Eps. 172: Wild Hope; Guest, Gayle Boss

My guest is author Galye Boss. Her stunning Advent book about how various North American animals wait out and survive the dark, cold winter was an instant classic. Now, she releases a fitting second book, this time for Lent. This too, is another gorgeously-illustrated book that features 24 amazing animals of the world that are vanishing from existence. (David G. Klein, Illustrator) Our conversation covers topics in both her books and a lovely reading from Wild Hope by Gayle.

Listen now with the AUDIO PLAYER: Find more on this episode HERE. (Support the program with $1 and unlock extras from many episodes – patreon.com/sparkmymuse) – SparkMyMuse.com contains over 320 audio episodes, an online store, and resources. Enjoy!

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Eps 82: Becoming Wise, my conversation with special guest, Krista Tippett

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Today, my guest is Krista Tippett.kristatippet
Krista is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times bestselling author. She is the host of On Being, a radio show and podcast distributed to more than 400 stations across the country, a program which often ranks among the top 50 podcasts on iTunes. Krista is the author of several books, including, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, published in April, 2016.

In 2014, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal at a special ceremony at the White House, and honored by President Barack Obama for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom.”

(Share audio using the app below. Share by TWEET some of Krista’s most memorable quotes when you see the blue bird icon.)



The twist on the question Krista usually asks her guests.

Silvia Borstien

Our children are watching us more than they are listening to us

Learning to not see people with distinctions and to not see people difference.

MIN 5:30

Nostalgic and loving view of religion of the grandfather. Hymns


Her own spiritual practice

Karen Armstrong – my work is my prayer

Krista writing a prayer, bare bones liturgy, gratitude,

“I don’t know what I mean when I say I pray, but there is something essential and grounding about having this as part of my life.”

[ictt-tweet-inline via=””]Prayer is also an orientation to mystery. My prayer now has very little to do with asking for things. via @kristatippett[/ictt-tweet-inline]

MIN 12:00

Going to Divinity School in the 1990s and the life of the mind and keeping the eyes of a journalist on the world. The important issues of theology and human life were discussions that were missing in public life.

MIN 16:00

Religion, politics, and values

MIN 19:30

The puzzle about human beings and doing “what we ought”, and power, agency, and will and choice, and being people of integrity that need cultivation and our need for each other.

MIN 21:30

We can value that we have the knowledge that we know what’s right and we can learn to get companion for ourselves.

MIN 23:00

Does one need to suffer to become wise?

[ictt-tweet-inline via=””]Suffering is not optional. via @kristatippett[/ictt-tweet-inline]

[ictt-tweet-inline via=””]Suffering offers rich ground for becoming more wise but it can take generations. via @kristatippett[/ictt-tweet-inline]

MIN 24:30

Krista on her own depression and how it deepened her wisdom.

[ictt-tweet-inline via=””]Suffering is seedbed of wisdom but not the only seedbed of wisdom. via @kristatippett[/ictt-tweet-inline]

MIN 26:00

Hefty wisdom and also the kind of wisdom children possess.

MIN 28:00

How have the wisest people you’ve spoken to continued to learn and grow in wisdom?

[ictt-tweet-inline via=””]Wise people find a way to stay soft in the face of what ever life will present next.via @kristatippett[/ictt-tweet-inline]This lessens the suffering.

MIN 30:00

Hope is borne of struggle

A toughness and courage

MIN 32:00

The connection of Empathy and Wisdom and how it’s embodied.

[ictt-tweet-inline via=””]Wisdom is a quality of presence. via @kristatippett[/ictt-tweet-inline]

[ictt-tweet-inline via=””]If we walk through our sufferings and losses desiring to learn from them and to grow and deepen, empathy is a natural effect. via @kristatippett[/ictt-tweet-inline]

MIN 35:00

The most foolish people get all the attention.

As a culture we seem to be growing distance from each other and less empathic–what can be done?

[ictt-tweet-inline via=””]Fear is an empathy killer. via @kristatippett[/ictt-tweet-inline]

We can become paralyzed and think we can’t do anything.

[ictt-tweet-inline via=””]If many of us could take up the calling to be ‘calmers of fear’ and really close to home. via @kristatippett[/ictt-tweet-inline]

[ictt-tweet-inline via=””]We really need to be leaning into the better angels of our nature to stand up to the challenges of the 21st century together in common life.[/ictt-tweet-inline]

MIN 39:00

We are talking about work that is stitching a new fabric of common life that has to start at a very personal level.

Being a non-anxious presence for others

MIN 41:00

We are not taught to be a non anxious presence as powerful people or to be powerful this way and we need more postures in our common spaces; and it won’t feel intuitive.

MIN 43:00

Human drama will remain after the (2016) election and we have to be equipping our selves to reckon with that and be present to that.

MIN 44:00

Krista answering the “so what” question for herself in public life and presence in the world and moving away for being the On Being organizational direction.

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Eps 64: TWIN-CASTING with Minimalist, Jeff Sandquist who Returns with a Surprising Story

Today, is a special TWIN-cast. I’ve NEVER done this before and I’m excited!
Brace yourself for this news:
Not only do I have Jeff on as a return guest today, but Jeff interviewed ME. That conversation is released today too. What a treat, right?

Find a link for that below at the end of the show notes.

DON’T FORGET about the Special 1-hour SOUL SCHOOL LIVE Event– this Wednesday, June 8th (2016) at 8pm, EDT.
GET MORE INFO info here.

(If you’d like to share a piece of audio from this episode, click the red and white icon below.)


JefSandquistSHOW NOTES:

(Click to hear the previous Spark My Muse podcast episode with Jeff. March 2016.)

MIN 2:00
The significant birthday this year that changed Jeff’s life and why.

Does losing a parent at a young age change how you live?

MIN 12:00
Trying to be perfect. Trying to control and conquer life and death.

MIN 14:30
The common pain of loss in death and loss of the attachments.

MIN 19:30
Prioritizing relationships and experiences over goals, achievements, grades, and materials things.

MIN 23:00
Was minimalism coming to a place of healing from consumerism that came from loss?

Being curious.

MIN 27:00

• Does grief, loss, and death inform how Jeff lives and how does it?

Death: Not fear based motivator, but a passion-based motivator.

“The Obstacle is the Way” Ryan Holiday

“Behind every mountain is another mountain.”

Mortality is a time limit makes you efficient and have a better perspective.

MIN 33:00

“[ictt-tweet-inline via=””][/ictt-tweet-inline]What do you want to exchange your time [your life] for?”

MIN 35:00

What do you want to share and where do you want to go from here.

The Episode with his “rock-star” mom.

Grit and gratitude.

MIN 44:30
Jeff’s funk

MIN 48:30
[ictt-tweet-inline via=””]BE CURIOUS![/ictt-tweet-inline]

Find out what Jeff asks me on his podcast HERE.lisaWjeff

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Eps 57: The Healing Process of Writing– Guest Rachel Toalson

Today my guest is a writer, a podcaster with her husband Ben, a very creative and productive woman, and also mother of 6 boys–including 3 year old twins:
Rachel Toalson.



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MIN 1:30

Rachel the writer and parent.

• In the boat with Ben – podcast
• WEBSITE for the podcast

Being creative and having a family.

Don’t give up your creative dream once you have kids.

Tools for pursuing dreams, intentional parenting and parenting with values.

MIN 3:30

Teaching our kids that parenting doesn’t mean we stop being who we really are but that we invite our children into a wonderful creative life.

MIN 5:30

What is Fairendale?
• Visit the Fairendale Page for a free Prequel

MIN 7:00

Our choices matter but they don’t define us.


On storytelling

MIN 12:30

• Crash test parents

MIN 14

Exploring the difficult parts of life in memoir.

MIN 18

The healing process of writing.

MIN 19:30

Writer’s guilt

MIN 20:00

Resources and services for writers

MIN 22:00

Our lives are like stories

MIN 24:30

Documentation of your strength as a human.

MIN 25:30

Inoculating yourself against having your joy sucked away during good times.

MIN 26:00

Advice to parents from a mom of 6 boys

Parenting in an emotionally intelligent way and really knowing your child.

MIN 29

Brene Brown – whole hearted living (click to read the 10 guideposts)

Rachel’s twins that share their own language and partner in “crime”.

• Visit Rachel at racheltoalson.com

Spark My Muse is released twice-weekly. Subscribe and never miss a thing.


ESP 23 The hidden “family rules” that have shaped you (and still impact your life)

familyfightDid this ever happen to you? You think the way your family (of origin) does something is normal, and then, suddenly, you find out it isn’t?

Usually, this happens when you form close relationships outside your family of origin. Fireworks can ensue!

How your family dealt with conflicts, problems, shame, secrets, and tragedies shaped you and learning relational and loyalty dynamics from the previous generations in your family can bring relational repair, health, and hope.


That’s what today’s show is about. I’m glad you can listen, today.


Today’s guest is graduate school professor and marriage and family therapist in private clinical practice, Janet Stauffer, Ph.D.



Dean of Students, Evangelical Seminary

Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy

In addition to her work at the seminary and her clinical practice, Janet is vice president of the Board of Directors at Philhaven Behavioral Healthcare facility. She has led retreats, presented at professional conferences, and published articles in a number of journals. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and approved supervisor and clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. She also holds membership in the Christian Association for Psychological Studies. Her research interests include genuine meeting through dialogical engagement, loyalty dynamics between and across the generations of the family, and the intersection of faith and therapy.





Each person is born with an inherent longing to connect.


Early childhood experiences shape who we are and how we relate to others.

Our ancestors deliver ways of being to us across generations:


What can be done if the early years weren’t filled with dysfunction and problems?


How relationship can alter the wiring and re-patterning of the brain.


Jim Coen, UVA – The Hand holding experiment.


In close relationships, we end up feeling–not only are you here with me–but somehow you are me. Somehow we are here together.


Before we can help others, we have to be open to ourselves and our own healing. Our wounds can remain as vulnerabilities and our greatest resource.


“I because who I am through my relationships with other people, so that more of me gets called forth as I respond to others in my world around me.”


The still face experiment:


“Foo-Poo” (FOO = Family of Origin) influences our current relationships.


The interconnectedness and “loyalty dynamics” between and across the generations and how during all our interactions we are holding something that has been passed down across generations and in the larger cultural dynamics.


Example from life (Janet, her husband and the Ford Fiesta). Naming the truth in our interactions and being curious about what we hold from generations before us.


Janet explored what anger was like for her mother and grandmother and discovered not just a family secret and the shame that was carried on, but also a a family norm relating to how pain is dealt with.


Family secrets and ways of interacting waiting like land mines that can sabotage our other relationships.


We can also end up carrying or holding visibly or invisibly things that our spouse (or other close relationships) hold as well.


There are options for growth and healing if we can be open, aware, curious and can find courage to turn and face [the other] and remember where our weakness are and admit them.


The power of naming what is happening for us emotionally.


“Honoring my personal truth, personal awareness, my being, and made a claim for myself has a profound impact in my own knowing.”


“Every one of us experiences terror at the thought of finding the courage to turn and face the other in a painful situation at some point in our life.”


A defend or fight mode should be superseded by the prevailing message “You and I are on the team team ultimately. We have a reason to connect and I long for you. But it’s been hard between and here’s something of how it’s been for me… and I want to know what it’s like for you.”


Yet, we cannot think what we say will always help because we cannot guarantee the other person’s response. So there is vulnerability in saying the truth.


Being calm, curious and compassionate even in the face of wounds and vulnerability.


Emotionally self-regulating and contending with emotional triggers.


(In marriage or close relationships) Learning self and other in a whole new way…in a kind of sacred space to grow through the most tender places that we hold.


Telling the other what would help in what feels like an unsafe place emotionally.


Learning to soothe one another.


On core lies we can believe about ourselves.


Honoring when emotional safety is just as important as physical safety.


What to do when it’s not safe to have important conversations.


Martin Buber-We live with an armor around us and bands around our heart and being closed off and unaware and unaddressed.


Asking questions of ourselves to create more awareness and realizing our thoughts and memories are not us.


We limit our imagination about the capacity each of us holds to respond the other, the world around us and ourself.


We can test our assumptions and plant seeds that bring new possibilities for ourself and others.


When we can’t yet name or isolate our feelings.


Giving permission and a soft demand to know what is going on with someone else and helping them find their voice.


The biblical tradition of the garden where God says “Where art thou?” a story about hiding. God’s longing for humankind.


King David in the psalms is modeling openness and receptivity…asking “What is in my heart?” “Who am I?” “What do I hold?”


Being open and still safe. Giving yourself warm, regard, and leaving the self-judgment out.

“Judgment limits the knowing.”


Being present to and growing in recognition of “here’s what I hold” or “here’s what freezes me” etc and asking “how can I be more free?” and then exploring new pathways and practices that go somewhere.


On the spiritual practices and things can people do to move forward.


These ways of understanding what it is to connect, grow and be human are universal and offer hope to those with varied religious tradition and no religious affiliation too.


The spiritual and the Other when it is not defined as “God”.


“God doesn’t limit God’s self to the church or the synagogue or the mosque and we can never fully describe God because God cannot be contained and is always more than what I can fathom or grasp”


Asking, “How do I understand the call before me and how do I invite others and find the place where they are experiencing call and longing and where is this work happening within them. What is being invited forth?”


How we can pass down the best of our generational dynamics and loyalties to our children.


On the invisible family rule of perfectionism and how it made Janet think she could be the perfect parent and how that idea was shattered.


How she approached her son after that point to understand what he was experiencing and being surprised by his reply.


We can never get it all right, but we can be willing to go to our child and ask them about their experience.


Inviting others to know themselves in whatever capacity to do that they can and hold what they say with care and honor.


Enacting moments and accumulating themes and transactions and happenings and asking “Is their a burden they carry or an injury of disregard or diminishment that was not theirs to carry?” which deserve address and caring and honor.


On having a commit to “I will be there for you, and I will be here for me, and I invite you to be here for me,” is a profound act that helps us for the long run.


Despite our efforts, outcomes are not guaranteed and each person has an opportunity to respond uniquely.

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