Wabi Sabi: The Beauty of a Simple Life with Beth Kempton

Beth Kempton is the author of four books, including Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life, an international bestseller that has been recommended by TIME Magazine and translated into 24 languages. A dedicated student of Japanese culture, language, and life, Beth earned an undergraduate and a master’s degree in Japanese studies and has extensively traveled and lived in the country. In addition to her writing, Beth is the founder of Do What You Love, through which she inspires people to live well and do what they love.

Beth joins me today to share perspectives and ideas from Japan. She describes wabi-sabi as a mode of how we experience beauty in the world and how shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, can deliver the healing potential of nature. She highlights strategies to become a more mindful gift-giver and how to get through the holiday season to have a fantastic new year. She also shares her insights on writing and illustrates the writer’s role as a conduit for manifesting ideas into a book.

“Wabi-sabi is an intuitive response to a particular kind of beauty that reminds us of the impermanence of everything.” – Beth Kempton

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • Experiencing the dance of nature as active, conscious creators and passive witnesses
  • Beth’s background in Japanology and experience with shinrin-yoku
  • Forest bathing as a meditative practice and its potential to heal
  • Japanese aesthetics and how it has been impacted by industrialization
  • What wabi-sabi means, how it’s been misused in the West, and why Beth wrote a book on the subject
  • The dangers of social media’s conversation on image, achievement, and perfection
  • Why wabi-sabi is less about what we see and more about how we see
  • The collective yearning for beauty and a simple life
  • The heart-mind and how different decisions are made in different parts of the body
  • The tendency of writers to only write about a single topic forever and the underlying theme in Beth’s books
  • Helping people explore the values of stillness through her book, We Are In This Together
  • The relationship between mental health and the holiday season
  • The Five Stories of Christmas and how finding your Christmas Constellation can change your experience of the holiday season
  • The historical roots of holiday traditions
  • Writing what you want to know and letting your books become your mentors
  • Being unsure of whether the world needs your book and how writing a book is about clarity and confidence
  • How writing a book proposal can help you push past the inner critic
  • Podcasting as an effective platform to build authority
  • Why writers need to think of marketing their books as a service to their prospective readers

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, with your host, Brilliant Miller. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe and leave us a rating and review.

Don’t forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. And be sure to share your favorite episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to inspire others to improve their lives and reach their full potential.

The Middlescence Manifesto: Rethinking Middle Age with Barbara Waxman

Barbara Waxman is a Life Stage Expert, coach, and author of The Middlescence Manifesto: Igniting the Passion of Midlife. As a Gerontologist-coach, Barbara founded the Odyssey Group Coaching, where she offers her unique coaching model, Entrepreneurship Turned Inward, to help people in their midlife develop professionally and personally. Barbara is a next-level thinker on a mission to advocate for a thriving midlife and to shift cultural norms around aging.

Barbara joins me today to share her ideas about “middlescence” and shares powerful tools we can utilize to age well. She discusses finding your life purpose, differentiates between the little ‘p’ purpose from big ‘P’ Purpose, and illustrates how the former can lead to the latter. She shares her “Five to Thrive” quiz and enumerates the five essential elements everybody needs to live an exuberant and vibrant life. She also rethinks the narrative that midlife is a crisis and emphasizes how we all can find happiness and fulfillment throughout the years until the end of our life.

“Middlescent people have the energy and wisdom from lived experiences to become great leaders. Our world needs us now more than ever.” – Barbara Waxman

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • The power of language and semantics
  • Stanley Hall, the creation of adolescence, and how our ideas about the different stages of life evolved through time
  • What ‘middlescence’is and its similarities and differences with adolescence
  • The identity shifts involved in both adolescence and middlescence
  • David Brooks’ “Resume” and “Eulogy” virtues
  • Writing a letter from your hundred-year-old self and why Barbara enjoys reading obituaries
  • Barbara’s thoughts on the prevalence of mental health issues in the country
  • Contemplating on joy and passion and the difference between the “big P” and “little p” purpose
  • Preparing for the One Great Act and why people seem depleted when they’re looking for their life’s purpose
  • Self-care as a revolutionary act and how it becomes even more important as we age
  • Barbara’s “Five to Thrive” quiz and the five essential elements and practical tools in living and aging well
  • The myth of the midlife crisis
  • The U-curve of happiness and how happiness dips and comes back
  • Why Barbara wrote the Middlescence Manifesto
  • Why the world needs people in their middlescence now more than ever
  • Barbara’s pre-COVID leadership work in India
  • Why Barbara doesn’t consider herself as a writer
  • My love-hate relationship with writing and how Barbara got the Middlescence Manifesto completed
  • The writers’ challenge of cultivating a social media following
  • The power of celebrating your life’s greatest failures

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, with your host, Brilliant Miller. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe and leave us a rating and review.

Don’t forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. And be sure to share your favorite episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to inspire others to improve their lives and reach their full potential.

When Death Becomes Life: Lessons from a Transplant Surgeon with Dr. Joshua Mezrich

Dr. Joshua Mezrich is the author of When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon, a book where he shares insights that he derived from his life as a surgeon. Joshua is a graduate of Princeton University and completed his Doctor of Medicine degree at Cornell University.  In addition to his profession as a transplant surgeon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Joshua is the co-founder and inventor of MezLight, the sterile surgical headlamp that he conceptualized in his quest to find alternatives to wearing a headlight during surgical procedures.

Joshua joins me today to discuss the act of organ donation as a gift of life that can help families cope with death. He illustrates his beginnings as a doctor, from the first patient who died on his watch to meeting the family of an organ donor for the first time. He shares a brief history of surgery and transplanting and imparts his love of reading literature. He also underscores the value of empathy and humility not only in the medical field but also in life and the power of choosing to be kind.

“The ability to donate organs is a beautiful thing. It is a gift and legacy; a reminder of how you can help people, even in your final hours.” – Joshua Mezrich

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • A patient who died in Joshua’s care and how his values changed throughout his career
  • How stress can make it difficult to keep your humanity and sense of purpose
  • Missing a critical phone call and the importance of humility
  • A brief history of organ transplants
  • Why a pharmaceutical company wanted its executives to collect soil samples whenever they traveled
  • Why Joshua wrote When Death Becomes Life and how writing the book changed his life
  • The “driven beasts” and the incredible weight on the shoulders of pioneering surgeons
  • Why the way we think of death as a society matters
  • Forming the concept of brain death
  • Challenging the definition of brain death and the case of Jahi McMath
  • How organ donation has helped families cope with death and the first time Joshua met a donor family
  • The power of emotional awareness and mastery
  • What compelled Joshua to become a surgeon after majoring in Russian Language & Literature
  • How his practice as a surgeon transformed his awareness and appreciation of the spiritual
  • The first time Joshua performed a transplant and why surgeons need to be humble
  • Living donations, pair exchanges, and other innovations in organ transplantation
  • Choosing to be kind in a challenging world
  • What was it like to draft a manuscript worth 300,000 words
  • Why writers shouldn’t stop their writing session at the end of a chapter and other advice on writing a book

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, with your host, Brilliant Miller. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe and leave us a rating and review.

Don’t forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. And be sure to share your favorite episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to inspire others to improve their lives and reach their full potential.