About this episode

It's that time again on Bewildered...Martha and Ro are bringing you another installment of The BeWild Files, where they talk about things that YOU, their listeners, are trying to figure out. In this episode they dive into questions from listeners Judy, Bryony, and Annette about masculinity and the pursuit of peace, how to explore identity beyond the binary, and the difference between wanting a house and longing for home. It's a conversation full of deep thoughts (and belly laughs), so be sure to listen!

Show Notes

View on YouTube for closed captions.

Note: EXPLICIT (If you have little ones around, grab your earbuds for this episode as it contains some explicit language.)

 

It’s that time again on Bewildered…Martha and Ro are bringing you another installment of The BeWild Files, where they talk about things that YOU, their listeners, are trying to figure out.

In this episode Martha and Ro dive into questions from listeners Judy, Bryony, and Annette about masculinity and the pursuit of peace, how to explore identity beyond the binary, and the difference between wanting a house and longing for home. 

It’s a conversation full of brain science, deep thoughts, and plenty of laughs, so be sure to listen!

 

Also in this episode:

  • The pitfalls of progressive lenses
  • Rowan rocks the mic with some senior rap
  • A redwing blackbird gets Martha to the dentist
  • The daintiest home invasion ever (featuring Rowan’s mom)
  • The perfect lesbian litmus test in song form
  • The Karen-ism of the Week: Karen sizes up a suspicious van

Have you been feeling bewildered? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

You can follow us on our Instagram channel @bewilderedpodcast to connect with our Bewildered community, learn about upcoming episodes, and participate in callouts ahead of podcast taping.

And if you’re a Bewildered fan, we’d love for you to consider giving us a little rate-and-review love on your favorite podcast player. Ratings and reviews are like gold in the podcasting universe—they help people find us, they help build this beautiful community, and most of all, they help us in our quest to Bewilder the world…

Transcript
Download Transcript

Please note: This is an unedited transcript, provided as a courtesy, and reflects the actual conversation as closely as possible. Please forgive any typographical or grammatical errors.

Note: Explicit Language (If you have little ones around, grab your earbuds for this episode—there is some explicit language.)

(Topic Discussion starts around 00:19:52)

Martha Beck:
[Intro Music] Welcome to Bewildered. I’m Martha Beck, here with Rowan Mangan. At this crazy moment in history a lot of people are feelings bewildered, but that actually may be a sign we’re on track. Human culture teaches us to come to consensus, but nature — our own true nature — helps us come to our senses. Rowan and I believe that the best way to figure it all out is by going through bewilderment into be-wild-erment. That’s why we’re here. [Music fades] Hi, I’m Martha Beck!

Rowan Mangan:
And I’m Rowan Mangan, and this is another episode of Bewildered, the podcast for people trying to figure it out.

Martha Beck:
And what are you trying to figure out, little girl?

Rowan Mangan:
That’s the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard.

Martha Beck:
It comes from my older children – went to a place in Utah that was completely run by a cult, and they went into the one restaurant, and this man came and hovered over them and said, “What would you like, little children?”, and they ran away.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh my God. I think you accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up in Hansel and Gretel, the story.

Martha Beck:
That could very well be it. I actually think the word “Utah” sums it up. No, sorry, Utahns, you’re great. The skiing, yeah. Salty Lake.

Rowan Mangan:
The skiing is great there.

Martha Beck:
Skiing, Salty Lake, what more could you ask? Okay, so what are you trying to figure out, Rowie?

Rowan Mangan:
All right, Marty, so here’s the thing. I have, not too long ago, graduated to a new phase of my life, wherein I no longer wear…

Martha Beck:
Clothes?

Rowan Mangan:
Reading glasses. Sorry, I couldn’t think of the word for them. That’s a new phase as well, where I can no longer remember words. I no longer wear reading glasses, because here’s the why. I need them for the screen reading a lot, and between the phone and the computer, let’s be honest, it’s quite a lot of the day, and what was happening was when I took off my glasses to talk to you and look across the room at you, our toddler would grab them and run away with them, and it was driving me insane in the membrane. So, I thought, “You know what?” They’re on all the time anyway. Let’s just get them in what in America, is called “progressive lenses,” which to me, sounds wonderful, because it’s all like, yay, friendly and progressive. But then, and I mean, kind of politically is how I take it, but then it also occurs to me that progressive is a word that people sometimes apply to diseases and stuff.

Martha Beck:
Illness, yes.

Rowan Mangan:
And it makes me kind of dwell on the reality of my own mortality, dwell on the reality of my own mortality.

Martha Beck:
Ooh! Now you’re doing senior rap.

Rowan Mangan:
Senior rap.

Martha Beck:
Senior rap.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh my God, that’s so funny. That’s just legitimately funny.

Martha Beck:
Yeah. “Can’t move my digits, I need such a lot of widgets.” Yeah. I’m not good at it.

Rowan Mangan:
You’ll get there, honey.

Martha Beck:
Thank you.

Rowan Mangan:
Give it a few years.

Martha Beck:
Thank you.

Rowan Mangan:
So anyway, I’ve been through this whole big new life learning thing of doing the eye test and getting the progressive lenses. We call them “multifocals” in Australia, or maybe we don’t anymore. Sometimes I think things are Australia, but actually, they’re just 2015 or earlier for everyone.

Martha Beck:
Yeah. Is there any difference?

Rowan Mangan:
There’s actually a whole thing for migrant families, where I forget where they did this research, I think some of it was like Indian migrant families to Australia maybe, or the US, one of those ones, they all look the same to me, and it was about how families would move and have their kids in the new country, and the kids would grow up and trying to rebel, as kids do, and the parents would be like, “This isn’t how it’s done in the home country. Go to the home country and find out what real struggle is. We had to walk nine miles to school in the snow, blah, blah, blah.” And then the kids go to the home country, and it’s refreshingly open, because that’s all changed since the parents were there, and so, they can do whatever they want, and that’s what we’re all looking for in this life.

Martha Beck:
Doing whatever we want.

Rowan Mangan:
Because of the… Oh, how did my rap go? The reality of our own mortality.

Martha Beck:
Oh, this is just… Okay. So how does this relate to reading glasses? Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
Okay, so I got some glasses.

Martha Beck:
That’s the short version.

Rowan Mangan:
Okay, I got a pair of glasses, and it’s given me a lot of empathy for how people are walking around in this life, trying to deal with having these lenses that do different things, depending on where you hold your head. So, you have to hold your head at a certain place to be able to see what you want to see. This is brilliant. Oh man, so-

Martha Beck:
I think people have, for time immemorial, have been holding their heads in a certain way, so they can see what they wanted to see.

Rowan Mangan:
I think you’re right. Anyway, I learned a lot about my mother through this, and a lot of empathy, because my mom has a tendency to look straight down as she walks, and I now realize, “Oh, it’s because if you just glance down, the bottom of your lens is where it can get wonky,” that’s what I’m saying. I got scared walking down the stairs a couple of times, while I was getting used to these glasses. So, I can see that if you actually… I’m getting off mic, because I’m trying to demonstrate it to you. When you stick your chin right down, you can see more clearly, but you can see more clearly what’s right in front of you, but let me tell you what you can’t see clearly is what’s in front of you.

Martha Beck:
Ah.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh wait, I just said the same thing twice.

Martha Beck:
You just said the same thing twice.

Rowan Mangan:
Right, at a greater distance in front of you-

Martha Beck:
Ah, at a greater distance.

Rowan Mangan:
… as opposed to right where your feet are.

Martha Beck:
Right.

Rowan Mangan:
Okay. So, then something happened that pointed out the difficulty of this system, and I’m going to use my mum here, and I’m really sorry, mum, to do this to you, but it was pretty funny. So, we were in New York at our place in New York, and mum had headed down to get some groceries. I think she had two bags of groceries, not very heavy. I would’ve helped her if it was going to be a whole big thing, I’m not a total cow. And so, she had these two medium sized bags of groceries, one in each hand, and she came up the elevator, as she does, and she walks along as she does, and opens the door and comes in, and she’s looking down. So, she keeps walking, she walks right into the room and at that point, she looks up and puts the bags down, and what she realized was at that point, belatedly, some might say, is that she was in someone else’s apartment. She’d misremembered where to go when she got off the elevator.

Martha Beck:
Oh.

Rowan Mangan:
And so, but here’s the thing, the way that her glasses work and the way that she looks right down meant that she didn’t just open the wrong door, “Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry. I thought this was the other apartment.” No, no, no. She opened the door brazenly, without hesitation, and she walked right in to the room. I mean, they’re not big apartments, these are small apartment.

Martha Beck:
Were there people in there?

Rowan Mangan:
Yes.

Martha Beck:
Oh God, what happened?

Rowan Mangan:
There was our neighbor, Inga, was there.

Martha Beck:
I don’t know Inga yet.

Rowan Mangan:
Hmm?

Martha Beck:
I don’t know Inga yet.

Rowan Mangan:
No, I don’t either. Mom does.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, she does.

Rowan Mangan:
They know each other well, they basically cohabit. And so, there’s my mom in the middle of the room, groceries are on the floor, she’s finally looked up, and there’s this poor woman who’s minding her own business in her own house.

Martha Beck:
What did she say?

Rowan Mangan:
I don’t think she said anything. I’m sure that what my mom said was, “Oh my God. I’m so sorry,” which isn’t very menacing. As far as house break-ins go.

Martha Beck:
Right, yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
And also the groceries would’ve been a bit of a red herring.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, this is like the least frightening home invasion that I’ve ever envisioned.

Rowan Mangan:
Right, my lovely mother.

Martha Beck:
She’s such a sweet, demure, beautiful little thing. I mean, she’s just dainty and lovely, just breaking right into your home.

Rowan Mangan:
And I’m sure she was already thinking about putting on the kettle for a cup of tea, and she’s just sort of trudging in, in a businesslike manner. I like picturing that. And so, but okay, so here’s the kicker. She apologized profusely, I’m sure, she’s a very nice lady, as I said, to Inga, the neighbor, and she comes back, she realizes she turned left instead of right when she got off the lift, she comes back all the way along the hall, comes in very gingerly and checks, “Okay.” And then this is the first I hear of this adventure that she’s had. She goes, she comes in, she puts the kettle on, puts the groceries down and she goes, “So, I met one of your neighbors, Inga, and she’s lovely.” Doesn’t mention the circumstances that they met under, for some time.

Martha Beck:
Okay. So, this is Paula as a Russian, when Napoleon’s army invades, just going up to the czar, whatever and going, “Oh, the French are visiting.” They’re lovely. I mean, Paula would always be positive about everything.

Rowan Mangan:
God love her. Ah, dear. All right. So, what are you trying to figure out, Marty-moo?

Martha Beck:
Yeah. Well, now I’m thinking about my progressives. I’m just generally blind. I think you will have noticed this, but it’s something as I drive around our home in Pennsylvania, and wander around New York City and everything, I find, well, I have ADD, so I only notice what I’m interested in. I did not think this was a disorder until they told me, “Yeah, you’ve got to notice things you’re not interested in.” That, to me, seems crazy. So, I have not even tried to shift over.

Rowan Mangan:
Good.

Martha Beck:
But it becomes problematic when finding one’s way around the civilized world, because I tend to choose landmarks that are interesting to me, which usually means they’re quite ephemeral, they pass, don’t you know? They go. So, you will remember the time in New York City where I said, “Oh, here’s how to get to the laundromat. You walk two blocks down, and if you come to the blue surgical glove on the sidewalk, you’ve gone too far.”

Rowan Mangan:
Yes.

Martha Beck:
And you were like, “That’s not a real landmark. What do you even mean?” Of course, what is more interesting?

Rowan Mangan:
I’ll be like, “That piece of litter was there two and a half months ago. I don’t know that it’s going to help me today.”

Martha Beck:
And I’m like, “So, all right, it’s the man on the weird bicycle?” That’s where the-

Rowan Mangan:
Talk about the groundhog, because that was important for both of us.

Martha Beck:
Oh, that’s very important. We were driving along once a long time ago, and we saw a groundhog, and it was-

Rowan Mangan:
This was a really long time ago.

Martha Beck:
It was, but it was a big groundhog.

Rowan Mangan:
That’s true. That’s true.

Martha Beck:
Memorable. People, this was an ample unit of groundhog.

Rowan Mangan:
If we need to measure units of groundhog.

Martha Beck:
Imagine a furry hoop skirt, just making its way across the field. It was-

Rowan Mangan:
That is such a weird image. I feel like I just got such an interesting glimpse into how your mind works. A furry hoop skirt.

Martha Beck:
Making its way across a field. Obviously, you just don’t look as closely at groundhogs as I do-

Rowan Mangan:
Fiercely.

Martha Beck:
… because you’re, I don’t know, driving in progressives? So, I’m like, “Okay, so then there’s Groundhog Street,” and I have to say around here, there are a couple of streets that do capture my attention, because they have real names. In modern developments, they always give them corny names like “Pheasant Pointe” with an E on “point,” or like-

Rowan Mangan:
“Whispering Willows.”

Martha Beck:
“Whispering Winds.” Yeah. “Murmuring [inaudible 00:12:24].

Rowan Mangan:
“Munchkins.”

Martha Beck:
“Murmuring Munchkins.”

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, I shouldn’t say that.

Martha Beck:
There’s Oz. Well, Oz people, I know you come from Oz.

Rowan Mangan:
We just went in so many directions at once. Keep going.

Martha Beck:
No, but I think that they should name them things like “Grumbling Oaks.”

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, I love that.

Martha Beck:
“Muttering Aspen,” so it’s threatening.

Rowan Mangan:
Vaguely threatening.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, but-

Rowan Mangan:
I’m trying to think of a tree. Eucalyptus.

Martha Beck:
The thing is that around here, you have street names that are old, like 200 years old, so they’re real, they’re things like “Street Road.” We have a Street Road here.

Rowan Mangan:
They weren’t brimming with imagination back in the day.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, “What we call it? It’s a street. It’s a road. It’s a Street Road.”

Rowan Mangan:
I guess they were fighting off bears and stuff. They didn’t have-

Martha Beck:
Yeah, they were busy. They were busy.

Rowan Mangan:
… a lot of time for Pheasant Pointy Pointe.

Martha Beck:
And then there’s my favorite. We almost bought a house on a road that is called, I kid you not, Old Windy Bush Road.

Rowan Mangan:
For some reason, a lot of our friends thought that that would be a great place for us to live, when they wanted to come and visit, they’d be able to remember. I don’t know why they thought they’d be able to remember when they thought of us.

Martha Beck:
I know. It’s disconnected.

Rowan Mangan:
What Old Windy Bush would have in common with us.

Martha Beck:
Yeah. It’s like Bushy Bush Road would be a street road version of Old Windy Bush. I’m not making any sense. Okay, here’s the point, here is the point. There is a place where I have to turn to go to the dentist, and the only way I know how to turn is that a red-winged blackbird lives in that field, and he flies around a lot.

Rowan Mangan:
I actually know where you’re talking about.

Martha Beck:
Yeah. Right?

Rowan Mangan:
Because of the blackbird, the red-winged blackbird.

Martha Beck:
Yeah. He’s this-

Rowan Mangan:
God, they’re so beautiful, aren’t they?

Martha Beck:
Oh, beautiful black with these little epaulets of red and gold on their shoulders, it’s just amazing, and he flies around a lot, but if he’s not flying, I don’t know where to turn.

Rowan Mangan:
You know what’s even weirder? It’s like when there’s geese at groundhog point, and then you’re like, “Wait, I don’t-”

Martha Beck:
Wait, wait. Geese is how I know to go right for the grocery store. Yeah, that’s just wrong.

Rowan Mangan:
I know.

Martha Beck:
You can’t put a goose in the groundhog street.

Rowan Mangan:
I didn’t.

Martha Beck:
I’m sorry. Well, see that you don’t. Yeah, so I basically just wander around Pennsylvania trying to cite animals, and turning wherever they are, and I spend a lot of extra time in the car, I’m just saying.

Rowan Mangan:
It’s true.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
It’s true.

Martha Beck:
Trying to figure it out.

Rowan Mangan:
Well, good luck with that.

Martha Beck:
I thought you were going to help me.

Rowan Mangan:
I did. I put a goose there.

Martha Beck:
Ah, you said you didn’t, but at least you knew the red-winged blackbird, so I’ll give you points for that.

Rowan Mangan:
All right. So we, of course, also have our new item… Karen-ism of the Week.

Martha Beck:
Karen-ism of the Week.

Rowan Mangan:
You decided to rap it, I decided to sing it. That’s great.

Martha Beck:
That’s how we go along that way.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Yeah. So, we looked through our list of Karen-isms.

Rowan Mangan:
Wait, wait, if, if you’re new to the podcast, you won’t know about our beloved Karen, who is quirky and a lot of fun, and wonderful, and also quite funny, and did I say quirky already? Yeah.

Martha Beck:
But she’s funny because she says things in dead earnest that are just kind of odd, but she’s not joking when she says them. She laughs later when we laugh, but when she says it, she’s just genuine. She’s very earnest.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
So-

Rowan Mangan:
So, this is a while back now, but it’s like a classic Karen-ism for the ages, and okay, so we live out in the woods and we don’t do much, we just look at our neighbors’ houses, sometimes.

Martha Beck:
Pandemic.

Rowan Mangan:
Pandemic. This was also winter, and so, we were looking at our neighbor’s house, and they’re up the hill, they’re a ways away. It’s not like we’re looking in their windows in the next door. But anyway, one day, a van turned up at our neighbor’s house, and it was like… Okay, so their house is over here. You can’t see my hands, but just imagine I’m pointing one way, their house is over here, the van is over here, I’m pointing the other way, really far from the house, and we were just sort of like, “Why is that van way over there?” And it stayed there.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and this was in weather, it was in snow and wind, and you wouldn’t want to walk that distance to the house. Why did they park the van there?

Rowan Mangan:
Exactly. And so, Marty and I are puzzling over this. It was like the time there was a goose at the groundhog point, it was just, it was so worthy of conversation, and we’re there, and Karen walks past us at a certain point and we’re like, “Have you seen the van at the other house?” And she looks up at it, hadn’t seen it before and she goes, “Oh.” She goes, “Oh, that looks like a van for a Christmas uncle,” and I said, “What?” She said, “Yeah. It just looks like a Christmas uncle would be in a van like that.”

Martha Beck:
And we were like, “What kind of uncles do you have?”

Rowan Mangan:
She just walked off. It was like, “I’ve said enough.”

Martha Beck:
But the images she left us with, and this is a woman who watches true crime mysteries a lot.

Rowan Mangan:
So, I picture a big bushy mustache. Sorry if you have a big bushy mustache, but I think scary people also often do.

Martha Beck:
Old Windy Bushy Mustache.

Rowan Mangan:
Old Windy Bush doesn’t like that mustache.

Martha Beck:
Oh God.

Rowan Mangan:
Just don’t even know what that means. I don’t even, I just said it.

Martha Beck:
Just keep talking, just keep talking.

Rowan Mangan:
You keep talking.

Martha Beck:
All right. So yeah, it was the Christmas uncle, and there were all kinds of perverted images in our mind about what was going on in that van after Karen said this, and just walked away.

Rowan Mangan:
Well, and I’ve got a theory, because I wonder if a Christmas uncle is the kind of uncle that you don’t want to invite, but you have to invite him for Christmas, and so, you’re having him sleep in his van?

Martha Beck:
Or he shows up and he’s like, “Merry Christmas,” and you say, “Dude, the restraining order stipulates that you need to be 300 yards away,” and he’s like, “Okay, I’ll go sit in my van.”

Rowan Mangan:
Oh my God, what if the Christmas uncle was just literally an uncle that was a gift?

Martha Beck:
Oh.

Rowan Mangan:
Like what if you, for Christmas, decided to give someone an uncle?

Martha Beck:
Oh.

Rowan Mangan:
It might even be one of your uncles. Doesn’t matter, it’s Christmas.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, you could wrap it in a van.

Rowan Mangan:
It’s the thought that counts.

Martha Beck:
Oh, I have so many thoughts about Christmas uncles now, and I never thought of the phrase before, but it’s never going.

Rowan Mangan:
No.

Martha Beck:
Never going away.

Rowan Mangan:
No, there’ll be a Christmas uncle lurking in our psyches for the rest of our days.

Martha Beck:
Because of Karen.

Rowan Mangan:
Because of Karen.

We’ll be right back with more Bewildered. I have a favor to ask. You might not know this, but ratings and reviews are like gold in the podcasting universe. They get podcasts in front of more faces, more eyes, more ears, all the bits that you could have a podcast in front of, that’s what they do. So, it would help us enormously if you would consider going over to your favorite podcasting app, especially if it’s Apple, and giving us a few stars, maybe even five, maybe even six, if you can find a way to hack the system, I wouldn’t complain, and a review would also be wonderful, we read them all, and love them. So, thank you very much in advance. Let’s just go out there, and bewilder the world. Mwah.

Martha Beck:
So, introduce the topic of this day.

Rowan Mangan:
All right. Well, I just will then, and gang, we haven’t done a Be Wild Files for oh, such a long time, and so, we thought, “Let’s do a Be Wild Files episode today,” because we had a few of you… Now, I always want to say, write in, name and address on the back of a… What is it? Name on a self-

Martha Beck:
Envelope.

Rowan Mangan:
… stamp self-addressed envelope?

Martha Beck:
Stamped on a postcard.

Rowan Mangan:
No, you used actual technology, because you don’t live in my childhood. So, Be Wild Files are about when we talk to you about what you’re trying to figure out, you sent them in. Look at the show notes, if you want to do the same, there’s a link. And so, we’re going to do that. How’s that, Marty, for introducing the topic?

Martha Beck:
Works for me.

Rowan Mangan:
We’re going to do it.

Martha Beck:
Who’s our first caller?

Rowan Mangan:
So, our first caller is Judy, and we’re going to listen to Judy and see what she has to say.

Judy:
I am 54 years old, and I believe that I deserve to live in peace, and I’ve changed my life, left a 20 year marriage, left a career and started over, and surrounded myself with people who are creative, and open-minded, honest and kind, and in doing so, I noticed that there are almost no heterosexual men left in my life, and I’m wondering if this is a trend that you see in your work, Martha, that the more women get rid of heterosexual men in their lives, the more peaceful their lives become?

Rowan Mangan:
Okay. So, right off the bat, Judy, I just want to take issue with the phrase, “Get rid of the heterosexual men.” This podcast does not endorse, nor does it condone getting rid of any sort of people at all.

Martha Beck:
Any sort of person.

Rowan Mangan:
Not even a Christmas uncle.

Martha Beck:
Oh my gosh. No, leave him as he is, and we take your meaning.

Rowan Mangan:
Yes. Yeah. I mean, I think this makes sense, and without it being a kind of bashing.

Martha Beck:
This is tricky territory. We could be very homophobic. No, androphobic, not homophobic, androphobic, afraid of men, and so-

Rowan Mangan:
We could be homophobic.

Martha Beck:
… I want to say right up front that there are many men that we love dearly.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Ro says, “Yeah,” and tries to think of one.

Rowan Mangan:
That’s not true at all.

Martha Beck:
That’s not true.

Rowan Mangan:
That’s not true. We live with a wonderful man, Adam Beck.

Martha Beck:
That’s true.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. No, I mean, it’s funny because it’s like I can absolutely take your meaning and totally get it, and then at the same time, there’s like six different things in my head that come up, and it’s like, I immediately notice that the cis heterosexual men that I still love and want to be with, and I should’ve said congratulations for doing all that stuff, and getting to such a place of peace. And I feel like I’m also getting to a point where there’s a lot more peace in my life than there used to be. When I look at the men around me that I love dearly, I don’t know. I don’t know if this is unfair, Marty. I feel like they tend to be people who’ve struggled in other ways, and they’re not like typical men. Why is that? Why would I?

Martha Beck:
I love my phrase from the Peruvian shaman who said, “Compassion is the evolution of consciousness in the healing of trauma,” which I mean, it just came right out of his face, and I was like, “Whoa, wait. Let me memorize that.”

Rowan Mangan:
Compassion-

Martha Beck:
“Compassion is the evolution of consciousness in the healing of trauma.”

Rowan Mangan:
In the healing of trauma.

Martha Beck:
So, what he’s basically saying is if something bad has happened to you and you have gone deeply into yourself enough to have compassion, you have evolved. So, I would say, yeah, people in general who have had difficult times, and God knows it’s a difficult planet, so pretty much everyone, but the people who’ve gone inward and examined their lives and dealt with something difficult, have a lot of compassion, more than say, people who are more callow, they’re younger, they haven’t done as much, or they’ve suffered without any self-examination, and they’re sort of clinging to their privilege. I think when you’ve gone through something hard, you start to notice other people’s suffering as well.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. I think that’s true, and I think we often talk about culture, nature, on this podcast, as though our nature will never coincide with the culture, and yet, from time to time, it does. From time to time when the culture says, “Be like that,” I’m like, “Oh, I actually already am truly in my nature.” Not many times, but sometimes, and I think that often, and I’m choosing words really carefully here, but often, the Venn diagram of those things lining up, they can line up more easily in this moment in our culture, for white, straight cis guys. So, I think that that exists, but then I also think that where we are in the culture is a point that can be really difficult for those guys that are, and this sounds stupid, but who are still in that privileged position, it’s that privilege can exist in certain ways, and then it’s struggle town in others. What do you think about that?

Martha Beck:
I think specifically, what do you mean? So, say I’m a straight, white cis man, and how are things hard for me now?

Rowan Mangan:
All right. So, what’s easy for you is you get all the jobs, and all that sort of basic cultural stuff is easy, but the culture, it seems to me, is in a process of really hardening old gender roles, where they haven’t yet broken, right? Gender, all kinds of things, all those roles that were kind of, I guess part of what you would think of in the 20th century, and this is almost the last bastion of it, because it’s still drenched in privilege. And so, I think that men are being held in themselves in that kind of masculinity, often toxic masculinity. Just because they’re doing it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re enjoying it. What do you think? Is that fair?

Martha Beck:
Oh yeah, absolutely. There’s something I call the “man cage” and I’ve been ranting about it for decades, and I first thought of it when I read classics of sociology, and Max Weber, one of my favorites, was talking about how there was an iron cage that humans were being pushed into, and he was talking about men, because of course, women didn’t actually count. As men become more and more cogs in the machine of materialism and capitalism, their ability to choose their role will be constrained more and more narrowly, and they will be shoved out of sort of leisure spaces, and more into work, work more of the time, more of the day, put more of your identity on what you do that gains money, and status, and wealth. And so, the whole range of human emotion and capability that is possible for a human is incredibly curtailed, for guys who are trying to fit in the male model right now.

And I also think as I was listening to Judy talking about how it’s so peaceful, say what you want about how men and women naturally are, I don’t know about that, but I will tell you for sure that men are groomed for war, and women are groomed to be compliant. So, men are literally taught to be less peaceful, and there’s this cycle that I’ve noticed in movies and things where men, they watch all these fun war movies, where people are going on about this “Band of Brothers, and it’s awesome, and they’re great. We’re going to win. We’re going to beat everyone.” We play these video games where there’s always this hulking man walking away from a steaming field of rubble, and you’re thinking, “Who’s going to make his breakfast? Because they’re all dead.” Because life goes on after war, but that’s women’s responsibility, right?

So, they make these movies that are all happy, happy war movies. Then they go to war, then they come back and make movies like The Deer Hunter, or The Hurt Locker, about how absolutely not fun that was, and they start to become the proponents of peace. And it just shows you how you push a person far enough into being a cog of the culture until they’re literally being used as cannon fodder, and then they finally go, “No, no. I actually don’t want this, and this is wrong,” and they start to question the whole culture, and that’s when they become sort of champions of peace.

Rowan Mangan:
Do you think… I completely buy all of that, I really, really like it, and I just wonder, we’re at this point, we’re at this interesting moment, I think, where there’s so much breakdown of stuff around gender and identity, and I just wonder, is masculinity as a whole being pushed to a point where it can’t hold?

Martha Beck:
I don’t know. It will be decided by individuals who identify as male, because they will be the ones that have the heel of culture shoe grinding them down, they will be the ones who say, “Enough already.” It’s like Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, back with the suffragettes, “I’m here for the rights of women, and women have been systematically disempowered in the policy, the law, and the economy, and my job, my mission in life,” and I read this and I thought, “She’s going to say, I’m going to get them equality,” and she said, “My function is to deepen this disappointment in the hearts of women, until they will suffer it no longer.”

Rowan Mangan:
Wow.

Martha Beck:
So, the people who break out first are the ones who are most crushed by culture, but you’re absolutely right. I think men are getting crushed from all different sides, and it’s up to them to say for themselves, “I get to be me. I don’t have to be what the culture says I should be.”

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, yeah. I just want to go back to that suffragette.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
So, she basically said, “My mission is to bitch and moan in front of women to make them feel worse, and that’s going to help them.” I love it, I love it. It’s just making me feel differently about that one person in the office who’s just always moaning about how crappy the job is and everything, because it’s like, “Oh, they’re just deepening our disappointment until we can stand it no longer.”

Martha Beck:
I was thinking of it more like a therapist. I used to have a therapist, I was in group therapy, right? And so, there would be somebody who’s husband or partner was being mean to her, or parents, it was more likely to be parents. So, she’d have the person sit in a chair and imagine their nasty grandfather on the opposite chair, and the grandfather was saying, “You’re no good for anything…” And she would make the person agree, she’d say, “Yeah. Yes, grandpa. I am a bad person. I am nothing,” and she’d say, “Keep telling him,” and finally, the woman would go, “No!” It was all women. I’m sure men would’ve done the same thing if they’d been in the group, but she would just make them keep agreeing with the system, until they realized how toxic it was, and they said no, because if she said no, that was just one more cultural pressure. She would make them agree to the point, where they finally said no.

Rowan Mangan:
So, there’s no way I can dovetail this into complaining more?

Martha Beck:
Oh no, you absolutely can.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, thank you.

Martha Beck:
Complain all the time. Complain in your sleep, my love.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, I do, I think. Yeah, I think that’s so interesting about the guys, and I do think there’s a crossroads for a lot of… And yeah, heterosexual men, because they haven’t come up against it yet, right?

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
But for gay guys, or anyone who doesn’t identify as straight, there’s-

Martha Beck:
Or white. I mean, there’s a huge race problem.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, but Judy specifically mentioned heterosexual.

Martha Beck:
That’s true.

Rowan Mangan:
And so, I think they’ve had to go through a certain reckoning in their core, that maybe has led to the peace that you’re talking about, or more of it, so that as people go through this really fundamental reckoning, maybe, they end up being more peaceful on the other side. I don’t know.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, because we could flip Judy’s question and say, “The more peaceful I make my life, the less hetero men fit into it.” They’re not allowed into peace. The culture forbids them to enter the place of peace, and that may not be, I’m just saying it could go either way. It could be that she’s kicking them out, because they’re not peaceful.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh no, I don’t think she was saying that at all. I think it was that she just noticed that suddenly, they weren’t among those there, probably because she got rid of them, you know what I mean? Judy, Judy, Judy.

Martha Beck:
They’re probably stuffed in a Christmas van, three deep.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh god.

Martha Beck:
No. Judy would never.

Rowan Mangan:
The van wasn’t a Christmas van. The van was for life, not just for Christmas. It was the uncle, get it straight. All right. Well, I think we figured this out.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, I think we figured… Oh gosh, I hope we didn’t say anything deeply mortifyingly offensive to anyone, but that would just be a normal day for me. So, who’s our next person?

Rowan Mangan:
Our next person is Bryony, and here she comes.

Bryony:
Hi, Ro and Marty. My name’s Bryony, I’m a 24 year old woman, and I’ve realized recently that how I present myself to the world and interact in my romantic relationships has been based a bit on internalized misogyny and homophobia, and that my true nature might be a bit less binary, and that I’m possibly attracted to women. How would you advise exploring this, while leaving behind this internalized crap, and being super respectful to myself and others, and also, where do the gays go? I love you both endlessly, and thank you for making me laugh.

Rowan Mangan:
Aw.

Martha Beck:
Thank you, Bryony.

Rowan Mangan:
Thanks, Bryony. Where do the gays go, Marty?

Martha Beck:
Our house. Hello?

Rowan Mangan:
Come on over, Bryony. It’s awesome. Just watch out for the Christmas uncle.

Martha Beck:
That’s right. Don’t go for a walk up that way.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Ah.

Rowan Mangan:
It’s funny how we didn’t select these to be-

Martha Beck:
No, we just-

Rowan Mangan:
We just went to the next ones that came up, and yet, it’s so close to where we ended up going with Judy.

Martha Beck:
I think one of the marks of our time in history, granted, that people live for extra centuries, that the planet doesn’t fry, is that we will be the moment in history when gender came under question, like this deep, deep acculturated rift.

Rowan Mangan:
Gender, sexuality.

Martha Beck:
Identity. Yeah, all of that, like there was a time when people stopped being cruel to animals, there were laws suddenly about no cruelty to animals, then there was a time when they used a law against hurting an animal to prosecute someone for child abuse, and that was the time when children became valued enough to be protected from abuse, and there’s always a thing happening, and our thing happening is that the deepest identity the culture gives you, your gender and your sexual identity, is now being seen as a narrative, not something we naturally are, and people are starting to say, “That’s not my nature.”

Rowan Mangan:
That’s so interesting. I was just trying to think if there was any, because what strikes me about what Bryony said is just this thing of, “There was a binary, I had this binary model in my head, and I’m starting to think that doesn’t work,” which I just think is so representative of what so many people are, and I’m just trying to think, are there any other, because I think the binary form is very much part of our culture as a form of thought. It’s either one thing or the other, and all our evolution and our spiritual evolution and everything is always about transcending the binary, and seeing what’s on the other side, and I just think we’re doing such an interesting job right now of exploring that, and it’s like, you just said, gender and sexuality are our deepest cultural identity forms.

Martha Beck:
Well yeah, as soon as you’re born, they’re like “Boy or girl?”

Rowan Mangan:
Right.

Martha Beck:
And there it is, from that moment, and there are many studies on this, you treat that child differently, depending on whether you think it’s a boy or girl.

Rowan Mangan:
Right. So, do you think there’s anything else in our culture right now? Any other markers where binary forms are starting to break down?

Martha Beck:
Well, what comes to my mind immediately is Asian philosophy, where the entire thing, I mean from way, way, thousands of years ago, the enlightened people in India, and China, and Tibet and all that were having these experiences in meditation that took them beyond binary categories. So, dualism is the nature of the material world, but the ultimate reality is the field through which the binary functions, and I think I’ve said this on the podcast before, but I’ll say it again. Life and death are not opposites, birth is the opposite of death. Life has no opposite. It’s the field through which birth and death traverse, right?

Rowan Mangan:
Right.

Martha Beck:
I mean, they go out. So, the idea is that all the dualities, we have brains that think in dual systems, but the whole idea is that that’s an illusion and beyond duality, there’s a complete freedom, there is no defined, that’s why they call it no self, and they call it emptiness, and Westerners hear that and they think, ‘I don’t want to be in emptiness and have no self.” But what it means is that you are completely able to experience anything that is true for you, and your nature is to experience it as bliss and joy, and even the sorrows that humans feel are part of the great drama that is being appreciated by the universal consciousness, which has no gender. I mean, Jesus said the same thing in the New Testament, and people don’t talk about it.

They said, “Who marries who in heaven?” And he goes, “There is no marriage. There is no duality.” So sorry, I’m getting little… Sorry, let’s go back.

Rowan Mangan:
I love that, and I think it’s such an interesting sort of reflection on even though things are so bad right now in so many ways, that maybe there’s hope as well, because we’re edging closer to that. But what I was actually asking you was, can you think of anything else in this contemporary society right now that is changing, that might be emblematic of a greater sense of binaries breaking down in the culture? I can’t, I wanted to, but I couldn’t, but as you say, the gender place is such a…

Martha Beck:
Well, the thing that I’m thinking about is… Sorry for my 10 minute disposition on philosophy, going into religion. Yeah. No, but the brain has two hemispheres that think similarly, but not quite the same. Actually, they’re quite different. So, there’s this binary breakdown, and some psychologists thought that’s the origin of consciousness, it’s because they’re two sides of the brain and they start talking to each other, and we think that we become aware of our own consciousness because everything’s split. But the way of thinking has moved from… Okay, have you heard this joke before? There are two kinds of people in the world, those who divide everything into two categories, and those who don’t?

Rowan Mangan:
Right.

Martha Beck:
Well, the left side of the brain is what divides everything into two categories. The right side doesn’t, the right side is non-dual, it’s universally connected, it can hold paradox, all these things. So, over time, what at least some historians are telling us, is that society itself has shifted away from the binary, and more into the… Well, sorry. It started with the non-binary and it shifted into the binary, right around the time we think civilization started. So, there was a time when everybody, an artist who drew a profile would always draw the right side profile, and that switched about 400 years ago, and now they almost always draw the left side profile.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, that’s fascinating.

Martha Beck:
And it’s because when you look at someone from the right side of your brain, you see the right side profile, and vice versa.

Rowan Mangan:
Wow.

Martha Beck:
So, there was a point at which brains flipped to seeing the other side of a person as more significant, literally the left and right of a person.

Rowan Mangan:
I mean, we always, I’m just, I’m so curious about when it happened, and I’m wondering if there’s anything to do with the Industrial Revolution, because it feels… No? Has it always…

Martha Beck:
It was little prior to that, but it was around the time that people started to become, I always talk about the time when the merchants joined with the aristocracy, and started creating the current socioeconomic period… Pyramid. Sorry. It was around that time when people were seen more as workers, and they started keeping numbers-

Rowan Mangan:
Commodities.

Martha Beck:
… commoditizing human individuals, that they stopped drawing them from the right side of the brain, which sees them as infinitely varied, and went to the left side, which sees a sort of template.

Rowan Mangan:
Conveyor belt.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
Like factory model.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
It’s the same thing though, right? It’s the model that gave birth to the Industrial Revolution.

Martha Beck:
Right.

Rowan Mangan:
So, it’s actually the same thing. Oh, that’s fascinating.

Martha Beck:
Oh yeah, it’s all along, and it’s gone further, and further, and further, that whole iron cage of rationalism is all about leaving the right side perception behind, and going into the type of thinking that is on the left side of the brain.

Rowan Mangan:
Wow. That’s cool. I just, I had this image come into my head as you were talking about that, because I was thinking about, Bryony saying that she has this residual internalized homophobia and misogyny, and I was like, wow. So, maybe if the culture is living in that conveyor belt side of the brain, the left side of the brain, then maybe what’s happening for Bryony and so many of us, is that we’re starting to trickle back to this part that knows there’s no binary, but there’s like still a shadow. It’s not like a switch getting flipped, it’s like a slow, I don’t know, pendulum or something. I don’t know. But, and so, she’s still feeling the shadow of the cultural ideas about misogyny, and homophobia, and whatever.

Martha Beck:
Yeah. If you were raised in this culture and you’re wondering if you have internalized misogyny and homophobia, you do. You just do. You inhaled it with your very first breaths, right? It’s just everywhere in the world, but I think you’re right. I think there was a gradual shift from a holistic view into a binary view, and now it’s happening. You said earlier, it’s breaking. It’s not just shifting gently back to the right, it’s more like people are saying, “I cannot fit in this cage you have given me. It’s not like I want a different size cage, I want to just break down the cage,” and the cage is this really sort of rigid view of people as commodities that we get with capitalism, and all the other systems of modern civilization. And so, we’re all breaking, and that’s the way we get back to the right side, when we say, “I will suffer this no longer.”

Rowan Mangan:
And gender might just be, or sexuality might just be the canary in the coal mine, like the most visible sign, immediate sign of that thing that we’re going to now see rolling out throughout the world. I mean, this is super exciting, Marty. This is the first time I’ve heard science really clearly kind of describing what you’ve been describing as the transformation of consciousness. Right?

Martha Beck:
Well, it’s not science writ large, it’s some scientists. I just happen to really dig them, but they’re good.

Rowan Mangan:
I call that science.

Martha Beck:
It’s really good science.

Rowan Mangan:
Science is as selective as everything else, so.

Martha Beck:
Oh my God, yes, and as religious.

Rowan Mangan:
Yes. Right.

Martha Beck:
It’s so dogmatic. “No, we cannot, God does not play dice with the universe.” Ooh, well maybe God does.

Rowan Mangan:
Okay. What does science look like, if it’s performed and enacted entirely from the right side of the brain?

Martha Beck:
Oh, it looks wildly exploratory, experimental, and accepting.

Rowan Mangan:
Cool.

Martha Beck:
And science is the worst offender at trying to make everything rigidly left brain.

Rowan Mangan:
Right. It’s like classify, break down-

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and it’s-

Rowan Mangan:
… breaking into smaller components.

Martha Beck:
And what it tells you, another thing is the left side of the brain refuses to admit that anything else exists besides it, where the right side of the brain is like, “Yeah, paradoxical things are going on. It’s all right, matter is both a particle and a wave. I can dig it.” The left side is-

Rowan Mangan:
We can transcend binary.

Martha Beck:
Yeah. Then the left side is like, “No, no.”

Rowan Mangan:
“It’s either a boy or a girl, goddammit!”

Martha Beck:
Yes.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
So, like that left side way of saying, “I am right” has really infected the sciences more than anything else, and there was one scientist, a psychologist who defined love as “emotional perturbation related to sexual union.” That was love.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, that’s great.

Martha Beck:
Right.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh boy, if I had a dollar for any time I felt this.

Martha Beck:
It’s like, I love my child. No, no, no, you can’t measure that. Well, you measure my sexuality. Yes, I can measure my sexuality. I mean, it literally is like a dick sizing contest, at a certain point.

Rowan Mangan:
I agree with you. All right.

Martha Beck:
Anyway.

Rowan Mangan:
So, this is all very, very exciting to me, but I’m thinking about poor Bryony sitting there-

Martha Beck:
Poor Bryony.

Rowan Mangan:
… wondering, “Where are the gays?” How can she… Hey, they, explore the parts of themself that aren’t as binary?

Martha Beck:
And you thought of a way, a litmus test that is so accurate, and we have never even talked about it.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh my God, you’re right.

Martha Beck:
But it is the litmus test to see if you’re a lesbian.

Rowan Mangan:
Okay. So, just ignore everything we just said-

Martha Beck:
Everything.

Rowan Mangan:
… about the right brain, because this is just a legit, for sure, objective empirical thing, and-

Martha Beck:
Yeah, this is just math.

Rowan Mangan:
… this is just math. If you want to know whether or not you are a lesbian, go find the song that I’m about to name. You will know at the end of that song, just play it. It doesn’t have to be under any special circumstances or conditions, just play the song, and at the end you will either say, “Oh my God, I am a great, big, gigantic lesbian,” or you will say… Oh God, I am so close to saying something filthy, “I like men.”

Martha Beck:
I already used the D word.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, I was going to use the C word. Not that one, the other one.

Martha Beck:
Oh, “confident?” Okay, go on.

Rowan Mangan:
I like confident.

Martha Beck:
There you go.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. So, go everyone-

Martha Beck:
Tell us the song, Rowie.

Rowan Mangan:
All right, all right, all right. Go Google Cheryl Wheeler, Arrow. Go listen. You’ll understand what I mean by the time this song comes to an end.

Martha Beck:
It’s called Arrow, Cheryl Wheeler. Perfect lesbian litmus test.

Rowan Mangan:
Yep. How should she explore it?

Martha Beck:
Well, you play it, and-

Rowan Mangan:
No, no. God, we are so left-brained, bringing everything back to genitals.

Martha Beck:
That’s true. Is that the left brain, or is that just genitals?

Rowan Mangan:
Maybe that’s just-

Martha Beck:
That’s the Southern brain.

Rowan Mangan:
Maybe that’s where we keep our left brain.

Martha Beck:
That’s the Southern brain. Okay. How do you explore it? Well, my first idea, we were talking about this, I was like, “Just tell her to go read books,” because that’s what I did. I would, when I was first starting to think. “I may be gay,” I would go to the bookstore, we still had bookstores in those days, and I would tiptoe over to the part of the bookstore that had the gay and lesbian literature, and there would be a picture of companion volumes, one for gay men with these gorgeous muscled torsos together, two torsos, and then one for lesbians, showing two women in bed, separated by about three feet with covers up to their heads, talking.

Rowan Mangan:
About books.

Martha Beck:
About books. So, I said, “Well, she should read,” and Ro was like, “Ah, aren’t there better ways?”

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. I don’t know either. I think you probably already know that, Bryony. She’s already Googled, you know what I mean?

Martha Beck:
Yeah, everybody Googles these days.

Rowan Mangan:
Just don’t start out by dating, because that’s so much pressure.

Martha Beck:
Oh God, no.

Rowan Mangan:
Just Google what you asked us, Google what you Googled us, “Where do the gays go?” And then put “near me,” because Google’s really good at your location, and then go there, and then play Arrow by Cheryl Wheeler to all the people. That’s how you’ll identify which are the gays. I think we’ve solved it.

Martha Beck:
That’s it.

Rowan Mangan:
It’s figured out.

Martha Beck:
Boom, mic drop, Cheryl Wheeler.

Rowan Mangan:
All right. Love you, have fun out there.

Martha Beck:
Good luck, Bryony.

Rowan Mangan:
You’re going to have fun. All right. The next person that we’re going to hear from is our beloved Annette, and I am going to go ahead and play Annette now.

Annette:
I would love your thoughts and advice on something I’m really bewildered about, and that’s buying a house at the moment. I have never really been a capitalist kind of person, but I wish I was, I wish I’d saved lots, and lots, and lots of money, but I find myself competing with people with lots of money, and feeling very envious of that. I would love your thoughts on the idea of home, and this kind of really strong desire people have at the moment for home, and your thoughts on money, and how sort of competitive and frenzied that’s become in this world. Thank you.

Martha Beck:
Yeah. A lot of people going to identify with that, I think.

Rowan Mangan:
Absolutely. Thanks, Annette. So, I immediately wonder, Annette sounds Aussie to me, and I feel like I really, really, really strongly relate to that idea of “I’m not capitalistic, but I wish I’d saved money and bought a house when I was young,” and all of that. That feels so familiar and true to me, and I wonder how much of it is, and maybe I’m reading into what Annette said, but there’s almost this feeling of… Sorry, Annette, if this is wrong, but “I’m not a dirty money obsessed capitalist,” and that’s very much how I was in my younger days as well, having that real judgment on money, and I think a lot of Australians are, I’m not sure how widespread it is. Certainly, among my friends that I grew up with and spent my early 20s with, while we paid low rent and didn’t save and didn’t buy houses, that was very much almost like there was a suspicion or some sort of moral virtue about [inaudible 00:51:47].

Martha Beck:
That’s so Australian.

Rowan Mangan:
So, Americans don’t-

Martha Beck:
I don’t think any American ever went, “Oh my God, I have enough money for a house. My friends are going to hate me.” I think it’s very much the egalitarianism of Australian society, where Americans are like, “I want to be rich.”

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Not everyone, but I’m making generalizations.

Rowan Mangan:
Right, and my experience has been that, and it’s been that even though I actually do think that “I want to be rich and I don’t care who I trample in getting there,” and all of that sort of really extreme version is dangerous, and awful, actually, but I do think that that has allowed the American cultural psyche to be much more comfortable with the idea of money, without turning it into having any means you are exploiting someone, I think is maybe part of the messaging that we get.

Martha Beck:
I kind of had the same thing. I was raised with similar values, weirdly, but I remember when I was working for the Oprah Magazine and I sat around and I thought one day, because Oprah was raised… There were very low odds that an illegitimate black girl, abandoned to her grandmother to raise on a tiny plot of land in Mississippi in the ’50s was going to become a billionaire.

Rowan Mangan:
No kidding.

Martha Beck:
That was just not considered likely, but I remember going to a thing once where she was there, and thinking no one ever got poor, because she got rich.

Rowan Mangan:
That’s right.

Martha Beck:
So, that for me changed my thinking about money. I suddenly saw that Oprah, she was a huge force of energy, and I always quote my friend who worked with Gandhi, who said “It took a lot of money to keep Gandhi poor, because his energy drew attention and drew support, sometimes in the form of money, but it was his energy that mattered,” and I started to look at-

Rowan Mangan:
Which isn’t to say that all of the world’s billionaires didn’t get there by exploiting others.

Martha Beck:
Oh, yeah. Oh, no.

Rowan Mangan:
I think we’re back to left brain, right brain, old culture, new culture, all of these kind of ideas, because I think for the majority of time, wealth has followed exploitation in a massive way, and Oprah’s such a great example, because it genuinely hasn’t. No one out there is saying, “She’s cutting, she’s cutting her staff’s hours and conditions,” and all of that. That’s not the energy of Oprah.

Martha Beck:
And she’s a huge exception. I mean, the wealth of America is built on the backs and bodies of people who were exploited, so absolutely, but this exception made me sort of see, “Oh, maybe there’s a new way to relate to money myself,” And I didn’t have much money at the time, and I started to feel it as energy, and I remember thinking of it as, “Well, what if it were a flock of sheep? Then I would love it, and it would reproduce for me,” and I started having this affection, and money started to be more friendly to me, and I’ve seen it happen with many, many people.

Rowan Mangan:
And it’s so interesting that Annette brought up money and home as the two things that she’s trying to figure out, because it’s like, it’s weirdly, it’s not connected the way the left brain thinks it should be connected where, “Well, obviously you need to buy a house. It’s a commodity with value,” and da, da, da, da.

Martha Beck:
Yes.

Rowan Mangan:
It’s like, no, no, no, no, no, they’re both wacky, freaky, woo-woo things.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and in fact, I can tell you after working with hundreds of people one-on-one, and thousands in groups, there are three places in the life cycle where people have more woo-woo experiences than any other: birth, death, and house buying.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, that’s so cool. Birth, death, and real estate. I love it.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and we had one of those when we bought this house, remember?

Rowan Mangan:
Oh my God, totally.

Martha Beck:
We were going to buy a place near Old Windy Bush. So, we were going to buy this house, we loved it, and then the seller withdrew and we were heartbroken, and a friend of ours called and said, “You know what? You were spared, and I’m not guessing,” and we were like, “Okay.” And she was a little woo, but very sensible as well. Then we finally, we moved to Pennsylvania, not having a house, we just had to stay with a friend. And then while we were living in the friend’s house, this house came on the market, the one we live in now, and while we were moving in, the seller of the first house called and said, “Oh, guess what? We’d like to sell it to you after all,” and we found out through our realtor that the septic tank had exploded at that house.

Rowan Mangan:
And so, the house was covered in shit, and it would’ve been covered in shit metaphorically if we’d got it, right?

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
There’s so many, I feel like everyone has a magical real estate sort of story as well, and I think… Okay, so I’m trying to figure out some algebra, Marty.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
Okay. So, house is to home, as money is to what?

Martha Beck:
Peace.

Rowan Mangan:
Huh. Okay. So, Annette, if you travel in your heart from “What is a house?” And I’m saying this to you, I’m doing it right now, “What is a house?” to “What is a home?”, and then can you do that? Can you go on that journey with money as well? So, you start out with the cash or whatever, the way it looks like a-

Martha Beck:
Treasure chest.

Rowan Mangan:
… bricks and mortar house, and then go across to peace or love, or something like that, that is the feeling of home.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and make the same transition with money.

Rowan Mangan:
So, I remember listening to you talk about money once, and you had talked about picturing it as a flock of sheep. I remember trying to, when I was trying to change my financial fortune, picturing a golden retriever puppy running across the grass towards me, and you know when they’re so fat and fluffy, and their legs don’t work properly, and so, their kind of knees don’t work, and so, they’re kind of almost constantly falling down, but they’re so excited to see you and they’re just like, “I love you,” and they haven’t even met you yet, and they already love you, and they’re just like coming and coming with their little tiny feet towards you, and you’re going to give them such a big hug? And that’s how I started thinking about money, that little running puppy.

Martha Beck:
And did it shift your money, and did it shift your fortunes?

Rowan Mangan:
As a matter of fact, it did.

Martha Beck:
It seems to have.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
So here, I just want to put one little thing also in Annette’s head and everybody else’s, and that is the idea of longing. That very brain book I was reading that I mentioned before about duality, talks about how wanting is different from longing, and how the left brain wants things, like we’re taught to want a house, to want cash, but what we long for is home, and peace, and security. And what we want, almost never, we can’t build it because we’re really on our own, but the word “longing” comes from the word for “tendon,” that is attached on both sides of a joint, and it pulls together. So, when you feel a sense of longing, it means that whatever you long for, is also already longing for you.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, that’s so wild, because I think we think we’re struggling up a mountain towards this thing that we can’t have, but actually, it’s longing for us just as much.

Martha Beck:
It’s that golden retriever puppy just falling down and getting up, and running and saying, “I love you so much.”

Rowan Mangan:
I really love that puppy.

Martha Beck:
If you can find your longing and believe that whatever you long for is also longing for you, and shift into that mindset, watch. I’ve just watched people’s lives change. I can’t give you a study on this, but I’ve seen it over, and over, and over again. So Annette-

Rowan Mangan:
Invite us to your house warming.

Martha Beck:
Aww.

Rowan Mangan:
So excited for you, and for all of you, and until we meet again, stay wild.

Martha Beck:
Stay wild.

Rowan Mangan: 
We hope you’re enjoying Bewildered. If you’re in the USA and want to be notified when a new episode comes out, text the word ‘WILD’ to 570-873-0144.

We’re also on Instagram. Our handle is @bewilderedpodcast. You can follow us to get updates, hear funny snippets and outtakes, and chat with other fans of the show.

For more of us, Martha’s on Instagram, themarthabeck. She’s on Facebook, The Martha Beck, and she’s on Twitter, marthabeck. Her website is, MarthaBeck.com. And me, I too am on Instagram. Rowan_Mangan. I’m on Facebook as Rowan Mangan. And I’m on Twitter as RowanMangan. Bewildered is produced by Scott Forster with support from the brilliant team at MBI.


Read more
Questions? Comments? Trying to figure something out? Email us! podcast@marthabeck.com