Melanie focuses on thoughts and writings from such luminaries as Paula Allen Gunn, Simon Ortiz, Joy Harjo, and Barry Lopez in this episode.
Some of the "bad" words touched on are considered unimportant and light-weight and New-Agey, and even worse, often used to minimize, criticize, and shame those who dare to align themselves with such ridiculous concepts as living a slow, contemplative life, or consciously choosing love as a touchstone for decision-making.
This episode is really about reclaiming the power of language to catalyze transformation.
Katy Butler is an award-winning journalist, public speaker, and bestselling author. She’s a thought leader about end-of-life care in the national movement for medical reform.
Her first book was Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death and was named one of the 100 Most Notable Books of 2013 by the New York Times.
It may seem a bit macabre to be talking about death, and yet … paradoxically, the more we learn about the softer technologies of the human heart, a phrase from Ms. Butler’s piece, the more we enhance our happiness and wellbeing.
The second half of this episode features the writings of Robin Wall Kimmerer, scientist, professor, enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and author of the rightly celebrated book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.
In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer says:
“Joanna Macy writes that until we can grieve for our planet we cannot love it—grieving is a sign of spiritual health. But it is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again. Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair.”
It seems ridiculous to celebrate anything these days. And yet, we know from all the neuroscience research that celebrating is quite important for our brains. Which means it’s important for our lives.
Melanie's inspiration for this episode was a big-little thing that recently happened to her.
Lots of good neuroscience, beautiful blessings from beloved Mirabai Starr, deep writings from The New York Times bestseller Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor.
Plus! Poems from David Whyte and John O'Donohue and Maya Angelou and Dr. Martin Luther King, and some of Melanie's book proposal writing on collective trauma.
It's a packed show, folks. Listen in, won't you?
Melanie shares ideas, thoughts, and how-tos for easing up on ourselves.
The conflict between way too much to do and the desperate desire for rest that so many of us are struggling with makes for a toxic soup of stress and anxiety.
She dives into a chapter from the book Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age written by the psychotherapist, anthropologist, and author Mary Pipher. The chapter is "Building A Good Day". (The advice, of course, applies no matter our gender or age.)
"To be happy we need to learn how to structure a day that is rich in meaning and joy-producing activities. How we spend our time defines who we are. There is no magical future. Today is our future. Our lives are events that unfurl in real time, minute by minute. Right up there with the need for oxygen, food, and sleep is the need to have a reason to get out of bed every morning."