EPS 38: Friendship as an Improvisational Art- Lori Neff is back!

EPS 38: Friendship as an Improvisational Art- Lori Neff is back!

Broadcasting pro, Lori Neff is back, as promised, and this time we have a great conversation spanning a few interesting topics and we have plenty of fun and laughter along the way too.

Visit Lori’s website HERE and make sure to listen to her new podcast that offers a variety of prayer exercises that can breathe fresh life into your devotional practice!
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What was the biggest fiasco at Midday connection?

Why is just a 5 year window the ideal beauty apex for women we’ve agreed to anyway?

Will powdered wigs make a comeback?

Lori’s tale of the cringe-worthy “friend-date” gone wrong…

What makes a great friend and what might an improv class have to do with it?

And much more. ENJOY!

Scroll down for shownotes!

MIN 1
The worst fiasco at Midday Connection

whoops!

MIN 3
What does a radio producer do?

MIN 6
Do people often try to trick the call in shows?

MIN 8:30
The stickiness of the one mean person in a sea of good folks.
Hate mail

MIN 11
Ellen DeGeneres is okay with herself and it’s served as an inspiration for being okay with people who don’t like us.

MIN 14
Being okay in your own skin. The 40 year old happy milestone.

MIN 15
Anne Lamott thinking about her looks.

MIN 16
Going through the body-consciousness and anxiety in one’s 20s.

MIN 17
I’m supposed to be upset about how I look so they can sell products.

MIN 17:30
Michelle Van Loon

The five years of life that is cherished as valuable.

MIN 18:30
Powdered wigs and white faces to reflect the value of aged beauty of the time. The construct of cultural beauty changes radically.

MIN 19:30
Dress hem lines changed because of health concerns.

MIN 21:00
Fashion, modesty and mindlessness.

MIN 23:30
Friendship was solace and rescue for me (Lisa).

MIN 25:30
Lori’s experience with friendships early on.

MIN 26:30
How personality played a part and how her wonderful college roommate taught her how to be a good friend and have a healthy fight / disagreement.

MIN 28:00
People would commonly ask “How do I find friends?”
“I feel disconnected and I don’t feel I have a best friend” was a common report from listeners who contacted Midday Connection.

MIN 28:30
Being intentional about finding and keeping friends.

MIN 29:30
Friends for a season.

MIN 30:00
The tale of a bad “friend date”.

Friendship is a vulnerable risk. The emotional risk is there.

MIN 34:00
The challenge of couple friendships.

MIN 37:30
How men and women do friendship differently and how personality plays a part.

MIN 38:00
Having a club or a project to build the friendship around.

MIN 39:30
How Lori got into Improv and starting having a blast.

The tools that improv brings.

MIN 42:00
Amy Pohler “Yes, Please”


NPR show improv.

“yes, and”

Learning to be with others. Life-giving. learning love and empathy

MIN 43:00
I see you and here’s something else. I’m not invalidating you. and I’m going to add to it and then you can add to it. A socially healthy mode of being.

Being authentic and flexible.

MIN 44:00
Teamwork and sometimes it goes a direction you didn’t think it would go. You have to let the spark go and help the other person and the team.

MIN 45:30
Ego crushing?

MIN 46:00
Do things ever get messy?

Trust in the team and trust that the good idea with come back around.

MIN 46:30
The hilarious Office episode with Michael Scott being bad at improv. (Season 2 / Episode 9)

MIN 48:00
Going with the process and not be tense about life and improv of regular life.

the fear block our creativity and the ability to be present in the ordinary moment

MIN 50:30
The improv mindset will help in friendship.

MIN 51:00
Thinking of things as play and roll with things.

MIN 53:00


 

My new book is here. I’ll be reading some excerpts from it on the podcast soon, so watch for a bonus episode very in a day or so.

It’s called FORKED: A Discernment Pocket Guide (for Choosing Between Two Good Things).

If you’re in the middle of a tough decision or at a crossroads season of your life, this is the resource for you. To read a sample click HERE.

Click the image for more info.

coverFORKED

Episode 18 – Nicole Unice is “Brave Enough” AND so are you!

Episode 18 – Nicole Unice is “Brave Enough” AND so are you!

Nicole Unice

BIO:
Nicole Unice is on staff at Hope Church in Richmond, Virginia, and the author of the breakout book: “She’s Got Issues” which she wrote from her counseling and ministry experiences. The book produced and encouraged a refreshing and radical honesty that she’s built on in her new book “Brave Enough”.

Enjoy the Shownotes and links below and please share this with friends that you know CAN be “Brave Enough“. Thanks for listening!

#GetBraveEnough

xo

~Lisa

P.S. Would you like to get a special, cozy Spark My Muse t-shirt?

Let me know HERE.
bravenough


 

 

Get  Brave Enough or find out more here:

Like to listen instead of reading? Get the AUDIO book here.


Shownotes – Episode 18 Nicole Unice is honest, enthusiastic, and “Brave Enough”, so you can be too.

 

MIN 1:10

Nicole on staff at Hope Church

on the Richmond VA place and new midtown location.

 

1:30

Nicole’s podcasting experience (the Becoming Podcast) doing hundreds of episodes with her pastor doing 15 minutes shows for commuters.

Lisa asks: Is “campus” a Christian code word for mega church?

2:40

How she grew with Hope Church for 18 years, as they started out small in an elementary school “cafetorium”.

3;50

The “Youth Lodge” plans and the unique setting with wetlands and hills.

5:10

On the importance of Beauty, Setting, and Art in architecture and church building planning to evoke the imagination, inspire awe, and connect with the heart.

6:40

Collaborative workspace, and place where kids can do their homework and where people can enjoy the time away in a beautiful setting.

7:40

“artist come through the side door of the soul and preachers come through the front door.”

8:50

The history of the church and Christian tradition is one where the Church is source of beauty, wonder and connected to art because God is a the Creator.

9:40

Her first book: She’s Got Issues

6 main issues women (and men) face that can be a hinderance.

A rich relationship with God can come to a dead end as the ways we do life stop working.

12:00

How was it received? The #1 thing Nicole heard was, “You’re so honest.”

Why would honesty be such a revolution in Christianity?

12:40

She leaned into that for her next book “Brave Enough”

13:00

The story of how she got the title for the book:

To the question, “Do you think you can be brave?” Lucy Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia says, “I think I can be brave enough.”

14:35

Few women will self-identify as brave. [and not many men will either]

“After we identify the hinderances, what does it look like to walk forward in freedom?”

15:00

Brave Enough is about Grace and its effects, inside and in action.

15:40

Nicole answering the question: Do men have the same problems in this area?

16:00

“Women hearing teaching from women is like hearing in your first language.”

16:30

Ways Nicole leads and teaches men.

17:00

on how women have to translate teaching from men into their “language” and context.

18:00

On how, similarly, Brené Brown was challenged (by a man) to include men in her writing and teaching. (Lisa)

18:40

How men and women have similar vulnerabilities though they might deal with them differently.

19:40

“up speak” tones in language in women and men revealing different insecurities. (Lisa)

21:00

Nuggets from the Brave Enough book:

How the ingredients mixed into something she didn’t expect. It follows a narrative “arch of the heart”. How we can be full and free and confident in life.

22:30

on why (inner) freedom is illusive for men and women.

On “Fake Grace” in our head. (the excuses we make or how we blame others). Inviting God/Jesus into those places.

24:10

We all (default) and go back to rules and laws and how to short circuit that pattern.

It’s about resetting the heart with a new spiritual reality.

25:00

Radical honesty about our ugly parts inside the heart.

25:30

Nicole’s Parable: The violently stopping of the elevator door…(and how it relates to our soul).

26:10

Open ourselves to God’s Presence and healing.

26:10

(Lisa) God uses what bothers us about other people is a mirror of what we don’t like in ourselves.

27:20

How our baggage works to impede our progress.

Brave Enough includes major parts on forgiveness

28:00

God’s breathing on us and giving us the mission of forgiveness, first.

(Click to read the reference John 20:19-23)

28:30

When we keep living out of a wounded place.

29:10

How we continue categorizing our experiences to support our false and faulty premises and hypothesis about ourselves.

29:30

Questioning what is really true about ourselves (and the mental “tapes” we play).

33:20

God gives us opportunities to practices forgiveness every single day, often in small ways in the relationships and event of regular life.

33:40

If we can’t be gracious to ourselves we can’t be gracious with others.

34:20

The economy of our heart: if we forgive little then we love little.

36:30

(Nicole asks Lisa) “What have you learned in doing podcasting?”

38:30

We have the chance to never stop growing and transforming and God never gives up on us.

39:20

Brave Enough is also an AUDIO book. Find it here.


 

Did you like the show?

Please share it or otherwise support Spark My Muse!

Want to extend the good times and answer the question of the day?

What “bad/negative tape” do you have playing in your head most often?

 

Episode 15 Shane Tucker and the listening art of “soul friendship”

Today: A conversation with Shane Tucker!

Shane is a Soul Friend (Spiritual Director) with a focus on artists and creatives, be they “yuccies”, “slashies”, painters, musicians, or any one in need of deeper and more sustaining, soul-level communing.


 

How we find spark:
Together, we make the Spark My Muse podcast happen.
I prepare something and you digest it.

 I invite you to just listen, read the show notes and click on links, and give what you can.
That’s all. :)

 

• If it’s worth nothing…um what? Are you serious? This just got more awkward..Aw…snap! I sincerely apologize. Let me know what I can improve and please come back and listen again soon!

• If it’s worth one dollar, five dollars, twenty-five dollars, six hundred dollars, a billion-zillion dollars… you get the idea…

simply, tap into the river of gratitude in your heart and contribute what you can– HERE or use that Paypal button, over yonder.

 

(Of course, since money isn’t everything, you can say “thanks” and help with something that is not monetary, just let me know here. You make fruit pies, right?)

• Use the social share buttons, spread the word, leave a great a review at iTunes…these are all ways to help too.  Thanks in advance for your generosity!

Every little bit helps a lot.
Thank you, listeners for making the show heard in 96 countries and a,l 50 of the United States!

With Love,
~Lisa


SHOWNOTES with links and highlights.

Wine Segment:
MINUTE 1:30 On meade and Irish wine

Snapshot of the segment:

• Meade is fermented honey and herbs added.

• Irish wine is (usually) white wine, with some honey and herbs.
• It is still often used during the wine toast in Irish wedding ceremonies.

 

Sparking your muse!

Shane-@-Ross-2012-MA conversation with Shane Tucker:

His website

His Twitter

Shane is…
• An ordained Anglican Preist

• A trained Anam Cara (soul friend in the Irish Tradition).

• He lived with his wife and family in Ireland for 11 years!


Conversation (podcast) notes:

MINUTE 3:00

How Shane and his wife and family happened to live in Ireland for 11 years.

4:15
How God begins to grow dreams in us

Working at the Willow Creek Church

People have long said that still seems true. When foreigners come that end up being more Irish than the Irish themselves.

7:20

One of the most potent lessons learned from the Irish was the necessity to put people first. They take time to connect with each other and share life.

9:00 A sense of call to minister to artist and creatives.

9:40 On why he feels a passion to serve the creative community: “I believe the creative of today is the prophet of old”. It is a prophetic call.

10:10

“Creatives are called to paint a picture of the future that God is calling us all into. His Kingdom coming.”

10:50

“When a creative (person) using their gift…it taps into something deep inside of us and reverberates…and it feels like echoes of home.”

12:00

Jesus invites us to “walk with me and work with me.”

12:20

answering: What is Spiritual Direction (or soul friendship) actually?

13:00

A soul friend is “the best friend you’ve always wanted.”

and the Saint Bridgette quote…

13:50

A good picture is in the New Testament of the friends walking to Emmaus and then Jesus come in their midst. Unpacking life.

14:00

“The Soul Friend is someone who helps us see how God has been at work in our lives…so we can (as St. Ignatius says) “to recklessly abandon ourselves to his loving care.”

15:20

The problem with the phrase “Spiritual Director” on two counts so I use “soul friend”.

18:00

How he was trained in soul care and soul friendship

21:00

On becoming an Anglican Priest…

25:00

What he find to be the deepest needs of the creative community he works with?

Affirmation and Presence

30:00

Living in a Creative Age (moving from head to heart)

31:30

There’s an affective moving in society leading with Beauty first and then Truth that leads to freedom.

32:00

Alan Crieder

Behave Belong Believe (in which order should be in what era)

33:20

“What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies.”

35:00

The error of focusing too much on trying to convince people just intellectually.

36:00

Ignatian Spirituality

Celtic Spirituality

Soul Friendship
by Rev Ray Simpson (Church of England)

The Celtic Way of Prayer
by Ester De Waal

Holy Companions

42:30

on the hospitality and generosity of Irish spirituality.

The story of an Inn with 7 doors for the 7 roads.


Thank you so much for listening to the show!


 

To get alerts of the topics and the new and interesting folks coming to the podcast in future episode click HERE.

Here’s a tasting of who’s coming in the next few months:

Mako Fujimura

Nicole Unice

Shane Claiborne

and, yes, more!

 

Episode 8 – How to Let Your Wine and your Creative Soul Breathe

Episode 8 – How to Let Your Wine and your Creative Soul Breathe

Shownotes:

Episode 8 – How to Let Your Wine and your Creative Soul Breathe

This spacious episode features some great (creative commons) music and concerns the aerating of wine and (more importantly) of your creative soul.

(Yes, I have asthma and you can tell! Please forgive all my gasping for breath. It’s been a hard few weeks for me.)
Click to listen now:


This episode is brought to you by…

Life As Prayer: Revived Spirituality Inspired by Ancient Piety
(on the life and legacy of Brother Lawrence’s habit of “practicing the presence of God”)

How can YOU find an enduring sense of God’s presence with you? Learn about 16th century Brother Lawrence and how his understanding of God’s presence continues to enrich lives today.


Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast AND to my newsletter!

Both your wine and your life must be able to to breathe!

Full and aware breathing can inspire your creative muse and enrich your life in so many ways.

minute 1:00

I excitedly announce two upcoming interviews:
• Daniel J. Lewis interview (a virtuosic creator who’s received national awards for podcasts he produces).

• Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist author) Interview (discussing her new Out of Sorts book).


 

WINE SEGMENT: Letting wine breathe!

minute: 5:00

In wine terms “aeration” is the process of bringing air into wine.

The term dumb (i.e. “dumb wine”) refers to a wine that has little flavor or fragrance.
• Swirling wine mixes it with air and allows it to both breathe and speak!
• Flavor and aroma and the beauty and richness of the wine emerges as space for air gets in (just like us).

TIPS to make a better speaking wine:

(If buying excellent wine isn’t an option….which is most of us!)

Option 1.

Use a blender.

Option 2.

Use a hand blender (this is a method I use)

Option 3.

A cheap and simple solution:
Pour wine into a bowl and whisk it with a fork or whisk (like you would for scrambled eggs).


 

minute 5:50
Sparking your muse

• Aeration of the soul

• (a short recording) Insights from the middle of my retreat time at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Wernersville, PA.

Forgetting how to breath.

My asthma and stress; and tightness of breath and soul.

8:30

Sprit of God = breath of life

9:30

On slowing down.

9:50

The fantastic 4-7-8 second breathing exercise I learned to get your breath (and life) back.

11:30

Retreat invitation
(click link to learn more)

12:20

Giving breath to the creative soul…

Creating space and breath for the Creative muse/your soul to truly thrive

13:00

The Scriptural inspiration, history, and meaning of “Breath Prayer”
(as a Christian devotional practice)

Luke 18:9-14

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

minute 15:00

Breath Prayer: A simple cry for help and connection

• How to do “breath prayer”

• My important adaptation to breath prayer (that helps me identify as a loved child of God).


 

Did you enjoy the podcast?
I hope you’ll share this episode with friend or family member who might need more space and air for her soul to breathe.

Cheers! Here’s to your health.


I’d like to hear from you.

Please, help me and take this short 30-second listener-survey.

Spark My Muse

C.S. Lewis on longing and friendship

A few tidbits today from a greater mind than mine by a thousand or more:

C.S. Lewis.

jacklewis

Jack, as his friends called him, lived and wrote with an authenticity that made courageously interacting with the most painful and potent stuff of life an ordinary occurrence.

He loved deeply, he thought deeply, he wrote deeply, he suffered deeply. All these things, love, joy, friendship, sacrifice, loss, and longing were the topics of his work.

A heavyweight intellectual with the rare kind of genius to write concisely and accessibly to anyone, he never shied away from the messy parts of life–no matter who the audience. He might be most famous for his children’s fiction, but his poetry, literary criticism, apologetics, and other works reveal him as a polymath and literary giant. Thanks to the recent Hollywood versions of Narnia movies (which ardent C.S. Lewis fans find grossly wanting) ave created a renewed interest in Lewis making him more widely read now than he was in his own lifetime.

What made the man?

Tragedies cultivated a pensive and sensitive aspect of Leiws that complimented an agile, imaginative, and sharp mind.

Perhaps the deepest wound happened at age 9 when he lost his mother in death. His father was emotionally distant and sent him off to a series of boarding schools–which he deplored. The isolation and grief seemed to create a “heart-wound” from which he suffered his whole life; and from which he found solace in the hope of heaven and in the embrace of friendship.

Author Anthony Burgess wrote that “Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way.” (*source)

But, not at first.

First, the pain made him a committed and intellectual atheist at age 14. Despite his choice, Lewis still wrestled with what most creators and artists do, spiritually, as his journal from that time reveals:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Later, Jack would reconcile these longings more throughly with theism. (An acceptance of God as Creator.)

Subsequently, he found Jesus Christ the fitting Savior and Redeemer of the story–which is life and human experience. The Savior myths of ancient times and other cultures he said evidenced that the story of God and Jesus was a “true myth” reflected in meta-truth and narrative intwined into the cultural fabric and story of (nearly) every civilization.

He continued to explore this idea of desire and longing–from which any one with an artistic temprament can take confort:

“In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency.

 

 

I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both.

 

 

We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter.

 

Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering.

 

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing.

 

 

These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers.

 

For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”

 

How beautifully he captures longing!

For Lewis, camaraderie, fellowship, friendship, and love brought light and healing to his heart and his world. Through them he remained grounded and prolific.

Lewis on friendship:

In a circle of true Friends each man is simply what he is: stands for nothing but himself. No one cares twopence about anyone else’s family, profession, class, income, race, or previous history.

 

Of course you will get to know about most of these in the end. But casually. They will come out bit by bit, to furnish an illustration or an analogy, to serve as pegs for an anecdote; never for their own sake. That is the kingliness of Friendship. We meet like sovereign princes of independent states, abroad, on neutral ground, freed from our contexts.

 

This love (essentially) ignores not only our physical bodies but that whole embodiment which consists of our family, job, past and connections. At home, besides being Peter or Jane, we also bear a general character; husband or wife, brother or sister, chief, colleague, or subordinate. Not among our Friends. It is an affair of disentangled, or stripped, minds. Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.

 

Hence (if you will not misunderstand me) the exquisite arbitrariness and irresponsibility of this love. I have no duty to be anyone’s Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gave value to survival.

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