Perennials Podcast
Episode 53: A Self-Care Visualization Inspired by Queer Eye

Episode 53: A Self-Care Visualization Inspired by Queer Eye

September 11, 2020

Episode 53: A Self-Care Visualization Inspired by Queer Eye invites you into a guided meditation to cultivate a little more acceptance, gentleness and love for your body (but if "love" is too big a word right now, let's just go for kindness!). And, it's fun! 

In the first half of the episode, I give some background and context about my own resistance to visualizations and why I used to get angry when therapists tried to make me do them. I share how I came to enjoy them and find them helpful, and why you might too.

In the second half, we'll get grounded with our breath, and then, with our imaginations, we'll welcome a visit from Jonathan Van Ness--or anyone you would like to welcome into your space who is eager to reflect back to you your innate beauty, strengths and gifts. Someone who can help you consider how you've been treating your body, self-care and basic grooming/hygiene lately, and give you some ideas for treating yourself kindly and giving your body some small act of care today. 

If you're not familiar with Queer Eye, you can still do the visualization! Just replace Jonathan with a person (whether you know them in real life or not) who represents acceptance, celebration and care. If you're having trouble thinking of someone - think of me! 

I'll be creating four more QE-inspired visualizations, one for each of the Fab Five, but I won't be posting all of them in the podcast feed. I know this is a bit different from the typical Perennials conversations and not what every listener is looking for. I will send each of the visualizations to my email subscribers, so feel free to sign up at the form on this site or by emailing me at to let me know if you'd like to receive the other visualizations.

Take care, everyone! 

Episode 52: What Was Missing with Khay Muhammad

Episode 52: What Was Missing with Khay Muhammad

August 27, 2020

Recently, Khay Muhammad called me up to ask if we could do a follow-up to our conversation for Episode 45: Belonging in Yoga. Khay explained to me that something important was missing from that episode, and she wanted to make it right. This episode is for Khay to explain what (or rather, who) was missing--and why. 

It's a conversation about patriarchy, white supremacy, and trauma; a discussion of how these forces affect us on personal and collective levels, in our lifetimes and inherited from generations before us. Khay generously models what it looks like to notice and meet those forces within and around us, and then take the next step to break the chain and create a new way of being. She does it with courage, humility, strength, integrity and compassion. May we listen with humility, sorrow and hope, and put Khay's modeling to good use in our own lives. 

Episode 51: How You Matter with Maya Sanyal, Part 2

Episode 51: How You Matter with Maya Sanyal, Part 2

August 14, 2020

Maya Sanyal and I continue our conversation about purpose by getting a little deeper and more philosophical. Maya talks about how she responds to questions that many of us ask ourselves at some point in our lives when we are faced with trying for something: “Who cares?” “Why does it matter?” and “Who do I think I am?”

Maya believes it is possible to be deeply grateful and content while also ambitious. She believes in the power of presence and creating spaciousness in our lives. Maya has worked to notice, question and dismantle her own thinking traps and hurtful thought patterns, and she offers hope that we can, too. 

Episode 50: How You Matter with Maya Sanyal, Part 1

Episode 50: How You Matter with Maya Sanyal, Part 1

August 13, 2020

Maya Sanyal is many things: a career and academic counselor; a mentor and teacher; a writer; a friend; a loving dog mom; a passion skeptic; a purveyor of hope; a business woman. 

In Part 1 of our conversation, Maya and I talk about her career trajectory, which includes navigating the communal culture she comes from and the individualistic culture of the U.S.; earning a PhD in English literature and a Masters in Counseling; and years of teaching and advising students in the university classroom, Writing Center and Career Center. Maya's newest incarnation is being an entrepreneur with AlkaDevika Project Solutions.

Maya shares her thoughts on our cultural obsessions with passion, excitement and quick fixes, rather than knowledge, values and patience. We talk about our shared aversion to learning about money and finances, and why it's important to have that knowledge in order to then decide how to use it. 

Maya also opens up about her history with depression, and why she now sees it as a gift. 

Maya has too much wisdom to squeeze into just one episodes. Come back here tomorrow for Part 2! 

Episode 49: Wild Invocations with Ysabel Gonzalez, Part 2

Episode 49: Wild Invocations with Ysabel Gonzalez, Part 2

July 31, 2020

Ysabel Gonzalez and I continue our conversation about the poems in her collection Wild Invocations, which traces her journey from girlhood to womanhood. With fire and tenderness, these poems explore relationships and identity, expectations and disappointments, vulnerability and strength. 

Ysabel shares how poems help her express different parts of herself and get in touch with "characters" within her that need release. We discuss why it sometimes feels easier to write about tumultuous relationships with unavailable people rather than healthy, loving relationships.

Ysabel expresses her desire to write not just from heartache, but also from peace and joy. And, she talks about the nuance she's finding in her relationship to her family's homeland of Puerto Rico. 

Episode 48: Wild Invocations with Ysabel Gonzalez, Part 1

Episode 48: Wild Invocations with Ysabel Gonzalez, Part 1

July 30, 2020

Ysabel Gonzalez's full-length collection of poetry, Wild Invocations (published by Get Fresh Books in 2019), is a juicy, earthy, sparkly, raw, raucous, contemplative gem.

I'm lucky to call Ysabel my friend as well as my colleague at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, where she is Assistant Director of the Poetry Program.

In Part 1, Ysabel and I talk about the seeds of Wild Invocations, some of the challenges that ultimately helped her learn how to use her voice, and how she grapples with writing and speaking about difficult topics like grief, mental illness and white fragility. Ysabel shares her poem “How to Unlearn Being a Princess,” and we begin talking about the transition from girlhood to womanhood.

If you want to hear us continue that conversation, and talk about relationships, embodiment, and celebrating love, return here tomorrow for Part 2 of our conversation.

You can find Ysabel online at

Episode 47: Building a Life with Florence Hamer

Episode 47: Building a Life with Florence Hamer

July 15, 2020

Today's episode features a truly delightful guest: Florence Hamer, a woodworker who lives in her self-built tiny house, and spends her time carving spoons, turning bowls, enjoying nature and baking cakes.

In our conversation, Flo describes the path that led her to her beautiful tiny home, from growing up on her mother's woodland, to learning to carve spoons at university, to living in a van in Australia for six months.

We talked about Flo's relationship to living against the grain; how she adventures amidst and despite worry; the romance vs. reality of tiny-house living; and treading lightly on the earth.

Episode 46: Creativity in Quarantine with Marina Carreira

Episode 46: Creativity in Quarantine with Marina Carreira

July 2, 2020
Multimedia artist (and previous Perennials guest!) Marina Carreira is here to talk about creativity during covid-19. We discuss who gets to claim the title "creative," the importance of carving out creative time and rest time, and the practice of finding beauty in the mundane. Marina reminds us that if all we have energy for right now is survival, that's okay. And, creativity might show up in surprising ways. 
We also speak about the opportunity for self-reflection during stay at home orders, especially reflecting on racial injustices and the importance of locating white supremacy within ourselves.
We talked about how, ultimately, it takes a creative mind to imagine new ways of being for ourselves and for the world.
Episode 45: Belonging in Yoga with Khay Muhammad

Episode 45: Belonging in Yoga with Khay Muhammad

May 25, 2020

Khay Muhammad is a yoga teacher who deeply understands the importance of creating true inclusion and belonging in her classes -- for her students and for herself.

Khay and I talk about her childhood growing up in the city of Newark, New Jersey, spending long days with her father in Branch Brook Park and learning about her connection to nature. She also shares about her experiences taking yoga classes for the first time in Brooklyn during her early post-grad years, and why her first yoga class "sucked." Khay describes feelings of loneliness and being "othered" as a Black woman in many white-dominant spaces.

Khay also explains how she's found more freedom to bring her full self to her classes teaching virtually from her home. She speaks about how large societal and community issues, like violence against Black people in our country, are intimately connected to, not separate from, our yoga spaces and practices. 

You can learn more about Khay and today's episode on the Shownotes page.

Episode 44: Bonnets at Dawn with Lauren Burke and Hannah K Chapman

Episode 44: Bonnets at Dawn with Lauren Burke and Hannah K Chapman

May 1, 2020
Today's guests Lauren Burke and Hannah K Chapman are hosts of the podcast Bonnets at Dawn, which explores the lives, work and fandom of women writers from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Lauren and Hannah share some of the wisdom they've taken from the books and authors that they devote so much time to--authors like Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell and Louisa May Alcott.

You'll hear about how Lauren is drawn to the Brontës' treatment of women's rage, what Jane Austen taught Hannah about "never trusting false bitches," and why writing for money didn't make these women mercenaries. 
Learn more about today's guests and episode by visiting the Shownotes page. 

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