On a Quest for Peace and Reconciliation Parents Circle Interview With Layla Alsheikh and Robi Damelin

On a Quest for Peace and Reconciliation Parents Circle Interview With Layla Alsheikh and Robi Damelin


I’m honored to share this special episode of the Mother’s Quest Podcast. Thank you for showing up to this important conversation about two mothers and their quest for peace and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel. Thank you for choosing to press play. 

If ever there was a year demanding us to “show up” this has been one. From COVID to floods and fires and refugee crises…our consciousness has had a lot to hold. It can be all too easy to shut down. To throw up our hands. And to say “what can I do?”

That question “what can I do?” is one I asked myself during the crisis that unfolded in Palestine and Israel In May of 2021. For days, watching the horrifying headlines, I felt powerless. Then several truths came to me and an intention to find a path to action which I shared in a FB post, like sending a wish to the universe.

The very next day, the “guides” I was looking for appeared.  In a conversation with my mother, I learned about the Parents Circle, an incredible organization of Palestinians and Israelis who have lost children or family members in the conflict, and instead of turning to revenge, come together to work toward peace and reconciliation.

Soon after, I found myself recording a conversation with Layla Alsheikh, a Palestinian mother originally born in Jordan, who lost her son Qussay at the age of 6 months old. And Robi Damelin,  an Israeli mother, originally from South Africa, who lost her adult son David while he was serving in the army.

Although today’s topic is especially heavy – one of loss and tremendous grief, Layla and Robi share their narratives with us for a specific purpose – to help us understand their experience and to support their efforts in bringing Palestinian and Israeli mothers in particular together to work toward change.

Inspired by all they shared with me, the week after we recorded, I began to raise money toward a fund to help them bring together bereaved Palestinian and Israeli mothers of the Parents Circle.

Along the way, I’ve been moved by so many mothers who have already contributed. Mothers like Jena Schwartz, who dedicates this episode with a beautiful poem she shares at the end of this conversation. Jena was the first to donate and her powerful words are an invitation to you to say “yes” to this cause. 

To date we have raised $5,000, half of the $10,000 goal I set. And we have more to go. Though the height of the crisis in May has receded from the headlines, violence continues in many forms, and the path for peace and reconciliation is needed more than ever. 

I ask you to listen with an open heart, to follow the links in the show notes to learn more, to contribute in any amount meaningful to you, and to amplify the voices of Layla, Robi and others like them, mothers closest to this conflict. They are a key to any path forward.

 

In this episode we explore:

  • The experiences of two mothers Robi and Layla – one Israeli and one Palestianian –  who lost children in the conflict and turned their grief into a quest for peace and reconciliation.
  • The tremendous power of listening to bereaved mothers’ stories. 
  • How Robi and Layla each got involved with The Parent’s Circle, an organization of Palestinian and Israelis that brings bereaved parents and family members together in solidarity. 
  • How you can help support the Parent Circle and promote peace and reconciliation among Israeli and Palestinian families.
  • The importance of not importing the conflict into our own countriesWhy we shouldn’t position ourselves as Pro-Palestinian or Pro-Israeli but Pro- Peace.
  • How Robi and Layla sustain themselves and find continued hope, even in their loss. 
  • Opportunities to get involved and how we can specifically support the mothers of the Parents Circle to come together. 
  • Poet Jena Schwartz’ powerful poem “The Undefended Heart” and an invitation to contribute. 

This episode’s challenge: 

Both Layla and Robi challenge us to join them in fighting for peace instead of violence in the following ways: 

  1. Contribute to the fund to help them bring together Palestinian and Israeli mothers
  2. Invite representatives of the Parents Circles to your groups, synagogues, churches, mosques and organizations to share their stories. 
  3. Follow the work of the Parents Circle and participate in their educational and awareness-building opportunities

About Layla:

Layla Alsheikh was born and raised in Jordan. She had a peaceful and normal upbringing and graduated with a degree in accounting and business management. She eventually met her husband in Jordan 1999 and moved to Bethlehem, where her husband lived for the wedding. However, a few years later tragedy struck her life.  

In 2002, her 6 months old son, Qussay, became ill and Israeli soldiers prevented Layla from taking him to the hospital for more than five hours. Qussay soon died from the lack of timely treatment.

Layla joined the Parents Circle in 2016. Following her son’s death, she never thought of revenge, but rather has devoted her time and energy to ensuring a better, more peaceful future for her children.

About Robi:

Robi Damelin was originally from South Africa and came to Israel in 1967. She originally came to Israel as a volunteer after the “Six Day War”. Her real plan was to live in the states but after spending time in Israel she developed a love-hate relationship with the place. She eventually got married and had two kids here.

Unfortunately, Robi’s son, David, was killed by a Palestinian sniper in 2002 while guarding a checkpoint near a settlement during his army reserve service. She speaks to Israelis, Palestinians, and audiences all over the world to demand that reconciliation be a part of any peace agreement. Robi was named a 2015 Woman of Impact by Women in the World.

Follow Robi: 

About the Parents Circle
The Parents Circle – Families Forum is a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization made up of more than 600 bereaved families. Their common bond is that they have lost a close family member to the conflict. But instead of choosing revenge, they have chosen a path of reconciliation.

American Friends of the Parents Circle – Families Forum shares the human side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the American public in order to foster a peace and reconciliation process.

The Parents Circle Policies:

  • We work towards an end to violence and towards achieving an accepted political agreement.
  • The members of the Parents Circle oppose the Occupation and believe that it is possible to end the conflict.  They wish  to influence the public and in turn, decision makers, to choose reconciliation and the path of peace over violence and war.  
  • Our goal is to create a framework of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians to support any political peace agreement.  
  • To prevent further bereavement and to avoid the use of bereavement for further violence and retribution. 

Connect with the Parents Circle 

This Episode is Dedicated by: Jena Schwartz 

Jena Schwartz is a writing coach, poet, and activist in Western Massachusetts whose work is deeply rooted in Jewish values. As a mother herself, “The Undefended Heart” emerged as a prayer of sorts out of her own yearning for peace in the face of so much injustice and suffering in Israel/Palestine.

Jena brings her unique brand of fierce encouragement to helping writers of all kinds get words on the page and out into the world. Learn more about her work and feel free to reach out to her at www.jenaschwartz.com.

Connect with Jena:

 

Additional Reading/Listening:

 

Special thanks to Shehla Faizi, Kris Zarnoch, Jen Fornal, and Bear Beat Productions for their help and care in editing this episode

Original FB Post That Set the Intention For This Episode:

“Swirling in a sea of uncertainty

My voice, tenuously found over the last few years, silent again

I don’t know enough, I tell myself

But deep down, feel this to be untrue

In the quiet of my late-night scrolling, searching for answers I never find, instead I reveal some truths within.

We are all deeply connected

The harm to one mother and her child is harm to every mother and every child, regardless of our differences

A history of oppression and casting out can never justify more of the same

Extremism in any form becomes a cancer

Silence and doing nothing is a choice. A choice I cannot make.

So I will remember I am not alone

There are guides all around me

And ways to make an impact that will reveal themselves

If I just take the first step.”

Julie Neale
May 17, 2021 

Right Livelihood, Magic, and Meaning with Lindsay Pera of the Modern Mystics Institute

Right Livelihood, Magic, and Meaning with Lindsay Pera of the Modern Mystics Institute

I’m honored to share this special episode with a woman who has been an incredible source of wisdom, support, and guidance in my life, a mentor and teacher who has helped me claim the “mystic” in me, Lindsay Pera.

Lindsay and I connected in a magical way at a group dinner in San Francisco about four years ago. Though she was seated at the other end of a long table, she came up to me before the evening ended to say “I have this feeling I’m supposed to talk with you!” We had a delightful conversation and parted ways. But several months later, when my youngest son Jacob received a Lyme disease diagnosis, I searched in one of my Facebook groups for someone who had experience with the disease, and Lindsay’s name popped up again and again.

I reached out to her for guidance and after an almost two-hour phone conversation, I learned about how she discovered she had chronic Lyme disease and had passed it along in utero to two of her children. I hung up with tremendous admiration for her motherhood journey, a plan of action to navigate Jacob’s care, and also knowing that Lindsay would become a trusted resource in my life.

Blending strategy honed from her career as an analyst at Accenture with her intuition as the founder of a new paradigm business called the Modern Mystics Institute, Lindsay is a source of inspiration and guidance for so many others like me. We all benefit from transformational courses she has created like the Journey to Right Livelihood which you’ll hear more about, her books the Mystics Path and the Mystics Almanac, the Mystics Oracle Deck she created with her partner Sarah Love and her membership community, the Mystics Society. 

The idea that we can care for ourselves and the children in our lives, even through significant health and developmental challenges, and do work we love, blending all the parts of who we are, stepping into our leadership and legacy, and finding magic and gratitude along the way, is something Lindsay demonstrates herself. And she illuminates it all for us in this conversation.

From her decision to move her family to a multigenerational homestead and creating the Modern Mystics Institute, to how she’s navigated having chronic Lyme and now long-haul COVID, this discussion is a beautiful weaving of all the ways Lindsay slows down in her life to manifest and notice what she’s grateful for, even when things are difficult. Her gratitude practice, which she started in a “spark moment” when she found beauty in the sunset during one of her darkest days, begins its 11th year of 365 days just as this episode is being shared.

I was so grateful for this time with Lindsay. I hope you’ll find time to slow down and listen to this beautiful conversation, so you can find strands of what Lindsay shares that are meant for you, and that help you weave some new magic and meaning in your E.P.I.C. life.


Connect with Lindsay

 

Lindsay’s Bio

Lindsay’s corporate career encompasses management consulting, financial services, and technology. She began her career as an analyst in Accenture’s technology strategy practice and then transitioned to a $2 billion insurance company to help drive pivotal IT transformation.  In 2004 she left Silicon Valley and moved with her family to a beautiful multi-generational homestead on the Central Coast of California. 

Lindsay wants to live in a world where appreciation flows freely, kids play outdoors and lemons are in season year round. As a Mystic mama, tech entrepreneur and intuitive strategist she’s a sought after contributor and motivator on all topics health, wealth and transformation.

When she is not extolling the virtues of “Sacred Commerce” or “Resonance” based business, you can find her knocking almonds and generally getting her gratitude on.

Lindsay’s new paradigm business community, The Mystic’s Society, is a safe haven for entrepreneurs weaving magic into their *work* in the world. It is her passion to direct resources into the hands of entrepreneurs, creatives, and world changers.

Find out more about Lindsay’s private consulting at Lindsaypera.com or join in the magic at MysticSociety.com.

 

This episode is dedicated by: Selina Davis

Selina Davis is the founder of Trillium Consultancy and Spectrum Mother, both of which are emerging communities dedicated to connecting caregivers virtually in respite and retreat offerings, as well as training and supporting parents to become advocates. 

Selina is a cis-gendered woman, a woman of color, mother, social justice advocate, and former social services clerical administrator. She parents a teenage son with profound neurodiversity and who also has an additional diagnosis of intellectual and developmental delay, as well as mental health challenges. Selina has also earned certifications and education-based degrees specific to advocacy.  

 Selina is truly passionate about children, women, and caregivers and believes it’s time to start supporting one another by hosting virtual and in-person retreats. She continues sharing her message through her podcasts, “The Parental Advocate Strategist” and “Strong as a Mother”. She is also running a series called 52 Weeks, 52 Caregivers which aims on showcasing the stories of a caregiver each week. 

You can connect with Selina on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget to join her community on Patreon and to sign up for her upcoming virtual retreat by clicking this link, as well as her SPECial EDition Training and Strategies Hub!

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The sacred trinity of mothers who raised Lindsay: her biological mother, her stepmother, and the woman who cared for her daily while her mother worked as a trailblazing leader at Hewlett Packard
  • The internal voice that said “this is killing you” every time Lindsay walked out the door to her fast-paced management consulting firm 
  • The chronic Lyme diagnosis that Lindsay discovered after her third child was born with serious neurological issues.
  • A moment of total defeat that transformed into a moment of gratitude and a daily gratitude practice that Lindsay has maintained for over a decade.
  • Lindsay’s family’s journey of healing from COVID and what was different for her this time on the “spiral” or “nautilus” of coping with chronic illness.
  • Lindsay’s perspective about how to apply ancient learning traditions for modern times without appropriating, capitalizing, and extracting.
  • The annual program Journey to Right Livelihood, rooted in the Buddhist tradition, that helps us identify our soul purpose and path, sacred commerce, and our leadership and legacy.
  • As we grapple with current crises, like climate change, Lindsay’s belief that we all came in for these times.
  • The importance of tending to our “taproot” placing ourselves at the “center of our rings” and her “YOU” acronym for building connections.

 

Resources and Topics Mentioned:

  • The Mystics Path
  • Journey to Right Livelihood a powerful program that includes live masterclasses, an instructional portal with videos and resources and a private FB community during the 8-week course. This is my affiliate link and if you participate in the program, you will also get a special Mother’s Quest bonus. 

 

This Episode’s Challenge:

Next time you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or despondent about what you are facing in our world, slow down to allow yourself to see, feel and experience what you’re grateful for and take the next aligned step from that place.

 

The Mother’s Quest Marketplace

I’m excited to share about a new resource on the website, where I’ve curated a collection of my favorite courses, products, books, and more, all created by Mother’s Quest members or podcast guests. From Lindsay Pera’s Journey to Right Livelihood, which you’ll hear more about in this episode, to my own recently published book the “Mother’s Quest Inspiration Guide,” I hope you’ll find something on the Marketplace page that will light the way on your epic life journey. Visit www.mothersquest.com/marketplace to take a peek!


Journey to Right Livelihood (JTRL)

Led by Lindsay Pera…JTRL is a powerful program that includes live masterclasses, an instructional portal with videos and resources and a private FB community during the 8-week course. As a Mother’s Quest affiliate partner, I’ll be offering a special bonus if you participate in the program. And I’ll be there right alongside you, learning and stepping more fully into my Right Livelihood. Join us if this calls to you!

More about Journey to Right Livelihood

Right Livelihood IS for you

Do you ever tell yourself that you simply can’t make money doing what you love?

Do you sometimes feel as though you can have financial success OR you can be happy, but you can’t have both?

Do you believe that you must sacrifice one for the other because they are mutually exclusive?

We see it all around us, don’t we?

  • People staying in careers they hate
  • Stuck in chronic patterns of lack and scarcity
  • Overworking and overwhelmed as they watch their health and happiness deteriorate
  • An overarching outlook in our Western Culture toward the “bottom line” at the expense of people, our planet, relationships and our values

It’s time to shift these myths

It is your time to claim…

Purpose, Path, and… Right Livelihood

Calling together a circle of women (and men)

  • On the next step of their life evolution (expansion) journey
  • Who feel, deeply, that there is more for them in this life
  • Who are looking to create a stronger alignment between their work and their inner calling
  • Willing to make meaningful changes with meaningful actions
  • Seeking a community full of support and powerful guidance

 

Sign up through the Mother’s Quest Affiliate link here.

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).

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

 

Open Our Own Doors: My Book Creation Journey

Open Our Own Doors: My Book Creation Journey

I’m honored to share this special episode of the Mother’s Quest Podcast, an interview of  me, led by Mother’s Quest member Sneha Jhanb for her YouTube Channel Shift2Prosperity. In our conversation, Sneha helped me reflect on my Mother’s Quest journey, how that led me to writing my first book and lessons learned along the way.

“The Mother’s Quest Inspiration Guide Vol 1. Engage” officially launched on Sunday, with a book-signing at my favorite local book store Reach and Teach and a reception at our home afterward. The experience itself was what I call an “epic snapshot moment.” 

My son Ryan introduced me with humor and heart, my husband Chris took video (and remembered to bring pens for signing!) Jacob sat next to me and tapped my shoulder throughout the reading to tell me things! And I got to look out at a lovely gathering of friends and Mother’s Quest members who asked thoughtful questions that helped me make meaning of my experience.

Special thanks to my friend  Remee who helped me with the book throughout the process and came to take photos.

An especially sweet element was the chance to showcase the books of other Mother’s Quest members who created Tiny Books and to share the event with two of those authors, Jenjii Hysten, Heather Anderson. Lena Velasquez, Leslie Tagorda and Cameron Miranda were there in spirit.

I’m so grateful to Alexandra Franzen and  Lindsey Smith of the Tiny Book Course for guiding me to becoming an author with ease and joy. I’m grateful for every podcast guest, guide, and community member who has enriched my life on this E.P.I.C. journey the last five years and whose wisdom is infused in the pages. And I’m grateful to my family for inspiring me every day to become the fullest version of myself.

Hope this moment of gratitude, and the interview that follows, might be a nudge for you to say “yes” to a dream of your own or invest in yourself in some new way.

If a dream inside you is to become an author…The Tiny Book Course begins again in September and registration closes this Friday, August 20th. I’ll be working on Vol. 2 (and maybe a children’s book with my kids!) and would love to create and celebrate alongside you. Feel free to reach out for more information or visit this link. There are also packages available that provide more one-on-one support for your book creation. 

I am filled with gratitude. Especially as so much in our world is challenging, it’s powerful to celebrate the goodness in front of us and the responsibility and possibility to make an impact. I hope this tiny book has big ripples.

 

About Sneha Jhanb

Sneha Jhanb is an Engineer turned Spirit Junkie.

She is passionate about making small changes to see bigger impacts in her life as well as every life that she touches. She likes to empower her tribe with her experiences, knowledge, and tools in mindfulness, financial services, energy healing and stress management to help them find stress-free prosperity. She regularly posts self-help videos, meditations, tarot and oracle readings, and more. With her, you will find hereall things practical and all things spiritual, all created to help you lead a conscious and prosperous life.

Get a FREE chapter of her book “Stress-Free Prosperity: A Mindful path To Joy, Abundance and Wealth” here: https://shift2prosperity.com

 

Follow Sneha Jhanb 

 

Tiny Book Course

  • Tiny Book Course – Begins 9/1
  • 2021 Enrollment Closes August 20th!

 

Have you dreamed about writing a book? But you don’t want a “DIY” experience. You want to hire the best in the business, work with seasoned pros, and receive the highest level of support. This is for you. Learn more here.

 

Book Production Services

If more support is what you are looking for, you may want to explore their Book Production Package which includes copyediting and proofreading on your book manuscript, interior layout, and cover design to create a stunning book that you’ll be proud to share—and sell!

Learn more here

 

Love of Family and Pursuing our Fate with David Lieberman – A Father’s Day Special

Love of Family and Pursuing our Fate with David Lieberman – A Father’s Day Special

This Father’s Day 2021, many of us are re-emerging and with so much change, I find myself wanting to return to words of wisdom that can ground me during this time of transition.
Rather than recording a new episode with a father this year, I’m putting together an episode to highlight my favorite insights from fathers I’ve interviewed since the podcast began. So stay tuned for that episode coming out soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to re-release this full interview with my very own father, David Lieberman, with a dedication by my son Ryan, whose voice no longer sounds anything like this. Though so much has changed, the words from the dedication and the interview itself feel as true and powerful as ever.

Sending love to my own Dad, father in law and husband this Father’s Day and wishes for all of you to discover or rediscover connection and inspiration from the fathers and father figures in your life.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

Original Show Notes – 2018

Love of Family and Pursuing our Fate ~A Father’s Day Special~ with David Lieberman

What an honor it is to bring you this episode with my own father as one of two I’m having with men on the podcast this month in honor of Father’s Day.

Two things sparked my interest in having my father on the show now…first, a desire to feel more connected to my grandmother Molla, my father’s mother, who passed away years before I was born from pancreatic cancer. I wanted to hear from my Dad about his experience of his mother, how she shaped him, and the ways he notices her spirit living on in us today.

Related to this, I recently went to a workshop to learn about uncovering our family ancestry and at that workshop they discussed the power of oral histories. My Dad is a storyteller and I wanted to use this amazing platform to capture his stories and life lessons, for me, for my children and the Mother’s Quest Community.

The episode is an exploration of my father’s E.P.I.C. life, how his mother’s passion as a voice and elocution teacher shaped him into the powerful speaker and human being he is today, the moment he first saw my mom when she was just 11 years old, how he built a career and a family, and a love of golf to help him cope with the effects of Type 1 Diabetes. And, how he views love of family and the pursuit of fate as a theme that runs through it all.

This episode’s dedication was shared by Vanessa Couto, an astrologist who considers fate and what’s written “in the stars” for us as part of her exploration and practice. Vanessa honored her father Guido with this dedication and reflected on the ways that fate, legacy, and character help us live a life of purpose.

I loved reflecting on these same elements of my father’s life in this conversation. I wasn’t surprised that there were moments that made my Dad and I laugh and cry during along the way. But, I was surprised by the insights that emerged…about the ways in which my grandmother and my father’s qualities live in me. I’ve known I’m much like my mother, but it wasn’t until the end of this conversation that I realized that the “seeker” in me, the one who is always on a quest, comes from my father.

My Dad believes that fate play a role in all of our lives, but that we must actively pursue it to fully realize it. Our challenge this month is to reflect on the moments in our lives when we chose to pursue our fate and what happened as a result. Also, to notice and seize the new opportunities and possibilities that call us to take action today in our E.P.I.C. lives.

In honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to add one more challenge that we didn’t discuss in the interview but came to me as I wrote this introduction. Seek out the father or father figures in your life to ask them about and record the stories, lessons and insights they have to pass along to this and future generations.

I promise you’ll learn something powerful about yourself and how to more fully live your E.P.I.C. life.

**Stick around till the end for some light and funny bloopers from the interview.

This episode dedicated by:

Vanessa Couto – Artist, Astrologer, and Teacher. Visit her website at www.vanessacouto.com and connect on Facebook 

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • My father’s view on fate and how it has been a thread weaving through his whole E.P.I.C. life
  • The ways my grandmother shaped my father and the thing she said to him that sealed his fate for a life he loved in California

  • How fate brought my father and mother together, from his first site of her receiving a drama lesson from his mother, to summers as children and teens in a bungalow colony, to 50 plus years of marriage.

  • Where the seeds for his playful nature and love for his children and grandchildren were planted early in his life

  • How he pursued a career in a business he built, the people he met and helped along the way, and the importance of being a person of integrity

  • The impact of Type 1 Diabetes and stress on his life and how his love of golf became his remedy

  • Some funny stories of crazy things that happened to him, several involving the Wall Street Journal, and one that you may want to turn the volume down on if your children are listening with you.

  • The favorite toasts passed down to him by his mother

This Week’s Challenge:

There are three challenges this week:

  • One from me, to look back on our lives, notice the moments when we chose to seek our fate, the impact that has had on us, and to share it with our family members
  • One from my father to continue to seek out our fate, taking action on opportunities even when we’re not certain what might come from it
  • And one that emerged from my son Ryan, to share this episode with the fathers or father figures in your life, let them know how you appreciate them, and explore and record their stories and lessons learned.

Other Special Episodes with the People in My Life:

 

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Four of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

 

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. lifeEngaging 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).

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

Honoring Black Mothers: A Special Mother’s Day Episode with Anna Malaika Tubbs, Author of The Three Mothers

Honoring Black Mothers: A Special Mother’s Day Episode with Anna Malaika Tubbs, Author of The Three Mothers

Welcome to Season Six of the Mother’s Quest Podcast and this special Mother’s Day episode, which shines a light on the untold stories and far-reaching impact of mothers and in particular Black mothers. For this episode, I had the honor of talking with Anna Malaika Tubbs, the brilliant biographer of the groundbreaking book The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation.

In addition to being a mother to a 1 year old boy and pregnant with another child, Anna is an author, advocate, educator, scholar and Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of Cambridge. Growing up abroad and influenced by her exposure to all kinds of cultures and beliefs, and by her own mother’s work advocating internationally for women’s and children’s rights, Anna uses an intersectional lens to advocate for women of color and to educate others.

During her time as an undergraduate student at Stanford University, Anna took from what she’d seen in her parents’ work and began honing her own identity as an activist. As the First Partner of Stockton, CA, she co-authored the first-ever “Report on the Status of Women in Stockton” to guide future policy decisions with the experiences of diverse women in mind. She’s published articles featured in the Huffington Post, For Harriet, Darling Magazine and Blavity, on issues ranging from mass incarceration to the forced sterilization of Black women, as well as the importance of feminism, intersectionality, and inclusivity. Throughout all her work and writing, she draws on her personal experience and extensive research to examine and make relevant gender and race issues in the US, especially the pervasive erasure of Black women.

In this incredible debut book, The Three Mothers, Anna celebrates Black motherhood by telling the story of the three women who raised and shaped some of America’s most pivotal civil rights heroes: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin. Alberta King, Louise Little and Berdis Baldwin were all born at the beginning of the 20th century, all were forced to contend with the prejudices of Jim Crow as Black women, all forged their own unique paths, using their beliefs and talents to shape not only their children but those around them, and all three had to bury their children, two of them after losing their sons to gun violence.

In these mothers and their stories, amidst the pain and grief, there also existed vibrancy, love and conviction. One of my biggest takeaways from my conversation with Anna is the importance of acknowledging the continued injustices that Black women endure today and that although Black women continue to experience tremendous grief, they also experience joy and they are not “a conquered victim,” but are living through life as whole human beings.

My Mother’s Day wish is that you will find time and space to slow down and truly listen to Anna’s insights about the mothers whose stories she so beautifully tells, that you will get and read her book The Three Mothers, and that you’ll join me in saying “yes” to Anna’s challenge. She asks that all of us advance our understanding of different forms of motherhood. Picking up books she says, especially those that focus on Black mothers and Black motherhood, can bring healing for everybody.

 

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

This Episode is Dedicated by: Sybrina Fulton

After the death of her beloved son, Trayvon Benjamin Martin, in February 2012, Sybrina Fulton was charged with a new mission. A desire to transform family tragedy into social change allowed her to establish the Trayvon Martin Foundation in March 2012.

As Fulton traverses the globe, she passionately embarks on a journey designed to bring awareness to senseless gun violence and serves as an advocate to families, the catalyst for her dream project, the “Circle of Mothers.” Winning the national support of president-elect Hillary Clinton, Fulton rallied to the forefront in 2016 at the Democratic National Convention with a cadre of African American trailblazing women known as “Mothers of the Movement.” The women, connected by tragedy, are the inspiration behind  “Black Lives Matter.”

In 2017, Fulton co-authored her first book, Rest in Power, The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, a memoir recounting the death of her son, and the subject of a six-part docuseries, Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, produced by hip-hop mogul Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter for Paramount Network and BET (July 2018).

Bestowed with many distinguished awards, Sybrina Fulton has represented the United States at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss racial discrimination; the National Urban League, Black Lives Matter, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, The Triumph Awards (2016), Essence Festival & Conference (2017, 2018), and was selected as the White House’s guest of honor for the unveiling of former President Barak Obama’s initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper.” Fulton is also one of the 2018 recipients of VH1’s Trailblazer Honor Award.

A Miami native and graduate of Florida Memorial University, Sybrina Fulton, along with her son, Jahvaris, are on a mission to build better, safer communities. She is a proud member of the Miami Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Metropolitan Dade County Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc.

She created the Circle of Mothers to bring together mothers who have lost children or family members to senseless gun violence for the purpose of healing, empowerment, and fellowship towards the larger aim of community building. 

 

Connect with Sybrina:
Facebook 
Twitter 
Instagram
Trayvon Martin Foundation

 

Give a Mother’s Day Gift: Help mothers heal from the loss of a loved one by supporting and donating to the Circle of Mothers, Sybrina’s weekend retreat for mothers who have lost a child to gun violence. You can support the cause here.

Special thanks to Jill Daniel of Happy Women Dinners for introducing us to Anna and her work! 

 

In This Episode We Talk About:

  • Anna’s commitment to fighting the erasure of Black women’s stories.
  • What inspired Anna to focus her first book on the mothers of sons of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • How painful moments like George Floyd’s murder, and joyful moments like Stacy Abram’s organizing in Georgia, had Anna editing and adding more relevance right up until the book was published.
  • Anna’s decision to focus on MLK Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin as the three famous sons, and their mothers, Alberta King, Louise Little, and Berdis Baldwin whose stories she would tell.
  • The lessons revealed in Anna’s book that all mothers can learn from across the E.P.I.C. guideposts.
  • The importance of making visible the lives of Black women as whole human beings, experiencing grief but also joy, and with far-reaching impact. 
  • Anna’s challenge for all mothers listening to expand our awareness through reading and her hope that this book will be seen as a celebration of Black womanhood.

 

This Episode’s Challenge:

Anna invites us to think about what we can all read to advance our understanding of different forms of motherhood. Picking up books that focus on Black mothers and Black motherhood can bring healing for everybody. The more we are informed, the more conscious we become. 

Anna’s next recommendation after finishing her book: The Power of Purpose by Alicia Garza which begins with a powerful description of the impact of Alicia’s mother on her. 

 

Learn More More About Anna:

Anna Malaika Tubbs is an Author, advocate, educator, and a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of Cambridge. Anna grew up abroad in Dubai, Mexico, Sweden, Estonia, and Azerbaijan. Influenced by her exposure to all kinds of cultures and beliefs, Anna is inspired to bring people together through the celebration of difference. Motivated by her mother’s work advocating for women’s and children’s rights around the world, Anna uses an intersectional lens to advocate for women of color and educate others.

During her time as an undergraduate student at Stanford University, Anna took from what she’d seen in her parents’ work and began honing her own identity as an activist. She served as the president of Stanford’s Black Student Union when she was only a sophomore and she was also the Executive Director of Stanford’s Alternative Spring Break. In these roles, she organized rallies and events focused on the concerns of the Black community, she fundraised money for women’s clinics in the Bay Area and grew her passion for advocacy and social justice.

As the First Partner of Stockton, CA, she co-authored the first-ever “Report on the Status of Women in Stockton” to help guide future policy decisions with the experiences of diverse women in mind.

Anna is also a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant who has worked with companies and individuals interested in progressing their DEI goals.

Anna has published articles on issues ranging from mass incarceration to the forced sterilization of Black women, as well as the importance of feminism, intersectionality, and inclusivity. Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, For Harriet, Darling Magazine, and Blavity. Her first book, titled The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation, is being published by Flatiron Books in February 2021.

Grab a copy of Anna’s The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation HERE!

Follow Anna:

 

Additional Resources:

 

 

Announcements: It’s Mother’s Quest May!

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you’ll seize this holiday as an opportunity to say “yes” to yourself. We’ve declared it Mother’s Quest May in our community and have so many wonderful things to share with you as the month progresses: 

Join the free Facebook Group and sign up for email updates at www.mothersquest.com to learn all the details and come along with us during this special month.  

 

Acknowledgments:

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

Amanda Kruger Hill
Graeme Seabrook
Anne Armstrong
Herve Clermont
Samantha Arsenault
Vickie Giambra
Casey O’Roarty of Joyful Courage
Kathie Moehlig or TransFamily Support Services
Anne Ferguson of MamaFuel
On the Move and etsuko Kubo
Kate Amoo-Gottfried
Nicole Lee
Olivia Parr-Rud
“Vince” of the While Black Podcast
Sara Brannin-Mooser
Lindsay Pera
Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto
Sage B. Hobbs
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs
Erin Kendall
Niko Osoteo
Erik Newton
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast
Samantha Arsenault
Attica Locke

 

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Four of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

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. lifeEngaging 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).

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

 

A Love Letter to Honor Edd Conboy

A Love Letter to Honor Edd Conboy

In loving memory of Edd Conboy, who through the gift of reflection helped me see myself so that I may also see others.

I’m honored to bring you this special bite-sized reflection from my own E.P.I.C. Life as a bonus to Season Five. 

The show has been on a pause between seasons and will begin again in May, in time for Mother’s Day. Until then, I invite you to catch up on episodes that you’ve missed, including the Season Five finale with my mentor and former colleague, Leslie Medine. The finale was dedicated to Edd Conboy, a special person who was a coach to both of us and led us for years through a process called Adult Reflection.

Edd suffered from a stroke and passed away on March 20, 2020. In my conversation with Leslie, I committed to writing and recording a love letter to Edd and sharing it on the podcast. It was therapeutic to write the letter, share it with others from my Reflection Circle grieving Edd’s loss, and to record it for you.

Thank you for listening and witnessing. I hope learning about Edd’s impact will touch you and inspire you to think about someone in your life who you’d like to honor.

Dear Edd,

As I write this, I hope that you know how loved you are. How much you are missed. And how much you have made an everlasting impact on me and so many of us.

It’s hard to believe it has been a year since you died. You slipped into a coma, just as the world was slipping into what has felt like an alternate reality. In December, I interviewed Leslie for the podcast and held space for the ways that you impacted her.

In perfect synchronicity, before I released that episode, I found an email that you wrote at the same time of year, the winter solstice 15 years ago, on the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Your words reminded me that the light we so often seek, especially in our darkest days, resides within ourselves. Which was so fitting, because one of your greatest gifts was to create reflective space, get curious and ask a powerful, illuminating question that would help me, Leslie and so many others find our answers within.

As we reach this anniversary of your death, we are reemerging in many ways. We are also approaching another seasonal milestone, the spring equinox, which miraculously occurs this year today, on March 20th, the anniversary of your passing. Therefore, this moment that we remember and honor you, as I record this to bright sunshine and spring flowers blooming, is the moment that represents the balance of light, of new beginnings, a festival of awakening, and rebirth.

I’ve been wondering what messages you have for us Edd. What are you trying to tell us about darkness and light? About seasons? About the power of pause and reflection? About moving from darkness to light. And seeing again in new ways. 

These were the words you shared in that email at the winter solstice:

“For the last few months I have had the great good fortune to be surrounded by some extraordinary young people (some of them are on this list!).  

Gradually, they are infusing me with hope, and even a little faith.   Being with them has brought me to realize just how much I am dependent on them to make meaning of my life long after I am gone.  I am aware more keenly than ever that this moment I call a lifetime is all I have right now.  And that awareness is unimaginably liberating – a healing gift that lightens the load when I can stay in that awareness.   I hope within this expansive moment, we all have many more little moments to share, moments like glass beads for all of us to string together.”

I thought about these glass beads that you speak of…and realized they are a metaphor for what you created in our lifetime with you. You brought us clarity, you brought us connection, you instilled in us the realization that we can be and bring our fullest selves to one another, that we can love and be loved for who we are and who we are becoming. 

In your presence, I learned to hold tension, to examine thoughts and feelings, even when they’re uncomfortable, so that I could see and understand myself in new ways. With your coaching, I learned that when things feel the most overwhelming, it’s because I’m holding too much or trying to hold too much by myself, and that so much more is possible when I welcome others in. You helped us realize that alone we are but single glass beads, but that we can create something of beauty and value when we come together.

Edd, I wonder if your spirit is aware somehow of the legacy you have left us. If you know that you brought us together again, some of us who had not been in regular communication with one another for over a decade. After your passing, we met on zoom every first Sunday for the entire last year, a challenging year filled with wildfires, sheltering in place, racial reckonings, and one of the most historic elections of our lifetime. We acknowledged that we could not have made it through the year without one another and without your lessons.

The last time we gathered, we honored the anniversary of your passing. We imagined a virtual unveiling of your headstone and what words we each would inscribe on it. These are the words I shared and offer to you.

In loving memory of Edd Conboy, who through the gift of reflection helped me see myself so that I may also see others.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have known you Edd, to have been coached by you, apprenticed by you, and known by you. Your legacy truly lives on in all of us.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.