Jeff Fink has struggled with depression since he was a teenager. His battle for emotional health and functionality took him through endless medications, therapy, and finally hospitalization. However, it wasn’t until he met Earl that his life finally began to turn around. Earl has been a life long friend and an incredible support as Jeff has pushed forward. He’s also a dog. Today Ben and Jeff sit down to discuss mental health, and the incredible impact that animals can have on our well being.
Whether its addiction, or overcoming our psychological trauma, recovery is a long and lonely road to walk. Former marine Billy Vaughn has done his best to ensure that the people who come to his organization have as much support as he can give. When he sits down to chat with Ben, the two talk about redemption and healing and how to come to terms with the individuals that some might think are too far gone.
To be or not to be ... awkward. If that is not the question, it is certainly the risk we run when we scrap tired scripts, initiate novel directions, and otherwise forsake the familiar for the imaginable. We might say that awkward is the price we pay for insisting that there must be more. Michael Verde insists that when it comes to communicating with people with dementia that there is more—much more than we currently accept is possible—and that if we were less afraid of awkward millions of people would not die of excruciating loneliness. The organization he founded, Memory Bridge, leads people from around the world across what he calls the Valley of Awkward to new forms of intimacy with people we seem determined to cure but less so to touch, or to be touched by: people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Meeting people who disturb us, he says, with or without dementia, is to come face to face with what disturbs us about the human condition itself, including our own humanity. Benjamin joins Michael in a conversation about the awkward in the Valley and the more on the other side.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the time to reflect on gratitude is here. But that's where a lot of people stop. Today Ben discusses the cycle of gratitude and how if your gratitude does not turn into giving, you're stuck in the condition of receiving from others, while not giving back to those around you.
With age comes wisdom, and if you’re lucky, grace. Though if you’re too caught up in the pace of the everyday, it’s easy to forget that we’re only where we are today because we’ve stood on the shoulders of past giants to achieve new heights in the present. Adelyn Price has been able to see the progression of the last century. Join Benjamin and Adelyn as they discuss progress, the past, and where things are taking us tomorrow.
It’s no revelation that people are very concerned with appearances. There’s no industry that capitalizes on this concern more than the fitness industry. Brad Davidson is a fitness instructor who knows what it’s like to chase the preconceived notions of physical perfection, but he also knows what blindly chasing those ideals can cost. He’s lost parts of his hair due to stress, battled a failing thyroid, and at one point had the testosterone of an ill 85-year-old man. After a near death experience, Brad learned to stop living for the “ideal” and to start living for himself. Join Benjamin and Brad as they discuss, physical appearance, the determination of training, and what it’s like to lie your way onto an Olympic Bobsled team.
First impressions are everything. But when Adam Asher hands someone a business card he’s either met with immediate kinship or eye-rolling disdain. Adam is a conservative talk radio producer, but as much as we would like to assume things about someone based on their occupation, how we make our livelihood is only a part of who we are. Adam is driven to challenge the status quo, and the idea of what can be learned when we dig a little deeper into the people around us. Join Benjamin as he talks with Adam about conservatism, liberalism, and the unspoken ideas that connect the two philosophies together.
Dr. Earl Henslin has written 10 books and put thousands of hours into his practice of improving the mental and emotional well-being of his patients, but he’s perfectly happy to attest that most of the ideas he implements in therapy aren’t what he learned in Med-School decades ago, they’re from our constantly evolving understanding of the brain. Today Benjamin sits down with Dr. Henslin to discuss the brain, and how it’s much more than just where our passing thoughts come from. Our dreams are tied to our brain, and accomplishing them can be dependent on how we take care of it.
What is it that separates empathy and action? For some, it’s easier to remain focused on ourselves than it is to clue in to what’s going on with the folks around us. For others, we’re worried that by empathizing with others, we might somehow weaken our own ideals and perspectives. Edwin Rutsch has made it his mission in life to help teach what empathy is, and more importantly how to embrace it. Because it’s when we realize that we don’t have to abandon who we are to be with someone else, that something truly powerful can happen.
If scars are stories, Harrison Scott Key has more than enough to fill the books that he writes. Growing up in the south, he’s taken his share of licks and has come through each harrowing event with another funny story to tell. He contemplates life while washing kitchenware and feels that our uncertainty is what unities us. When Benjamin sits down to chat with Harrison, the two dive into humor, family, and many, many anecdotes. This is Harrison Scott Key.
HEARD gets to the root of what it means to be alive and human in this world, today.
Open and honest, the weekly podcast is aimed at amplifying stories of what it means to be human and genuinely heard. It features host Benjamin Mathes, Urban Confessional founder and speaker, who is joined by new guests each episode to explore issues and current events intersecting with the topic of listening and being heard. The series is produced and edited by Thomas Yungerberg.