Inviting Connectedness

Videos: From talking about vulnerability and shame to creating opportunities for young men of color

This series of videos, mostly TED Talks, traces one of the mental trajectories that I keep criss-crossing through lately while drawing a constellation of intuitive connections.  For me, the underlying topic is about recognizing goodness — recognizing your own goodness and recognizing the goodness of everyone you encounter.  Without that recognition, all we have is fear and shame. With that recognition, we can achieve great things in the face of today’s challenges — inequality, disconnectedness, crises of authority, isolation, etc.

It started with a conversation about vulnerability, which prompted a friend of mine to send me a link to this talk from 2010.

Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability

Then I checked out Brene Brown’s follow-up talk from two years later.

Brené Brown: Listening to shame

Brown brings up a lot about shame, self-worthiness and their connection to vulnerability.  That spurred a bunch of conversations about attachment theory and the role of self worth in one’s ability to recover from, or even risk, rejection or failure.  Since attachment theory is rooted in studies about parental love, this led to Andrew Solomon’s talk about unconditional love:

Andrew Solomon: Love, no matter what

From there, we can start talking about the hard stuff, like what prevents us from seeing other people’s goodness and worthiness of connection. Vernā Myers does a great job of opening the door to re-programming some of those habits.

Vernā Myers: How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them

Our comfort with Vulnerability is directly connected to the level of shame that we feel.  Shame can be worded “I’m sorry I am that bad thing.” as opposed to guilt, which can be worded “I’m sorry I did that bad thing”.  That means recognition of your own goodness — recognizing that you are not bad/unworthy — is the opposite of shame; to believe that you are good and worthy of connection is to be unfettered by shame. All of us stand to benefit profoundly from recognizing that goodness.  Our ability (or inability) to recognize and relate with it is often tied to habits we learned from our parents, but it also comes from much broader social conditions.  We all get countless signals from the world that label us as incomplete and not good enough, but (here’s the final leap) young men of color get it way worse than most.  Hence, President Barack Obama’s Speech at the launch of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

I bet you’ll hear his words differently after listening to those other talks.

If you can’t get enough, here are two related playlists of TED talks.


Returned to Kathmandu

I’m back in Kathmandu for another 3-month stint.  Last time I was here my focus was just on studying and healing but I found that, in addition to all of the studying and healing, I got an impressive amount of coding done and worked with greater clarity than usual.  This time I’ve returned with the explicit intention to work on DataBindery while living at Pullahari and taking classes at Rigpe Dorje Institute.

It took me a few days to get settled in.  Today I ventured over to Thamel, the part of Kathmandu that trekkers are most familiar with.  It turns out that Thamel is also where all of the gay-oriented restaurants and cafes are.

A street filled with pedestrians in colorful autumn clothing, cluttered storefronts, dusty old buildings and an

Near Asan Tole in Thamel, Kathmandu


Bicycle Rickshaw in Thamel

I took the bus over to Thamel for 25 rupees ($0.25), wandered the crowded streets, placed some markers on my mental map, and returned to Pullahari.  I arrived at Pullahari just after sunset.  The light was beautiful.

Rigpe Dorje Institute at Twilight

Later in the evening it became a bit windy, so the view of Boudha was clearer than usual.

Rigpe Dorje Institute and Boudha at night

I uploaded these and some extra photos to an album on Google Plus.

Enlightened Business, Musings & Adventures, Uncategorized

Thomas W Malone on Collective Intelligence, with interesting findings about Gender and Intelligence

Head to  to watch this  video of Thomas W Malone speaking about Collective Intelligence.  Among his many interesting findings, he discloses a significant gem about gender and intelligence of groups.  Malone teaches at MIT Sloan School of Management.

at 9:05:

“we found that the collective intelligence of the group was significantly correlated with the percentage of women in the group… it looks like it’s a more or less linear trend where more women are better all the way up to all women.  Now, Also important to realize that the gender effect is largely statistically mediated by the social perceptiveness effect.”

Musings & Adventures, Random

Getting my Diacritics Corrected at MIT

OM MANI PADME HUM written in chalk on 20 foot x 20 foot chalk board in Sata center lobby

While visiting the Stata center at MIT, I scrawled my usual chalkboard graffiti in the lobby – OM MANI PADME HUM.  An hour later,  I found that someone had actually “corrected” the  diacritized sanskrit “NI”, which looks backwards when compared with the standard Tibetan alphabet.

Tibetan letter NI curling to the left, visible erase marks where it was corrected

Barely 2 hours on this campus and I’ve already been anonymously second-guessed by a cheeky smartypants.

After a brief moment of sheer amusement,  I decided to engage constructively.

Tibetan letter NI curling to the right, with a comment written below that reads learn your diacritics.

This is why I love visiting academia.