Across the Flow – 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:

  • Daniel Quinn Book Club — Tales of Adam, session 1 reading: entire book
  • Brené Brown Book Club — no reading this week

(Commissions earned on Amazon links.)

Tales of Adam

The Sign of Abundance

Title/topic itself: Compare Brené’s regularly critiquing scarcity culture.

“And this was how it was done from first to last, no two things alike in all the mighty universe, no single thing made with less care than any other thing throughout generations of species more numerous than the stars. And those who had eyes to see read the sign and followed the Law of Life.” Compare Brené’s regularly focus on diversity.

The Business of a Rabbit

“When the locusts thrive, the birds feast and the bison and the deer go hungry; still that place is as full of life as it was before and as full of life as it can be.” Compare Brené on Wholeheartedness encompassing difficult and uncomfortable things.


“‘Hunter and hunted are both standing in their tracks when they meet, and there are no tracks, however far-flung, that fall outside the hand of god.'”
“But Abel continued to press his father with question. At last Adam said, ‘All paths lie together in the hand of god like a web endlessly woven, and yours and mine are no greater or less than the beetle’s or the squirrel’s or the sparrow’s. All are held together.” Compare Brené on refraining from othering, on spirituality, and on not puffing oneself up.

The Cockroach Who Held a Mountain on His Back

“Building a fire is one way to be warm. This is another. Sit down quietly and stop thinking of the cold as an enemy bent on your destruction.” Compare Brené on refraining from othering and on facing discomfort rather than resisting it.

“The mountain wasn’t his enemy, but the cockroach made it into one and so was crushed.” Compare Brené on othering, power-over relationships and spiritual unraveling/crisis.

Gazelle on a String


Finding an Accommodation with the Sea

“I’ve told you that there’s almost always a way to flow alongside the elements. But that doesn’t mean turning your life over to them like a leaf in the wind. It doesn’t mean collapsing helplessly and letting the elements do what they will with you.” Compare Brené on power-over relationships vs. power-with, and hope as a mindset involving a sense that one has the power to change things.

The Web Woven Endlessly

“Many paths end at the point of your spear or on the edge of your harvesting knife. What you take, take compassionately, saying, ‘You are sent to me by the god. I take you for my need.'” Compare Brené on the relationship between compassion and boundaries.

“Remember that your tracks are one strand of the web woven endlessly in the hand of he god. They’re tied to those of the mouse in the field, the eagle on the mountain, the crab in its hold, the lizard beneath its rock. The leaf that falls to the ground a thousand miles away touches your life. The impress of your foot in the soil is felt through a thousand generations.” Compare Brené on spirituality.

“He’ll stir up trouble among his companions, assault them, even murder them. In time of need, he’ll refuse to share what he has. He’ll say, ‘This is my spear, don’t touch it; if you die for lack of a spear, then die.’ A man like this must be stopped, but not with cruelty; with pity, for he has somehow been injured in spirit and has gone mad.” Compare Brené on scarcity mindset, power-over, the inefficacy of shame to change people, the notion that people are always doing their best, and the relationship between compassion and boundaries.

“You need not be afraid of pitting your strength against anything, but a wise man doesn’t throw himself against the flowing tide, saying, ‘I will overpower it’ But neither does he let the tide sweep him away, saying, ‘Oh, the gods want my life now!’ Instead he moves across the flow and finds the channel of retreat that the gods have left for him.” Compare Brené on power-over vs. power-with.

“When you act, act wholeheartedly and with an undivided will, but leave your ears open to the message of events and don’t force the gods to topple mountains onto you before you understand.” Compare daring greatly while also maintaining a Wholehearted sense of sufficiency and power-with instead of puffing up with power-over.

“Like the lions, men are predators, and like all predators, we get tired of competing with others for game. But however tired we become of them, these competitors are needful to our life, for without them we’d grow fat and slow and placid, and sooner or later we’d perish. All this is true of our human rivals as well. From time to time we show our neighbors that we haven’t grown fat and placid — and they do the same for us!” Compare Brené criticizing othering, dehumanizing, power-over.

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