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.
We’ve talked about bypass in the last several episodes as seeking to only feel bliss, to avoid the messiness of a human life and human emotions. Which can bring up the idea that maybe we really need to double down on the grittiness of life in order to be on a genuine path. What about when suffering becomes the bypass of choice- as always, unconsciously and in innocence- we can often subconsciously emphasize the struggle. Or over-tolerate the struggle. In which case we lose access to joy, to ease, to the nourishing movements of life.
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?
In this episode we’re talking about what happens when you lose the sense that you “have it all together.” As humans we’re always trying to pin things down. We want to categorize, create step-by-step action plans, essentially identify and solidify life, including ourselves. As we evolve on our own paths, we’re noticing that our ability to conceive of ourselves as people who have it all together is slipping through our fingers, and we’ve got a lot to say about why that’s challenging. In the process though, we’re also offering a potential new way to orient towards life as the ability to pin things down falls away.
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.
In this episode we’re talking about the experiences we’ve had on the embodied spiritual path- including touching into our own pain bodies. Actually we’re literally experiencing our pain bodies while recording making for an extra revelatory talk! We know you’ve heard us use the term before so in this episode we share some definitions of what a pain body actually is.
Why are we- culturally- people who think we need to know things? There is an underlying assumption that we can know definitive capital T truths- and we want bedrock answers. We want to avoid the feeling of groundlessness that comes with not definitively knowing things. The trouble with that is that we look outside of ourselves for prescriptions of how to live.
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.