Amanda Doyle Stops Keeping Score And Stays In The Moment

It’s the start of a new series, For The Love of Wonderful You! Spring is arriving and as the winter slumber fades away, many of us are likely plunging into a frantic pace of commitments and To Do lists. But we want to take a minute (or approximately 45-mins to an hour) to create a moment where we can punch the brakes a little. Let’s tell that inner taskmaster to relax; and instead, reflect on finding value in who we are in this moment, and how worthy we are just as we are

Jen’s amazing conversation partner today is Amanda Doyle. Amanda is many amazing things but you may know her first and foremost as “Sister” on the We Can Do Hard Things Podcast with Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach. She’s also part of the leadership team at Together Rising, the amazing non-profit that has raised over $50 million dollars and given it away to people all over the world who need it most. Amanda has been a longtime social justice advocate and she uses that knowledge to break down deep truths and complex social issues in all her conversations. Today, she reminds us that spending the energy to stay vulnerable in our relationships will always pay out.

 In this episode Jen and Amanda talk about:

  • The struggle to be vulnerable and truly open up versus managing perceptions and staying in control in relationships
  • How Amanda chose sobriety and the surprising clarity that emerged in her marriage, especially during the pandemic
  • Jen’s journey to understanding herself and her avoidant tendencies in the aftermath of her divorce
  • The profound impact of the “love letter” exercise guided by Liz Gilbert, where “Love’s voice” urged Amanda to stop keeping score in life 

A Glimpse Into the End of Life with Hospice Nurse Hadley Vlahos

As we close out our For the Love of Facing Your Fears series, we’re diving headfirst into a topic that we will all face at one point in our lives (hopefully later than sooner); our very own expiration dates. It’s one of humanity’s most universal yet daunting fears, and we’ve got a compassionate and experienced guide to walk us through the kinds of things we might wonder about, and the beautiful unexpected moments that can accompany our final days. Hadley Vlahos is a hospice nurse whose life experiences and work have provided her with profound insights into the final chapter of our lives. Hadley opens up about her personal journey through struggles and grief, her entry into nursing as a calling, and her perspectives on the beauty that can be found even in our final moments. Her book, “The In-Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life’s Final Moments,” encapsulates powerful stories from the bedside of the dying, some of which she shares with us, including the tranquility of the in-between and the serendipitous moments bringing peace to those passing. With over 1.4 million followers captivated by her TikTok narratives, Hadley’s perspective takes the edge off the many worries we may have about the end-of-life process. Join us for a truly poignant exchange that affirms life’s beauty—and its beautiful conclusion.

 

Ashton Applewhite Unravels Harmful Attitudes Toward Aging

As we continue our series on facing our fears, we introduce a fear that many of us may not talk about comfortably, but in reality, we are all facing; the fact that we are aging. In case this is something that moves you into a state of deep denial, or perhaps you are employing a world of efforts (including for profit products and practices) to stave off the inevitable progression, or even if you are just taking it all in stride, we all are subject to what the world at large has to say about it and—mostly–it’s not positive. A pervasive ageist attitude infiltrates the media we consume, our own friend groups, and even what we tell ourselves consciously and subconsciously about aging. We come by it naturally, though–with deeply ingrained stereotypes and discriminatory practices that extend everywhere from the workplace to the bedroom. Our guest this week shares how she went from being an apprehensive boomer to becoming a pro-aging radical as she dismantles myths and debunks the portrayal of older people as societal burdens; with years of research under her belt, she dreams of an aging-friendly world. Ashton Applewhite is the author of “This Chair Rocks–A Manifesto Against Ageism,” and she makes it her life’s work to expose ageist behavior, and educate us all as to how we can stop giving aging a bad rap. Jen and Ashton take an eye-opening look at ageism as a form of bias as unacceptable as any other, and give us actionable steps to ignite “age pride,” keeping in mind that aging is an integral part of our life journey, not a condition to be cured or concealed. If you’re fretfully staring down the next decade of life with fear and denial, consider the possibility that being stressed about aging actually can cause the very things we fear about aging. Ashton sums it up like this; “If you learn about aging, you will be less afraid. That knowledge and information is going to confer all kinds of protection about aging as well as you possibly can.”

 

Tapping into Mental Strength to Overcome Fear ft. Amy Morin

We all have things that scare us. And it’s not because we’re doing life wrong; fear, in and of itself, is a normal emotion. So then what do we do with it? That’s really what this series, For the Love of Facing Your Fears, is all about. Today’s guest will be walking us through some strategies on facing our fears in a healthy way by showing us what habits mentally strong people employ in their lives. Amy Morin is a renowned psychotherapist, a bestselling author and she’s devoted her whole career to the exploration of what it means to be mentally strong. Her TEDx talk, “The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong” has been lauded as one of the most impactful TEDx videos to date.  Amy’s personal journey of loss juxtaposes with Jen’s recent experience of starting over again after 26 years of marriage–and they both discuss how fear played into their lives during these periods of grief and loss. Amy gives actionable, easy to employ behaviors that can set us on the course toward conquering our fears–no matter how debilitating. 

 

The Vagina Bible: Debunking Myths and Misinformation Around The Female Body Ft. Dr. Jen Gunter

Do you ever feel like you don’t have all the answers and information you need around your very own body? Are there beliefs or “facts” you might have learned that maybe aren’t actually centered around truth or science? Perhaps you’ve entered various seasons of your life as a female (menstruation, fertility, childbirth, hormone fluctuation, perimenopause, menopause) where you’ve felt like your concerns were dismissed or you weren’t given the tools, knowledge or treatment to help you navigate these season as well as you’d like. Whether you avidly seek knowledge about your body, or you’re bumping up against walls in what has been, historically, a lopsided research culture where male health has been more highly prioritized, we’ve got a guest today who is determined to correct that inequity with scientific and experiential information, research and active destigmatization. Dr. Jen Gunter is an obstetrician gynecologist and a bestselling author (The Vagina Bible, The Menopause Manifesto) who has made it her goal in life to “fix the internet” regarding information about women’s bodies and correcting the misinformation that runs rampant there; long held myths that cause fear, stress and even shame around our female physiology. Dr. Gunter debunks common misconceptions around our periods, our hymens (fyi, it’s not a “freshness” seal), synthetic hormones, menopause symptoms and more. Bottom line: you deserve to know about your body, and this conversation opens the door to finding true and accurate information that will help dismiss the fears you may have around all the seasons of your female health experience.  

 

This Year, Every Little Thing Counts: Jen’s 2023 Recap

Wrapping up another amazing and somewhat wild year here on the For the Love Podcast. For this special episode, Jen is flying solo to share her thoughts on what 2023 meant to her, what pinnacles were met, what didn’t go so well, and the many things add to the gratefulness list. From celebrating long time friendships and new friendships, to milestones with her kids, to being in a relationship as a “girlfriend,” to going through perimenopause and becoming gluten free, Jen recounts the blessings and the challenges 2023 brought to the table. And she gives us a peek into the process of writing for her brand new book that you won’t want to miss. For those of you who are struggling to find things to be grateful about over the last year, we’re here for you too. If you’re sludging through the remainder of the year, digging out of it a spoonful of dirt at a time, we’re here to remind you to keep going. Everything you’re doing, every teeny little moment holds within it grace or hope or strength or outright joy, and every single moment matters. And you, our listener, matter to us. On our gratitude lists, you are at the top–and we look forward to more good, hard, and worthwhile stories to share with you. Thank you for making this show a vibrant hub and a soft place to land for us all.

 

Jada Pinkett-Smith on Trauma, Grief, and the Power of Embracing Your Journey

We’re in the thick of our “For the Love of Therapy” series, and this week we’re getting a full helping of candor and insight from the multifaceted actress and author, Jada Pinkett Smith. Jada candidly reveals another side to her journey that many might not know from her highly public persona, a story where she takes charge of her narrative in the face of what people have decided for themselves who they think she is. Jada recounts the formative and often traumatic events of her past, and talks in stark terms about her present day pain points. Without sparing the hard parts, Jada leans into what it’s like for her, as it is for so many of us to be a woman today, what it’s like to reckon with our trauma, and marriage is really like behind the curtain, in hopes that what she’s learned will resonate with other women, no matter what their story is. 

Jen and Jada compare notes from their own lives about:

  • Jada’s encounters with complex trauma, PTSD, panic attacks, and suicidal ideation
  • How mental health issues can visit anyone at any time, regardless of privilege or upbringing
  • The slow acceptance to admitting they’ve faced trauma, thinking “others have had it worse” – and the continued work toward reckoning with that truth
  • The reality that all of us, especially those in the public sector, will be judged by others, and a new understanding that judgment is most often about people’s own pain and how they’ve been hurt by others’ judgment, rather than it is about the person being judged

Through sharing her life journey, which she covers in much greater detail in her newly released book “Worthy,” it’s Jada’s hope to encourage others navigating similar struggles towards wellness and understanding.

 

Reimagining Our Relationships Toward Rebalancing The Domestic Workload with Eve Rodsky

We’re back with another installment of our Being Seen and Heard series, and we think this one is going to strike a nerve with many of you out there who are looking for a better, stronger, fairer, narrative when it comes to the balance of work in your home and toward raising children. Are you the one in your relationship who is handling the lion’s share of the care and feeding of your littles PLUS taking care of their pickups and dropoffs to school, daycare, sports, bathtimes, bedtimes, wiping noses, butts PLUS managing the domestic front of grocery shopping, cleaning, organizing, handling the social calendar, vacations, PLUS working a 40 hour a week job either inside or outside the home? We see you and are asking a question that maybe you ask every day; why are women still, in a day and age where we make up 55.9 percent of the workforce and where 40 percent are the main breadwinner in the home, still responsible for so much when it comes to child rearing and domestic workload? Our guest this week has created a national conversation about greater equality on the home front with a system she created through intense research that helps couples create balance, by understanding that women are doing what she calls almost all of the “invisible labor” in the home, with at least two thirds of them having a job outside the home as well. Eve Rodsky is a Harvard Law School grad with years of training in organizational management When she had her first child (and began to see her identity at her job being stripped away because of it) and then began the dance of balancing her job with all of her duties as a mother (for which she bore the lion’s share of the domestic and child rearing responsibilities, as so many women do) she started to wonder: what would it be like if couples could reimagine their relationships as to how it relates to rebalancing the work it takes to run a home? So began her “Fair Play” system, where she sets couples up for success in relationship and parenting by helping them change the way they think and talk about their home life.

Jen and Eve discuss:

  • The patriarchal history that has been around for centuries that informs why the imbalance of domestic workload still exists when so many other categories for women have been elevated
  • How important it is to invite men into their full power into the home, removing barriers and stereotypes as to what men’s and women’s strengths are there
  • Changing the notion that women’s time is somehow less important than men’s–and that the “invisible work” women do is toward guarding the time of men
  • How the overwhelming pace of work, child rearing and home management eventually ends up making us sick and damaging our relationships, and what we can do about it

BONUS: Eve puts Jen to the test with a question from her Fair Play card deck where we dive deep into Jen’s family values–a question that is illuminating to all of us in understanding each other in relationship.

 

Seeing and Loving Your Body (and Yourself) With No Shame: Jessamyn Stanley

We’re back with maybe the most foundational episode in our Being Seen and Heard series–and it’s all about how we see ourselves. Were you taught how to love yourself when you were growing up? Many of us never grew up hearing anything about embodiment, and maybe we’ve treated our bodies as “the enemy” for most of our years. Maybe you grew up in a time where you didn’t see people that looked like you, or had your body type represented in magazines, on TV or in movies. Perhaps you even had shame about your body (or still do), and you bought into diet culture and were constantly worried about your size and the number on the scale. It’s hard to see ourselves as beautiful when we’re looking outside ourselves for what that standard of beauty is. Our guest today is doing the good work of helping people see themselves differently, and it’s giving them freedom to love themselves for who they are today. Jessamyn Stanley has become a powerful voice for wellness and body acceptance (she also dubs herself the “Beyonce’ of yoga” – I mean who can’t get behind that?). After attending yoga classes with a friend, Jessamyn fell in love with it, but she noticed that she didn’t see anyone who looked like her or had a body like hers–and when she moved to a different city and wasn’t attending yoga classes anymore—she craved a community to share her practice–except she wanted all kinds of people and body types to be a part of it. She began sharing her yoga practice on Instagram back in 2012 and was amazed by the overwhelming response from many who had never done yoga before because they had felt just like Jessamyn had–that maybe it wasn’t for “people like them.” Her fledgling Insta-yoga classes grew into an organization called The Underbelly, a unique and inclusive digital wellness experience that now draws thousands of people into its safe and accepting space.

Jen and Jessamyn touch on these topics:

• Jessamyn’s experience with being ashamed of her body as a middle schooler and also being bullied for being different, and how she looks at those years of bullying as a revelation that everyone is self conscious about their bodies–bullies included

• The realization we all have at the end of the day; all we have is ourselves–and if we can accept ourselves as we are right now–not who we thought we should be, or who we might be–we’ll enjoy the ability to be fully present and authentic in all of our encounters

• Debunking the long held notion that many people have about black women (and also that black women have been taught to believe)–that they are “stronger” and “superwomen,” and what it means to allow themselves moments of rest and self-care

• Key changes that could be made to empower everyone to have their own agency toward self care, by making it possible for anyone–no matter how much money you make, or where you live–to participate in wellness practices like yoga

If we can face the truth about ourselves, and not turn away from the fullness of who we are–including the ugly and complex things, we can begin a journey to a shame-free life that will change the fabric of who we are and what we bring to the world.

 

A Thrill of Hope: Nadia Bolz-Weber Uncovers the Unlikely Miracles of Christmas

Christmas holds so many truths all at once, as it has for thousands of years. And today, Jen’s friend, pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, leads us to look with several new lenses at the story we’ve heard since we were toddling around in snowman footie pajamas. There’s the beauty of a young family shepherding a new life into the world, amid brutal oppression from a power-hungry empire. There’s the unwed teenage girl who’s told she will carry the savior of the world while a disdainful religious culture watches her belly swell. Through it all, we get a glimpse at Mary’s fierce desire to honor her Creator, and the tremendous power held in the way she accepts this divine assignment. As Nadia takes us through the Christmas story, she points out how God moves through the world by turning the notions of “power” and “blessing” upside down while lifting up the voiceless and the oppressed, reminding us that “being ‘blessed’ means seeing God in the world and trusting that God is at work even in things we can’t see, understand, or imagine.”