Tell Me Your Truest Story
Changing Our Story of Anger -- Episode 3: Harriet Lerner
How can anger be used from a place of courage, a place of connection? What do we do with our anger -- whether it's personal or political or both -- and our stories about anger, including who's allowed to get angry, what we believe anger can and can't do, and why anger is so threatening? In this in-depth interview best-selling author Harriet Lerner, author of The Dance of Anger, we talk about anger as a tool for change, when and how anger can be a shield for something as well as its own emotion, and the dos and don'ts of how to work with our own and others' anger.
Harriet Lerner, PhD is the author of over 10 best-selling books, including her most recent superb book, Why Won't You Apologize?, and she is one of our nation's most loved and respected relationship experts. Renowned for her work on the psychology of women and family relationships, she served as a staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic for more than two decades. She is a beloved speaker and writer who has changed the lives of many with her words and research.
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This podcast focuses on exploring, unearthing, and at times revising the stories we tell ourselves and are told to find greater freedom, justice, wisdom, and homecoming. Explore with us ways to better align our narratives with our callings and the callings of our time and the living earth. Listen to on these apps:
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About Tell Me Your Truest Story
This podcast comes out of my calling to grapple with the stories that define or limit, free up or shut down, and otherwise come between us and our life callings as well as the callings of our time and this beautiful earth.
How did I come to doing this? I came by it honestly and over many decades. As a kid, my favorite word, besides "dessert," was "why?" So much didn’t make sense to me except losing myself in the making of something -- art, music, writing -- which also became a pretty nifty survival mechanism.
Poetry gave me a way to circle around meaning. In Judaism and other religions, there are hundreds of names for God or the sacred, each one a way to encircle what can't be named directly. Not to say that my early poetry was all that holy or profound, but I was circling the fire, trying to find the warmth and light, sources of sustenance, as I wrote about the trees and wind.
I ended up going to journalism school but ended up getting too involved in my stories and protecting my poetic sensibilities. No wonder I ended up studying labor history, because I figured that the stories we tell ourselves about work are so pervasive that it was worth figuring out how to revise some of those stories.
But then there were the trees and the wind, still calling me to the page; over time, I realized that the real ground was home. When I stumbled across bioregionalism – a movement on learning how to live through where we lived, I found a story that made sense for my life.
Way led to way, writing led to teaching, teaching led to facilitating people writing their truths and witnessing each other, and over time, I was led to found Transformative Language Arts, an emerging field, movement, and profession. Transformative language artists use writing, storytelling, theater, music, and other arts to build pathways for healing and health, community-building and keeping, social change and ecological awakening. Riding sidecar is Right Livelihood, work, art, or service that shares our gifts, challenges our edges, and betters the world.
I’ve also written a whole lot of books, poems, essays, songs, and other things because putting things into words is a way of knowing as well as unlearning what no longer serves me. What feeds my writing and work is the power of deep listening.
As a post-institutional woman – having left my teaching job to write, facilitate, coach, and keep storying my way into right livelihood – I’m living a story I couldn’t have imagined as a baby poet teenaging my way through the mid-1970s in Springsteen land. Almost all of our work – whether leading a workshop for people living with serious illness or planning a Brave Voice retreat with Kelley Hunt or writing on my front porch – circles around the holy fire of what we create and change through our stories.
What do I want to know? Your truest story, and for us all to witness what’s truest for us and this world, our home communities and the bioregions where we live.
I invite you to listen to what resonates with you, then write or speak or otherwise wander through your stories to find where to step next and how to bring greater presence and soul to this ailing and healing world.