Thanksgiving Special Episode



Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in United States and a number of other countries. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It’s a day for gathering with family and family friends and for engaging in family traditions and rituals.

To mark the day this is a special episode of the REAL podcast. This crowdsourced episode is comprised of reflections on gratitude and of how we celebrate Thanksgiving from Philippe Browning, Catherine Davidson, Laura Diamond, Tanya Ward Goodman, Chris J Rice, Laura Silverman, and others.


Chris Rice: Becoming the Author of My Own Life



Writer and visual artist Chris Rice talks about growing up on the road, traveling between the Bible Belt and Southern California as the oldest of nine children and caretaker of her younger siblings. Witness to the legacy of epigenetic trauma and suffering, Chris became an outsider and observer of the imagined lives she might inhabit in the future. Chris also talks about the healing power of love and the importance of community to protect and foster the vulnerable.

Find Chris’ work at chrisjrice.net.


Celeste Young: A New Relationship to Experience



Mindfulness meditation practitioner and Dharma teacher, Celeste Young, talks about her search to lessen her suffering and develop a new relationship to experience, as well as the joy she now feels in sharing what she loves with students who are dealing with anxiety and stress. Celeste also talks about developing a balanced relationship with the technologies that both claim our attention and connect us to community and how being silent and practicing mindfulness can be a doorway into compassion for oneself.

Find Celeste’s audio guided meditations at celesteyoung.com.


Halloween Special Episode



Halloween is an evening for trick-or-treating, dressing in costume, carving jack-o’-lanterns, playing pranks, and visiting haunted houses. Halloween is also a day for remembering the dead. This crowd-sourced episode is comprised of stories about Halloween.


Abigail Wald: Spinning Straw Into Gold



Abigail Wald is founder of YES Bar and Real Time Parenting. Abigail talks about the serious health challenges faced by her two young sons, and how these experiences of adversity spurred her entrepreneurial spirit and led her to start two new businesses. Abigail also talks about how the parenting tools she learned helped her to achieve her lifelong goal of teaching people to communicate effectively and leave the world a little better off than how she found it.


Elizabeth Aquino: Who Am I Without All of This?



Elizabeth Aquino is writer, disability advocate, and pastry chef. Elizabeth talks about the struggle to understand her own identity as separate from that of her now 22-year-old daughter, Sophie, who is profoundly disabled, as well as how the style in which she writes reflects this fragmentation of identity. Elizabeth also talks about the importance of creativity, what it means to give care to someone until one of you dies, and the questions that this caregiving raises about the value of a life and what it means to be human.


Cassandra Austin: Writing the Strangeness Out



Cassandra Austin is an Australian writer and author of two novels who lives in Los Angeles. Our conversation explores how the profound sense of alienation that Cassandra experienced upon moving from the land with which she closely identifies has shaped her writing and helped her to develop her craft even while she struggled personally. Cassandra also talks about why she considers herself an Australian writer and how she discovered that writing time is more important to her than writing space.


Rhoda Makoff: It Was Fun Because I Was Fearless



Rhoda Makoff received her PhD in Biochemistry in 1961 when she was 23 years old. Our conversation explores how Rhoda developed an interest in science and how she built a successful career in academic research, teaching, and business despite the continual roadblocks that she encountered as a woman who envisioned a major career. Rhoda reflects on the principles that have guided her resilience and persistence in achieving her goals, including the importance of keeping your eyes on the prize and developing an egoless style of leadership.

 


Roger Freeman and Alexandra Decas: Nourishing Conversations About Profound Loss



Roger Freeman and Alexandra Decas are members of The Dinner Party, a national community of mostly 20- and 30-somethings who’ve each experienced significant loss. Our conversation explores how connecting intimately with strangers who have similarly experienced loss has allowed each of them to address their feelings of isolation and learn how to live with and speak about their profound loss. They also talk about the role of humor at Dinner Party tables, how they each seek joy in their lives, and the confounding issue of helping men—who have been trained to hide any weakness—to show up and feel safe.


Catherine Temma Davidson: Freedom to Explore the Problem



Catherine Temma Davidson is a novelist, essayist, poet, and teacher of writing who grew up in Los Angeles and settled in London. Our conversation delves into Catherine’s creative process as well as her exploration of how culture shapes one’s worldview and what happens when we cross cultures. Catherine talks about the multicultural environment in which she was raised, her comfort with the “mixed mezze” approach, and why it is that she feels more Californian living in London than she ever did while she was living in the United States. Catherine also gives us a glimpse into the autobiographical novel on which she is currently working and discusses why—in the aftermath of Brexit—she has come to feel more connected to a larger community in England.