with Lauren Selfridge

Lauren: Welcome to This Is Not What I Ordered, a full hearted living with chronic illness and health challenges. I'm your host, Lauren Selfridge. I'm a registered associate marriage and family therapist in San Francisco. You can check out thisisnotwhatiordered.com to get more information and resources. 

The idea behind this podcast is that you get a chance to listen to the many ways that people approach living their lives with health challenges. There's no one right way, so keep in mind that what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for all of us. The information in this interview is not meant as medical advice and it doesn't take the place of a relationship with a licensed mental health professional or a doctor. Today is the season two finale of This Is Not What I Ordered and I have a big smile on my face because I'm just looking back at all the beautiful photos of the guests from the past few months and feeling tremendous gratitude and excitement, so I can't wait to share this episode with you. Basically, I'm going to talk about each episode and something that it meant to me and also you're going to hear some updates and little hello clips from guests from throughout the season so you can see how they're doing and I'll give you a little state of the podcast address at the end of the show and talk about the future of the podcast. 

So I'm really excited to share all of this with you. And before we get started, I want to give a shout out to Podigy, the official editor of This Is Not What I Ordered. If you'd like an awesome editing team for your podcast, go with Podigy. Definitely go with Podigy. I mean, I know I'm biased because I've been working with Podigy for pretty much the entire time. Uh, but I actually did a lot of research before I picked Riley and his team and he's just awesome and I just wanted to take a quick moment to give an extra special shout out to him and his team. I just find them to be incredibly responsive and wonderful people, and Riley is especially just a great human being and it's...there's something really special about creating a podcast like this with somebody who is just a joy to work with. So, thank you Riley and you can go to podigy.co if you are looking for an editor and mention This Is Not What I Ordered and you'll get 50 percent off your first month of editing. 

I also want to give it extra special shout out to Lily Sloan from lilymakessound.com and lily is spelled L i l y. Lily is the person who works with me on infusing these episodes with magical musical love. She is a psychotherapist and an artist and the combination of those two things has led her to do such an amazing job with putting music to the deep beautiful stories the guests tell each week. And I think this podcast would absolutely not be the same without her and her touch and the, the commitment that she has to really honoring how these stories are told. So Lily, thank you for helping make this happen. You can visit Lily at lilymakessound.com. 

And I also want to give a shout out to Latasha Doyle from latashadoylewrites.com. Latasha has been writing the show notes and transcribing every episode since the first episode of season two. So, I am a huge fan of Latasha. She's actually a huge fan of the show. We met because she just loves the podcast and wound up deciding to collaborate and work together and make the podcast even better with transcription. And of course because she's a fan of the show, I thought, wow, who better to write the show notes than somebody who really loves listening to the show and I highly recommend her as a copywriter. If you are interested in working with her, you can go to latashadoylewrites.com and I will sing her praises all day long.

So, at the end of last week's episode, I shared with you two offerings that I've created as a way for us to work together in a more personal level and I want to share them with you again because this is our last time chatting before the big season break and I want to keep our connection going. If that's something that you're interested in, so here are the two offerings that are now available at thisisnotwhatiordered.com. So, as season two comes to an end, I wanted to find a way for us to work together in the meantime on a more personal level and so I’ve created two offerings that I want to tell you about. The first is called Craft Your Life With Chronic Illness and it's a way for us to work together one on one for personal consultation sessions. The focus is on building a great relationship with yourself and your health challenges, so together we'll do some skill building and I'll offer some psychoeducation around how to manage the challenging emotions and also do some exercises with you to help you tap into what brings you joy and inspiration and meaning in your life, and how you can incorporate those things into the narrative that you create about your health journey and the role that chronic illness plays in your life, because you get to choose how you relate to it. I’m really excited to offer these and they're all online using video chat and you can be anywhere in the world and we can connect so you can learn more about the Craft Your Life consultation sessions at thisisnotwhatiordered.com/craftyourlife and I can't wait to meet you. 

The second offering is called the Shine Your Light mastermind, so this is an online group that meets for six weeks, and I created it because sometimes as we're dealing with the really hard parts of living with the challenges of our bodies, we start to connect more deeply with what we actually care about and we start really listening to what it is that our hearts are calling us to do. So if you have felt a spark or a call inside you that's told you that you have something more to offer and you want to create something unique in the world, whether that's public speaking or creating a blog or a podcast, making art, writing a book, doing standup comedy. Really anything that your heart is calling you to do or maybe you haven't quite figured out what it is yet, but you want to figure it out and you want support from other people living with health challenges who are also on that path of following their hearts call. We're going to meet once a week and talk about some of the fears and blocks and the joys and successes that come up as we take the bold and courageous steps of revealing more of ourselves, revealing more of our light in the world, and I'm really excited about this group because I think it's gonna be an incredible way to lift each other up and inspire each other and think together and brainstorm and really just support one another in offering our unique gifts in the world because the world needs us. So, you can learn more about the Shine Your Light mastermind at thisisnotwhatiordered.com/shine.

So, here we are at the end of 2018. The first year of This Is Not What I Ordered. We actually started back in January and we're ending right at the end of the year too, so it's been a full year of deep beautiful conversations with amazing wise people who are willing to be themselves in public and share from their hearts and I knew that this podcast would be a joy to create, but I hadn't realized how much it would deepen my life and I feel like I have these amazing new friends. Whether people that I've interviewed or people that I've met as a result of the podcast. It has enriched my life in a huge, huge way, and so what I want to do is just take a look back at season two and talk about each of the episodes just for a few moments so that we can remember what each person offered and also hear from some of the guests and hear what they've been up to in their lives.

Episode Twenty Six with Sarah Sears: Being Curious Everyday was such an exciting one to do because it was my...one of my first on location interviews and I went to Sarah's house in Vermont and we got to sit together in this beautiful room that she calls her tree house and just be real together and I got to be in a space that she had been spending a lot of time in recovering from her traumatic brain injury and I felt really honored to sit there with her and this is one of the interviews that we have beautiful video of that Sarah and I actually collaborated to create a few short videos that you can find on the show notes page for her episode, so if you want to check those out there, they're really lovely and they give you a view into what it was like to be in the room with us that day. Here is one of the videos that we created together and it's called Yoga and Healing After A Head Injury and it's about Sarah's life philosophy shifting as a result of the journey of her head injury recovery as well as her journey with Yoga.

Sarah: Last April, I was in a riding horse riding accident. I was admitted to the ICU, I had a brain bleed, I had about two weeks of amnesia, so the beginning of it is really fuzzy. Um, I probably spent about eight months in bed with a head injury. It's a combination of the neurological stuff or with my head injury and then PTSD from just having such a major accidents. I think having amnesia, being in the hospital and having amnesia was really hard on me emotionally and my nervous system.

Lauren: Yeah, I bet. Yeah, that's a trauma for sure.

Sarah: Yeah. So I think it's so, it's hard to pull all those things apart, but it's just, you know, the goal is like keep the nervous system happy, sleep a lot to continue my recovery. I was able to start doing yoga slowly. I was like, I'm going to find the thing that I can, the easiest movement I can do because movement is important for healing, for in my, from my perspective. And I'm just going to see how long I can do it for. So I kept trying to find like the easiest thing that I could do that would be helpful to me.

Lauren:  I like that actually. That's what, what a beautiful goal. It's just like a method, you know, what's the easy, what's the easiest next step for me that's still helping me get to where you need to go. I'm just processing it because I’m like, I need to hear that.

Sarah: For me, like the way that I do my yoga practices and the way that it's encouraged where I practice and my teacher is really to like making your own practice, like to show up and meet yourself where you're at each day and to...like if it hurts, don't do it. Adapted for the way that you need it. Like all of those things. So it's not about like how you look or if you're doing it right. It's just about how it feels. I can live my life the way I do my yoga practice. I've known that like yoga is a metaphor for my whole life. Like I've known that, but like all of a sudden it just clicked that I can like make decisions just in the same way that I do when I'm practicing yoga, and so that was a really sweet gift.

Lauren: Sarah embodies presence and joy in a way that I found very contagious. I just felt delighted sitting with her and that was a big topic of conversation for us was what is, what is one of the gifts of disorientation and for her it was that she was able to be more in her own playfulness and joy in her life. And so I think just listening to that episode is almost like a joy transmission. It just makes me giddy whenever I listen to it and that's one of the things I love about this podcast actually, is that I can listen. I can go back and listen to episodes when I know I need an extra burst of support in a certain area. And so Sarah’s episode is one I definitely refer to when I want to connect with my expansiveness and my joy. Here is a message from Sarah.

Sarah: This is Sarah. I'm from episode 26 and I'm talking to you from Mysore, India. So I've been here for about five weeks and I'm here for another three doing two months of a stronger yoga. I came here in part because I knew the winter would be really hard and that Ashtanga Yoga would be healing for me and I guess my realizations or my insights from just participating in the podcast was that it was so sweet to be able to share my story and to have people who were in my life but that I hadn't had an opportunity to share my story individually, that they reached out or that they said how much they appreciated hearing and that, um, it helped validate some of their experiences. So it felt like this gift I was able to give in some ways. It's been such an honor to get to share my story here. Thanks so much and thanks for having me come back and update y'all.

Lauren: Episode Twenty seven with Allison Puryear, Entrepreneurship And Chronic Illness was so much fun to create. Allison has been a mentor of mine for a few years now and it meant a lot to me that she opened up her doors for me to come visit her and sit with her in her psychotherapy office, which is beautiful by the way. She's in North Carolina and I got to ask her questions about her experience living with a new diagnosis and being such a high powered entrepreneur. She's actually part of the reason I created this podcast was because of her amazing energy and leadership and teaching me to be a, what we call a therapreneur; being a therapist that also does other projects in the world and so I'm infinitely grateful to her and she was willing to be super honest with all of us, including all of her facebook followers with her abundance practice building group who I think many of us probably felt relieved to know that we're not alone in wanting to create big things in the world, but also knowing that our bodies have limitations and Allison was such a great shining example of someone who is willing to be in that gray area of figuring out how do we keep creating without pushing ourselves too hard. So, one of my favorite moments of the episode was when I think allison kind of unintentionally led us through a meditation. She was describing a moment when she had decided to slow down and reconnect with herself through her connection with nature and she said, “I sat and I did nothing one afternoon and I noticed the leaves moving in the wind and the breeze on my skin...just being present. It was glorious. I thought, I've been missing this.” Here's a message from Allison.

Allison: Hey everybody. This is Allison Puryear from episode 27. Quick Update. It's been a really interesting journey. Part of it was hearing from a lot of people who listen to the episode I was on who emailed me. I've been on a lot of podcasts and this is the one I've gotten the most feedback from. It just shows the power of vulnerability and the beauty in just being honest about where you're at instead of acting like everything's perfect and great. So, I've been slowing down a lot more than I ever have, which has been really exciting. I've listened to that episode twice and I found it really helpful to hear my own voice saying back to me some of the things that I know to be true, but when I'm going through a rough spot, it's just really good to hear my own self basically saying, hey, this is, this is what it is, this is how you're getting through and remember to stay slow, so I've been slowing down. My word for 2019 is coast, which the me of a few years ago would have thrown up in her mouth a little bit, but the idea of not building anything for a full year and and maintaining the things that I have that I know I enjoy and that work, it just feels like a really beautiful relief. So, I hope you guys enjoyed this episode. I know I'm looking forward to season three of everything. I'm looking forward to hearing other people who were on season two's comments in this episode. Take care of yourself everybody and stay slow.

Lauren: In episode 28 with Celia Hilson, The Biography of Your Biology. Celia and I had a really unexpected conversation where we talked about some car accidents that she had experienced many years ago that she discovered in the process of our conversation that she had more healing to do and it was just so beautiful to hear her little moments of illumination that she shared with us. I felt like so much of what she said could have been written down and put it into a book. She said, “My body is in concert to allow things to happen, even when I'm shaking, even when I'm not in control, my body is still working. My body's still working.” Celia just has so much wisdom in her and I am really grateful for her willingness to be tender and vulnerable with us and to allow me into her living room and allow all of us into this conversation because it was just such a special thing to sit with her. She says, “My fulfillment and success come through an ongoing quest to remember that I am worthy.” and I think that's a wonderful note to kind of keep in our hearts. I know it was more of a reminder from Celia to herself, but like so many things when we share the wisdom that comes from within there’s so many of us that can relate to it, and I certainly can. Celia said in the episode “Now I have this lovely practice, absolutely making time for myself. That break has to happen. That is control, creative control, creating a space where I can control this time and space that's reserved for stillness and for centeredness.” Thank you so much, Celia, for reminding us through the power of your example, to continue to take the time and space to nurture ourselves on our healing journeys.

Lauren: In episode 29 with Gretchen Gifford, Intuition And Epic Bathroom Tales. I just love Gretchen's candidness and her willingness to share bathroom tales. I mean it's one of the things that she and I laugh about a lot and I've actually heard a lot of feedback from listeners that her episode was just so much fun to listen to. She is such a lovely presence and she said, “If you align yourself with love and healing, then you'll always be in the right place.” And I just, I love that concept and I also love this piece of wisdom that she gave to herself, which is “Be gentle and let yourself have that tough day.” And I think of that as just such a beautiful, like I want that to be a quote that's hanging up in my home because it is so important. And I think Gretchen really embodies that through her sense of humor and her gentleness and her joy.

In episode 30 with Niko, Dating With Health Challenges. I get to talk to NiKo, who was the first ever sponsor of This Is Not What I Ordered through his dating app called Lemonade. And he specifically created a dating app for people living with health challenges. And I just love that fact, and when we were talking about starting the partnership together, I was like, how can you do this and not be on the show, would you like to be a guest? And he was totally up for it. And I appreciated his willingness to be himself in public because so much of what he does is like a behind the scenes kind of thing with developing this app. But he was willing to tell his own story about living with Tinea Versicolor and some of the challenges along the way, and his very strong belief is “I don't believe that I was dealt a bad hand. I believe that I was dealt an unbelievably good hand. My adversities included.” and I just love that concept. It's such a great example of one way that we can choose to look at our lives that really works for him. And he also said “Fulfillment isn't necessarily happiness. Fulfillment is the room where happiness is kept.” Here's a message from Niko.

Niko: Hey, it’s Niko from episode 30, dating with health challenges and I just wanted to say a quick thank you to Lauren for all the wonderfulness that you're doing with the podcast and thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of it this season. It was great. It was such a fun time. I had so much fun and you know, as simple as our chat was it proved to me, how awesome of a therapist you are because I actually learned a lot about myself just being on the show. It was very cathartic, just putting all my thoughts into words, so thank you very much for that therapy session and I hope it helped a lot of people as well. Thank you to listeners for all your awesome feedback and your kind words. It was very uplifting. My TV is doing well. It's still hanging around. Still holding strong. Uh, Lemonade is also doing really well. We've actually hit a couple exciting milestones recently. Our user base is growing consistently and we are actually in the midst of closing our first investment deal with an angel investor in New York. So super, super excited about that. Uh, that should be really exciting and, um, hopefully skyrocket brand awareness a little bit. And with that, I'd like to wish everyone, all the listeners including Lauren, a safe and happy holiday season. Uh, as long as you're relaxing more than you're shopping, you're in a good place. You can't pour from an empty cup. So take care of yourself first. I know I do, uh, and Lauren, keep doing what you're doing. You're awesome. You're stellar and I can't wait for season three. See Ya!

Lauren: In episode 31 with Allison Satinger, Life Is Living Us. I had such a wonderful time sitting with her in her dining room after having spent some time with her family and just taking a little time, one on one to talk about both her health journey and her journey of love and friendship and grief through her relationship with her dear friend Kelly who passed away last year and she...I thought brought so much perspective on what it means to still go on when someone who means so much to us has passed and she also talks about how she's dealt with her own body challenges and why it's important for all of us to remember that we are evolving. She says, “Would we ever truly evolve if everything was easy?” and I just love this conversation and this one piece that she said that feels like a meditation to me is “Sit with yourself, sit with your broken body and don't leave you.” And I just loved that.

Lauren: In episode 32 with Leon Newman and Erryn Newman, Who You Are Is What We Need. Our first couples interview. I just, I don't even have words for what it meant to me to be able to sit in their living room with them and be a part of their conversation together as a couple. They demonstrated such honesty about their own challenges as well as tremendous love that they share together, that they have truly created a partnership, a team in the midst of health challenges which have been a part of their relationship really from very early on. Erryn talks about this sense of inner peace and confidence that she has through her faith and through her trust in her relationship where she says, “We know that changes are coming and they always do, but we are going to be that solid thing in the middle of that.” And I just...Of course, I got chills when she said it and I'm getting chills now. I can never get away from an episode of chills at some point, which is a really good thing and I got so many chills during this episode. I thought how Leo and Erryn spoke and related to each other was just so intimate and there is so much respect in the relationship and I remember one point when Leo said, “Sometimes I have to say I'm feeling these emotions and I can't tell you why, and I'm saying that to give myself room to make some mistakes here.” and I got so much from that teaching because I actually wound up using that a few times in my own life when I was with loved ones and they knew I just didn't have the same emotional bandwidth that I normally do and that I just was feeling not great, but I wanted to let them in on it even though I didn't have answers and being able to do that I think allowed all of us to have compassion for the situation and it's just such a great teaching and I, I appreciate you, Leo, for sharing that with us. Here's a message from Erryn and Leo.

Leo: Hey everybody. This is Leo and Erryn from episode 32 of season two.

Erryn: Hi everybody.

Leo: And we are excited to share some of our reflections on participating in season two with you. As I look back on the experience, one of the most special parts of it was being able to share that with my wife. In season one. I was a solo participant. And so this time I was able to hear from perhaps for the first time some of my wife's experiences as we've walked our journey of chronic illness together. And I know that going forward, reflecting on some of her own experiences in this journey will be a source of strength and encouragement to me. And I think that had we not had the opportunity to share that with Lauren and with everyone as a whole, I might never have really stopped to ask her some of those questions.

Erryn: And, uh, our wish for you just going forward into the new year is that, um, you would be just present in every moment. Uh, I think we can have a tendency to wait for the next thing and wait for a day that things are going to be better, but just to remember that life is happening in the moments right now and to just find the moments of beauty in right now and what you're doing.

Leo: We really appreciate you all letting us share our story with you and we wish you well and look forward to what's to come.

Lauren: In episode 33 with Jen Matos, Making Friends With Lupus. I just loved her connection with her own power throughout her lifelong journey with health challenges. She talks about how it's never too late to reimagine what your life could look like and I could not agree more. I think that's a lot of the heart of why I do this podcast is, is because we all have that personal power to reimagine our lives at any moment. So I really appreciated Jen reminding us throughout this episode and she also shares this great reminder not to deprive other people of the joy of helping us. That it is not only okay, but also a gift to ask others for help because it gives them the opportunity to give to us and to experience the joy of giving. And something else that I just, that really sticks out to me from this episode was when Jen described her relationship with her doctor and she said, “I don't leave my joy out in the waiting room. I bring it in with me and I share all of myself with my doctor and my life is in his hands. So we have a relationship. We hug at the end of appointments and we say I love you to each other.” And that was just such a powerful story because it shows what's possible in that doctor-patient relationship and how Jen really put her heart into creating that. So here is a message from Jen.

Jen: Hey, it's Jen Matos from episode 33 of This Is Not What I Ordered, Making Friends With Lupus episode. And I really enjoyed spending time with listeners on that. It was a lot of fun, of course, to work with Lauren again, um, updates on my life since I was on the show or on the podcast. I found a sweetie, I have a sweetie now. A wonderful woman who she is up to date on my lupus and is very involved and interested in my health and my wellbeing and um, and is one of those people that knows how to ask the right questions. Uh, so that's the update. I also wanted to say that I've been, I shared the podcast with my students. We are covering a unit or a section on ableism and I sat in a room with them and the class on self awareness where I played, uh, the episode that I was on and it was very scary to do because it felt very vulnerable, but they appreciated it. They appreciated it and it, it opened a door for them to share their own journeys and stories. And so it was a really empowering and really moving and memorable and meaningful thing to share. So hope all is well. Hope you all have a happy new year and that hope all the best for you for 2019.

Lauren: In episode 34 with Emily Whitish, Illness as a Spiritual Guide. I so appreciated her. This concept that she offered, which is if I don't go to battle, there's no war. She has had such an amazing journey of fighting her illness and then shifting into realizing that she wanted to listen to what her Crohn's disease had to say to her and find out what wisdom it had to offer and that's something that she has taught me even outside of our conversation and she's been a mentor to me and in helping me see that I get to ask questions of my illness and of my symptoms. So I just love that teaching. Here's a message from emily. Hi everyone.

Emily: It's Emily Whitish from episode 34. I want to start by thanking Lauren for creating something so awesome and so meaningful and I want to thank all the other guests who were willing to talk about the really deep and really intimate and difficult parts of living with an illness. You know, this podcast is proving that illness can be a really powerful catalyst for change, for liberation, for greater purpose. You know, I could go on and on about the ways in which illness has transformed my life in positive ways, but I want to acknowledge everyone's willingness to talk about the difficult parts, to talk about all the crap that we had to go through before we were able to see the silver lining and learn the important lessons. You know, we live in a world where it's not natural to talk about our grief and our suffering and our losses, and I think it's really important to talk about these things. I mean, why not? What are we trying to hide anyway? Our vulnerability and the fear of looking weak or broken, you know, pain and grief and seemingly insurmountable challenges are inevitable to the human condition. So why not talk about that? It's a revolutionary act to embrace illness and pain and the parts of ourselves that we struggle with and I'm really proud to be a part of a group of brave storytellers who are willing to do that. There was a lot of great storytelling in season two and one of my favorites of those stories was when Gretchen Gifford told the bathroom story about the bees and I won't give anything more away because the story is so good when she tells it, but as someone with Crohn's disease, I know all too well, the kind of horror one experiences when your body isn't doing what you wanted to do and the frustration when the world doesn't make much accommodation for your body when it's doing these things and when you have the kind of illness that makes your body do things that can be embarrassing or even shameful. So, thank you Gretchen. I appreciate that you told that story. It made me laugh, but it was also so validating. Thanks again, Lauren. Thanks again to all the guests and I can't wait for season three.

Lauren: In episode 35 with Jasmine Szantyn, Building Spoonie Friendships. Jasmine and I finally got a chance to sit down and talk to each other after she had been a fan of the podcast since the very beginning and we've kind of become friends through the internet and the ability to support each other from afar, and she actually got to talk about how much it's meant to her to make friendships with other spoonies. It can get so isolating for those of us living with chronic illness when we don't have a lot of people in our lives who really understand and she says, “Even if you have a different diagnosis, there's still a connection.” Jasmine also talked about the importance of letting ourselves grieve and mourn our old lives and that she believes it's something that we don't talk about enough and I love that she gave all of us permission in this episode by sharing her own story to mourn our old lives to more than what we may have had before that we might not have access to in the same way because of our health challenges. Here's a message from Jasmine.

Jasmine: Hi, this is Jasmine from season two, episode 35. I definitely gained so much insight from listening to my episode. Honestly, I gained more insight from the quotes that Lauren pulled from my episode. Some of the things that I read, I couldn't believe came out of my own mouth, um, which really kind of taught me to slow down, to do more reflection, to take my own advice really. I mean I got a lot of feedback from listeners saying that they could relate or something that I started really stuck out to them and it Kinda was a wake up call. Like, wow, I really am one of these people that I look up to. I really am further in my journey than I realize. I really am more in tune with myself and with the community than I even knew. So it was, it was really cool. It was really, it was really an interesting experience to see myself where to listen to myself from an outside perspective and realize how far I've come.

Lauren: In episode 36 with Ned Buskirk, Mortality and True Aliveness. I got to sit down with someone who I have admired for a while for his ability to be vulnerable in public and when I say in public, I actually mean onstage because Ned is someone who gets up on stage every few weeks and talks about what's true and real for him around the concept of mortality. He hosts a series of community conversations and it's almost like an open mic coffee house kind of vibe called You're Going To Die and I've attended several of these and I've learned so much from him and from the other participants about the power of really allowing ourselves to contemplate the fact that we're not going to be here forever. And Ned says awareness of death and stepping into the unknown is an access point into the present moment. The magic and the sacredness and the spirit of being alive. It meant so much to me to sit down and have a conversation with Ned about our bodies and the fact that they are mortal and that they don't always show up for us the way that we want them to. And I felt like just sitting with him was a great reminder to me of how much joy I can have access to in the midst of allowing grief to my heart, which is something that Ned demonstrates can happen simultaneously, that joy and grief can happen hand in hand as part of our aliveness. Here's a message from Ned.

Ned: This is Ned Buskirk from episode 36. Hi, how are you? I can't hear you. I'm a recording. Glad to be back to just say hi and thank Lauren for the opportunity to be a part of the show. It was probably one of my favorite interviews. Um, I do apologize for cussing as much as I did. I feel like that should be acknowledged. I'm sorry for anyone that accidentally was listening, um, with, uh, someone with sensitive ears. And other than that, I just want to say what it means to me to have a recording like that, that I can go back to that sometimes when we show up in the world, I think maybe it's a rare and wonderful thing to be able to show up in such a way that you can revisit yourself in the times that you need it. And so it is that reminder, I always tell people with the kind of work I do and in this way the opportunity that this is not what I ordered gave me is a chance to speak from a place that is an offering to others but to myself maybe more than anything. And so I just want to thank all of you who listened to the show and to Lauren for doing the work she does is such a gift to be able to share what I do with everyone, anyone and um, but also especially wonderful to get to return to that little gift and, and relish it and source it when I need it. So thank you all so much for letting me show up in the world. Just like that, and thanks to Lauren again. Until next time. Bye Bye.

Lauren: In episode 37 with Mariah Power, Creative Sex and Disability. Mariah is this wonderful wisdom holder around the importance of allowing our creativity and curiosity into our sex lives and I feel like she holds a vision for all of us, that it's possible to have really fun, meaningful, creative sex even when you have a disability and especially, just thinking about her home depot story of, of really brainstorming with a client and saying, okay, we need to figure out a trampoline situation that's going to help you to do what you really long to do and that it worked and now there's actually a product out there that is almost identical to what she and her client dreamed up together. Here's a message from Mariah.

Mariah: Hi, this is Mariah from episode 37 since my episode with Laura and I've been playing with the idea of getting together with a sex toy designer and creating toys for those of us with different abilities. If you happen to be said designer, give me a shout. In my work life, I've been putting together a support group for women with pelvic pain. I've also been incorporating more mindfulness and gentle movement into my counseling sessions and as usual, I'm continuing to invite fun and creativity into my own sex life. I'm so grateful to Lauren for giving us a supportive place to share and be heard. I learned something from every episode and I hope mine invited conversation around sex, fun, creativity, and fulfillment. I love the idea that we're all on an adventure. Learning to have the sex and intimacy that we really want.

Lauren: In episode 38 with Derek Avery, Fatherhood and Vulnerability. I so appreciated Derek's living example of being able to make mistakes and admit to them and being okay with that fact because we all make mistakes, but I think his willingness to look at them allows him to be a fully evolving human being. He talks about how what it means to be an awesome dad is really just to be present, to be honest and vulnerable, including admitting when you've screwed up and I love that he shares the challenge that of not being able to do everything that he wants to be able to do as a dad, as he lives with his chronic pain, but to remind himself, and I think all of us, that presence and our ability to just be with others that we love and care about is the most important thing. Even when our bodies don't show up the way that we want them to. Here's a message from Derek.

Derek: I listened to a lot of the episodes of This Is Not What I Ordered, especially in season two. And that was really, I was really touched by, um, just how people have opened up on this podcast and how Lauren has been so cool about the way that she just kind of fosters this great environment for people to open up. And of course, like gleaning insights from what's happening in their lives. And more importantly even than that for what's being shared with everyone else is something that I experienced myself and I see it happening for others. Just like, Oh, through Lauren’s therapizing, me and others. We just found that there was some kind of nugget of truth. And if something, get something beautiful inside all this pain and it's definitely helped me to not just cope but kinda like thrive since having been on the podcast. I really appreciate the work  that Lauren and her team. Everyone's doing and the people that are sharing on this podcast. I think, um, I think it's important what's happening there and I really appreciate the opportunity to be just a part of the experience. Thanks Lauren.

Lauren: In episode 39 with Mila Clarke Buckley, The Hangry Woman, I had such a great time talking to her about her blog, The Hangry Woman. She's such a great example of someone who has taken her health challenges and become a beacon for others who live with type two diabetes. And I appreciate that she makes chronic illness look cool because she's just a person living her life without apology and normalizing what it means to be someone living with health challenges. And she gives great tips on her website. And I loved hearing her story about connecting with her mother who also has diabetes. And she's just such a positive force in the world. And I'm really grateful for the work that she's doing. Here's a message from Mila.

Mila: Hi everyone. This is Mila Clarke Buckley from episode 39. You know, it's the holiday time. It is probably the toughest time for people with type two diabetes and in my life right now I'm just focusing on making it through the holidays and really being nice to myself even if I make mistakes that I don't anticipate. I definitely think season two of the podcast has been an amazing opportunity to learn about just the way that people with different chronic illnesses are dealing with their lives and the strength that they have. It was so surprising to me to hear so many people just really come from a place of strength and determination and knowing that their chronic illness is not what defines them, even though it's a huge part of who they are. So a wish that I have for you guys, is that you really dig deep into your strength and you recognize that no matter how hard times get, no matter how crazy things are in your life, you are going to make it through. That's the basic thing I can tell you. You're going to make it. You're gonna do fine. You're going to do great. You're going to come out on the other side and be really amazing. You know, just through hearing my episode of the podcast, I realized that I really am a lot more open about my illness than I thought I was. I sometimes think that even though I talk about type two diabetes and I give advice about it and I write about it quite a bit, I still don't always tell the whole story because there's some parts of it that I want to keep to myself, but re-listening back to my episode, I just kept thinking like, wow, I'm really open about this. And it made me have this desire to really want to be even more open and even more honest about what I'm dealing with and how I'm living with this. So I hope that that, you know, I hope that I can pass that on to you too, but thank you for listening to my episode. I loved being a part of the podcast and Lauren's doing such an amazing thing with this podcast and really showing how people are strong and brave and beautiful, so I hope you that you keep listening and I just wanted to tell Lauren thanks again for having me as a guest on the show.

Lauren: In episode 40, with Drew Althoff, After The Silver Lining. I love that Drew was able to ask his friends to have just a period of time where they didn't point out the silver lining with his health challenges and he just needed a moment of support without being reminded of the good stuff so that he could be allowed to feel his difficult feelings in community and he, I think, is just such a natural teacher just sitting with him. It was only just a few weeks ago talking about all of this. He was so willing to be open about his joy and his challenges and his pain and sadness and letting himself feel all of it. One of my favorite things that he said was “My spirit in my body are different entities, but they inform each other so much.” It's not like this black and white thing where our minds completely control our bodies or our bodies completely control our emotional process or our thinking, but the two really do impact each other and it felt like such a helpful way to orient so that we can understand that there's this ongoing dialogue happening between both and he says, “Trust that you're figuring it out.” and I like that as kind of a life philosophy. I also appreciated that Drew was so open and sharing with all of us after a short drum roll that his partner was donating her kidney to him. That was about a month ago and the surgery was scheduled for December 11 and I really was thinking about both of them on that day and praying for them and envisioning a wonderful smooth process for both of them. But of course with any surgery there are risks and I'm really happy to share that that very night I received word that the surgery was successful. Drew's new kidney from his partner began functioning immediately and now they're both on the mend. It's not necessarily an easy journey after this, but it is such a huge, beautiful success that Drew told me I could share with all of you and I just want to say that I'm cheering both of them on an appreciative of them sharing their journeys with all of us.

Lauren: In episode 41 with Monica Michelle, Evolving Dreams with Ehlers Danlos. Monica and I got a chance to talk about what it's like to host podcasts on chronic illness. She has this awesome podcast called Invisible Not Broken, and she helped remind me and all of us that you are not what you do, that she has worn so many hats in her life, but ultimately she believes that we need to know our core because their bodies may allow us or not allow us to do certain things over the course of our lives. But she knows that her core is a storyteller and there are so many ways that she's found to do that. Even with limited mobility. She said, I wrote down a list of the things that were still possible from bed and I just so related to that because there's something about say, Hey, even if my body isn't doing what I want, I want to be able to still create something and she does that. Absolutely. It's not easy and she is so honest about what her process is like and I really value having her as a friend and somebody that I can chat with and brainstorm with about what it's like creating something for people with chronic illness and health challenges and it's just so nice to have her with me on the journey. Here's a message from Monica.

Monica: Hello everyone. Uh, it wasn't that long ago, but I am Monica Michelle from the Evolving Dreams with Ehlers Danlos episode. So not too much to update, I guess a little bit. I, um, my next children's book is out a fairy bedtime story that was really exciting. It was a year of illustrating some real excited for that to be published and available on Amazon. Really excited about that. I finished Nanowrimo, which means that my first young adult fantasy novel is now written. The first one. So, um, we're heading into editing and the podcast I run Invisible Not Broken has been doing really great and has been getting listenership internationally, so that’s all thrilling. And I think that's about it for like the updates, um, reflections on the episode. Wow, that was amazing. It was really interesting to hear. I, I really loved it, I cannot thank you enough for having me on your podcast. A wish for listeners. Uh, wow. Um, first off, you're listening to a really great podcast you chose well and um, I really hope that this year you learned how to take really good, kind care of yourself. Do not treat yourself any differently or less than you would treat your own best friend. Insights I gained through being a guest. It was really cool. I run a podcast interviewing other people's chronic illness as well, so it was really neat to be on the other side of that. I really understand my guests better and you cannot ask for a better interviewer. Um, anything else I'd like to say have a wonderful year, everyone. It's been challenging this year, so let's all get together and really come forward to this year with a lot of empathy, care and consideration for each other. Take care.

Lauren: In episode 42 with Ramon Shita, Creating Art Amidst Pain. It was so much fun to sit with Ramon and kind of think out loud together about some of the big questions that we live with and I felt almost like we were co-hosting a talk show together. It was really fun. Ramon talks about the reverence he has for his body's ability to function at some times and not at others and so when he does have the ability to do and create in the world, he values it even more. I appreciate that Ramon has created a podcast to talk about his experiences in the world and also that he gives himself permission to step back and not create the podcast when he needs to. One of Ramon’s beautiful messages in this interview was just because you're dealing with a different way of life, doesn't necessarily mean that your life is less valuable. Here's a message from Ramon.

Lauren: Season two is made possible by lots of people behind the scenes and I wanted to introduce you to some of them. Here's a message from Latasha Doyle who writes the show notes and does the transcriptions for the podcast.

Latasha: Hey everyone. This is Latasha Doyle. I am the residents show notes and transcription writer for the This Is Not What I Ordered podcast. I found the podcast last year for the first season when my therapist actually recommended it to me. She knew that I was struggling to find a community of people who understood the challenges around chronic illness, but also not feel pity about their symptoms or their conditions. I really struggled to talk to “healthy people” about the positives of this condition and all the great things that I was experiencing as a result of it. So when I found that This Is Not What I Ordered podcast, I pretty much dropped everything and started raving about how wonderful it was. I was immediately hooked. The first podcast was everything that I needed and wanted to hear, and then after the subsequent guest interviews, I just knew that this was something that I wanted to shout from the rooftops, so in true Latasha fashion, started stalking Lauren in the podcast and now as a result of that stalking, I work with Lauren on a weekly basis to get the show notes and transcripts for each of the episodes. I am lucky enough to get the first peak at each new episode before Lily puts her magical musical touch on it and I get to highlight how beautiful and amazing each of these guests are. I've grown really close to Lauren and I just love everything that she's doing to make this community as amazing and wonderful as it can be and I want nothing more than to see this podcast and what we're sharing together to reach everyone who needs to hear it. I love the community that we've built within the podcast cafe and sort of on social media and all of these other platforms where people get to share the podcast, we get to hear these proud moments and what people appreciate about their chronic illness. We also get to have solidarity in those moments where we need to support each other even from a distance, we get to share our ups and downs and we also get to just experience that together, which I think is really powerful and Lauren, I can't really express how much this message that you've started sharing means to me, but I hope the podcast gets even bigger and better and I will continue to be the biggest fan girl that you've got.

Lauren: Thank you so much Latasha for all that you've done to make season two even more magical. Here's a message from Lily Sloan who puts music into the podcast in such a beautiful, creative and sensitive way. Thank you Lily, for all that you do to make this podcast awesome. I'm just so grateful for how you have made it even more special through your work. 

Lauren: And here's a message from Riley from Podigy who edits every episode of the podcast.

Riley: Hey, NWIO family, Riley here. I'm just in the middle of editing this episode. I thought I would record my thoughts directly into it and before I started working on this episode, I went back and I listened to bits and pieces of the first few episodes, some that I'd worked on and some that I hadn't. And you know, you don't notice it week to week, but holy moly, what a difference a year makes. I wish I could attribute all these changes to my technical knowhow, but I think that the work that me and Latasha and Lily put into the show as important as it is, is only a small reason for the show success. You know, me and my team, we get a shout out every week, but I think it's important to remember all the time and effort that Lauren has put in, you know, week after week organizing guests, recordings, edits, music, show notes, and making sure it's all put together to the standard that she wants on top of funding it all herself. Uh, you know, they say that half of all podcasts burnout before episode 11 probably because it's a lot more work than people initially think it will be. So I think we should take a moment to thank Lauren for showing up and building this community. We, after week, even when the show was only getting 10 downloads a day or recordings were getting lost or corrupted and all while knowing that doing 44 episodes in a year would be incredibly taxing. She showed up. We're all better off for it. Thank you Lauren, and congratulations on season two. I can't wait for season three.

Lauren: Thank you so much, Riley, for being part of the This Is Not What I Ordered team. I just think your work is awesome and we're a much better podcast because of what you do. Now It's time for the State of the Podcast address. As you know, season two had many awesome improvements. Like we now have transcriptions of each episode. We now have beautiful music in each episode and just the overall quality of the podcast has gotten better and better, especially with the ability to do so many in person interviews, which increased the intimacy of the conversations. This Is Not What I Ordered at the time of this recording has been downloaded over 29,000 times. It's been downloaded in 53 countries and in every one of the 50 United States. The podcast has been nominated for a WeHo Health award and was one of the five in the podcast category and it's just been an absolute gift and a joy to be able to share the wisdom of people living with health challenges and to be able to impact this many people. I received notes from listeners sometimes that tell me how much the podcast means to them and how it's impacted their lives and that they appreciate that it's a positive force in the world. So this podcast is changing the world and we are so far from being finished. As you may know, This Is Not What I Ordered is funded in part by listener support and I am so grateful to every single person who has an does contribute money to the podcast. This upcoming break after season two will be all about raising funds for season three, so I'm actually not sure how long the break will be and that's because the majority of season two was actually funded by me. So since that's not a sustainable option for season three, I will be spending this break raising funds with you to continue the podcast. So there are a few ways that you can help.

Lauren: One of them is by going to thisisnotwhatiordered.com/support and becoming a patron of the show. Becoming a patron means making a monthly contribution to the show and because each month of episodes costs a little over a thousand dollars to create. If 100 people donated $10 per month to the podcast, we'd be ready to get back in action. And if 200 people donated $5 a month to the podcast, same story. So just know that every dollar that you donate to the podcast will go towards making future episodes and helping the podcast come back even sooner. Another way you can help is by sending any potential podcast sponsors to the website. I love talking about products and services that will benefit listeners, so anything that will benefit those of us with chronic illness and health challenges. So maybe that's you. Maybe you have a business or an organization that we can talk about in the episodes through a sponsorship. If you're interested in becoming a sponsor for This Is Not What I Ordered. You can get in touch with me through the website thisisnotwhatiordered.com or by emailing me at lauren@thisisnotwhatiordered.com and I am just so excited. There are so many more interviews to be had. There are a few more couples interviews that I want to do for next season and of course lots more people that I want you to meet. 

Now it's time for my favorite part of the finale, which is that I get to thank all of the amazing people who help make this podcast happen, and I want to start with you. You as a listener for tuning in, for writing to me, for sharing it with your friends, for believing in this. Thank you so, so much. I also want to thank a bunch of people who helped make this podcast happen by becoming patrons of the show or through consulting and advising and brainstorming, or by just being awesome people in my life. So here are some of the amazing people who helped season to happen. Jenny Diamond, Triston Brand. Chris Denials. Wendy Hall, Melinda Neil Laos, Megan Meganson. Cambria Evans, Lindsay Barnum, Samantha Bar, Suzanne Shaffer, Megan Stevenson, Paul Byron Roche, Megan Caliper, Noel Janka, Melyssa Plat, Nancy Selfridge, Laura Reagan, Helen Linda, Latasha Doyle, Jen Downs. Kendra Cortech. Jessica Wakers. Karen Blackert, Wyatt Bator. Gina Harris, Don Fisher, Emily Whitish, Gabriela Kozack. Derek Avery, Emily Pollock, Krista Ferdig. Amy Wright. Catherine Julian, Ida Grady, Emily Garnette, and Benjamin Selfridge. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. If you'd like to check out the show notes for this episode you can go to thisisnotwhatiordered.com/episode44. You can join us on the podcast cafe, which is the online discussion community for the podcast. By going tothisisnotwhatiordered.com/cafe. You can check out the therapists and coaches who get it directory by going to thisisnotwhatiordered.com/directory and you'll find a listing by location of practitioners who specialize in working with folks with chronic illness and health challenges. You can find us on instagram and twitter @NWIOpodcasts and on facebook at facebook.com/thisisnotwhatiordered, so thank you for listening. 

Take good care of yourself and goodbye for now.

Lauren Selfridge