A’ja Wilson on How Authenticity Is Your Superpower

Women’s sports are having a major moment right now, with basketball superstars like A’ja Wilson leading the charge. Considered one of the best WNBA players to ever grace the court, A’ja is using her towering influence to encourage not only young black girls, but all women who have felt the need to change who they are to fit in. A’ja fought to be herself every step of the way in her journey of becoming a G.O.A.T. in the WNBA. 

In this uplifting conversation, A’ja Wilson opens up about the challenges she faced as a young black woman trying to be her authentic self. From an anecdote about confronting racism in 4th grade to the influential women who instilled self-love during her journey to the top, A’ja shares her playbook for empowerment with raw honesty. She discusses the motivation behind writing her new book “Dear Black Girls” and the importance of defining yourself instead of letting others do it for you.

If you’ve ever felt the need to shrink yourself to fit in or been made to feel “other,” A’ja’s wisdom will inspire you to embrace all that makes you beautifully unique.

 

Dr. Rick Hanson on Confrontation as a Path to Well-Being

We’ve got another empowering episode in our Facing Your Fears series, and boy, do we have a fear that hits close to home for a lot of us – confronting those tough conversations we’d rather dance around than dive into. If the thought of confrontation has you squirming in your seat, you’re in good company. But what if we flipped the script and viewed these moments of truth-telling as acts of honor, steps towards healing and improvement?

Jen invites the insightful Dr. Rick Hanson, celebrated psychologist, acclaimed author, and speaker extraordinaire, to dissect our dread of difficult chats. Dr. Hanson is on a mission to transform confrontation into a finely honed skill that fosters lasting well-being and better relationships. His wisdom will not only challenge your perceptions but provide you with the practical tools to embrace these crucial conversations with confidence.

Don’t miss out on this transformative discussion that could redefine how you approach confrontation, making your connections healthier, and you, happier.

 

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. 

 

Moving from Insider to Outsider: Derek Webb’s Peaceful Disruption

Isn’t it fun to be part of the in-crowd? Where you can connect with people who are of like minds and spirits, where everyone seems to be headed in the same direction? But what if you start having nagging questions as an insider that don’t seem to get resolved, and even worse, are met with disdain or fear from other members of your group? This can be a scary place for so many of us. For the purposes of our conversation today–we’re talking about when it happens in religious spaces. For years, singer/songwriter Derek Webb was very much on the “inside” of what was happening in Christendom as a top selling, award winning Christian artist, songwriter and worship leader. It took a few disruptions to his own life that sent him down the road to evaluating his faith, his beliefs and how he wanted to move forward with the new information he’d gained. Now, decidedly an “outsider” who tries to still take up space in the Christian zeitgeist to potentially model a different way of living, Derek has gone on to record solo albums and also work with artists that aren’t typical to Christian music–like drag queen Flamy Grant—with whom, incidentally, he attended the Gospel Music Dove Awards in 2023 (and who also had a number one Christian song pop up on the charts), with the intention of making people who are Christian and LGBTQ+IA feel less alone. In this episode, Jen and Derek compare their journeys as “peaceful disruptors,” what it cost them and what they gained in the process.

 

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.  

 

Demystifying Therapy with Lori Gottlieb

If you or anyone you know and love has ever had issues with their mental health, you know how painful it can be. As we conclude our “For the Love of Being Seen and Heard” series, we just want to remind you that there’s no shame in admitting that you might need a little help. Maybe you’re feeling low, or more anxious than usual, or sad, scared, or just off—anything that feels different or keeps you from flourishing. Our guest today is here to encourage you to take agency over your mental health, and as a therapist herself, she’s here to help us shed those stigmas around seeking help from a therapist or counselor. Lori Gottlieb is a renowned psychotherapist, a bestselling author, and a leading voice in the mental health space. Her latest book Maybe You Should Talk To Someone leads us into her own experiences with the transformative power of therapy and gives answers to those who might have hesitations about beginning this process. Lori and Jen talk about: 

  • Identifying the stereotypes about therapy and debunking them, plus what to expect so that you can a get the most out of your time with a therapist
  • Developing an attitude that mental health is just as important as physical help and that seeking a therapist is on the same level as getting a check up with a medical doctor toward whole body health
  • Jen’s personal experiences with therapy – and how she processed pain and betrayal, plus what it looks like to be in active recovery
  • Becoming aware of and taking responsibility for our own patterns, actions and responses to life events as it pertains to our mental state and interactions with others

As Lori says, “one thing that therapy will teach you is how to be your real, messy, imperfect, fallible self, but also still love who you are.”

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.

 

For the Love of Conversations: Jen & Kelly on The Men They Love

The past few weeks have been so nurturing to the collective soul of this podcast community. We have gotten together with a friend, and caught up on all that matters in our worlds (as friends do) and talked through the changes we’ve both faced recently, on finding and keeping friendship alive at this season in our lives, and how we’ve each evolved in our own beliefs.  And we’re always a little sad to say goodbye to friends, but we know that the bonds we’ve built here will keep us going til we can meet again. For the last episode of the For the Love of Conversations series, Jen and Kelly share about the men in their lives–from their friends, to their sons, their brothers, fathers and their partners—we speak to the unique relationship the opposite sex brings to our lives.  And right now in our culture, in some ways that are fair, and other ways that aren’t, men are getting thrown under the bus, somewhat carte blanche. And this is rightly so in many cases and much overdue in some areas. But it still stands that there are good men and boys in our culture, men that defy the misogynistic stereotypes,  and they do lift up women and are there for their sisters and their wives and their daughters and their mothers. Jen and Kelly poke at the view of men where they are portrayed as wild and rough and emotionally unregulated–those traits can sometimes be found–but they share stories of their fathers, brothers and friends that show the reverse can be true (Kelly’s story about her dad is a 10-kleenex-er, so get ready), and that the men in their lives have truly taught them how to love better.

For the Love of Conversations: Jen and Kelly on Beliefs, Truth, and the Things We Hold Dear

Welcome back to another episode of our For the Love of Conversations series with one of Jen’s best loved friends, author, speaker and podcaster  Kelly Corrigan. Both Jen and Kelly have seen strong beliefs give way to new beliefs, and old beliefs be tested by time and experience. It’s a wonder to learn as you move through the world, even if those lessons are hard won and hands down, a ton of them are. It’s a beautiful and redemptive thing to take a step back and level the playing field you are on–in whatever season of life you’re in–and see if everything that makes up “you:”  all the stories you tell yourself about your life and other people and what happened to you and even about your own self–that composite of what you believe. And take heart in knowing  that your beliefs don’t have to remain the same forever– they can grow and change with us. Jen and Kelly go deep into what beliefs they hold dear, how the truth that binds us might look a little different than it used to for all of us, and the comfort they find in a community that lives with a sense of curiosity and how to keep that alive for every phase of our beliefs.