be the change

MEND Season 3 - Episode 58

Facing Tragedy. Finding Hope. with Leah Harris.


It was early last Friday morning and I started getting texts from some of my friends who teach to high school students.

No specifics were mentioned.

But the request. - Prayers.  Thoughts and love.

I need to hold space in a very big way today.

There is some major processing to unfold.  

And so I sent them some words of love and encouragement and some emoji hearts and held them in my thoughts for a moment or so.

Over the course of the next few hours, it would be revealed what had happened.

A student in our local area - a teenager, no older than sophomore year - had ended his life - late Thursday night - at the McKinleyville high school quad.  

And our grief.  And our confusion. And our dismay and our overwhelm and our tears - are only still beginning to pour forth.  

And so I wanted to take a minute today to share some tools and information how best I could, by enlisting a friend of mine who works in this world.

My guest today is Leah Harris.  

Leah is a transformation and storytelling coach, trauma-healing specialist, and activist.  She’s spent the last 20 years of her life devoted to learning everything she can about caring for and navigating her own  wounds, to survive, heal, and more fully share her work with the world.

Leah was born to a single mother, a creative artist with a powerful spirit who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her mother cycled in and out of state hospitals, wandering the streets, hearing voices. And eventually died at the age of 46,  & in Leah’s words, as if often the case of those affected by adversity and mental illness - “She was a brilliant light that was lost far too soon.”

Her father was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in his youth. He died suddenly at age 63, dealing yet another devastating blow to her family.

As a teenager, Leah was often told that she would be likely to suffer a similar fate to her parents.  And the few places that were available to her for support offered her little more than a system of blame, labeling and heavy medication.  

When she was in her mid twenties, Leah joined up with "survivors and ex-patients," a international human rights and social justice movement that has existed largely on the margins of mainstream attention. For the first time, she met a group of people who understood her experience and shared their own version. She finally felt a part of something larger than herself, a movement for change. This broke down the shame and silence that she had lived with, and was the beginning of reclaiming her own  voice & cultivating her ability to empower and hold space for others navigating their own path through trauma, as well.

This discovery set Leah on a journey of nearly twenty years to discover everything she could about trauma and the various mind-body pathways to healing.

Her mission - as a transformational coach, speaker, writer & advocate - is something we dip into at the end of our talk, and words worth sticking around for.  

Leah is a nationally-recognized trainer and curriculum developer with the  National Center for Trauma-Informed Care. She is also a storytelling mentor, a Life Stories Institute-certified facilitator and a teaching artist in-training with Story District.

You can read more about all of this on her website - which I’ll link to in the show notes.

She also has a page of resources for those coping with trauma, suicidal ideation and those looking for a more holistic, human and empowering approach to grappling with what we call mental illness.  

I wanted to share the voice of this wise and compassionate woman with you today as a way to provide tools, comfort & sage advice for a troubling time.  

Inside this talk, you’ll hear ways to move from dis-empowerment and overwhelm when confronted with trauma.  The best ways to hold space for those who are in the throes of grief or dealing with their own suicidal thoughts.  And why trauma & suicide is so MUCH MORE than just an individual problem - and how we can begin to re-work the narrative around these issues - so that those amongst us who are suffering - the most vulnerable - can find their rightful place inside the healing fold once more.  

First, let me say to the family who is reeling from this.  

I am so deeply sorry.

Words cannot convey.  

May you be surrounded and uplifted and loved and tended during this horrible time.  

May we - your community - provide whatever we can - as far as time, listening, food, childcare, money - whatever it is - so that you may be aided during this very dark moment in your life.  

Let not just our prayers and hearts go with you - but our actions too.  

May we meet you with love - that is active and strong enough to meet you in your need.

To the child who no longer wished to be a part of this world - my darling - my darling - I never knew you.  

But my heart aches for you.

I pray you rest in freedom in this moment.

I pray that -wherever you are - you know joy, and peace, and a deep, felt sense of belonging and LOVE - that this world was unable to provide you.  

I pray - and trust - that you are now released from the ties that bound you in this life.

And to us - who may not know how to show up inside this difficult moment - with all the other problems facing us - both individually - and as a culture - as a planet….  

This is not isolated.

This is not just a malfunctioning of brain chemistry or an individual incident.

This is an opportunity to do better.

To move that one step closer to creating a culture where the most vulnerable and sensitive among us do not want to leave.  

I have been that vulnerable child.

I have been that person contemplating an early exit strategy - on more than one occasion.

And more than likely, you know someone who struggles to live inside this world, as well.

So, let this mark a turning point for us today.

To gather our love.

To gather our resources.

Our energy - our vision - our skills and our time - to enter into brave & compassionate space and conversation with one another - around difficult topics.  

Ready to to difficult things.

In order to make this world a more just, loving & inhabitable one - for us all.  

MEND Season 2 - Episode 35

Material Capital with Shia Su  

“What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?” 
― Henry David ThoreauFamiliar Letters


“Don’t start where it is difficult”.  These  words of wisdom come from Shia Su, a woman well-versed in the zero-waste movement – a name she admits can be a bit misleading.  Shia offers numerous tools and life hacks for cutting down on your waste and consumerism, actions that anyone with an inkling of willingness can start to implement into their life today, one step at a time.  These can be found on her website and blog at She also has a new book that just came out called “Zero Waste – Simple Lie Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash”.

This is what Shia urges – to start where it is easy, to take one piece of the puzzle and fit it into your daily life until it becomes a habit.  She emphasizes that it is not about the over zealous, tackle-it-all-at-once, total life altering changes – these are not sustainable and very rarely successful.  It is about the slow, intentional steps that you can nestle into your every day.

Shia now lives in Germany, but has traveled and lived in a variety of other places. She shares with us some interesting insights into how various cultures approach the issues of consumerism and waste, if at all.  In this episode she also talks about the importance of access, who you surround yourself with and the ways to be successful and forgiving of yourself while on the path to zero-waste.

What’s your first step going to be?  If you feel inspired please share it with us on Instagram or FB or send us an email, share it with a friend, with a stranger sitting next to you on the bus or in line at the grocery store…let’s share the ways we are reducing our waste and our consumerism…let’s join the zero waste movement together…one step at a time.

MEND Season 2 - Episode 34

Community Currency with Fhyre Phoenix


If you've been following the progression of this season, you know that we've been following up these longer interviews with shorter, bite-size "Thread" episodes, where we sit down and unpack some resources on how all of us can take action in these areas - both within our individual lives, and in the communities of which we play a part. 

We’re doing things a little differently with this "micro"-episode.

Well.  First off.  

It’s not micro.  Not mini. Not even a little bit.  

For this episode we chose to dip back into our local community to seek advice and  counsel from a man who has made working with Capital - both paper money - but also social, experiential, cultural currency, as well - his Main Focus for most of his LIFE.  

Fhyre Phoenix is the creator of the Community Currency project.

If you don’t know that is - don’t worry.

Stick around and we’ll let him eloquently explain it for you.

When you have an expert living down the street from you, you don’t dilly-dally in your own small pool - you go the Fountaiin.  The Wellspring itself.

So, although this episode is full-length, we know the time will be well worth your while & you’ll get a lot out of this talk.  

We sure did.

We could say more - About how inspiring this conversation was.

About the wisdom that this man and valuable community member has un-earthed in simply re-arranging his own relationship to livelihood and money.

Or about the surprising connection to Passion, Poetry, & even Plumbing that runs through this work.

But we’ll let you find all that out for yourself.

Believe me - if you truly desire to begin to un-hook from a life that feels less-than, a job you hate, and begin to arrange your world in such a way that you feel empowered, excited, and deeply connected to your fellow man… this is an episode you won't want to miss.


MEND Season 2 - Episode 28

And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”    ― Rainer Maria Rilke


Welcome back.  

So, we're trying out a new format inside Season 2.

A Stich... A Thread... Sewing Lessons for Beginners... (yeah, we're still working on that naming piece of it. )

Inspired in part by some other work we've seen out there inside the podcasting landscape.  

The idea of the micro-episode.  An in-between breakdown/office hours/practicum/Make it Yours & Make It LIVE type conversation, where we dip one move beyond just the abstract and the intellectual and we move our way one step closer to ACTION.  Towards Solvency, Solution & tiny, do-able movements toward the type of re-connection & well, ummmm, Mending we want to be a part of.

In this episode, we sat down to tease out some of the big takeaways from the previous episode and to look at tools, resources and ideas we can all employ inside our daily lives.  

We look at what Education might mean in the context of the Everyday and moving toward Solution rather than staying mired in the realm of the problem.  Plus, share some great resources for further reading & exploration.  

What's your take?  

What does small, enactable change look like inside your world right now?  

Drop us a line and let us know.