Practice You with Elena Brower

By Elena Brower

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Navigate and master life's transitions with bestselling author Elena Brower. This is your invitation to PRACTICE YOU. On the PY Podcast, expect raw, real inquiries into relationship, lifestyle, healing, education, spirit, service, ancient practice, and modern wisdom. Expect explorations that uplift our understandings, stories to support our strengths, and lessons in compassion to amplify our love. Together we’ll elevate humanity to spark, share, and sustain wellbeing. Welcome to PRACTICE YOU.

Episode Date
Episode 5: Remembering Mary Oliver

In this episode, on the occasion of Mary Oliver's passing, I took time to read my favourite passages and poems. Her work has informed mine since 1998, and reading her words brings me back to the earliest days in my teaching and learning to lead.

Readings from:

A Thousand Mornings
A Poetry Handbook

Feb 16, 2019
Episode 4: Collecting Difficult Moments in Relationship, with James Benard

On the intelligence of risk, radical independence, and decoding the real conversation that happens in relationship. 

Feb 05, 2019
Episode 3: It’s All a Teaching, with Elena

Seeing difficult moments as evidence that it was always coming together.

Length: 5:00
Seeing that every difficult moment is a teaching.
A Call For Revolution by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Seek evidence that it was always coming together
Hold a state of peace within our hearts
“...respond to terror with increased democracy, openness and tolerance”

May we be more gentle with our fear
May we apply the tolerance, non-violence within our own homes
May we look upon those closest to us (with whom we might be challenged) and continue to believe that there is a teaching in this challenge.

Feb 05, 2019
Episode 2: Collecting Difficult Moments, with Ally Bogard

On the energetic and practical wisdom of gathering difficult moments; seeing them as food for your journey.

Length: 54:07

Eternal Two Step by Mark Nepo, p.33, Things That Join the Sea and Sky

Collecting difficult moments like little gems.
Don't try to avoid them; gather them up like fuel, food, treasures.

When you're a child, the imagination still reigns; there isn’t the impression of meaning just yet… the meaning of what's occurring is entirely open to our interpretation. Meanings begin to be collected and change us. Collecting difficult moments puts us back into the world of imagination, allowing us to reclaim creativity.

That moment you started to feel like the adult with your parents.
Collecting moments of trusting that everyone has their path.
AB the pleaser; letting go of the need to control other people's experience.
Collecting the difficult moments makes them sacred. Reclaiming lost bits of ourselves, our imagination.

Self Compassion practice; Rod Stryker- Sanctuary app
What hasn’t been healed? Acknowledging what hasn’t been healed. Giving love and compassion to those aspects. What is it that hasn't been healed?

EB the fixer; growing the heart v. boundaries. Committing to self in the midst of relationship.

AB: Loving yourself is never somewhere we get, it's a never-ending journey.
Knowing that you, yourself are your person and committing to that.
“Her” film: the computer loving her 800 humans.
What if my self-love can be so big, it doesn't get rid of my self-hate, it can simply expand to hold and encompass it?

Practicalities. Scheduling. What is on your calendar that map that self-love?

AB: I tend to schedule things for someone else; having spare time means meeting myself in the blank spaces. Schedule the void diligently. The busyness is just my way of avoiding myself. I don't want to keep accumulating difficult moments without processing the wisdom / extracting the gold from them.

I have to make mandatory space in the early morning. So I determine the energy I run in the day. And at least once during the day touching down with someone that nourishes me.

On distractions
EB: Business is my favourite distraction; traveling is a good way for me to just stare into space and get great insights about how I want to show up.

EB: collecting difficult moments with kids; realizing that she doesn’t need to have Jonah be anything or anyone other than who he is.

EB: Taking space to take space in order to respond to a difficult moment as it’s happening. Moving from baseline overt volatility to softening.
AB: Moving from silent treatment / avoidance / repression to learning how to fight.

EB: Learning from James’ experience with mens’ work how to listen, communicate. On truly listening. Accepting what the other person is telling you, and then also offering your side.
AB: Can I suspend my first judgement of thinking this is “good” or “bad” - the wisdom of hindsight teaches me that all the tough moments were other than what I thought was being asked of me.

I'm grateful that life or God always knew what was needed.
Who do i want to become with what's happening, so that we aren’t passive bystanders?
What current of energy are you running in your system?

In all difficult moments you were met by grace.
Seth Godin - difficult moments will not be helped by brute force.
How can we get creative with what’s happening or happened.
We're not passive bystanders.
Choosing what kind of energy you’re running in your system.

With what are you identifying in this particular moment?
Flexible identities v. fixed identities.
When we look at collecting difficult moments; it's not the identity about what happened, but what we chose to do with it. eg. I was abandoned, so I chose not to abandon.

AB chooses her charity: Navajo Water Project fundraiser.
Help provide solar power and water where need is greatest in our land.
EB realizing early on the lie being told in American history books.

AB: When you stop working, do you feel that your existence doesn't matter?
If i stop, it's almost as if everything is about to fall apart.
EB: Trying to stop being perfect or productive in every moment; just practicing sitting still.


1. What needs healing?
AB: Developing an unshakeable faith in God and trust in the Creator/ Divine Mother. Remembrance that we’re being walked. I'm doing my very best to live with an unburdened heart.
EB: To heal my judgement, learning to contextualize the person i’m judging. Becoming more deeply familiar with what the other side is doing / saying so it’s not surprising anymore.

Van Jones on Tami Simons, Insights at the Edge.

2. What's your favourite view?
AB: Eye to eye, voice to voice, heart to heart.
(We never get to sit together and just be eye to eye with no device, no distraction.)
EB: The back of my son’s neck. Formerly my Papa’s. James’ too.

3. What does prayer mean to you?
AB: Prayer means recovering a lost language - the true mother tongue. Prayer got taken out of our hands and put into the hands of others. Prayer is a place where I have to humble myself. Ask for help. Say thank you. Silent prayer makes me wonder who could listen to my quiet, inner place. That must be inside of me, inseparable from me; it’s a redirect to something inside that’s listening, that wants to hear.
EB: Provides confirmation that it’s all inside of each of us. Prayer used to be more asking and collapsing. Now it’s more the relaxing rather than the asking. Affirming my humility. The fact that I don’t know, i don’t have an answer, and i don’t know what to do. But i'm listening.
AB: Praying for God's will - the woman AB met in MX stopped praying for her perceived needs and started praying for God's will, soon realising that her needs were met, under God's will, and her mission was just to get right with what is. Being grateful for exactly this moment. How do I get right with this.


Hear and map what your inner voice has been telling you about difficult moments. Make it artful, beautiful, scary, real.
From the map, write a list of what scares you and/or a list of your dreams.
Bless things more. Find aspects of your life to bless.
Ask a couple of people for feedback. How am i handling difficult moments? What could I have done better today? Don't "identify" with what feedback they give you; identify with what you can do to heal it.

“Eternal Two Step” by Mark Nepo.
From Things That Join the Sea and Sky

Difficult moments are like little deaths. Get good with them.


Roshi Joan Halifax
Van Jones on Tami Simons, Insights at the Edge

Feb 05, 2019
Episode 1: Collecting Difficult Moments, Intro with Elena

Seeing difficult moments as our treasures. Strategies and perspectives for releasing stories and tensions.

Vanda Scaravelli quote: Tension is a theft.
To be in adherence with the present moment.
On the stories we’ve repeated in our minds to create tension
“Notice the stories you hold in your mind. Let go of the ones that cause tension.” -Yung Pueblo

On our being accustomed to - and recreating a baseline neutral of tension…
On the contradictions we’ve adhered to - and seeing them as the treasures and the lessons
On stopping the fight

Welcoming the child in us that we’ve shunned
And collecting the presence, creating a sacred space for that part of us

How to be with those parts of ourselves that we’ve denied
Making time for compassion
Seeing your child bring forth all the parts of you that you’ve denied

On being with the sting of childhood, seeing how it’s still likely driving our choices
Not dramatizing, nor glorifying, just giving it compassion and love

Rod Stryker on Glo
Seeing what hasn’t received my full compassion and love

Feeling the lesson now; observing and choosing with more clarity

Our PRACTICE for this episode:
Noting and writing what still hurts.
What part of you needs your compassion
How old were you when that happened / was happening
Write it out

My example from 5th grade

If we wish to help and serve, to land in the source of lingering childhood pain is a viable endeavour - write it out…
Then note:
What’s a good response, from the perspective of the person that you are now?

Complaining less
Serving more
More transparency
Recent conversation with my son
There's no map for parenting; we don’t really know how we’re doing

Jonah's honest response to my burgeoning self-compassion

Your writing out the difficult moments will serve as your map.

13:00 - 16:45
As you observe the choices you’ve made as a result of the tension you’ve cultivated unconsciously, here are some possible practices.

Looking ahead to Episode Two with Ally Bogard.


Sanctuary App
Glo with Rod Stryker
Ally Bogard

Feb 03, 2019