The Well-Fed Woman interview series could never be complete without talking to Brene Brown the trailblazing, shame-busting, proudly imperfect researcher and writer. It’s an honor to share her wisdom with you today. If you haven’t heard of Brene or read her books, consider this introduction the best gift you’ll get this holiday season.
Brene, what are you truly hungry for?
Solitude and contemplation are essential for my wellbeing. Most people find it hard to believe that I’m an introvert and a very private person. I enjoy talking about my work with 5000 people, but on a day to day basis,I’m starving for time to think. I’m a contemplative walker – which is like a walking meditation, but more thinking and less meditating. It’s how I sort out my life and my research. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m nuts. I walk through our neighborhood in deep thought, often talking to myself (with my hands). If a really significant idea emerges or I figure out the perfect language to describe a research finding, I often just stop and work it out in my head. I’m probably even rubbing my forehead and pacing. I’ve also been known to stop walking and sprint back to my house.
What’s a craving that you previously denied that you know happily satisfy? How has this impacted you?
I have two cravings that I once denied but I’m now embracing: sleep and play. I never really thought about either one of them until I did the research on Wholeheartedness and wrote “The Gifts of Imperfection.” Sleep and play emerged as critically important pieces of living and loving with our whole hearts. When it comes to sleep, I have some gremlins around being lazy. People who know me often think, “Are you kidding?” I do work hard, but that doesn’t always silence those deep shame triggers. Today I nap if I feel tired and I get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every night. Sleep debt is the devil and I’m pretty sure most of the world walks around tired and pissed off.
As far as play goes, that one was much harder. For me, I had to do some work around the combination of gremlins about being silly and self-indulgent and the vulnerability of letting loose. Again, it was the research that really helped me understand the importance of play in our lives. Dr. Stuart Brown writes that one property of play is “time spent without purpose.” I used to call that an anxiety attack. Now I get it. I’ve started playing more and it’s been such a gift to me and to my family. I feel better, I’m more creative, and I love the new feeling of getting lost in something for the sake of getting lost.
What are you a conduit for? What comes through with ease, meaning, and spark?
I’m really good at observing human nature, seeing subtle connections between our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, and naming those experiences. It’s my superpower and I get to do it for a living – that’s a gift. I love what I do. It makes me come alive.
Favorite bite in recent memory?
I’ve got a new egg poacher that my 6-year old son calls the egg poach-in-a-tor (too much Phineas and Ferb). I’m hooked on poached eggs with truffle salt right now. It’s delicious.