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Bliss and Grit

Long time friends Vanessa Scotto and Brooke Thomas are having conversations about being spiritual practitioners in the modern world. How do you find sacredness in today's materialistic society? Is there a place for psychology in the realm of spirituality? Can embodied meditation lead to greater evolution? How do we ultimately embrace more aliveness- all the beauty and crazy, the joys and messes, the bliss and the grit that is a human life? Join us as we feel our way through the path by integrating somatic practices, psychology, spirituality, and transformation through meditation.
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Bliss and Grit
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Apr 16, 2019
Today we are honing in on how we find safety in the world and in our relationships, whether those relationships are with intimate partners, or our children, friends, coworkers,etc. We are deepening the conversation from our last two episodes: the episode on awakened relating with Lynn Marie Lumiere, and last week’s episode on the how” of self-love. 
 
In particular we are using the lens of Stephen Porges’s Polyvagal theory to look more closely at what happens when we don’t detect safety, and the magical things that can happen when our nervous systems do detect safety and therefore do not have to be defensive. We ponder what even is defensive behavior beyond the caricatures we typically think of? What are the cultural stories that keep us from experiences of safety? How do we get out of the “you’re a problem, or I’m a problem” binary loop? Then we look at how healing really begins to happen, and how healing really takes care of itselfthe more we can self-regulate and co-regulate.
Apr 9, 2019

If you’ve listened to the podcast in the past you know how much we value the practice of meeting ourselves with tenderness and love. In this episodewe are going into much greater detail about what it tangibly looks and feels like to heal through self-love. Our conversation covers everythingfrom neuroscience to personal experiencesto practical exercises where we can learn how to bring love to the parts of ourselves that need it the most. As we shift to meeting ourselves with a genuine experience of loving-kindness we can rewire and release the conditioning that has created so much suffering and havoc in our lives and step into a new, brighter experience of life.

Apr 2, 2019

Today we are having a conversation with Lynn Marie Lumiere, a psychotherapist and the author of the book Awakened Relating: A Guide to Embodying Undivided Love in Intimate Relationships. Reading from the description of Lynn Marie’s book: Our natural state is to love and be loved. From deep within, we’re compelled to seek connection. Yet relationships remain a struggle—even for the most spiritually enlightened among us. Traumatic experiences, insecure attachment, and especially the false but commonly held belief that we are separate, both from each other and from the love we seek, can cause endless problems in our relationships. As long as our connections are built on this untruth, lasting love and harmony in relationship will elude us. In our conversation with Lynn Marie,we greatly enjoy shedding some light on how being able to contact the experience of awake awareness, or unity consciousness can take us way beyond the endless compromise push-pull game of the separate self, and the ways that“consciousrelationship” continue to keep us limited and constricted. You can find more of Lynn’s work at lynnmarielumiere.com

Mar 26, 2019
Today we’re showing our age by speaking about a concept from the book, The Seat of the Soul, that was written 25 years ago by physicist and author Gary Zukav that was just re-released. In this bookGary describes the difference between what he calls the vertical path, or the path of the spirit, and the horizontal path, the path of formand how where we choose to put our attention and energy can impact our lives. We thought this would be a fun and relevant conversation as so many of us, even on a spiritual path, still can get hung up on the horizontal “realm” looking a certain way. We also bring in wisdom from Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earthas well as personal examples of how we began to view life through the lens of the Soul, rather than the Ego. 
 
Find our more information about us and Bliss + Grit at www.blissandgrit.com
Mar 19, 2019

This week we are having a flashback Tuesday! This episode was originally recorded in June of 2018 with our special guest Matt Kahn,and we figured we could always time travel a little! If you listen to Bliss and Grit on the regular, you are probably well familiar with Matt. But if you aren’t, he is an empathic healer and teacher who is very dear to my and Vanessa’s hearts. We hope you enjoy revisiting(orhearing for the first time!) this episode. Matt has an uncanny ability to bring the wide open miraculous and root it right down into our shared humanity. You can learn more about his work at www.mattkahn.org

Mar 12, 2019

In this conversation we are speaking about the difference between intellectual knowing and lived, felt experience when it comes to healing. We’ve all seen firsthand that knowing something often isn’t enough to create a transformation in our lives. For example, we can know that we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves yet continue to criticize ourselves relentlessly. This conversation seems simple at first, but in exploring our own path of embodied transformation takes a few interesting twists and turns through topics like intergenerational trauma, being forgiveness, and finding existence in your own body. 

Mar 5, 2019

This week we are deepening our conversation on co-creation by looking at how powerful handing your burdens over to God, Life, Source, whatever word you choose, can be. How do we let go of the ownership of our struggles, without bypassAnd what happens when we do? Ultimately this conversation takes a close look at how we can be in such deep relationship with life that we know we are itand that we are being supremely taken care of by iteven in the midst of suffering. And, when we hand our suffering over, we begin to live a life more akin to a delightful scavenger hunt than as an endless grasping and striving wind-drag.

Feb 26, 2019

This week we’re taking a deeper look at judgment. We are all familiar with the voice of the inner judge that is habitually dissecting people, situations and even ourselves. This judge may be more obvious and critical, or it may be more subtle, showing up as the voice of “great advice” you give others in your mind on how they “should” live. Either way, it’s useful to explore how is the judgment impacting you? What is it serving and creating? And most interestingly to us, what would life look and feel like if we lovingly released the habit of judgment through love and forgiveness? This conversation focuses on our own personal exploration of why and how releasing judgement has been an important part of our process these days, as well as covers forgiveness teachings shared with us by Matt Kahn. 

Feb 19, 2019

Today we are basically observing a different aspect of the nitty-gritty of transformation than what we spoke to last week. In this case, the moment when you are right up against the mechanics of your conditioning and you can truly feel the edges, or the wall to what you are even able to conceive of, or feel safe enough to receive, into your life. We talk about the simple and profound beauty of discovering what one would truly like to have in their life as the walls of conditioning crumble more. And about how powerful it can be to find the operating mode of being pushed forward by pain being replaced by the operating mode of being pulled by vision (as inspired by Rev Michael Beckwith).

Feb 12, 2019

We’ve been active in some pretty big transformational processes these days, which got us thinking about how rare it is for people to speak about the actual nitty-gritty of being a human going through these kinds of moments. From what happens in the brain and body when you’re in the middle of healing, to what may pop up psychologically as you uproot the causes of your suffering, we’re bringing some light to what it’s been like us to be up close and personal to our own active journey with internal transformation.

Jan 29, 2019

Today we are taking our “Turn Towards or Turn Away” episode a few steps farther. We are way out on the edge of what is an alive inquiry for us, in short, we are pondering co-creation. What is cultivating a deep relationship to life? How is what we are talking about different than, and also how is it related to, the, I’m gonna say it, the Law of Attraction or manifestation talk. I suppose we are at the beginning of pondering what a “law of attraction” looks like from a non-ego-driven, non-bright-siding or denial perspective. Where does it become not about the Me controlling life, but actually about deepening the intimate relationship we have with life?

Jan 22, 2019

In this episode, we’re speaking about a new paradigm for intimate relationship with our guests Amoda Maa and Kavi Jezzie Hockaday. Amoda and Kavi have been together for 16 years and have observed the unfolding of an unexpected relationship between them that appears to have a life on its own. They share with us a new vision for how relationships may evolve, as well as an exploration of the ways in which our conditioning can affect our perspective on love. We touch on the difference between conscious relationship and what we could call “awakened” relationship, what co-dependency is and how you may discern if your needs are actually a subtle form of co-dependence, and what it can look like to truly embody love. Then we touch on a topic that could be a whole episode in and of itself; how the frequencies of masculine and feminine are showing up in relationships today and what it could look like to shed the “inner patriarchy” in love. Join us on what Brooke called “a new planet” as we envision a new paradigm for love and partnership. 

 

Amoda Maa and Kavi Jezzie Hockaday both write, teach and speak on awakening and love. For more information on retreats and offerings go to www.amodamaa.com or www.kavijezziehockaday.com. If you’re moved by this conversation in particular, please visit Amoda’s website for information about their upcoming retreat at Light on the Hill. 

Jan 15, 2019

After we aired our episode on healing the limbic system we got a similar question from many listeners, phrased in many different ways, but circling around a theme. The question essentially was: for those of us on a path, so much of our instruction, whether in various spiritual and psychological settings, is on how to turn towards our pain. How to really be with what we are feeling and experiencing. Yet Dynamic Neural Retraining Systems, which we had discussed in the limbic system episode, seems to instruct turning away. So what gives? So we wanted to really clarify what we are talking about when we discuss limbic impairment, and how understanding limbic impairment has been a very profound missing puzzle piece for both Vanessa and I. Yet it doesn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater either. So what is it to navigate the full nuance of coming home to ourselves, of turning towards our inner landscape, and at the same time to acknowledge that quite a lot of this inner landscape is not the “me” we think it is, and for some of us, what we call me is actually a habitual and established trauma loop, which does not need to be fed any longer if we want to be free.

Jan 8, 2019

For our conversation today we are joined by guest Judith Blackstone, who also was one of our mentors. Judith Blackstone, PhD is an innovative teacher in contemporary spirituality. She developed the Realization Process, an embodied approach to personal and relational healing and nondual realization. She is author of several books, including her latest work Trauma and the Unbound Body.

In our talk we speak about a subtle field of awareness within each of us that Judith calls Fundamental Consciousness. We cover how traumatic experiences are unconsciously bound into constrictions in our bodies, limiting both our personal expression and our experience of wholeness, as well as how when we discover ourselves as FC we can experience ourselves as an unbreakable, unified ground of being. Of course we also speak about how the Realization process has changed both of our lives, and how these practices can mean the end of objectification and co-dependency.

For more information on Judith, her new book and her numerous trainings in The Realization process please visit www.realizationprocess.org

For more on Bliss+Grit please go to www.blissandgrit.com

 

Dec 18, 2018

Vanessa just recently returned from doing the DNRS (Dynamic Neural Retraining System) program. You have heard us talking about this program and the book about it, Wired for Healing, in previous episodes, but this is the first time that we talk in depth about it. And because Vanessa was very freshly back from the weeklong program, it was a great chance for me to catch up with her and ask her all about it as we recorded an episode. Vanessa and I are deeply invested in conversations about where our paths and the habits of our nervous systems intersect, and we have been engaged in a years long, really lifelong, inquiry into how we can most usefully reset our nervous systems in order to have a different experience of our lives.

It’s important to note that this is just us talking as friends about the program, not as professionals prescribing the program to any of you listening. We also talk about things that are akin to exposure therapy and so we would like to say that if you are a person with a chronic illness, anxiety, or PTSD please don’t take this episode as a suggestion of things to try out at home. It is really a tiny glimpse into a much larger program and that container is needed for safe and effective healing.

Dec 4, 2018

We’re speaking today about the implications of the words we choose. Historically, we’ve bristled at what we perceived as a “turn your frown upside down” approach to language. These days though, we’ve both been called towards exploring the intersection of language, evolution and creation. Could we have been wrong? Might shifting to the use of “positive” language actual impact our reality? Listen in to hear us share our thoughts on the benefits and cautions of bringing attention to the words you use, the dilemma of bypass and judgement, and how healing might just come through making different choices.

Nov 27, 2018

Welcome to our 100th episode! And I think it’s appropriate that our 100th episode is basically a popcorn episode about what transformative nuggets are sticking with us from so many of our conversations and experiences in recent months. In particular, our recent episode with Neelam, but also what has really stuck with us in other episodes and conversations, and even at the SAND conference.

100 makes for a nice even number to create a kind of bookmark- where have we been with this show and in our lives? We have been engaged in a public healing process- which fyi is not what we thought we were going to do when we started the show- but anyway here we are. We’ve aired a lot of pain, a lot of personal insights... and we want to share where we’re at these days- and that there is good news. Healing isn’t a forever thing, there is such a thing as healed. and we can have and a new experience of life on the other side of that.

Nov 20, 2018

In this conversation we’re deep diving into the pattern of co-dependency. We’ve both been co-dependent in our lives and have slowly but surely been working our way through to greater freedom. So in today’s episode we’re looking at what does it actually mean to be co-dependent, how does it affect us or show up in our lives, and of course, ultimately, how can we begin to shift this pattern that can be exhausting, frustrating and limiting to so many of us?

Nov 13, 2018

Our guest today, Neelam, is a direct disciple of Papaji, and she has been holding satsang internationally since 1996. She runs the non profit, Fire of Truth Satsanga. Neelam’s unequivocal commitment to truth helps students turn inward again and again to release underlying patterns of conditioning which block the recognition of their true nature as Presence. The clarity and discriminating wisdom that are intrinsic to this awakened state are given freely by Neelam through Spiritual Inquiry, as she invites her students into the same recognition of truth that her teacher Papaji transmitted to her. In Our conversation with Neelam we talk about coming to know yourself as presence, what trust in your true nature means- and how the genuine experience of that trust can change our lives, what true freedom is, and how we can discern the difference between when past is arising, and playing out it’s habitual patterns and using it’s built up momentum, and when we are actually present. We discuss in detail what Awakening and the capacity of the nervous system have to do with one another, what trauma actually is, and how to get out of the grooves and charges of the past so that we can truly be here and not in a remembered past or imagined future. We were also grateful that Neelam spoke so eloquently about tenderness and kindness as the true marker of if we are in the present, and how treating ourselves with tenderness can be the real alchemical agent.

Oct 30, 2018

In this episode we’re excited to catch up with each other and integrate some of what we have experienced recently in the presence of so many amazing guest conversations, in particular our recent one with David Thomas. We’re exploring conditioning, again, but after being with David we’re posing the question to ourselves “what if it’s all conditioning?” What if, while we are in ego consciousness, all of our thoughts are simply products of our culture and lineage that become habitual? And if so, what would that mean about how we can shift out of our chronic patterns of suffering?

Oct 23, 2018

Today we are talking with David Thomas. David is a self-realization teacher, speaker, and writer living in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Through the practice of Self-inquiry and meditation, he has acquired a deeper understanding of the inner self and true liberation. David now seeks to support individuals in their pursuit of self-realization through his writing and speaking. The insights he shares within his videos, quotes, and poems are created to help nurture the healing of individuals seeking release from their pain and suffering. All of his teachings come from his personal experience, so he gives an inside perspective from being lost in ignorance to finding the truth within.

We were both immediately struck by what a bright light David is. He has a very clear way of pointing out what conditioning actually is- how we are programmed and how we lose connection to life. His clarity on what the Being is- what direct experience is- versus our thoughts about ourselves can really rock your world in this talk if you sit with it. And his insights on the dark times we are living in as a result of how we have been forced to shut down our hearts is spot on. David points out That the heart always sees the truth, is always speaking the truth, but we are so cut off from it that we don’t feel it breaking and crying out. He also talks about the power of rock bottom. That when you are really broken, that that is when you are closest to God- and you can use that as a way immediately into God. Listening to David you can really feel what it means to be a Being who is living from the perspective of eternity- who is out of the way we think about time, and who understands the creator natures we all have at core. It was an absolute joy to talk with him. You can find more of his work via his YouTube channel, which is Enlightenedmindz.

Oct 16, 2018

In this episode we are speaking with our very special guest and friend Jeannie Zandi. Jeannie has been on our show before and today is offering some profound, must-hear insight on yin and yang that we are so excited to share with you. 

 Our conversation touches upon so much including what true power looks like, the imbalances our culture has perpetuated, what healing would look like through the lens of yin and how we can move forward together in dismantling the conditioning that has led to so much pain. For anyone exploring healing on both a personal and collective level this episode is for you. She put words to a revolution we’re just now realizing we’ve already been a part of. 

Jeannie is truly such a force of love. She is the director of Living as Love, a nonprofit organization dedicated to seeding a culture of the Heart on the planet, inspiring, teaching and supporting people to live from their essence as Love.  A year before the birth of her daughter, Jeannie was plunged into a dark night of the soul that culminated in a radical shift of consciousness. She is known for her fearless clarity, tender mercy toward humanness, and a juicy, poetic and often humorous style that draws from Advaita Vedanta, Sufism, Christian mysticism and the ongoing revelation of fully engaged living.  Residing in Colorado, she travels widely in the US, bringing a down-to-earth embodied teaching of living as love. For more info on Jeannie and the upcoming course she speaks about in the episode please go to www.jeanniezandi.com 

Oct 9, 2018

Today we’re talking about when we are so contracted by very real things like chronic illness, chronic pain, or PTSD and we can’t reach a state of gratitude, or relief, and certainly not joy. Instead, we are coping with responses of our nervous systems and our physiology that feel much more akin to being trapped in a hell realm. These are the dimensions of reality where we can’t get any perspective, we don’t remember how to meet basic needs, and we spin and deal with quite a lot of suffering on top of the suffering of the illness or of the situation itself. We get into how to survive and work with these states. They are very painful and disorienting, and there are ways to open up some workability even when you are in the midst of one.

Oct 2, 2018

Today we are speaking with Dr. Miles Neale. Dr. Neale is among the leading voices of the current generation of Buddhist teachers and a forerunner in the emerging field of contemplative psychotherapy. He is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, international speaker, and faculty member of Tibet House US and Weill Cornell Medical College. Miles is author of Gradual Awakening: The Tibetan Buddhist Path of Becoming Fully Human along with its audio companion of guided meditations The Gradual Path. The proceeds for both the book and the program go to supporting the Kopan Nunnery in Nepal. He is also coeditor of the groundbreaking volume Advances in Contemplative Psychotherapy. Miles is based in New York City. For more information please visit www.milesneale.com. We’ll also have that link in the show resources for you.

In this episode we go deep into what Miles calls the “sickness of paradigm” that he believes is plaguing our modern cultures. We explore whether spirituality has become a necessary medicine for our current crises, what may help us wake up a sense of interconnectivity, and the dilemmas presented to us by the trend towards watered-down meditation practices, which he has termed “McMindfulness”. Miles presents us with the possibility that all human beings have the potential to awaken if they are willing to walk the gradual steps of the heroes journey.

Sep 25, 2018

Today we are speaking with Will Pye. Will’s first book is titled Blessed With A Brain Tumor; Realizing It’s All Gift and Learning to Receive. So needless to say, he was a perfect guest for us to have on as a follow up to our basic trust conversation from last week.

Will is a social entrepreneur, teacher, transformational coach, speaker and author. He leads workshops and retreats around the world. Will’s second book, The Gratitude Prescription; Harnessing the Power of Thankfulness for Healing and Happiness is due for release this May. He is also the founder of the community of awakening and sacred activism, with the title we very much love, The Love & Truth Party: www.loveandtruthparty.org, And of the year-long program and coaching group, Living Impeccably.

In our conversation with Will here, the thing we dove most into is surrender: of course surrender gets talked about a lot in spiritual circles, so we wanted to bring you something more useful than “I think you should surrender”. That said, we talk about what it is and what it isn’t. How life is life-ing and preparing us perfectly for our hero’s journeys, the projections we can have about someone’s terrible news, or in this case diagnosis, and how Will instead seems to be living like he’s on a really fun scavenger hunt or adventure, rather than as someone who is burdened by the reality of living with a brain tumor. That said, we also debunk some of the ideas that awakening or realization causes one to no longer have human emotions or plain old bad days. However, Will points out that he has found it possible to not suffer about his suffering. a crucial distinction. You can find more of Will's work at willpye.com

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