Are you a mom who is ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life? A few months before a big milestone birthday, host Julie Neale, a life and leadership coach, community builder and mom to two high-energy boys, decided to stop sidelining her dreams and become the hero of her own journey. She created this show to help light her way by gathering words of wisdom and lessons learned from other mothers further ahead on their quest. 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). Come along with Julie and you are sure to find some treasures of your own.
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 bee
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
Building and Thinking Outside the Box with David Neale
I’m honored to share this special Father’s Day Episode featuring my very own father-in-law, David Neale. I started dating my husband Chris when I was only 19, so I realize David has been a source of inspiration and guidance in my life for over 30 years. How lucky I am to have had his example of leadership, impact, and joy for life to light my way for my entire adulthood!
The inspiration for this episode was sparked several months ago at a big milestone birthday celebration David organized to honor his 80th year. That celebration was also the launch of a new fund he initiated through the San Jose Rotary, inspired by his experience as a grandparent to my two boys, Ryan who is autistic, and Jacob who navigates dyslexia, ADHD and dysgraphia.
In this episode, we explore the stories and wisdom of David’s life, including his childhood in England, his move to Montreal and then San Jose, CA, his impactful work as the founder and CEO of The Core Companies, and all the thoughtful ways he shows up as a grandfather. We also talk about the Youth Empowerment Neurodiversity Fund, which Ryan and I have had the honor of helping to shape, alongside David and other Rotary committee members.
One of David’s most significant contributions in leadership has come through his innovative thinking and outside-the-box solutions for redevelopment housing, including the creation of Art Ark, an innovative housing community for artists in San Jose, Willow Housing, a Veteran’s housing project in Menlo Park, CA that includes access to critical support services, and most recently the Agrihood in Santa Clara, CA, a unique affordable housing project that includes retail and has an Urban Farm at its center.
His achievements are many, but as David says, his success did not happen in a straight line. His life journey was filled with plot twists, pivots, and even a few failures. Through it all, with my mother-in-law Anne by his side, he continued to believe in himself and his dreams.
I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did and leave inspired as I am to keep persevering through challenges, opening ourselves to new perspectives and out-of-the-box thinking, and knowing that each setback may bring us closer to all we’ve ever wanted.
About David Neale:
David Neale is a leader and visionary in real estate development, known for his commitment to community building and for his innovative approaches to affordable housing and redevelopment. A career that began in 1978 in Montreal brought David to San Jose, CA in the 1980s and led him to found The Core Companies in 1989. As CEO of The Core Companies, David has built a vibrant company and spearheaded transformative projects that have left a lasting imprint on the communities they serve.
Notable projects Core has completed with David at the helm include Art Ark, an innovative housing community for artists in San Jose, Willow Housing, a Veteran’s housing project in Menlo Park, CA that includes access to critical support services, and most recently the Agrihood in Santa Clara, CA, a unique affordable housing project that includes retail and has an Urban Farm at its center.
His leadership also extends into community engagement and education. David spent 16 years on the board of directors for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and served as a founding member of the non-profit First Community Housing. His almost two decades of service on the San Jose Rotary recently led David to initiate a new Youth Empowerment Neurodiversity Fund, inspired by David’s experience with two of his grandchildren who are neurodivergent.
Throughout his career, David exemplified a commitment to building projects that not only enhance the physical landscape but also uplift the lives of individuals and communities. His greatest accomplishment however is the family he has built with his wife of over 60 years, including his two children, and his four grandchildren.
Connect with David:
Sometimes Change Sucks "Reflections at the 5 year Anniversary of the Manifesto Challenge” With Graeme Seabrook
In 2018, I sat down for a special Mother's Day episode with Graeme Seabrook, a life coach and maternal health advocate, affectionately known by the thousands of mothers she supported as the "Mom for Moms." We hit it off immediately, delving deep into her Motherhood Bill of Rights and my E.P.I.C. life framework, and noticing that both had become manifestos for how we wanted to live our lives while raising our children.
During that episode, we co-created what we called a Manifesto Challenge, inviting other mothers to create their own. And afterward, we would reconnect in some way each May, grateful to know that the episode and the challenge could spark an opportunity for others to reclaim themselves in motherhood.
In 2021, Graeme became ill and spent the next several years in bed, visiting doctors, and coming to terms with the fact that she had somehow suffered brain damage. Along the way, she realized she would need to burn her manifesto down to the ground before creating it anew. Living and mothering through hard and sometimes life-threatening times, and now feeling a little better, she has reemerged, reframing her work in the world as a front-porch philosopher who writes about the intersection between modern motherhood and humanity.
When I read a recent blog post from Graeme and realized this would be the five-year anniversary of the Manifesto Challenge, I reached out. I asked if she felt up to recording a special episode with me, where we could interview one another, reflect on the changes and challenges in our lives, and reconnect about the power of manifestos.
I'm so glad that Graeme said yes to my invitation and I'm honored to share this episode with you. Our hour together was more unstructured than my typical interviews, real and unfiltered, and filled with Graeme's signature blend of laughter, tears and powerful insights. I hope you'll leave this conversation, as Graeme and I both did, open to the truth that change sometimes sucks, but that there can be unexpected joys discovered along the way, and that there is always power in owning and sharing our stories.
About Graeme Seabrook :
Graeme Seabrook was once a life coach and maternal mental health advocate who supported thousands of mothers. Since becoming disabled in 2021, she has reframed her work in the world and is now a front-porch philosopher who writes about the intersection between modern motherhood and humanity. When she’s not tending her garden, knitting on her porch, or playing video games with her kids, you can find her on Instagram or on her website - graemeseabrook.com.
Connect with Graeme Seabrook:
Website | graemeseabrook.com Instagram | @graemeseabrook Learn more about one of Graeme's unexpected joys, gardening, and how you can support her with her gardening dream here.
Topics Discussed in this Episode:
Graeme’s experience navigating illness and disability, core experiences that have shaped her life over the last two years The old and negative narratives about herself that Graeme has finally learned, in her bones, are untrue Author Octavia Butler’s words that have resonated for Graeme about change, and Graeme’s honest reflection that “sometimes change sucks” My wishes for Mother’s Day, everything from a sauna to a million Mom manifestos The recommendation from Graeme’s neurologist that resulted in a new passion, knitting, that she can do from her bed My son’s knee condition, osteochondritis dissecans, a “change that sucks” and some of the unexpected joys we have discovered even in the midst of it The words of wisdom Graeme has for me, a parent trying to support a child with a physical disability What I’m embracing at this stage of my life How Graeme’s husband and friends have shown up for her in amazing ways and what it has taught her about her own worthiness Graeme’s commitment to write a mini-manifesto and why it’s more than ok to make it small An invitation to
Reclaiming Our Time and Creativity through Fair Play in the Household with Eve Rodsky and special guest Co-host Caren Lettiere
Welcome to this special Season Seven finale episode of the Mother’s Quest Podcast, released on International Women’s Day 2023. It feels like just right timing to bring this conversation to you, but the seeds for this episode have been germinating since last spring, when Jill Daniel of Happy Women Dinners came to me with an invitation. She asked whether my sister Caren, founder of Democracy Clothing, might be interested in hosting a brunch at her house in Los Angeles with best-selling author Eve Rodsky.
I had recently learned about Eve’s groundbreaking work, where she transformed her own “blueberries breakdown” into a catalyst for social change, applying her Harvard-trained background in organizational management to ask the simple yet profound question: What would happen if we treated our homes as our most important organizations?
Her New York Times bestselling book and Reese’s Book Club Pick, Fair Play, a gamified life-management system that helps partners rebalance their domestic workload and reimagine their relationship, has elevated the cultural conversation about the value of unpaid labor and care. In her highly anticipated follow-up, Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World, Eve explores the cross-section between the science of creativity, productivity, and resilience. Her journey and the tenets of both books came together in the Fair Play Documentary, a film by Jennifer Siebel Newsom in partnership with Hello Sunshine.
Needless to say, I encouraged Caren to say “yes” to this opportunity. I knew there would be synergy between Caren’s journey creating her hugely successful Unicorn brand Democracy Clothing, while raising two children and running a household, and Eve’s message. Jill gathered an incredible community of women for brunch that day where we gifted all of them with size inclusive Democracy jeans through a try-on experience that was empowering and a conversation between Jill, Caren and Eve that was profound.
When Eve said yes to being a guest on my podcast and it came time to interview her, I knew I wanted to include Caren in this conversation. What follows is an intimate look at the values and insights Eve has woven into her two books and an exploration of what Eve has learned about living an E.P.I.C. life.
As Eve shares at the end of this episode, the Mother’s Quest Podcast and this conversation between the three of us is also “unicorn space.” We’re so grateful to share it with you. We hope that what you hear sparks conversations with your own partner and children that bring to light and make more fair the division of labor in your household and that you use this as a permission slip to reclaim your own time and creativity in your E.P.I.C. life.
Content Note: Eve speaks in powerful ways and sometimes that includes a few carefully chosen bad words. I encourage you to listen to this episode in privacy or to pop in some ear buds if you are with your children.
About Eve Rodsky:
Eve Rodsky transformed a “blueberries breakdown” into a catalyst for social change when she applied her Harvard-trained background in organizational management to ask the simple yet profound question: What would happen if we treated our homes as our most important organizations? Her New York Times bestselling book and Reese’s Book Club Pick, Fair Play, a gamified life-management system that helps partners rebalance their domestic workload and reimagine their relationship, has elevated the cultural conversation about the value of unpaid labor and care. In her highly anticipated follow-up, Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World, Rodsky explores the cross-section between the science of creativity, productivity, and resilience. Described as the ‘antidote to physical, mental, and emotional burnout,’ Rodsky aims to inspire a new narrative around the equality of time and the individual right to personal time c
Coming Home To Ourselves with Self-Care Coach Jamie Greenwood
In 2016, on a leap of faith, I signed up for something called a Power Circle and was guided through a six month process by this amazing facilitator Jamie Greenwood. In the space that Jamie held for a small group of us, I said out loud my dreams for Mother’s Quest for the first time, and at Jamie’s urging, started a Facebook Group for the community I hoped to grow in my journey.
Six plus years, almost a 100 podcast episodes, and over a thousand FB Group members later in my journey, Jamie has become a mother herself, and has evolved her coaching practice into one that teaches big-dreaming, high-achieving women, many of them mothers, how to set boundaries and find home within ourselves, without an ounce of guilt.
Jamie is also the host of The Path Home, a podcast that explores the many facets of home, how we find home in ourselves and how we create a sense of home in our work, our relationships, our communities and in the future we want to see.
When we arrived to this interview as 2022 was coming to a close, Jamie and I were both in the midst of juggling health and wellness challenges with our children. The conversation that unfolded was the reminder we both needed of the power of self-care, of how grateful we are for the flexibility to reorganize things to care for our children when needed, and of finding and communicating our boundaries. Jamie has found a definition she loves…”boundaries are the safe distance at which I can love you and I can love myself.”
I loved this intimate conversation with the coach that helped me find my way at the start of Mother’s Quest. In listening, I hope you are reminded, as I was, to slow down, to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us, to trust ourselves to set boundaries, to connect to what we’re hungry for and to be brave enough to say it out loud. I hope this episode helps you come home to yourself.
This Episode’s Challenge:
Part of coming home to ourselves is about bravery. Reach out to people for connection, and you might be surprised that you can build an instant community. Know that If you have a hunger for something, others likely have that hunger too. Ask yourself, “what kind of connection am I hungry for in my relationships and in my own community?” Then reach out.
About Jamie Greenwood:
Jamie Greenwood is a self care and leadership coach and the founder of Homecoming, a 6 month group coaching program that teaches big-dreaming, high-achieving women how to set boundaries and find home in themselves, without an ounce of guilt. With over 15 years experience, Jamie specializes in helping women get really clear on who they are, how they want to live and then actually doing it on their own terms.
Jamie is also the host of The Path Home, a podcast that explores the many facets of home, how we find home in ourselves and how we create a sense of home in our work, our relationships, our communities and in the future we want to see.
When Jamie's not coaching, speaking, or podcasting, you can find her running after her 14 year old, 6 year old and 4 year old daughters and wondering what's for dinner.
Connect with Jamie:
Website | https://jamiegreenwood.co/ Podcast | https://jamiegreenwood.co/the-path-home-podcast Facebook | www.facebook.com/jamie.m.greenwood Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jamiegreenwoodcoaching/ Topics Discussed in this Episode:
Navigating disappointment and that feeling of taking one step forward two steps back when challenges come up with our children How Jamie takes care of her children’s needs without compromising her own What Jamie says to her children at breakfast that demonstrates to them that she matters too Jamie’s favorite definition of “boundaries”…it’s so beautiful! The importance of speaking our truth and why we should not use a “gratitude bypass” to obscure it. Jamie’s experience on Instagram and why she stopped using it Making space to be quiet and
Mom my name is now tm 2023 I now own my name
Makes me feel whole
I am so thankful for Julie and this podcast. Because of this podcast, I have made connections with people. I am someone who likes to reflect and journal , and every episode gives me so much to reflect on. I always find so much I resonate with. I love the invitations for challenges. I love the dedications and the flow of each episode. The epic framework is something I use often thanks to this podcast and the mothersquest planner.
Epic Insights on Motherhood!
Just wrapped up the episode on divvying up family responsibilities and I'm genuinely impressed. The dialogue was both insightful and meaningful, underlining the vital need for these important conversations in our daily lives.
Julie really shines as she employs her distinctive EPIC framework. She expertly distills complex ideas and offers practical advice, providing an invaluable source of support for all mothers striving to balance their lives.
If you're on the hunt for a meaningful and powerful podcast, don't hesitate to give this a listen. It's an enriching deep-dive into the reality of motherhood, sure to leave you informed and inspired.