By Molly Birkholm & Hans Hickler
Conversations MatterMay 14, 2020
Molly Birkholm: From Finding Peace Amidst Pain to Living Love
You asked and we listened! In this special episode, Hans holds space for a conversation with Molly, who gives deep insight into her life and career. Molly shares the story of her near-death experience and healing journey, and the tools she discovered along the way that prove it’s possible to experience peace even when life seems to be falling apart. Molly and Hans discuss the ever-evolving nature of the human experience, and Molly gives tips on unlocking creative potential, finding your voice, and challenging the edge of compassion.
Nikki McKean: From Surviving Cancer Twice to Reframing Suffering
In Episode 13, Molly and Hans interview Nikki McKean -- a photographer, restaurant owner, wife, and mother of two young girls who has lived through two cancer diagnoses in two years. In this episode, Nikki describes how she came alive through an experience that may have otherwise left her feeling broken. She shares her journey through recovery, which culminated in her "Let’s Radiate Project" -- the creative endeavor born out of her second cancer diagnosis. This episode dives deep into healing trauma, the art of deep listening, reframing suffering, and practicing how to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
Hector Marcel: From Conscious Leadership to Reframing Hardship
In episode 12, Hans and Molly interview Hector Marcel -- a true mix of east and west. Hector describes coming from a poor family in Argentina and turning into a successful businessman in Australia -- by age 25. Not only that, Hector is also a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism and has a gift for speaking to western business through the lens of eastern philosophy (which has turned into his career). In this episode, you'll learn how to collectively gain and build trust in an organization, strategies for reframing hardship, the value in helping your competitor be successful, and how to turn danger into opportunity.
Mike Drescher: From Media Entrepreneur to the Health and Wellness of Women
In Episode 11, Hans and Molly interview Mike Drescher -- a media entrepreneur turned women's undergarment designer who shares the twists and turns that shaped his life and unconventional career path. An eccentric speaker with a true zest for life, Mike showcases how serendipitous life events combined with tenacity and grit got him where he is today. This episode gives a little bit of everything, from the ethics of cosmetics and curing childhood ailments to live theater projects and our inherent interconnectedness.
Suketu Mehta: From the Art of Storytelling to the Future of Immigration
In Episode 10, Hans and Molly interview Suketu Mehta -- a famed author and journalist specializing in works on the subject of immigration. In this episode, Suketu discusses his career trajectory and his work, including his awarded book Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found. He then dives into his vast knowledge on immigration, exploring historical examples of problems caused by artificial borders, and describing current events that are likely to cause problematic mass migration in the future. This leads into a conversation about the concept of "othering" -- what it is, why we do it, and how we can stop it.
Alison Thompson: From Global Rescue Missions to the Need for New Solutions
In Episode 9, Hans and Molly interview Alison Thompson -- a humanitarian volunteer and founder of Third Wave Volunteers, which has over 30,000 volunteers and followers globally. In this episode, Alison walks us through many of her humanitarian undertakings and the process of mobilizing an entire rescue team. She also speaks to the role corporations play in giving back, and how to ensure we're not causing even bigger problems for people during a crisis. Alison describes her work as "love in action," and shares what this work has taught her about what all humans from across the globe have in common.
Alan Brown: From Living with Paralysis to Living During a Pandemic
COVID-19 has, in many ways, paralyzed society. From physical limitations and financial strain to debilitating fear, this pandemic has given many of us our first taste of true immobilization. For people living with paralysis, this is far from a new feeling.
In Episode 8, Molly and Hans interview Alan Brown -- who in addition to his career in public relations is involved with the Alan T. Brown and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundations. Alan has been physically paralyzed since 1988; among many interesting topics, he shares the similarities he has noticed between the COVID-19 Pandemic and life with physical paralysis. He shares tools that have helped him mobilize his body and mind in spite of his paralysis. Listen to learn more about how to stay connected during the pandemic, how to repurpose negative energy, and how to find meaning in hardship.
Ruchira Gupta: From Investigative Journalism to the End of Sex Trafficking
In Episode 7, Hans and Molly interview Ruchira Gupta -- one of the world's leading voices and campaigners in the movement to end global sex-trafficking. A journalist by trade, Ruchira explains her passion for story-telling, and demonstrates her gift as a story-teller by sharing truly captivating (yet harrowing) stories from her time spent documenting life in brothels and villages where humans are bought and sold as commodities. Ruchira won an Emmy for her documentary, The Selling of Innocents, which shined a light on modern slavery. Her continuing work has been instrumental in passing legislation and creating support on a global scale for survivors of human trafficking. Learn from Ruchira's profound insight into the truths of modern slavery--where it comes from, what keeps it going, and what we can do to stop it.
Ruchira is currently in India attempting to provide one million meals to sex trafficking survivors and their children. These families are cut off from their food sources and are in need of outside help. Visit 1 Million Meals to make a donation today and support these trafficking survivors and their children!
Swami Kashi: From the Israeli Military to Life as a Yogic Scholar
In Episode 6, Molly and Hans speak with Swami Kashi -- a Brahmachari (monk) living in the Himalayas who started his life in a communal settlement in Israel. Swami Kashi shares his story of how he went from living in a Kibbutz to joining the Israeli military, and how finding yoga completely changed the trajectory of his life. In this episode, Swami Kashi shares the sweet and simple Vedantic truths about authentic love, fear, connection, and gratitude. He also provides insight on how meditation works and offers an explanation that helps to demystify the concept of non-attachment.
Megan Poe: From the Power of Love to the Age of Intuition
Megan Poe is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyist, and the creator of the acclaimed course on love at NYU, Love Actually. Dr. Poe discusses her course and gives a taste of what students in the class experience. She also speaks to the science of neuroplasticity, resetting the nervous system, and the problem with using technology without any "attention training". Dr. Poe describes the concept of being-ness and shares how we are moving from the age of information to the age of intuition. You'll learn about the power of music and voice, and how these are being used in Dr. Poe's latest project Frequency, an immersive dome promoting connection and wellness in NYC.
Tony Cho: From Communal Living to Building Cities of the Future
In Episode 5, Molly and Hans speak with Tony Cho, founder of Metro 1, who shares how basic principles he learned growing up in an ashram turned into his career developing cities of the future. Tony explains fundamental aspects of communal living, the dichotomy of life in the ashram, and how to find and create community anywhere. Molly and Hans share their thoughts from exploring some of Tony's vibrant districts in Southern Florida. Tony shares tips for successfully integrating people and places together, preserving culture while also having financial success, and using technology to our advantage.
David Bornstein: From Social Entrepreneurship to the Future of Mass Media
David Bornstein is the definitive author on social entrepreneurship, a co-author of the Fixes Column in the New York Times, and cofounder of the Solutions Journalism Network. In this resource-packed episode, David breaks down the problems with mass media and our current information feedback system. He shares how his early experience as a journalist prompted him to shift from focusing on problems to focusing on solutions, and how Solutions Journalism effectively takes on our current news cycle. David also shares practical advice on forming a social entrepreneurship and offers simple action items everyone can do to create systemic social change.
Sarah Drew: From the Creative Process to Interconnection with Nature
Sarah Drew is an author, scholar of ancient cultures, and leader for the worldwide women’s and environmental movements. In this episode, Sarah gives insight into her creative process and what went into the crafting of her book, Gaia Codex (one of Molly's absolute favorites). She also digs into the concept of archetypes, and shares her unique insights into feminine wisdom, the duality of life, consciousness, and our interconnectedness. Sarah also discusses the role nature plays in her creative process, and speaks to the power of reconnecting with nature.
Rony Abovitz: From Spatial Computing to Meditating on "Inner Space"
Rony Abovitz is a technology pioneer who founded Magic Leap, a spatial computing company that transcends both virtual reality and agumented reality by enabling users to see digital content in their own physical world. Rony explains the science of spatial computing, and Molly and Hans share their experience using Magic Leap’s newest technological endeavor, Tonandi. According to Rony, "Technology helps us tap into what our brain can already do." He explores the concept of “inner space” and explains how both meditation and Magic Leap technology can stimulate the brain’s capacity for creativity and innovation.