Today’s guest is one of the coolest chicks I know (and you too, soon!), and a conversation that’s a LONG time coming: scholar/writer/teacher/activist Natalia Mehlman Petrzela.
Natalia is a historian of contemporary American politics and culture and is currently writing a book on American fitness culture. She is the author of Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture, and the co-host of Past Present Podcast, a show that turns hindsight into foresight by examining what’s going on in America today through a historical lens. Natalia is Associate Professor of History at The New School, a co-founder of wellness education program Healthclass 2.0and a Premiere Leader of intenSati, a fitness class that combines cardio with positive affirmations to make the ultimate uplifting workout.
In this episode we talk about talking to kids about what’s going on in our country/world in an “appropriate” way, where our quest for happiness and “following your bliss” really came from and if it’s actually serving us, making wokeness more than a gimmick, locker room talk (no, not in THAT way), feminism/activism’s place in the wellness industry, and so, SO much more.
We’re back in action, baby!! I can’t think of a better guest to kick off Season Three (which, by the way, will be 20 episodes and now run every other week instead of every three weeks) than author and host Katie Dalebout.
Katie is the host of the Let It Out Podcast and the author of Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling (Hay House 2016). Katie is a writer and podcast host focusing on self-care, self-awareness, and self-expression for the greater good. Through her speaking and writing, she aims to help people develop a positive image of their bodies by embracing their creativity and personality outside of their physicality.
In this episode, Katie and I talk about major transitions, navigating change (when you don’t have a high threshold for change – and GUESS WHAT? Neither Katie or I do!), moving across the country and what it’s taught us, why constant growth and goal-chasing isn’t always a good thing, the value in doing what doesn’t feel like yourself, and so much more (including a topic I was really excited to dive into with her: INTERSECTIONAL WELLNESS).
In Episode 39 of the WANTcast, filmmakerErin Bagwelland I discuss creative postpartum (aka what happens after you finish a project), setting goals after hitting a BIG goal, speaking up and making your voice heard in the workplace (and world), using your creativity to make a difference, making money and how that relates to feminism, and so much more. Plus, why I’ve been AWOL, and how to pick the Season Two finale of the WANTcast.
The best part of acting based on your unique Through Line instead of what you think you “should” be doing?
It gives others permission to do the same.
By leaning into your fullest potential, you create a domino effect that helps others follow suit.
Lauren Bille’s Through Line is the kind that creates a major chain reaction wherever she goes: she facilitates experiences for people to connect and reflect deeply with themselves and others, so muchso that it spurs them into action.
Lauren’s passionate about equality, social impact, building meaningful communities, and shifting cultural paradigms. She’s a master at bringing people together to activate their inner activist. With that kind of Through Line, you’re bound to make shift happen no matter what you do.
Lauren is currently a partner atThe Big Quiet, where she helps organize mass meditations (mass = literally thousands of people) in iconic locations like Central Park and Madison Square Garden, and a co-founder of Cycles +Sex, an event that gives people the kind of education, tools, and empowerment on sexual, menstrual, hormonal, and reproductive health that we wish we would have learned in health class.
She’s spent the last 15 years working on social justice causes like race, gender and class politics, education policy, immigration resources, sustainable food, climate change/its effects on third world countries, and democratizing mindfulness. If you’re part of the WANT community here in NYC, you might remember her from ourHow To Activate Your Inner Activist panel back in February, where she dropped some major wisdom on everything from owning your privilege to mindfully engaging on social media.
So many of us are looking to make a difference in our messy world right now. Lauren is proof that change starts not with the WHAT, but the WHY. We create the meaning in our own lives.
Name: Lauren Bille
How you’d know me (occupation or role): Partner at The Big Quiet , Co- Founder of CYCLES + SEX
What I love about myself (and why): Love comes naturally to me. I’m good at loving people. Also I’m really childlike in spirit.
What is your definition of “positivity?” Seeing things through a lens of gratitude, hope and trust.
When did you start to love yourself – did you have a self-love “turning point?” When I was 17 I was given some tools to deal with life that helped me to see that my probs were of my own making. Essentially I was very self centred. Having low self esteem is just as self centered as having too much pride. It’s all ego.
Once I could see that, I had the opportunity to seek humility and a life when I think about myself less and think of others and how I can be of service more. When I try to live this way- I feel good about myself. It’s a daily practice. But truly, whenever I am very upset, it has to do with me and my thinking about myself.
When I talk negatively about myself, it’s usually… I don’t want to type it or say it out loud because it’s putting it into the universe, and manifesting. All forms of I’m not good enough, which can be broken down to I’m not loveable.
When others talk negatively about themselves… I show them love and then help them think of adding to the world. Watching others talk negatively about themselves shows me how self centered it is.
It baffles me that women still… Get liposuction, fake tan, straighten or perm their hair, don’t leave the house without eye liner. It’s wild all these things we do for the approval of men. Of the systems of beauty set up by men and reaffirmed by women who conform to them. I still conform to them.
I wish that more women… Were brave and honest and bold and independent. Were truly themselves. Let their natural beauty be revealed.
The coolest thing about women is… They are the most powerful. They have the solutions to all the problems inside themselves. Together (tribes of women) they are like the ultimate eternal force of nature.
My favorite way to shift a negative into a positive: Remember that it doesn’t matter! It’s all my thinking! I create the meaning in my life.So I try to look at the big picture, stop being so self centered, pull out of the fear and ego, and be grateful.
My top female role models:Fannie Lou Hammer, Angela Davis, Alicia Keys
Men can help women crush their negative talk patterns by… LISTENING to us. Becoming aware of patriarchal systems. Making choices not to conform to society’s beauty standards. Stepping aside to raise us up.
Favorite negativity-busting activities: Being with powerful women. Creating. Serving causes I believe in. Exercise. Sleep. Meditation.
Fave self-love ritual: To do all these things: Foot bath with special essential oils, water or tea, good tunes, pause and feel grateful
Favorite feel-good food(s): Water. Smoothies.
Favorite movie(s) to watch when I’m feeling down: Rom-coms
Favorite empowering book(s): Pema Chodron,When ThingsFall Apart. Anything by Brené Brown My feel-good playlist: Frank Ocean BloodOrange NirvanaUnplugged(lol) NeutralMilk Hotel
Advice I would give my
…4 year old self: there’s nothing to be scared of …14 year-old self: same …24 year old self: same
5 Things, personal or professional, on my bucket list: • Make lots of money • Run for office • Be a part of revolutionary social change • Experience revolutionary romantic love • Build successful businesses that do good for the world
My best tip on self love: Treat yourself like you are a friend or a child who you love so much, unconditionally. Think of what they may need, what’s best for them.
When I truly love all of myself… I take good care.
Right now, I am most excited about… Working with incredible people to shift culture and make positive social impact.
My body is: Healthy and grateful.
Three words to describe me: Brave. Curious. Childlike.
Current mantra: “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” -Dylan Thomas
Learn more about how to get involved in The Big Quiet here and Cycles + Sex here.
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I live in a city where I am PUMMELED by diversity the second I walk out the door. Diversity in race, diversity in religion, diversity in gender identity, diversity in age, class, body type, occupation — you name it, New York City’s got it. Bougie brownstones next to dirty bodegas. A multi-zillionaire riding the 1 train next to someone without a penny to their name.
I have never ever ever once in my life been exposed to so much diversity in my daily life. It has made me a better person because my eyes are opened wider. It has made my voice louder and stronger because I know it’s the only one of its kind in a sea of unique songs. Diversity has made me deeply internalize that the lens through which I view the world is neither right or wrong – no one’s is – because it is merely a single lens amidst COUNTLESS different prescriptions.
But. BUT. Here is the thing about diversity. Living amongst such radical diversity has also made it abundantly clear that while we all have different backgrounds and opinions and deep-seated beliefs about the way the world is, everything boils down to one of two buckets: GOOD or NOT.
We can all have different lenses on, but there are only two choices when it comes to what we condone when it comes down to the very basics of humanity.
I have noticed that sometimes the people around me can be harsh. They can sometimes be bitter or mean or maybe have different political views than I do. But at the end of the day, they (for the most part, don’t wanna generalize a whole city) believe in the notion that no matter who you are or where you come from, you deserve equal rights and you deserve to be here. Exactly as you are. The beauty of living in NYC is that while it’s maybe the most diverse city in the entire country, and the diversity is APPARENT on every street block, we’re all in this together. The majority is GOOD.
The majority of AMERICA is GOOD. I know it. But when we don’t own our stories or speak up or simply get curious as to why our story has favored certain races, religions, genders etc for so long – when we can’t even be proactive with our CURIOSITY – the GOOD gets weaker. And the NOT gets stronger.
As Queen of All Things Brené Brown said so eloquently in her FB Live this week (seriously, go watch it HERE), we need to own our own story in order to write our own ending. If we don’t, the story owns us. The ending gets written for us.
The shame is that too many people think that owning your story means making yourself feel like an asshole. Or that owning your story means aligning yourself with things you don’t believe in. And neither of those could be farther from the truth.
We’ve been talking a lot aboutrecoveryandeatingdisorderson WANT lately, so to go with an analogy: owning that you once had an eating disorder does not mean it defines who you are. Owning the fact that an eating disorder was a part of your story does not mean it is anywhere near your entire narrative.
Owning that our country was built on white supremacy, that anti-semitism and racism and homophobia are woven deep in our fabric, does 👏not 👏mean 👏 that WE ourselves are any of those things. But to stay silent – to not even let your curiosity question GOOD vs NOT out loud – is to stay in denial of a NOT that has gone on for far too long.
Speak up. It matters. Oh my god does it matter. I’m not saying you have to be posting all the time on social media. But words have immense power. We learn from each other. Just like bonding over negativity, if we make silence our MO, others will follow suit. However, if we start thoughtful conversations or make at the very least offhand comments boosting the GOOD and admonishing the NOT, others will start to follow. Your words let others know where you stand and how you think we should write the rest of our story.
And if you are struggling right now at speaking your mind – if you are feeling like you’re maybe at risk of losing your community or someone you love because they’re afraid of what owning their story might mean and will disown you if you’re the one who brings it into the light, because I do recognize that that is a VERY REAL THING for some people – I urge you to at the very least weave curiosity into your conversations.
It can go something like this: “It’s funny: we were raised to believe that XYZ” or “We learned 123 in our textbooks or in Bible study”…”But my current, more enlightened self WONDERS: _______?”
Create your own script. Wonder deeply and with intention. But do it out loud.
Wondering out loud opens doors that blame or shame cannot, and can lead to taking ownership of your past and therefore creating a new future.
One day back in early January, I saw a post from today’s guest that said something unnerving: that every single woman she’d worked on (she’s a bodyworker) since November had experienced some sort of trauma related to the election.
…Obviously I knew I needed to have her on the WANTcast.
This got me thinking about not only the political climate, but trauma in general. How we deal with it, how it lives in the body, and maybe the very most mind-boggling, how many times we don’t even know it’s there.
Trauma isn’t always a car accident or violence. Trauma can take on many forms.
So how does that impact us on a daily basis?
And do we even realize it?
In this season of the WANTcast, I am determined to be a little bit bolder and expose you to different stories, ideas, techniques, tricks, methods, and practices that are helping others move forward fearlessly in their lives and can maybe do the same for you – or at the very least, which is not something to take lightly, get you thinking outside the box.
Some of them might be sort of familiar. Some of them might blow your mind. Some might be toeing the line of what is “acceptable” to talk about and what isn’t.
Today’s episode with bodyworker Pamela Samuelson details ALL of the above. From how trauma lives in the body to what YOU can do to let go of negative energy to the taboo form of therapy that even I was a little nervous to talk about when Pam brought it up to me….we really go there.