Cutting-edge, pioneering conversations on holistic women's health, including sex, birth, motherhood, womanhood, intimacy and trauma with doula, certified Sexological Bodyworker, Somatic Experiencing practitioner, and author of Call of the Wild and the Fourth Trimester, Kimberly Ann Johnson.
Death Doulas and Green Burials with Bodhi Be
In this episode, Kimberly and Bodhi discuss his work as a death doula at Doorway Into Light, Hawaii’s only nonprofit green funeral home and educational resource center, The Death Store. They discuss what green burials and ocean burials are and how they are more generous and sustainable to the planet than modern burial practices. They also discuss how dominant culture fears death, responds to death, and death traditions across cultures. In light of all of the ways that people, and even babies, die, Bodhi asks us to deeply reflect on the question, “What is a full life?” P.S. His nonprofit is still taking donations for those displaced by the Maui fires; find the link below to donate!
Bodhi is an ordained interfaith minister and teacher in the Sufi lineage of Sufi Sam and Hazrat Inayat Khan. He is the founder and executive director of Doorway Into Light, a nonprofit organization on Maui, which provides conscious and compassionate care for the dying, their families and the grieving, and has been offering community presentations and trainings since 2006 in the fields of awakened living and dying and the care of the dying. Bodhi is a bereavement counselor and educator; a hospice volunteer; a home funeral guide; a teacher and trainer of death doulas; a speaker and workshop leader and a ceremonial guide. He hosts a weekly streaming radio show, ‘Death Tracks’, on a Maui station. Bodhi guides memorials and funerals and leads grief rituals. He facilitates grief support groups for teenagers. He has trained hundreds of doctors, nurses, hospice staff, social workers, ministers, chaplains, therapists, artists and lay people in the spiritual, psychological, emotional and logistical care of the dying and the care of the dead, and for 4 years has taken dozens through a certification program to be death doulas. Bodhi has written a column called “Ask the Death Professor” for a local Maui magazine. He is a notary public, a coffin maker and a Reiki practitioner. Bodhi and his wife Leilah lead spiritual retreats in Hawaii and around the world.For many years Bodhi collaborated with Ram Dass, a neighbor and friend, who served on Doorway Into Light’s Board of Directors. Bodhi is continuing the work Ram Dass helped birth, in the fields of conscious dying in America.
What He Shares:
–Death doula work
–Green burials and ocean burials
–Running a nonprofit funeral home and resource center
–What you do (literally) when someone dies
–Legalities of keeping a body with you
–Generational stories of death
What You’ll Hear:
–How he was led to death work and spiritual counseling
–Working with Ram Das
–Starting the death doula movement and a ministry of death
–Running a non-profit funeral home
–Culture pushing away death
–Hazards of embalming
–Death and burial as another practice removed from traditions
–Cultural differences around death and burial
–Ocean body burial
–Being with bodies after death
–Generational stories after death
–Lingering with the body to witness death
–Healthy life includes its death
–Mothers of stillborns fighting for baby body
–Giving families time and space with death beyond laws
–Medical rules around bodies and placentas
–Navigating baby and child death
–What is a full life?
–Entitlement around death
–Death doula trainings
–Facing Death, Nourishing Life course
–Showing up for life and death
Informed Pregnancy and Evidence Based Birth and Bodywork with Dr. Elliot Berlin
In this episode, Kimberly and Dr. Elliot Berlin discuss his informed pregnancy focused chiropractic work. He explains noticing a rise in out of hospital births post-pandemic as well as an increase in hospital restrictions and inductions in hospital births. He discusses various causes of breech positions, his chiropractic approaches to breech babies before birth, as well as the long history of cesareans and how VBACs became stigmatized in recent decades. The common thread through this whole conversation is providing education and information for pregnant people to make the best informed decisions for themselves and their birth.
Dr. Elliot Berlin is an award-winning pregnancy-focused chiropractor, childbirth educator, and labor doula. His innovative techniques for prenatal wellness care address tight and painful muscles and tendons utilizing specific massage techniques based on soft tissue releases. He combines this with traditional chiropractic adjustments to restore motion to restricted joints. Dr. Berlin notably works with several hundred breech babies each year, most of whom turn into the ideal pre-birth position once normal function is restored to the mother's low back and pelvis. He is also the host of Informed Pregnancy Podcast, an award winning pregnancy focused chiropractor.
What He Shares:
–Differences in births post-pandemic
–Chiropractic approaches to breech babies
–History of cesareans
–Mind-Body health for fertility
What You’ll Hear:
–Rise in out of hospital births
–Increase in restrictions and interventions in hospitals
–Guiding clients in making best choices for birth
–Training for breech births
–Using Webster technique to reposition breech babies
–Structural reasons for breech positionings
–Functional issues of mother posture
–Looking at baby position at 32 weeks
–Chiropractic care outside of pregnancy
–Approaches to releases and maintenance
–History of cesareans
–Myths around VBACs
–How VBAC information is portrayed
–Insurance policies and cesareans
–Induction drugs causing uterine ruptures in 1980s
–VBAC Facts website
–Using modern technology to improve childbirth
–Downsides to how interventions are applied
–What led Dr. Berlin to his work
–Mind-body practices leading to natural fertility after years of treatments
–Informed Pregnancy podcast
–Informedpregnancy.tv streaming app
EP 200: "Birth Control" - Maternal Agency, Education, and Systems of Perinatal Care with Allison Yarrow
In this conversation, journalist Allison Yarrow and Kimberly discuss Allison's new book “Birth Control: The Insidious Power of Men Over Motherhood.” They go in depth about the culture and systems of perinatal birth care. They explore Allison’s extensive research around the differences between home birth care and hospital birth care, and go into depth about their personal experiences with each scenario. They wonder how future generations will approach their birth, as well as the deep impact of race on varying birth experience. With all of the information out there, they ask how do you prepare for birth?
Allisoni Yarrow is a journalist for nearly two decades (in newsrooms like NBC News, Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and Vice), a national magazine finalist, the author of 90s Bitch (finalist for the Los Angeles Press Club Book Award), and she has written about the shortcomings of the perinatal experience in America for the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, Vox, Harper's Bazaar, and Insider. Her new book Birth Control: The Insidious Power of Men Over Motherhood, which is out July 18 and arose out of my TED Talk. With the recent news that maternal mortality has risen 40 percent to the highest level in our lifetime, this subject couldn't be more important. The book draws on extensive reporting, interviews, an original survey of 1300 birthing people and mothers, and my own personal experiences, to document how women are controlled, traumatized, injured, and even killed, because of traditionalist practices of medical professionals and hospitals during pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and after.
What You’ll Hear
How birth procedures and techniques were not developed by science by traditions?
The overriding of midwives knowledge by doctors.
How has birth become such a profitable medical field?
Why C-sections are so prominent despite their limited need?
How does home birth care differ from hospital care?
What kind of mother culture do we need around birth trauma?
The pressure to educate onesellf in the perinatal experience.
What role does agency play in the birth experience?
What needs to change about the system of birth?
How will future generations experience birth care?
Our bodies perceive surgery as interruption.
The importance of sex education to the birth experience.
The racial dimensions of birth culture.
EP 199: Activate Your Inner Jaguar - Feminine Sexuality and Spirituality
In this episode, podcast producer Jackson Kroopf interviews Kimberly about her upcoming course "Activate Your Inner Jaguar - Feminine Sexuality and Spirituality" that begins October 17th. Kimberly describes the nine year evolution of the course, tracing its foundations and considering the ways her ongoing somatic and spiritual work continues to serve different generations of women from maiden to crone. She opens up about her own experiences that have informed her evolving relationship to the intersection of sexuality and spirituality. She also describes what the experience of taking the class entails, particularly around issues of privacy, shame, and the concrete practices she offers class participants. You will hear about some of the class' guest lecturers including pelvic priestess and author of "Women's Anatomy of Arousal," Sheri Winston, and sex educator and writer of "Taking Back the Speculum" Pamela Samuelson. As the carrier of many womens' stories, Kimberly describes the way combining personal stories and somatic tools can address many things women are most curious about related to sex and self-actualizing an erotic practice for each participant.
You can learn more or sign up for the nine-week intensive course here: https://kimberlyannjohnson.com/alive/
Take Back the Magic with Perdita Finn
In this episode, Kimberly and Perdita discuss Perdita’s latest book “Take Back the Magic,” which was inspired by the death of her father, their ambivalent relationship, and ongoing relationship to him now that he's passed. Perdita shares her experience of communicating with the dead for over thirty years and guides us in how we can do the same. They also discuss the history behind why we fear the dead and the suppression of communicating with the dead by organized religion. She shares how the dead are connected and long for the erotic and how we can return to the inner wisdom and rituals of ancestors that pre-date religion and political systems. She describes the crucial role of the this communication with dead to her key relationships with the living: as a mother, wife, and community member.
Perdita Finn is the co-founder, with her husband Clark Strand, of the non-denominational international fellowship The Way of the Rose, which inspired their book "The Way of the Rose: The Radical Path of the Divine Feminine Hidden in the Rosary." For many years she supported her family writing books for children and educators like the "Time Flyers" series for Scholastic Books, "My Little Pony," and many others. She has been a ghostwriter, a book doctor, a copy editor and a writing teacher, but these days she is happy to be working primarily on her own books. She has a lively substack, "Take Back the Magic," where readers can get sneak peeks into what she's working on right now. Finn now teaches popular workshops on Collaborating with the Other Side, in which participants are empowered to activate the magic in their own lives with the help of their ancestors. She is the author of "Take Back the Magic: Conversations with the Unseen World" and lives with her family in the moss-filled shadows of the Catskill Mountains.
What She Shares:
–Writing “Take Back the Magic”
–Why we fear the dead
–Cycles of life, death, and rebirth
–How to commune with the dead
–Eros and the dead
What You’ll Hear:
–Darkness and dark matter as origin of life
–Circles of entanglement and belonging
–Use of letters in “Take Back the Magic”
–Relationship with father and his death
–Cultural fears of the dead
–Long history of suppression of speaking with dead
–Understanding how dead communicate
–Alchemizing experiences with past monsters
–Finding safety of ancestors
–Starting small with communication
–Assigning worries to those on the other side
–Honoring the dead
–Perdita and husband’s spiritual backgrounds
–Spiritual experiences through birth
–Spiritual community outside of empire
–History of rosary
–Erotic nature of the dead
–Experiencing eternal return of dead and living
–Trusting the long story of your soul
–Everything dies and everything is reborn
–Not every prayer is answered in every lifetime
–What is the prayer we would carry with us beyond this lifetime?
–We are all each others’ mothers
Erotic Seasons - Connect to Your Sensual Flow Through the Stages of Womanhood
In this episode, podcast producer Jackson Kroopf interviews Kimberly about her upcoming free class "Erotic Seasons: Connect to Your Sensual Flow Through the Stages of Womanhood," which begins October 10th at 9:00am PST. We discuss Kimberly's inspiration for the class, and her evolving thoughts on the archetypes of the mother, maiden, virgin, crone. The class explores what it means to develop a mature sensual identity. Go on a journey through the seasons of womanhood and how those might impact your erotic energy (hint: it’s not all downhill). Shine a warm salt lamp light, not strobe lights, on some tender places that could use attention and give you clues about your unique erotic path. Discover your next proximal step to bridging the gap between your sensuality and spirituality. You can sign up for the free class at: https://kimberlyannjohnson.com/erotic-seasons/
Kimberly is an amazing interviewer and I love hearing her thoughts on a myriad of issues. She’s extremely knowledgable in areas of womanhood, trauma, and health. She isn’t afraid to have a controversial opinion and I appreciate that! I’ve learned so much from her and she’s changed my life for the better. Thank you Kimberly for making this podcast and all the work you do.
Love love love
I have listened to every episode, some of them more than once! I have received something from each one of them. I love the dialogue and exploration. I am inspired by Kimberly’s genuine curiosity and ability to question and co create with her guests.
Episode 188 is interesting…and then she talks about her daughter near the end. It changed the whole way I viewed the podcast and I won’t continue. She gaslights her teenage daughter on the podcast, sharing things without her daughter’s expressed consent. The content does not add to the episode in anyway, and does not feel necessary. If nothing else, it feels like whining about young people. She seems to demonize psychologists, then she walks her statement back a little, but not much. It’s truly odd. Combine that with other little moments in the show that struck me as narrowminded or dogmatic. She goes on to talk about elders, while I think that’s a really important conversation to be had she has it in the most unhinged way. I won’t be listening to any more episodes. The host was rambling and a poor interviewer. On the other hand, the guest, Sophie Strand, was articulate and clear.