Does any of this matter? What is the point of writing?
“People find me because something is collapsing within or around them.” Carmen Spagnola writes. “...their relationship, self-identity, ecosystem, or something else. They find me because that’s where I am: in the collapse place, holding ground.”
This is such a beautiful articulation of her gift, and what she offers the world.
Carmen Spagnola’s work is a cross pollination of attachment, polyvagal theory, somatics, trauma recovery, and mysticism.
I’ve known Carmen for a very long time — our friendship started in the early aughts, in Victoria BC, when I was an event planner and caterer, and she was a wine and food rep. I’ll never forget the day she came into our office wearing these elegant tall boots (Carmen is very elegant) and told me about a new program at Royal Roads University called “Life Coaching.” It was a brand new field back then.
Carmen is one of the first people I knew who were interested in the big questions, the deeper ways of living and understanding a Good Life. We’ve seen each other live through several transformation cycles over the years — collapse and renewal. She knows these story beats very well, and this is her work. She helps people feel secure, connected, and therefore ready to evolve. This is why I asked her to speak about our theme for September: resilience.
I am so excited to read her forthcoming book, The Spirited Kitchen: Recipes & Rituals for the Wheel of the Year, published by W. W. Norton & Co. next fall. I first met Carmen because of our shared love of food and hospitality. It’s thrilling to see how she’s threaded her passions together in this project. She’s a hummingbird, cross-pollinating the world.
I cherish my friendship with Carmen and learned from her wisdom on many occasions, in both personal and professional ways. Most recently, she helped me through some deep stuckness while I was at a turning point in a later draft of my novel, Radiant Shimmering Light. We talk about that session in our conversation.
We also talk about the metaphoric power of the autumn season, ritual literacy, attachment theory, and what we can do whenever we start to think, “Does any of my writing matter? What is the point?”
Enjoy this episode. If you can, give yourself 5-10 minutes after listening to let it soak in. Carmen drops a lot of truth in just under an hour. We don’t get to hear unfiltered integrity all that often — I felt sort of dizzy after the call, and needed to stare out the window a bit to let the truth settle.
(The transcript of this conversation can be found here.)
Notes from the conversation:
The Spirited Kitchen: Recipes & Rituals for the Wheel of the Year will be released by W.W Norton & Co. in the fall of 2022
The Numinous Podcast Four Shields of the Human Journey by Steven Foster and Meredith Little
The exercise, “Reach For What You Care About” from generative somatics with Amanda Ream and Dara Silverman.
“Don’t Hesitate” by Mary Oliver
“Reciprocal Rhythm” by Toni Spencer
The White Lotus TV series (HBO)
Reservation Dogs TV series (FX)
Carmen Spagnola’s Numinous Network
“Perhaps the World Ends Here” by Joy Harjo
Carmen's work is a cross pollination of attachment, polyvagal theory, somatics, trauma recovery, and mysticism. Her upcoming book, The Spirited Kitchen: Recipes & Rituals for the Wheel of the Year will be released by W.W.Norton & Co in the Fall of 2022.
Photo credit: Nathalie Jolie on Unsplash.
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