DiscoverPulling The Thread with Elise Loehnen
Pulling The Thread with Elise Loehnen
Claim Ownership

Pulling The Thread with Elise Loehnen

Author: Elise Loehnen and Cadence13

Subscribed: 587Played: 11,261


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?

109 Episodes
“But it's also okay not to get it right. You know, people mistakenly think that they want perfection, say you're playing golf and you wish you could get a hole in one every time you swung the golf club. Well, no. There'd be no game there. You know, that if you want to do something where you're always winning, play tic tac toe against a five year old, four year old. So on some level we know we don't want that. And the problem is that much of school teaches us these absolute answers. We're graded. Most tests are designed to find out what you don't know rather than what you do know, which I think is a big mistake. So, we end up with a world where we think there are winners and losers.” If you’ve heard about a fascinating study that explores the power of the mind over the body, most likely it emerged out of the lab of Harvard Professor Ellen Langer—in fact, in 1981, Langer became the first woman ever to be tenured in psychology at Harvard. There, she studies the illusion of control, decision-making, aging, and mindfulness theory. She’s responsible for the Counterclockwise study, published in 2009, where aging men recovered their youth, and Alia Crum’s famous study on chambermaids and their understanding of their own health and wellness, got its start with Langer as well. She has a fascinating mind, in part because she is always, always willing to question our underlying assumptions about where we have control and where we don’t. Now here’s an important caveat: Ellen Langer is the mother of modern mindfulness—but she is not talking about meditation. No disrespect to meditators, but Langer is focused instead on attention and the power of thought on the physical body, not so much on controlling or emptying the mind. She is a force, and I was so honored to invite her onto Pulling the Thread. Let’s get to our conversation. MORE FROM ELLEN LANGER: The Mindful Body: Thinking Our Way to Chronic Health Mindfulness Counter Clockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity The Power of Mindful Learning Ellen Langer’s Website Follow Ellen on Instagram To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“I think a lot of us embody this, what I call the paradox of the courageous coward, right? Like, we're capable of doing these things that are bonkers. Like they take a tremendous amount of courage or maybe experience, you could call it, but we'll call it courage, speaking in front of a panel, going live on television, you know, with me, swimming with sharks, going into the eyes of hurricanes, going to war many times, marooning myself in weird places. And yet we have this other side that is so fragile, so gossamer thin and on our level to tolerate anxiety that, you know, it can break and then snap at any moment.” So says Matt Gutman, ABC Chief National Correspondent and the author of No Time to Panic: How I Curbed My Anxiety and Conquered a Lifetime of Panic Attacks. Matt is a new friend, and I’ve loved getting to know him and his deeply feeling heart, as well as the way he so perfectly captures this idea of being a “courageous coward.” He’s not afraid to step into a war zone, and yet he’s felt incapacitated by anxiety—taken out at the knees by panic—which makes him the perfect encapsulation of the binary of modern masculinity. Quite simply, the world is too much for any of us to confidently swashbuckle our way through. I commend Matt for saying it. He wrote this book because he suffered a panic attack on air during a heightened moment of news—one of those moments where all of our eyes were turned toward our TVs—and he ended up being put on a temporary leave. It was in that moment that he recognized he needed help and healing, as this panic attack—though public—was not a solitary event. It was happening to him all the time. In No Time to Panic he explains how hard he went to work at healing, at uncovering what was at the heart of his anxiety, which is at the center of our conversation today. MORE FROM MATT GUTMAN: No Time to Panic: How I Curbed My Anxiety and Conquered a Lifetime of Panic Attacks Matt Gutman’s Stories at ABC Follow Matt on Instagram To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“It’s, you know, all but hardwired to resist failure, to not want to be blamed. You know, it's an instinct that's very, very powerful because we don't want to be rejected. We don't want to be thought less well of, which is why, you know, the things that I write about and let's face it, organizations that are truly world class, whether it's a scientific laboratory or, you know, an innovation department, or you know, a perfectly running assembly line, they are not natural places, right? They're not just left to their own devices, humans will create places like that. No, they're really hard work, good design, good leadership, kind of daily willingness to kind of stretch and grow independently and together. And the short way to put that is it takes effort to create a learning environment. It really does, but it can be done.” So says Amy Edmonson, the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School. Early in her career, she worked as the Chief Engineer for architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller, which started her on the road to reimagining how we’re all impacted by the world around us. She then became the Director of Research at Pecos River Learning Centers, where she designed change programs in large companies. Now she’s an academic, where she focuses on how teams function and evolve, along with the essential dynamics of collaboration required in environments that are informed by uncertainty and ambiguity. What sort of environments are those? Almost all work environments. A significant point of her research and focus is the necessity of psychological safety in teamwork and innovation—effectively, how do you create an environment where people feel like they can fail in the right direction, where they’re learning and taking risks toward evolution and growth even when they might not get it right the first few—or few hundred—times? This is the focus of her latest book, Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well.  MORE FROM AMY EDMONSON: Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“I’m really hopeful that we're evolving past our very hyper individualistic understanding of like, my health, wealth and happiness is the great goal. And that we're trying to fold in a more collective, and I hope, generous sense that like our lives will require love. Our lives will require courage and interdependence, you know, and it's probably going to never fall along any of our demographic, political, religious, sociocultural dreams that advertising companies have for us, but instead it's gonna require a very collective sense of what can we become?” It is not without a dose of irony that professor Kate Bowler—a prolific historian and author about the Prosperity Gospel—was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at the age of 35. After all, her work had revolved around parsing a spiritual point-of-view that if you were a good person, a good Christian, good things would invariably happen…like wealth and health. From her diagnosis, she wrote a bestselling book: Everything Happens for a Reason—and Other Lies I’ve Loved and added an entirely new dimension to her scholarship at Duke. She’s now in remission and the host of the Everything Happens podcast, and has written several more bestsellers, including books of devotionals like The Lives We Actually Have and Good Enough. In today’s conversation, we covered a lot of ground—the inherent goodness of people, when we rise to the occasion, and whether evil as an absolute exists. Okay, let’s get to our conversation. MORE FROM KATE BOWLER: The Everything Happens Podcast The Lives We Actually Have No Cure for Being Human Everything Happens for a Reason—and Other Lies I’ve Loved Good Enough Kate Bowler’s Website Follow Kate on Instagram To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“Sometimes it feels like empathy, sympathy, sorrow, grief are scarce resources, because we certainly treat them like that. And if someone is feeling too much for you, they are not feeling enough for me. If somebody is comforting this person at the funeral because they are weeping the loudest, not because they were closest to this person, but because funerals bring up all kinds of feelings about ourselves, our relationships to other people. I was unhinged at a funeral for my mom's friend's husband. I was supposed to be on my second date with Aaron. This man died of brain cancer and I was choking, crying, imagining my own dad dying, not knowing that this same disease is growing in the man I'm about to go on a second date with. Not knowing that in four years I will be at my dad's funeral. And then we're always checking up on each other. Just this is a human thing, right? To check up on each other, to see how other people are doing it, to take your eyes off your own paper to see how you are doing and what kind of attention you're getting or all these things, all these comparisons, they all come down to like, does mine count? Yeah. Does mine count? The thing is they all count and they're all completely different.”  So says Nora McInerny, one of the brightest lights in my life, and a guide to many, many others, thanks to her hit podcast, “Terrible, Thanks for Asking.” Nora is quick to point out one of the deep and painful ironies in her life, which is that she wouldn’t be our guide if she hadn’t really been through it—and lost so much. In the span of a few months, Nora miscarried, her father died from cancer, and her first husband, Aaron, died from glioblastoma when he was 35. Alone with their baby, Nora began the journey back to life, using this new, deeply unwanted reality, as the ground from which to plow a path for the rest of us—a path that’s often sad, sometimes hilarious, and always wise. In the early days of her loss, she founded a Facebook group called “The Hot Young Widows Club” and started a podcast called “Terrible, Thanks for Asking” as a meeting ground for other travelers who also found themselves improbably devastated and lost. She also gave an incredible TED Talk: “We don’t ‘move on’ from grief. We move forward with it.” In the intervening years, she remarried, birthed another child, and written a roster of hilarious and moving books—It’s Okay to Laugh: (Crying is Okay, Too), No Happy Endings, Bad Vibes Only, and more. She also started a company called Feelings & Co., where she attends to all of our messy emotions: Besides the main podcast, she now produces a short, daily show—”It’s Going To Be Okay,” and “The Terrible Reading Club.” Shameless plug, but she featured On Our Best Behavior and interviewed me on her show. Nora is one of my favorite conversation partners because she’s not afraid to go there—and make jokes while doing it. Okay, let’s get to our conversation. MORE FROM NORA MCINERNY Terrible, Thanks for Asking It’s Going To Be Okay The Terrible Reading Club Bad Vibes Only No Happy Endings It’s Okay to Laugh: (Crying is Okay, Too) Feelings & Co. Nora’s Website Follow Nora on Instagram and TikTok Nora’s Substack Nora’s TED Talk To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“It's okay to not be perfect. I don't wanna be judging myself for my imperfections. I actually wanna be accepting myself for my imperfections. And that was really liberating actually. You know, I think so many women, we grow up thinking we are supposed to be perfect. And we internalize, you know, excelling at everything and being good at everything curating our appearance and, you know, being the perfect mom and doing everything right and doing everything right and doing everything right. And just the realization that I was like so over that and feeling like it was actually getting in the way of me having a more authentic understanding of who I was. That’s when I think a corner really started to be turned.” So Says Florence Williams, the author of The Nature Fix and Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, which is a beautiful exploration of the end of her marriage—and its impact on her health and her soul. Florence met her husband in college and had never lived alone—much less alone as a middle-aged woman. Their divorce and her resulting heartbreak turned her upside-down, and filled her with an incapacitating amount of anxiety and fear. The resulting memoir offers a map as she returns to herself. Ever the science writer, this isn’t just a treatise on her feelings of rejection and loss—this is also a thoroughly researched guide to the implications of heartbreak on our hearts, full of learnings for all of us.  MORE FROM FLORENCE WILLIAMS: Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative Florence’s Website Follow Florence on Instagram To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“Energy doesn't dissipate. You know it moves, but it doesn't die. And the big bang that happened 15.7 billion years ago, all that energy is still here. We are it like we are a version of it. We are an instance of that near Infinite Force and every atom that existed then exists now. And some of those are us. Like we are riding this cosmic wave. We're like surfers on a cosmic wave, billions of years in the making. And so my atoms were at the Big Bang.They're also in the future, right? Their time doesn't, in this kind of math, you can almost take time out of it. It's just being, we just, we are, we are. And so if we can tap into maybe just symbolically, but maybe actually, I don't know, but certainly the value symbolically is enough for me to take the leap to say, The things we want to do, the things we aspire to, we are, we can, we have, and there's something really powerful in that. To me, that's not like spiritual bypassing, like, oh, just manifesting one, but it's just like a deeper level of truth. We can interact with trees in ways that we're just starting to.” My guest today is Baratunde Thurston, a true multi-hyphenate whose journey has taken him from stand-up comedy stages to the heart of political and social activism. He's the author of the critically acclaimed, New York Times Best Seller How to Be Black; an Emmy-nominated host and executive producer of the PBS television series America Outdoors; and the creator and host of the podcast How to Citizen.  His mission? Tell a better story of us—challenging the status quo and fostering meaningful conversations about the intersections of race, technology, democracy, and climate. The stories we have inherited are too small for us, he tells us, urging us to nurture stories that are bigger, bolder, and better. Our conversation today touches on the concept of citizening—as a verb—as Baratunde suggests that we are capable of more than we have been asked to do and gives us the steps to better citizen. We discuss the great potential and great concerns surrounding AI and the fine line between enhancement and disconnection through mechanization. We can heal people, landscapes, even society as a whole, he tells us—but technology alone will not get us there—we must tap into something that we have known but chosen to forget—how to live.  EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: How to citizen… On AI… Undoing the harm we have done… MORE FROM BARATUNDE THURSTON: Read How to Be Black Baratunde’s writings at Puck Listen to his TED Talk: How to Deconstruct Racism, One Headline at a Time Explore Baratunde’s Website Listen to the How to Citizen podcast on APPLE and SPOTIFY Follow him on INSTAGRAM and MASTODON To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“Acceptance is kind of a choice. We say, I accept this. That's the way they are. Surrender feels different. It feels like, we're not just distancing ourself from something, but we're expanding around the thing that was giving us trouble. So it doesn't have such a stranglehold on us, in a way. And with acceptance, comes a gateway to something appreciably deeper, which is the possibility of transformation, the possibility of using the situation that we find ourself in, as if it’s a step in our growth and our further discovery of who we are.” So says the enduringly wise Buddhist teacher Frank Ostaseski, a leading figure in the contemplative care for the dying, having co-founded the acclaimed Zen Hospice Center. In 2004, he established the Metta Institute, which offers innovative training and education for compassionate end-of-life care. His book, The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully, explores the wisdom that emerges from embracing mortality, which guides our conversation today. Frank invites us to consider how we approach the small endings that occur in our everyday life—how do you say goodbye?—along with the practice of listening intently. Ultimately, though, our conversation circles what it means to surrender to circumstances we cannot control.  MORE FROM FRANK OSTASESKI: The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully Frank’s Website The Metta Institute To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“A loving being isn't domineering and a loving being is not going to judge you and certainly isn't going to test you. A loving being, a loving energy, and you can call that energy God, or again, it doesn't matter to me what people call it, when you call in forces of love, it is forces of love. What does love want? Love wants for you, what you want for yourself. Love wants to support you in ways that are in grace and patience. And so when you call it, it's coming in and saying, how can I help you? What do you need? How can I support you in the light? It's not gonna say, oh, you know what? I know you really wanted this, but too bad. But oftentimes, you know, we think that we get tested by the divine universe. No, we don't. We get tested by the shadow. Are you gonna come and agree with me again, that you're less than? Are you gonna come and agree with me again that you should be afraid? And that's when the answer has to say no. I'm actually gonna agree with the fact that I can trust in my own capability because I'm a divine being of the light. And when I tune into those energies, there's a whole force field of energy that is coming and welcoming me, and also joining me in my intention.” So says Jakki Leonardini, a highly clairvoyant energy healer. I originally met Jakki through my friend Kasey Crown, a trauma therapist—the duo host WellSoul Workshops several times a year and while I’ve never been to one, friends tell me they are actually life-changing, because the combination of Kasey and Jakki’s wisdom and expertise addresses each person, on every level. When you work with Jakki, she explains that we all have intuitive gifts, and that they’re a skill and not a gift. And yes, we may live in very material bodies, with very complex minds, but we’re all animated by energy—energy that’s highly influenced by the world. Understanding this is the first step toward keeping ourselves well. Over the years, I’ve worked with Jakki a lot on the idea of “fear” and how this animating and very human idea gets its power—she has a lot to say about this, as you’ll hear in today’s conversation. Energy healing is very nebulous and confusing, but hopefully Jakki’s framework will give a context to make it all more palpable, and easy to access in our lives. She’s even designed an app called My Soul Vibe, which uses the quality of your voice to track your energy—it’s pretty fascinating.  MORE FROM JAKKI LEONARDINI: Jakki’s Website Follow Jakki on Instagram My Soul Vibe App WellSoul Workshops To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“There's a deep need for all of us to grow up, like we are now being handed tools of the gods, right? And so we have to grow up and we have to mature. And so those levels of deep heroic altruism that in the past may be reserved for the great saints and sages of the past, this will have to be democratized. It'll have to become something that is accessible to everybody. And so to do that, we're talking about a trait development, which means it has to become permanent. And so altered states is one thing, but an altered trait is a whole other process. And in order to have altered an altered trait developmentally, in order to really grow and then stay there, which is what you and I did, like you and I, we grew when we were five years old and we grew to 10, and then we grew to like 12 and 18. We went through completely different worlds. But the truth is, most adults, we plateau and most people haven't probably grown through any other worlds for a decade, two decades, three or four decades.” So says psychologist John Churchill, co-director of Karuna Mandala and co-founder of Samadhi Integral, which is focused on consciousness, human potential, and psychedelic integration. John does both initiatives with his wife, fellow therapist Nicole. In his early life, John became a Buddhist monk at Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland—his book, Becoming Buddha, explores paradigm shifts of the dharmic wheel and serves as a gateway to integrating Buddhist theory and teachings into western psychology. In today’s conversation, we talk about the dire need for our culture to evolve and grow up, the level of consciousness at which we’re creating technological advances like artificial intelligence, and the journey to self-realization. With vast expertise and experience, he invites us to explore our individual development and existence within the larger organism of our universe. This is a heady episode, as John has a fascinating brain—fair warning that you might need to listen more than once. And I highly recommend reading Ken Wilber if the topics we discuss stoke your mind—I’d start with A Brief History of Everything. John has studied and worked with Ken for decades. MORE FROM JOHN CHURCHILL: Becoming Buddha: Buddhist Contemplative Psychology in a Western Context Samadhi Integral Karuna Mandala To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
"So trauma can get stuck in our tissues.You know, our emotions can actually be stuck in our tissues because in a way, our fascia is actually holding and remembering everything that we experience in our lives, because it's this living matrix. And so maybe people don't realize it and it might be in the subconscious mind, but when you're laying on the table and you drop into parasympathetic state of the nervous system and your, your subconscious mind is more available and your body is more available to actually be present and to let things come to the surface, it's incredible what people will let go of, and they didn't even realize it was there, and then all of a sudden the pain is released or they can start having an orgasm. Or they are just laughing and giggling. I mean, just like energy or like they're undulating. Or they're vibrating or they're, you know, like something like, just energy coming up and releasing. It's such a beautiful thing." So says Lauren Roxburgh, who has been working with fascia long before fascia even became a word we know. A life-long athlete, Lauren knew from a young age that she had a different type of intelligence—less verbal, more kinesthetic. She can feel things with her hands and sense how and where a body is out of alignment—it’s quite stunning to behold. Lauren applies her genius to the fascia, the web of tissue—or matrix, as she calls it—that wraps around our muscles and organs. She believes that the fascia is the energetic web of our bodies, the sense organ that connects our intuition to how we move. She argues that it holds movement patterns and emotional patterns, that our trauma can get stuck or blocked in these tissues. After working with Lauren for a decade, I think she might just be right. MORE FROM LAUREN ROXBURGH: Website: Lauren's Studio: Instagram: To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“So circling can be very personal, meaning you have your own awareness. It's not like, you know, you come to a circle and everybody sees you and they know everything about you and now you're outed. No, it's, you can have an experience where you see yourself in everybody in the circle. You have an inner awakening that leads you down a spiritual path of getting to know yourself in a way that you had no idea. I see it happen all the time where a woman will say, I've never shared this before. I don't know why I'm sharing, but it was something that so and so said, and I feel like I need to share it. And that share will be part of the whole circle that will then be a ripple effect that will then inspire somebody else to share. And then you have this whole circle of women having these epiphanies about themselves for themselves. Nobody's forcing them to do anything, but it's simply just from women sharing their stories.” So says Dre Bendewald, the founder of the Art of Circling. Dre is a dear friend—and powerful to behold, particularly when she’s in action, holding space for other women. She holds circles, where women—strangers and friends alike—gather to tell the truth about their lives. To be witnessed. To be heard. Admittedly, I was nervous before I joined my first circle, but Dre builds a safe and grounded container in which to alchemize your emotions, and bring your stories out of the shadows in a type of communal confessional. What’s most profound is when you hear your story—something you thought had only ever happened to you—come out of another’s woman’s mouth. Ultimately, Dre is also a teacher intent on spreading this sacred and ages-old activity across the globe: Women have always gathered to share wisdom and story—it’s only recently that we’ve been torn apart. In our conversation today, she explains how to do it, whether you choose to circle with your own friends, or join her. Meanwhile, I’m thrilled to announce that she’s holding circles for On Our Best Behavior, which anyone can join: You can go to her website, to learn more.  To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“And I am not thankful for how hard it was. I don't believe we have to suffer to be great people. I do believe great empathy and depth and love come from all these hard parts. Yes. But I don't think that their requirement for empathy, so when it comes to the narrative of the adage of, I'm so thankful for this painful thing, it's a great way for us to survive these painful things. But I resist the urge to be thankful for how hard things were sometimes, because what I think of is, man, if I'm this, despite all of that, who would I be had all of that not happened. Had I had proper guidance and education and a parent who nurtured my interests, what kind of instrument would I be playing right now? How many languages would I be speaking right now? What companies would I be running right now? You know, because when I tap into certain things in the world and my curiosities when I'm living, I think, God, I'm good at this a little bit. Wow. I wonder what I would be capable of, you know? So that makes me begrudge the hard things. It doesn't make me thankful for them. It makes me go, God, what if?” While Minka Kelly is most known for playing Lyla Garrity, the All American cheerleader on the hit, Emmy award winning TV show Friday Night Lights, that’s definitely not the most remarkable thing about her. And this role, where Minka played a spoiled, beautiful and rich cheerleader is almost diametrically opposed to Minka’s actual childhood, grounded in trauma and neglect. Minka’s mother was a stripper who struggled with addiction, and Minka couch-surfed her way through her life, unmoored and often untended. At one point, they even lived in a storage unit. Minka tells this story in her New York Times bestselling memoir, Tell Me Everything, which manages something rare: It is both an honest and unflinching revelation of a very challenging and abusive childhood and a love letter to her single mom. This is very difficult to do and a testament to Minka’s strength, resilience, and desire to heal—her willingness to hold her mother close while acknowledging everything she did not receive as a child.  MORE FROM MINKA KELLY: Tell Me Everything: A Memoir Follow Minka on Instagram To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“I think there are a number of ways that we move into action that's characterized by integrity and where, you know, healthy altruism and compassion are present. I'm very grateful that I'm an old Buddhist , you know, with years of practice behind me and the practice of cultivating intentional balance, cultivating emotional balance, really being able to self-reflect on what, what's going on in my body, what's happening in the stream of my emotions and thoughts. So, you know, all of this has been of benefit to me over the years of practice in terms of stabilizing myself and being more able to engage, less done in by the work that I do. I mean, I'm 80 years old and I feel, you know, mostly full of life, and, and, and humor and so forth. And I really attribute it to the mindset that has come out of these decades of practice.” My guest today is the brilliant Joan Halifax—a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and author of many books, including Being with Dying and Standing at the Edge. The founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Zen Center, a Buddhist Monastery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Joan has dedicated her life’s work to engaged and applied Buddhism, with a particular emphasis on end-of-life care.  Today, she shares with us wisdom gleaned from Zen traditions, mindfulness practices, and the Buddhist approach to death; drawing from her groundbreaking research on compassion and decades of experience working with the dying and their caregivers all the while. As our current reality pushes us all to the existential exploration of suffering, altruism, and meaning, Joan’s words become an exceptionally valuable source of inspiration, guiding us to the edges of our human experience in order to discover wise hope, truth, and a fuller realization of what it is to be alive.  EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: Pathological altruism… Serving with our self, not our strength… Compassion is adaptive… MORE FROM JOAN HALIFAX: Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Face of Death Explore JOAN'S WEBSITE Follow her on INSTAGRAM and TWITTER To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“Sex is not a quick fix when there's these foundational challenges that you're having, you're like, I know how to give oral sex a million different ways, but I'm not in the mood and I'm not turned on. And I know that sex is important because I love my partner and I know sex is important, but we can't quite hack how to be turned on and ready to go and ready for sex at the right time. And a lot of that is because we don't understand our arousal desire process. We don't know that if the house is a mess and there's dishes in the sink, or I have resentments with my partner, or I haven't worked out in a week, that there's all these factors of why you're not turned on. And so I think getting people to actually think about their sex life in that way and trying to think about like, what do I know to date just from my sexual history, but like, what's happening with my hormones? What's happening with my psychology? Do I have unhealed trauma? And you'd think that that would be sort of obvious, but it's really not. Like if you've been on an antidepressant for years or even just recently, Or any other blood pressure medication and now you're like not as turned on. People often don't make that connection.” Emily Morse is not only a dear friend and a stellar human, but she’s also a doctor of human sexuality, revolutionizing discussions surrounding sex and the pursuit of pleasure. She is already a best-selling author, though her just released book, Smart Sex: How to Boost Your Sex IQ and Own Your Pleasure, is the navigational guide we all need in our lives. She also leads a MasterClass on Sex and Communication and hosts the top-rated and chart-topping podcast, Sex With Emily. Through candid conversations, she challenges the inaccurate cultural programming surrounding sex and promotes the value of open conversation to foster connection. Today, we talk about how women often find themselves disconnected from sex and their bodies, often due to social conditioning and traumatic events that occur during our sexual development. Emily helps us consider ways to reconnect with ourselves in order to feel more embodied, more aligned, and more pleasure. MORE FROM EMILY MORSE: Smart Sex: How to Boost Your Sex IQ and Own Your Pleasure Sex With Emily Emily’s Website Follow Emily on Instagram To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“A million Americans a week are quitting a job. This number is almost twice as high as it's ever been in history, not laid off. Not being fired. Quitting. That’s 50 million people a year. That's a third of the workforce. And another third of the workforce is saying, Hmm, I don't wanna come in five days a week. Okay? Like, what if I give you Tuesday and Thursday or Tuesday Wednesday? I mean, only 15% of Americans in white collar office jobs are even showing up to work anymore on a Friday. So there is this big renegotiation, can I do it remotely? Can I do it from anywhere? Like not even being in the same town? All of this is a rebalancing of the balance of power between workers and workforce. And so I think that if you are in HR and you are particularly in the wellness and health and safety and you know, mental health, you were three years ago in a small basement office with no windows and no one ever talked to you. It turns out there's a lot of people outside your door now, and we are beginning to realize if you want to recruit and retain talent, you have to change the way that you talk to your workers.” Bruce Feiler is an author and speaker known for his insight and perspective on how we can better show up in the world. With seven New York Times bestsellers like Life is in the Transitions and The Secrets of Happy Families, he blends wisdom and contemporary knowledge to inspire individuals to lead more intentional and joyful lives. He is also a writer and presenter of two prime-time series on PBS, Walking the Bible and Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler. Additionally, he writes a newsletter called The Nonlinear Life. In today's conversation, we chat about his latest book, The Search: Discovering Meaningful Work in a Post-Career World, based on real-life narratives for finding fulfillment in the workplace. He tells us that those who find the most meaning and success don't climb; they dig. They go looking inside of themselves. Bruce's first hand approach to his work, living the experiences he writes about, allows him to provide practical guidance on navigating life's transitions and finding reasons for why we’re all here. MORE FROM BRUCE FEILER: The Search: Discovering Meaningful Work in a Post-Career World Life is in the Transitions The Secrets of Happy Families Bruce’s Newsletter Follow Bruce on Instagram and Twitter To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“I believe certainly, I know now, after have going through this years and years of feeling ashamed of who I am, you know, internalizing the shame, how America sees trans people, gender in general, and what I know now, is truly, this is the power. I mean, maybe many, many years as a fashion model, definitely there were days when I felt like, why did I even, just a thought of being born as trans and all that. Like, I love being a trans person right now, especially right after that Ted Talk in 2014 when I realized, oh wow, I've opened up. The world opened up to me. You know, this is just the beginning. It doesn't mean all my problems disappear, but certainly there’s a sense of freedom in that. So hopefully the freedom that, at least for me to start with, that I found within myself by speaking truth, by truly living authentically as myself, you know, it gives me power. I think people are afraid of that.” Geena Rocero is a model and advocate, known for her courageous journey of self-discovery and self-revelation: In 2014, she came out to the world as transgender on the stage at TED. Today, we discuss her debut memoir, Horse Barbie, where Geena bares her soul, relaying her journey as a pageant queen hailing from the Philippines. Courageously, she made the difficult decision to temporarily conceal her identity in order to pursue a career as a model in New York City, where not even her agent knew her truth. While she booked magazines and ad campaigns, deep within her, she recognized that embracing her authentic self was the key to unlocking her boundless potential. Geena's determination to live her truth serves as a testament to the transformative strength in self-acceptance and genuine empowerment. Besides telling her story, Geena also founded the advocacy and media production company Gender Proud. Okay, let’s get to our conversation. MORE FROM GEENA ROCERO: Horse Barbie Her TED Talk: “Why I Must Come Out” Gender Proud Follow Geena on Instagram To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“When you are quite literally told that you are not human. What option do you have? What’s the other option other than to overthrow the system that is telling you you're not human, you know? And so this is work, this is generational work. And we have had to do that generational work largely alone, because when women got the opportunity to vote, we were purposefully left out. When the civil rights movement was happening, we were the backbone of that mission. But our names don't appear in the books, in our history books. That we know how to move through systems that weren't built for us because there are so few that are. The only systems that are built for us are the ones we build together. Otherwise, we spend our entire lifetime in this country moving through systems that were not made for us, and in fact that weren't, not just not made for us, but made to squash us, made to make sure that we do not succeed and so in order to live into our own human dignity, the only option is to change the world because this is unacceptable.” So says Austin Channing Brown. Her ability to distill essential truths always sends chills down my spine. Austin is a powerful and resonant public speaker, racial justice advocate and educator, and author, whose bestselling book, I'm Still Here, has catalyzed an indelible impact on how we perceive and discuss what it means to be a Black person, let alone a Black woman, in America. She just released a Young Adult version, which is required reading for all of our children as we work to build an equitable future. Austin is also the CEO of Herself Media, a platform creating content and narratives to provide a supportive space for those who find themselves on the outskirts of traditional power. Today, Austin joins me in unveiling the facade of what it means to be good and how culture detrimentally enforces this burdening standard of goodness on women. We discuss the importance of anger and how it can be a navigational tool. By examining her own anger, Austin learned to move that energy toward creating community and literature that relentlessly fights for the future that America needs.  MORE FROM AUSTIN CHANNING BROWN: I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness I’m Still Here: Adapted for Young Readers Herself Media Austin’s Website Austin’s Newsletter Follow Austin on Instagram To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“If I remember correctly, I think you ran as fast as you could to the thing that you're more comfortable with, which is other people's research, other people's ideas, showing the connection between historical ideas and current, you know, thought leaders and the way they were operating. And so, and what I felt was that you, Elise, were missing. And I think what I really wanted you to do, and this is what I meant by like, show us your journey through these things, is I needed you and, and you got there, to filter and to sort of act as guide for the reader showing us what you were realizing as you were bringing and making these connections and synthesizing all of these other thought leaders, and, you know, expert work because that's the journey we need to be on as reader.” That voice? That's my editor Whitney Frick, and she joins me today for a very special episode of Pulling the Thread, on the eve of On Our Best Behavior's publication—coming May 23. Many of you have been with me as I've written this book, and by osmosis, you probably have some sense of the process, but it felt important to me to celebrate OOBB (as we call it), by bringing you all the way inside. I wanted to do this with the person who knows the text almost as well as I do. Writing a book is really hard—and it's also incredibly co-creative. As someone who has co-written or ghostwritten 12 books, I'm usually the co-creator, holding the structure for the authors while they revisit their lives and mine it for story. In this case, though, it was Whit who helped me, holding the potential of the book as a guiding light for the process. She took me by the hand, bringing me ever closer to myself as I worked through drafts. We both worked really hard on this book—really hard. Distilling, refining, and interrogating the material until we knew the path was so well-trod, readers would be able to easily follow the book's unfolding, and understand exactly what I was trying to say. To say that I'm pleased with how On Our Best Behavior turned out is an understatement—I'm thrilled, which is not something that's easy for me to say. I believe the book is the best I could write, and I'm so grateful to Whit for getting me there. As we explore in today's conversation, I had a very powerful battle with resistance—and am so happy I pushed through. If you haven't yet ordered your copy, On Our Best Behavior is available wherever you get your books starting May 23—in the U.S., Canada, UK, and Australia, with more countries to come. MORE FROM THIS EPISODE: On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to be Good Follow Elise on Instagram Elise’s Substack Newsletter The Dial Press To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“One thing my work has taught me is how human interaction is a comedy of errors. People are making so many errors without knowing it. I think I'm making sense to you, but I'm not. I think I'm being clear, but I'm not. I think I understand you, but I don’t. I think I heard you, but I didn’t. I think when you raise your chin, you're looking at me defiantly or someone else, arrogantly or someone else, like you know, looking down at your nose. But maybe you don't think that, you're just lifting your chin because you naturally do it. Lifting of the chin, by the way, is a skeletal feature of when our heart rates go up and we start moving towards higher arousal, we'll elongate our neck and our back and we'll lift the chin sometimes. So often it means nothing but optically, to the other person, it doesn't look so good. Just like looking at scans doesn't look so good, or, you know, looking away for too long, or staring too much. All of these things are subjective and for one person, it doesn't bother them, for another person, it drives them crazy.” Stan Tatkin is 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 in conflict—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. His latest book, In Each Other's Care, provides practical tools for couples struggling with recurring arguments. In our discussion, he explains how to identify and overcome triggers that lead to conflicts and improve communication to achieve better outcomes. Using the concept of secure functioning, Stan emphasizes the positive impact of healthier arguments. Though his solutions require effort and dedication, they have the power to benefit all aspects of your life. I should know—he has worked with me and Rob before, sessions that were honestly fascinating, for both of us.  MORE FROM STAN TATKIN: In Each Other’s Care We Do Wired for Love Wired for Dating Stan Tatkin’s Website Follow Stan on Instagram To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (2)


sorry. Your guest lost me at saying understanding your chart means realizing there's cosmic reasons and it wasn't your parents. My childhood trauma says otherwise. I can heal and forgive them for other reasons. I can see people with compassion and not judge for other reasons. and it isn't some external influence of the heavens or. God or whatever. External reasons are crutches. It's too easy for people to say it's my chart is and never do the real internal work to grow. We grow from within because of how we deal with all the inputs to our various senses (including the senses science is just beginning to understand). We don't grow if we end up in limited thinking due to astrology or religion.

Oct 12th

Jacqui du-Buisson

This episode was so impactful. Thank you once again for your vulnerability Elise. You are an expert at it 😊😘

Sep 21st
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store