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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Jun 18, 2019

This is the second part to last week’s conversation with the author, speaker, and teacher Will Pye on his newest book, The Gratitude Prescription. We first interviewed Will almost a year back on his book Blessed with a Brain Tumor and enjoyed our talk so much that we invited him back to hear more about what he calls ‘radical gratitude.’ As someone who had a spiritual awakening in the aftermath of receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, we find his teachings and recommended practices of gratitude to be very embodied, grounded and deep. 

We left off last week discussing why truth can be difficult to meet if we don’t have self-compassion. We pick up again with Vanessa asking Will to speak more on how personalizing our suffering can be problematic. 

In this episode we are speaking about: 

  • How personalizing our narratives and experiences of suffering can increase our pain 
  • How Will dealt with his own suicidal thoughts and depression 
  • How removing the label from experiences like depression can shift our relationship to it 
  • How building resilience is important in building the capacity to navigate difficult circumstances with a state of gratitude 
  • Why a regular practice can be so important in shifting our experience of life 
  • How to become more “grace-prone”

We also have an extra bonus for you because towards the end Will guided us through a beautiful gratitude practice that you can listen to over and over again. 

To find out more information about Will Pye please visit

For more information on Bliss + Grit, or one-on-one coaching with Brooke Thomas or Vanessa Scotto, please visit

To become a supporting member and join our forum please visit

Jun 11, 2019

Today we are speaking with Will Pye for a second time! Will is an author, speaker, and teacher, and we had our first conversation with him about his first book, Blessed with a Brain Tumor, and today we are talking about his most recent book, The Gratitude Prescription.  The embodied practice of gratitude has become a centrally important part of our own practices this year, and so we wanted to talk with Will about the deeply experiential practice of gratitude and how it is fundamental to the functioning of the human being, and how it can actually change your life. 

We had so much fun talking with Will that this is a conversation in two parts. Part 2 will air next week. And if you want to find more of Will’s work, visit

In this episode we are talking about: 

  • Gratitude as the realized state of God: the peace, love, and joy of what we are.  
  • The setup of this realm that we tend not to look for the good or the abundance. 
  • Gratitude as the mental practice of clarity. 
  • The data on gratitude as a remedy for depression. 
  • Gratitude is not a directive to bypass what is happening in the world. 
  • How to absorb, or digest, gratitude and get its full nourishment. 


To find out more information about Will Pye please visit:

To become a show patron, please visit:

For information on Bliss and Grit, including information about one-on-one coaching with Brooke Thomas or Vanessa Scotto, please visit


Jun 4, 2019

Today we are sharing the second part of our conversation with our guest Lisa Wimberger. Lisa is the creator of Neurosculpting, which is a self-directed neuroplasticity protocol. Specifically, it is a mental training process that quiets our fight-or-flight center and activates our prefrontal cortex, which is the mind’s seat of our compassion and empathy. We had so much to discuss that we made this interview a two-parter. 

In this episode we are talking about: 

  • How energy relates to your nervous system.
  • The importance of focusing on your body in your spiritual practice. 
  • How our past narratives filter our present moment experiences. 
  • The trouble technology creates for your vagus nerve.
  • How your “spirits design” can influence your choices. 

To find out more information about Lisa and Neurosculpting please visit

For more information on Bliss + Grit, to become a show patron, or to get information about one-on-one coaching with Brooke Thomas or Vanessa Scotto, please go to

May 28, 2019

We have a special guest today: Lisa Wimberger. Lisa is the creator of Neurosculpting, which is a self-directed neuroplasticity protocol. Specifically, it is a mental training process that quiets our fight-or-flight center and activates our prefrontal cortex, which is the mind’s seat of our compassion and empathy. Needless to say, we had a lot to talk about. In fact, We so many shared passions and inquiries in common with Lisa that we are airing this conversation as a 2-parter. Stay tuned next week. 

If you want more information on Neurosculpting you can visit

In this episode we are talking about: 

  • How meditation and spiritual paths can be used to dissociate further into a freeze pattern of the nervous system.
  • Lisa’s extreme experience of a nervous system caught in freeze, and how recovering from this adaptation is different than someone recovering from flight or fight patterns. 
  • Why going from freeze to “bliss” is too big a step. 
  • How to consciously choose when we need to be in our limbic nervous systems versus when we can move to a different state.
  • How the stories we tell about our lives (internally to ourselves) are built on the foundation of what information our nervous system’s received when we were very young. 

For more information on Bliss + Grit, to become a show patron, or to get information about one-on-one coaching with Brooke Thomas or Vanessa Scotto, please go to

May 21, 2019

Have you ever worried that if you were to truly shine as bright as you could you would make others uncomfortable? Or have you noticed moments where you shut down your own potential or thriving? You also may believe that your needs, your emotions or your presence is just simply too much for people. The fear of “being too much” can be a very common one, especially in empathic circles, and can create patterns of inhibition that keep us settling for less-than. We’ve experienced this fear in our own lives, in our own ways, and that’s why in this episode we’re speaking about:

  • How we can manage our own aliveness to make others comfortable 
  • How fear can tell us that our thriving will take away from others or cost us our connection 
  • How to spot those protective strategies and move through them into embodying more wholeness in your life  
  • How sometimes we can be “too much” for others, but that has nothing to do with our essential self 

For more information on Bliss + Grit, on becoming a show supporter or on coaching with Brooke Thomas or Vanessa Scotto, please go to 

May 14, 2019

Today we are talking about the rules we may have made in our lives, that at some point, gave us a frame of reference in how to navigate life in a sane and mature way. Also, those moments in life when we are asked to figure out if those rules are to be followed to the letter, or if a more subtle discernment is called for. 

In our discussion: 

  • The benefit of “rules” and how they can help us navigate new territory.
  • How rules can also keep us in needlessly small lives.
  • How to discern the difference between a useful rule and one that no longer applies.
  • Learning how to trust ourselves and have faith in our discernment.
  • How to let go of holding on to, “I hope I don’t screw up” and move forward in life.

For more information on Bliss + Grit go to

May 7, 2019
In this episode,we are speaking about the phenomenon of spiritual teacher misconduct. From shaming and judgment to outright abuse, there is a long history of spiritual figures engaging inappropriately with those they’re meant to guide. Yet these days it seems as if there is a new teacher exposed every few months. This is a big topic, that we could barely scratch the surface on, but in light of our recent discussions on relationships and safety, and because we do speak about so many teachers, we felt like it was time to add our voices to the conversation. We touch on how this can happen, but more so, what signs we may look for to identify an unethical, unsafe or ego-driven teacher. 
In our discussionwe cover many topics including: 
  • How a spiritual teacher can benefit us 
  • Polyvagal theory
  • Intergenerational trauma 
  • Co-dependency 
  • The importance of recognizing the humanity in awakened teachers
We know that people within this community may have been harmed by a teacher and we want you to know that we love you, we support you and we value you. We hope we did some justice to this important topic. May we together help raise consciousness and eradicate abuse in all forms of relationship. 
For more information on Bliss + Grit go to 
Apr 30, 2019
This week is a flashback Tuesday! This episode, titled The Implications of Basic Trust, originally aired in September of 2018. We both remember this conversation as the beginning of what felt like a big shift for each of us, the kind of epiphany that seems so obvious, but is in fact quite hugethat we can trust this life. Even when it’s agony. Even when it’s joy. Even when it’s boring... 
By the time this began to be a real lived experience for us, we had sat with the phrase “trust your life” for at least a couple of years. So it was fun to listen back and note that understanding things and experiencing things are really different. 
It was also maybe the first time that we mentioned what felt like a side project at the time: connecting the dots between nervous system states and awakening. Something that now feels very front and center to our mission, and is something you have heard a lot about in the last few episodes.
Apr 23, 2019

Our last several episodes have been circling around the theme of relationship and connection. This week we’re continuing the conversation by sharing our thoughts on what we could call, “the love language of presence”. We’ve noticed personally that what truly bonds us to others, and lets us feel loved, is presence in the form of interest and curiosity. Yet, our cultural and familial models are often missing this key ingredient. In this talk, we cover a tangible way to look at if you’re present, how ego-agendas can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies, how an overstimulated nervous system can pull you away from presence, ways to experience genuine connection and how the conversation of ‘doing vs being’ can also apply to the way we communicate.

Apr 22, 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

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
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

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 or 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

For more on Bliss+Grit please go to


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.

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