Ep 103: Knowing Our History: Civil Rights Insights for Today’s World with Sojourn Project’s Jeff Steinberg

Ep 103: Knowing Our History: Civil Rights Insights for Today’s World with Sojourn Project’s Jeff Steinberg

I’m honored to share this special Father’s Day edition of the Mother’s Quest Podcast. This episode features my friend Jeff Steinberg, whose commitment to the lessons of the civil rights movement can shine a light for us now, during another pivotal time in our nation’s history.

Jeff and I first crossed paths when our sons, Ryan and Journey, now 20 years old, became inseparable friends in preschool. While waiting to pick up our kids, I instantly connected with Jeff as I learned about the transformative work he was doing as Executive Director of Sojourn to the Past, also known as the Sojourn Project.

Years before I would create Mother’s Quest, Jeff modeled the power of forging his own purposeful path. After 14 years of teaching A.P. American History, Jeff founded Sojourn to move beyond the limitations of the classroom, delving students into the lessons of the civil rights movement and bringing history to life. 

Through week-long journeys to the South, students visit historic locations, delve into primary source materials, hear from Civil Rights icons, and engage in deep discussions. By stepping out of the classroom, students are immersed in a shared history not covered in our textbooks. They return empowered to drive personal, social, and civic change in their own communities.

Since his first trip in 1999, Jeff has received tremendous recognition for his impact, receiving state and national awards including The Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. (Advancing Nonviolence Through Generations of Exceptional Leadership) Award and the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Award. He has led over 19,000 students and community adults on these transformative journeys, shaping their futures in profound ways.

I loved this opportunity to go deep with Jeff into the lessons learned through Sojourn, the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things and that we all have a role to play to speak out against injustice. Jeff shares honestly about his own personal grappling with our nation’s history, the principles of nonviolence, and the issues we face today, including the horrors unfolding in Israel and Palestine and the student protests here. While you might not agree with everything he says, I hope the thoughtful perspectives he shares inspires you, as it did me, to say yes to a sojourn trip of your own and to move with authenticity into your own transformational activism. 

Topics Discussed in this Episode

  • How Jeff’s family and particularly his older brother, who played speeches of MLK and Bobby Kennedy while Jeff was growing up, influenced his commitment to social justice. 

  • Jeff’s path from teaching A.P. American History to founding Sojourn to the Past, bringing civil rights history to life through immersive student journeys.

  • The importance of connecting our children, in developmentally appropriate ways, to our nation’s challenges and how Jeff raised his sons to explore their own authentic path to allyship.

  • The impact of the principles of nonviolence on Jeff’s life and how finding his own inner peace is a work in progress. 

  • The work Sojourn is doing to reform policing and the justice system through bringing officers and district attorneys on the trips. 

  • Why shame and guilt are destructive feelings and how to shift to empowerment and responsibility instead. 

  • The lack of knowledge of our shared history and who Jeff believes are our nation’s real founding fathers and mothers. 

  • Jeff’s personal reflections on the horrors unfolding in Israel and Palestine and the responsibility he feels as an American Jew to speak out against the oppression of the Palestinian people. 

  • His respect for student activism and the conversation he recently had with a student protester at one of the university encampments. 

  • The importance of dialogue, reciprocity, and building shared compassion.

 

About Jeff Steinberg

After 14 years of teaching Advanced Placement U.S. History, “Mr. Steinberg” founded Sojourn to the Past out of a passion for exploring civil rights and the desire to provide a transformational and experiential educational experience for his students. He has designed rigorous, relevant, and standards-based curriculum filled with rich primary source documents, in the hopes that students will benefit from exploring systemic injustices of the past as a means to better understand and address our current challenges. Mr. Steinberg has led over eight thousand students through Sojourn’s living history lesson, along the path of the Civil Rights Movement, through five states in the Southern United States. Additionally, he makes hundreds of interactive presentations annually across the country on the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement. For his efforts, Mr. Steinberg and the organization have received numerous state and national awards including: The Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. (Advancing Nonviolence Through Generations of Exceptional Leadership) Award, and the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Award.

Connect with Jeff and Sojourn

 

This Episode’s Challenge

Jeff gives us all an open invitation to join one of the Sojourn project trips and immerse ourselves in the living history and lessons of the civil rights movement. He encourages us to explore the written texts and documentaries that they use on the trips at this link. And, he invites us to think about how we can each use our voices to be allies and find our own authentic, transformative path to activism.  

 

About Sojourn Project

For over 20 years and through 100+ study trips to the American Deep South and Washington, D.C., Sojourn Project has been immersing people from diverse backgrounds in academic, transformative weeklong moving-classroom Journeys. Along the path and through the lens of the Modern Civil Rights Movement and America’s struggles for liberty. Living history. Learning about sacrifices made and lives taken to achieve the right to vote and equality. Our greatest hope is for people to recognize that they too can stand up to injustice and do extraordinary things. A California-based nonprofit, Sojourn has been honored by the United States Congress as the longest-running social justice education and outreach program of its kind.

Related Episodes and Resources To Explore Next

From Mother’s Quest: 

Sojourn Recommended Resources: 

This Episode is Dedicated by Kristi Donna Ng

Kristi Donna Ng is an award-winning screenwriter, actress, producer and hula dancer. Her short films have been screened at the Boston Asian American Film Festival, Syracuse International Film Festival (1st Place Winner), The Barrow Group’s 48 Hour Film Festival (Two-time Audience Award Winner) and The Sparrow Film Project where she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Award. Select theatre credits: Heartstrings (Atlantic Theater Company), Joker (National Queer Theatre), Same Time Next Week (Joust Theatre Company), Love/Sick (PaperKids Theatre Company). Kristi received her Masters Degree in Politics from New York University and previously worked at Human Rights Watch.

 

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

In celebration of our 100th episode, we invite you to help us spread the word by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Help us reach 100 + reviews to honor 100 + episodes of the Mother’s Quest Podcast!

You can also support the podcast by making a contribution or joining one of our memberships at our Patron Page on Ko-Fi.com. 

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest

 

Ep 102: Milestone Hike Revisited: A Mother Son Neurodiversity Journey

Ep 102: Milestone Hike Revisited: A Mother Son Neurodiversity Journey

Welcome to this first episode of Season Nine of the Mother’s Quest Podcast with a returning and special guest, my own son Ryan Neale.

I first sat down to record an episode with Ryan in 2017, on his 13th birthday, after we embarked on a milestone hike, using the ascent and descent at our local Sugarloaf Peak to pack up the lessons of his first 13 years of life and my first 13 years of motherhood. 

At that time, Ryan knew he wanted to close out his teenage years the same way he began them. So this past March, in what felt like the blink of an eye, his 20th birthday approached and Ryan returned from college so we could set out on the trail again.

Though the path was familiar, we soon recognized just how much we each had grown, maturing through heartache and triumph in our own ways.

We knew we would want to record our reflections from the hike again in a special recording studio and with the support of someone who might help us go even deeper. The answer to our quest appeared in the form of Tricia Creason-Valencia, co-founder of PowerHouse, and who Ryan and I have been partnering with on a new initiative, the Autism Storytelling Project.

It therefore also felt right to invite Tricia to dedicate this episode. Listen in for her beautiful dedication. You’ll also hear her voice toward the end of our conversation, asking us each a question that brought us both to tears. 

Along with some tears, there were many moments of insight and even some laughter, as we share about this 20 year milestone in both of our lives, the lessons we’ve learned about our neurodivergent identities especially, and about the exciting chapters unfolding for us.

It was a gift to experience this and also to share it with you. Ryan and I both hope this conversation inspires you to find your unique way to mark the milestones in your life, to reflect mindfully with your children, and to give yourselves opportunities to see one another, champion one another, and to grow alongside one another.

About Ryan Neale

Ryan Neale is a neurodivergent sophomore at UCLA, planning to double major in Communication and Disability Studies with a minor in Film Studies. He is part of the College Scholars Program at UCLA and recently was selected as part of the 2023 Chancellor’s Leadership Program cohort. He is passionate about neurodiversity advocacy and sharing his own experiences to pave the way for others. He is currently a staff member at the Bruin Resource Center, where he is a student lead on a new campus-wide neurodiversity initiative, the Bruin Neurodiversity Collective, to make UCLA more inclusive for students like him. This summer, he served on staff for the Stanford Neurodiversity Project – Research, Education, and Advocacy Camp for high schoolers wanting to create neurodiversity advocacy projects. He was also a speaker at the 2021 Stanford Neurodiversity Summit and has been a guest host on the Mother’s Quest Podcast. Ryan was diagnosed with autism at the age of 18 months old and also identifies with ADHD and anxiety.

Connect with Ryan

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The origins of our first milestone hike and why it was important to Ryan to end his teenage years in the same way he began them. 
  • Ryan’s grappling with his autistic identity, and how his desire to be “normal” over his teenage years was like navigating a “toxic ex.” 
  • Our growth and learning journey as a spiral, inviting us to revisit similar challenges but with new levels of self-awareness and knowledge. 
  • How Ryan’s perception of autism shifted over time, from internalized ableism and heavy masking toward self-acceptance and more authenticity.. 
  • My diagnosis of ADHD just before my 50th birthday and how my own perceptions of neurodiversity have shifted. 
  • The ways that both of us used our voices to highlight gaps in support for neurodivergent students at UCLA and how that led to Ryan co-founding The Bruin Neurodiversity Collective. 
  • Ryan’s first quarter at UCLA crash and burn and how writing his story about that experience for Business Insider was a turning point. 
  • How Ryan putting himself out there and experiencing rejection after rejection ultimately led him to the greatest gift of all. 
  • The letter of acknowledgment I wrote for Ryan about all the qualities I see in him. I read through tears but am so glad I persevered and could share it with him (and you!)
  • The power of mother and son sharing and growing alongside one another. 

This Episode Dedicated by: Tricia Creason-Valencia and The Autism Storytelling Project

Tricia Creason-Valencia is a dynamic force in the world of filmmaking, education & community building. Through the art of storytelling, Tricia weaves her own raw narrative of mothering, making movies, resilience and rediscovery. As an Emmy-Nominated Director/Producer, Motivational Speaker and Co-Founder of PowerHouse, she pioneers the way for women, people of color and youth to amplify their voices and claim their power through creative expression. She believes, deep in her soul, that truth-telling fosters empathy and connection, serving as a catalyst for social change.


About The Autism Storytelling Project

The Autism Storytelling Project empowers young autistic people who aspire to tell authentic autistic stories through creative expression by awarding unrestricted grants. The goal of the project is to expand understanding about autism by elevating stories about the personal experiences of autistic young people ages 16-25 in Santa Clara County, CA. All forms of art and creative expression are welcome, but the story must focus on the artist’s lived experience as an autistic person, or on autism as a whole. Connect with the Autism Storytelling Project:

About PowerHouse 

PowerHouse is a creative co-working space for women+ entrepreneurs, video and podcasting production studio and venue for professional development & creativity workshops committed to amplifying women’s voices. PowerHouse is a women & minority-owned social entrepreneurship venture in the heart of downtown San Jose founded by Farran Tabrizi and Tricia Creason-Valencia.


Other Related Episodes and Resources: 

Mother’s Quest May Gift Guide – Gift Yourselves and the Mothers You Love Beyond Mother’s Day!

Put yourself on your priority list and choose something special for yourself this Mother’s Day. Take a peek inside the Mother’s Quest Gift Guide at some of my favorite things I’ve curated for you. 

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

In celebration of our recent 100th episode, we invite you to help us spread the word by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Help us reach 100 reviews to honor our 100th episode milestone of the Mother’s Quest Podcast!

You can also support the podcast by making a contribution or joining one of our memberships at our Patron Page on Ko-Fi.com. 

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest

 

 

Ep 101: Stoking our Soul Fire for a Revolution from Home with Beth Berry

Ep 101: Stoking our Soul Fire for a Revolution from Home with Beth Berry

Welcome to this last conversation of 2023, with coach, teacher, small group and retreat facilitator at Revolution from Home, mother of four daughters and author of the book Motherwhelmed, Beth Berry.

Beth says she has revolution in her bones. It began when she was seventeen and pumping milk in the bathroom of her high school for her now-grown eldest daughter. It has since gradually evolved into a tender, fiery conviction to reclaim motherhood from every disempowering personal and cultural story she can wrap her head and heart around.

Beth has spent thousands of hours mentoring and supporting mothers through their process of self-discovery, self-reclamation, and dream realization, reminding us of our worthiness and reframing our importance as changemakers.

One of the mothers Beth has mentored is Katie Hanus, one of the members of my very first Mother’s Quest Virtual Circle, created over five years ago. Katie and the other members of that first Circle and I are in almost daily conversation together on Voxer where we share the ups and downs of our epic lives and the lessons we’re learning from guides who help light our way. It was through Katie that I first heard about Beth’s transformative work and hoped I could one day interview her for the podcast. 

Building deep relationships among mothers is something Beth invites us to explore as her challenge in this episode. Without the web of connections that used to come in the form of a village,  we blame ourselves when we’re unable to live up to superhuman standards with subhuman levels of support. Beth also offers a beautiful opportunity to invest and care for ourselves through tending to what she calls our soul fire, a representation of the things that restore and sustain us. She invites us to think about how we can add not just quick-burning kindling to this soul fire, but the big logs that can burn steadily.

I hope this conversation can be a spark for you to put yourself at the center during this holiday and new year season, commit to building rich, meaningful connections with other mothers where you live, and add some long-burning logs to your soul fire. In so doing, may 2024 become a year for a revolution and reclamation from home of your own. 

 

About Beth Berry

Beth Berry is a coach, teacher, small group and retreat facilitator, mother of four daughters and author of Motherwhelmed. A revolutionary at heart, she helps mothers get more of what they want and need to feel fulfilled and empowered despite the odds. She believes that self-aware, self-compassionate, well-supported mothers who know themselves to be worthy of pleasure and joy-filled lives are powerful beyond measure and essential to the healing of the world.

Connect with Beth Berry

Website | revolutionfromhome.com

Instagram | @revolutionfromhome

Facebook | Revolution from Home

 

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The ways in which we inherit our mothers’ “hand me downs” and the ones that shaped Beth and planted seeds for her own revolution.
  • The series of spark moments, most of which she says were not pretty, that set Beth on living her epic life.
  • Beth’s intuitive approach to motherhood and how she practiced mindful engagement with her children from the beginning, even at the age of 17 when she had her first daughter.
  • The deep sense of purpose she feels for changing the narratives around motherhood and shifting the systems that invisibilize the unpaid caregiving of mothers. 
  • The power of tending to our soul fire.
  • Why some of the entitlement she notices in her daughters gives her hope for a more empowered generation of mothers in the future.  
  • How internalized narratives of hyper-individualism can hinder connection between mothers.
  • The post-it Beth has on her computer that says “A well rested woman is dangerous” 

 

Books Beth Mentions:


Other Related Episodes You Might Enjoy Next: 

 

This Episode’s Challenge: 

Beth challenges you to pause and reflect when you feel like you’re not doing enough. Ask yourself who benefits from that belief and who is harmed by it. Explore the reasons behind the pressure to over-function and consider if there might be healthier ways to self-soothe and achieve your desired life. She also invites us to invest in building relationships with mothers where we live, beginning to restore a sense of village that we have lost. Brave new connections in your community. Knock on some doors in your neighborhood.

The Mother’s Quest Holiday and New Year Gift Guide: 

Put yourself on your priority list and choose something for yourself this holiday season from our Gift Guide. Take a peek inside and see some of my favorite things that I’ve curated for you, including the 2024 Live Your EPIC Year planners. https://mothersquest.com/2024-planners/

 

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

As Mother’s Quest approaches 100 episodes, we invite you to help us spread the word by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Help us reach 100 reviews to honor 100 episodes this Season Eight of the Mother’s Quest Podcast!

You can also support the podcast by making a contribution or joining one of our memberships at our Patron Page on Ko-Fi.com. 

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest

 

Ep 100: Mothering as Revolutionary Love

Ep 100: Mothering as Revolutionary Love

This September 11, 2023, I had the honor of holding space for an intimate conversation with civil rights leader, lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, educator, and best-selling author of the book SEE NO STRANGER, Valarie Kaur.

The fact that we were recording on September 11th was meaningful, because the tragic event that had taken place 22 years ago shaped Valarie in profound ways and set her on a path that she never expected. Valarie became an activist after a man of the same Sikh faith, a father and family friend she called uncle, Balbir Singh Sodhi, was the first person murdered in hate violence in the aftermath of 9/11.

For two decades in his memory, Valarie led visionary campaigns to tell untold stories and change policy on issues ranging from hate crimes to solitary confinement to digital freedom. Along the way, she earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School.

Today, Valarie is the mother of two children and as you’ll hear her share, the experience of becoming a mother inspired her to birth the Revolutionary Love Project, which supports communities with practical tools to transform the nation from inside out.

Revolutionary love, Valarie says, “is the choice to labor for others, for opponents, and for ourselves. Love is sweet labor — fierce, bloody, imperfect, life-giving, a choice we make. And it begins with wonder. You can look at anyone and say: You are a part of me I don’t yet know. From there, we begin to transform the world around us, and inside us.”

There is a lightness and hopefulness in the tone of our conversation that we wouldn’t have in the same way if we recorded the conversation today. I’m grateful for it. Valarie thanked me at the end for giving her the deepest breath she had in a long time. During a time in our country and world, where so many seem to be disconnected from a sense of our common humanity and divisions between us are widening, I hope this conversation is a deep breath for you.

Because as Valarie says as she evokes the metaphor of a midwife in her famous Watch Night speech, linked in the show notes, we must first breathe and then we push. The mother asks “what if this darkness we face is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?” Today we breathe and tomorrow we will labor in revolutionary love. 

About Valarie Kaur:

VALARIE KAUR is a renowned civil rights leader, lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, educator, innovator, author of the #1 LA Times Bestseller SEE NO STRANGER, and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project. Valarie burst into global consciousness when her 2016 Watch Night Service address went viral with 40 million views worldwide. Her question “Is this the darkness of the tomb – or the darkness of the womb?” reframes the historical moment and is now a mantra for people fighting for change.

Valarie became an activist when a Sikh father and family friend Balbir Singh Sodhi was the first person murdered in hate violence in the aftermath of 9/11. For two decades, in his memory, Valarie led visionary campaigns to tell untold stories and change policy on issues ranging from hate crimes to digital freedom. Her work ignited a national movement to reclaim love as a force for justice. In 2021, she led the People’s Inauguration, inspiring millions of Americans to renew their role in building a healthy, multiracial democracy.

Today, the Revolutionary Love Project is seeding networked communities of practice across the country, equipping people with the practical tools to build beloved community and transform the nation from inside out. In the last two decades, Valarie has won policy change on multiple fronts – hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, solitary confinement, Internet freedom, and more. She founded Groundswell Movement, Faithful Internet, and the Yale Visual Law Project to equip advocates at the intersection of spirituality, storytelling, and justice.

Valarie has been a regular TV commentator on MSNBC and contributor to CNN, NPR, PBS, the Hill, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post. She is a celebrated prophetic voice and has spoken widely, including at President Biden’s Inaugural Prayer Service. Valarie earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School, and holds several honorary doctorates. In Fall 2022, President Biden honored Valarie at the White House in the first-ever Uniters Ceremony, naming her as one of 16 leaders whose work is healing America.

A daughter of Punjabi farmers, Valarie grew up on the farmlands of California, where her family has lived for more than a century. Her grandfather gave her Sikh wisdom through stories and songs that showed the way of the sant-sipahi, sage-warrior. The sage loves; the warrior fights — it is a path of revolutionary love.

Connect with Valarie:


Resources from Valarie:

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • Valarie’s story about the birth of her son, with her mother by her side, and the lessons she learned about motherhood from that experience.
  • Mothering as a verb and how mothering often feels like walking through a ring of fire. 
  • The experiences that set Valarie on a path of activism after 9/11 and the surprising spark moment she learned from her grieving aunt. 
  • How becoming a mother changed Valarie’s orientation from activism fighting against hate to activism fighting for revolutionary love.
  • Valarie’s experience moving to the Rainforest to reflect on all she learned and write her book See No Stranger.  
  • Revolutionary love as the call of our times.
  • Valarie’s epic snapshot moment nursing her daughter while she was at the White House being honored.
  • The quote from Audrey Lorde that reminds Valarie to care for and invest in herself – “We can learn to mother ourselves.” 
  • The Wise Woman ritual Valarie experienced with two of her Sikh friends and the meditation she offers to help you tap into your inner Wise Woman. 
  • The lullaby Valarie wrote and sang for her daughter that will become a children’s book, “World of Wonder.” 

This Episode’s Challenge: 

Valarie says that the root of love is wonder and sings us a lullaby she wrote for her daughter about wonder. She encourages us to wonder about our partners, our children, our friendships, and beyond. Wondering about each other is a revolutionary process in a society that wants to shut down our ability to look at one another’s faces and say “You are a part of me I don’t yet now.” It’s so simple but it can change everything and help us birth a better world.

 

Other Episodes Mentioned in this Conversation: 

About This Episode’s Dedication By Shelly Tygielski:

This is the 100th episode of the Mother’s Quest Podcast. It feels fitting to mark this occasion with a powerful conversation about Revolutionary Love with renowned civil rights leader Valarie Kaur. Valarie talks about Revolutionary Love as sweet labor and this podcast, since I launched it 7 years ago in 2016, has always been a labor of love.

So too has been my form of mission-aligned sponsorship, where rather than seeking corporate sponsors, I invite one mother to dedicate each episode and to make a contribution to support Mother’s Quest.

In honor of this milestone, I invited Shelly Tygielski, founder of Pandemic of Love, and an Advisory Board Member of Global Empowerment Mission to dedicate. Instead of contributing to Mother’s Quest, I made a contribution to the Global Empowerment Mission. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating this 100th episode milestone by sharing this important conversation you’re about to hear and by making a donation to the Global Empowerment Mission.

Shelly’s Dedication: 

I would like to dedicate this episode of the Mother’s Quest podcast to all the mothers of young, innocent children who are caught in the crossfire of war. May these children grow up in a world that is free from hate and injustice. May they be free from suffering. May they have access to opportunities and never be devoid of hopes and dreams. As the founder of Pandemic of Love and an advisory board member of Global Empowerment Mission, we are currently providing aid to Israelis and to Palestinians. When people ask us to choose a side, we say we have. We are on the side of love. Or as Valerie Kaur says it best, revolutionary love. So to learn more about how you can support our efforts, please visit globalempowermentmission.org

Donate here: 

https://www.globalempowermentmission.org/mission/israel-hamas-war/


Connect with Shelly Tygielski:

 

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

As Mother’s Quest approaches 100 episodes, we invite you to help us spread the word by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Help us reach 100 reviews to honor 100 episodes this Season Eight of the Mother’s Quest Podcast!

You can also support the podcast by making a contribution or joining one of our memberships at our Patron Page on Ko-Fi.com. 

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest

 

Dear Body Revisited: And Then I Got Shingles

Dear Body Revisited: And Then I Got Shingles

This month, I was planning to record a special solocast to welcome in our 100th episode of the podcast. Instead, three days before my son Jacob’s scheduled knee surgery on July 11th, I got diagnosed with shingles. I’m recovering well and so is Jacob thankfully. But it really caused me to revisit my relationship with my body. There was a need for forgiveness all the way around, a rebuilding of trust and a recommitment to myself.

In case you’re not familiar, shingles is the re-emergence of the chicken pox virus, which if you’ve ever had chicken pox lives dormant in your nerves and tends to come out later in life during a period of high stress or when your immune system is low. I should have gotten the shingles vaccine when I turned 50, around the time that I originally recorded this Dear Body episode I’m resharing with you today. Unfortunately, I had getting the vaccine in the back of my mind and never took care of it, leaving myself susceptible. 

So, if you had chickenpox as a child, are over 50 or have issues with your immune system, this is your friendly reminder and PSA to go get your shingles vaccine.

For me to get shingles when I was worried about my son’s surgery felt like a betrayal from my own body and the last thing I needed. But, a few things happened that are helping me to see this as an opportunity to make meaning and change.

1) The first person I called for guidance when I got the diagnosis was Dr. Samantha Brody, a podcast guest from 2019, when she released her book Overcoming Overwhelm, who has since become a friend and advisor. When I called her, Samantha reminded me that she had had shingles and shared some about her experience. I was surprised however, when a few days after my diagnosis I put shingles in my FB search to see if there was any wisdom I might find and came upon a post from Samantha from 2018, letting people know she had shingles because she was stressed out about her book launch and needed to ask for help. Did anyone know of any podcasts where she could share about her book she wrote? In the comments, I found the tag to me and Mother’s Quest that must have brought me and Samantha together in the first place. This was a reminder to relisten to my episode with Samantha, so relevant, and trust again that sometimes the universe connects you to what you will need in the future.

2) I had several helpful therapy sessions during these weeks of recovery where I uncovered a few things. One, the incredible parallel between my own open heart surgery at the age of 10, to repair a hole in my heart, and Jacob’s knee surgery at the age of 10 to repair a hole in his knee, from a condition called osteochondritis dissecans. We realized there may be some leftover trauma from my own experience that was adding some additional stress, even if only in my subconscious. I’m now giving myself some space and grace to look back on that experience and see if there is anything that needs some extra care and healing. 

3) Finally, this whole experience has helped me acknowledge that I’m often more stressed out than I realize. Most often, I mask my stress with a smile. And I allow my nervous system to be in a perpetual state of go go go. My therapist suggested that I should take my foot off the gas more when I’m in park. I love a good metaphor. There is a lot going on in my life and sometimes I can’t relax, but I can make an effort to be in park more often and when I’m in park, really allow myself to shut down and restore. I’m clearly on a quest for this, so may work to find some special podcast guests who are experts on this topic. Stay tuned.

I thought I’d invite all of us to listen to the Dear Body episode again and then also my conversation with Samantha Brody, linked in the show notes, with a fresh perspective. Is there something your body is trying to communicate to you? A “tell” as Samantha would say. What values are most important to you right now? And then how might that impact the commitment letter you write to your body? I’ll report back in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group and would love to hear from you too! 

Wishing us all many moments of taking our foot off the gas while safely in park, good health and a restoration of trust between our body and ourselves as we close out the summer.

Announcement for my fellow Neurodivergent Listeners:

Sign Up for “Creating Your Personal 504 Plan” Summer Workshop with Briar Harvey

Heard of a 504 plan? A blueprint for how a child with a disability will have access to the accomodations and supports that will help them access their education? The truth is, a blueprint for support shouldn’t just be relegated to education and can be a model for adults as well!
Friday, August 4th @ 11 am PST 2pm ET join Mother’s Quest Member, and someone who has been an amazing coach for my family, Briar Harvey, for a Summer Workshop where you’ll discover the power of creating a Personal 504 Plan that truly caters to your unique needs.

Briar will walk us through the process of constructing a plan that goes beyond standard frameworks, accounting for your individual experiences and circumstances. By the end of this session, you’ll have a dynamic, personalized 504 plan that empowers you to navigate life’s challenges more effectively. I’m a proud affiliate and have signed me and my college son up too. Learn more about this workshop and others in her summer series here

More about Briar: Briar Harvey is a storyteller and systems witch. She believes that everything has a story and exists within a system. The trick then, is figuring out how to change the rules and tell a better story. She works with companies that are led by neurospicy minds (ADHD, autism, chronic depression, anxiety, all the fun stuff) or those that employ them, in order to create the systems and processes that work for them.

In her free time, she writes stuff and records podcasts. She’s the founder of The Neurodiversity Media Network, a collaborative and accessible media company that is hosting and curating all the news that is relevant to neurospicy folx.

Full Episode Show Notes

Check out the full show notes from the original episode here: https://mothersquest.com/ep-94-dear-body-reflections-on-embracing-and-embodying-50/

You can also listen to this episode:

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

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