Season 3
45 Minutes

102 |THE DIFFERENCE Contributors | What Made THE DIFFERENCE!

My new book, THE DIFFERENCE: Essays on Loss, Courage and Personal Transformation, co-edited with Rosemary Ravinal, is released today via Balboa Press, a Division of Hay House.

To salute this exquisite collection of essays, I have a chat with 3 of the exceptional contributors - Dr. Lynne Maureen Hurdle, Carl Ficks Jr., Malissa Smith - and my brilliant co-editor, Rosemary Ravinal.

What if you could have an audience with 10 successful humans who have inspired millions of followers around the world to lead more authentic, wholehearted and expansive lives? What if you could ask these individuals to pinpoint the ONE factor or experience that unleashed the greatest personal transformation in their lives?

THE DIFFERENCE is that audience.

From a motivational coach who went from homeless to millionaire to losing it all again; to a prominent psychologist whose 2-year-old daughter drowned in the family pool on her watch; to a self-described female boxing warrior who entered the ring at age 40; to a chiropractor turned shaman, firewalker and healer after helping a friend transition – the raw and deeply personal essays in THE DIFFERENCE capture a multi-colored tapestry of richly inspiring life stories.

Links in this episode:


To help make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who like to read rather than listen to podcasts, here are our show notes.

These show notes come via the service. The transcription is imperfect. But hopefully, it’s close enough – even with the errors – to give those who aren’t able or inclined to learn from audio interviews a way to participate.

Achim Nowak  00:03

Hey, this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the my fourth act podcast. If life is a five act play, how will you spend your for that? I have conversations with exceptional humans who have created bold and unexpected fourth acts, listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you are listening on. Let’s get started. I am so delighted to invite you to a very special edition of the my fourth act podcast. It’s special for a bunch of reasons because I have some incredible playmates. And together we wrote an anthology of very personal essays that we are very proud of called the difference. And I’ve invited some of them to be here and talk about this book. The subtitle is it’s called the difference essays on loss, courage and personal transformation. And this book began, like with this very simple idea, like what if we could ask some people who are amazing humans, who do extraordinary work in the world, and literally have impact on millions of people to reflect on their own lives. And think about if they had to pinpoint one thing that made the biggest difference in their lives, move them forward, transformed them. What might that be? So that was the premise of this book. I didn’t want to do this alone. So I live just outside of Miami, I decided my very good friend and ridiculously gifted human Rosemary Ravenel to be a co editor. And she said yes, right away. And I want to introduce you to her in a moment. But rosemary, built an incredible career as a TV host, news commentators, spokesperson and corporate communications leader, before she became the premier bilingual public speaker and executive speaker coach in the United States. So we drempt this book up together. And we invited writer, people who we adore and need to be really good writers. And then their writing came in, and we did not know what they were going to submit. So rosemary, what was it like to receive these eight essays that came in based on a very simple invitation?

Rosemary Ravinal  02:41

It was, well, first of all, it came, this is such a delight to actually be talking about the realization of this wonderful project that’s been in development for a bit over a year, I would say that it’s, you have something in mind, right? The genesis of the idea, that nugget of inspiration. And then And then something different happens, you get this magnificent thing that you weren’t expecting it to be so awesome, because in truth, the design of this is not our writing. We’re inviting great voices, thinkers, people who really have deep lives to tell us their stories. And collectively, we’ve assembled such a beautiful collection. So I would say it’s almost like we you can have a where we’re expecting a baby, right? We went to the nine months and then the baby became the baby was the most extraordinary baby.

Achim Nowak  03:36

Are you saying you and I made a beautiful baby together? Is that what you’re saying? Rosemary? We did with with a lot out of lots of gifted people. I want to I want to mention one thing that surprised me when I read the essays that come in, and maybe invite you to also think of one thing that surprised you. Because the subtitle for this book is the subtitle because of what you all our authors wrote about. And there’s a lot of writing about loss, different kinds of loss, and how facing the loss. Instead of us getting stuck in the loss. It was the catalyst towards another phase of I use the metaphor from this podcast, another act in our lives, but it required spacing loss and moving loss, and I had not expected that much writing about it. Rosemary, what stands out for you just from the themes of the book

Rosemary Ravinal  04:39

so much. It’s first, the courage, the candor, the transparency, some of the writing is very raw, which makes it so real. What also stood out is that there was such resilience throughout. There were some really deeply moving moment. In the lives of our authors, but each one took this as an opportunity to rise above and to come back even stronger. And I think that that is one of the lessons, you can’t teach that to someone. It comes from wisdom, it comes from lived experience. And that’s what I felt was such the unifying thread here, that, you know, there’s there were moments described by our authors that could have been crushing. It could have been devastating, they could have pretty much put us in darkness. But everyone rose up and flew even higher.

Achim Nowak  05:34

Therefore, we have three of the authors of the podcast, and you’ll get to me three of them. I’d like to start with Dr. Lin Maureen hurdle. I have to confess right away, over 30 years ago, Lynn was my boss at a social services agency in Manhattan. And Lynn was the best boss I have ever had. But let me give you the official data here. Dr. Lin. Maureen hurdle is a communication expert and conflict resolution strategist, a Diversity Equity and Inclusion facilitator and a writer. This just scratches the surface of everything that Lynn does. Lynn, when you got this invitation to write an essay, you ended up writing about a phrase, I love the term about breaking culture. Did you immediately know that that was the thing you wanted to write about? Or how did you settle on that as the story that you wanted to tell?

Lynne Maureen Hurdle  06:36

Yeah, I immediately knew that that was what I was wanting to write about. It was the it came at a time when it was such a difficult time in my life. And it was the first time in my life when I had experienced real difficulty real loss. And as it has turned out to be a pattern in my life, this several things happening at once that were major events in my life. And I had to navigate all of those things. And then I used them to really change the way I was living in the way I was working. So as soon as you said that I know exactly what I’m writing about here.

Achim Nowak  07:24

Yes. But break it down for us. I want to invite you to be very specific, what are some examples of culture breaking? Like, yeah, big things you have to break.

Lynne Maureen Hurdle  07:35

So I’m African American. That’s how I define myself. And I can tell you that there’s lots of rules in our culture, as they’re on many cultures, I know that in our culture, I grew up strict, straight up African American, and we’re told the rules a lot. And so there were a lot of rules around parenting in particular. And so what I write about in the essay is getting this diagnosis of infertility and how devastating that was for me, and then at that same time, my mom actually didn’t even know the diagnosis, and I watched her wither away, and then eventually die from the reoccurrence of breast cancer. And those two things really created a time in my life when I had to look at, well, what am I getting from this experience as terrifying and difficult as it was, and what I got was the opportunity to look at how I wanted to parent. And I never liked a lot of the rules. But before I got into conflict resolution, I wasn’t a parent. So I didn’t know I figured I’m gonna go along the way they were I was raised. That’s how I’m going to raise my children. And then when this happened, I decided you know what I know enough about conflict resolution to do something very different. And that’s what I’m going to do. Because I know as much as I love my mom, she was also going to have something to say about how I raised and so that voice was no longer going to be in my ear. And while other voices were they didn’t have the weight that she would have had in my life. And so I chose to to do something different like talk to my sons rather than hit them or spank them but like that was really something that I got a lot of flack for and but I thought that listen, these are intelligent beings. I know that their babies and their toddlers and their children but I believe that they can understand a lot more than we give them credit for and so one of those things was like having family meetings and really listening and talking and understanding what was what was hurting them what what were the things that they kind of didn’t like about the way we were parenting my husband and I and and what what other things they would want to see, and then helping them to understand why we wanted to. And we’re going to do things in a way that maybe they didn’t always like, but that they could have a voice that is completely different from how I was raised, believe me, you know, I got slapped for spilling the milk, I got spanked for talking back. I mean, and talking back was really nothing more than me saying what I felt in the moment, but that definitely goes against the culture. So for me, breaking culture isn’t saying everything we do in this culture is bad. It’s saying, here’s the things that don’t resonate with me. And I’m going to choose to do them differently.

Achim Nowak  10:47

And one of the things that I find so powerful in your piece is that so the bittersweet part of life is that your mother dying? Yep. There was sadness with it. And there was Liberation with it, you know, and both things were true. And as I just as you describe your parenting style, I’m going shoot, that’s still pretty radical from any families, regardless, regardless of what culture you come from. That’s right, as you’re describing it. Yeah. Yeah,

Lynne Maureen Hurdle  11:22

that’s right. And I never expected the liberation part. So that was the surprise for me that there could actually, because the devastation that was the first major loss of my life, and and to lose her before I became a parent, the devastation was real. And I did go to depressed place for a little while. And then I just really recognize the light. They’re like, here’s the opportunity. And it isn’t betraying my love for my mother to say, I’m going to use being liberated at this moment to change something in my life. That’s pretty major.

Achim Nowak  12:04

Yeah. Rosemary, I invite you to have a chat with our friend Carl fix. And Mike, why don’t you introduce him to us first, and then let’s learn about Carl.

Rosemary Ravinal  12:16

Oh, Carl, will call yours is the first essay in in the section about loss, which is the the lead into the anthology, and you’ve had such vivid experiences and you detail them with such a sense of almost like a realistic approach. And, and no wonder because you you, I’m going to introduce you by profession in a moment. But I wanted to say that you kick off with a quote from Isa Dennison, that that says, all sorrows can be born if you tell the story about them. And that’s this I think, really captures the essence of this collection. And we’re all telling stories about our sorrows. So from what I understand from your story, and it is against Britain so exquisitely it’s that you you started to accumulate number of losses in your life you’re an attorney by profession, you lost a good friend in in who disappeared in the in the woods on a on a on a camping expedition, you lost your mother, you lost someone else, you lost your ability to to run, which was a passion of yours, you no longer for physical reasons, were able to and you just kept kept going with multiple multiple losses of one kind or another, yet do you emerged stronger. So tell us tell us your secret. How was what was the process of you then taking this this collective sense of loss and then using it to thrive?

Carl Ficks Jr.  13:46

Well, thank you, rosemary, for that. And thank you everyone for being here today. It’s it’s very meaningful. The Denison quote that I started with is something I started when my mother passed away, which is in the book, I did her eulogy. And that is how I opened the eulogy. Because that was the only way that I can handle. In fact, doing that eulogy without becoming a mess. So what I did is I told stories about my mom and that eulogy. And I found that to be very powerful. So I that’s how I wanted to kick this off. Also with the disclaimer in the book and one I’ll make here that my sorrows and my losses are indeed not unique. While the facts may be a little different, and I’ll touch on those in a moment, everybody suffers loss. We are all dealt losses. And the way I handled them, frankly, Rosemary was to just say okay, this does not make me unique. This does not make me different. Not there’s no you know, woe is me here. It’s okay. We got these coming at us. faster I do and how do I deal with them? The circumstances. It was my brother in law who disappeared at the very moment my mother was dying in the hospital. So those two things happen at once, which is really not something you plan for. I have a distinct recollection, my wife had four brothers, one disappeared, and two of them were out there looking for him. I was in the hospital while my mom was dying, my sister’s a registered nurse by trade. And she said, Mom’s got about 48 to 72 hours. And that’s it. So a brother in law out in Arizona called me and said, I need X, Y, and Z. And I said to him, I’ll get back to you right now, my mother’s dying, I need to attend to that. So it was really a trick for lack of a better word that I learned in law school was to kind of silo things, and I was able to silo these losses and deal with one at a time, which made it easier to bear. And then they kind of kept coming. So it was just what am I going to do with these? Am I going to run and hide? Or am I going to kind of repurpose and repackage them and use them to kind of get on a new stage? And that’s what I did.

Rosemary Ravinal  16:17

Right? And then you also stopped practicing law? Right? You’d end? Yes, it was another big loss in your life that defined you. How do you rebound from that?

Carl Ficks Jr.  16:27

Well, I had been for some time, I left the practice of law in 2013, I went into philanthropy for four years back to the practice of law in 17. And the rows came off, or the bloom came off the rows shortly thereafter, but I kept at it. And as I mentioned, in the book, a very good friend, a partner of mine, and a mentor, by the name of Dan, he was just a great guy. And in March of 21, died in his sleep. And that was kind of a wake up call. I thought, wow, Dan is gone. And I was 57. At the time, the very age my brother in law was when he disappeared. And I started to think what’s going to happen if I stay at this, if I stay at the practice of law, am I going to simply disappear, because we’ve all seen in our respective professions, those that hang on to the very end, and they’re not really living, they’re simply existing. And I’ve never wanted to simply exist, I’ve always wanted to live and I’ve always wanted to experience things and meet people and do different things. So Dan’s death, frankly, in the dark of night, much like Dr. hurdles essay about permission, I was writing and I ride prolific miles on my bike, and I was riding my bike. And I thought, well, that’s really what Dan’s death was, aside from the loss of a very close friend. It was almost as if he were giving me permission to move on to something else. And that’s what I did, although I wasn’t sure what it was going to be.

Achim Nowak  18:06

Thank you. I’m very happy to introduce the third contributor, Melissa Smith. And like with Lynn hurdle, Melissa and I met in the 1990s. In New York, I need to say that she’s an extraordinary writer. But I met Melissa the for some of the powerful things she did that define her public persona right now. And that she writes about in her stunning ex essay called how boxing uncaged me. So Melissa is the author of a history of women’s boxing, the first definitive history of the sport. She is a global female boxing authority and the co host of the War Room sports podcast and she’s involved in the in the boxing industry in many, many other formal ways. This is just the tip of it. Hey, Melissa.

Malissa Smith  19:03

Hey, I came thank you so much. I’m so honored to be on the podcast and to be with my fellow authors and with you and rosemary.

Achim Nowak  19:12

Yeah. So Melissa, you and I are the same age we met when we were in our 40s. And in your 40s you decided to go to a boxing gym and seriously train as a boxer. At a time when many people not not even even including men might say like shit, I’m way too old to do that. So would you briefly tell us how you got to the moment when you walked through the doors at Lisa’s gym in Brooklyn, a famous gym and decided to train?

Malissa Smith  19:51

Well, you know, boxing as I talked about in the USA boxing has been a lifelong passion as a as an observer, if you will, even from when I was A little girl watching kids fight on the street. But I was always attracted to the formality of the science of boxing. It just took me to my 40s to recognize that I could actually do it as a girl, that it wasn’t a gender thing that you can actually walk into a boxing gym. And having gone through a lot of experiences in life where I really felt kick down and was having, finding that the toll of those experiences always seemed to be taken through my body. And that once I was able to cross that threshold, I found that I was able to find a connection in the physical, the emotional, the intellectual aspects of my life, that helped me integrate those feelings. And there was thinking about hitting a heavy bag and the formality of learning the process. The discipline also gave me permission to let go of the things that had held me back across a lifetime.

Achim Nowak  21:09

Yeah. Give us a snapshot of being in the gym because you and working with a trainer. It’s almost a cliche to say this, but we get this from your essay. You had a some quirky boxing was supporting you. And training, Melissa Smith walked into Gleason like, yeah, that’s a little snapshot of what that so

Malissa Smith  21:32

my first trainer was a man named Johnny Greenwich. He had, he had been training, you know, for like 30 years, and you’ve been a trainer for at least 30 years, I guess I knew him in his 60s, and had boxed earlier than that. And we found that we both shared a love of 1950s Jazz, which was awesome. So we had this little touch point. But it became very clear fairly quickly that he only had about three things to say he had stories about Miles Davis and the pianos went in, le on on sort of replay. And his his lessons on boxing consisted of if you’re going to hit it hit it hard, and I don’t want to see no pittypat. So became the basis of our training, no pity pad. So started out where you know, just very calmly trying to learn how to throw a jab and how to throw a street when I didn’t know the the basic repertoire of punches, and also coming to grips with the idea that what I thought of what as the perfect one to that my uncle male male had taught me at the age of 12 was in fact, not the way boxing wants to look. So I kind of had to undo all of that great sense of myself that I had carried off for 30 years. But gradually, you know, I began to learn and then he put me onto the heavy bag. And that’s when the real work began. Because what I hadn’t understood is how much I held myself back from my own power. And there’s something about hitting a bag with somebody yelling at you going, I don’t want to see no pittypat you hit it, you hit it hard, you hit it, you mean it. That just broke through my own reluctance to accept who I was and accept my own sense of my being. And by hitting it and hitting it hard. It was like I was actually at war with myself. I was the heavy bag. I was the one getting pummeled. I was the one breaking apart, all the scars, all the emotional scars, all his self doubt, all the self hatred, all those things that accumulate. That in my life, I had always kept to sort of like up in my throat rather than really, as we say, sinking down into your legs and really sitting on your punches. And by gradually doing that work with Johnny in my ear screaming, I don’t want to say no. But I really began to learn how to hit how to create my own sense of our and through that how to have a cathartic experience. i There were days I’d be on the heavy bag, I just tears streaming down my face, as I kept hitting and punching and going through the routines just as this cathartic release of experience. And even now 25 years later, I will find if I’m working out suddenly the tears start to leak and it’s like, Oh, I’ve been holding on to something there’s no something I haven’t been letting go of. And it’s that experience of power that I found was the driver to that.

Achim Nowak  24:45

Thank you, Melissa. I’m going to pause for a second. A word from your sponsor. That’s me. I invite you to go to the website associated with this podcast. asked Fourth, you will find other equally inspiring conversation with great humans. And you will also learn more about the my fourth act mastermind groups where cool people figure out how to chart their own fourth acts. Please check it out. And now back to the conversation. Rosemary, yes, your essay and your essay you explore your relationship to your I hope I say despite your Cuban past, that you know, primarily from exile because you left Cuba as a young girl and went away. I don’t want to delve too far into the essay. But if you had to summarize getting into that story of not being in the country who are born and putting it down into paper, or this the old metaphor, but you know, on the computer, what are some insights that you had, as you wrote that down?

Rosemary Ravinal  26:07

It was to use the word that’s been used before. But accurate is cathartic. It was a it was a revelation for me, I’d never done this before. We put it this way. It where it’s been 60 years is I’ve been in this country. So so the memory of Cuba was for many, many decades, really, really faint and very distant. But in the last, let’s say, 1520 years or so I’ve started to become more much more aware of the, of the richness of having those ties of living in culture. And to have a sense of identity that I had suppressed for four decades, there was something always nagging. There was a sense of displacement. But I didn’t know what it was. When I moved from New York to Miami, by the way I was in exile, like many who came on a plane in the in the 60s, but we settled in New York, which was unusual. A lot of the of the people fleeing Cuba, settled in South Florida. So we lived in a very Anglo Saxon community, I forgot Spanish and so forth. So I reconnected with my roots after moving to South Florida about 20 years ago. So that’s when it all started. But it was something that I had, I had almost like it was nebulous, it was just behind the screen. As I started to write this, the clarity of the detail, the clarity down to the perspiration beads on, on someone’s forehead, to the sounds to the smells inside that waiting room waiting to board the plane. It just it was it was almost as if I had undergone a hypnotic session where all these little details these moments came to life. And it was, it was fascinating. It has released me to the point where I want to dig more. And I do want to go back to Cuba at some point when the political climate is right.

Achim Nowak  28:04

Yeah, thank you. Because we’re the CO editors, we each were inspired to write something as well. And my essay is called when I was willing to try anything. And you know, I was diagnosed as a as being HIV positive in 1988. Very early in the time and my, my prognosis was not good. You know, I was seeing an AIDS, one of the big aids doctors in Manhattan, I was told I had two years to live. And I took myself to pretty funky, esoteric place in the Arizona desert, where I was for six weeks. And the woman who ran it, her name was Reverend Amona, did a lot of body detoxing with us. And I thought I went was going there to try to heal my body. But what happened it was I really crossed into a different experience of knowing spirit, spirit that existed in that land, in very, very specific ways. And once I learned Once we cross into that awareness, we can’t ever go back. It’s there because we know it’s real. And part of what happened and this was transformational for me. At the end of this day, Ramon, I did something that resembled a vision quest with us. And I had a whole bunch of visions. And one was very specific. I kept seeing a White House on a cliff overlooking an ocean. It kept showing up was very clear to me that this was a real place and not a symbolic metaphor. And six months later, I left my life in New York and I lived on a White House or looking at cliff on the small island of Tobago and I became a wind surfer and I became a pretty good wind surfer. And I wasn’t Short while I was going there, other than I had that vision, in hindsight, I realized I was there to work out some other stuff of my personal story. And once I figured that out, I couldn’t wait to leave that beautiful island and continue somewhere else, you know, but that was the beauty. So jumping into literally the unknown. Before I was an Arizona, I wouldn’t have been able to find Tobago on the map. And there I was. Rosemary, we have a couple of other really people are going to talk in a moment somewhat with Melissa and Carl and Lynn, but would you like to give us a quick snapshot of a couple of the other essays because we have so many different themes around what makes it what made a difference?

Rosemary Ravinal  30:43

Let me give you a snapshot. Let me start with the best Ciara. Betsy is a psychotherapist and author She’s based in in Miami, and the the tragic death of her little girl 10 years ago, actually, it was in 2013 that changed the course of her life. And that inspired her to start a counseling practice for families suffering from similar devastating loss. And she in this essay Chronicles in great detail moment by moment, the day her daughter whose name was foofy drowned in the family pool. Really

Achim Nowak  31:21

very powerful.

Rosemary Ravinal  31:22

Then Alyssa Alexander her story explodes with with joy as she unleashed an embrace her many talents and different facets of her identity, because she’s gospel singer, a performer, a keynote speaker, Instructional Designer. So she said I don’t need to take one path, I’ll choose them all. And so that’s a joyful essay. Then we have Caroline Depoe salah, who is the Cuban but also lives in South Florida. She is the only daughter of a world renowned author and speaker named Joaquim de Passarella, who you might know from don’t eat the marshmallow series, he traveled all over the world. She grew up in the fold of the world of motivational speakers of her father’s world. She became a successful attorney on her own until her father passed and then she was compelled to fill his shoes. But she wasn’t comfortable with that she felt it wasn’t genuine. So she charted her own course and as a motivational speaker of a different kind. And she’s now has a community called core, which is focused on mind body approach to wellness, and she helps dozens of women predominantly women really find find their own stride. Then we have Tom Garcia, who was an established chiropractor, until he became the caregiver for a good friend whose death prompted him to live the life of a shaman who facilitates fire ceremonies. And then lastly, Mark J. Silverman was a star salesperson and with a storybook. Family life T succumb to many addictions. And he went from homeless to millionaire back. And he learned profound self love in the process of coming back to himself.

Achim Nowak  33:09

Thank you, Rosemary. So want to open it up to anybody wants to speak as Rosemary gave us a sense of the other essays, the authors that are here, what is something that really resonated with you or spoke to you in an essay other than your own?

Malissa Smith  33:29

I’ll say that a Karl’s essay really hit me square in the eyes. There’s a refrain through Karl’s piece where he quotes from the great Dylan Thomas’s poem do not go gently into that good night. And that particular poem is one I have loved across a lifetime, but also had shared with my father. When he died not so long ago, it was something that I had thought of about him in the last year or so of his life. So as I said, it really resonated with me, but more to the point, I felt that in carrying through that one as sort of subtext to the experience of loss, and then finding himself, it was a way of finally, not only listening to your friend, Dan, Carla, giving you permission, if you will, to move on with your life. But more to the point, this notion of you giving yourself permission to live the rest of your life in a way or at the end. You could know that you had gone through all those stages of the poem and did not go gentle, that you had lived your best life on your own terms. And that, as I said, really carried me through a lot of the rest of the book as sort of a lens or what many of the other experiences were of the author’s? Carl?

Carl Ficks Jr.  35:07

Thank you, Melissa. Dr. Gadda, having lost her daughter there, if I could, there are two lines in her chapter if you would allow me to say them, and she says, quote, I felt my own heart flatlining, as the medical staff exited the room in slow motion, leaving my daughter’s lifeless body behind. I wanted to scream, but I had no voice. I wanted to wake up, but I was not sleeping, I wanted to die. But my heart kept beating, and quote, as the mother of two or excuse me, the father strike, then it’s the father of two daughters. I can’t fathom this loss. Again, the losses I described. We all lose loved ones. But my daughters, I have a very special relationship with them. I’ve been a constant presence in their life, as my as has my wife, I’m very proud of that I’m very close with them. And losing one of them to me would be unfathomable. So what Dr. Gowda describes and it was able to turn it into something incredible, really kind of blows me away. And as I read this, I thought, you know, chat GPT is a thing now. And I thought chat GPT could never replicate those words. They just couldn’t. They’re just, it was palpable. When I read that I had to put the book down. I just needed to take a break. So that stirred me deeply.

Achim Nowak  36:39

Thank you, Carl. I’ll throw it to you, rosemary, in any particular essay that touched something in you. I know, it’s not a fair question. Because you and I have read all of them in great detail. Well, I’m going to throw it at you anyway.

Rosemary Ravinal  36:53

All of them, all of them. Because look, we’ve all been there just in to some extent or or another. And maybe it’s not the exact same situation and circumstances. But the pain, the human, just the rawness is, is something that I think is there’s something for everyone, it is the tapestry that we all live. So I found that it was is I was reading and then rereading, I found more of myself in everyone’s essays, to say that the more unique we are, we’re still no different. Now we we all have very, very similar paths, it’s what we do with it. And it’s been inspiring to see that that again, their resilience, the way all of our authors have picked up the pieces and made their best lives from that.

Achim Nowak  37:46

I took something and take something from each piece, but I want to just mention my my reaction to Tom Garcia’s essay, who was a chiropractor turned Shaman. As good as an out gay man, what moved me so much. This was a clearly heterosexual man who belongs to a men’s group and had a strong bond with another man a brotherly bond. And he and his wife and family took in a friend who was slowly moving toward death. And that experience just was so moving to me because it was so entirely selfless. But also, you know, we could sort of stop there and bury somebody, but how that propelled Tom into going out into the woods, seeking solitude, connecting with nature and more deeply, discovering the power of fire and finding another part of himself as a friend was dying. And the part that really didn’t move me is have the courage to follow through and he left his chiropractic practice. And he so came out in the world as a shaman and healer, who was fired from the rituals, which some people could be pretty far out stuff. And he had the support of his wife and his family, which is just extraordinary, you know, and their three essays and the end of the book in a section called personal transformation where we reference so going through a dark night of the soul and Mark Silverman really went through his own version. I feel like I went through it, my version and Tom Garcia certainly did. That touched me deeply.

Rosemary Ravinal  39:41

I have a question. Yes. I would like for my own benefit, because I struggled when it came time to find my story. Because I tried this. I tried that, that that and then it was it just wasn’t every one of the possible essays that I would have Written would have been provocative. But to me it sounded like Oh, three divorces, and it’s nothing and you know, is it fine? Oh, in your life experience, people have been through that. So I kept disqualifying each moment, difference making moment, I’d like to know, was it obvious to each of you them? The moment that we invited you to, to to contribute? Was that clear? Did you know exactly what you had to write about?

Malissa Smith  40:26

I would say I did, in the sense that I think of it like almost like a song line, you know, we have a trajectory through life. And we have a set of experiences. And we have different ways of thinking through that. What motivates us along that, that trajectory, or what thing ties it together. And when I was thinking about something that made the difference, or that was that profoundly transformational, it immediately clicked because I knew it had to do with facing truth, facing fear of facing release. And that was that storyline that thread that arc through my life, of not having been able to really connect the pieces. And until I was able to finally let myself go on a heavy bag. And by doing that, it gave me the story, it gave me the future, because it gave me a way of knowing that I could pay as I go, I don’t need to accumulate such a heavy credit card debt, and just spend my life paying off the big if you will, rather than going being present and taking things as they come. Yeah.

Carl Ficks Jr.  41:39

I would also say that if it did come to me, it came. I actually went back before today’s podcast, and I looked at some notes that I had made initially, when I came, approached me and I I wrote a few times Pete fire, like to me it was like a smoldering peat fire that was beneath the surface, and what do we do with that. But one of the things that made all of these losses that I had one of the what made it easier to pivot and do what I’m doing now is being a lawyer, it was a it was a wonderful career was a phenomenal education. But it never defined me. I was never hung up on my title. I didn’t need to be called attorney. It was I was simply Carl fix. And I always knew that I was so much more than attorney attorney was my profession. I was a husband, I am a husband, I am a father. I am a friend. I’m I’m a lot of different things. Lawyers just was one of them. That was my profession. So it was a little easier to pivot because I wasn’t my entire existence wasn’t wrapped up in this identity. And again, we’ve used the word cathartic. And that was indeed cathartic. And I’m grateful that I didn’t allow it to consume me and define me.

Achim Nowak  42:59

Thank you. Our hope is as authors that we didn’t just have our own cathartic experience, we trust that it will stimulate some hopefully inspirational and powerful reflection for you as well and possibly inspire some risk taking and your life, whatever that might look like rosemary, where would you like to direct people who are interested in this book?

Rosemary Ravinal  43:27

Oh, we have several places. First, you can visit the website, the difference, hyphen, And then you’ll see more profiles of our authors and excerpts. Then you can go to Amazon, and Amazon, you can download the Kindle version, and then you can pre order the paperback. So those are those are three actions you can take. And then you can look and follow any of us and and stay abreast of of the launch plans for the books. So paperback is 1299 and June 12 is the official launch date. So we are excited to generate a lot of interesting comments and in communication with all of you notice the difference book. Start again, the difference hyphen is the website.

Achim Nowak  44:19

Thank you, rosemary, and we look forward to hearing back from all of you. So thank you for listening. We invite you to buy the book. If you like it, leave some comments on Amazon reviews and get back to us. You have the website connection for every author on the website. I know you’ll be inspired by them and just just reach out to them. And bye for now. Like what you heard, please go to my fourth And subscribe to receive my updates on upcoming episodes. Please also subscribe to us on the platform of your choice. Rate us give us your with you and let us all create some magical fourth acts together Ciao


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