172 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 Audacy

    • Education
    • 4.8 • 737 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?

    The Life-Saving Power of Friendship (Mark Nepo)

    The Life-Saving Power of Friendship (Mark Nepo)

    “The real meaning of ‘remember’ is to put the members back together, to make whole. So a lot of times we go back in time to a special time or a special moment and nostalgia is wanting to go back there, as if there's something there that we lost. And the true value of memory is to touch that moment and see where it lives or is dormant in me or you now going forward. That was one form or expression of it, not the only. And that touches on, I think what friendship helps us remember is that life is always where we are. We suffer greatly this–and it has always been, but more so in the modern world–this menacing assumption that life is other than where we are. If it's over there, if I could just get over there, even with a dream, or if I could just accomplish this dream, then. And I think one of the things that almost dying taught me was that there's no there, there's only here.”
    So says poet and author Mark Nepo, who has now written nearly 30 books, including mega-bestsellers like The Book of Awakening. In this latest book, You Don’t Have to Do It Alone, Mark explores the power of friendship to lend life both vital energy and more meaning, likening friends not to the boat, but to the oars that can help you reach the other side of the water. I’ve been thinking a lot about boys and men lately—including the ways in which they suffer under patriarchy too, sometimes in more devastating ways. I’m grateful for people like Mark who are insisting and modeling that to care is to be human—and that intimate friendships are vital for all of us who hope to lead long and meaningful lives. Women have an easier time of this, though we can all benefit from reminders. 

    MORE FROM MARK NEPO:
    You Don’t Have to Do It Alone: The Power of Friendship
    The Book of Awakening
    Falling Down and Getting Up
    Mark Nepo’s Website
    Follow Mark Nepo on Instagram

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    • 45 min
    The Long-Term Implications of Sleep (Harvey Karp, M.D.): GROWING UP

    The Long-Term Implications of Sleep (Harvey Karp, M.D.): GROWING UP

    “I remember a wonderful psychologist was talking about, we shouldn't, should on ourselves. Don't should on yourself. And it's all of what I should do. And there's a big lie for new moms, which is that when the baby is born, you should take care of the baby. You're the best person. You're the mother. There's no one else who's going to take care of your baby in the same way. And of course you should be holding skin to skin, have the opportunity to breastfeed. But there was never a mother who was expected to take care of her baby without the help of her aunt and her grandmother and her sister and things like that. And if you think about it, in the hospital, there's only one place where we make patients take care of other patients, right?”
    So says Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block which has Bible-like status in the world of parenting. As a beloved Los Angeles pediatrician, Harvey punctured the mainstream with the 5 S’s—swaddling, shushing, swinging, sucking, and holding the baby on its side—all simple interventions that helped parents help their newborns sleep. This was revolutionary—and certainly changed my trajectory as a new parent, as getting five straight hours instead of three can have a huge impact on your mental health. Harvey then codified his findings into “The Snoo,” a bassinet that functions as an extra set of hands: It swaddles, swings, shushes, and keeps the baby safely on its back while it sleeps. In today’s conversation we talk about what it would look like to institutionalize support of new parents, what Harvey’s trying to do about this, why it can be so awful, isolating, and hard to have kids, along with the advice most parents frequently seek. I’m lucky to call Harvey a friend and to be able to turn to him over the years—in fact, Sam slept in a prototype Snoo—so I’m thrilled to share some of his wisdom with all of you. Let’s turn to our conversation now.

    MORE FROM HARVEY KARP, M.D.:
    The Happiest Baby on the Block
    The Happiest Toddler on the Block
    The Snoo
    Follow Happiest Baby on Instagram

    EPISODES IN THE “GROWING UP” SERIES:
    Niobe Way, “The Critical Need for Deep Connection”

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    • 54 min
    The Deconstruction of Belief (Sarah Bessey)

    The Deconstruction of Belief (Sarah Bessey)

    “One of the things about practices that I love is this notion of it's not perfect. I haven't got it mastered, just by the very word, it's implied that I'm working it into my life and out of my life and through my life, almost like in my mind, I'm picturing like a woman who's like kneading it into bread dough. And so then there's the room. There's room to play. There's room to set it aside for a time. There's room to reimagine some of these practices. There's room to expand our notions of belonging and spirituality and faithfulness of our place in the world. And then that to me then opened up and almost reintroduced some of those things that maybe I had once rejected. And thought, well, there's no room for me here. And whether it's prayer, or generosity, or whatever else, it's like, no, I think that there's some good practices here. And I think there's a way to do this in a way that looks like being for things instead of just against things like we already talked about. But then what does it look like to have some room for mistakes and for learning and for humility? And even some play, I think.”

    So says Sarah Bessey, the author or editor of five books, including Field Notes for the Wilderness: Practices for an Evolving Faith. Sarah writes most prominently about leaving her evangelical upbringing and working through the deconstruction of her religious beliefs to create something that feels more true to her in its wake—as part of this, she co-founded the Evolving Faith community with some of her friends, including the wonderful and late Rachel Held Evans. Bessey writes prolifically about what it means to connect with her idea of God in a bigger and more expansive way—one that has moved from Simplicity, to Complexity, to Perplexity, to Harmony. In addition to Field Notes for the Wilderness, Sarah is also the editor of the New York Times bestseller A Rhythm of Prayer and Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women. In today’s conversation we talked about ideas and processes Sarah holds tenderly, including a shift from peace-keeping to peace-making and trying to articulate a vision of what she is for rather than who she is against. There is much in this conversation to which we can all relate.

    MORE FROM SARAH BESSEY:
    Field Notes for the Wilderness: Practices for an Evolving Faith
    A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal
    Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith
    Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women
    Follow Sarah on Instagram
    Subscribe to Sarah’s Newsletter
    Evolving Faith
    Sarah’s Website

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    • 59 min
    The Critical Need for Deep Connection (Niobe Way, PhD): GROWING UP

    The Critical Need for Deep Connection (Niobe Way, PhD): GROWING UP

    “You can't be independent if you're not deeply connected. So what happens to a child that's not deeply connected? What actually happens? Guess what happens? They don't feel the confidence to be able to take risks. They don't feel the confidence to go out and be self-sufficient. They don't feel the confidence in doing it. So we're actually backbiting, right? We're kicking ourselves in the asses when we just focus on independence. Because we need to give them the skills to be able to be independent, which are relational skills, which is knowing that when I need help, I can turn to you and you will help me and I will help you when you need it. So then you can go off and take a risk or go and live in a new city or go have your own apartment and know that you can lean on me when you need to. And so to me, the attachment story that comes out, at this point, almost a century of research on attachment is a gorgeous, gorgeous story.”
    So says Dr. Niobe Way, an internationally-recognized Professor of Developmental Psychology, the founder of the Project for the Advancement of Our Common Humanity (PACH) at NYU, and the Director of the Science of Human Connection Lab. She is also a Principal Investigator of the Listening Project, funded by the Spencer Foundation, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and the Rockefeller Foundation. When she was a student, Niobe studied with Carol Gilligan—if you read my newsletter or listen to this podcast, you know Carol is a hero of mine and will be wrapping up this series as a guest. Niobe has done for boys what Carol has done for girls—and their research intersects and Venn diagrams in fascinating ways. While Carol’s research shows that girls come to not know what they know, Niobe traces how boys disconnect from their caring and often enter a period of irrevocably devastating and dangerous loneliness. Niobe is the author of Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection as well as the just-released, Rebels with a Cause: Reimagining Boys, Ourselves, and Our Culture, which offers fascinating insight into our culture at large. Along with historical context, Niobe offers beautiful case studies from her research—following and interviewing boys as they grow up—along with notes from boys who have gone on to wreak havoc on the culture, in homicidal and suicidal ways. These notes speak to disconnection, extreme loneliness, and feeling like nobody cares. As I talk about my book in living rooms around the country, I often cite Niobe and Carol Gilligan, specifically the insight that at a certain point—around 8 for boys, and 11 for girls—the word “don’t” enters children’s vocabulary. For girls, it’s “I don’t know.” For boys, it’s “I don’t care.” And of course, girls knows. And of course, boys care. We need to repair our culture so it’s safe for them to stay connected. As you can tell, I’m very excited for this conversation.

    MORE FROM NIOBE WAY, PhD:
    Rebels with a Cause: Reimagining Boys, Ourselves, and Our Culture
    Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection
    The Crisis of Connection: Roots, Consequences, and Solutions
    Niobe Way’s Website

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    • 1 hr
    The Table Stakes of Good Relationships (Stan Tatkin)

    The Table Stakes of Good Relationships (Stan Tatkin)

    “Our anger is “I'm angry because something happened that I feel was unjust or unfair” And if it continues, then I want my justice and you know, our injustices from childhood turn out to be society's burdens because I want payback here, even though you had nothing to do with it. So, hate and love go together because they're both strongly bonding connection, right? But really bond us in order to hate you, I've got to feel a lot about you, right? You did something to betray me, to violate me, to say, no, I can't do this, whatever it is. And so both are really strongly bonded, you know, just like anger is bonding. When we're angry with each other, it's a way to stay bonded and connected, even though it's unpleasant.”
    So says Stan Tatkin, an author, therapist, and researcher who guides couples toward more durable relationships. He developed the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), a non-linear approach that explores attachment theory to help couples adopt secure-functioning principles: In short, Stan and his wife, Tracey, train therapists to work through a psychobiological lens. Often, our brains get away from us when we’re in conflict in our relationships—we lose ourselves to our instincts. He has trained thousands of therapists to integrate PACT into their clinical practice, offers intensive counseling sessions, and co-leads couples retreats with his wife. Tatkin is also an assistant clinical professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. 
    Stan wrote Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship more than a decade ago and it became an instant classic. It was due for a refresh to encompass the wider range of relationships we’re now experiencing and it’s just been re-issued, better than ever.
    In today’s conversation we talk about the table stakes of a good relationship: Nobody cares about your survival more than your partner, something we easily forget. As it were, we get into a fascinating sidebar on Pre-Nuptial Agreements, which in Stan’s estimation cause many relationships to founder. I’ll let him tell you why.

    MORE FROM STAN TATKIN:
    Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship
    In Each Other’s Care: A Guide to the Most Common Relationship Conflicts and How to Work Through Them
    We Do
    Wired for Dating
    Stan Tatkin’s Website
    Follow Stan on Instagram

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    • 51 min
    Coming Soon: Special Series on Growing Up

    Coming Soon: Special Series on Growing Up

    Hi, It’s Elise, host of Pulling the Thread. Starting next Monday, I’m doing another special series—this one is about growing up, and no, it’s definitely not just for parents. It’s mostly about re-parenting, or understanding the driving factors of how we all come to understand the world. You’ll hear from four very different voices about childhood, social programming, and development. Two are pioneers in gender development: One of my all-time heroes, developmental psychologist Carol Gilligan, who I write about in my Substack all-the-time who wrote In a Different Voice in the ‘80s, is joining me on the show, and so is Niobe Way, who does for boys what Carol Gilligan does for girls. I’m also talking with legendary pediatrician Harvey Karp, creator of The Happiest Baby on the Block, the founder of the Snoo, and an ardent and early environmentalist—and Carissa Schumacher, a full-body psychic medium and dear friend who is going to talk to us about what it’s like to raise and be a highly empathic and intuitive person—and how you can retain and develop those abilities. Or shut them down. It will be a great series, coming every Monday for the next month. I’ll see you every Thursday for a regular episode.

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    • 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
737 Ratings

737 Ratings

laurieonWARM ,

Thank you!

This episode was so insightful! So good to know I am not alone!

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Chef’s kiss

I felt like I was home listening to Nicole Avant. I hope we keep this conversation open. I feel hopeful and want more of this kind of discussion. Thank you!

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