Welcome to our 100th episode! And I think it’s appropriate that our 100th episode is basically a popcorn episode about what transformative nuggets are sticking with us from so many of our conversations and experiences in recent months. In particular, our recent episode with Neelam, but also what has really stuck with us in other episodes and conversations, and even at the SAND conference.
Today we’re talking about when we are so contracted by very real things like chronic illness, chronic pain, or ptsd and we can’t reach a state of gratitude, or relief, and certainly not joy. Instead, we are coping with responses of our nervous systems and our physiology that feel much more akin to being trapped in a hell realm.
Loch Kelly is the author of Shift into Freedom, and the creator of the recent audio course offering through Sounds True, Effortless Mindfulness Now. He is a meditation teacher, psychotherapist, and founder of the non-profit, Open-Hearted Awareness Institute. Loch has collaborated with neuroscientists at Yale, UPenn and NYU. He has been teaching seminars, supervising clinicians and practicing awareness psychotherapy in New York for 30 years. It’s also worth mentioning that he teaches in our favorite lineage, the human being lineage! Which makes him a perfect teacher to have on Bliss+Grit. We so admire how he talks about awakening as a normal developmental potential for all human beings, and how his approach is so practical and available.
In this episode we talk about a portion of Vanessa’s notes from her recent retreat with Matt Kahn that we found particularly resonant. We’re talking about no knowing, and how and why “I don’t know” is a powerful, clear, open, and relieving position to come from.
This week, inspired by a quote from Gangaji, we’re taking it deeper with a conversation on the importance of vigilance. If you’ve been listening to us for a while you know we’re usually speaking on how hyper-vigilance can create tensions and feed fears of unworthiness, yet, we also want to stay alert to ways in which our unconscious programs are running. Moreover, we are served in bringing our attention towards our own innate wholeness.
This has been an exploration for us for a while now in our own lives, and in many of our episodes. In today’s conversation we get into topics such as how concepts like blame, deserve and fairness are beliefs that can contribute to problematizing tendencies, how making ourselves into a problem is an epidemic, how to see life through a different kind of lens, and how to hold yourself from the part of you that knows there is nothing to solve.
Is it possible that the more challenging aspects of life are supposed to affect us a lot? To touch our hearts deeply? To hurt even? Why do we make suffering- our own and others- a problem rather than just a part of our alive nature? What we may not realize when we begin these practices that the root question of the spiritual path is actually, "Are you going to live or not?"
Today we’re talking about how extraordinary it is to come home to our ordinariness. One of my favorite Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche quotes is: “we have to be willing to be completely ordinary.” In a culture where the goal is always to become extra special, more unique, more successful, or just to strive towards being a somebody it’s worth pondering what the true gifts are of allowing yourself to rest in your ordinariness.
We're pondering the age old question, “Am I responsible for others?” It’s a trickier question than at first glance- it can be utilized and lived out in a myriad of ways. If we can’t fix, control or save people, and if doing the spiritual person disappearing act isn’t helpful, what does genuine responsibility to one another look like?
This week’s episode is about exploring the ways in which we can come to identify with ourselves as “someone with problems.” Acknowledging aspects of ourselves that are unhealed or messy can be painful, yet we can still have this funny way of seeing and representing ourselves as the broken one.
It seems in spiritual worlds we swing the pendulum between ignoring the body completely to making it the total focus of attention. What do those extremes look like and what might a useful middle way be?
We all want more peacefulness but we can’t tranquilize ourselves into peacefulness. When we use our paths as a kind of energetic lid on things we don’t want to face t’s not just a desire for peace- it is a fear mechanism. We talk about how the labor of facing the things that aren’t in alignment for us can indeed be painful, but as with any birth there is something else on the other side of all that labor.
What came up for us in our last couple of episodes is the way we separate ourselves into “me” and “my body”- and how that separation- that perception that we are NOT our bodies- is where we objectify ourselves and lose access to the wisdom of the body.
Whether we’re talking about gaining more psychological health, or the big ole wake up call of the spiritual path, either way you are eventually going to shed some part of yourself that used to feel like you- both to yourself and to those around you- and then... what happens next?! Vanessa and I are talking about navigating the identity crises that are a natural part of any healing journey.
Today's episode is a "Dear Bliss+Grit" in which we’re responding a listeners question on Self-Compassion. Is there no place for self-discipline? For pushing yourself to do things that you know could be good for you even though you don’t want to? How can you differentiate between fear holding you back from taking an action vs a genuine yearning for another experience?
Today’s episode is all about Self-compassion. We got a lot of responses after our Pain Bodies in Action episode and we thought it was time to speak about what to do as you’re noticing these old wounds- which includes a whopping dose of self-compassion. From breaking down the nuance of self-compassion to karma to discussing how to find safety in the body, we’re all up in the compassion conversation.
Is the "law of attraction" is a real thing, and whether it is or not, is it something to turn our attention towards? On the other hand should we just collapse into acceptance or is there a way to expand into acceptance?
For our second episode get to know host Brooke Thomas a little better when her co-host Vanessa Scotto interviews her.
Meet Bliss and Grit host Vanessa Scotto as interviewed by co-host Brooke Thomas.