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I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms

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Want to Feel Loved? Try This.

I attended an unusual event over the weekend. Nic Askew, the educator and filmmaker I had the pleasure of working with on my The Space We Need video (below), invited me to a gathering of about 30 people.

I felt privileged.

Nic is a brilliant and unique artist. His mind and profound comments always catch me a little off guard — and that’s refreshing. I enjoy the jolt to my rutted thinking — even if my reaction sometimes resembles a deer in the headlights.

He’s filmed such noted people as Seth Godin and Mike Dooley as well as murderers and high-profile musicians. If you are not familiar with his work check him out here,

An intriguing facet of Nic’s method and artistry is his ability to get to the essence of his human subject. He doesn’t lead his guests or encourage them to tell their life story but somehow their humanity surfaces in a way that resonates with poignant clarity. He calls this process his inner view method. Perfect.

We love the inner view, yes?

When we don’t have expectations

The purpose of the gathering last weekend was not spelled out. There was no real structure for the event but we all left with a new perspective and appreciation for human witnessing.

I sat in front of the camera again but only for a few minutes and I didn’t talk at all. The rest of the group just looked at my black and white image on a big TV screen. Others did the same non-verbal sitting, but a couple of women sat for longer in front of the camera while sharing personal thoughts.

The camera and focus made everyone seem beautiful in an organic way. Everyone’s eyes gleamed. All the imperfect features: wrinkles, stray hairs, uneven teeth, seemed strikingly natural and attractive.

None of us needed anything from the lens’ subjects. We just noticed them.

No response?

After a turn in front of the camera, each person quietly returned to their seat without any comments or discussion.

There was no comforting, validating or high-fiving anyone about their time in front of the camera. Just witnessing without expectation or judgment.

I recalled my therapist saying that in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings everyone goes around sharing their stories but no one commiserates or empathizes with the speaker while they are speaking or when they are done. It simply becomes the next person’s turn. They don’t even offer a tissue if someone gets upset and cries during their turn. The Kleenex box is in the middle of the room and if needed, the individual gets up and gets one for him or herself.

In my writing group, which I have been a part of for nine years, we also do a lot of intimate sharing without an over-abundance of validating or comforting. There is definitely verbal empathizing and the occasional hand squeeze or hug, but overall we keep it to listening and witnessing.

Giving power not comfort

My writing group is my safest and most trusted environment. I feel the most accepted and empowered in that group.

As a coach, I often feel the need to advise, comfort and validate my clients. To be honest, I do sometimes, but perhaps allowing them to share with me without any judging or expectations is the most valuable service I offer. When I don’t rescue them. I let them find their own power.

Being that present with someone is like water to a dying flower. It’s like love. I know. I’ve felt it myself.

Time magic

One interesting side note about the experience of witnessing, is the way it makes time melt. The three-hour session with Nic Askew flew by. I’ve been in a state of flow before and this definitely felt like flow, but it was astonishing how quickly the time went by. A similar feeling occurs at my writing group meetings. Wild!

Have you had the pleasure of being witnessed without judgment? Have you witnessed someone else? What did that kind of paying attention feel like? 

If you want to help Nic Askew with his latest project, Soul of America, click here to donate.

I did!


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