These inspirational books have had a profound effect on me and helped me along my healing journey. Let me share them with you.
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PTH Episode 50 The Books that helped heal me.
[00:00:00] Welcome to permission to heal. I am Marci Brockman, and I am thrilled that you were here for my 50th episode of permission to heal to commemorate this achievement on this beautiful podcast. I've decided to do my first ever solo episode. Put a lot of thought into what I was going to say and what kinds of things I wanted to share with you.
[00:00:33] And what I figured out was that I shouldn't overthink things. I tend to do that. Those of you who have been listening along with me from the beginning, know that this is true. So I decided to go back to my passion, my roots, my own healing journey, that brought me to the idea to create permission, to heal, to start with.
[00:00:55] So I'm an English teacher. I am an avid reader. I am always searching for answers. I am trying to always quell this curiosity to learn about the world and to learn about myself. So what I decided to do was do a book review and share with you the dozen or so books. Radically helped me along my own healing journey that helped me fill in the gaps of what I understood and what I didn't understand to take me from the therapy office to my own life.
[00:01:44] I've assembled a pretty interesting conglomeration of books here. I've got Dr. Shefali and Brene Brown and teach, not Han and even Alexander and Glennon Doyle l. Alice Hoffman, Harper Lee, Elizabeth Gilbert, not all nonfiction, a few novels thrown in here just because they said something to me that I needed to hear.
[00:02:16] And needed to witness. So we're going to start out with one of the newest books, actually the newest book on this list. A radical awakening by Dr. Shefali Tsabary. She is a best-selling author, a renowned clinical psychologist who teaches women, how to transcend their fears to break free from societal expectations and rediscover the person.
[00:02:40] They were always meant to be a radical awakening, lays out a path for women to heal their psychic wounds and prepares them to discover their own powers, to help heal others and the planet. She helps women uncover the purpose that already exists within them and harness the power of authenticity in every area of their lives.
[00:03:00] She is eloquent and inspiring and has written a practical, accessible book based. Based on her own real-life, examples from her own life and from her practice with personal, very personal stories that unlocks the extraordinary power necessary to awaken the conscious self. She empowered me and will empower you, inspired me, and will inspire you to uncover the person you've always wanted to be fully present, conscious, happy, and by deconstructing the archetypes that still exist in society today, she inspired me to live more authentically and to help elevate women all over the world along the way.
[00:03:46] So that's why I'm sharing this with you. She has Been noted and interviewed by and supported by Oprah, who says that the world needs to know her. She is trailblazing life-enhancing and radical wakening is one of those books. You will want to keep it on your nightstand. And I read through it. Here's a picture of the cover.
[00:04:10] If you're watching this on YouTube I read through this over the summer, it was just published over the summer and I have gone back through it a number of times, I there's, post-its all over the book and I've written in many of the margins having a conversation with myself about the, the the things that awake awoken, awakened, awoken, we're awake.
[00:04:38] We're awakened. That's better with inmates as I was reading it. And I understood. Myself better. And because it encouraged me to look back several generations, it helped me understand my mom better and maybe my grandmother as well. So I'm just going to read a tiny little bit from chapter seven, the many faces of the ego.
[00:05:06] And maybe I can aluminate for you what it is that spoke to me as, as much as it did. So okay. Now that we've explored how our fear rules us in part one, we are ready to see how we adapt to these fears. Okay. To keep fears at bay, we Don masks of the. These have helped us adapt and survive childhood.
[00:05:31] As we grow these faces of the ego become our second skin. After several decades, we wear the mask so well, it's hard to tell what's false and what's true. It's only after we become aware of the masks and let them go, that we can begin to shift our patterns. The ego will not be dismantled until we begin walking towards wholeness.
[00:05:51] Our internal holes need to be replaced by a sense of wholeness, which is a feature of our authenticity. The task isn't to kill the ego it's to heal, heal the inner spaces where our true self failed to develop. Although interchangeable each of the faces of the ego has specific qualities we can learn about so that we recognize them in our lives.
[00:06:15] One facade can show up in one type of relationship while a different situation calls forth. Another, when I describe the qualities of each of these facades, I'm seeking to understand how our psychology operates to set up external dynamics. Okay. Then she goes into the different egoic structures and the first one is, are the gifts.
[00:06:36] The first ones are the givers, the victim, the martyr, the savior, and the bleeding empath. And I have a note next to it. This used to be me. The facade of the giver is one of the most common defenses in our ego that employs to triaged good girls when they are in despair. When the good girl fears, rejection and abandonment, she immediately deploys this facade, placing a mask on her inner truth.
[00:07:00] She forsakes it in order to sacrifice herself for another's comfort. This was me for 40 plus years. Givers are typically codependent, meaning they are highly dependent on another validation, which was what I was looking for forever. In fact, one could go as far as to say that their entire sense of self depends on it so much so that without this they feel as if they don't exist.
[00:07:22] Sorry to say. Totally true. Another one of these masks is the victim. Now this one I thought was spot on was my mom. Okay. She talks about a woman named Marilyn age 53 came to me when she was undergoing a paralysis in her growth. She wanted to quit her dead-end job but didn't know how to move forward.
[00:07:43] She knew she needed to advocate for herself either to get a better position or to look for something new. I offered Marilyn many options, including becoming more confident in asking for a raise. When we practiced what she would say to her boss, we made timelines, schedules, and deadlines. Even after four months of consistent therapy, there was no growth.
[00:08:02] She had many justifications for why she couldn't create change. This was my mom, no matter what solution we came up with, she invariably found a way to sabotage it as her therapist. I remember feeling defeated with something wrong with my approach. When it was time for her session, I began to feel sorry for myself.
[00:08:19] Then it dawned on me. I realized that what I was feeling was what she was feeling sorry for myself. Marilyn was playing the classic.
[00:08:31] Her body language was that of someone 10 years older, she always looked harried complained constantly. If it wasn't her work, it was her unsupportive supportive husband and her demanding mother, everyone, and everything were at fault. But her okay. Once I caught on to her egos facade, I confronted her with it to say she was reluctant or resistant to understand me was an understatement.
[00:08:55] She was downright infuriated. You think I'm just making these things up. You aren't, you're just like everyone else. You are just like my husband who doesn't even want to help me anymore. Now, neither do you. I knew you would turn out just like everyone else. It was only because of my insight into how her ego was baiting me that a refuse to bite.
[00:09:13] I stayed patient and compassionate reflecting back on each of her defenses, I was able to gently show her how her ego had set all of this up so that she could play the. I asked, do you feel as if you are the poor one in your life at work, do you feel as if people are taking advantage of you, do you feel like you are sorry for yourself and wish things were different?
[00:09:35] Do you feel as if you're right and they are wrong, do you feel insulted and belittled by others? Do you expect things from others that don't come to fruition? Do you feel as if you were innocent target for others, wrath, do you share your woes with others expecting sympathy and then feel upset when you don't get it?
[00:09:51] Do you feel if others were different then you would be different? And I think I can't speak for my mom, but if I tried to, I would say that she said would say yes to all of those, but it made me start to think that, you know, my mom was very sick as a young child, and I think she sort of learned that she would get.
[00:10:16] Love and affection and on uninhibited care and love from her parents because she was sick for so long. And I think that her development stopped at this point and she realized that if she was always the victim and she was the patient and she was the one always in need of support that she would get it.
[00:10:41] And that was how she convinced herself. She had to beat, had to act in order to deserve Karen Love that she perpetuated of course throughout her whole life. Another one of these you go in stages is the martyr. And the martyr is someone who sounds like. It sounds exactly like it is. Do you see your role in the labels such as mother Theresa or some heroic Saint figure?
[00:11:07] Do you walk into spaces and situations and take over the whole show? Do you typically endure hard work through noble suffering in silence? Hello, that was me. Do you feel burned out by all that you have put on your shoulders? Yes. Do you feel resentful because you feel taken for granted? Hell freaking.
[00:11:23] Yeah. So all of these things, I had set myself up to be the martyr because I felt like people-pleasing was the only way that I could deserve love and attention and belonging and connection. And I almost willingly sacrificed myself, but at the same time was resentful that my mom and a bunch of other people in my life got to be.
[00:11:54] The narcissistic pain in the ass is that they were to me and I had to accept it. Like I had no choice. Why do they get to act that way? And I have to act this way. And I was really setting that whole thing. That whole dynamic up myself. I was the one who was forcing it. I was the one who was setting it up.
[00:12:12] I was the one who was making me live that way. And if I'm not careful and I'm not aware and on top of my game and doing my self-care and writing in my journal, I very easily slip back into this silent resentment for sacrificing myself. I'm the savior. Here are another one of these models. Uh, the savior is a mask for something deeper.
[00:12:43] My savior had a darker side. Yes, it was loving, but its extreme nature showed me that it was also fulfilling an inner longing. I had so much empathy and compassion for the pain of others that I wanted to ease their struggles. On the other hand, I was so uncomfortable with their tears that I was actually trying to save myself from the pain of seeing them suffer.
[00:13:03] I don't know if I'd go that far so much, but I was so empathetic and had such a bleeding heart that I wanted to eliminate pain and suffering and confusion from everyone that I cared about. My giving allowed me to feel significant and useful, valid and worthy. Yes. My giving allowed me to not confront my own pain about others' pain.
[00:13:24] Sure. My giving allowed me to ward off the discomfort of tolerating, the unknown. Yes. My giving allowed me to feel superior and competent, powerful and. Absolutely. My giving attracted broken people to me, allowing me to continue in this cycle. Hell freaking. Yes. My giving allowed others to depend on me, which gave me a sense of power.
[00:13:45] Yes. My giving allowed me not to learn to be the receiver. Yes. Cause I felt guilty about accepting help that I was the one who was supposed to be the savior. I was the bleeding heart. I was the one that was supposed to solve other people's problems and having them solve my problems or help me or be compassionate or whatever made me feel like I was not fulfilling my obligations.
[00:14:09] I didn't yet see that if helping other people made me feel good, then other people helping me would make them feel good and also make me feel loved and cared about. I didn't see either of those, either of those relationships yet. But this book she's so plain and clear about. All of this, that there was no way to ignore it.
[00:14:35] You know, it was amazing. Okay. Let's try another one. Here is another echoic stage of the princess. And this was my mom. The princess employs a facade of one who refuses to step into her power. She's developmentally stuck in her pre-teens or teens, rebellious and entitled, but refusing to grow up.
[00:14:55] I love your mom wherever you are. This was your earthly life entering adulthood felt daunting. So she waits for others to step in and take care of things for her. She feels entitled to be handed opportunities and expects to be pampered. She doesn't necessarily Lord it over others. Like the diva, she just waits and passively expects.
[00:15:13] Absolutely. And then when you didn't read her mind, you heard it, you heard about it. All right. My mother's home dynamic, She remembers how he got all the attention, how she felt neglected and alone. The only way she used to get the family's attention was when she felt sick or something bad had happened to her.
[00:15:33] She learned early on to fall into states of passivity as a way to draw her family's attention to her. The princess is scared of failing, being rejected, and more than this feeling as if she is a worthless fraud, the only antidote to this complex is to hit rock bottom. Most people only change when they are at the dead-end of their resources and absolutely nothing works anymore.
[00:15:55] And she never really reached that. I mean, she, she eventually learned to numb out and mask it with opiates. And then we have the egoic stage of the child. Stays active and passive, and decision-making sure stays paralyzed without taking actions so that others have forced to take it for her, unable to tolerate pain and bypasses it to achieve cheerfulness.
[00:16:19] Great denial about the painful truths in her life, insistence on stating she's happy, even when the authentic expression is not present, lack of insight or awareness into her own or others, true feelings or pain, stay superficial with herself and others. Doesn't like to probe into the deeper reality of her life or in life in general and avoids conflict by ignoring her authentic feelings and acts conciliatory to my mother.
[00:16:45] and so going back and really thinking about my mom's childhood and how the intergenerational trauma, that the women in my life, on my mom's side faced and, and, you know, there's a whole. Mode of mind, body connection, neuroscience, mental health, mental health practitioners, who all have come to a conclusion that, and don't expect me to explain the science to this, to this folks.
[00:17:22] Cause, you know, you know me by now I'm an English teacher on, I am a writer and a creative, and I'm not gonna tell you that I know exactly what parts of the brain or parts of the body or a play here. But I do know that they have scientifically proven that intergenerational trauma, mental trauma, emotional trauma does impact the physical body and do somehow through the magic of science transmit itself through generations.
[00:17:55] So my great-grandmother Anna immigrated from. Russia or Ukraine in like 19 0 1, 18 99 or 1901. I don't remember which, and she came here unmarried, but to marry a guy from the old country who she had been matched with. So he was my great-grandfather Nathan Carmen. They married, they were very poor.
[00:18:19] They lived in tenement housing in Brooklyn and had three sons all die in infancy. So here she was, you know, pre-World war one, come to another country, not a citizen, hardly speaks any English, marries a man who, you know, for all his good intentions or the family's good intentions turned out to be a bit of a drunk and a gambler.
[00:18:44] And she has three babies, all dying infants. I can't even comprehend the difficulty of that. The emotional complexity of that. Then she has four daughters. My grandmother was the oldest of four daughters. So I'm sure that she and her three sisters were doted on, especially in light of the fact that all three of their older brothers died.
[00:19:10] And then my grandmother got lived through the depression. She was born in 1915, so she was a teenager during the depression. She was in her early twenties during world war two. And she married my grandfather. They had my mom in 1944 and my grandmother's experience through her own childhood, knowing that her three brothers had died, that she and her three sisters were poor and sometimes didn't know where their next meal was coming from.
[00:19:39] And then lived through yet another world war. I'm sure that when her first child was born, she doted on her in a way that I can't comprehend. Like, so laser-focused on her health and safety. And then when my mom got really, really sick with rheumatic fever when she was probably nine, 10, or 11 years old, I forget exactly.
[00:20:06] And she was sick in bed for almost a year. I'm sure this triggered every single one of my grandmother's buttons. And it's no wonder that she doted on my mom and no wonder that my mom felt safe and loved and taken care of and, and loved every second of all of that fussing. So then, so her own emotional development sort of arrested at that point.
[00:20:34] So she was poor perennially, then a child and perennially a victim. And so then she got married to my dad. She was in her very early twenties. I don't think she had very much experience romantically or with men or anything. And he came in and, and my guess is swept her off her feet because he felt that she was exactly the kind of woman that he should marry to get his own dad's attention.
[00:20:59] That's a whole other story. Let's not get into that, but then, so here's my mom. And she's living out these old egoic stages over and over and over again with her husband and it didn't match with them. And then she had me and instead of treating me with the kid gloves and the extra attention that she was lavished, she sort of expected me to lavish that attention on her.
[00:21:25] And she definitely expected my dad to lavish that attention on her. And so understanding how this goes back, three generations really made me feel less victimized and much more in power in control. I'm much more like I understand. How my ch why my childhood was what the was the way it was, why I understood why my mom was the way she was and made me feel much less put upon much less victimized, much more in control, and thereby able to understand my people-pleasing and my martyrdom and my quest, and need for validating myself through solving other people's problems, even when they were not mine to solve.
[00:22:18] I mean, they weren't my monkeys, not my mess, you know, and I started to really make sense out of things that I had thought I had made sense out of, but really hadn't. So, anyway, so radical awakening, Dr. Shefali Tsabary, definitely a must-read comes in every possible form of what could come in. Hardcover softcover ebook, audio book.
[00:22:45] Amazing. I did the hard cover and the audio book because I wanted her to, I always like the authors' voices, and so on. Anyway, so all the links to the books by the way will be in the show notes for this particular episode, I'm giving you my Amazon affiliate links so that your purchases of these books can help support the podcast because all of the money that I use to put the podcast out and I do it as cheaply as possible, I am the sole employee of the podcast.
[00:23:22] I do everything myself. And so if I could get a little financial help because you know, doing this on my teacher, salary is not exactly easy, but I can't do it. So anyway, so by buying the books through my Amazon affiliate link, then it helps, And if you felt like you wanted to contribute a little bit more regularly and get some perks and swag back from me, you could certainly, uh, sign up for a subscription on my Patreon account.
[00:23:49] The link to that is also in the show notes, but if you go to patrion.com and look up permission to heal, it will be there. And I offer all sorts of fun and beautiful art and books and zoom calls and fun things with me. And your ongoing patronage and assistance are more than appreciated. Okay. Book number two is big magic, creative living beyond fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.
[00:24:18] This one I read in the Kindle version and an audio book. I'm a big fan of dual modalities because I'm a visual learner, but I'm also an auditory learner. So while I'm driving, I love to listen to audio books. And I also like to be able to see the thing in front of me. So so Elizabeth Gilbert, I discovered through a Ted Talk.
[00:24:40] She did on creativity. Shortly after her or her break through novel eat, pray, love, or pick food memoir. I should say, eat, pray, love, kind of hit it big and was an international New York times best and became a movie starring Julia Roberts, which I often of course loved. And then she wrote subsequently she wrote big magic, creative living, beyond fear.
[00:25:06] And I'll read the blurb readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years now, this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity with profound empathy and radiant generosity.
[00:25:23] She offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, how to face down what we most. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives, balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerfulness.
[00:25:45] Pragmatism Gilbert encourages us to uncover the strange jewels that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our own work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, big magic crack cracks, open a world full of wonder and joy.
[00:26:08] Okay, so she tells a lot of anecdotes about her own life as a creative person and what, how she discovered that she wanted to live a creative life. And here she has a little section I'd like to read for you and amplified existence. When I talk about creative living, please understand that I am not necessarily talking about pursuing a life that is professionally or exclusively devoted to.
[00:26:35] I am not saying that you must become a poet who lives on a mountain top at Greece in Greece, or that you must perform at Carnegie hall or that you must win the Palm too, or at the film festival, though, if you want to attempt any of these feats, by all means, have at it. I love watching people swing for the bleachers.
[00:26:52] No. When I refer to creative living, I am speaking more broadly. I'm speaking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear. And that's pretty pivotal to live a life that is strongly driven by curiosity means to me that you read a lot, that you talk to a lot of people that you are interested in, what other people know, and how that can positively affect your life.
[00:27:20] That you're interested in how your gifts can bring beauty and understanding, and compassion and empathy to the world. And you do this and any way that you possibly can. I discovered this book when I was first rediscovering my joy and talent painting, and I was putting up a shingle, you know, so to speak on the internet with the original Carnation the original version of Marci, brockman.com when it was just an online art gallery.
[00:27:56] And I was thinking, how dare I, you know, I am not, who am I some girl from Long Island? How do I do this? You know, what the hubris is of, of doing this? Who's to say my art is any good, you know, maybe I don't have any talent at all, et cetera. And there's like a whole list. Here. There's a whole list where she talks about fear.
[00:28:19] She says, let's talk about courage. If you've already had the courage to bring forth the jewels that are hidden within you. Terrific. You're probably already doing really interesting things with your life and you don't need this book rock on, but if you don't have the courage, let's try to get you some because creative living is a path for the brave, we all know this.
[00:28:38] And we all know that when courage dies, creativity dies with it. We all know that fear is a desolate boneyard, where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun. This is common knowledge. Sometimes we just don't know what to do about it. Let me list for you. One of the some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life.
[00:29:01] Here's the list you're afraid you have no talent. You are afraid you'll be rejected, criticized, ridiculed, or misunderstood, or worst of all. You're afraid. There's no market for your creativity and therefore, no point in pursuing it, you're afraid somebody else already did it better. You're afraid everybody else already did it better.
[00:29:19] You're afraid somebody will steal your idea. So it's safer to keep it hidden forever. You're afraid you won't be taken seriously. You're afraid your work isn't politically, emotionally artistically important enough to change anyone's life. You're afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You're afraid that someday you look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money.
[00:29:40] You're afraid you don't have the right kind of discipline. You're afraid that you don't have the right kind of workspace or financial freedom or empty hours in which to focus on an invention or an exploration. You're afraid that if you don't have the right kind of training or degree, you're afraid you're too fat.
[00:29:57] I don't know what this has to do with creativity. Exactly. But experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we're too fat. So let's just put this on the anxiety list for good. You're afraid of being exposed as a hack or a fool or a dilettante or a narcissist. You're afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal.
[00:30:14] You're afraid of what your peers couldn't coworkers will say. If you express your personal truth aloud, you're afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don't want to encounter your innermost demons. You're afraid of your best work. You're afraid your best work is behind you.
[00:30:29] You're afraid you never had any of your best work, to begin with. You're afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You're afraid you're too old to start. You're afraid you're too young to start. You're afraid because something went well in your life once. So obviously nothing can ever go well again, you're afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life.
[00:30:50] So why bother trying? You're afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You're afraid of being a no-hit wonder. Listen, I don't have all day here, so I'm not going to keep listing. It's a bottomless pit anyway, and a depressing one. So I'll just wrap up my summary by saying this scary, scary, scary. Everything is so God damn scary.
[00:31:10] And so, I mean, she employs a little wit to remind us that our exhaustive list of fears is really a list of bullshit reasons to not be curious, to not live a creative life, to avoid the vulnerability of a creative life. And for me, it kind of was a non-option. A non-negotiable. I had been writing journal writing and creative writing since I was a teenager since 1983 and drawing and, and creativity had been something that was always part of my emotional biological makeup and.
[00:31:54] I started writing for elephant journal and things were getting published and I started selling a few paintings. So that kind of buoyed my spirit, you know like I knew that I was still going to keep creating, but the fact that I was getting a little bit of external gratification or external approval made me feel a little less vulnerable.
[00:32:15] And all of that really led a very winding and circuitous road to my memoir, permission to land, searching for love, home, and belonging. And I, you know, I reread big magic once a year, just as a refresher, just as a reminder that I don't need anybody else's permission to create what I want to create that by painting or drawing or writing, I am.
[00:32:44] Expressing myself. I am uncovering my own vulnerability and authenticity and the beautiful ways in which I think, and, and, and, and express myself. I, I think that it's a necessary thing. And, you know, art therapy is a thing for a reason. You know, the creative expression helps us get to know ourselves in a way that nothing else can, you know, I felt that you know, sitting here at this very drafting table that I use for so many things, you know, I record all my podcasts here.
[00:33:25] I did a lot of my, my writing of my book here. I do a lot of my creativity, like visual arts, I painting, and drawing. And so on here. This is the sort of the center of my emotions. Discovery the unwrapping the unwinding of years and years of frustrating emotional knots. You know, I, I remember very clearly, many times sitting here listening to big magic or listening to music or listening to whatever audio book or listening to the Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
[00:34:10] And while I was painting and I was able to make sense out of things, relationships in my life, my own behavioral patterns while not thinking about them, that focusing on. The creative process, focusing on blending color and brushstroke and the curve of align as I was drawing, freed up a whole lot of my brain power so that while I was on aware of it, I was making sense out of my relationship with my mom, my people-pleasing tendencies, all of my unhealthy and toxic relationships with with men the things about motherhood and raising my children that I wanted to do better, et cetera.
[00:35:16] You know, I became me the best version of me through creativity and. Big magic was sort of, the permission was sort of the, the key in the locked lock that unlocked it for myself is a terrible metaphor, but I'm sure you're going there with me. There were some quotes from the book that always stick to me, stick with me.
[00:35:46] Don is better than good as somebody who used to be a perfectionist and never be done with something because it wasn't quite right. I've decided that done is better than good. And that's how my life goes. I do the best that I can in the timeframe that I've allotted or that has been allotted and that I'm done with it.
[00:36:06] And I move on and I do something else. It's a simple, generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve that. I say this to my students all the time. You want to be a better basketball player. You don't get to be a better basketball player by doing that. You get to be a better basketball player by playing basketball.
[00:36:24] You want to be a better writer than you better, right? You want to be a better painter than you. Better paint. You want to be a better chocolate chip cookie baker, then you better bake some damn chocolate chip cookies over and over and over and over and over. I heard Oprah say once that it takes 10,000 hours at a particular activity in order to become good at it, professional proficient at it, not just good proficient.
[00:36:48] So allow yourself time to practice, allow yourself time to keep doing and doing, and doing and doing. And each time you'll get better. And while you're in the process of doing that, you're also becoming a better version of yourself. I don't know how to live without that. Living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than my fear.
[00:37:12] We read that a creative life is an amplified life. It's a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life and a hell of a lot more interesting life living in this manner, continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you is a fine art in and of itself. Do whatever brings you to life, then follow your own fascinations, obsessions and compulsions.
[00:37:35] Trust them, create whatever causes a revolution in your own heart. The universe berries, strange Jules deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. And then this one, I love be the weirdo who dares to enjoy, love it. Big magic, creative living beyond.
[00:37:58] The Amazon link, the Amazon affiliate link is in the show notes. Okay. Next book. We go to, let me close my iPad here. The next book we go to is Brene Brown's the gifts of imperfection. Now I read this book probably 10 years ago, maybe nine years ago, right after it came out. This year in 2021, Brene brown republished the book as the 10th anniversary edition.
[00:38:27] So I took the Liberty of buying yet. Another copy. Brene brown has never met me, but Brene brown gets me. Brene brown has never met you. And I guarantee you. She gets you as well. She is a researcher. She's a social worker. She is a PhD professor in two colleges in Texas. She is an internationally known speaker.
[00:38:58] She has done several Ted talks, three Ted talks. I believe she is the only psychologist or researcher. So social worker with a Netflix special. She has said some of the most profound, simple, and yet soul redefining. Open-hearted amazing things. She's got two podcasts. One is called dare to lead, where she talks about leadership and so on.
[00:39:33] And the other one is a Spotify original podcast called unlocking us. And, I'm an avid listener of off unlocking Austin. It's actually through unlocking us that Found one of the books that's going to be on this list that we're going to talk about. Okay. So this 10th anniversary edition of the gifts of imperfection is game-changing New York times, number one, New York times bestseller.
[00:39:57] And it has brand new tools that we can use to figure ourselves out. Brene Brown has found a special place in our hearts as a gifted mapmaker and a fellow traveler. She's a social scientist and a kitchen table friend. You can always count on to tell the truth, make you laugh and on occasion cry with you.
[00:40:14] So she and her team have created an whole hearted inventory because we're talking about living vulnerably, living authentically, authentically, and living in a whole hearted way. And in order to get the most out of this book, she's created a whole hearted inventory, which is available on her website, Bernie brown.com and the link to the inventory is in the show notes.
[00:40:39] You can scroll down for that., so the whole hearted inventory is an instrument that assesses your strength and strengths and opportunities for growth in. The guideposts as she puts it, that, that work our way through the book. So guide posts, a list, the guide posts, cultivating authenticity, letting go of what people think guideposts to cultivating self compassion, letting go of perfectionism, guidepost three, cultivating a resilient spirit letting go of numbing and powerlessness guidepost for cultivating gratitude and joy letting go of scarcity in the fear of the dark guidepost, five cultivating intuition, and trusting faith, letting go of the need for certainty, guideposts six, cultivating creativity letting go of comparison.
[00:41:27] Number seven, cultivating play and rest letting go of exhaustion as a status, symbol and productivity as self-worth number eight, cultivating common stillness letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle. Number nine cultivating, meaningful work, letting go of self doubt and the supposed to in air quotes and number 10, cultivating laughter song and dance letting go of being cool and always in control.
[00:41:51] And so I did the whole hearted inventory for myself, and I have found that through all of them. I am more than two thirds of the way toward cultivating each of these guideposts. The one that I got the lowest, the lowest score in, I mean, they're not scores, it's just like a continuum and is exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity is self-worth.
[00:42:24] And I know that that one is the one that I still struggle with the most. The other one has guideposts three. Cultivating a resilient spirit and letting go of numbing and powerlessness. I think they kind of go hand in hand for me, the resilient spirit and the idea of play and rest and so on. I have been in my past a chronic over achiever, but a chronic multi-tasker.
[00:43:00] Until I married my husband, Michael, five years ago, I felt guilty, literal guilt watching television that I couldn't just sit and watch a TV show, even if it was a documentary, even if it was something I was doing for work, I couldn't sit. And just watch TV. I also had to fold laundry, or I also had to organize something or clean something, or I just couldn't do the one thing at a time.
[00:43:30] so I have an exhaustive exhaustive number of post-its in this book. Let's work our way through a couple of them. I'm going to start with one quote from her book that I actually used as a quote in my book because it was so pivotal. She says owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.
[00:43:55] Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love, belonging and joy, the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness, will we uncovered the infinite power of our light? Amazing amazing. And, and I I've used her language when in the title of the book, cause it's permission to land searching for love, home and belonging.
[00:44:23] And her concept of belonging is one that I have adopted in my own life. And here it is finding love and belonging. For years I avoided the word love in my research because I didn't know how to define it. And I wasn't sure that come on, you know, love as the definition would fly. I also couldn't rely on quotes or song lyrics, however much they might inspire me to speak and speak truth.
[00:44:50] To me, it is not my training as a researcher, as much as we need and want love. We don't spend much time talking about what is. I think about it. You might say, I love you every day, but when's the last time you had a serious conversation with someone about the meaning of love in this way. Love is a mirror image of shame.
[00:45:08] We desperately don't want to experience shame, and we're not willing to talk about it yet. The only way to resolve shame is to talk about it. Maybe we're afraid of topics like love and shame. Most of us like safety, certainty and chat and clarity, shame and love are grounded in vulnerability and tenderness.
[00:45:26] Belonging is another topic that is essential to the human experience, but rarely discussed. Most of us use the terms fitting in and belonging interchangeably. Like many of you are really good at fitting in. We know exactly how to hustle for approval and acceptance. We know what to wear, what to talk about, how to make people happy.
[00:45:46] What not to mention. We know how to chameleon our way through the. One of the biggest surprises in this research was learning that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. And in fact, fitting in gets in the way of belonging fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted.
[00:46:06] Think seventh grade girls. Okay. Belonging. On the other hand, doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are. So before we can figure out how to find belonging, We need to figure out who we are, you know, who's Marcy, who, who was I? What was important to me? What are my values? What do I enjoy the most about myself?
[00:46:35] What are the characteristics of my own behavior personality that I am the most proud of, or that make me feel the most authentically in touch with my inner heart or inner knowing as possible.
[00:46:50] Mind blowing, mind blowing. And then we'll, we'll talk about wholehearted living. Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of board Denas. It's about cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think no matter what gets done, and no matter how much is left.
[00:47:10] I am enough. It's going to bed at night thinking, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn't change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging. It makes sense to me that the gifts of imperfection are courage, compassion, and connection. Because when I think back to my life before this work, I remember I remember often feeling fearful, judgmental and alone, the opposite of the gifts.
[00:47:39] I wondered what if I can't keep all these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself to everyone? For me, the risk of losing myself felt far more dangerous than the risk of letting people see the real.
[00:47:58] With the 10th anniversary edition of this book, it's been 14 years since that day in 2006, when my own research turned my life upside down, it's been the best 14 years of my life. And I wouldn't change a thing. The spiritual awakening was tough, but I'm hard headed. And I guess the universe needed a way to get my attention despite where this book will be shelved in your local bookstore.
[00:48:19] I am not at all sure that this work is about self-help. I think of it as an invitation to join a wholehearted revolution, a small, quiet grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying my story matters because I matter, in fact, I want you to say that wherever you are, are you listening while you're driving or you're listening while you're walking, or while you're doing dishes, I want you to say out loud, no matter where it is, you are, even if you're on a train, my story matters because I matter, and I want you to try to believe.
[00:48:52] Because I believe it with every cell of my body, I believe it, our stories matter because we matter, which is why I share these stories on permission to heal, which is why I shared my own story and permission to land, which is why I share my story constantly. And all of my stories constantly on social media.
[00:49:09] And I believe that not only do I matter and therefore the stories matter, but the stories themselves are really everyone's stories. The particulars may be different, but the human emotions and the, the, the needs for love and belonging and connection and wholeheartedness and creativity and passion or human universal needs, we all walk them.
[00:49:32] We all crave them. And most of us, if not all of us are willing or have been willing at various points in our lives to turn ourselves inside, out and into pretzels in order to get them. But if you live wholehearted, You don't have to turn into a pretzel. You just have to believe that because you are here drawing breath into your lungs.
[00:49:52] You are worthy. You are enough because your, you matter, your stories matter. Okay? So this is a movement we can take to the streets with our messy, imperfect wild stretch, marked wonderful, heartbreaking grace-filled and joyful lives. A movement filled by the freedom that comes when we stop, pretending that everything is okay when it isn't a call that rises up from our bellies.
[00:50:17] When we find the courage to celebrate those intensely joyful moments, even though we had convinced ourselves that savoring happiness was inviting, disaster revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance. I'm crying. You can hear it right.
[00:50:40] Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance. You're going to confuse, piss off and terrify a lot of people, including yourself. One minute, you'll pray for the Trent that the transformation stops and the next minute you'll pray that it never ends. You'll also wonder how you can feel so brave and so afraid at the same time.
[00:50:59] At least that's how I feel most of the time, brave, afraid and very, very alive. Yeah. You got to get this book. You have to get this book. I insist on it. The Amazon affiliate link is in the show notes. Bernay brown. The gifts of imperfection. Doesn't matter if you get the original one from 2006 or whenever that was 10 years ago, or you get the 10th anniversary one, they're almost exactly the same thing.
[00:51:31] Yeah. Now, as long as we're in a Brene Brown kind of mood, we're going to talk about braving the wilderness, the quest for true belonging and courage to stand alone. This one, I did only as an audio book and I have very clear memories of certain aspects of this book related to my commute to work.
[00:51:54] And every time I pass a certain intersection, I think about certain things that came directly out of this book. So here's the little blurb about it, a timely and important book that challenges everything we think about no, a timely and important book that challenges everything we think we know about cultivating true belonging in our communities, organizations and cultures from the number one bestselling author of rising strong daring greatly, and the gifts of imperfection.
[00:52:23] True belonging. Doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are. I'm going to re repeat that again. True belonging. Doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are. And here she talks a lot about, a lot more about belonging. That belonging is the opposite of fitting in.
[00:52:46] And here, here are just some quotes from, from the story that from her book that I think are pivotal, courage is forged in pain, but not in all pain pain that is denied and or ignored becomes fear or hate. So the only pain that you're going to derive courage from is the pain that you face head on.
[00:53:10] The only way out is through, is tattooed on my arm and is. Is the only way that you're going to cultivate courage. The only way that you feel courage is by facing your fear and diving into it, digging deep, whatever analogy you would like. True belonging, doesn't require you to change who you are. It requires you to be who you are.
[00:53:33] This we talked about. You are only free when you realize that you belong, no place that you belong. Every place, no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great. So you belong everywhere and you belong nowhere and you belong in your heart. And your connection with belonging, your understanding of belonging brings rewards into your life that you can't achieve.
[00:54:03] Otherwise. Stop walking through the world, looking for confirmation that you don't belong because you will always find it because you've made that your mission stop scouring. People's faces for evidence that you are not enough. You will always find it because you've made that your goal, true belonging and self-worth are not goods.
[00:54:23] We don't negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you. So, you know, we, we, our culture, especially women and girls, our culture tells us in a myriad of different ways every single day that we have to compare ourselves to other.
[00:54:58] Others are prettier. They're younger, they're thinner, they're curvier. They're more smart. They're more fearless. They're more creative. They're more whatever insert adjective here in order to get us to do things that supports the system. That is, what's the word I'm looking for. Conniving us that is selling us a bill of goods.
[00:55:29] You know, they want us to buy their fitness program. They want us to buy their, this particular CLO this particular line of clothing or this particular car or whatever it is they're trying to sell us. Maybe they're trying to sell us to believe that we're less than so that we won't question authority or that we will allow the patriarchy to continue.
[00:55:50] You know, however you want to look at this, but if we don't. Struggle with ourselves to find the courage, to face our fears and to voice our own beautiful, awkward spirit. Then we're constantly going to be at the mercy of people, trying to get us to feel less than we are. And we're valuable and beautiful and yes, flawed, but fabulous and courageous and creative and okay.
[00:56:39] What else?
[00:56:44] Yeah, true belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. There you go. And I, I guess that's what I'm doing. I am so convinced, so comfortable with believing in and belonging to myself, my authentic self.
[00:57:21] And I find sacredness in that, that I want to stand here alone with my microphone and share this with you because I, so fervently passionately believe that these works of literature. Beautiful bits of wisdom can change your life for the better. Okay. All right. Let's wipe my eyes crying again. All right.
[00:57:59] The next book here is called burnout. The secrets to unlocking the stress cycle by sisters, Emily Nagaski and Amelia Nagaski. This book I discovered through Brene brown through her unlocking us podcast. She had both Emily and Amelia Nagaski on as guests to talk about burnout. And I did this completely as an audio book.
[00:58:27] This groundbreaking book explains to women. Explains why women experienced burnout differently than men and provides a simple science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life. Many women in America have experienced burnout. What's expected of women. And what it's really like to be a woman in today's world are two very different things.
[00:58:51] And women exhaust themselves trying to close the gap between them. How can you love your body when every magazine cover has 10 diet tips for becoming your best self? How do you lean in at work when you're already operating at 110% and aren't recognized for it? How can you live happily and healthily in a sexist world that is constantly telling you you're too fat, too needy, too noisy, or too selfish.
[00:59:15] Sisters, Emily Nagaski PhD and Amelia Nagoski D M D M a are here to help here to help end the cycle of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead of asking us to ignore the very real obstacles and societal pressures that stand between us women and wellbeing, they explain with compassion and optimism, what we're up against and show us how to fight back.
[00:59:39] So when you listen to this book or you read this book, you will learn what you can do to complete the biological stress cycle and return your body to a state of relaxation. Understanding what the biological stress cycle is, was. Brent groundbreaking for me, how to manage the monitor in your brain that regulates the emotion of frustration, how the bikini industrial complex.
[01:00:02] I love this. The bikini industrial complex makes it difficult for mental of their bodies and how to defend yourself against it, and why rest human connection and befriending your inner critic are keys to risk re re no why rest human connection and befriending your inner critic are keys to recovering and preventing burnout.
[01:00:22] With the help of eyeopening science, prescriptive advice, and help for worksheets and exercises. All women will find something transformative in these pages will be empowered to create positive change. They aren't here to preach broad platitudes of expensive self-care or insist that we strive for the impossible goal of having it all.
[01:00:41] Instead, Emily and Amelia tell us that we are enough just as we are that wellness true wellness is within our reach. So this, like on does the patriarchy and the bikini industrial complex as they put it and undoes what we've been hearing for millennia that we have to be, it all be everything to everyone, including ourselves.
[01:01:07] It's impossible with 24 hours in a day. So here's a few little lines from, from the book. Most of us have spent our whole lives being taught to believe everyone else's opinions about our bodies rather than to believe what our own bodies are trying to tell us for some of us it's been so long since we listen to our bodies, we hardly know how to start understanding what they are trying to tell us much less, how to trust and believe what they are saying to make matters worse.
[01:01:37] The more exhausted we are, the noisier the signal is, and the harder it is to hear the message. I know that through my work with the dietitian last year and through meditation and through, um, the work that I'm doing myself with nuMe, cause I joined nuMe a few months ago. I am really trying to listen to my body, do the whole intuitive eating thing by listening to what my body wants and how much food it requires and when it needs energy and so on.
[01:02:12] I just figured out that what I had been doing in more in mornings for breakfast for the last like 27 years of my teaching career, which are the last 27 years of my life that you know, I get up at 5:00 AM and I'm at work by seven and I don't usually eat breakfast until somewhere around eight 30 or nine o'clock because eating at five it's just, my body will not accept food at that point.
[01:02:38] But now at 53, I. Muster the energy and the enthusiasm that I need to teach at 7 0 5 in the morning without caffeine, because the caffeine fed the menopausal hot flashes. The let's not go there, but I can't do my job or be the best version of Mrs. Brockmann that I can be without some sugar in my body.
[01:03:03] You know, my blood sugar is too low and I was listening to my body. But what I was hearing was that I needed the caffeine back. It was my husband who actually said, no, I bet your body is saying that it just needs the blood sugar to be elevated. Maybe you need to eat earlier. And so I've started to eat earlier just to have a little snack or something on my way to school.
[01:03:24] And it makes all the difference. So we have to. Okay. Here's another one white men grow in an open level field. White women grow on a far steeper rougher terrain because the field wasn't made for them, women of color grow, not just on a hill, but on a cliff side, over the ocean, battered by wind and waves.
[01:03:49] None of us chooses the landscape in which we are planted. If you find yourself on an ocean battered cliff, your only choice is to grow there or fall into the ocean. So if we transplant a survivor of the steep hill and cliff to the level field natives of the fields may look at that survivor and wonder why she has so much trouble trusting people, trusting systems, or even her own bodily sensation.
[01:04:14] Why is this tree so bent and gnarled it's because that is what it took to survive in the place where she grew that tree is fought. That tree has fought wind and gravity and erosion to grow strong and green on a steep cliff. And it's going to look strange and out of place when moved to a level playing field, the gnarled windblown tree from an Oceanside cliff might not conform with your ideas of what a tree should look like, but it works well in the context where it grew and that tall, straight tree wouldn't stand a chance if it was transplanted to the cliff side.
[01:04:54] The moral of the story is we thrive when we have a positive goal to move forward, not just a negative state, we're trying to move away from the good news is that stress is not the problem. The problem is that the strategies that deal with stressors have almost no relationship to the strategies that deal with the psychological reactions our bodies have to those stressors to be well is not to live in a state of perpetual safety and calm, but to move fluidly from a state of adversity, risk, adventure, or excitement, back to safety of calm and out.
[01:05:27] Again, stress is not bad for you being stuck in that stress is bad for you. So we all have. Move more fluidly to learn how to listen to our bodies and give ourselves what we need in order to transition from a stressful state, to a relaxed state and back and forth that it's okay to be stressed. It's not okay to be stuck being stressed.
[01:05:51] So we have to figure out where to get our rest and our self care from here's another quote. It's true. That rest makes us more productive ultimately. And if that's an argument that helps you persuade your boss to give you more flexibility. Awesome. But we think rest matters. Not because it makes you more productive, but because it makes you happier and healthier, less grumpy and more creative, we think rest matters because you matter, you are not here to be productive.
[01:06:20] You are here to be you to engage with your something larger, to move through the world with confidence and joy and to do that. You require rest. So. Job for lack of a better word is to figure out how to get yourself that rest, that calm, that resetting of the brain and the nervous system and the body to a state of calm restfulness for me, a little meditation, a little creativity, listening to what my body requires as far as nourishment and nutrition, and then giving it to my body.
[01:07:03] And getting more sleep. I used to survive on five, six hours a night because I felt like, you know, in order to get everything in my life done in order to fulfill my responsibilities for a long time, I was a single mom with two kids who worked three jobs, and I had no choice. I only got five or six hours a night sleep, and I managed with caffeine and unhealthy sugar to make that happen.
[01:07:27] But now without the caffeine and without the unhealthy sugar, trying to make my body healthier, I can't function on five or six hours sleep. So I I'm still learning. It's a process. I am still learning and practicing, going to bed earlier so that I get the seven or eight prop, preferably eight hours of sleep a night that my brain and my body require in order to function at an optimal level.
[01:07:57] Okay. So that's burnout.
[01:08:03] So then we go to, I don't want to do non, I don't want to do fiction yet, so I'm going to move over next. We go to, let's go to you are here discovering the magic of the present moment by Tich Tisch talk Hahn, who is a Vietnamese Buddhist. So he's a monk, an author meditation mash master who distills the essence of Buddhist thought and practice emphasizing the power of mindfulness to transform lives.
[01:08:39] But true mindfulness Han explains is not an escape. It is being in the present moment, totally alive and free based on a retreat that he led for Westerners. You are here offers a range of effective practices for cultivating mindfulness, staying in the present moment, including awareness of breathing and walking, deep listening and skillful speech.
[01:09:00] These teachings will empower you to witness the wonder of life and transform your suffering both within and outside you in compassion, tenderness, and peace. The energy of mindfulness is the energy of the Buddha, and it can be produced by anybody it's as simple as breathing in and breathing out. So this little yellow book was a companion of mine for quite a while.
[01:09:30] Okay. In the practice of Buddhism, I'm going to read here from page four and the practice of Buddhism. We see that all mental transformation, such as compassion, love, fear, sorrow, and despair are organic in nature. We don't need to be afraid of them because transformation is possible just by having this deep insight into the organic nature of mental formation.
[01:09:48] So you become a lot more solid, a lot calmer and more peaceful with just a smile and mindful breathing. You can start to transform them and he urges us to stop struggling, stop struggling. The insight of non-duality will put a stop to the war in you. Alright. Okay. So try to breathe.
[01:10:19] Breathing in. I know that I am breathing in breathing out. I know that I am breathing out. I smile at my out-breath. This is how you can practice. You will get a great deal of joy out of it right away. If you continue for a minute, you will see that your breathing is already different. After a minute of practicing, breathing mindfully, without discrimination, the quality of your breathing improves, meaning you're not going to say, oh, I'm short of breath.
[01:10:46] Or my chest is tight. You're not going to judge the breath that comes in and out her just going to breathe, being aware of it, acknowledge it. You're breathing improves. It becomes calmer longer. The gentleness and harmony generated by your breathing perpetuates penetrates into your body and into your mental formations.
[01:11:04] Try to breathe in this way. When you experience joy, when you're looking at a sunset or are in contact with the beauty of nature, practice, mindful breathing, touch deeply. The beauty that is before you, I am breathing in what happiness I am breathing out. That sunset is lovely. Continue that way for a few minutes.
[01:11:25] And, I'm like spitting here. It, it transformed with its utter simplicity. The way I breathe and the way I approach mindfulness. And now sometimes I look at my watch and I can feel my heart racing and I can feel a little film of sweat on my lip and I can feel myself being all stressed and all I do is breathe.
[01:11:48] And I listen and I am aware of the fact that how I feel, however, I feel as an asthmatic, my chest might be tight. My pulse may be high, but I breathe in, I hold it for a few seconds and I breathe out and I hold for a few seconds and I do it again. And I do it over and over again. And just focusing on my breath, brought me right here to the magic of the present moment.
[01:12:18] And he talks a lot about non-duality and identifying our emotions and getting in touch with our own spirituality and practicing non-judgment when listening to our brains and our bodies about our lives and what we perceive to be true, but might not be true. It's a little book with a profound, profound.
[01:12:44] Effect just threw it on the floor. Okay. Okay. Next we're going to go to proof of heaven. This is a book written by a neuroscientist, a neurosurgeon named Eben Alexander proof of heaven. I'm going to find my notes here. It's called proof of heaven, a neuroscience journey into the afterlife. This was a number one New York times bestselling account of this neurosurgeon's own near death experience.
[01:13:16] And he argues that as a scientist, he used to be a science-based hard science atheist, which is where I was prior to my mother's death in October of 2013. Eight years ago, and this book just came into my life during the first few months of morning after my mom's death, I had uncharacteristically sought solace in the office of a psychic, and this is not something I ever in a bazillion years would have considered before.
[01:14:08] And yet I felt compelled. And on another episode, I will tell you all about what happened with the psychic. There is a video about it on my YouTube channel. What's up Marcy. I will link that into the show notes. But proof of heaven. Is Dr. Alexander's experience. His own brain was attacked by a rare illness.
[01:14:30] The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion, the essence of what makes us human shut down completely. And for seven days, he lay in a coma and as his doctors considered stopping treatment, his eyes popped open and he came back. His recovery is a ma ma medical miracle, but the real miracle lies in his story while his body lay in a coma, he journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of his super physical existence.
[01:14:59] And here he met with and spoke with the divine source of the universe itself. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God or the soul. And today he is a doctor who believes that true health can only be achieved when he realized that God and the soul are real.
[01:15:17] And that death is not the end of a personal existence, but only a transition. The story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to, but that had happened to Dr. Alexander, who was an atheist is revolutionary, no scientist or person of faith was able to ignore it, reading. It will change your life.
[01:15:34] And it did it completely revolutionized my concept of cosmology. I have always identified myself as a Jew, but mostly as a traditionalist, not really a devout spiritual Jew, but, historically societally You know, practiced Judaism as a, as a tradition anyway. So he wrote his story about, about this profound experience that he had.
[01:16:11] And, and he said that communicating with God is the most extraordinary experience imaginable. And yet at the same time, it's the most natural one of all, because God is present in us at all times, omniscient, omnipotent, personal and loving us without conditions. We are connected as one through our divine link with God, you are loved and cherished.
[01:16:34] You have nothing to fear. There is nothing you can do wrong. If I had to boil down this entire message into one sentence, it would run this way. You are loved. And if I had to burn the debt, boil it down further into just one word, it would, of course be simply love. Love is without a doubt, the basis of everything, not some abstract, hard to fathom kind of love, but the day-to-day kind of love that everyone knows the kind of love we feel when we look at our spouse or our children, or even our animals in its purest and most powerful form.
[01:17:06] This love is not jealous or selfish, but unconditional. This is the reality of realities, the incomprehensibly glorious truth of truths that lives and breeds at the core of everything that exists or will ever exist and no remotely accurate understanding of who or what we are, can be achieved by anyone who does not know it and embody it in all of their actions.
[01:17:30] So love. Is it folks on conditional pure. Love is it, that's what we want. That's what our purpose is to give it, to receive it, to find it, to nurture it, to share it. That's it folks. I think that's where all of the fear that riddles us throughout our lifetimes comes from the constant quiet nagging, deep in our souls that we are unlovable or unworthy of love.
[01:18:05] And that causes all the fear and all the rage and all of the jealousy and the envy and the greediness and all the power hungriness, all of that comes from a fear of not being loved or being lovable or being able to love.
[01:18:27] I don't know what else to say about that. It's beautiful. It's transcendent it, it made me realize that. The part of my mom who spoke to me through that psychic was love reaching from another reality straight here to this one, the dreams that I had of my mom and my grandfather that brought me peace and made me feel settled and loved even from beyond
[01:19:03] that shit is real. It changed the way I was grieving. It changed the way I feel about myself, the way I feel about my grandparents and my mom, the way I feel about spirituality and life beyond this life, beyond this physical life on earth. His experience showed him that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness.
[01:19:34] That human experience continues beyond the grave. More important. It continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us and about where the universe itself and all of the beings without, without it are ultimately blind eye. It just changed everything for me. Okay. Next, we're going to save the fiction for last.
[01:20:03] I know this is running very long. You can break this episode up if you're interested by just stopping and starting another time.
[01:20:12] I have two books left and then we'll just list them. We'll just list the nonfiction, the, the fictions at the end. Okay. So let's go to the Alchemist. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a book that I. Listen to again, over and over and over again. Again, it's something that I listened to at least once a year.
[01:20:32] It's powerful and amazingly metaphoric and applicable to everybody's lives. And I can't recommend it enough. So combining magic mysticism wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery. The Alchemist has become a modern classic selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.
[01:20:57] Paulo Coelho masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an end to Lucien shepherd, who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different and far more satisfying than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and more importantly, most importantly to follow.
[01:21:26] And I'm just going to read some quotes. I can't do the story justice by trying to summarize it beyond what I just read. You just have to read it or listen to it yourself. Jeremy irons did the, the voicing, the narration in the audio book and his, his, his voice just helps create such a hauntingly beautiful, beautiful story.
[01:21:51] Okay. So here's some quotes and when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it. And I absolutely feel that's totally true. It is the possibility of having a dream come true. That makes life interesting. When we love, we always strive to become better than we are when we strive to become better than we are.
[01:22:11] Everything around us becomes better. One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving. There was only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve, and that is the fear of failure. So I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you. The secret of life though, is to fall seven times and get up eight times simple things are also the most extraordinary things.
[01:22:41] And only the wise can see them. Remember that wherever your heart is, you will also find your tracks. Tell your heart, that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself and that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second encounter with God.
[01:23:03] And with eternity, do not give into your fears. If you do, you won't be able to talk to your heart. People are capable at any time in their lives of doing what they dream of. I just love this book gives me chills, chills, chills, chills. Okay. The last non-fiction book, of course, that one's fiction, but we went out of order is untamed by Glennon Doyle.
[01:23:26] And I had never heard of Glennon Doyle before. I'm sorry to say, I've tagged her in this, in this post, wherever I'm sharing this she and her wife, Abby Wambach have become, and her sister Amanda have become present moments profits in my life. While I was writing. Permission to land. I was listening and reading, listening to, and reading everything.
[01:23:50] I could get my hands on about the process of coming into my own about the process of getting to know myself and in March of 2020, just as the pandemic was happening just as I was in my last draft of what, what became permission to land Glennon, Doyle published untamed. She sold over 2 million copies.
[01:24:13] It's packed with incredible insight into what it means to be a woman today. She wrote two memoirs prior to this that I had not read until after I read this one. It is her most revealing and powerful memoir yet. She's an activist. She's a speaker, she's a best-selling author. She, she felt angry at all the injustice and the pain and the inequity in the world.
[01:24:39] Like. And yet, unlike me, some health felt empowered and capable of doing something about it, and she is just an amazing person. And so this book is how to find yourself. There's a voice longing inside a voice of longing inside of each woman. We strive. So mightily mightily to be good, good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends.
[01:25:10] We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and over and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder wasn't it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent, even from our side.
[01:25:30] For many years, Glennon, Doyle denied her own discomfort. And then while speaking in a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind. They are, she is at first Glen and assumed these words came to her from on high. But soon she realized that they had come to her from within this was her own voice.
[01:25:51] The one she had buried beneath decades of numbing, addictions, cultural conditioning, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl she had been before the world told her who to be Glen and decided to quit abandoning herself and to instead abandon the world's expectations of her. She quit being good, so she could be free.
[01:26:10] She quit pleasing and started. Social soulful and uproarious forceful and tender. Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake up call. It is a story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not only one who slowly is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live.
[01:26:33] It is the story of navigating divorce, forming a new blended family and discovering that the brokenness or wholeness of a family depends not on its structure, but on each member's ability to bring her full self to the table. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, to make peace with our bodies, to honor our anger and heartbreak and to unleash our truest wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say, there she is.
[01:27:04] Untamed shows us how to be brave. We are the braver. We are the luckier we get. Here's some bits from the, from the story from, from the book, mothers have been martyred themselves. No, let's do that again. Mothers have martyred themselves in their children's names. Since the beginning of time, we have lived as if she who disappears the most, who loves the most, we have found can been conditioned to prove our love by slowly ceasing to exist.
[01:27:38] What a terrible burden for children to bear to know that they are the reasons their mother stopped living, what a terrible burden for our daughters to bear to know that if they choose to become mothers, this will be their fate too. Because if we show them that being a martyr is the highest form of love.
[01:27:55] That is what they will become. They will feel obligated to love as well as their mothers loved. After all, they will believe they have permission to live only as fully as their mothers allowed themselves to live. If we keep passing down the legacy of martyrdom to our daughters with whom does it end, which woman ever gets to live.
[01:28:17] And when does the death sentence begin at the wedding altar in the delivery room whose delivery room, our children's or our own. When, when we call martyrdom love, we teach our children that when love begins life ends, this is why young suggested there is no greater burden on a child than the unlived life of a parent.
[01:28:42] Wow. And I think back to what Dr. Shefali said about my own mother and what she helped me see about me, that my martyring myself, my compulsion to solve problems for other people to be the savior was denying my own peace and my own existence. And denying all of the things that meant something to me. And I didn't want my daughter growing up to feel that that was what was expected of her.
[01:29:20] I didn't want my son to grow up to think that this is what was expected of him or what he should expect of his partner in life. You know, when I, when I decided to get divorced way back in 2006, I did so not necessarily because I was miserable and I was, but it took me, it took the realization that I didn't want my marriage to their father to be the example of marriages for them.
[01:29:59] I didn't want my children. To feel as lost inside their future marriages. As I felt in mine, I didn't want this marriage for them. And because of that, I had to get divorced and change my life. I had to figure out how to heal myself, how to make myself happy, how to find joy, how to play without guilt, how to play in the first place, how to juggle all the things I needed to juggle, but no one enough with enough so that I could get the rest and the self care that I needed.
[01:30:44] That's how it all wraps itself. So here here's another quote. We weren't born distrusting and fearing. That was a part of our tanning. That was the acculturation of our souls. We were taught to believe that who we are in our natural state is bad and dangerous. They, the patriarchy, the society, the inculturation of society convinced us to be afraid of ourselves.
[01:31:08] So we did not honor our own bodies, curiosity, hunger, judgment experience, or ambition. Instead, we lock away our true selves. Women who are best at this disappearing act earn the highest praise she is so selfless. Can you imagine the epitome of womanhood is to lose oneself completely. That is the end goal of every patriarchal culture, because a very effective way to control women is to convince women to control themselves.
[01:31:36] Fuck strong. There it is. There it is. You want to control women, convince them to not trust themselves, to be afraid of themselves and to bury themselves in selfless activities for others that render them invisible that make them cease to exist. And I think in so many ways, that's what we're all told to do.
[01:32:06] All of us, women and girls, when a woman finally learns that pleasing, the world is impossible. She becomes free to learn how to please herself.
[01:32:19] We do not need more selfless women. What we need right now is more women who have detoxed themselves so completely from the world's expectations that they are full of nothing but themselves. We need women who are full of themselves. A woman who is full of herself knows and trusts herself enough to say and do what must be done.
[01:32:40] And she lets the rest burn, beautiful book. She uses the analogy of a cheetah and that she had taken her kid to the zoo. And there was a cheetah who was supposed to chase like a rabbit, you know, like dog racing in a way, you know, and there was this dog who like a German shepherd or something.
[01:33:01] If I'm remembering correctly, there was this dog who had been domesticated, obviously dogs usually are. And that this cheetah would act exactly like the dog. So the cheetah herself had been domesticated. The zoologists or the zookeepers had domesticated the wild out of the cheetah so that the cheetah herself didn't trust.
[01:33:20] She didn't trust herself. She didn't trust her own beauty, her, her wildness, her authenticity, her, her needs, and her desires as a cheetah. And she instead, she behaved like a domesticated dog. So she uses the wildness and the cheetah as the metaphor for us as women to be more for ourselves and more for our children by being ourselves.
[01:33:50] Okay. So, so these are the books that have changed my life. And I tried to share with you pieces of them. That meant something to me and then relate them those pieces to my own life. Additionally, I'd like to add, we have some fixed. Of course there's to kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, an unforgettable novels of childhood in a sleepy Southern town of Alabama.
[01:34:19] That taught me empathy. I learned empathy. You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view until you climb into his skin and walk around in it empathy. For many years, I thought about Atticus Finch as the voice of my conscience. Uh, what would Atticus Finch say in a situation?
[01:34:39] And it helped me figure out what I thought. There's the great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, which I teach every year with my 11th graders. And the there's a lot about this book that really talks about the toxicity of culture and and so on. It talks about the decadent period in 1920s, America.
[01:35:05] It's a lyrical and a tragically, simple love story and it's hauntingly profound. And the one thing that I think about over and over again, that connects this book to my own life is that quote I have tattooed on my arm. The only way out is through there's a point in the book about, I would say about two thirds of the way through maybe 75% of the way through the novel, where all the main characters are hanging out in the Buchanan's dining room.
[01:35:38] And Daisy is facing pressure from Gatsby to tell her husband, Tom, that she wants a divorce and that she still loves Gatsby and she wants to be with him. And she's. Being pressured and she doesn't know how to have the difficult conversation with her husband. And I'm sure there are things about her marriage with Tom that, that give her what she needs.
[01:36:01] And you know, it's 1922 and, and custody laws. Weren't the same and women couldn't own checking accounts and couldn't have credit cards and, you know, a whole lot of stuff there about women's history and empowerment. And so on that. That, that we have in 2021 here that they didn't have a hundred or 99 years ago in 1922.
[01:36:24] I mean, the, the right to vote had just been ratified two years before, but, and so she decides that instead of staying in their hot living room, in their hot dining room, they're going to drive into Manhattan and go to a hotel and hang out there for the afternoon, because somehow she mistakenly thinks that she can run away from the difficulty of the problem.
[01:36:46] She can run away from the awkwardness and the uncomfortableness, but she ran to a hotel from her house with the exact same people who were causing, helping to cause the situation that was causing her so much stress. You can't run away from your problems. So. You only way out is through the only way that she could get to the other side of this anxiety was to have the difficult conversation and face this.
[01:37:10] And ultimately that's what happens in the hotel. And in one of the most climactic moments of the whole novel and in the movie adaptation as well, the, the more modern one is the one I prefer and they do a phenomenal job with this particular scene. And then the last fictional book I want to talk about is Alice Hoffman's dove keepers.
[01:37:32] I'm looking for my notes as I've been talking, I took everything out of order. Sorry. Okay, Jeff cute. Here it is. Okay. It's an ambitious and mesmerizing mesmerizing novel from the best seller best-selling author of rules of magic, Yeah, wonderful dove keepers is striking.
[01:37:55] It is a novel rooted in biblical history and devotion and seriousness of purpose. Okay. Nearly 2000 years ago, 900 Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Massada a mountain in the Judean desert, according to the ancient historian, Josephus two women and five children survived based on this tragic and iconic event.
[01:38:18] Hoffman's novel is a spellbinding tale of four, extraordinarily bold resourceful and sensuous women. Each of whom has come to Massada by a different pace. Yeah. Elle's mother died in childbirth and her father and expert assassin never forgave her for that death Rivkah of village Baker's wife watched the murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers.
[01:38:39] She brings to Massada her young grandsons rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Azziza is a Warrior's daughter raised as a boy, a fearless writer, an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier and Sierra born in Alexandria is wise in the ways of ancient, magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power, the lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege, all are dove keepers, literally keeping doves because the excrement from the doves were used as fertilizer.
[01:39:12] So they could grow crops on top of the mountain and are also keeping secrets about who they were, where they came from, who fathered them and whom they love. And not only did it teach me. time in Jewish, Jewish, old Testament, biblical history that I had only heard little snippets of, but it showed me four very different, very wise, very human, very flawed, very loving women who gave everything of themselves to live a full life, to live a life of love.
[01:39:51] And here are some lines from this story. Here's the riddle of love. Everything it gives you. It takes away still anyone who trusts a serpent deserves its bite. The wise, see a creature for what it is not for what it says. It may be. You were only worthy of what you prove yourself to be, perhaps it is possible to discover more in silence than in speech, or perhaps it is only that those who are silent among us learn to listen.
[01:40:17] And this speaks to meditation. This speaks to being quiet enough, to live listening to your own heart, to listening to your own soul, to listening to your own authenticity and listening for understanding so that you know who she is and who she wants to be. And you can find your path to your dreams. That way no barrier was strong enough to keep out the movement of time.
[01:40:44] I always say time is a relentless bastard dove keepers.
[01:40:50] So I hope that you have stuck with me through this episode. I have really tried to share with you from my genuine, loving, quirky, awkward, beautiful heart. What helped me get in touch with who I am? What helped me along my own healing journey helps me be a better mom to my kids, a better teacher, to my students, a better wife to my husband, a better sister, a better daughter, a better niece, a better person, caretaker of myself.
[01:41:26] And I wish nothing, but all of that. So please drop me a line here, make a comment, review the podcast, give us five stars. Give me five stars. If you loved this podcast, if you love this episode, give us a review and tell me why and tell me what books mean something to you. You can contact me through my website, Marci brockman.com and I, and add your comments there.
[01:41:55] You can DME through Instagram at MarciBrockman27. You can find me through Facebook at Marci527 or MarciBrockmannartist. Just look up my name on Facebook. Scroll down to the show notes. All my links to my socials were there, and I hope that you live a beautiful creative whole hearted love filled life.
[01:42:23] And. The first person on the list of people you love is yourself. I love you. Thank you for being here and thank you for giving yourself permission to heal. You're the only one who can.