is that works for you – that you want played loudly (over the PA system, through your earphones, or just in your head) as you walk, practically petrified, through the daunting arenas of your life.

I have Arenas? You mean with lions and bulls???

Well, not exactly real lions and bulls, although there are certainly times in the arena when we feel like we’re about to be eaten alive. Sometimes simply showing up as who we really are and saying what we really think, can feel just that dangerous.

I know you’ve experienced this. Maybe your arena is a board room, a sales pitch, a stage, or even being present for a difficult conversation with someone you love. Perhaps you could’ve used an anthem in school when you faced that all-important test or, worse, the principal’s office. Yikes.

There is a way, though, to make stepping into your arena, with your anthems playing, less scary – even rewarding.

It’s the Daring Way™.

Watch for more to come about that. Today I’m here to tell you about  anthems.

The other day I was writing to the members of a Daring Way™ group I’m running. I was elaborating on an assignment, reminding them to come to this week’s session with the names of their anthems.

Originally, the exercise was for them to pick a song by which they feel uplifted, encouraged, and remind them of how brave and magnifecent they are, and what authentic gifts they bring. But since music doesn’t affect everyone the way it does me (or Brené Brown who chose to include this exercise in her Daring Way™ program), I extended the assignment to include anything that empowers them to be themselves out loud.

What about a playlist?

Making a list of examples to send them turned out to be so fun for me, that I didn’t want to stop! And I didn’t want to keep that list all to myself and them either. So, you’re in luck! I’m posting it here for you.

I do have one caveat (and confession): This list is by no means complete. Which is why I didn’t want to stop when I was making the list of examples. There are so many more great candidates! Maybe I’ll get to those in a later post (or posts), but for now, you’ll hane to just enjoy these.

Music:

Poems by:

  • Billy Collins
  • David Whyte
  • Derek Walcott
  • Emily Dickenson
  • Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī (Rumi)
  • John O’Donohue
  • Lucille Clifton
  • Mary Oliver
  • Maya Angelou
  • Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Oriah Mountain Dreamer
  • Pablo Neruda
  • Richard Gilbert
  • Shamseddin Mohammad (Hafiz or Hafez)
  • Shel Silverstein

Books by:

  • Alice Walker
  • Anne Lamott
  • Bill Wilson
  • Brené Brown
  • Charlotte Kasl
  • Christiane Northrup
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Daniel Gilbert
  • David Schwartz
  • Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Julia Cameron
  • Hermann Hesse
  • Laura Overstreet Biering! 🙂
  • Louise Hay
  • Marianne Williamson
  • Nancy Blair
  • Napoleon Hill
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Pema Chödrön
  • Randy Pausch
  • Rick Tamlyn
  • SARK
  • Sonia Choquette
  • Sue Monk Kidd
  • Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Viktor Frankl, or maybe even

Quotes from:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Albert Einstein
  • Anne Frank
  • Ben Franklin
  • Betty Friedan
  • Beverly Sills
  • Billy Jean King
  • Eleanor, Franklin, or Theodore Roosevelt
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  • Elizabeth Kübler-Ross
  • Erica Jong
  • Gloria Steinem
  • Helen Keller
  • Henry Ford
  • Indira or Mahatma Gandhi
  • Jimmy Carter
  • John or Robert Kennedy
  • Lucius Annaeus Seneca
  • Malala Yousafza
  • Martha Graham
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Mother Teresa
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Ovid
  • Richard Branson
  • Rosa Parks
  • Steve Jobs
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Vince Lombardi
  • Walt Disney
  • Warren Buffett
  • William James

Also… there are some inspiring Academy Awards Acceptance Speeches (see my March 13th blog post to get you started with these), and there are some awesome TED talks (get the top 1o here) and TEDx talks (get the top 10 here)…

OK. Since I have other things to do today, and I’m sure you do, too, I’ll stop here.

Now it’s your turn.

Pleeeeeease, even if it’s only one a day, take these like vitamins – try them out, take them in, and decide which ones make you feel the best. Then make your own list. You can start by “cheating off of my paper.” Then, before you know it, you’ll be choosing anthems seemingly written for you.

And please check back in with me here so I can “cheat off of your paper, too.” I hope you have fun perusing my anthems and then picking yours. Why?

Because it’s time to march confidently into your arenas, head held high ( even if you’re quaking in your boot), with your anthems turned up to 11!

 

PS I apologize for not providing you links to every single item above, but that would have surely gotten me in trouble with the Google police. And “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Bright Lights and Barred Owls, an Elegy

Today, on September 11th of all days, I present a poem for you. It is in loving memory of my client turned friend, Tayyibah Taylor. She was a brave and beloved ambassador of – and dedicated activist for – world peace.

“A Bright Light, A Barred Owl: An Elegy”

Our bright light has moved on.Tayyibah Taylor in hot pink
And we have moved
From Shock and Disbelief
To broken-heartedness
For ourselves, for all – and at the
Loss of her song, and her being
That mellifluously brought a potent, loving message.

Our bright light has moved on.
Clothed in vibrant wisdom, and with
Exquisite engagement,
Her worldwide heart and
Her other worldly delight,
No longer embrace us –
Not in this realm.

Tayyibah Taylor w/sparkler

Sparkling Tayyibah and her Sparkler

Our bright light has moved on.
We know not to where –
Perhaps Allah as she believed.
We do know
As she lost her battle,
We lost a champion and one
Of the highest magnitude.

Our bright light has moved on.
And she visited me, on the way to her
Soul’s next evolution, by embodying a barred owl.
Cloaked in the song of “Who cooks for you?” she spoke
As in unison with Quan Yin. “I hear your cry.
Compassion and Mercy to all,
Including you.”

Our bright light has moved on
Though her message lingers – an invitation
To be a woman with wings, migrating as necessary,
Leading us all heartlong with her love lantern
So that we see the divine, invisible and
See beyond the human, visible
In the faces of our families and our enemies.

Tayyibah Taylor

Tayyibah Taylor, in the Colors of our Planet

Our bright light has moved on.
She now beckons us to pick up our purposes,
Travel across borders created by mankind,
And through veils created by a power
Greater than we, and surrender,
Finally, to building and then crossing countless
Bridges to peace.

II.
For your life, Sister Tayyibah Taylor, bright and
Guiding light, we give thanks.
And for the gifts you brought us,
The gift that you were,
We will know you, in the call of the barred owl,
The eyes of the gentle doe, and the magnificence of the flamingo,
If we will but listen, if we will but see.

III.
Our bright light has moved on
And so must we –
Not soon, but eventually –
When we are ready.
We must get ready.
But first, we must grieve.
Our bright light has moved on.

Laura Overstreet Biering, Clarkston, GA
©2014 All rights reserved

PS To learn more about Tayyibah and her legacy, click on her name in the opening paragraph, and/or visit these links:

PPS To learn more about the Barred Owl and the “medicine” it is believed to bring, visit one of these links:

PPPS  And finally, just to be clear… As you know, the majority of photographs on this blog are ones I’ve taken. The ones included in this post, however, are not. If and when I find out whose they are, I will certainly post that here.

Throw Forward Thursday

It’s Throw Back Thursday on Facebook.  I feel sure you’ve enjoyed, as have I, seeing the pictures of your friends as adorable newborns, as toddlers trying to walk, teenagers striving to find themselves, couples getting married, and more.

Today, however, I want to offer you something different: Throw Forward Thursday.

You see, I’ve just watched an incredible video, one that I hope you’ll stop right now and watch along with me, as I watch again and again. It’s aimed at women, but I do believe the brave men who watch it will be just as inspired by it as I’ve been.

Please – whoever you are, no matter your gender, your age, or any other circumstance or situation you find yourself in –  please, give yourself the gift of the 4 minutes and 15 seconds it takes to watch this short, powerful film.

I wholeheartedly invite you do so, and then comment with your feedback. I’d love to hear how it affected you – what you thought, what you felt, what you are re-inspired to do, or what you are now inspired to do and/or be for the very first time. In other words, as a result of watching this motivating movie, how will you now Be You Out Loud as never before?

Here’s the video: Your Calling?

PS A favor: If you are willing, I ask you to please share this – specifically the post, and in general, my website and blog, too. You may not get a prize, but you will get my deep appreciation.

PPS Some shameless self-promotion: If you know others who could benefit from a conversation with me, about their callings or  anything else on their minds and hearts, please ask them to email me for an appointment.them to me. It would be my pleasure to offer this to them, as my gift. Why? Because it would mean I’d get t0 be myself out loud, while helping them get clear on how to do that for themselves! And if this person is you, and you’re not a current client, you’re just as welcome to contact me for a chat! Come on in, the water’s fine!

Hoping for Risk

By Carolyn Cook, Guest Blogger.

Why does every call for help feel so risky?  I am working up the courage to reach out to my mom’s friends, old and new, for help with her social life.  What am I afraid of?

I’m afraid they’ll pull away, of course. Why would they do that? Because they too are afraid . . . afraid of dementia, afraid of seeing changes in the woman they have loved, afraid of the pain they’ll feel when Mom isn’t her old self. And because they are busy caring for their loved ones, doing their own work, living their own lives.

And then where would I be? Embarrassed that I asked them, afraid of asking anyone else.

But what if someone says yes? What if someone reaches out and offers to take her out to lunch, or go to a museum with her? What’s the reward?

The smile on my mother’s face. The sense that she’s okay for one more day. The peace of knowing I’m part of team that extends beyond my immediate family.

This disease is only going to get worse. I have a feeling there are many risks ahead. I hope I can take this one.

Forgiveness Day

… just a quick note to let you know that today is Global Forgiveness Day.

Is there someone you need to forgive or even want to forgive, but just haven’t had it in you? And if you did finally forgive, how would that affect your relationship with that person or group? Even more importantly, how would it affect your relationship with yourself?

The great, late Nelson Mandela said,

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

It’s true that when we haven’t forgiven someone or some group, anger turns into resentment, resentment festers within us, and eventually it becomes like an open wound, going with us everywhere we go, and quite possibly poisoning everything we do. Yikes!

Forgiving doesn’t mean that we condone another’s behavior. The Greater Good Science Center has this to say about what forgiveness is and is not:

“Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.

“Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability.

“Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.”

Although it’s not pretty, I’ll admit that I, too, have succumbed to the temptation not to forgive. And don’t worry, I won’t ask you to report in on whether or not that’s true for you. My only request is that you take a risk and join me, if only for this one day, and do yourself the giant favor of forgiving just one person or group, and just as GreaterGood says, empower yourself to… heal and move on with your life.”

If you’re wondering how in the heck to do that, go back to that Greater Good page, and look at the column on the right. It has additional articles on forgiveness, even one called “How to Cultivate Forgiveness,” as well as book recommendations, videos, and a quiz.

While it’s certainly vulnerable, and it may not be very fun for us to do this, both the relief and release will be liberating, won’t they? And just think of how much energy we will free up. What will you do with that energy? Whatever it is, I hope it allows you to be all that you are and to have the positive impact on the world that only you can.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll feel so good that we do it more than one day a year. 🙂

 

PS FYI: In the spirit of multi-purposing, I’m calling this post on Forgiveness Day the “F” installment in the AB…Zs of Self-Care series of blog posts.

Laura Spills It

Hey – remember me? It’s been a while, I know. Why? Because I was afraid  of what you’d think of me if I came clean.

That’s right! I, Laura Biering – the RiskADay Coach, the one who works with people on their courage, self-esteem, and confidence, the one who leads and teaches using the Brené Brown texts, “The Gifts of Imperfection” and “Daring Greatly,” and the one who is soon to be a Certified Daring Way Facilitator – was afraid. And, instead of using the fear to propel me forward, I reverted back to an old, bad habit, and I let the fear stop me from engaging in one of the things I most believe in – authentic communication and connection.

This habit, by the way, the one we have of letting fear stop us, isn’t one I recommend cultivating.

When I look back on the fact that not writing you on a regular basis is a way of not walking my talk, a way of not honoring my values of authenticity, connection, contribution, creativity, vulnerability, and integrity (to name a few), the feeling I get is just this side of excruciating…

… except for when I “protected” myself from those feelings. I put the word protected in quotation marks because, I assure you,  any reprieve I got from choosing not to think about my fear and the associated inaction was always short-lived. And the agony was always worse when the period of attempting to protect myself was over.

(Note: My translation of “protection” here roughly like this: engaging in some form self-distancing, self-destructive behavior such as isolating, overeating, hiding my real feelings, judging myself unkindly, playing too many computer games, and otherwise procrastinating on doing important tasks or having important conversations.)

Again, as much fun as all of that sounds, it’s still not recommended.

You see, I’m super excited about the work I’m doing with Brené Brown and her team – working on, and getting closer to, becoming fully certified to deliver her program, The Daring Way™, by the end of the year (fingers crossed).

And, I’m super excited about offering this amazing work, which is somehow simultaneously deeply powerful and user-friendly. I’m looking forward to sharing it with more of my individual clients, as well as with groups (both in-person and via webinar) and retreat participants at my farm in Southeast Georgia. And who knows where else!

So what’s the catch???

Well, in the midst of all this super excitement, there’s something I’m not excited about. That is the fact that that in order to actually do any of this work, and for there to be actual people with me while I’m doing it, those people have to know about it. And this means I have to promote it.

Ugh.

Here’s the thing, though. This challenge affords me the opportunity to apply for myself what I’ll be facilitating others to do for themselves.

And isn’t that what we want in our teachers, leaders, and mentors? To have been there, to have survived, and to have found their way back to share with us what they learned while on the other side, the side of the muck and confusion, of desperation and fear?

It’s what I want. It’s who I want to be.

What about you? Is there a way you know you want to be, but haven’t yet been able to muster the courage? I’ll bet you won’t have to look too far to find at least one thing that falls in that category. I know I didn’t.

So, I forge ahead, writing this blog post, and committing to you to write even more – and more consistently – in the future.

And now, for another reason why writing this post was so scary to me  (drum roll, please…): I am posting a *picture of me with Brené. Why is this so scary? When you see it, you’ll know. It’s a darling picture of her, and a, well, let’s just say less than darling picture of me. And, I’m posting the picture here anyway.

Laura_and_Brene_during_the_hottest_summer_in_Houston_ever_Sept._2011_optimized-001Laura Biering and Brené Brown, in September of 2011, at the National Connections Training in Houston Texas, during one of the hottest summers on record there – the hottest since 1892!

Hey – you’re still here – that picture didn’t run you off.  Thank you!

Thanks, in fact, for being a part of my world – no matter what part of our world you live in. And thanks for being someone I can be honest with, which includes “spilling it” about the fact that I, too, get afraid, and sometimes I let that fear hold me back.

I’m grateful there are also times when I use the fear to propel me forward. May we all have more of those moments.

Amen.

PS Speaking of being propelled forward, here’s another risk: Please check out the cool groups and retreats I have coming up. All the details are at this link: – Creating a Wholehearted Life – The Daring Way™ – and of course. you can call me to can chat about it, if you have questions.

The bottom line is that if any of what I’ve said here or what I say on the Creating a Wholehearted Life – The Daring Way™ web page resonates with you, it would be my honor to have you join me and others like us on The Daring Way™ journey (and for you to get a bargain by bringing a friend, too).

Sure, stepping more fulling into being your authentic self more of the time, in more places, and with more people may be scary, but, at least for me, it’s a heck of a lot less scary than living in the aforementioned muck and confusion, desperation and fear.

So, won’t you join me?

*My sincere thanks goes out to Indrani Goradia for taking this photo.

The Gift of Uncollapsing

Later this week, I’ll begin delivering a newly designed class called “Creating a Wholehearted Life,” based on the work of  Brené Brown and the studies I’ve been doing with her and her team. As I prepare to do so, I am aware of so many things we’ll be covering that I didn’t learn in school – and that would really have helped me along the way.

To start with, we didn’t learn things like:

  • The dangers of perfectionism,
  • The all-important art of self-compassion,
  • The value of experiencing the full spectrum of emotions, or
  • The fact that the armor and masks I was wearing to fit in were barriers to getting the love and belonging I really wanted.

We didn’t learn about collapsed distinctions, either, but as a coach, it’s a phrase I use often. It’s referring to when we take two distinct ideas and get them confused, or think of them as the same thing. An image that works for me is that of two individual columns that have fallen down into the same pile of rubble between them.

Maybe seeing it this way will help you, or maybe a common example will. The most common collapsed distinction I know of is that of self-care and selfishness. See what I mean? They’re not only not the same thing, they’re actually quite different.

While it may seem somewhat cerebral, it can prove to be quite empowering, to become aware of where and when we do this.

A few of the collapsed distinctions we’ll be addressing in the class are:

  • Guilt and Shame, and how knowing the difference can allow us to take action and heal, rather than shut down and/or disappear,
  • Imperfection and Inadequacy, and how being imperfect is not something to hide, but when embraced, allows us to connect and experience love and joy, and
  • Vulnerability and Weakness, and how our willingness to be vulnerable is actually the greatest measure of courage and strength.

Are there any concepts, feelings, or beliefs that you collapse? Are the ones I mentioned familiar to you, or are there others you’re more acquainted with, like maybe understanding and agreement, anger and rage, or hope and fantasy?

I invite you to take some time with this – if you’re so inclined. I’ve found it to be quite a powerful exercise and a gift to myself and my clients. I’d love to know what you find, too. So I’ll see you later, either below in the comments, or maybe even in my new class (let me know if you want to know more)! 🙂