On Top of Mount Sodom (Ep. 146 - The Dead Poets Society)

This Week's Guest: Jay Michaelson

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We're coming up on a new year -- what are you going to change in 2018? My guest this week is Jay Michaelson, who several years ago found himself unhappy, unfulfilled, and disconnected from meaningful relationships, both with other people and with a higher power. So he decided to stop waiting for the life he wanted, and to start pursuing it -- through spiritual journeys in the Middle East and pagan dances in the woods.

This Week's Recommendation: Here Comes a Thought from Steven Universe

Big thanks to Jay for joining me. As we head into 2018, it's a good time for some mindful reflection about how our choices make us feel and what our feelings make us choose. And that means listening to yourself -- really listening, not just spending time with your inner monologue but asking yourself what you mean by the things you think. That's not always easy to do, but my recommendation this week is basically a 3-minute lesson: the song "Here Comes a Thought" from the show Steven Universe.

I won't spoil anything about the show, and you don't need to know anything about it to follow the song. You can find the video on YouTube, in which two character sing about being plagued by negative thoughts and how they can accept those thoughts, experience them, and then let them go. In the video, the thoughts that alarm them are represented by a swarm of butterflies that overwhelms them. And I think that's certainly a metaphor that's familiar to anyone who dwells on memories that hurt or who feel harassed by their own inner voice.

It's not easy to get those butterflies to disperse, but that's what mindfulness -- starting with this short song -- can teach. And that's not all... though the song focuses on dealing with negative thoughts, when you really listen to yourself you'll also hear positive ones. Memories about people you love, plans for making today a good day, pride in the things you've accomplished -- those butterflies are fluttering around inside you too, just waiting to be heard.

Stuff We Talked About