127 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
    • 4.9 • 641 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?

    Reimagining Recovery (Holly Whitaker): ADDICTION

    Reimagining Recovery (Holly Whitaker): ADDICTION

    “For years, I was asking myself whether or not I was an alcoholic versus really asking myself whether or not alcohol was actually providing any benefit to me. And for me, it was just like, This realization when I stopped drinking that I had been asking the wrong question for my whole drinking career and like, why are we not asking the question? We're just like, we're drinking, it's compulsory in our society. It's exceptional if you don't drink. And then it's also this very addictive drug that's marketed to us in a way that totally overrides our ability to like make rational choices around it. It's like the most socially accepted drug that you can use and like, we just don't have meaningful conversations or informed consent or any, you know, so for me, a huge part of me quitting drinking, which I did in 2013, it was this realization of Intellectually understanding I had been asking the wrong question which for me was a huge empowerment and part of the reason I was able to quit.”

    So says Holly Whitaker, author of the New York Times bestselling Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol. I had heard about Holly long before I met her, primarily because she was disrupting recovery culture and many people did not like this. But the more I learned about her, the more I spoke to her, the more I witnessed her impact on culture, the more I was completely taken by both her brilliance and her willingness to say the things. Be warned: If you read her book, you’ll never think about alcohol again. In its pages, she recontextualizes the way we’ve been trained to normalize booze—and also the way the current recovery scene is shaped for the consciousness, and egos, of men. She’s created companies in the vein of a feminine-centered recovery, and it feels like she’s just getting started in the way we talk about addictive substances—and addiction. Those who struggle will find a lot of relief in her words, and I understand why. 

    MORE FROM HOLLY WHITAKER:
    Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol
    Holly’s Newsletter
    Holly’s Website
    Holly’s Podcast
    Follow Holly on Instagram

    Further Listening on Pulling the Thread:
    ADDICTION: Anna Lembke, M.D., “Navigating an Addictive Culture”
    TRAUMA: Gabor Maté, M.D., “When Stress Becomes Illness”
    BINGE EATING DISORDER: Susan Burton, “Whose Pain Counts?”

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    • 57 min
    Grappling with Part X (Phil Stutz)

    Grappling with Part X (Phil Stutz)

    “If there is this part of you that you think is inferior, the weak spot, something you're ashamed of, etc., it's one of these things where if you believe it's true, there's a part of the human soul, we call it part X. It doesn't want you to have any kind of forward motion, doesn't like it, it wants to render your life failure. It wants you to never re change your potentials. And it wants you to hate yourself, which is the biggest thing. So, the genesis of the tools came from the idea, we have to be active about dealing with this.”
    So says Phil Stutz, the creator of the Tools. You might know Phil from his bestselling book of the same name, or its sequel Coming Alive. Or you might know him from the Netflix documentary Stutz, which is a profile of him as a beloved psychotherapist who doesn’t practice in a particularly traditional way. What you might not know is that Phil is actually a psychiatrist—he received his MD from NYU and then abandoned the standard approach, feeling like he wasn’t helping patients at all. He created The Tools for exactly that: To provide practices for people to move through life’s obstacles, rather than just listening to them talk about them. Ad nauseum. One of the things that I love most about Phil’s approach is the way in which he uses the spiritual, or what he calls “Higher Forces.” Foundationally, he believes that a beneficent universe will move in as soon as you put yourself in motion, unlocking creativity and growth. His latest book, Lessons for Living: What Only Adversity Can Teach You, is a beautiful collection of essays about aging, hard times, and obstacles. It’s equal parts moving and practical, much like Phil himself. 

    MORE FROM PHIL STUTZ:
    Lessons for Living: What Only Adversity Can Teach You
    The Tools: Five Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower—and Inspire You To Live Life in Forward Motion
    Coming Alive: Four Tools to Defeat Your Inner Enemy, Ignite Creative Expression & Unleash Your Soul’s Expression
    “Stutz” on Netflix
    The Tools Website

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    • 43 min
    Coming Soon: Special Series on Addiction

    Coming Soon: Special Series on Addiction

    Starting next Monday, I’m doing another special series—this set is about addiction. You’ll hear from four distinct voices in the space, covering harm reduction, new paths to recovery, codependency, and the shape of addiction in our culture. This is just scratching the surface, but hopefully the beginning of conversations in our own lives, as addiction touches us all, in its myriad forms. While this set is focused on substance, we'll be back with more in this space—and if you want to get started, you’ll find links to two previous episodes on this theme. Dr. Gabor Maté, who spent much of his career working in the most addicted corner of North America, explains why trauma is central to understanding addiction, and Dr. Anna Lembke, explores the role of dopamine and the delicate balance between pleasure and pain. You can find those links in the show notes—and I’ll see you on Thursday for a regular episode of Pulling the Thread, and Monday for the beginning of this special episode.

    SHOW NOTES:
    ADDICTION: Anna Lembke, M.D., “Navigating an Addictive Culture”
    TRAUMA: Gabor Maté, M.D., “When Stress Becomes Illness”

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    • 2 min
    On Cultivating Creativity & Abundance (Richard Christiansen)

    On Cultivating Creativity & Abundance (Richard Christiansen)

    “I’m grateful for seasons. I'm so happy that there can be a winter and there can be a spring and there can be a summer, that it can't always be summer, can't always be bright and happy. And, you know, my book is a bit about that. In winter, the stone fruit loses its leaves and it falls down and it saves its energy for spring. It's okay to sleep. I feel like when life served me a winter and I dropped my leaves for a bit, I came back stronger in spring. I'm just grateful for that idea of that constant change, not just in the world, but in ourselves, and how exciting that has been. And that's given me a whole new fresh perspective. I keep saying a lot, I want to ripen like a peach. I'm okay for my skin to get wrinkled and my flesh to get soft. I really just want to get really sweet and juicy on the inside and and enjoy that process.”
    I met Richard Christiansen more than a decade ago, though we didn’t become very close friends until very recently, when strange fates brought us together. We have spent the past three-and-half years birthing new versions of ourselves: We kept each other as close company as I wrote my book and launched this podcast, while Richard left the world of advertising to launch a beautiful brand called Flamingo Estate. You’ve likely seen Flamingo Estate in magazines or on Instagram—it’s Richard’s home, and garden, and also the inspiration point for a range of products like, oh I don’t know, honey made from the bees in Lebron James’ backyard, to Terrazzo bars of soap, to the best olive oil I’ve ever tasted. I’ve never met anyone like Richard, to be honest, who has both a fantastical imagination and incredible design aesthetic with his feet firmly planted in the soil. Richard grew up on a farm in Australia—from a whole family of farmers—and being in the garden is his first home. He has a deep and unabiding reverence for the natural world—Jane Goodall is one of his close friends, after all—which is part of the reason why its the foundation of his brand. He calls nature the last great luxury house, and he sees no reason why a gorgeous tomato shouldn’t get the same photographic consideration as a handbag. We had a wide-ranging conversation about creativity, abundance, pleasure, and fantasy for this special friendsgiving episode.

    MORE FROM RICHARD CHRISTIANSEN:
    Flamingo Estate
    Follow Flamingo Estate on Instagram

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    • 58 min
    The Risk It Takes To Bloom (Raquel Willis)

    The Risk It Takes To Bloom (Raquel Willis)

    “Well, the interesting thing is, I guess some of this came from writing the book too, but all of those versions of me live inside of me, right? Even the kid that was, you know, forced to kind of navigate the world as a boy and all of these different things, like that kid is still inside of me, right? The teenager slash young adult who was gay, just like regular gay, boring gay, boring gay now, it wasn't boring gay then, lives inside of me. That trans woman, at the start of my adulthood who felt like she had to live up to so many of these ideals of womanhood, you know, she lives inside of me too.”
    So says Raquel Willis, a Black trans activist who just released a debut memoir, The Risk it Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation. Her book traces her evolution—from her childhood in Georgia, through her multiple coming out experiences, or unfoldings, as the title of her book suggests. Willis has served as the director of communications for Ms. Foundation for Women, executive editor of Out Magazine, and a national organizer for Transgender Law Center. She also co-founded Transgender Week of Visibility and Action and currently serves as an executive producer for iHeartMedia's Outspoken and the president of the Solutions Not Punishments Collaborative’s executive board, and is a WNBA Social Justice Council member. Our conversation today isn’t really about her accolades, it is, to quote her, more existential: We explore whether our souls are gendered, what it means to perform or play with femininity, and why sexual violence against women and girls affects us all. Let’s turn to our conversation now.

    MORE FROM RAQUEL WILLIS:
    The Risk it Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation
    Raquel’s Website
    Follow Raquel on Instagram

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    • 45 min
    Human Design as a Road Map to the Soul (Chetan & Carola): MYSTICAL SYSTEMS

    Human Design as a Road Map to the Soul (Chetan & Carola): MYSTICAL SYSTEMS

    Chetan: “The human design chart, is basically a match to your unique particular frequency, whether it's partially ancestral, whether it's partly what you've come to live out consciously in this lifetime. But it's there. It's all on a page. It's all on a chart. And you start recognizing how this chart works and you start going along with your type and your authority and you recognize your profile and who you naturally attract and get along with so easily and how other people see you. And all these things just can't start getting more and more distilled in your life. Describing it as a karma chart, things that have to be resolved, you start living true to your design, then all of these things just go click, click, click.
    Carola: You start attracting the situations or the people the opportunities to resolve those things.
    Chetan: And you're not in resistance. You're in acceptance to life.” 
    Human Design has a wild origin story—and so does Chetan Parkyn, who studied with Osho in India and read palms and faces before coming to Human Design, which he’s been working with for three decades. His partner, Carola Eastwood, came to Human Design through Astrology and counseling after her own dark night of the soul. The duo are steeped in the system, having performed thousands of readings and written multiple books, including Human Design: Discover the Person You Were Born to Be, The Book of Lines, and The Book of Destinies. If you’re new to Human Design, it’s a fascinating and complex system—I’d recommend going to their site, Evolutionary Human Design and quickly generating a free chart. You’ll need your birth date and time. If you’re familiar, these two will turn new pages for you. 

    MORE FROM CHETAN & CAROLA:
    Human Design: Discover the Person You Were Born to Be
    The Book of Lines
    The Book of Destinies: Discover the Life You Were Born to Live
    Evolutionary Human Design
    Get Your Human Design Report

    Further Listening on Pulling the Thread:
    PART 1, ENNEAGRAM: Courtney Smith “The Practical Magic of the Enneagram”
    PART 2, ASTERIAN ASTROLOGY: Jade Luna “The Secret Astrological System”
    PART 3, TAROT + KABBALAH: Mark Horn “The Mystical Roots of Tarot”
    ASTROLOGY: Jennifer Freed “A Map To Your Soul”
    ENNEAGRAM: Susan Olesek “The Power of the Enneagram”

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    • 1 hr 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
641 Ratings

641 Ratings

Pathguide ,

Important podcast

I’ve never reviewed a podcast before, but I’ve also never heard one as smart, real and as important to me as this one. It’s hard for me to even understand how they get this much depth of information packaged up each week. Thank you to all who make this show. I am grateful.

sassysainty ,

Mixed Bag

Elise is a master at interviewing an assortment of interesting guests, but it is also a place where Elise promotes her LA based circle of friends. Her association with people like Lacy Phillips and Zach Bush give me pause. I love her voice and the podcast is a high quality production. While I appreciate her interest in mysticism, her recent episode with Carissa Schumacher channeling Yeshua was off-putting. It was essentially a plug for her book, which ”Yeshua” endorses as a “very special book.”

gracehock ,

Thank you, Elise!

Thank you, Elise, for having and sharing these important conversations!

Every podcast is thoughtful, full of tangible information, and insight. I always walk away with a golden nugget of information.

Also, thank you for your wonderful book and for making Yeshua’s teaching around it (and everything) available. ❤️

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