Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Of course, the moment I pressed "publish" on my first post, I felt incredibly nervous. Why did I think I could write a blog on grief and gratitude? Why would anyone be interested in reading my words?  Unlike my previous blog, The Book Nosher,  where I reviewed children's books, this seems so much more difficult and open-ended. In a nutshell, I felt incredibly vulnerable.

So it was quite serendipitous that about an hour later, I came across a brand new Brené Brown TED talk. This one is entitled Listening to Shame. For those of you who don't know who Brené Brown is, she's a research professor at the University of Houston who has spent the last decade studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame. She's written a number of books and is a sought after speaker. She poses thought-provoking questions like:

"How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough-that we are worthy of love, belonging and joy."

This newest TED talk of hers spoke directly to me when she said "vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change." When I heard those words, I realized that I was doing the right thing by starting this blog.  How else can one move forward and create something new if you don't step out of your comfort zone and try and bring your ideas to fruition? By embracing my vulnerability and making my journey public, I hope to find other kindred spirits along the way.

I then decided to go back and watch Brené's first TED talk called The Power of Vulnerability. Wow! I loved it back when I first saw it, and I think I love it even more now. It's all about vulnerability and how whole-hearted people embrace it because they know it's a necessary part of life. She talks about how people who have a strong sense of worthiness,  love and belonging feel connected, and connection is what gives purpose to our lives. I've thought a lot about connection in the months since Matthew died, and hope to do a future post or two about the role it's played in my own life. I think it has to be one of the single most important things that has helped me get through the darkest moment of my life. More on that at a later post. 

My hope with this blog is to share things I come across that fill me with gratitude.  Whether it's a conversation with someone in the grocery store, a poem that hits me just right, an inspiring TED talk, or "beach art," I will try to keep it interesting and hope that you, too, will see the beauty in the small things that make our lives unique. 
Heart-shaped seaweed at the beach in La Push, WA
So today I am very grateful to Brené Brown and her two TED talks. They're each about 20 minutes long, and I think you'll glean much from her wise words (and sharp sense of humor!).  Her first TED talk is called The Power of Vulnerability ,  and her latest TED talk is Listening to Shame.  Enjoy!


  1. Thank you, Robin, for embracing your vulnerability and stepping out in this way. I appreciate your words and look forward to more.

    My favorite quote from Brene's latest talk: "If we are going to find our way back to each other, we have to understand and know empathy. Empathy is the antidote to shame."


  2. Thanks so much Tracey. And yes, that's a wonderful quote from Brene, isn't it? Empathy is key...

  3. Bravo, Robin! Thank you for letting me know you've begun writing. I'm certain you have so much to say, and your willingness to put yourself out here will be an effective avenue of expression for the excellent writer you are as well as a gift for those of us who will reap the benefits of your wisdom borne of an experience that is every mother's worst nightmare. It takes guts. I know...

    My blog has been a cathartic means of processing the grief I mostly held in check for the three years Erin was sick. I felt the need to be stoic. I guess that's what moms do, but then it all had to go somewhere after she died and the blog was such a productive, and often scary, way to just let go of so much bottled up emotion. (I recently stopped writing, due to changes in my life and the need to focus energy in other directions. Perhaps I'll pick it up again in the future.)

    I met a multitude of kindred souls (YOU) along the way, for which I'm so grateful. We are not alone, and there is strength in our united effort to live our lives with this new perspective gained from the loss of our dear dear children.

    So write on, Robin. I'll be reading, for you have much to say.

    Hugs to you from Chicago!

  4. Mary, your writing helped me so much in those early months. I hope you'll pick it up again. And thank you for your words of support!

  5. This is so brave of you to write about this stuff. Good on you!

  6. robin:
    what a beautiful blog. Thanks for the TED talk tip--i look forward to watching both of them.
    and thanks also for writing all of this down. It helps people like me (well, i can't speak for others, but i believe this is true) to not only gain some understanding of what it is you are going through, but also to feel less discomfort when broaching the subject with you or anyone else who is grieving in some way. This is such a gift you are giving me (and others), Robin. Thank you.
    Your writing is beautiful. I look forward to future posts!
    xo mary

  7. Thanks Mary! Your words mean a lot to me,
    (and I kind of figured it was you) ;-)

  8. I just watched Listening to Shame! Robin, that is life changing. I love your blog.
    Emily K

  9. Robin,

    I just went back to find your link to the Ted talks - thank you!
    I am struck in reading your blog that between each of your words I feel a tear, I see a smile and I hear a sigh. And in that space is the true meaning of life - to love, to be loved and to Be Love. Thank you for lifting that up out of your grief so beautifully in your blog for all of us to hold.