Who Do You Think You Are? (Sense of Self)
Do you know who you are, or just who others think you are? How getting to know yourself better can make you more resilient to all of life’s challenges.
Meet a Zen Buddhist scholar who turned to meditation when his sense of self was threatened by disease, a yogi whose practice has brought her deeper into a connection with herself, and a man with cystic fibrosis who says illness doesn’t need to define who you are.
Explored in this episode
- The value of knowing your own body
- How a meditation practice can help you connect with your own body
- Using laughter as a tool for taking away the power of disease
- How focusing on the lighter side of life can help you overcome challenges
- Serious illness as a source of isolation, and of connection
- Cultivating a relationship with your body through the practice of yoga
- The idea of “drishti” as our worldview
Voices in the conversation
Poet, Author, Translator, founder of Salt Spring Zen Circle
At some point or another, everyone is going to be given a diagnosis they don’t want. But by the time it happens, there’s nothing you can do about that thing itself. The only thing you can do is take care of your mind.
Peter Levitt was born in New York City in 1946. His ten poetry books include Within Within, One Hundred Butterflies and Bright Root, Dark Root. In total he has 17 publications to his name, including Fingerpainting on the Moon: Writing and Creativity as a Path to Freedom.
He has published fiction and literary translations from Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. Legendary poet, Robert Creeley, wrote that Peter Levitt’s poetry “sounds the honor of our common dance,” and, in 1989 Peter received the prestigious Lannan Foundation Award in Poetry.
In collaboration with Kazuaki Tanahashi, he co-translated A Flock of Fools: Ancient Buddhist Tales of Wisdom and Laughter and most recently, The Complete Cold Mountain: Poems of the Legendary Hermit Hanshan. This is the most complete translation of the 315 extant poems from this most beloved Tang Dynasty (700-900 CE) hermit poet.
A longtime student of Zen, he edited Thich Nhat Hanh’s classic, The Heart of Understanding, and he served as Associate Editor of The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye – Zen Master Dogen’s Shobo Genzo, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi (Shambhala Publications, 2010). He is the founding and guiding teacher of the Salt Spring Zen Circle: the zen community on Salt Spring Island, BC, where he also lives with his family.
In this conversation, Peter reminds us that we can think beyond the typical self-centred definition of the word ‘self’, and consider ourselves in relation to the larger world.
Jeremie Saunders, Taylor MacGillivary, Brian Stever: co-hosts of the Sickboy podcast
Your illness doesn’t have to define you, but it sure can if you want it to.
Sickboy Podcast is hilarious, ridiculously insightful and absolutely determined to break down the stigma associated with illness and disease! The show started with three best friends who recognized that when faced with difficult situations, illnesses and diseases, people tighten up, they get awkward, and they simply don't know what to say. Taking the lead from Jeremie's lifelong battle with Cystic Fibrosis, the boys help people understand that sometimes the best way to deal with illness, disease and life is simply to laugh.
The Sick Boy Podcast offers a demonstration of vulnerability to the world. They present the unvarnished, complex truth about how a serious illness affects your relationship with your own identity, and they do it with humour and humility. They acknowledge that illness can be both a source of isolation, and of connection, with so much of the difference depending on your outlook.
Yoga teacher, podcast producer and business owner
From that place of the divine or sacred in ourselves, we can then have that inform how we see the world, and how we see other people.
Farah Moolji Nazarali is the Founder and Producer of Drishti Point Yoga Podcasts and The Smiling Yogi, a small Vancouver-based business dedicated to spreading joy, health and wellness.
After a bachelor’s degree in Political Science (McGill 1995) and a graduate degree in Latin American Studies (George Washington 2000), and after more than 15 years of teaching and spiritual study, Farah has realized the power for change in the world lies within each individual and has found the practice of yoga to be transformative in clearing the mind, cultivating present-moment awareness, and generating harmony and happiness in mind, body, and heart.
Farah is a proponent of Yoga Nidra -- a form of deeply relaxing yoga that puts your brain into a state similar to hypnosis -- where both your conscious and your subconscious mind are relaxed. And from within this state -- it is possible to do some very interesting work on yourself.
Managing Editor at Saje Natural Wellness, Meghann Shantz brings her personal story of healing and a love of storytelling to Well Now – a podcast born out of a desire to help us all discover the hidden side of health and how to achieve wellness. She draws from her experiences navigating western and alternative medicine to heal her anxiety and physical injury to connect with guests about their own stories of overcoming physical and emotional challenges.
Naturally curious and on a quest for meaning, Meghann holds space for the raw expression and authentic stories of her podcast guests, believing that our world would be better if we chose to honour other people’s journeys and processes without judgement – and believing in the power of telling your story.