I’ve spent over 20 years studying the emotions and experiences that bring meaning and purpose to our lives, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: We are hardwired for connection, and connecting requires courage, vulnerability, and conversation. I want this to be a podcast that’s real, unpolished, honest, and reflects both the magic and the messiness of what it means to be human. Episodes will include conversations with the people who are teaching me, challenging me, confusing me, or maybe even ticking me off a little. I'll also have direct conversations with you about what I’m learning from new research, and we'll do some episodes dedicated to answering your questions. We don’t have to do life alone. We were never meant to.
Description: In today’s solo episode, I share my thoughts about why accountability is a prerequisite for change, and why we need to get our heads and hearts around the difference between being held accountable for racism and feeling shame, and being shamed. I share my personal stories of being held accountable and holding myself accountable, as well as my strategies for pulling my “thinking brain” back online when I’m experiencing the flight and fight energy fueled by shame.
I'm talking with Judd Apatow, who has directed, produced, and written many of the biggest comedy films and hit TV shows of the last two decades. We look at what's funny, why it's funny, and why laughter creates connection. We also uncover that thin line between humor and grief and what it means to tell the stories of our lives in a way that we recognize ourselves and our shared humanity.
Meet Carrie Rodriguez and Gina Chavez, the musicians who created and perform the music you hear every week on Unlocking Us. Artists and activists, Gina and Carrie integrate stories, culture, and the heart of past generations into their music to create artful and hopeful futures. You can hear it in their music, and you can see it in their lives. I’m so grateful that our weekly Unlocking Us conversations begin and end with their soulful sounds.
In this episode, I talk to artist, advocate, executive producer, and all-around amazing woman and friend Laverne Cox about her new, groundbreaking documentary, Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, the importance of policy protection for the trans community, and the seismic shifts in the world today. We also discuss the complexities of intersectionality and accountability, the difference between discomfort and safety, and the ultimate power of seeking love and living in the light.
Austin Channing Brown’s anti-racism work is critical to changing our world, and her ability to talk about what is good and true about love, about our faith, and about loving each other is transformative. She is a writer, a speaker, and a media producer providing inspired leadership on racial justice in America. In this episode, we connect on her book I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, and talk about her online television show, The Next Question.
I'm talking with professor Ibram Kendi, New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and the Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. We talk about racial disparities, policy, and equality, but we really focus on How to Be an Antiracist, which is a groundbreaking approach to understanding uprooting racism and inequality in our society and in ourselves.
Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are true creatives and storytellers, working to make timely art that is honest and vulnerable and truth-telling. Here’s part two of my conversation on Little Fires Everywhere. This episode covers how Reese and Kerry worked with a team of other creatives to bring Celeste’s words to life. We talked about the challenges and responsibilities of creating authentic, living, breathing characters with complex internal thoughts. We talked about motherhood and how it connects us, changes us, and changes as it goes. And we talked about creating art that honors ordinary, complicated people from completely different backgrounds, while connecting us all together.
My conversation with Celeste Ng is the first of two episodes on Little Fires Everywhere, where I'll cover the book and the series. We talked about the writing process, the stories that we tell, and the stories that define us. We also covered how our hometowns shape us, how parenting is a shame minefield, and how we all have the power to mourn moments even while we’re in them. Celeste also filled us in on what she thinks about the series and what it felt like watching Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington create a show from her novel. I loved this episode as a reader, as a writer, and as an observer of what it means to be human.
Chris Heuertz and I talk about the Enneagram which he describes as a "compassionate sketch of possibilities that shows us who we can become if we remember what our souls' created purpose was." I think Chris's power as a teacher comes from his compassion, his deep understanding of how fear works in our lives, and his own healthy skepticism about things that seem too easy and too reductive.
Jay and Mark Duplass are two of my favorite humans. They are film-makers, writers, directors, producers, actors, and activists. They’re also partners, fathers, and brothers who believe in connection, love, and the importance of small moments. In this episode we talk about their memoir, Like Brothers, and how so much of what we crave in life comes from straddling the paradoxes inherent in love, creativity, and relationships.
This two-episode special is based on a course that Dr. Harriet Lerner and I did together on her groundbreaking book, “Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts.” You can expect authentic, hard conversations (and one helluva role play) about making mistakes, healing hurts, and being brave. Harriet is a friend, mentor, and teacher. Her work has shaped my career and made my life better. During a time of deep uncertainty and anxiety - when many of us have struggled to be our best selves all of the time - apologizing has never been more important.
This two-episode special is based on a course that Dr. Harriet Lerner and I did together on her groundbreaking book, “Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts.” You can expect authentic, hard conversations (and one helluva role play) about making mistakes, healing hurts, and being brave. Harriet is a friend, mentor, and teacher. Her work has shaped my career and made my life better. During a time of deep uncertainty and anxiety - when many of us have struggled to be our best selves all of the time - apologizing has never been more important. (
In this episode, I talk to two women who provide wise counsel for those of us who have struggled with belonging and faith (and still do on occasion). Sue Monk Kidd and Jen Hatmaker are dissident daughters, brave leaders, and the very best companions for a contemplative journey.
Have you ever struggled with feeling lonely - even when you’re surrounded by people you love? I have. It’s painful and confusing. In this episode, I talk to Dr. Vivek Murthy, a physician and the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, about loneliness and the physical and emotional toll that social disconnection takes on us. We talk about his new book, TOGETHER, and what it takes for each of us to tilt the world toward love and connection.
Dr. Marc Brackett has dedicated his life to studying emotions and to teaching us what he’s learning. In this episode, we talk about how emotional literacy - being able to recognize, name, and understand our feelings - affects everything from learning, decision making, and creativity, to relationships, health, and performance.
Alicia’s book, More Myself: A Journey, is a masterclass in authenticity and vulnerability. In this episode, Alicia and I talk about the quiet, subtle experiences that fuel our need to armor up and self-protect, and the courage behind owning our worth, listening to our own voice, and living with our own “girl on fire” energy.
We all have patterned ways of managing our day-to-day anxiety, and these patterns often reflect the roles and expectations of our first families.
In this episode, we’ll talk about over and under-functioning in anxious times, why anxiety is contagious, and how we can cultivate a calm practice.
Grief expert David Kessler takes us by the hand and walks us into what he's learned about love, loss, and finding meaning. As someone who has a lot of fear about grief and grieving, this conversation is not what I expected. The only word I can use to describe what I learned from David is "beautiful."
We have collectively hit weary. This is especially true for the brave folks on the front lines of this pandemic and for the people who love and support them. And, it’s also true for all of us. In this episode, I talk about strategies for falling apart, staying connected + kind, and giving ourselves permission to feel hard things.
Strap yourselves in! In this episode, I talk to my dear friend and sister Cheetah, Glennon – author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, Untamed. This is an honest conversation about walking away from the lifelong training that keeps us small, quiet, and afraid, and embracing our wild, brave hearts.
Glennon is the author of two #1 New York times bestsellers – Untamed and Love Warrior. She’s the author of the New York Times bestseller, Carry On, Warrior, an activist, and the founder of Together Rising, an all-women led nonprofit organization that has revolutionized grassroots philanthropy – raising over $25 Million for women, families and children in crisis. She lives in Florida with her wife and three children.
Tarana is a good friend and one of my favorite people on earth. She has been working at the intersection of racial justice and gender equity for nearly three decades, and she started the “Me Too” Movement in 2006. In 2017, when the #metoo hashtag went viral, Tarana emerged as a global leader in the evolving conversation around sexual violence.
In this episode we talk about how her theory of “empowerment through empathy” is changing the way the world thinks and talks about sexual violence, consent, and social justice. AND, we also talk/cry/laugh about falling in love, running as fast as we can from love, and the perils of sharing a bathroom with the guys we love.
The first Unlocking Us podcast is here! Along with the excitement of sending this into the world, I’m feeling equal doses of fear, awkwardness, and vulnerability. In this episode I talk about my strategy for staying in tough first times versus tapping out and shutting down. When we get to the point that we only do things that we’re already good at doing, we stop growing. And truly living.
Join researcher and #1 New York Times best-selling author Brené Brown as she unpacks and explores the ideas, stories, experiences, books, films, and music that reflect the universal experiences of being human, from the bravest moments to the most brokenhearted. Subscribe now for updates.