Within the Range – As You Were

As You Were – looking for connections between the work of Brené Brown and Daniel Quinn as I revisit them in book clubs. See the introductory post for what this is all about. In this post, I look at:

(Commissions earned on Amazon links.)

Providence: The Story of a Fifty-Year Vision Quest


“My generation’s desperate clutching onto what is safe and solid and material was a sickness.” An attempt to avoid the “arena” in which people must live to be wholehearted.

“My shallow self-esteem couldn’t survive my failure to achieve perfection. Mary wasn’t prepared to demand as much from life as Katherine, so she was willing to put up with this. The trouble was, I wasn’t. I was now no longer ready to settle down to a placid, secure life. I wanted much, much more.” Sounds a bit like what Brené calls a mid-life unraveling.

“I gradually came to understand that perfection was my substitute for adequacy. If I was perfect, no one would notice how worthless I was.” Compare Brené talking about being worthy now and always.

“Everything I did was a lie, because the truth was that I was utterly hollow. This was what had to be hidden, my devastating secret. In this undertaking, spontaneity was obviously the greatest enemy. To be spontaneous would be to reveal the great yawning emptiness inside of me.” Compare Brené on shame requiring secrecy and authenticity involving spontaneity.

“‘What I see doesn’t matter. Only what you see matters. It is you who must esteem yourself, not me. Without self-esteem, the esteem of others is worthless.'” Obvious connection to Brené on the fundamental importance of self-worth.

“It wasn’t that I’d found a collection of virtues that made me lovable. In the course of writing out my list, I’d stumbled on the key insight: What makes people lovable isn’t being perfect, it’s simply being human and, reading that list, I saw that that’s what I was. I was within the range.” Compare Brené on the Gifts of Imperfection.

“One of the great, persistent myths of education in our culture is that children become reluctant learners as they grow older. In fact, what they become reluctant about is going to school, where they’re bullied, regimented, bored silly, and very effectively prevented from learning.” Compare Brené on shaming experiences in school.

“People in this city wouldn’t get as much ‘done’ as people in New York City, wouldn’t have as sharp a competitive edge, but they’d have a hell of a lot more fun and they’d find out what it’s like to live like human beings instead of workers — and they wouldn’t pay a nickel in school taxes.” Compare the Guideposts about play versus productivity and, more broadly, wholeheartedness.




People who live in close contact with the community of life also live in close contact with death. To forestall your immediate first thought, I’m not saying that this makes them insensitive to it. Quite the opposite; they’re more sensitive to death than we are, because they see very clearly, every single day, that the life that flows through them is taken from the creatures around them; it comes from nowhere else. If they’re to live, others must die. This isn’t peculiar to them, this is true of every creature in the community of life.” Compare Brené on spirituality.

“There is no One Right Way to live. What we find among Leaver peoples is that each has a way that works well for them. We may not like one particular way, we make think it atrocious and cruel, but it’s their way, not ours, and the most murderous culture in human history is hardly in a position to set itself up as the moral policeman of the world.” Echoes Brené talking about shame not being a tool for creating lasting change.


“… we Takers are a desperately lost and needy people.” Echoes the prevalence of shame and dysfunction Brené wants to counter with a wholeheartedness revolution.

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