Posts Tagged ‘politics’

062 How to Let Go of Control to Achieve More with Maggie Toulouse

When we set out to achieve a lifelong dream, we want to be in control. We have an idea of how we want things to look, and we know that we have the tools to turn our dreams in reality. As much as we may want to have full control over how our dreams are realized, sometimes this need for control can be disastrous. A difficult lesson that many of us need to learn is that we need to relinquish some control in our lives and seek out help from others. If we don’t do this, we risk burnout, and the possibility that those goals will never be achieved. For New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse, experiencing failure was exactly what she needed to be able to relinquish control, delegate, and ultimately achieve her political aspirations.

My guest today is Maggie Toulouse. Maggie is Secretary of the State of New Mexico. She has served as Bernalillo County Clerk since 2007 and has made protecting the right to vote, improving the integrity of the election process and ensuring accountable leadership her top priorities. Maggie is a 2009 recipient of a New Mexico Technology Excellence award. In 2011, Maggie received the Distinguished Service Award from United Voters NM and Verified Voting NM for her work in promoting election integrity and in 2012 she was named one of NM Business Weekly’s “40 under 40” young professionals. Maggie grew up in New Mexico and currently lives in Albuquerque with her two sons. In this episode Maggie and I talk about the struggles she faced in her first fun for Secretary of State, what she learned about delegating tasks and relinquishing control through that experience, and how her perspective about balance has changed over time.

What You’ll Discover in This Episode

  • How you can achieve more by letting go, delegating, and prioritizing
  • Why it is important to reach out to those you trust for help instead of trying to do everything on your own
  • Why Maggie doesn’t believe in balance, and what she strives for instead

More About Maggie

Maggie has always been a go getter. She was a high achiever in school, always “trying to be the teacher’s pet.” As is often the case, this high reaching behavior resulted in unkind behavior from other students, damaging Maggie’s interpersonal relationships. As she got older she developed “a strong amount of humility

and some emotional intelligence” and began placing more value on interpersonal relationships and connections.

While she handles her successes with more humility now, that doesn’t mean she is not a high achiever. When she made the decision to run for Secretary of State of New Mexico, she put her all into it. In her first run for office, she “burnt the candle at both ends.” She discovered she was not able to be responsible for every aspect of the campaign while also maintaining some sort of balance in the rest of her life. Maggie was not elected in her first run, but she took away some useful lessons.

This experience reminded Maggie of the importance of letting go of full control. It also changed the way she thinks of ‘balance.’ trying to achieve this life of perfect balance is something we get caught up in and something we’ll never fully achieve,” she explains. With this mental approach in mind, Maggie went on to successfully reach the position of Secretary of State. “Stop beating yourself up,” she advises, and instead focus on organizing your times in smart ways.

Check Out the Links Mentioned in this Episode!

4 3 2 1: A Novel by Paul Auster

060 How to Use Spirituality to Find Hope in Difficult Times with Vera de Chalambert

What do you do when you face a dark period? When your energy and reserves seem spent and there doesn’t seem to be a clear way out? For many of us, this is the time we cling tight to our resources and close off to anyone other than our immediate loved ones to weather the storm. When we face dark times our instinct is to create borders. The assumption is if we lay low, the dark time will pass and we can go back to our normal way of life. According to spirituality scholar Vera de Chalambert, it is in these times of darkness, when we hit our lows, that our spiritual awakenings often happen. And through these spiritual renewals we find a new, full, and deep source of energy and connectedness.

Vera de Chalambert is a mindfulness facilitator, spiritual storyteller and Harvard educated scholar of comparative religion. Through deep contact, conscious inquiry and holistic modalities Vera works with her clients’ energy-consciousness system to invoke wholeness, restore balance and invite deeper levels of integration and awareness to the client’s energy field, body and life. She is a graduate of the the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, and has studied nondual healing with Jason Shulman at the Institute for Nondual Healing and Awakening. Vera works with clients and gives talks and presentations on spiritual topics and was a speaker at SAND Science and Nonduality Conference in the US and Europe and Sister Giant in Washington DC. Vera holds a Master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. In this episode Vera and I talk about the importance of letting yourself feel darkness and chaos, why strong, feminine energy is significant in the current political climate, and how to use spirituality to find strength when times are dark.

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What You’ll Discover in this Episode:

  • How you can change your perspective to see the low times in your life as part of your spiritual journey
  • What Kali represents and how learning to recognize her in your life can help you to get through dark times
  • How shedding your ideas about yourself can help you to become stronger, more independent, and more spiritually balanced

More about Vera

As we grow and discover what we’re drawn to and away from, we create stories about ourselves. We develop a sense of identity and place deep faith in the validity of the reasons that it has been formed. When this idea about ourselves gets questioned or even shattered, it shakes us to the core. According to Vera, this dark time is actually “essential for the spiritual healing and awakening process.” But that doesn’t mean it comes easily. “What we really discover very often,” she admits, “is that the spiritual life makes us into losers.” We lose our superficial ideas about ourselves and we “begin to lose our ideas of god and our old certainties.”

For Vera, this is the “process of the Kali dance.” Vera describes Kali as a dark feminine energy that shows up in nearly all spiritual doctrines. Kali is “the great mystery that envelops us when we come into contact with a quality of reality that includes life and death, birth and resurrection.” Kali is the time we associate with darkness. This time is darkness because it encompasses everything; both dark and bright times, and that sort of seeming contradiction is difficult for our minds to accept, so in our confusion we cling to the darkness. But Kali is not bad, Vera explains. While she encompasses “life and death, [she is also] birth and resurrection.”

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Vera asserts that we are going through a ‘Kali dance’ right now, throughout the world. Times appear dark and hopeless, but in reality it is a process that is leading us to universally shed “so many of our false beliefs.” Vera encourages those who feel hopeless to think of this as a natural part of the cycle of life and a time of “being intimate with aliveness.” “We have one certainty in life,” she stresses, “and that’s that there will be times when things fall apart.”

Check Out the Links Mentioned in this Episode!

Kali Takes America: I’m With Her by Vera de la Chalambert

Vera’s Website

Dark Gold by Carolyn Baker

The Instruction Manual for Receiving God by Jason Shulman

Sister Giant

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056 How to Find Balance Through Spiritual Connection with Jean Houston

In the current political climate, it can feel that there’s a split in society. At times, we feel so divided by issues that we can’t even start a conversation with someone who disagrees with us. For Foundation for Mind Research founder and renowned spiritual leader Jean Houston, we must find those things that unite us if we want to make progress. And the things that unite us, she explains, are at the core matters of the spirit. We must be able to overlook the specific issues and remember that we are all humans with drive, compassion, and spiritual depth.

My guest on this episode is Jean Houston. Jean is a Ph.D., scholar, philosopher and researcher in Human Capacities. In 1965, along with her husband Dr. Robert Masters, Jean founded The Foundation for Mind Research. She is long regarded as one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement. A prolific writer, Jean is the author of 26 books including “Jump Time”, “ A Passion for the Possible”, “Search for the Beloved”, “Life Force”, and “The Possible Human.”  As Advisor to UNICEF in human and cultural development, she has worked around the world helping to implement some of their extensive educational programs. In this episode Jean and I talk about the intersectionality of spirituality and politics, what we can do to use spirituality to connect in our current political climate, the importance of women coming into power, and why community is so important.

What You’ll Discover in This Episode

  • How Jean is able to unite people by focusing on our similarities rather than those things that divide us
  • How you can explain to others the importance of gender equality and overcome strife and create greater unity
  • How you can foster a relationship with spirituality, even if you don’t consider yourself a particularly spiritual person

More About Jean

As intellectual beings, we have developed and evolved in incredibly complex and self-aware ways. One way that is sometimes overlooked, though, is the immense spiritual capacity that we all have. “We are not encapsulated bags of skin dragging around dreary little egos,” she explains. However, when we overlook this potential, we are wasting a source of power and unity and end up existing as “the flight of the alone to the alone.”

One way that Jean encourages spiritual unity is through equal treatment of the sexes. She expresses that “the rise of women to full partnership with men” is one of the largest movements of the modern world. As men and women are no longer “under the heavy thumbprint of the patriarchy,” there is more freedom for both to explore how they define their existences. She acknowledges that “the releasing of thousands of years of expectations… in a few hundred months” can lead to backlash, but as men and women discover and explore this new reality, they find more freedom and compassion.

Just as with pushback of gender equality, we must approach political conflict with compassion and understanding. She suggests that the potential for spiritual depth that exists within all of us can unify us, and help us to overlook political differences. According to Jean, “we don’t just live in the universe, the universe lives in us,” and remembering this unified existence is essential to coming together.

Check Out the Links Mentioned in this Episode!

Jean Houston books

Dark Money by Jane Mayer

051 How Food Policy Impacts Women’s Health with Sheila Krumholz

Do you ever find yourself strolling through the grocery store seeking out the healthiest options, and it seems as though nearly everything has added sugar? This isn’t just happenstance. And it’s not just that food companies like to add sugar to their products; there are actually policy decisions that allow for this sugar phenomena. And it’s not just sugar. According to executive director Sheila Krumholz, nearly all of the food decisions we are offered are influenced by policy, and more often than not by money in politics.

In this episode I speak with Sheila Krumholz. Sheila is the Center for Responsive Politics’ (also known as Executive Director, the liaison to its board and major funders and its primary spokesperson. is a transparency organization that seeks to expose all and any money that comes into or out of politics. Sheila became executive director in 2006, having spent eight years as the Center’s research director, supervising data analysis for and CRP’s clients. She first joined the organization in 1989 as assistant editor of the very first edition of Open Secrets, the Center’s flagship publication. In 2010, Fast Company magazine named Sheila to its “Most Influential Women in Technology” list. Sheila has a degree in international relations and political science from the University of Minnesota. In this episode Sheila and I talk about the importance of developing and maintaining a reputation of respect and trustworthiness, why keeping money out of politics matters, and how it can trickle down to significantly impact your health and the health of your family.

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What You’ll Discover in This Episode

  • How you can avoid negative policy decisions regarding the health and food options for you and your family and support positive ones
  • What you can do to educate yourself about money in politics, and how you can make a difference
  • How you can make grassroots efforts to influence larger political decisions

More About Sheila

As executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) Sheila helps ensure the mission of the organization is achieved, which is at its core to “study how money flows into politics and how it influences politics.” The organization arose in the Nixon era, when there was a “sense in our nation that politics are crooked and politicians are corrupt.” Corruption arises out of monetary incentive, so the CRP sought not to keep money out of politics, because they would then have a leaning in the political process, but rather to report these financial relationships to the public. “As soon as you set up rules, it has to be recognized that there will be highly paid political operatives who will look for ways around them.”

Sheila explains that most people in the general public don’t directly engage with the CRP’s resources but they do receive the information indirectly. The average American doesn’t t have time to look into money in politics, but reporters use CRP as an important resource to impart this information to the public. As the public is comprised of the voters, she urges people to find reliable news sources and vote, because “even if people are aware [of CRP], how useful is it if they’re not engaged with politics?”

Sheila explains that it is imperative that the CRP is not an advocacy organization. She understands that the organizations that are flowing money into politics to influence policy decisions “are businesses and they need to protect their profits.” She explains that “they have a constitutional right to be heard.” However, “we have a right and responsibility to protect the public good.” It comes down to “protecting the few versus protecting the many.” By simply providing information and not taking a side, the CRP puts the knowledge and decision in the hands of the voters. “Without transparency, voters can’t do their jobs.”

Check Out the Links Mentioned in This Episode!

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040 The Female Voice in Politics with Ellen Malcolm

What does the word ‘feminism’ mean to you? Do you struggle over whether or not you identify as a feminist Many of us exemplify feminism in our actions in its true meaning, yet some of us have an aversion to identify with the term due to negative associations. EMILY’s List founder Ellen Malcolm has seen the rise and fall and rise again in popularity of the term. To her, the word itself is not as important as fighting for what it really means: equality between men and women. Today I speak with Ellen about how she advocates for gender equality and greater female representation in politics.

My guest today is Ellen Malcolm, founder and board chair of EMILY’s List, an organization that seeks to give female political candidates credibility and resources to win by developing a a donor network that encouraged members to contribute to the candidates EMILY’s List recommends. Ellen is a veteran Democratic activist and fundraiser who began her career as an organizer at Common Cause and later served as press secretary for the National Women’s Political Caucus. In 1980, Ellen went to work at the White House as the press secretary for President Jimmy Carter’s special assistant for consumer affairs. Ellen is a recipient of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Margaret Sanger Award — the organization’s highest honor and has been named one of the most influential women in America by Vanity Fair, one of Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year, and one of Ladies’ Home Journal’s 100 Most Important Women in America. Today I speak with Ellen about the changes and challenges EMILY’s List has faced over the years, the importance of including female voices in politics, and how she has been able to make real, sustainable change nationally.

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What You’ll Discover in This Episode:

  • What you can do today to encourage more female and family friendly policies
  • How Ellen avoids burnout and why she thinks taking a break from work makes her a better, stronger worker
  • How you can get involved in the political system to make a difference from the inside out

More About Ellen

Ellen has been active in politics since the 60’s. After graduating college in 1969 she became involved in the anti-war movement and participated by demonstrating and becoming active in rallies; fighting from the outside. Ellen says she recognizes herself in Bernie Sanders-supporting millennials today. There is dissatisfaction with the way the government is running, and people want change. For Ellen, after trying to change from the outside and having little success, she “decided that I wanted to go inside the system and make a difference.” She knew that there was little female representation in politics, and decided to take this on as her challenge.

Ellen began EMILY’s List in 1985 to help connect funders with female candidates to ultimately introduce more female voices in to our government. “EMILY’s List is an acronym, standing for “Early Money Is Like Yeast” (i.e., it makes the dough rise),as Ellen recognized that financial backing is the starting point to get women into office. Thirty years later, EMILY’s List has seen the election of 11 female governors, 19 Senate members, 110 House of Representative members, over 700 state and local office successes, and the first female presidential candidate.

Today, EMILY’s list is proud to have seen such incredible change in a short period of time, but Ellen recognizes that there is still significant work to be done. She suggests the best way to initiate more change is for women to run for office, and she encourages any and all women to consider it.


Describe one personal habit that contributes to your well-being:

Walk my dogs.

What super power did you discover you had only to realize it was there all the time?

Public speaking.

What advice would you give to your 25 or 30 year old self?

Expose yourself to a lot of different things.


Check Out the Links Mentioned in This Episode!

EMILY’s List

When Women Win by Ellen Malcolm

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

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