The Power of Ritual

The symbolic behaviors we perform before, during, and after meaningful events are common across culture and time. Rituals are performed in an array of shapes and forms. At times performed in communal or religious settings; at times involving fixed, repeated sequences of actions, and at other times not.

We use rituals for a variety of reasons, like after experiencing losses or before public speaking, because we believe it increases our confidence and reduces our anxieties.

In the new book The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities Into Soulful Practices, author Casper Ter Kuile explores how we can nourish our souls by transforming common, everyday practices into rituals that can heal what he calls is an “increasing crisis of isolation” and help us feel more connected.

Take a listen to our conversation. If you like the podcast, please consider making a small donation to support the production efforts.







Managing Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19

Credit: Shutterstock

It’s human to feel stress, especially when our day-to-day lives don’t look or feel the same as they used to. Sometimes stress can lead us to respond in unhelpful ways, like turning to food or alcohol for comfort.

And with Covid-19, stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand. So how do we manage it all? For starters, everyone needs to look after one’s own basic needs to stay mentally healthy in a stressful time.

While the anxiety many people are feeling about Covid-19 can be magnified in those who are most vulnerable to it (adults over 60 and those with underlying conditions) we are all feeling the impact that policies like shelter-in-place are having on our psyche.

On this episode of the podcast, I speak with Licensed Professional Counselor, author, and life coach Katherine Jansen-Byrkit. Katherine received her Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington in 1992 and spend over a decade in public health managing violence prevention and teen health programs.

Katherine published her first book, River to Ocean: Living in the Flow of Wakefulness last year. It reflects the human voyage of finding your way to an awakened self. Press play on the media player to listen to the conversation.

Date night included hard shell crabs and Manhattans.

Tips for Self-Care

  1. Eat healthy foods – make sure that you have food options that don’t weigh you down or cause you to gain weight during a period of inactivity.
  2. Stay physically active – build a daily exercise routine. You don’t need a well equipped home gym. Find some routines on the internet.
  3. Get regular sleep. Keep to your regular sleep routine and avoid over sleeping or not getting enough sleep.
  4. Create a sense of structure and routine in daily life while self-quarantining.
  5. Connect socially with friends and family while maintaining physical distance. Create special moments (like date night) to break up the monotony. Or cocktails with friends via video conferencing.

For more information on Katherine and her work, visit Innergy Counseling.

Man Fast

Natasha Scripture – credit Maggie Marguerite Studio

Overcome by emotions at the loss of her father, pressures from a demanding job, and conflicted emotions over failed relationships, author and humanitarian worker Natasha Scripture embarked on a journey to answer the question at the center of her anxiety…What is my purpose? The answer is detailed in her new memoir, Man Fast.

Books, movies, and TV shows often sell the fantasy of finding “Mr Right”. That can be in direct conflict with finding yourself and discovering your purpose in life. Man Fast is a book about a personal journey to self-discovery and self-love. In a culture that prizes finding the right man, Natasha Scripture shares her personal story that demonstrates a better understanding of self and the world around us. It’s a story of her awakening…the art of paying attention…and recognizing the true source of love. And it all started with a fast from the dating game.

“I needed to design a life that was empowering and inspiring and authentic for me and not settle for a partner that didn’t feel right.”

Push play and enjoy the conversation.

Music in this episode is Lonely Satellite by Bio Unit under Creative Commons license.

Finding Happiness From Rock Bottom

David J Mauro climbs Mt Everest

Researchers find that achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort, and that much of happiness is under our personal control.  Indulging in small pleasures, getting absorbed in challenging activities, achieving goals and maintaining close social bonds can all increase life satisfaction.

But what if your life has spun out of control?  When all seems lost, can you find your way to happiness from rock bottom?  Our next guest says, “yes”.  After a failed marriage was closely followed by the death of his only brother, David Mauro, who suffered from depression, found himself at rock bottom.  That is until he decided to climb a mountain.  David is the author of The Altitude Journals: A Seven-Year Journey From the Lowest Point in My Life to the Highest Point on Earth.  He tells us how he found his way back to happiness after his journey to rock bottom took him to the top of Mt Everest.

We can all relate to having low points. Some lower than others. What separates us is how we climb our way back to normal. Back to happier times.

In this conversation, David Mauro describes how his passion for mountain climbing forced discipline and focus in his life when he lacked it most. He explains how “rock bottom” can be the ultimate “gift.” And he tells us how conquering the challenges of mountain climbing allowed him to finally deal with his problems.

It’s a great conversation and there are good lessons to be learned. I hope you’ll give it a listen.

Do you have a “rock bottom” to happiness story? Feel free to share it here if you’re comfortable doing so.

For more information on David and his adventures, visit his website here.

Music in this episode is Maree’ by Kai Engel under creative commons attribution license.

Own Your Happiness

As we explore happiness and what it means to be truly happy, we keep coming across a repetitive theme…that happiness isn’t something that happens to you.  Happiness is something that happens because of you.

Behavioral scientists have spent a lot of time studying happiness and we know that happiness can predict health and longevity.  So why wouldn’t we want more happy moments in our lives?  I think most of us do, but we can often be our own worst enemy.  We can sabotage our efforts and desires to live a happier life, often without even realizing it.

We must work at being happy and a part of that work includes removing obstacles that prevent us from experiencing joyous moments.

On this episode of Life in HD, we hear from Sheri D. Engler, author and illustrator of the book The Pearls of Wisdom: A Fairy Tale Guide to Life’s Magic Secrets for All Ages. Sheri helps us understand why we hold on to emotional clutter and how relieving yourself of it can help you lead a happier, more fulfilling life. Sheri is an experienced mentor, medium, and meta-physicist with a background in counseling and research. She received her BA in Clinical Psychology from San Francisco State University.

If we hold on to the clutter in our emotional storage space, we block our ability to think happier thoughts and conquer negative thinking. Thank you for giving this episode a listen. And please share your techniques or activities for clearing your mind with me in the comments section.

Our theme music is Pumpkin Spice by Audiobinger under creative commons attribution license.

Is It OK To Be Selfish?

From Acts 20:35 of the King James Bible we get the notion that “it’s better to give than receive.” A noble proposition for sure, but is it truly better?

Psychologist say many people don’t give enough to themselves. Studies show that those who practice self-care can reap benefits in their mental state, physical health, and relationships.

In this next series of Life in HD podcasts, we will explore the pursuit of happiness. What it is, how we define it, and why obtaining it is easier for some more than others.

In this episode, I examine how self-care can lead to happiness when you make yourself a priority. I speak with Christopher Felton, author of the book Re-Member Yourself: A Healing Journey Through Your Innerverse. In his book, Christopher attemps to provide some answers to the question: in living for others, have you forgotten to live for yourself? A Healing Journey is a self-help book and journal and it encourages us to be recipients of our own good acts. In this regard, selfishness can actually be a good thing. Push play on the audio player and take a listen.

For more information on Christopher Felton and his book, visit Remember Yourself.

Our theme song is Pumpkin Spice by Audiobinger under Creative Commons Attribution License.