If you want to really know me, listen to this interview. The big question for me in this lifetime is, “Does everything matter or does nothing matter?” A few months ago, I gave the most personal interview I’ve ever done. My friend, mentor, and storytelling hero, John Bucher, introduced me to Josh Chambers and Leiv Parton, hosts and producer of the podcast, How Humans Change. My interview is now live. our wide-ranging conversation includes career, science, sustainability, the health of the planet, biomimicry, dinosaurs, product development, therapy, curiosity, change, the economy and capitalism, time, technology, work, culture, implicit bias, life-changing moments, storytelling, writing, poverty, trauma, writing, my book, mental health, strength, resilience, therapy, fear, courage, my apartment building fire, how my plane got struck by lightning, and so much more. Despite these dark topics, there is a lot of light, fun, laughter, and healing in this interview. It’s the most personal interview I’ve ever given, and some of the details I reveal about my personal path and past I have never discussed publicly before now. I hope you enjoy the podcast episode and that it inspires you to live the best life you can imagine.
This week I’m speaking at a social justice event at a high school in New York. The basis of my talk is about mental health and healing. My main points are:
-We can say our weak things in a strong voice.
-The function of freedom is to free others by telling our story.
-We need to show up for others the way we want them to show up for us.
What do you think?
Yesterday, I did an interview for a podcast called How Humans Change. I spoke with hosts Josh Chambers and Leiv Parton about change, transformation, death, trauma, writing, mental health, choices, poverty, technology, career, the passage of time, therapy, science, dinosaurs, biomimicry, super powers, and how healing, while difficult, is the best motivator of all. It’s my most personal interview to-date.
Some people who hear it will be surprised, and others will have answers to some long outstanding questions that I have rarely discussed in the past. I’m making a more concerted effort to address these topics thoughtfully, authentically, and often.
I always love meeting members of my tribe and these guys are definitely part of it. Thank you to my amazing friend and mentor, John Bucher, for connecting me to them. I’ll share the episode link when it’s live. Until then, give their first season a listen by clicking here.
The world is heavy right now. And if you’re feeling down about the state of the world, the state of our country, then please know that’s only because you’re human. You have empathy and compassion for others. You have a heart and a mind and a spirit that wants this world to be a better place for all beings.
I’m working on a new project now with a few people who want all of us to be okay by giving people a space to talk about why we not might not be feeling okay in these turbulent times. We’re meeting today and I’ll be talking a lot more about this project in the coming weeks.
Until then, let me know if you’re okay. And let me know if you’re not okay and how I can help. We’re in this together.
I’m so honored to be a part of the #ShatteringStigmas series on the wonderful book blog It Starts at Midnight. I’ve been following Shannon’s excellent writing, and when I saw that she was doing a program around erasing the stigma of mental illness, I wanted to share the story behind the story of the mental health plotline in my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. Shannon gave me the chance to do that, and it is one of the first times that I am speaking about my own struggles and the healing process of writing my book. I hope you’ll check out the story on Shannon’s site. There is an excerpt of it below.
“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” ~Rumi
“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” ~Leonard Cohen
These two quotes gave me the title for my young adult book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. But what the title doesn’t tell you is that there was a long and winding road, often painful and treacherous, that brought me to Emerson. For me, she’s not just a character derived from my imagination. She is the manifestation of a journey that showed me that we are stronger, braver, and more courageous than any of us can ever imagine. To me, she is the very definition of life.
In the five years leading up to when I first put pen to paper to write her story, I had been struggling with the effects of PTSD. On September 5, 2009, one of my neighbors in New York City blew up her gas stove. She had been cooking, oil spilled, and rather than shut off the gas, she just ran out of the building. I was in my apartment on the fourth floor. I had just gotten out of the shower and noticed that the radiator in my kitchen was hot and making a ticking sound. I looked down at the floor around the radiator and saw the tiles heaving up and down. Something was terribly wrong, but I didn’t know what. I grabbed my keys (which now seems completely futile) and went out of my apartment to knock on my neighbor’s door downstairs. They had been doing construction on that apartment and I thought that may be causing the tile and radiator issue. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
The second I walked out of my apartment, I was consumed by an unending cloud of black smoke. Read more…