Becca Piastrelli

Becca Piastrelli is a writer, speaker, ancestral folk medicine keeper, and women’s group facilitator. She is a leader in women’s empowerment and earth wisdom, teaching women how to cultivate a sense of belonging. Through her online and international retreats, blog, and Belonging podcast, Becca connects with thousands of women from her home in Northern California. For more, visit beccapiastrelli.com.

Author photo © Sophia-Mavrides

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What We Long For

Becca Piastrelli is a writer, speaker, ancestral folk medicine keeper, and women’s group facilitator. She is a leader in women’s empowerment and earth wisdom, teaching women how to cultivate a greater sense of belonging. With Sounds True, she has authored the book Root and Ritual. In this podcast, Becca joins Tami Simon to discuss the lifelong journey of reclaiming our sense of belonging, with a particular focus on four areas: land, lineage, community, and self. Becca and Tami also explore the concept of loneliness as both a personal and a systemic challenge, humbling ourselves to the natural world, confronting the pain and grief of colonization, listening to the soul of your home, healing the “great severing” of our root systems, the Indigenous concept of the “ever happening” and receiving the support of our ancestors, the somatic experience of ritual, the importance of being witnessed in our journey of transformation, and much more.

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Bruce Tift: Already Free

Have you ever wondered how to hold the following two seemingly contradictory experiences? On the one hand, you feel in touch with the vast expanse of being. You sense that your true nature is infinite, boundless, unconditionally loving, and outside of time. And on the other hand, you know that in certain situations (usually involving other people!), you are avoidant, dismissive, reactive, and shut down, and—truth be told—you have a lot of healing and personal growth work to do.

Buddhist psychotherapist Bruce Tift is a master at holding these two seemingly contradictory views, and—ready for this?—he does so “without any hope of resolution.” In this podcast, Tami Simon and Bruce Tift talk about how, in his work with clients, he skillfully embraces both the developmental view of psychotherapy and the fruitional view of Vajrayana Buddhism, the blind spots that come with each approach, and how combining them can help people avoid these pitfalls. 

Tune in as they discuss unconditional openness, and how it is important to be “open to being closed”; how neurosis requires disembodiment, and further, how our neurosis is fundamentally an avoidance strategy—“a substitute for experiential intensity”; our complaints about other people (especially our relationship partners) as opportunities to take responsibility for our own feelings of disturbance (instead of blaming other people for upsetting us); how to engage in “unconditional practices,” such as the practice of unconditional openness, unconditional embodiment, and unconditional kindness; and more.

Pain as the Path

The wounds, scars, and pain we carry as men have a place in our lives. A function that can lead us directly to the core of deep meaning and fulfillment and provide a positive path forward. This is what initiation was supposed to teach us as men—how to descend into the depths of our own darkness and return a more complete and contributive participant in society.

However, this is where a man’s real problem resides: He has not been taught the skill or alchemy of initiation. He has not learned how to deal with his pain, or the pain of the world, and so he bucks against it.

I realized over the years of grappling with how to heal that not only was I ill-equipped to deal with the hurt I’d been given, but I also seemed to be woefully ill-equipped to reconcile with, and put a halt to, the perpetual hurt I passed on to others. Like many men, I was good at inflicting pain—and men who are good at something tend to do that thing a lot.

Not only was I undereducated in the alchemical craft of turning pain into purpose, but almost every man I knew was in relatively the same situation. Most men simply haven’t been taught how to deal with their pain and use it to become something better.

And this aspect of the journey is the missing link in male initiation, which has historically played the role of guiding a man through the transitory period between adolescence and adulthood, teaching him the skills of discipline, sovereignty, and the ability to face some of the most challenging aspects of his own life.

In fact, I began to see that not only have most men not been given the tools or resources to deal with the pain and suffering in their lives, but we as men are actively taught the opposite—the idiotic tactic of constant emotional avoidance. Not only this, but our emotional avoidance is seen as a theoretical and rational strength in certain circles.

Seeing this brings about a multitude of questions that both illuminate the foundational cracks within current masculine culture and also highlight the work we must embark on if we are to do our individual and collective parts as men in building a thriving society.

There’s more: I began to see the direct correlation between a man’s ability and willingness to face his own darkness and having a clear purpose, deep fulfillment, and clarity of contribution to the things that matter most to him.

But how can we as men give our pain a purpose in a culture where we are largely devoid of emotional permissions? Where the archetype of man, in order to be classified or quantified as a man, must do the impossible task of being brave and courageous without being vulnerable?

This is one of the biggest masculine myths—the false idea that you can be courageous without being inherently vulnerable. When we are rewarded for giving our lives, our hearts, and our emotional bodies up for sacrifice to maintain the illusion of invulnerable strength, we prioritize victory over connection. We praise ourselves for performance in the boardroom, bedroom, and bars, but we lack recognition for our performance in reconciliation, repair, and reparation.

There’s another way. A way where victory is found within the work, and part of that work is facing our own darkness.

Excerpted from Men’s Work: A Practical Guide to Face Your Darkness, End Self-Sabotage, and Find Freedom by Connor Beaton.

CONNOR BEATON is the founder of ManTalks, an international organization dedicated to the personal growth of men. He is a facilitator dedicated to building better men, an entrepreneur, a writer, and a keynote speaker. Connor has spoken to large corporate brands, nonprofits, schools, and international organizations such as the United Nations, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Apple, TED, and Entrepreneurs' Organization. For more, visit mantalks.com.

Caverly Morgan: The Heart of Who We Are

When Caverly Morgan reentered society after eight years as a Zen monk, she was confronted with a question many of us are asking these days: Considering the enormity of the problems before us, how can one individual’s spiritual practice make a tangible difference in our world? 

In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Caverly about her new book, The Heart of Who We Are, and the connection between self-realization and collective transformation. Tune in as they explore these topics and more: the difference between the absolute and the relative; introducing teens to inquiry practice; self-improvement vs. self-realization; the core experience of who we are in our depths; the power of community; meeting our deepest needs; “changing costumes within the dance of suffering”; connecting with others “essence to essence”; broadening public access to contemplative practices; escaping the trap of perfectionism; letting go of our conditioning, individually and collectively; egoic behaviors versus “acts of being.”

This episode first aired live and on video on Sounds True One. To watch Insights at the Edge episodes live and on video, and to access additional bonus Q&A, please visit join.soundstrue.com to learn more.

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