Perennials Podcast


August 16, 2019

Episode 23: Spirals of Healing with Lauren Roberts


Lauren is a coach and teacher who loves connecting women with their power to create change. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Lauren draws on more than a decade of experience working with political leaders and social entrepreneurs to help her collaborators transform their lives, their communities, and the world. As a yoga teacher and trauma survivor, she shares practices that she’s learned along the way for staying resilient, no matter what. Outside of coaching and teaching, Lauren collaborates with other system-shakers like CTZNWELL, where she’s been the community manager since 2017, and the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault. She also founded INDY YOGA VOTES, a campaign to bridge her local yoga community with political action, and has worked in spaces like the United States Senate, Planned Parenthood, Haven Yoga Studio, VoteRunLead, Conscious Transitions, Practice Indie Yoga, Growing Places Indy, and the Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library. You can find Lauren on Instagram @laurenkayroberts

Topics covered:

  • Lauren’s family culture around alcohol and her experience of drinking in college to soothe social anxiety 
  • How Lauren started using marijuana to self-medicate, distract from pain and turn off the hyper-critical voice in her head
  • Lauren’s experience of childhood sex abuse, and the ways in which childhood sex abuse is often very coercive and leads to feelings of fault or complicity 
  • Lauren’s relationship to marijuana and how it waxed and waned over the decade of her twenties
  • Lauren’s struggle with anxiety, depression, OCD, intrusive thoughts and thoughts of self-harm
  • Realizing that you don’t have to hit rock bottom or check all of the boxes of addiction to decide to stop using a substance
  • Emphasizing the question of “How is this/has this affected me?” rather than needing to have concrete labels, definitions, and “answers” to questions around substance use and sexual trauma
  • The way that alcohol is marketed to women, and particularly to mothers, as a way to get through life
  • Our relationships to our bodies and our bodies’ role in healing
  • How yoga has helped Lauren to heal and also to connect to other people and their healing
  • The proliferation of activities and socialization that revolves around alcohol, the fear of sobriety leading to isolation and disconnection, and how 12-step meetings and recovery groups can help
  • Some tips for getting through events where lots of drinking is happening, and seeking out alternative activities 
  • Acknowledging the loss that comes with choosing sobriety, along with all of the gain
  • Learning to embrace freedom rather than be afraid of it 
  • How getting out of ourselves, connecting to and being of service to others can ease anxiety
  • How individual and collective healing are connected
  • Everyone’s healing matters, and those who have the privilege to access help and resources have a responsibility to pay it forward
  • Learning to take what works for us and leave what doesn’t based on our own wisdom

References made in this episode:


Episode 22: Wisdom from The Lord of the Rings, Part One


Topics covered and references made in this episode:

  • The White Mountains of New Hampshire
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), Volume One of The Lord of the Rings
  • A quick refresher on The Lord of the Rings
  • Wisdom Takeaway #1: Accept help, welcome miracles and remember that we are all connected
  • Dominant U.S. culture of individuality and thinking we have to do things on our own; remembering that we can’t do everything alone; that we need each other, that there are helpers all around, and that we are all connected 
  • “Elizabeth Gilbert’s Life-Changing Story from Indonesia (That You Haven’t Heard)”, published in Conde Nast Traveler
  • “ do not stand alone. You will learn that your trouble is but part of the trouble of all the western world….You have come here and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, must now find counsel for the peril of the world.” -- spoken by Elrond in The Fellowship of the Ring
  • “ is not our part here to take thought only for a season, or for a few lives of Men, or for a passing age of the world. We should seek a final end of this menace, even if we do not hope to make one.” Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Richard Rohr’s daily e-mails from the Center for Action and Contemplation
  • Sister Simone Campbell and the Nuns on the Bus
  • “The civil rights movement came out of community, but the legal expression focused on individuals’ capacity to exercise their freedoms….I have begun to wonder if the new task of the first half of the twenty-first century should be a commitment to civil obligations as a balance to the focus on civil rights. Civil obligations call each of us to participate out of a concern and commitment for the whole. Civil obligations call us to vote, to inform ourselves about the issues of the day, to engage in serious conversation about our nation’s future and learn to listen to various perspectives. To live our civil obligations means that everyone needs to be involved and that there needs to be room for everyone to exercise this involvement. This is the other side of civil rights. We all need our civil rights so that we can all exercise our civil obligations.” --Sister Simone Campbell, from the Center for Action and Contemplation’s daily e-mail on July 4, 2019
  • “...such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.” Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring
  • “...only a small part is played in great deeds by any hero.” Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring 
  • Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown
  • Wisdom Takeaway #2: Some things are more important than being comfortable.
  • Wisdom Takeaway #3: Feast and rest when you can.
  • Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth
  • Intuitive eating
  • Wisdom Takeaway #4: Do what you love, even if it seems like it doesn’t matter.
  • Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum
  • “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” - C.S. Lewis 

Episode 21: Dog's Best Friend with Catherine Gilmartin


Topics covered:

  • Why Catherine loves dogs so much, and sometimes finds it easier to love dogs than people
  • The steps Catherine took to start pursuing her goal of training service dogs
  • How animals reflect back to us our own internal states
  • The importance of being confident when working with dogs
  • What Catherine has learned about escalating vs. de-escalating difficult situations
  • The biggest mistakes most people make with their dogs
  • Catherine’s experience of college, and how she never quite felt that she knew what she was doing there
  • What Catherine thinks about the pressure to go to a four-year college, and the advice she would give to her 18-year-old self
  • Learning to do what’s right for ourselves rather than constantly try to meet outside expectations
  • “You don’t have to be a good girl to be a good person” -- from City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • How it feels now for Catherine to be doing what she loves
  • The importance of cultivating joy in our everyday lives
  • Learning about what it means to try to find community or build community


Episode 20: Saheli Women with Madhu Vaishnav


You can learn more about Madhu Vaishnav and her work by visiting the Institute for Philanthropy and Humanitarian Development website and Instagram.


  • Why sons are more valued in Indian culture than daughters
  • Madhu’s experience with arranged marriage, and the long, difficult process that she endured of being rejected by many would-be husbands because of her darker skin
  • Madhu’s initial commitment to being a housewife--and how she ended up breaking that commitment
  • How Madhu came to learn English and begin working as a teacher, then social worker
  • What Madhu learned from her work with women sex workers
  • How Madhu created her own grassroots non-profit community development organization
  • Bringing a needs-and-strengths approach to looking at communities (and ourselves)
  • The challenges that Madhu faced when she began working in the village of Bhikamkor
  • The Saheli Women project
  • Madhu’s take on the attitude that students, interns and volunteers need to have to be positively impactful when they go to work in developing countries
  • The damage that comes from labelling and judging
  • The challenges that prevent girls in rural villages from attending school and how IPHD is removing obstacles for them
  • Madhu's views on spirituality and God

Episode 19: Young Motherhood with Amanda Greatorex



  • How Amanda & I are different
  • Birth order and sibling dynamics
  • How Amanda met her husband when they were 13 & 14 years old
  • Amanda’s college experience as a Jazz Vocal major at the University of North Texas
  • Making big life decisions at a young age
  • Balancing being a musician and being a mother, and holding the tension of those major life goals
  • Some of the early lessons Amanda has learned from motherhood, like the importance of asking for help and prioritizing self-care
  • The loneliness of raising little kids
  • Keeping the longview in mind and not getting stuck thinking any state is “forever”
  • Learning to parent ourselves
  • Bringing playfulness and humor to parenting to save sanity
  • Amanda’s experience of postpartum depression/anxiety: how she knew something wasn’t right, and what she’s been doing to feel better
  • Finding a good therapist who isn’t an alarmist and can make you feel seen, cared about, understood and not crazy
  • Taking the first difficult steps of creating a self-care routine, and being mindful of how small actions become habits that affect our mental health
  • Entering a new era of motherhood once kids go to school


Resources for supporting mothers:


Episode 18: Music & Creativity with Andy Feldman


  • Andy’s early childhood interest in the piano, and his relationship to talent, discipline and free expression within music
  • Creative problem-solving in math, science and music
  • How to get a song (or a poem) started
  • The process of writing music and the vulnerability of sharing it
  • Andy’s band, Secret Sound
  • Asbury Park Porchfest
  • How Andy’s fear of letting people down motivated him to take a risk and perform solo for the first time
  • Naming instrumental pieces
  • How a resting point on a scenic road in Scotland inspired Andy’s song “Rest and Be Thankful”
  • The role of improvisation and imperfection in the creative process
  • “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” - Paul Valery
  • Learning when to stop tweaking and editing
  • Sonder House, a digital label that focuses on ambient, modern classical & folk music
  • Andy’s song “Stay With Me”
  • The magic element in creativity that isn’t predictable or controllable
  • How other people’s voices inspire us to create
  • Hiss Golden Messenger
  • Putting way more stock in negative feedback then in positive feedback
  • The difference between sharing a piece with a live audience v. recording or publishing a piece of work
  • “She’s So High” by Tal Bachman
  • “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” by Hall & Oates
  • Holding the tension of creating purely for the sake and enjoyment of it vs. creating pieces that fit in a certain genre for a specific audience and purpose
  • How Andy has balanced a full-time engineering job while still pursuing music
  • Quincy Mumford
  • Learning to say no
  • Learning about our own strengths and weaknesses
  • Comedian Pete Holmes
  • Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert


Episode 17: Anxiety Strikes Back


  • Episode 1: The Wisdom of Anxiety with Sheryl Paul
  • How anxiety robs me of solitude and company
  • Health anxiety and my Lenten resolution to stop Googling health symptoms
  • Being honest with the closest people around me about how I’m really feeling and doing
  • Using body movement to help ease anxiety
  • Reading novels for catharsis and a sense of common humanity: most recently, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Frederik Backman and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • Feeling myself on the brink of greater self-acceptance, self trust and inner independence
  • The Robcast Episodes: Kristen Bell on Anxiety - Part 1 and Part 2
  • Having good moments and hard moments; good days and hard days, and learning to cut myself a break
  • “Pain is not a punishment. Pleasure is not a reward. These are just ordinary occurrences. Kindness. Kindness. Kindness.” --quoted by Pema Chodron


Episode 16: Lucky You with Erika Carter


You can find out more about Erika and Lucky You on her website.

Topics covered and references made in this episode:




Episode 15: Broken Things Can Shine with Ona Gritz


The title of this episode, "Broken Things Can Shine," comes from Ona's poem "Geode" (published in the full-length collection of poems Geode, published by Main Street Rag in 2014)

Topics covered and references made in this episode:


Episode 14: Your Personal Mise en Place with Paul Finn


You can find Paul on Instagram @pf_finn

Click here for a printable version of Paul's Personal Mise En Place chart.

Topics covered and references made in this episode include:




Episode 13: Mentorship & Empowerment with Andrew Binger


Topics covered and references made in this episode include:

  • The path Andrew took from an English major with minors in Theater and Spanish to teaching history at a small all-boys school
  • The mentors who helped shaped Andrew’s life in middle school and high school when he transitioned from public school to private school
  • “The worst thing that anyone can tell you is no--and that’s not so bad.”
  • Why mentors need mentors
  • Andrew’s relationship to one of his most important mentors, Rodney Gilbert
  • The importance of being truly seen and truly seeing other people
  • Yendor Theater Company


Episode 12: Growing Up Gilmore with Melissa Adamo


You can find Melissa on Twitter @mel_adamo

Topics covered and references made in this episode include:


Episode 11: Living in the Light Today with Heather Tynan


You can find Heather and her work by visiting her blog, Living in the Light - Today!, Facebook page and Instagram account.

Topics covered and references made in this episode include:

  • How doing things in a less “convenient” way can actually make life simpler
  • Being patient and at peace with understanding that the journey to more natural living takes time
  • Getting to know our own bodies and what is healthy for each of us
  • The interplay of science, holistic medicine and faith
  • How Heather reconciles her Catholic faith with New Age elements of Naturopathic medicine
  • Saint Hildegard (German mystic)
  • Bastyr University 
  • Heather's habits and ritual that help her cultivate health, happiness, harmony and hope
  • Problems around access to health and wellness tools and resources for those who are poor and marginalized
  • Good Witch show on the Hallmark Channel 
  • The 6 Principles of Naturopathic medicine
  • The importance of preventative methods and living a healthy lifestyle 
  • The Naturopathic Therapeutic Order
  • Thomas Merton (Trappist monk) 
  • Thoughts on the mystery of suffering
  • What prayer is & how to pray
  • Heather's holiday online shop, Homemade by Heather May, where Perennials listeners can receive a special discount! 


Episode 10: Self-Care, Community-Care with Dr. Kesha Moore


You can find Dr. Moore and her work on her Purpose, Passion & Power Facebook group, on her website, by taking part in her masterclass to help women build profitable, purpose-driven businesses, or scheduling a free breakthrough coaching session.

Topics covered and references made in this episode include:

  • Kesha’s interdisciplinary life, and how she studied psychology, sociology and anthropology in an effort to help create communities of wellness in which individuals can reach their full potential
  • How “building communities of love and justice” became Kesha’s mantra
  • Kesha’s work in community development and organizing
  • Why activists get burnt out, and how they can do the work without burning out
  • Kesha’s work with women who are the main social justice workers and primary caregivers
  • “If you want to educate a nation, educate a woman.” –African proverb
  • Kesha’s approaches of systems analysis and love
  • “Justice is love in action.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
  • How understanding the systems that we are born into can help us to heal and take action and responsibility
  • Being recovering perfectionists 
  • The Five Invitations by Frank Ostaseski
  • Finding the parts of ourselves that can’t be taken away rather than clinging to the belief that we have to do things to prove we are enough
  • The freedom of believing in our innate human dignity and deservingness
  • Practices for cultivating self-acceptance
  • Your life purpose is not about a job, title or role
  • Defining rituals and why they are important
  • Emile Durkheim
  • Living in a culture that focuses on doing rather than being
  • Wisdom is available to us at any age, at any moment
  • Struggling with the questions of “Who am I? What am I here to do?”
  • What it means to live out your purpose (hint: it’s not about picking the “right” career)
  • How Kesha helps women create purposeful, profit-driven businesses, and her belief that making money and doing good are not mutually exclusive
  • The importance of writing down plans if we want to turn our dreams into reality
  • Making goals that are not only SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, relevant and time-bound) but also personalized and present-tense
  • Why it’s important to write goals and re-evaluate them


Episode 9: Learning Inside & Out with Ben Delloiacono


Topics covered and references made in this episode include:

  • NJSTEP: The New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prison Consortium
  • How the adjunct system led Ben to start teaching classes in prison
  • The importance of being authentic
  • Ben’s circuitous route to teaching, from a B.A. in English, to a job at a tech company, to bartending and eventually back to English 
  • Skills that students learn by studying English
  • How Ben builds trust with students
  • Why working with incarcerated students makes Ben a better teacher
  • Anger & forgiveness
  • The Dalai Llama
  • Pema Chodron (I'm just going to mention her every other episode, if that's cool...)


Episode 8: Dreams in Drive with Rana Campbell


Visit to learn more about Rana, check out the Dreams in Drive podcast, and follow Rana on Facebook, on Twitter @Rainshineluv and Instagram @rainshineluv

Topics covered and references made in this episode include:


Episode 7: Roaming the Globe with Olivia Arnold


Topics covered and references made in this episode include:

  • How both negative and positive experiences with high school teachers affected Olivia
  • Olivia’s first job as a breaking news nighttime reporter at The Boston Globe
  • How reporting on crime can impact the reporter
  • What it was like being a 19-year-old young woman on crime scenes and in a newsroom
  • The stress of serving as editor-in-chief of her campus newspaper, The Huntington News
  • Olivia’s trip to Greece to gain experience in an international press corps and cover the refugee crisis
  • Olivia’s experience of visiting one of the most over-crowded refugee camps on the island of Chios and the ethical questions she raised with her school group about their role there
  • The ways in which empathy is often frowned upon in the world of journalism
  • Mindsight by Daniel Siegel
  • Olivia’s month spent in Zambia, and how it taught her to think about her race and concepts like “voluntourism” and white saviorism
  • A weakness-based approach to volunteering in a developing country vs. a strengths-based approach
  • Olivia’s advice for those considering service trips abroad
  • Institute for Philanthropy and Humanitarian Development: the grassroots community development non-profit that Olivia worked at in India for four months during her senior year of college
  • What it was like living with a host family in Jodhpur and forming connections with people without sharing a language
  • Olivia’s thoughts on the role of patriarchy and gender norms in India, and how complex and varied these norms are based on region, a woman’s religion, caste level, etc.
  • How Olivia moved from ideas about what sort of career she “should” pursue to her dream of being a teacher


Episode 6: Intentional Living with Hilarie Bninski


Topics covered and references made in this episode include:

  • Irish poet John O’Donohue
  • CCD: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
  • Georgetown University and the Jesuits
  • The Jesuit Volunteer Corps
  • JVC Northwest
  • AmeriCorps
  • What it means to live in intentional community
  • The Center for Social Justice at Georgetown
  • A “helper” mentality v. a collaborative, community-based mentality
  • The core values of JVC Northwest: spirituality, simple living, social justice, community and ecological justice
  • Hilarie’s jobs at a crisis nursery and a domestic violence shelter
  • The intersection of spirituality and service
  • Struggling with religion, spirituality and the church
  • Practicing spirituality in community while living in a JVC house
  • Finding the sacred in the everyday
  • Balancing hope and realism when working in difficult situations
  • Hilarie’s experience hiking the Camino de Santiago, a network of pilgrimage trails leading to the shrine of St. James in Spain
  • Trying new things and interrogating the narratives we tell ourselves about ourselves
  • Jesuit Father James Martin
  • Values and practices that Hilarie has carried from her experiences with the JVC and the Camino
  • The Ignatian notion of discernment
  • Hilarie’s definition of spirituality
  • Thich Nhat Hahn


Episode 5: Save the Bathwater with Marina Carreira


Find Marina on Instagram @savethebathwater and on Twitter @maketheunknown and pick up a copy of her book of poems Save the Bathwater (Get Fresh Books, 2018).

Topics covered and references made in this episode include:

  • Vulnerability around emotions and what it’s like to publish honest work about family
  • Anger as a catalyst for writing, writing as a catalyst for forgiveness
  • Saudade: a Portuguese word for melancholy and nostalgia
  • The immigrant experience of existing in two places at once
  • The contrasting landscapes of urban Newark and rural Portugal--and what those different landscapes brought out in Marina
  • The different experiences for girls growing up in America vs. girls growing up in Portugal
  • Exploring Portuguese history, literature and culture to recover a deeper, richer sense of Portuguese heritage
  • Fado singer Amália Rodrigues
  • Paula Rego, visual artist
  • José Luís Peixoto, writer
  • Poet and translator Hugo dos Santos
  • Grappling with and (re)claiming layered identities
  • Finding and reclaiming the divine feminine
  • Taking a different lens to the Virgin Mary and the question: what does it mean to be a good woman?
  • Joining and helping to cultivate artistic communities and conversation
  • The Brick City Collective, a multicultural multimedia group of Newark-native writers/artists working for social change through literature and art
  • Engaging civically and in community to promote peace and justice
  • Victor Alcindor, author of Stand Mute (Get Fresh Books LLC)

In this episode, Marina reads her poems “First Generation,” “Our Lady of Something,” and “These Days,” all published in Save the Bathwater.


Episode 4: L'Chaim with Lisa Rappaport


To learn more about Lisa and her work, visit her blog My Jewish Path.

Topics covered and references made in this episode:

  • The Psychology vs. Sociology debate, and how Judaism ties both together
  • Tikkun Olam: Hebrew for “world repair”
  • Memorizing the Tao Te Ching
  • Conceptions of God as Ein Sof: “without end”
  • Buddhist teacher and nun Pema Chodron
  • Franciscan priest, speaker and author Richard Rohr
  • Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Jewish meditation and prayer practices
  • Ignatian Spirituality and St. Ignatius of Loyola’s conception of desire as a force that leads us to discover who we are and what we are called to do in the world
  • The Hebrew words “chai” and “shalom”
  • “What she liked was simply life.” --from Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 


Episode 3: Becoming Shelf Aware with Tabrizia Jones


To learn more about Tabrizia and her work, visit her blog "cup of tea with that book, please"

Topics covered and references made in this episode:

  • Books as security blankets
  • Our mutual love for Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen
  • How the economic collapse of 2008 contributed to Tabrizia’s decision to become a librarian
  • A day in the life of a New York Public Library librarian
  • Balancing administration and creativity at work
  • Why libraries are absolutely still vital to our society
  • The age group that uses libraries at the highest rates (hint: rhymes with “perennials”)
  • Why books are a luxury and libraries > Amazon
  • How libraries can help us discern truth in an era of “fake news”
  • Agatha Christie and textual analysis of her work that suggests she had Alzheimer’s
  • PBS’s Great American Read
  • Tabrizia’s take on what it means to be “well-read”
  • How reading can help us slow down, be present and take a break from screens
  • Literary travels through the U.K.
  • What modern girls and women can learn about from Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
  • “What’s comin’ will come, an we’ll meet it when it does.” --Hagrid, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • The importance of re-reading books, and books that stand the test of time
  • What Emma Woodhouse and Donald Trump have in common??
  • Diversity in books
  • Considering the historical context of books from previous eras that no longer meet our moral standards


Episode Two: Being Well with Marisa Sweeney


To learn more about Marisa and her work, visit the Be Well website, check out New Jersey Vegfest and listen to the Vegan Booster Club Podcast.

Topics covered and references made in this episode:

  • Tips for finding credible information about nutrition online
  • Consulting Harvard Health for reliable information
  • Defining the different facets of wellness
  • How perfectionism, guilt and “all or nothing” thinking show up in our approach to wellness and diet 
  • Learning to accept balance without guilt
  • Strategies for encouraging healthy eating
  • “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” --Michael Pollan
  • Affordable and free holistic healthcare for those without means to pay for healthcare
  • North Jersey Health Collaborative
  • Zufall Health Center--Morristown NJ


Episode One: The Wisdom of Anxiety with Sheryl Paul


To learn more about Sheryl and her work, visit her website, watch her YouTube videos and follow her blog, which features new posts every Sunday.

Topics covered and references made in this episode:

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