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Episode 83 Everest Cruz, MADE Transitions resident

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

Release Date: 09/16/2019

Episode 164 The Full Catastrophe show art Episode 164 The Full Catastrophe

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

Do you have a lot going on in your life? Do you feel like your schedule is overflowing with life’s ups and downs? Welcome to the full catastrophe of life! Jon Kabat-Zinn titled his first book “Full Catastrophe of Living.” He says the full catastrophe is “another way to speak of heart-fullness.” Can you be present as you feel your way into your experience from moment to moment: the heartbreaking moments, the tender, sweet moments, the frightening moments and the joyful ones? Kabat-Zinn says that “It’s the nature of the human condition to actually, encounter uncertainty, stress,...

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Episode 163 Garbage Collector show art Episode 163 Garbage Collector

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

I often bring a garbage bag with me on my Hook Mountain walks. I can’t stand to see trash on the trails, so I feel compelled to do my part to clean up the garbage along the way. I unpack some associations and metaphors that come to mind while collecting garbage. Garbage collectors were important to Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement. Garbage collectors have been critical in nationally exposing and highlighting the abuses, non-unionized, low-paying jobs and dangerous working conditions that too many people have suffered under. MLK brought the garbage collectors’ plight...

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Episode 162 The Presence of Angels show art Episode 162 The Presence of Angels

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

According to the mystics, every human being has been assigned a guardian angel, regardless of your beliefs, culture, ethnicity or geography. That’s right, a personal angel who is the gatekeeper of your soul. And then there are multiple angels who serve unique functions to heal, guide, protect and direct us. Do you allow angels to work with you and for you? Have you ever felt the presence of angels? I hosted 5 Archangels last week and palpably felt the presence of the angels before the Derek Chauvin verdict was announced.   The emotions of this verdict are complex and there is much...

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Episode 161 Hilary Carr Jones, social worker, writer show art Episode 161 Hilary Carr Jones, social worker, writer

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Hilary Carr, my beloved aunt. Hilary is a Social Worker, Writer and our family Heart-Storian! I left in a minute of pre-show dialogue where I explain this new word I made up for her. I also want to prepare you for our spotty WiFi connection - as Hil says: it’s the impact of living in the woods of Maine. Sometimes Hilary’s word are slowed down, stretched like taffy and then sped up, a tad garbled, so I did my best to edit those awkward moments, trusting that the quality of our conversation will come through. Raising 5 wonderful children, working as a Social Worker in...

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Episode 160 Patrick Heffernan, yoga teacher, actor, dancer show art Episode 160 Patrick Heffernan, yoga teacher, actor, dancer

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Patrick Heffernan. Patrick is a skilled & gifted yoga teacher, actor, dancer and impassioned human. Don’t you love it when someone you love and respect introduces you to someone they love and respect and you immediately understand why they care for each other and feel blessed to join in the love fest! Well that is what I felt when introduced Patrick Heffernan into my life. Thank you, Shawna! Celebrating your kindred spirit sibling-hood with Patrick and delighting in the integrity, heart and humor you both infuse into your exceptional yoga classes and into life. I...

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Episode 159 Robert Episode 159 Robert "Zulu" Whitaker

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Robert “Zulu” Whitaker. Zulu was released from prison in early March after serving 38 years. When my dear friend, Tarik Greene, brought Zulu with him to pick up furniture that my husband and I were donating to a new residency that MADE Transitional Services recently opened, I was so moved by Zulu’s kindness. Within a few minutes of meeting this gentle, respectful man, I invited Zulu to be a podcast guest: I wanted to provide him a forum to tell his story. And despite his nervousness, his shaking knees, Zulu began to unpack his story. I am not an investigative...

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Episode 158 Take A Break show art Episode 158 Take A Break

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

I took a break last week and didn’t post an episode. You may not have noticed, and that’s okay. I know how busy life can be, how full many of our lives are and how hard it is to keep up with all that is in front of us. What I did notice was a different energy within myself when taking a break last week. I was kinder, gentler to myself. How lovely! An old energy that I am letting go of is the judgment and rigidity that sounded something like this: “You have to post an episode every week, you need to be consistent, it’s confusing for listeners if you skip a week.” Mmmm, not sure any...

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Episode 157 Kate Holby, co-founder of Ajiri Tea show art Episode 157 Kate Holby, co-founder of Ajiri Tea

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Kate Holby. Kate, together with her sister, Sara, and the appreciated support of their parents, started a small business 12 years ago, called Ajiri Tea Company. The Swahili translation of the word “Ajiri” means ‘to employ’ and that is exactly what the Holby sisters have done. Ajiri sources tea from small-scale farms in Western Kenya and employs 60 women in the Kenyan region to hand make all the packaging, using dried bark from banana trees. Ajiri asked the tea farmers and women where the profits should go, and they all agreed they wanted profits to be invested in...

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Episode 156 Cheryl Seeley, educator, doula show art Episode 156 Cheryl Seeley, educator, doula

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Cheryl Seeley. Cheryl is an Early Childhood Educator, Director of an After-School Arts Program and a trained Doula. It’s remarkably touching to hear about the countless children and families over the past 20 years, that she has advocated for and wrapped in her loving embrace. I admired Cheryl’s courage to step out of her comfort zone and speak up about two terrifying racial assaults. She shares the context behind what pushed her to post a personal statement publicly, regarding these seemingly unrelated attacks on 2 Black men: Christian Cooper and George Floyd. Raised in...

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Episode 155 Patty Forbes, psychotherapist show art Episode 155 Patty Forbes, psychotherapist

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Patty Forbes. In addition to being an exceptional psychotherapist, Patty is a dear friend who graciously invited me into the dying process when her beloved husband, Wayne Pedzwater, was struggling with stomach cancer 16 years ago. Wayne was a gifted, respected bass player, incredibly inspiring human being, who taught all of us who knew him, so much about living life fully, and at the all too young age of 48, about dying with dignity. Patty describes what she calls “The Gift in the Black Box”, all the life lessons that accompanied her deep loss. Patty understands what it...

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My guest today is Everest Cruz. Everest is a resident at the Fletcher Boykin transitional house for formerly incarcerated men in Spring Valley, NY, run by MADE Transitional Services. Everest has been in and out of prison since he was 13 years old, so since I met him in July, now at the age of 29 years old, Everest has experienced his longest stretch of being out of prison: over 60 days! He grew up in San Diego, CA with his older sister and single mom. His father was not in the picture; in fact, Everest has never met his father. It was unbearable for Everest to watch his mom work so hard yet consistently struggle to put food on the table. Everest provides insights into the pressure he felt to join a gang, while being lured into the false hope that the gang would provide an avenue for him to help his family. I wonder how many of us would have made the same decision given the same desperate circumstances.  

Everest keeps it real, speaking openly about his past, which he acknowledges is critical to his healing process. Everest’s driving motivation to turn his life around is his nine year old son, who lives in California. Even though he hasn’t seen his son since his son’s first birthday, Everest is sustained by their Face Time contact. He treasures these connections with his family and is determined to make his son proud. Everest is deeply grateful to the Bronx defenders who have believed in him and are helping him gain legal immigration status. I am in awe of all the unsung heroes, who work tirelessly on behalf of the most vulnerable and marginalized in our society, treating them with dignity, respect, and compassion.   

Check out the link below for MADE Transitional Services and their
October Gala. Help support their efforts in giving Everest and others a second chance to turn their lives around. Enjoy the Podcast!

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