Sharing the Heart of the Matter
Sharing the Heart of the MatterFeb 24, 2023
Episode 20: The Art of the Interview with Dr. Gerald Stein
In this episode, Wynne Leon and co-host, Dr. Vicki Atkinson are with psychologist, historian, teacher and blogger, Dr. Gerald Stein.
We talk about the art of the interview. Dr. Stein draws on his extensive experience as a therapist but also as an expert witness to explain how you need to be aware of what’s been said, present to listen and help guide the conversation when asking and answering questions. He tells us how he’s prepared for interviews and what he’s done to make people comfortable. Dr. Stein wisely coaches us to save the hardest questions for last in the case they end the session.
We talk about interviewing family members and what a powerful experience that can be to provide answers and connection. And in the end of our time together, Dr. Stein gives us some perspective about life with a story about something extra.
This is a great episode filled with wonderful stories from the wise, experienced, funny, and insightful, Dr. Stein. We know you’ll love it.
Episode 20 Show Notes: The Art of the Interview
Dr. Stein's Blog: Dr. Gerald Stein | Blogging About Psychotherapy from Chicago (wordpress.com)
Episode 19: Long Distance Letters with Vicki and Wynne
In this episode, Wynne Leon and Dr. Vicki Atkinson talk about the most long distance of letters – the ones we write for our dearly departed.
We talk, sometimes through tears, about writing letters to our fathers after they had passed unexpectedly and the goodness of being able to share stories we’ve written down about them with our children. Vicki brings up the idea that we are a conduit between the older and younger generations, passing on stories and wisdom, especially for young ones who never get to meet their grandparents or were too young when they passed to remember them.
We also talk about being vulnerable to ask questions of our family members before they pass and honor that can be a difficult road depending on their receptivity. But by daring to be seen, we can also possibly benefit by the wonderful gift of exchanging great last lines to our beloveds before they pass.
As a note, we recorded this conversation while some work was being done on Vicki’s house. Please excuse the errant bang here and there. Despite the occasional knock, we know you’ll love this deep and meaningful conversation about writing to and about those we love the most.
Show notes: Episode 19 Long Distance Letters
Episode 18: No Time For Kings with Mark Petruska
In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host, Dr. Vicki Atkinson and writter, blogger, optimist and master manifester, Mark Petruska.
Manifester might not technically be a word but it’s great shorthand for how Mark wills things into reality. He explains how manifesting works hand-in-hand with optimism to fuel the adventurous changes he and his wife, Tara, have pursued in life.
We talk about his eco-thriller, No Time For Kings, and the one line he read in a newspaper that sparked the plot line. And even though Wynne questioned how Mark, with his humor and optimism, could write a dark and ruthless character like Drake in his novel, Mark tells us how fun it is to write the shadow side.
Mark reveals Jack London as his writing inspiration and since Mark has successfully manifested his writing career, we talk about how he went about writing and publishing his book.
This is a great optimism filled with the optimism and fun that comes when you write your own script. We know you’ll love it.
Guest post from Mark Petruska and show notes: Episode 18 show notes
Episode 17: Building a Base with Brian Hannon
In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host, Dr. Vicki Atkinson and colleague, writer and blogger Brian Hannon. We talk about what metrics are meaningful on the blogging journey and how to build a vibrant community.
Brian shares tips he learned as a newspaper reporter and how blogging differs from being a reporter in the rich conversation that can be sparked through comments. We share celebrity gossip – nah, just kidding, not really- but we do touch on holding space for our own growth, development and learning as we write.
We know you will love this episode full of the laughter and fun that comes from good friendships forged through blogging. Show notes: Episode 17 show notes
Episode 16: Nuggets of Kindness with Stuart Perkins
In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host, Dr. Vicki Atkinson and writer, blogger and master storyteller, Stuart Perkins.
Stuart shares with us a piece entitled A Nugget of Kindness, about a moment where he recalled the generosity of a stranger twenty years earlier and pays it forward. We take a deep dive into how both paying it forward and writing about it extends the gratitude we have for people who help us in our moment of need and also ties back to the wisdom of Stuart’s grandmother who taught that when you see a need, you fill it without caring who gets credit. We talk about how it doesn’t take much to be helpful to others because often something small for one person can make a difference to someone else.
The three of us also mine the other nuggets – the beautiful comments left by readers that serve to continue the cycle of kindness and inspiration. We know you’ll love this warm, feel-good episode of writing, wisdom and kindness.
Show notes: Episode 16 show notes
Stuart's blog: Storyshucker Stuart's post: A Nugget of Kindness
Episode 15: Writing into a Full and Balanced Life with Brenda Harrison
In this episode, Wynne and Vicki talk with about blogger and HR lecturer, Brenda Harrison, about Brenda’s inspiration for writing, traveling, and how blogging has brought balance to her work and life. Brenda tells us the inspiration for the name of her blog, Curiosities, Castles and Coffee Shops and we also discover how Brenda’ delightful and inspiring knack for growth led her through her journey from legal secretary, back to school, on as an HR lecturer and now to blogging. We explore how writing fuels a cycle of creativity in Brenda’s life where it is both the result of her explorations and also extends her journeys as she looks for interesting things to write about.
We know you will love this episode from a great blogger that shows how writing makes life richer.
Show notes: Episode 15 show notes
Brenda's blog: Curiosities, Castles, and Coffee Shops
Episode 14: Holding Space with Deirdre Wilcox
In this episode, Wynne Leon talks with meditation teacher, massage therapist and healer, Deirdre Wilcox, about how to hold space for others. It's the process of actively listening to others going through tough stuff with open regard. How do we do it effectively? What good does it do for the person we are holding space for?
We also talk about another favorite phrase that Wynne has gotten from Deirdre – “being parked in my small space.” That is to say, that space where everything and anything bugs us because our perspective is shut down. Deirdre gives some great tips on how to open back up to that expansive state where we don’t have to BE the irritations and pains that we are currently feeling.
After the last episode with Deirdre, a listener said it reminded her of the song, “Breathe” by Anna Nalik. Deirdre and Wynne talk about breath as the foundational tool of change.
In this episode there is also an outtake that we've tacked on at the end – but it is from the beginning of the conversation where Wynne tries to wrangle Deirdre but she is just too effusive and frankly, a hugely funny pain, so we have to start over. Show notes can be found on the HoTM site: Episode 14 show notes
Deirdre's website can be found at Deirdre Therapeutics
Episode 13: The Best Seat In the House with Bruce Bohrer
In this episode, Vicki and Wynne had the pleasure of visiting with Bruce Bohrer, author of “Best Seat in the House: A Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher” and it was a terrific, behind-the-scenes peek into a beloved sports venue in Chicago.
Tune in as Bruce shares anecdotes about famous players – Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks, and Ryan Dempster – and stay for the fun as Bruce shares stories about the “real stars of the game” – the fans – as he talks about fun encounters with the irrepressible die-hard Cubs fans.
Bruce’s nine-year ‘second career’ was a dream come true -- and a privilege, he says, to work in historic landmark. Join us as Bruce shares fond memories, including the bonds he built with his fellow ushers and fans from around the world.
We talk about all the characters that come together to make a ball field work - the marriage proposals, pictures taken, and vendor songs. Wrigley Field shows up as a character in its own right complete with history, ambiance, and destination for all those that want to see one of the oldest ballparks in America. Bruce also tells us about how his book about his post retirement stint as an usher came together with the stats, the stories and the surreptitious notes he took on the job.
We know you will enjoy this entertaining and fun episode!
Show notes: Episode 13: Best Seat In the House with Bruce Bohrer on HoTM
Best Seat In The House: Diary Of A Wrigley Field Usher | Eckhartz Press
Amazon.com: Best Seat in the House: Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher eBook : Bohrer, Bruce: Kindle Store
Episode 12: On Storytelling with Stuart M. Perkins
In this episode, Vicki and Wynne talk with writer, blogger, and master storyteller, Stuart Perkins, about the dare that got him to start his blog, Storyshucker, and the long line of family story-tellers that are part of the foundation of his craft.
We reflect on the nervousness of publishing a first post and the joy of finding out that writing down our stories helps us to find out how alike we all are. Stuart tells us more about his grandmother, Nannie, who is a repeat character in his writing as a core of the big family roots of his childhood.
Vicki and Wynne ooh and aah over Stuart's ability to deliver last great lines and Stuart reminds us to write what we know and keep at it when it comes to getting published! This is a great episode celebrating all the wonderful things stories do for us – connecting us to family, pride, history, and colorful stories about growing up.
Show Notes are at: Episode 12: On Storytelling with Stuart M. Perkins
Stuart's blog: Storyshucker
Episode 11: How to Journal the Right Way with Libby Saylor
In this episode, Wynne Leon is with Vicki Atkinson and Libby Saylor to talk about Libby’s post about how to journal the right way. That is to say to journal to really heal the tough, icky, and not so fun, phases and feelings. We touch on the inner child and how journaling can work to really soothe those parts of ourselves who don’t feel heard.
We bring in Rumi’s guest house and liken journaling to really welcoming the whole complement of feelings in so we can receive the message and move on.
Libby and Vicki talk about the therapeutic effects of putting pen to paper. Libby inspires us as an artist and human to make the journaling and growing process attractive and social.
Finally we talk about how life requires us to pay attention and grow and that sometimes we write it down to squeeze out what we need.
We know you’ll love this episode with the company of wonderful people looking to lean-in to growth!
Show notes can be found at the HoTM website: Episode 11: How to Journal the Right Way with Libby Saylor
Episode 10: The Power of Intuition with Deirdre Wilcox
In this episode, Wynne talks with healer, meditation teacher, artist, all-around delightful and amazing human, Deirdre Wilcox.
We talk about Deirdre’s journey to become a healer, how she used her time undergoing treatment for breast cancer to integrate all that she’d been taught about the mind-body-spirit. We also delve into the power of our intuition and why we mistrust it, why we need to place meditation up there on the list of daily habits like flossing, the danger of going shopping after meditation class, and how transformation might be exactly what we need to live our deepest and best lives. At the very end of our conversation, we left in an outtake where Wynne offer herself up as an example of how mulishly resistant humans can be when it comes to tackling things that could make our lives better.
Show notes can be found at the HoTM website: Episode 10: The Power of Intuition
Deirdre Wilcox can be found at: Deirdre Therapeutics (deirdrewilcox.com)
Episode 9: The Audacity to Believe with Mitch Teemley
In this episode of the Sharing the Heart of the Matter podcast, Vicki Atkinson and Wynne Leon talk with Mitch Teemley - a storyteller (writer, filmmaker, composer, public speaker) with the audacity to believe others might actually want to read, watch or hear the things he comes up with.
And that audacity has led him in a life of great courage, conviction, and productivity. In addition to his very active blog, he’s written, directed, and produced two feature films, The Healing River and Notzilla. He also a sought after public speaker.
Do you need to have read or seen his work to enjoy this podcast? We know you will love it if you have – and believe you will love it even if you haven’t. Mitch’s wit and wisdom with a message comes through loud and clear.
Show notes: Podcast Episode 9: The Audacity to Believe with Mitch Teemley
Mitch’s Blog: https://mitchteemley.com
Healing River and Notzilla on Amazon Prime
Episode 8: Expressive Writing
In this episode, Vicki Atkinson, Brian Hannon and Wynne Leon talk about how writing helps us think and more than once and maybe even get us out of a jam or two. We, the overly-absorbed, over-thinkers who swirl and retread in our own infinity loops of what-ifs and quandaries, and then can hopefully write our way out of those loops.
We talk about being part of the writing community in general and the team that makes up the Heart of the Matter. Folks who enjoy telling stories…swapping giggles and epiphanies…all with an eye toward inspiration and greater good. It's podcast time to shoot the breeze about the compulsion to create and to tell stories.
Show notes can be found at the Heart of the Matter site at Episode 8: I Write...Because I Wonder
Episode 7: Grow Damn It!
In this episode, Wynne is with author, Cheryl Oreglia, and they’re talking about Cheryl's newly released book Grow Damn It! Also, they talk about treasuring the life we have, asking our loved ones the most important questions before they go, and what makes the ride worthwhile.
From car accidents, car dealership negotiation, caring for family, grief, and being a good sport, Cheryl writes such an evocative account of life that brings out the best while being totally real – and very funny. She weaves the magic of an author that knows herself, has the guts to tackle feelings, and can wrap things in words to bring it all together.
Show notes can be found on the HoTM site: https://sharingtheheartofthematter.com/2023/03/03/episode-7-grow-damn-it/
Amazon link to Grow Damn It!: The Feeding and Nurturing of Life (if you love the book, please leave a review - it really helps authors)
Cheryl's blog Living in the Gap can be found at https://cheryloreglia.blog and she can be found on Instagram and Twitter @cheryloreglia
Episode 6: Really Listen To The Way We Talk To Ourselves
In this conversation with between Wynne Leon and Libby Saylor (aka The Goddess Attainable), they talk about Libby's post, Really Listen to the Way We Talk To Ourselves, self-compassion, dating and the mirror of love, and healing wounds from our families of origin.
Here are some of Wynne's take-aways from this episode:
What I learned - Libby’s beautiful perspective about listening to ourselves, “I just want to listen [to myself] with LOVE.”
My favorite phrase from Libby – “I’d already journaled til my hand was about to fall off”
How I felt after our conversation – hopeful. Libby’s beautiful way of leaning into the mess of ourselves and life is courageous and contagious.
Show notes: https://sharingtheheartofthematter.com/2023/02/24/episode-6-really-listen-to-the-way-we-talk-to-ourselves/
Check out Libby’s bio on Our Team page. And follow her on Instagram @thegoddessattainable
Episode 5: Fathers, Sons & Flannel
In this episode, Vicki Atkinson talks with writer Brian Hannon about memories of his father, inspired by his father's favorite apparel, flannel shirts. As Vicki aply summarizes - Writing about family is fraught with snares and trepidation as many of us walk the line between speaking our truth and avoiding disrespect. My friend Brian of the ‘Writing from the Heart with Brian’ blog and Heart of the Matter recently wrote about his father…sharing a series of scenes from his life with his dad, told from the perspective of his father’s most beloved piece of apparel: a flannel shirt.
Find the show notes plus more writing from Vicki and Brian on The Heart of the Matter: https://sharingtheheartofthematter.com
Brian's personal blog is Writing from the Heart with Brian
Episode 4: Why Theater Matters
I’ve heard Jack Canfora joke that being a playwright in America in this day and age is a little like choosing to be a figure skater in Kenya. Meaning no disrespect to Kenyan figure skaters, of course.
Which makes me respect Jack and his path even more. He started with writing comedy sketches in his 20’s and then became a playwright in his 30’s. He’s won awards, had his plays performed off-Broadway, and taken a lot of other jobs (teacher, copy writer, writing coach) to make it work. That is to say, Jack knows more about the business of writing than most of us put together – and still he writes!
I could gush endlessly about Jack. And I often do. I’ve had a writer’s crush on him for forever because he speaks to my heart. Every time I talk with him, read him, or listen/watch one of his plays, I come away smarter and more human. Along with his brilliance, he has a gentle kindness, empathy, and humor that make what he says sorta hang in the air with soft wonder.
Please listen to this great conversation as we wind our way through collective effervescence, Abraham Lincoln, what the theater sounds like to a playwright and actor, and the “concentrated dose of emotion” we get from theater.
Here are links for this episode:
Step 9 - Jack's play released as a radio drama in podcast form https://tinyurl.com/Step-9-NNR or search New Normal Rep Step 9 wherever you podcast
Jack's theater company: New Normal Rep
Jack's blog writing: The Writing on the Padded Wall and on Wise & Shine
For info on Jack as a writing coach and his plays: https://jackcanforawriter.com
To follow Jack on Twitter and Instagram: @jackcanfora
Episode 3: On Mountaineering, Martial Arts, Overcoming Challenges and Motherhood
In this episode, Wynne talks with Betsy Kerekes, blogger, published author, wife, mom, and martial arts practitioner about how to tackle hard things with humor and grace. Which seems to be a specialty for Betsy - she does it with parenting and now for martial arts too. In the great stories Betsy tells about learning, getting injured, and keeping up the practice, there are so many ways to be inspired by her grit all wrapped up in a lovely package.
The show notes can be found on the HoTM site: Podcast Episode 3: On Mountaineering, Martial Arts, Overcoming Challenges and Parenting
Here are links to Betsy's blog and books:
Blog: Motherhood and Martial Arts (formerly Parenting is Funny)
Book on Amazon: Be a Happier Parent or Laughing Trying
Book on Amazon: 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage
Book on Amazon: 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person
Episode 2: Finding My Father's Faith
Vicki and Wynne talking about Wynne's book Finding My Father's Faith and all the obstacles we encounter on the way to writing about family. Wynne talks about when it feels daunting to break with the status quo and broach subjects where we do things differently. But most of all, we talk about listening to that inner voice that tells us to get started and the incredible gifts that come with it.
The book can be found on Amazon: Finding My Father's Faith: Leon, Wynne: 9781516803347: Amazon.com: Books
The Sharing the Heart of the Matter blog and website is The Heart of the Matter – A place where we write and talk about inspirations…our journey to discover what matters most. (sharingtheheartofthematter.com)
Episode 1: Why We Are Here
Vicki and Wynne launch the Sharing the Heart of the Matter podcast and talk about why connection is so important. Delving into blogging, sharing stories that are close to the heart, and revealing what community means to them, they start this journey into listening to ourselves and each other with full hearts.