It was a massive pleasure to talk with fellow Rhode Islander Dave Ursillo for his podcast the New Story.
In Dave’s former life, he was, according to his LinkedIn profile, “a political insider, policy nerd and aspiring Presidential speechwriter at governmental offices on state and Federal levels, including the White House Council on Environmental Quality in 2008 and for a gubernatorial candidate in 2009.”
Now, like me, he has channeled his energy and concern for a better world into helping others tap into their truest callings. Dave is s a storytelling coach with a thoughtful podcast The New Story about the narratives that shape our time, and a therapist-in-training.
In this provocative conversation (Dave provoked me!), we dug deep into personal stories I haven’t shared in other interviews.
Dave titled the episode “What stigmas and stereotypes cost women” and it’s about that and much more.
We talked about:
–The kind of clients I find myself working with in my coaching practice: I’ve always attracted thoughtful women who don’t want to settle in life or relationships. More generally, I attract women who are asking the question, “What do I really want?” and want to get out of their heads and into their bodies to move beyond the social conditioning that often cuts us short from answering that big question.
–The personal story of how I got sucked into Silicon Valley during my thirties when I cofounded a street fashion startup and then got disillusioned and left the U.S. for Brazil, where I hoped that a more sensual culture would help me reconnect with my authentic self. We also talk about why my time in Silicon Valley was so alienating. I could see the writing on the wall about how social media was going to f#$@ all of us, in particular our ability to connect with ourselves.
–How feeling the drum of samba music in the streets and reconnecting with wildness in culture and nature helped me to cleanse my mind for a minute and feel present and alive
–Going with my body’s instincts vs. ticking off the box of what a professional woman in her thirties was supposed to do next (buy a condo, find a husband, etc., etc.)
–The treasured experience of quirkyalone solitude, and developing a mindful way of being in connection with yourself and others
–Making sense of the word “embodiment”
–How growing up in the Puritanical environment of Rhode Island shaped me and how I have been liberating myself from those influences ever since (and helping others to do the same).
–Coming back to New England as an adult and discovering the pockets of subcultural communities of resistance and aliveness formed in reaction to the dominant repressive culture. Whatever is violence-inducing will produce pockets of safety and community.
–The Scarlet Lettering that persists in our society when a woman seeks to embrace her sexuality and sensuality, and what this kind of rebellion and resistance feels like. I talk about how I help my clients to do that in a safe environment. Safety is a prerequisite to feel pleasure.
–Linguistic interventions of reclamation: How saying the word “pussy” out loud is a big deal for most women and can be a transformative path in and of itself. We talk about my new Turned-On Living group coaching program and how speaking that word has been a challenge for everyone in the group. We also talk about the joy and liberation that awaits us on the other side!
–Pussywalking, of course! And the difficult challenge of inserting the word “pussywalking” when I appeared on the Dr. Phil show on self-marriage in February (what a lost opportunity!). LOL. LOL. LOL.
–The need for a new word to connote strength in women. Don’t say we have balls when we are brave! What’s so strong about “balls” anyway? Ovaries is not going to work either, so what is it?
–Learning how to ask for what you want is about learning how to generate magic in the world
–Learning how to be your own best friend, and how this is a universal journey for all of us: men, women, and non-binary folks.
This was such a fun and lively conversation.
We both enjoyed it, and we hope you do too.
Let us know what you think in the comments!
And if you have a new word to suggest to connote female strength that comes from our sexual anatomy, we are all ears!
Loved it, Sasha. You are always so articulate and charming. I mean, really. If you can speak about self-marriage with Dr. Phil, you can do anything! Hope you are settling in to your new home. Let’s talk soon. 🙂
We’ve never met, Paula, but I wanted to say how much I appreciate your comment!
Thanks Paula! I am looking forward to finally talking!
And I will remember this when I need some self-encouragement: “I mean, really. If you can speak about self-marriage with Dr. Phil, you can do anything!”
Thank you for this interview, Sasha! I appreciate your articulate dismantling of the suppressive myths we tell ourselves about feminine autonomy (and, frankly, human worth). I’m doing my best to make PWE catch on as a term for connoting strength in female identified people!
Yes please Jill, let’s get PWE into the lexicon!!! You’re right actually. That is a good term for connoting strength in female-identified people. Something entirely new.
This was a fascinating and empowering interview, and I so needed to hear it today! Sasha, thank you for the reminder that life is meant to be lived on OUR terms. <3
So glad to read that from you Jamie! It’s a kind of magic when we intersect with the thing we need to hear.