September 24, 2020
This is the second of my conversations with Chad E Jaragin, recorded 9 months after the previous episode, we reflect on the changes in the world in those 9 months.
We discuss the global pandemic, the death of George Floyd and increasing awareness of systemic racism, and the collective grief and trauma we are all experiencing, and it's impact - both present and future - on all of us.
We explore how grief and trauma, if we process it well, can be an engine for transformation, and how we can practice self-care, contemplation and have more grace with ourselves in the midst of all that's going on.
Chad then explores where we can find the divine in this time we're living and how our relationship to him/her/them, could be impacted by it - in positive and negative ways - and where we can find hope.
September 21, 2020
This week I'll be releasing two episodes with author & Priest Chad E Jarnagin - this first episode was recorded in January, before the global pandemic, murder of George Floyd, and the other traumatic events of January really unfolded. The second, coming out later this week was recorded this month.
Chad talks about his life & work, true spiritual transformation beyond simple deconstruction, and learning to be.
He explores how people are not able to move forward with new, healthy practices and rhythms without first healing from past toxins, abuse, and unhealthy patterns, and how we need to go on an inner pilgrimage to have our emotional and spiritual health transforme.
Chad explains how we can explore a discover and deeper peace and knowing within us, and improve our spiritual & emotional health through contemplative spirituality, and how contemplative practices can help us go deeper in intimacy with the divine, and with ourselves, as we are.
September 17, 2020
This week I'm joined by mental health advocate, author and podcaster Brittney Moses. Brittney works on issues at the intersection of faith, culture & mental health and is host of the Faith & Mental Wellness Podcast, studying clinical psychology at UCLA.
In this episode we explore the challenges the pandemic, lockdown and grief of 2020 has given us in terms of our mental health, our routines and our faith. We discuss how little day to day disruptions can impact us, and whats happening could affect us emotionally, mentally and physically - and what steps we can take to love ourselves better and take care of our mental health.
Brittney also tells her own story, of losing and coming back to faith, her mental health challenges, and how she began exploring the intersection between mental health and faith, becoming a mental health activist. She also talks about mistakes churches and pastors have made in dealing with mental health, and how we can create church communities which are trauma informed.
Brittney ends by saying how important it is for us - and for churches - to name the mental health conditions we're struggling with, and how this can be the beginning of healing and transformation, both in individuals and church communities.
September 9, 2020
My friend, writer and activist Jess Mally, joins me to tell her powerful story, and share her lived experiences of systemic racism*.
Jess shares the incredible story of how she tracked down her birth father, with the most random set of coincidences happening in a row - and how she rebuilt her relationship with him. She also shares about her challenges with depression, and how she has encountered systemic racism.
Jess goes on to talk about the racial murders in the US, the false accusations made by Amy Cooper and shares what it was like to observe these racial murders & incidents as a black person, including the grief and trauma this caused her personally and the collective grief of the black community.
She shares what it's like to feel unsafe as a black person, and then talks about the importance of anti-racism work, and the work white people need to do to bring about change.
*Please note this episode was recorded in early June, before the death of Chadwick Boseman and other racially-motivated murders or attacks since.
September 6, 2020
Today I'm joined by writer Shari A Smith. Shari is a blogger and writer for Ezer Rising, and today she tells her story of faith deconstruction, in the context of grief, and the global pandemic.
Shari talks about her upbringing and end times theology she grew up with, and how her journey led her to question her theology and her perspective on faith. Then we shift into talking about the grief of leaving evangelicalism and shift into talking about grief in the context of the pandemic and how all our lives have changed.
Shari also talks about how the dynamic of her relationship with God changed through deconstruction, and grieving what she'd left behind. She also shares how writing was a cathartic, therapeutic practice for her, and we discuss how writing and the creative process can help us process grief and our emotions generally.
Shari concludes by coming back to the divine truth she holds on to which gives her rest and peace, grounded in the reality of what we are living through - and how we're not alone.
August 31, 2020
Today I'm joined by Adam Asher, creator and host of 'The Edge of Adventure' show and podcast, where he takes his viewers to some of the most remote corners of the globe in search of what matters most & introduces his audience to some of the most inspiring travelers on the planet.
In this episode he talks about his work and his passion for travel and sharing stories, and shares some experiences of discovering unseen people doing incredible work in different parts of the world.
He shares about what he believes is our longing to do work which matters, to do something out of our normal routine - and make the most of our time here. And how this work can be something big or small, seen or unseen, but it all matters.
Adam concludes by saying our lives can become so much better when we stop centering ourselves, and look outwards to serving and honouring the needs, stories and experiences of others.
August 23, 2020
Today I'm joined by activist & writer Jo Luehmann. Jo tells her own story, her background in evangelical Christianity and journey out of this into an awareness and understanding of how it was actually part of a systemically racist, oppressive, patriarchal system, including purity culture.
Jo shares her journey out of this system and how it impacted both her marriage and her faith and how she deconstructed and decolonized her faith and found a new, more authentic understanding of Jesus spirituality.
Jo goes on to talk about how we can decolonize our own faith and theology, and how true faith/life deconstruction can only happen if it involves unlearning systemic racism and decolonizing.
Finally, Jo discusses how white people in particular can unlearn systemic racism and toxic theology, and find a faith which is free from the colonial, racist, patriarchal system which has been built around it.
August 16, 2020
I'm honoured to be joined by Rev Rob Lee today. Rob is a pastor and author who has bipolar disorder, who is known for his mental health and anti-racism work in the US.
Today he shares about life of a pastor during a pandemic, the experience of living with bipolar disorder as a pastor in a pandemic, and finding the divine in the midst of times of struggle and trauma.
He talks about how we need to sit with trauma, how we can find comfort in the midst of difficult times. He also discusses the power of healthy community, including church, to support those facing mental health challenges, and his own experiences of this.
We end with some thoughts and reflections on what life, church and faith will look like post pandemic, the scars we will carry - and whether will acknowledge them like Jesus did, or hide from them.
August 12, 2020
Today author and podcaster Megan K Westra joins me to discuss her new book 'Being Born Again & Again', and the idea that salvation isn't a product, or something we acquire - but an invitation to radical transformation.
Megan discusses how she learned how the message of the Bible has been twisted and distorted, in particular to serve political / capitalist, purposes and support oppressive, systemically racist systems. She tells me how God is forming a new family, where we all belong, and we're all connected.
Megan shares how she discovered how we can dig back to the roots of the Jesus story, and then allow ourselves to be truly challenged. She tells me the idea that the call of Jesus is a call to acquire, but a message to surrender and be radically transformed - and what this might mean for us.
Get Megan's book wherever books are sold, and find info on her work at meganwestra.com
August 9, 2020
**Trigger Warning: Domestic Abuse**
Today author and domestic abuse survivor Shirley Fessell joins me to share her powerful story of living with and surviving domestic abuse, how she got free - and how she took her story and used it to help others.
Shirley shares the seven levels of confusion victims of domestic abuse can get drawn into, and several practical steps to get out from under these confusions and find freedom from abuse & the abuser.
She also talks about how evangelical Christianity and church have played a role in enabling abuse and reminds us it is possible to get free, and begin again.
Find her work at: https://shirleyfessel.com/
August 2, 2020
Today my friend Holly Stallcup, Executive Director of Now She Rises, joins me to talk about the challenges of singleness - both coming from an evangelical Christian background and how the global pandemic and lockdown, have created new challenges and issues for single people.
Holly and I are both single so we were able to cover a lot of ground and share some of our own unique experiences as single people and challenges we are facing during lockdown, including loneliness and social disconnection, and its impact on mental health. We also talk about how things might look for singletons going forward in a post pandemic world, as well as acknowledging the gifts and freedoms singleness allows.
This is an important episode both for singletons and those in couples who know singletons - singleness is an issue we need to discuss and become more aware of collectively, in a culture tilted in favour of coupling, and Holly has some amazing insight into this.
July 26, 2020
Today researcher and podcast host Holly Oxhandler Phd, LMSW joins me to talk about how the church can deal better with mental health - in particular during and post pandemic in the new realities it presents.
Holly shares the challenges the church faces dealing with people with mental illness and shares her thoughts on how churches, social workers, therapists and other professionals can work together in a healthier way to provide positive support to those struggling with their mental health. She also shares practical steps churches can take to deal with the issue of mental heath in a much healthier way without stigma.
Holly also discusses how managing mental health, including in the church, post pandemic, will change and what we need to do to adapt - and how church and mental health professionals need to work together much more and better if we're to deal with the grief and trauma the pandemic had brought us.
July 19, 2020
Today author and speaker Marlena Graves returns to the podcast to talk about her new book 'The Way Up Is Down'. We explore how we can grow deeper in our spirituality, and come closer to the divine through emptying ourselves, through the act of surrender and letting go of materiality, ego, and pride - in contrast to how a lot of Western culture and even parts of the church have taught us.
Marlena tells her own story, of her recovery from the grief of leaving a church community which had hurt her, the challenges she faced with her relationship with God and how she came to a place of raw honesty in her interactions with the divine.
Marlena shares the raw truth about Jesus's example of how when we humble ourselves, surrender, pour ourselves out, it's there we find true intimacy with the divine, and freedom to grow and become more like the Jesus we follow.
July 6, 2020
Today I'm joined by Professor of Communication, interdenominational speaker and feature writer Heather Thompson Day. In this episode we discuss communication, and the power of words and stories to shape our lives, our circumstances and our relationships.
Heather shares how stories are what shape us, how we frame conversations can have an impact on how we work, and our spiritual journey. And she demonstrates how we can influences people's perspectives and opinions much more effectively, and communicate better, when we frame it in the context of story.
We also talk about how stories can shape our faith journey and our theology way more effectively than any academic, theological argument, because we can all connect over story. She reminds us that the best communicators are the best listeners, and how education allied your own story can make you a very communicator on a topic - but it begins with story. And we end by talking about why the Jesus story is so compelling.
June 28, 2020
In this episode Elle Rose returns to talk about being gray ace, demisexual and panromantic. Elle talks about what these are, what they mean and her own experience of self-discovery as she explored and named these core parts of her identity.
Elle talks about the challenges of acceptance of grays/demisexuals/panromantics both corporately and individually, sharing the challenges she faced accepting herself, as well as being accepted by others, and even by parts of the LGBTQ community, and the impact this can have on emotional and mental health.
Elle's is a story of discovering her true identity and finding peace with herself, and is one which will give hope to other grays. And for non-grays it will help understanding what living gray, demisexual and panromantic means, and allow us to be better allies.
June 24, 2020
**Trigger Warning: Domestic abuse, child abuse.**
Today I'm joined by author and mental health activist Joe Potosi. Joe courageously shares his story of childhood trauma and abuse, growing up in a broken home - and how this impacted him and his emotional & mental health.
Joe shares how he learned surviving does not mean forgetting; instead it means living and not allowing those who have abused us to live rent free in our heads.
Joe's is a story of tenacity, resilience, introspection, redemption and forgiveness, and ultimately triumph over these hardships. In spite of all that Joe endured, after the dust settled he was still standing and was able to rebuild his life again - and use his experiences to help others.
June 16, 2020
Today I'm joined by activist, artist and creator Elle Rose. In this episode Elle tells her story of living with ADHD, (DPRD Depersonalisation Derealisation Disorder) and depression. We explore in more depth what DPRD is, and what it's like to live with this rarely-discussed condition.
Elle also courageously shares the challenges she had in understanding this for herself, accepting herself and trying to convince both her own family and even medical professionals of this condition - and how this impacted her own emotional health. We discuss the challenges of finding a diagnosis for mental health conditions and how important and helpful it can be.
We also explore just how much ignorance and stigma still exists around mental health, and Ellen shares her own experiences of how even the medical profession and medical system in the US has been so unhelpful - and explains how those with mental health conditions need to push for becoming advocates for ourselves, do our own research, and be partners in our own treatment.
We also explore Elle's creative journey and making her art has been helpful and therapeutic, finding ways to express feelings she had no words for, and how unconscious things can be unlocked in the creative process. Before ending with a reflection on where we see mental illness in comic book movies & their characters, and how this can be helpful for us.
Elle's is a voice of honesty, courage, solidarity and hope - this is well worth a listen.
June 10, 2020
Today's guest is Rev Dr Shannon Polk. Shannon is thought leader on the topics of race, gender, class, and faith, as well and as doing work to to develop leadership training programs for women and people of color.
In this episode Shannon shares her own deeply challenging and powerful experiences of systemic racism, starting right the way from childhood, and shares a powerful story of how her white husband encountered and began to understand the systems of racism and white supremacy.
We also discuss the work Shannon does to change cultures of systemic racism in the workplace, and the challenges she encounters in doing this work - and what it takes to create a culture without systemic racism. We talk about the true cost of doing the work of learning and unlearning in regards to systemic racism, just how important this work is - and how white people can begin to do this work wherever they are.
For white people especially this will be a discomforting episode - but it has a message we all need to hear.
May 31, 2020
Today I'm joined by my friend, activist and writer Sierra Nichole, co-founder of Ezer Rising. In this episode - recorded pre-pandemic - Sierra shares her deconstruction story, from her beginnings and upbringing inn evangelicalism through progressive Christianity and beyond, in a short space of time.
Sierra also shares honestly about the abuse she suffered from fundamentalist progressive Christianity, and how exclusive and divisive this can be. We talk about what fundamentalism is, and the difference between a healthy progressive faith and a fundamentalist one. Sierra also talks about her own journey to become LGBTQ affirming, and what she learned about being an ally, doing the work of learning and unlearning beliefs, and how we need to be aware of and unlearn our own inbuilt biases.
Sierra also discusses the importance and responsibility of having a platform, and how we need to use our platforms to amplify and lift up others voices, in particular the voices of the marginalised and oppressed, and how she plans on doing this with her own platform - even suggesting some great names to follow (some of whom have been guests and are upcoming guests).
Sierra has so much wisdom on all these areas, and great humility - she was a great guest, this is well worth a listen.
May 25, 2020
This week my friend Alexander Shaia returns to the podcast to talk about the spiritual journey in the context of the pandemic. We explore how and why the world will never be same, the sacred grieving we're all going through, the and concept of moving from womb to tomb.
Alexander shares wisdom about darkness and the womb as the birthplace of new life, new growth and transformation - and how this can be true for all of us. He talks about how this metaphor is giving him hope, even in the midst of the struggles and challenges and the pandemic, and how this will change us in way we don't even know yet.
This episode is both a challenging and hopeful message we all need to hear right now.
May 19, 2020
My beloved friend Jessica Kantrowitz joins me on the podcast today to celebrate and talk about her new book, "The Long Night: Poems & Stories To Help You Through Depression".
Jessica shares her story of living with depression, how it impacted the course of her life.She shares vulnerably and honestly about the challenges of depression and how she learned practices and set boundaries which allowed her to be emotionally healthy.
Jessica also shares about how her journey with depression impacted her spiritual journey and her creative journey, and how writing in general, and in particular writing this book, has been important for her healing and emotional health.
Finally, Jessica shares some practical tips, wisdom and encouragement for all suffering with depression and anxiety - and gives us hope from her own experience, of how 'the long night' doesn't last forever, and there is hope and new life on the other side of depression.
'The Long Night: Readings & Stories To Help You Through Depression' is available to buy now. You can get in on Amazon here.
May 14, 2020
Today KJ Ramsey returns to the show to talk about her new book "This Too Shall Last". KJ shares a bit about her story of chronic illness, spiritual abuse and how she found God in the midst of her suffering.
KJ shares with great honesty about the struggle for the wait for a diagnosis, the shame she felt from those who doubted her and having to prove, and how this impacted her faith journey. She talks about how this taught her how to surrender, how to to the wilderness again and again and be vulnerable with God - and how there she encountered a God who had been vulnerable on her behalf.
This is a powerful, challenging, and hopeful story, a story of finding God in the midst of still unresolved suffering - a God who suffers in us and with us.
May 10, 2020
Today I'm delighted to welcome certified grief recovery specialist and author Shelby Forsythia to the show. We continue our examination of grief by both sharing our grief stories, and Shelby explores the lessons she learned about grief, both through her own experience of losing a parent and in training as a grief counsellor/specialist.
Shelby unpacks the idea of grief as a human experience, rather than a force we try to fight against, and unpacks the truth of how we all grieve in our own unique way. We also discuss how unacknowledged grief can impact us individually, culturally - and politically.
She shares the core truth of how we can give ourselves permission to grieve - to allow ourselves to experience grief in the way we need to, how this can be liberating and allow us to heal and live with our grief, seeing grief almost as a rite of passage rather than a heavy weight to carry.
May 4, 2020
Today we resume our series on grief. In an episode recorded just before the pandemic hit, therapist and author Aundi Kolber and I discuss grief from a therapeutic perspective. Aundi has a unique perspective both as a therapist, as as someone who has experienced grief and loss in her own life.
Aundi and I discuss why it's important to feel our grief, but why it's also important to not let ourselves get overwhelmed, and move out of the grief when we need to. Aundi talks about what she believes lies the heart of grief, and what healthy grieving can allow us to do. She shares her experience and expertise in guiding us how to grieve well and process our emotions and loss in a way which frees us from it power and allows us to move forward with our lives after loss.
Although we recorded this pre-pandemic, it now feels more relevant than ever, and Aundi has immense knowledge, wisdom and experience in grief and trauma, which we all need right now.
April 30, 2020
Today my friend, author and podcaster Mike McHargue joins me on the show to discuss his new book 'You Are a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass)', and our emotional responses to the current pandemic.
Mike and I discuss the collective grief we're all experiencing and the importance of taking care of our emotional health in the midst of this pandemic, the science behind it, the consequences of not doing it - and the steps we can take to be present in our own lives and emotions right now.
Mike then shares very honestly the story behind the book, the trauma of his heart condition which impacted not just his physical health but his finances and emotional health, as well as the grief of losing a beloved friends, the anxiety and panic attacks he experienced - and the changes he had to make to get himself physically, mentally and emotionally healthy again.
He also unpacks some truths he discovered about ancient survival mechanisms still impact us now, how our environment impacts our behaviour way more than he realises. He shares what happens in our brain when we confront our grief and trauma instead of hide from it, and leaves us with wisdom about how we can love ourselves, engage with our trauma, and remember we are all a living, breathing miracle.
April 26, 2020
Today it's the 200th episode of the podcast, and to celebrate my beloved friend and former guest Becky Castle Miller interviews me!
We discuss all sorts of things, with some challenging and honest questions like
- What do I believe & the role of Jesus in my life
- The unhealthiest point in my personal journey, how I got to the healthiest...and the bits in-between.
- Why and how did I start the podcast, and my all-time favourite guests.
And on a lighter note, there's a few lighting rounds involving Doctor Who (obviously), favourite books, favourite kind of tea, and more.
This episode was such a joy, and I'm so grateful to Becky for asking such great questions, and to all of you for listening every week, you make this all possible.
April 22, 2020
Today Maria French and Barry Taylor of H&Co join me to discuss the wider impact of the global pandemic on each of us individually, as well as corporately. We explore the impact it's already having, on society and in our interactions and relationships - and the challenge of loneliness and solitude.
We then move into a deeper discussion on the impact on the wider church, on how we have spiritual community and the use of technology, both in church and in our culture, and why things have changed forever - and won't go back.
Finally we examine the potential impact on people's own spiritual and personal journeys, the opportunities this could bring, and our grounds for hope in this difficult period for us all.
This was an insightful and eye-opening conversation, Maria and Barry both have expert philosophical, cultural and theological insight and help unpack our experiences of the pandemic and it's potential impact in a way which both challenges and inspires.
Check out their work at handcogroup.com.
April 19, 2020
Today I'm joined again by life coach Felicity Morse. Together we discuss our emotional and trauma response to COVID19, the impact it can have on our well being, and practical steps to help our emotional health during lockdown.
Felicity shares her own struggles, and steps she's taking, and some of the emotional challenges we might face - and outlines some healthy and unhealthy responses to this.
Felicity reminds us how we're all unique, and how we all might be responding to the pandemic in our own unique ways, that all of these are acceptable. She reminds us to have grace with ourselves and not put massive expectations for ourselves right now, and outlines some basic principles and practical steps of self-love and self-care we can all take that can centre us and help us be fully present, however we are reacting and responding.
April 13, 2020
**Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment & Domestic Abuse**
Today, Mia Leigh Renna joins me to share her heartbreaking story of sexual abuse, domestic abuse and recovery - and the grief we experience when we are forced to leave an old life behind and begin again. She also highlights how little support there is for military women who have suffered abuse, both within and outside the structures she had known.
Mia shares how she had to rediscover her true identity and create a new life for herself, acknowledging what had been and receiving support to find healing, but choosing to be free of its power.
This was recorded before the current pandemic, but feels more relevant than ever. It's a story of a different kind of grief - the kind of grief all of us are carrying right now, of a life we've had to leave behind.
April 10, 2020
Today, pastor, writer and activist Gricel Medina joins me for a special Good Friday reflection. Together we explore our experiences of the pandemic, and we discuss the collective grief we are all carrying.
Gricel shares her own experiences as a pastor right now, and we also discuss the long term impact of the pandemic, how the world has changed - and why we can't go back.
Then we go into more depth about our communal grief, how we can confront this in the context of the death and resurrection of Jesus. How Jesus chose to face and feel his pain, the significance of Jesus resurrecting with all his scars, rather than without them, and how important it is for our freedom and new life beyond the pandemic, as we process our collective grief.
April 5, 2020
This week my friend, therapist, qualified pastor & podcaster Jennifer Dawn Watts joins me to explore the benefits of 12 steps when used in the context of spiritual community, and uses her experience as a therapist to share advice and practical wisdom about managing our mental and emotional health during the pandemic.
Jennifer shares her own experiences in 12 step spiritual community, and why she believes this model is increasingly beneficial in the world we're living in. We talk about how the 12 step process can be beneficial for those going through a faith deconstruction or dealing with trauma, and how this model can help many of us in the circumstances we're all faced with right now.
Then Jennifer talks about living in the reality of the pandemic, her own experience, how these circumstances can impact our mental health. She shares some very simple, practical steps we can all take to ensure we're acknowledging our collective and individual trauma, but also able to free ourselves of its power, and take care of our own mental, emotional and physical health.
March 29, 2020
In today's special episode my friend, author and therapist K.J. Ramsey returns to the show to discuss how we can practice positive self-care during the COVID19 pandemic, and explore how this impacts our mental & emotional health and our spirituality - and how we can respond in a healthy, life giving way.
KJ & I also explore in depth how what we're all experiencing is a form of grief. We discuss why it's absolutely crucial we acknowledge the grief and fear we're carrying, rather than deny it, and KJ outlines some simple practices which can help us understand and process this grief in a healthy way, so we are no longer carrying the weight of it alone.
KJ also discusses how we can draw closer to God during the pandemic, and somehow find the divine abiding within us in the midst of our suffering - and how God suffers with us.
You can find KJ's work and get her book 'This Too Shall Last' at kjramsey.com
March 23, 2020
Kristen Kansiewicz has served as a counselor in a church setting since 2005 and has a BA is psychology. Today she joins us to explore how the church has failed in how it's dealt with grief, trauma and mental health in the past, and offers practical solutions to how we can do better now - which feel even more relevant with COVID19 having such an impact on the world.
Kristen heads up 'Church Therapy', an organisation committed to providing trained therapists and counsellors to churches to support congregations and help churches confront trauma, grief and mental health more effectively, and talks about this work and how communities of faith can begin to deal with this constructively.
She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision from Regent University. She graduated with a Master of Arts in Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wheaton College, so is an expert in this field - and has a lot of wisdom to share, both from her training and experience.
**Please note - this was recorded pre-COVID19, hence there being no reference to it in the episode, however much of what we discussed feels very relevant right now**
Find out more about Kristen's work at www.churchtherapy.com
March 15, 2020
**Trigger Warning: Emotional, physical and spiritual abuse**
Today in the third part of our series Grief Matters, my friend Ana shares her powerful story.
In it we explore a not just the grief of losing someone you love, but another kind of grief - the grief and trauma of leaving evangelical church behind, the grief of deconstruction, and trauma of abusive relationships and leaving those behind to begin a new life.
Ana's is a powerful testimony, but it's also a story of hope. It's a story of how when we have the courage leave a painful and difficult life behind, there is the chance for something new and powerful to begin. That when we grieve well, there is a chance of resurrection in our own lives.
March 14, 2020
Today, a bonus episode of the podcast. In this episode I reflect on the impact of the coronavirus - our individual and collective, fear, anxiety and grief. I share how it's impacted my life, and how none of us are alone in our experiences.
I also speak about the opportunity to learn to grieve and lean into the pain, to provide solidarity and support to each other, to connect more deeply with ourselves and each other, and finder a deeper, wider perspective - and even small joy - in the journey we're on together.
This is, at it's heart, a podcast about how we are not alone. You are not alone.
If you need someone to chat to, or community, connect with me on Twitter at @JamesPrescott77 and join my new online community - 'Poema Podcast - Continuing the Conversation'.
March 8, 2020
In the second of our series Grief Matters, I'm joined by speaker and artist Tracie Loux. Tracie shares the story of the loss of her son Mattie, the journey of his illness and eventual death, and her own experience during this journey.
Tracie talks about the 'collateral damage' of grief, how it impcts our work, our marriages, our relationships and even our daily habits, and how she survived her own collateral damage and began to create a new life for herself.
Tracie also shares how she found healing in her art, and also discovered a different level and type of grief - grief for her own life before Mattie's passing, a life she lost.
Tracie has a powerful story, as well as incredible wisdom and insight on surviving grief and learning to thrive. I know you'll love this episode.
March 1, 2020
Today we begin a new series on the podcast - Grief Matters - where we will hear stories of grief and loss, talk to therapists and grief counsellors, about the important subject of grief, loss and death.
In this episode my friend and musician Kahhe shares the story of the loss of a parent, the impact this had on her life, her creativity, and how it changed her perspectives on life, spirituality and relationships.
(*Please note there for slight sound issues with the recording, but I've shared this episode as I believe this story needs to be heard)
February 23, 2020
Today I'm joined by author Melissa Camara Wilkins to talk about her book 'Permission Granted'. Melissa shares her story and talks about he she moved from trying to fit into everyone else's perceptions and ideas of who she should be, to connecting to her truest self.
We discuss the challenges, benefits and costs of choosing to be your true self, including all your imperfections and messiness. Melissa explores the challenge of being your true self in front of friends who've only known you as your old self, and the grieving of leaving certain relationships behind - but explains how it's only when we embrace our true self we can find real connection.
Melissa then moves on to talk about how we can learn to listen to our intuition, and learn to trust ourselves, and grow in confidence in our true selves - and finally, to love ourselves as we are.
You can find more of Melissa's work at https://melissacamarawilkins.com/
February 16, 2020
In this episode I welcome Wren Helmericks, a tarot reader and writer. In this episode we explore what exactly Tarot is, and what it isn't. Wren discusses the myths, fears and misconceptions about Tarot, and the genuine benefits it can bring to our lives and indeed to our spiritual journeys.
Wren then does two readings live on the show - one for me, and one for all of you listeners. The one for me was hugely beneficial and demonstrates how useful and insightful Tarot can be. I'd love to hear your feedback on how the reading for listeners impacted you.
There's so much we need to learn about tarot and Wren is a great teacher.
Find more of her work at untanglingtarot.com
February 9, 2020
Today editor, fiction author and writing expert Jess Lawrence joins me on the podcast. We explore the challenges of discovering new creative ideas and different ways to release the creative muse.
We also discuss the process and challenges of writing and editing, how writing even fiction can tap into our own stories and be healing and transforming, and using her own experiences, the challenge of finding courage to release your art into the world. And we touch on how so much of the creative process can both reflect and impact the stories of our own lives.
Jess has great insight and understanding of the creative process and how it impacts & reflects our lives, this is well worth a listen.
Find her online at @JessLaw247 and jesslawrence.co.uk
February 2, 2020
Today I'm joined by the wonderful Maile Smucker, writer and author. Maile is also co-host of 'The Stories Between Us' podcast alongside her husband, multiple guest Shawn Smucker.
Maile tells us her own writing journey, and the challenges of how she has continued to explore her own writing gift & calling as her husband's professional writing and publishing career has thrived. She also discusses writing's own power to heal and transform us, and how to find joy in the work, rather than the result - and in seeing other writer thrive.
Finally we explore how in creativity and in particularly in writing, we're always trying to work out some fear, insecurity, issue, or question, and how doing this can bring healing and change.
January 26, 2020
Today my good friend Jim Woods returns to the podcast to explore our lives as stories. We discuss being authentic in our lives and our art, how we can confront pain and explore it & how authentic creativity helps us lead healthier lives.
Jim talks about what genuine connection really is and how we find out, setting healthy boundaries to guard our emotional health, including how social media use has impacted his own mental health.
He also talks about how we can grow and develop as artists, and gain confidence and trust in ourselves by showing up for ourselves and our art - and of course, we discuss the enneagram.
Jim is a fountain of wisdom on creativity and our personal journeys, and it's always such fun to chat to him.
January 21, 2020
I'm delighted to welcome author and qualified counsellor Meredith McDaniel to the show today. Meredith runs a private counselling practice called 'Milk & Honey' and has just released her first book, "In Want & Plenty".
In today's episode we explore the concept of abundance, of being in need, and divine provision. Meredith talks about how God can often give us what we need even when we don't know what we need - and the radical concept of being in both want and in plenty at the same time.
We also discuss moving into the pain rather than walking around it, how often the cost of growth is feeling pain, and how in growth, things often need to get worse, before they get better - and how God is part of this journey.
If after listening you want to explore this more I'd highly recommend Meredith's book 'In Want & Plenty' - and it's available now wherever books are sold.
January 13, 2020
Today I'm joined by musician, podcaster and activist Andre Henry. Andre and I explore the issue of systemic racism in western culture, and Andre unpacks for us the racism which many of us don't see, or don't know, which can come from ibuilt white privilege.
Andre shares how his creative work and his faith has been impacted and challenged by the increasing racism in US culture, and shares some of his frustrations in his work and in those who don't see they are part of the problem.
Andre discusses some initial practical steps all of us can do to combat racism, and how there is no middle ground in racism - either we're part of the problem, or we're actively anti-racist and doing the work of change. He also shares with us some great resources to help us do this, and his own biggest inspirations, and how he practices finding hope.
This was a challenging, discomforting and inspiring conversation, with hard pills we all need to hear.
January 6, 2020
A new season of Poema Podcast begins with a conversation with author and speaker Sarah Bessey. Sarah joins me for the third time, to talk about her latest book 'Miracles & Other Reasonable Things', which charts her spiritual and personal journey of the last few years.
Sarah shares a bit of her own deconstruction journey, her experiences both in the church and in her own life which challenged her faith in unexpected ways, and how a post miracle experience wasn't the happy ever after the Christian church often paints to be. She explores deconstruction and non-dual thinking and how the challenges this brings with traditional / evangelical language of the church, and how she has attempted to reconcile the two.
Sarah also goes into great depth about the experience of being in the wilderness, and how she discovered that far from being a lonely solitary place, it can be a place of great community, feasting, and joy, even in the midst of suffering. And of course, Doctor Who inevitably came up!
Finally, Sarah shares briefly about the grief of losing her beloved friend Rachel Held Evans, and how this has impacted her relationship with God and her spiritual journey.
This was such an inspiring and fun conversation, I hope it's encouraging for you too.
October 16, 2019
In today's episode I welcome my friend and podcaster Andy Mort back to the show. We live in difficult, dark and dangerous times. The political climate in the West, in particular the US and the UK, is divided, heated and bleak, and we have a climate change emergency. Right now, it's difficult to find hope.
Today Andy and I explore the the real issues behind what's happening in our world, and how looking at history can help us understand the present - and discover that in fact, there might be many reasons to hope and discover some joy, even in the midst of how things are now.
I finished this conversation feeling so much more hopeful, about our world and my own life, I hope you do too.
October 9, 2019
My beloved friend Alexander J. Shaia returns to the podcast today. In this episode, we discuss the process of awakening, transformation and change in our personal and spiritual journeys.
Alexander shares how we need to be awakened to our need for growth, go through a process of transformation, before we see genuine change - and how this is an ongoing process of growth for us, and we discuss what this looks like in practice.
There's so much in this episode I can't explain it all in a short summary - but Alexander is one of the wisest, deepest thinkers I know, and he has a deep well of knowledge to share. This is such a great conversation, one of my favourites.
You can find out more about Alexanders' work & get more resources of his at www.quadratos.com
October 1, 2019
Today I welcome author and therapist K.J. Ramsey to the show. K.J. tells us her story of how an experience of deep suffering through an illness which changed her day to day life dramatically. The God she had known or thought was God, was no longer sufficient. But in the process, she discovered a new depth to her spirituality and understanding of Jesus.
K.J. explains how we can try and explain and justify our suffering, and the reality that we simply can't understand suffering, and it's OK that we don't. She explores how we can be fully present in our lives now and discover deeper depths to the divine mystery, and a greater knowledge of who we are.
Finally, K.J. explores how she discovered solidarity with Jesus in his own emotional, physical and mental suffering, and discovered how it's in the midst of suffering we can actually draw closer to him - and we explore how this is contrary to the Hollywood, prosperity 'God solves the problem and gets you to heaven' story which evangelical Christianity tries to sell us, which isn't even suffering.
K.J. has such insight on suffering and the divine, a background in therapy and knowledge the neuroscience of suffering, and has such wisdom to share here, it was a true joy to speak to her.
September 24, 2019
My guest today is author and speaker Marlena Graves, an expert on spiritual formation. Marlena shares her personal story, of a traumatic childhood, struggling with mental illness - and how in the midst of this wilderness, she found a glimpse of the divine.
Marlena shares with us how the suffering and wilderness helped her discover the deeper truth of a loving God, who meets us in our brokenness, a God who isn't constrained by church, theology or religious certainty, but can still be found within spiritual community and the Christian faith.
Marlena discovered how the desert experiences, the very real suffering we experience, when prayers aren't answered, can actually connect us to Jesus way more than the mountaintop experiences, and the divine can be found to be faithful even there.
September 18, 2019
Today my friend Drew Brown joins me for the first time. Drew is a musician and advocate, and also a fellow fan of superheroes and comic book characters. He loves exploring the deeper meaning behind the on-screen journeys of many comic book characters and what meaning they and relevance they can have for our own journeys, including the journey of deconstruction.
In this episode we explore the spirituality of comic book characters, and the identity, stories, and character arc of several major comic characters we see in movie, including villains.
We talk about the stories and characters which resonate with us and our journeys, and indeed the cultural warnings and messages we can see regarding deconstruction and mental health, in the respective stories of Steve Rogers (Captain America), Bruce Wayne (Batman) and arguably the greatest comic book villain, the Joker. We also explore the links between the stories of Superman, Jesus and Moses.
This is both one of the most fun episodes I've ever done, yet also one of the deepest.