20 episodes

45-minute conversations and investigations with today's leading thinkers, authors, experts, doctors, healers, scientists about life's biggest questions: Why do we do what we do? How can we come to know and love ourselves better? How can we come together to heal and build a better world?

Pulling The Thread with Elise Loehnen Elise Loehnen and Cadence13

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

45-minute conversations and investigations with today's leading thinkers, authors, experts, doctors, healers, scientists about life's biggest questions: Why do we do what we do? How can we come to know and love ourselves better? How can we come together to heal and build a better world?

    Challenging the Stories We Tell Ourselves (Elizabeth Lesser)

    Challenging the Stories We Tell Ourselves (Elizabeth Lesser)

    Today’s guest is Elizabeth Lesser, bestselling author of classics like Broken Open, and co-founder of the Omega Institute, an internationally recognized retreat center, renowned for its workshops and conferences in wellness, spirituality, creativity, and social change. Throughout her life, Elizabeth has been somewhat of a doula for people in transition, for those who are looking for answers to some of life’s biggest questions—she helps them cross chasms, simply by pointing out the path
    “The obviousness of something that has been with us forever and must change, is often the most painful part”, she says.
    Lesser joins me today to talk about her newest book, Cassandra Speaks: When Women are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes, which interrogates the way in which our origin tales and hero myths, where men are the prototype human, continue to influence our culture. She reminds us that these old stories are only half natural, and challenges us to activate, fund, and educate the emotional and caring nature we all possess, to face our shadows in order to recreate an Eden in which there is room for everyone. 


    Women, storytelling, and paying attention to the world within us

    Elevating the importance of the caretaker

    Changing systems, changing self

    Omega Institute
    Cassandra Speaks
    Broken Open
    The Seeker’s Guide
    Follow Elizabeth on Instagram  and Twitter

    Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-Befriend, Not Fight-or-Flight - Shelley Taylor, UCLA
    In the Bonobo World, Female Camaraderie Prevails - NYT, Natalie Angier
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    • 57 min
    Unblocking the Creative Self (Julia Cameron)

    Unblocking the Creative Self (Julia Cameron)

     “Are you doing something that brings you joy? Are you doing something that brings you fulfillment? Do you take yourself seriously when you have a dream or do you say, “Oh you are being too big for your britches?” What happens with morning pages is we are led into expansion —we are trained by the pages to take risks. The first risk is putting it on the page, the second risk is saying to yourself, “Oh I couldn’t try that.” The pages keep nudging you, and finally you say, “Oh alright I’ll try,” and the “oh alright I’ll try” is what brings you to an expanded sense of self because the risk you are afraid to take soon becomes the risk you have taken…” so says Julia Cameron, best-selling author of more than forty books, poet, songwriter, filmmaker and playwright. Hailed by many as “The Godmother” of creativity, Julia is credited with starting a movement in 1992 that has brought creativity into the mainstream. Her book, The Artist’s Way, has been translated into forty languages and sold over five million copies to date, inspiring millions of readers with its egalitarian view of creativity: We’ve all got it, and Julia is on a mission to help us unlock it. The book bestows the reader with a practical toolkit, including the famous Morning Pages and Artist Dates, in service of the broader creative journey and personal rejuvenation. Her newest book, Seeking Wisdom, explores connecting to the artistic process through prayer.
    In this episode of Pulling the Thread, Julia and I talk creativity, process, and purpose. We are so worried about being selfish, Julia says, that we end up investing disproportionately in the lives and dreams of others—sacrificing our own passions in the process. Her approach guides readers, one step at a time, out of a stymied life and into a more expansive, more joyful existence, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery. I hope our conversation resonates with the creator in all of you. 

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    • 53 min
    The Guru in Our Own Minds (Mark Epstein, M.D.)

    The Guru in Our Own Minds (Mark Epstein, M.D.)

    “But the true guru, you know, the Buddha came and turned all that inside out. You know the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths and the word he used, “the Noble,” that came out of that, like the Brahmans were the Nobles. But the Buddha was like, no, the Nobles aren't, it's not that priest over there, lighting the fire, the sacred fire, the noble thing is like your own ethic, your own internal ethic, your own loving heart is the noble thing. The Buddha was all about that. He was a good, you know, cognitive therapist in that way, turning, turning people's concepts inside out.”
    So says Mark Epstein, a psychiatrist and Buddhist who has written several brilliant and beautiful books about the Venn diagram of meditation and therapy. In his latest: THE ZEN OF THERAPY, he reveals more of his own backstory, how as a young med school student trying to bridge the gap between his role as a doctor and his love of Eastern spirituality he came to help Dr. Benson study meditation and its benefits for the body. He opens the books though, by explaining that meditation is not a panacea, it is instead a rare opportunity to get quiet with yourself, to observe your own mind, and to process your emotions.
    In the ZEN OF THERAPY, Mark recounts a year of therapy sessions where he was able to provide psychotherapy paired WITH Buddhist insights—it’s a wonderful and fascinating book—I personally LOVE reading about peoples’ therapy sessions—and it offers many takeaways for anyone, including the ways in which we fixate on our childhoods rather than focusing on the evolution of our own identities, and where our own resistance to change can point the way to healing. OK, let’s get to our conversation.

    THE ZEN OF THERAPY by Mark Epstein, M.D.
    ADVICE NOT GIVEN by Mark Epstein, M.D.
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    • 56 min
    Struggle is Real—Suffering is Optional (BJ Miller)

    Struggle is Real—Suffering is Optional (BJ Miller)

    “My goal isn't to not be afraid, my goal is to have a relationship with fear. So I presume fear is going to be part of the picture. So my goal is more to have a relationship to that fear so I can move with it so I can push back on it so I can learn from it. Um, and so it doesn't have so much power over me, but I, I've not, I've not met any truly fearless people. It's more that I've met people who understand their fear and have made peace with it.” So says BJ Miller, a remarkable doctor who specializes in palliative medicine and end-of-life care, which ironically means that he spends most of his time teaching people how to really live.
    When BJ was an undergrad at Princeton, he climbed an electrified train car and ended up as a triple-amputee and long-term patient. Understanding the healthcare system from the inside out inspired him to go to medical school—and it also put him into a deep and reflective dance with mortality, fear, and what it means to lean into life. He has become a cultural sherpa, showing us all what this looks like. These days, he is the founder of Mettle Health, which makes palliative care more accessible: He offers virtual consultations and guidance for individuals and families dealing with practical, emotional, and existential issues. 
    He joins me today as we discuss his work on life, death, and how we go about handling the in between. Our conversation covers the cultural numbness to death in the abstract and the concrete fear that arises when death becomes personal. We forget, BJ says, that suffering and dying are fundamental and intrinsic parts of life. When we allow ourselves to acknowledge the many small deaths that occur throughout our lives—whether it be the death of a relationship, of a career, or of a way of life - we can use these moments to practice losing and letting go, gaining clarity around what truly matters in the process. The goal, BJ tells us, is not to be unafraid of the end, but rather to cultivate a love of life so big, that it encompasses death as well. I am thrilled to call BJ a dear friend, and am even MORE thrilled to bring this conversation to you as we contemplate the year that just was, and the year to come. 

    Contemplating death and a fascination with life…

    Big deaths, small deaths…

    The illusive sweet spot of perspective…

    Stripping down…

    Mettle Health
    BJ Miller - What Really Matters at the End of Life - Ted Talk, 2015
    One Man's Quest to Change the Way We Die - The New York Times Magazine
    After a Freak Accident, a Doctor Finds Insight into Living Life and Facing Death - BJ on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross
    Follow BJ on Twitter
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    • 52 min
    Where Should Work Fit in Our Lives (Anne Helen Petersen & Charlie Warzel)

    Where Should Work Fit in Our Lives (Anne Helen Petersen & Charlie Warzel)

    “Like family relationship has obligations that go both ways. Hopefully there's unconditional love there, but it's also the, like your re your family and, and, and the other people in your family see you as family too. But in a job, if you, the, the whole family thing goes one way, you're supposed to give and give and give and give and, and, and, and feel this like guilt and obligation to your company and your coworkers, your company at any moment can sever those ties, you know, your is at will employment in, in this country. And, and, and so, like, that's not part of a, a family thing. That's not unconditional. Your job is totally conditional.”
    So says Charlie Warzel, who together with Anne Helen Petersen, wrote OUT OF OFFICE: THE BIG PROBLEM AND BIGGER PROMISE OF WORKING FROM HOME. Petersen and Warzel, ditched New York City for the promise of a better life/work balance out west a few years ago, which gave them a headstart on understanding the reality of working from home—before it became a reality for the rest of the world through the pandemic. Both culture, media, and technology journalists for Buzzfeed at the time, they found that the promise of work from home was not a panacea for more time to spend in nature: Like the rest of us—just earlier—they discovered that they were spending even more time PERFORMING their work, showing their managers back in New York City that they deserved the privilege of being untethered from a traditional office. Being out of the office only added to their anxiety and overwhelm.
    So when COVID hit, they were already aware of both the the pitfalls and potential of work from home—their fantastic book, which just came out, offers a survey of how we find ourselves in this intractable bind today, where for too many of us, our jobs have taken over the center of our lives, and how we can use this opportunity to reshape workplaces for a more sustainable future. In our conversation we talk about how we don’t prioritize the art of managers, how the idea of time and output is problematic for so many people who are not, actually machines, and what a more inclusive and human HR structure might look like, if it weren’t engineered to avoid abuse and instead could focus solely on providing support. Let’s get to our conversation.

    OUT OF OFFICE by Anne Helen Petersen & Charlie Warzel
    CAN’T EVEN by Anne Helen Petersen
    THE BURNOUT GENERATION by Anne Helen Petersen
    “Galaxy Brain” newsletter from Charlie Warzel
    “Culture Study” newsletter from Anne Helen Petersen

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    • 56 min
    Why Don’t We Believe Women? (Deborah Turkheimer)

    Why Don’t We Believe Women? (Deborah Turkheimer)

    “Outside the legal context, I'm urging readers and listeners in this case to think very deliberately about whether that high standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is really necessary before a person will believe so to speak, will feel confident enough to offer, let's say, support to a roommate or to a coworker. And I want to suggest that we should actually require much less by way of certainty and confidence in order to offer that kind of support to someone who is in an informal setting coming to us as a kind of first responder, because this is how most allegations surface. People rarely go to the police. First more often, they turn to a trusted confidant, someone within their inner circle. And it's the response of that individual that's likely to affect the trajectory to come” so says Deborah Tuerkheimer, a Harvard and Yale-educated lawyer, former New York District Attorney specializng in domestic violence and child abuse protection and current professor at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law where she teaches and writes about criminal law, evidence, and feminist legal theory. To say she is impressive is a massive understatement.
    Today she joins me to discuss her book, CREDIBLE: Why We Doubt Accusers and Protect Abusers. We dive into a conversation about credibility and sexual assault: What makes a credible victim? How do culture, law, and psychology shape our judgement? And how can our systems be more responsive to the needs of survivors? In the court of cultural opinion, Deb says, we disservice so many victims by dismissing and discounting their pain that sometimes, the aftermath is almost worse than the event itself. We talk about the myth of the false accuser, underreporting as a reflection of our cultural credibility context, and the dangerous archetypes of the perfect victim and the monster abuser. 
    Finally, we discuss the push for restorative justice processes, which must begin with an acknowledgement of responsibility from the offender, and then go on to ask: “What will it take to repair the harm?”, ultimately turning to the victim and their community to answer that question. 
    Please note that today’s episode contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors - I encourage you to care for your safety and well-being.

    CREDIBLE: Why We Doubt Accusers and Protect Abusers
    More Books, Articles and Op-Eds by Deb Tuerkheimer
    Deb's Website

    RAINN: the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization
    National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.HOPE
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    • 48 min

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