Poema Podcast
Poema S6 031 | Elle Rose on Being Gray Ace, Demisexual & Panromantic

Poema S6 031 | Elle Rose on Being Gray Ace, Demisexual & Panromantic

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. 

Poema S6 030 | Joe Potosi on Childhood Trauma & Growing Up Between a Rock & A Hard Place

Poema S6 030 | Joe Potosi on Childhood Trauma & Growing Up Between a Rock & A Hard Place

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.

Poema S6 029 | Elle Rose on Living with DPRD, ADHD & Depression

Poema S6 029 | Elle Rose on Living with DPRD, ADHD & Depression

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. 

Poema S6 028 | Rev Dr Shannon Polk on Systemic Racism & The Work of Change

Poema S6 028 | Rev Dr Shannon Polk on Systemic Racism & The Work of Change

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. 

Poema S6 027 | Sierra Nichole on Deconstruction & Progressive Fundamentalism

Poema S6 027 | Sierra Nichole on Deconstruction & Progressive Fundamentalism

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.

Poema S6 026 | Alexander Shaia on the Holiness of Uncertainty

Poema S6 026 | Alexander Shaia on the Holiness of Uncertainty

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.

Poema S6 025 | Jessica Kantrowitz on The Long Night of Depression

Poema S6 025 | Jessica Kantrowitz on The Long Night of Depression

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.

Poema S6 024 | KJ Ramsey on This Too Shall Last

Poema S6 024 | KJ Ramsey on This Too Shall Last

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. 

Poema S6 023 | Grief Matters: Shelby Forsythia on Permission To Grieve

Poema S6 023 | Grief Matters: Shelby Forsythia on Permission To Grieve

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. 

 

Poema S6 022 | Grief Matters 6: Aundi Kolber

Poema S6 022 | Grief Matters 6: Aundi Kolber

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. 

Poema S6 021 | Mike McHargue on Naming Grief & Why You Are A Miracle

Poema S6 021 | Mike McHargue on Naming Grief & Why You Are A Miracle

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.

Poema S6 020 | The 200th - Becky Castle Miller Interviews James Prescott

Poema S6 020 | The 200th - Becky Castle Miller Interviews James Prescott

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. 

Onwards... 

 

Poema S6 019 | Maria French & Barry Taylor on The Impact of the Pandemic on Church, Spirituality & Society

Poema S6 019 | Maria French & Barry Taylor on The Impact of the Pandemic on Church, Spirituality & Society

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

Poema S6 018 | Felicity Morse on Self-Care During The Pandemic

Poema S6 018 | Felicity Morse on Self-Care During The Pandemic

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. 

Poema S6 017 | Grief Matters: Mia Leigh Renna on the Grief of Recovery

Poema S6 017 | Grief Matters: Mia Leigh Renna on the Grief of Recovery

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. 

Poema S6 016 | Gricel Medina on Our Communal Grief & Showing Our Scars

Poema S6 016 | Gricel Medina on Our Communal Grief & Showing Our Scars

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.

Poema S6 015 | Jennifer Dawn Watts on 12 Step Spiritual Community & Mental Health During a Pandemic

Poema S6 015 | Jennifer Dawn Watts on 12 Step Spiritual Community & Mental Health During a Pandemic

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. 

Poema S6 014 | K.J. Ramsey on Self-Care, Spirituality & Grief in a Pandemic

Poema S6 014 | K.J. Ramsey on Self-Care, Spirituality & Grief in a Pandemic

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 

Poema S6 013 | Grief Matters 4: Kristen Kansiewicz on Church Therapy

Poema S6 013 | Grief Matters 4: Kristen Kansiewicz on Church Therapy

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 

Poema S6 012 | Grief Matters 3: Ana’s Story

Poema S6 012 | Grief Matters 3: Ana’s Story

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.

Poema S6 011 | Coronavirus: Grief, Solidarity & Hope

Poema S6 011 | Coronavirus: Grief, Solidarity & Hope

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'. 

Poema S6 010 | Grief Matters 2: Tracie Loux

Poema S6 010 | Grief Matters 2: Tracie Loux

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.

Poema 06 009 | Grief Matters 1: Kahhe’s Story

Poema 06 009 | Grief Matters 1: Kahhe’s Story

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)

Poema S6 008 | Melissa Camara Wilkins Gives You Permission To Be You

Poema S6 008 | Melissa Camara Wilkins Gives You Permission To Be You

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/ 

Poema S6 007 | Untangling Tales of Tarot with Wren Helmericks

Poema S6 007 | Untangling Tales of Tarot with Wren Helmericks

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 

Poema S6 006 | Jess Lawrence on The Creative Muse, Writing & Editing

Poema S6 006 | Jess Lawrence on The Creative Muse, Writing & Editing

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  

Poema S6 005 | Maile Smucker on The Joy & Healing Power of Writing

Poema S6 005 | Maile Smucker on The Joy & Healing Power of Writing

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. 

 

Poema S6 004 | Jim Woods On Creativity & Our Life Story

Poema S6 004 | Jim Woods On Creativity & Our Life Story

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. 

Poema S6 003 | Meredith McDaniel - In Both Want & Plenty

Poema S6 003 | Meredith McDaniel - In Both Want & Plenty

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.

Poema S6 002 | Andre Henry on Racism, Hope & Hard Pills

Poema S6 002 | Andre Henry on Racism, Hope & Hard Pills

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. 

Poema S6 001 | Sarah Bessey on Feasts & Miracles In The Wilderness

Poema S6 001 | Sarah Bessey on Feasts & Miracles In The Wilderness

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. 

 

Poema S5 033 | Finding Hope with Andy Mort

Poema S5 033 | Finding Hope with Andy Mort

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. 

Poema S5 032 | Alexander J. Shaia on Awakening, Transformation & Change

Poema S5 032 | Alexander J. Shaia on Awakening, Transformation & Change

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

 

Poema S5 031 | K.J. Ramsey on Finding Grace In Suffering

Poema S5 031 | K.J. Ramsey on Finding Grace In Suffering

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.

Poema S5 030 | Marlena Graves on Her Beautiful Disaster

Poema S5 030 | Marlena Graves on Her Beautiful Disaster

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. 

Poema S5 029 | Drew Brown on the Spirituality & Enduring Relevance of Superheroes

Poema S5 029 | Drew Brown on the Spirituality & Enduring Relevance of Superheroes

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.

Poema S5 028 | JulyDa Return

Poema S5 028 | JulyDa Return

September 11, 2019

This week I welcome back one my beloved friends, Julida Alter, one half the musical duo JulyDa. We talk about the creative process and inspiration behind their new music, and explore how our art is always a reflection of our own journeys, both in life and faith.

Julida also shares some new developments in her own life, and how these have been reflected in this new music, and reflects on how these developments might impact their creativity going forward. We then dive into two particular songs, 'You May Learn' and 'Aspiration', and the stories and creative process behind these songs, as well as their single 'Sea Of Glass'.

Julida always has such insight into the creative process, and how it connects with our own personal, spiritual journeys, this is well worth a listen. 

Poema S5 027  | Try Softer with Aundi Kolber

Poema S5 027 | Try Softer with Aundi Kolber

August 27, 2019

Therapist and author Aundi Kolber joins me today. Aundi is also a trauma survivor, and in this episode she shares her personal story of growing up with an alcoholic parent, difficult relationships with a parent and how this has impacted her spirituality, her career and her own parenting. 

Aundi explores in depth the concept of 'Trying Softer' and what it can mean for us. She shares some fascinating neurological insights into how our mind and body are not just connected, but one, and how they interact with our spirituality. Then she explains how all three of these areas can impact our mental health.

Aundi also shares the common problems she encounters as a therapist and shares the key lessons she's learned, and we also discuss the unique mental health challenges of being a mother. 

Aundi has so much wisdom and experience around mental health, recovering from trauma and how this impacts our personal and spiritual journeys, this is well worth a listen. Her book, 'Try Softer', is available for pre-order now.

Poema S5 026 | Stephanie Tait on The View From Rock Bottom

Poema S5 026 | Stephanie Tait on The View From Rock Bottom

August 20, 2019

Author, speaker, disability advocate and trauma survivor Stephanie Tait is my guest today. Stephanie has a challenging, discomforting and yet inspiring story. Stephanie is a trauma survivor in active treatment for C-PTSD, and also has lyme disease which remained undiagnosed through her childhood well into adulthood. 

The response from much of the evangelical church, who wished to hide the suffering, not speak or accept the truth about the unanswered prayers and struggles Stephanie was enduring, had huge implications for her life and her spiritual journey.

Stephanie shares this story, and explains what she believes is sorely lacking in our trending conversations around Christianity – to partner sound theology and practice with the unashamed acceptance of struggle in the present tense. This is a raw, honest and challenging conversation, from a voice all of us need to hear. 

To read the story in more detail, you can also read Stephanie's book 'The View From Rock Bottom', available now.

Poema S5 025 | We Too - Mary DeMuth on Sexual Abuse in the Church

Poema S5 025 | We Too - Mary DeMuth on Sexual Abuse in the Church

August 13, 2019

**Trigger Warning: Sexual abuse, harassment, physical abuse**

Mary DeMuth, author, speaker and advocate, is my guest today as we explore and discuss the very real issue of sexual abuse and harassment within the church, as she discusses in her new book 'Me Too'. Mary speaks with great candor and empathy about her own experiences with sexual abuse and the depth of this problem in the Christian church today.

In our conversation, and in her new book 'We Too', she encourages the church she loves to rise up and face the very real evil of sexual abuse and harassment, and shares practical steps churches and pastoral teams can take to confront and deal with this effectively in their own communities and to end this evil going forward. We discuss the impact abuse can have on its victims and how to effectively deal with these consequences.

We also explore what the Bible says to the sexually exploited, what harms and what empowers those who have been traumatized by abuse, and how Jesus provides us a relational framework that welcomes victims. 

You can find out more information on this issue and Mary's book, and get free resources, at metoo.org.

 

 

 

Poema S5 024 | Kevin Garcia on Jesus & Tarot

Poema S5 024 | Kevin Garcia on Jesus & Tarot

August 6, 2019

Today author, podcaster and coach Kevin Garcia is my guest. In this episode we explore how tarot readings can help  us deepen our relationship and connections not just to Jesus and the divine, but also our truest selves. 

Kevin unpacks some of the myths and misunderstandings around tarot and explains how he has used it to deepen his faith and his spirituality, to examine and build a deeper connection to himself. Kevin explores how our we need to engage with our imaginations more in order to grow both spiritually and personally, and we overlap into grief, encountering lost loved ones, transcendent experiences and much much more. 

Kevin has so much wisdom and insight into the spiritual journey and discovering our truest selves. This conversation was hugely transformative for me personally, and I'd highly recommend both this episode and Kevin's work. 

Poema S5 023 | Jessica Kantrowitz Loves Writing & The Enneagram

Poema S5 023 | Jessica Kantrowitz Loves Writing & The Enneagram

July 30, 2019

My beloved friend Jessica Kantrowitz joins me on the podcast for the first time. Jessica is a prolific writer, and her first book 'The Long Night' just went to pre-order! Today we talk about her book and the creative process behind the it, and about depression and mental health, before moving into another topic Jessica - the enneagram.

Jessica unpacks with great insight what the enneagram is, what it means, and how we can understand it better. We explore our own 'numbers' and see just how accurate the enneagram can be, what it can tell us about ourselves, and how it can help us in work and relationships. 

This was such a fun podcast to record, and I know you're gonna really enjoy it. And if you want more insight to the enneagram, it's definitely worth a listen!

(Pre-Order Jessica’s book now, right here)

Poema S5 022 | Christine Sine on Creativity & The Gift of Wonder

Poema S5 022 | Christine Sine on Creativity & The Gift of Wonder

July 23, 2019

Author Christine Sine joins me today, to talk about the divine nature of creativity. We discuss how to find joy in creativity, how the divine intended creativity to be fun, to be an adventure - and how we can explore this in all aspects of life, as well as our art. 

Christine shares how her creativity has deepened her spiritual journey and helped her to see a side to the divine which has a sense of fun, mischief, adventure and pure joy - creating for its own sake, for the joy of creating. She also explores how the creative process can be therapeutic, and improve our mental and emotional health. Christine argues as we explore this side of the divine we find it more in ourselves, and this helps our own creativity and connection to the divine, ourselves, and the divine creation we are part of. 

Christine has so much wisdom, on creativity, the divine journey and so much more. Her book 'The Gift of Wonder' is available now wherever books are sold.

Poema S5 021 | Shawn Smucker on Light From Distant Stars

Poema S5 021 | Shawn Smucker on Light From Distant Stars

July 16, 2019

I'm delighted to welcome back author Shawn Smucker to the podcast today. Shawn has written and published several books, and his latest novel 'Light from Distant Stars' has just been released. 

Today we discuss the novel, the message of the book and the creative process of writing a novel. We also explore the challenges and the experience of writing a novel, as opposed to a non-fiction book, how our creativity and stories we tell there often reflect parts of our own journey, and how the process of writing and creating can change us. 

Shawn always speaks with such incredible wisdom and experience on writing and the creative process, and there's lessons here for all of us involved in the act of creating art.

'Lights From Distant Stars' is available now wherever books are sold.

Poema S5 020 | Brandan Robertson & The Gospel of Inclusion

Poema S5 020 | Brandan Robertson & The Gospel of Inclusion

July 2, 2019

I'm delighted to welcome back my beloved friend Brandan Robertson this week. Brandan is a pastor, author and advocate for LGBTQ inclusion in culture and spiritual communities, and today we talk about his most recent book,  'The Gospel Of Inclusion'. 

We discuss his examination and interpretation of Biblical passages often used to condemn homosexuality, and how these have been misunderstood and taken out of context - and what their original meaning probably was. We also explore how we can build more inclusive spiritual communities, what true inclusion really means, and why it's at the heart of the message of Jesus. 

Brandan has so much wisdom and insight, and is doing such great work. His book, 'The Gospel Of Inclusion' is available now!

Poema S5 019 | Felicity Morse, Life Coach

Poema S5 019 | Felicity Morse, Life Coach

June 25, 2019

My friend Felicity Morse returns to the show today. She's an author, life coach and former journalist. Today she shares a bit of her own story, and how she found freedom and a healthier life more in tune with who she really was.

She talks about some of the common issues she encounters in life coaching and how we can overcome them - issues of fear, shame, identity, relationships and vocation, and shares some experiences, practices and lessons she's learned about how we can engage with these issues in a healthy way, and have better mental and emotional health. 

Felicity has great insight, wisdom and compassion, and is such fun to talk to, I know you're gonna love this episode. 

Poema S5 018 | Sarah Heath & The Authenticity Challenge

Poema S5 018 | Sarah Heath & The Authenticity Challenge

June 19, 2019

Today my friend Sarah Heath returns to the show, in an episode recorded live in her home. In this episode we talk about what it means to live a truly authentic life, and how that impacts our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with God.

Sarah shares some lessons and challenges she's explored which have helped her connect better with her trueset self, and live a life more true to who she is. These included giving up social media for a full week (or more), looking at yourself in the mirror and loving who you are, practicing mindfulness and reminding yourself of those who love you, who you know you can trust and will be there when you need them.

Sarah shares how these challenges impacted he and what he life looks like having explored these challenges. And finds she is living a more honest life, more herself than ever before. And she believes these challenges can do the same for all of us.

*****

You can explore more of these in Sarah's latest book - 'The Authenticity Challenge: 21 Days To A More Content Life', available wherever books are sold.

Poema S5 017 | Alia Joy on Glorious Weakness

Poema S5 017 | Alia Joy on Glorious Weakness

June 12, 2019

Author Alia Joy joins me on the podcast today, to share her powerful story. It's a story of grief, loss, illness, mental health and weakness - but also a story of love, joy and transformation.

It's a story of how things don't always work out how we want, they don't always end well, and life isn't always easy - but of how these experiences and stories don't take us away from the divine, but actually draw us closer. 

Alia shares her story with great courage and honesty, and it's truly inspirational. It's a story of glorious weakness. 

Poema S5 016 | Maria Francesca French on Spiritual Community, Fundamentalism & Transcendence

Poema S5 016 | Maria Francesca French on Spiritual Community, Fundamentalism & Transcendence

June 6, 2019

Today I'm joined by Maria Francesca French, teacher of things Christian and post Christian and faith futurist. Maria is director of Hatchery LA and runs the No More Circles project. 

In this episode we explore how what spiritual community looks like needs to change and evolve in the 21st century, the problems with the very concept of belief, as well as the issue of fundamentalism in both conservative and progressive Christianity. We discuss how we can find healthy spiritual community and how we need to not just change the how of belief, but ditch the idea of belief itself, and adopt what Maria calls a 'transcendent' approach. 

Maria has so much wisdom, insight, knowledge and personal experience of these topics, and hers is a voice worth paying attention to. Take a listen!

Poema S5 015 | Marc Alan Schelske on The Wisdom of Your Heart

Poema S5 015 | Marc Alan Schelske on The Wisdom of Your Heart

May 22, 2019

Today I'm joined by author and pastor Marc Alan Schelske, to discuss the purpose and and power of our emotions. 

We discuss how emotions are a God given gift, a source of wisdom and guidance - not something to be avoided. We explore examples of Jesus demonstrating emotions, both positive and negative, and what they can teach us about leaning into our emotions.

We also explore what recent research into our how brains work tells us about our emotions, and their purpose and meaning.

And finally we examine how we can pay more attention to our emotions, our behaviour and our bodies to understand what's really going in inside of us, and take practical action.