Breakfast with Brene’ Brown
This morning I couldn’t wait to watch the new Netflix show The Call to Courage with Brene’ Brown, so I grabbed my coffee, chia yogurt and strawberries and went “all in.” Tears and laughter for almost an hour and a half. Gratitude, joy, vulnerability and awe of what this woman has to say and how she inspires me daily.
When I grow up I want to be Brene’ Brown is what I say to my friends. Truth is I am grown up and I am Patti Ashley. And I am courageous, vulnerable and scared shitless every f***ing day!
My book Letters to Freedom: From fear to love to grace launched on April 9, 2019. I have said over and over how vulnerable it was to write such a personal story and put it on amazon.com! Can I change my mind? Can I have a do-over and be safe? NO!
What’s done is done. Some people will criticize. Some people will not understand. And some people will cry and feel a sense of connection and heart that I want so much for the world. I know because those whole-hearted peeps have shown up. I also know of the critics. They have shown up too. That’s part of the deal.
That is what Brene’ Brown is all about. Showing up.
One of the things she said was “To love is to be vulnerable.”
In order to love we have to risk.
My book is about how I risked my heart with an incredible man that I waited my whole life for, and in less than two years he died of a sudden heart attack, the same way my father had died when I was only eleven years old. The story I had told myself up until then was that I could never love as much as my mom had loved my dad because I saw her in so much pain after he died. Why would I want that?
When I was 56 years old I decided it was time for me to do it anyway. To love with all my heart and to risk. And then Laurence Freedom showed up. A kind, gentle man who had lost his wife suddenly a few years prior. A man who’s heart was broken open, and yet desired to love again. And with gratitude and pride I can say “he chose me!”
I knew I wanted to love this man with my whole heart. I wanted to risk it all for the kind of love I had only dreamed of in the past.
Then he was found dead on the living room floor, arms across his chest. Just like my father many years before.
Writing this memoir of grief and relationship was something I felt compelled to do and I can’t really tell you why. I only knew I had to write it. Laurence always wanted to publish a book, so a big motivation for me was to give him something he always wanted in the form of this story of us. I share some of his writing about love and open-heartedness in the book, and I feel him with me all the time, even now as I type this blog.
True love never dies. But what does die is our willingness to risk, and when we lose our willingness to risk, we die inside.
So, I invite you to share my story and step into the open-heartedness and truth that was my relationship with this remarkable man. And, as Brene’ Brown said:
“If you are not interested in getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in your feedback.”
In love, grace and open-heartedness,
Patti Ashley, Ph.d., LPC
Psychotherapist, author, authenticity architect, and truth-teller