This is a video I watched in one of my social work classes this semester. Brene Brown is a fantastic speaker, and this TED talk is about the results of research she has done over the years. She speaks about how we, as a culture, try to numb the negative feelings in our lives. The result is that we also numb joy, and otherĀ positive emotions. She talks about living authentically, with courage and whole heartedness. This touches on many things I’ve been hearing, reading, and thinking lately. The video is about 20 minutes long, but is worth the watch. Brene is funny and engaging, and you won’t be bored.

Shortly before watching the video, Kristin Hersh published this awesome post to her blog. The two pieces really go together. Kristin writes about living a ‘small’ life, under the radar of the flashing lights and hype of the larger culture; an authentic life, a real life.

The idea of living a life engaged in your immediate surroundings, being alive in your environment, is something I’ve come to feel through my meditation practice. You affect the world by affecting those around you. If you walk through your days, unconscious of what’s happening around you, you affect nothing; you’re numbing yourself to what is happening and what is real.

We all have bad times, and difficult days. Unhappy and painful situations are going to happen no matter what. It is simply part of the price for being human. The best thing to do is to “lean into the discomfort”, as Dr. Brown notes, and understand (as in Buddhism) that this is a temporary situation. Things change; they always do.