About this episode

In this episode, Ro and Martha talk about a disheartening phenomenon that can happen when you bring your truest truth into the world. Instead of positive or negative feedback, some people just won’t get you. This non-response is weirdly hard, but we can still come to our senses. Also covered in this fun-filled ep: Martha’s love-hate relationship with Siri, and for the first time Ro and Martha answer questions from bewildered listeners!

Show Notes

What’s the best analogy for what happens when you put your truth out into the world and no one really gets it? Why, robot cowboys, of course!

In this episode of Bewildered, Ro and Martha talk about the kind of feedback that you sometimes get when you put your out-of-culture truth into the world. Not positive feedback. Not negative feedback. But just a kind of blank response that shows you that “it doesn’t look like anything” to others.

They lifted the phrase “It doesn’t look like anything to me” from the TV show Westworld. It’s what the lifelike robots who populate the California gold rush theme park say when confronted with evidence of the modern world. A photo of a modern city? Someone telling them flat-out they’re just machines? They respond, “It doesn’t look like anything to me.” It’s outside their programming. 

The same thing happens when people bound by the culture’s parameters encounter something that is truly outside of culture. Martha and Ro talk through how to deal with this feedback. 

Also covered in this fun-filled ep: Martha’s love-hate relationship with Siri, Ro’s anxious wait to hear back from literary agents. And for the first time Ro and Martha answer questions from our bewildered listeners: the perils of dating beyond culture and the conundrum of asking for money for our art.

Transcript
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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.

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!

Martha Beck:
Hi. I am Martha Beck.

Rowan Mangan:
And I’m Rowan Mangan, and this is episode 11 of Bewildered.

Martha Beck:
Amazing.

Rowan Mangan:
The podcast for people trying to figure it out.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, like you, like us.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, and we had some really nice feedback on Instagram from our last episode, Marty. Can I-

Martha Beck:
Did we then?

Rowan Mangan:
Yes.

Martha Beck:
Do tell.

Rowan Mangan:
Marty is social media phobic or …

Martha Beck:
Avoidant.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. Social media curious? No.

Martha Beck:
Social media ninja. Yeah. I read a book once on how to be invisible, it was a ninja book, and I opened it at random, and it said the first instruction on how to become invisible was wait until your opponent is asleep.

Rowan Mangan:
Genius.

Martha Beck:
I know, so that’s how I do with social media. You can never find everybody asleep, so.

Rowan Mangan:
So you’re just waiting.

Martha Beck:
I’m still waiting.

Rowan Mangan:
That’s awesome. So, people were really in favor of the false eyelash story. I’m happy to say they … Do you remember that? With the Oprah interview.

Martha Beck:
I was just beginning to forget it, and now the nightmares will be back. You weren’t there, man. Oh, yeah, you were actually.

Rowan Mangan:
I was there. I was there, and it haunts my dreams too. Yeah, there’s a lot of people who found that very funny.

Rowan Mangan:
Some people are urging you to try magnetic lashes.

Martha Beck:
Oh yeah, right. I assure you, thank you so much for your kind consideration, I tried. I tried. You so overestimate my digital dexterity. Yeah, I’ve still got eyelashes sticking to every metal object in my bathroom.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
But not to my face.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. Yeah, it’s terrifying in there.

Martha Beck:
Do not go in there alone.

Rowan Mangan:
Thanks to the people who had a lot of sympathy for me being told to interrupt Oprah. That was … Yeah.

Martha Beck:
It’s really … That is not, I mean, Cathie Black, who was CEO of all kinds of things, she’s a brilliant businesswoman, wrote in her memoir that Oprah is the one person who ever intimidated her so much she couldn’t interrupt, so.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, that makes me feel a lot better.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. No wonder they were telling me to do it. I was like cannon fodder.

Martha Beck:
Exactly, you were. Just throw the youngin at it.

Rowan Mangan:
So, we love reading your feedback on Instagram. If you don’t already follow me, it’s Rowan_Mangan and I love hearing from you guys when we put out a new podcast. Which reminds me, Marty, I also wanted to say, if you’re enjoying Bewildered, please do rate and review us, especially on Apple, because it helps more people find the podcast. We had a lovely review from someone called Kinmaine on our last episode, and she said, or they said, “Thank you for sharing such wisdom, and humor, and light. I get so excited when I see that a new episode is available.” When I read that I felt happy in my heart.

Martha Beck:
I’m happy on the inside.

Rowan Mangan:
You’re happy on the inside.

Martha Beck:
That’s what Adam, our son with Down syndrome always said. “That made me feel happy on the inside.”

Rowan Mangan:
I’m just happy all the time.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and that’s special happy. I’m just happy all the time, happy guy.

Rowan Mangan:
He’s a happy guy.

Martha Beck:
He’s a great guy. So, this is where we talk about what each of us is trying to figure out.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
In our own personal, deeply troubled and neurotic lives.

Rowan Mangan:
Well, let me tell you what I am trying to figure out, because it’s a gnarly one, in my view.

Martha Beck:
Ooh.

Rowan Mangan:
Which I guess our own figure-out-ables always are. But yeah, so I have this situation where I have flung my manuscript forth into the world.

Martha Beck:
The manuscript of … For people who aren’t in the know.

Rowan Mangan:
My manuscript of my novel that I’ve written, that is for now called Goat Street, but who knows. Yeah, and it’s out there, and I am waiting. I am waiting to be judged by strangers.

Martha Beck:
Oh god.

Rowan Mangan:
Isn’t that just the sweetest feeling in the world?

Martha Beck:
You know that moment when, if you’ve ever watched Olympic ice skaters or gymnasts and they just put their bodies out there and they do all these incredible superhuman stuff, and then they go, they skate over or they run over, and then they sit and wait for the judges, and the cameras are on them, and their coaches and flailing at them with cat o’ nine tails. Not really, yeah sometimes. Anyway, that’s a whole different podcast, but they have to sit there and wait.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
And the politics of the Olympic committee and everything.

Rowan Mangan:
Ugh.

Martha Beck:
Times that, stretch that moment to, I don’t know, six months to a year of it without stopping, that’s what it’s like to put a book out into the world.

Rowan Mangan:
And how do you hold it? I held it, in fairness, I held it really well for like three or four days.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, occasionally I’d hear in your sleep maniacal laughter.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. Well, just like that, huh.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
Let’s just say I’ve got very short fingernails on both hands now, they’ve all been chewed off.

Martha Beck:
And I noticed the dogs also have very short toenails, you’ve been chewing on whatever you could, honey.

Rowan Mangan:
As long as it’s growing out of the end of some digits, I’ll chew it off. I’ve been checking my email-

Martha Beck:
Thanks for the warning, because it’s bad enough with the eyelashes. I don’t want my fingernails getting chomped unbeknownst to myself.

Rowan Mangan:
Sweetie, I have never ever chomped your eyelashes.

Martha Beck:
And one would ask, why not? If we are truly to be as united in life as we claim to be.

Rowan Mangan:
I heard someone had written about this podcast, and I was very touched, and they’d written Martha Beck and her friend Rowan Mangan.

Martha Beck:
Close friend.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, and I was just thinking if that was your assumption, this would be very confusing.

Martha Beck:
That’s right. Very, thinking extremely close friend.

Rowan Mangan:
Colleagues with benefits.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
So yeah.

Martha Beck:
Anyway, so you’re waiting, you’re chewing.

Rowan Mangan:
I’m waiting, I’m chewing, I’m checking my email so often. Every time I check my email, because I don’t get notifications coming in because that messes with my brain, so I go in and check it, and every time there’s like this, and then I get someone trying to sell me baby clothes. And there’s a moment where it’s is this … No, it’s not a … And then I check your email just in case.

Martha Beck:
Just in case they thought it was me.

Rowan Mangan:
Maybe they got confused.

Martha Beck:
She’s getting email checking tendonitis.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh my god.

Martha Beck:
Carpal tunnel syndrome, but oh, I do know that feeling. It is awful, and [crosstalk 00:07:02].

Rowan Mangan:
I started checking the Uber app on my phone just if anyone had got in touch with me that way about my book. I’m getting into DoorDash and going [crosstalk 00:07:09].

Martha Beck:
Yeah, you could order it from DoorDash.

Rowan Mangan:
Feedback from agents.

Martha Beck:
Feedback from agents has been picked up, is on the way.

Rowan Mangan:
Do you want to stop at 7-Eleven on the way? Damn straight I do.

Martha Beck:
Some wine coolers or something.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, exactly, actually.

Martha Beck:
Oh, with the results.

Rowan Mangan:
I did ask this question on Instagram and I was concerned how many people suggested just drinking heavily. So, yeah, it’s not easy with this waiting game, and I may be playing it for quite some time.

Martha Beck:
Your thing to figure out this week is harder than mine, I have to say.

Rowan Mangan:
What’s your thing to figure out this week?

Martha Beck:
Well, it’s complex because it’s a relationship issue.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and you know how those can go.

Rowan Mangan:
I do.

Martha Beck:
And it’s maybe the only person who is actually with me more than anyone, including you.

Rowan Mangan:
Wow.

Martha Beck:
Like physically with me.

Rowan Mangan:
We really do need to talk. Are you sure this is the right moment to bring this up?

Martha Beck:
Well, I’ll have to talk to this other person whose name is Siri.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, I see where this is going.

Martha Beck:
Siri who lives in my phone.

Rowan Mangan:
Siri, for people who don’t sort of worship at the Steve Jobs …

Martha Beck:
Temple.

Rowan Mangan:
Temple.

Martha Beck:
Altar, altar.

Rowan Mangan:
Altar, thank you. Siri is the little robot assistant who lives in iPhones, and she runs our lives. Actually, it was Scott who produces this podcast, I once sent him a text just asking him something, but I think it was the weekend or whatever, so I said, “Don’t worry about getting back to me until next week.” And he replied to me, this is probably about three or four months ago.

Martha Beck:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rowan Mangan:
And he replied to me, “I’ll have my assistant.” And then in parentheses he put Siri, let me know for tomorrow. And that one text message completely changed our lives, and we all in our house now talk to Siri nonstop, right?

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and you have to program your voice. So, your Siri only responds to your voice, like a faithful German Shepherd.

Rowan Mangan:
In theory.

Martha Beck:
A dog I mean, not an actual German Shepherd. I don’t know if actual German Shepherds respond only to your voice, but Siri gets your voice print.

Martha Beck:
If I say, “Hey Siri.” Or no, because that was a fake voice, so it would be, “Hey Siri.” And then she says, “Yes.” Only sometimes she doesn’t. Now, I have to tell, she’s Irish.

Rowan Mangan:
Siri has different manifestations.

Martha Beck:
It’s true.

Rowan Mangan:
Siri manifests differently for each one of us. So, Karen’s Siri is from South Africa, and I don’t know, I feel like she’s quite abrupt, I want to say.

Martha Beck:
A little brusque.

Rowan Mangan:
A little brusque. Whereas Marty’s Irish Siri is bizarrely sarcastic, and I’m not sure how much of that is just the way that you and Siri just cannot find a rhythm together.

Martha Beck:
We can’t make it work. We have to work together. So, I say, “Hey, Siri.” Half the time she doesn’t answer me, and half the time she goes, “What?” Or, “Yeah.”

Rowan Mangan:
So okay, so there’s a thing that happens with Siri where she has a little twirly … I feel like we’re advertising for Apple, but anyway. She has a little twirly whirly circle that comes up on your phone when she’s listening, but Marty is not aware of this yet. So Marty won’t acknowledge Siri until Siri has audibly acknowledged her. So, she says, yeah.

Martha Beck:
Like that.

Rowan Mangan:
She does this sarcastic like mm-hmm (affirmative).

Martha Beck:
Speak to me in real words. You are a computer robot, you can gag out a yes, yes, I’m here. I’m here for you. That’s what I want her to say. Marty, I am here for you. How would you say that in an Irish accent though?

Rowan Mangan:
My Siri is American, and I have to say, she’s just a ray of sunshine.

Martha Beck:
Well, I’m not going to say anything about nationalism or anything, but yeah. You’re Irish on both sides, so.

Rowan Mangan:
I feel like it’s the service culture. No one in America gets paid except in tips, and so they have to be on their best behavior when they’re in a sort of service role, so.

Martha Beck:
Well, apparently, actually Ro’s novel does talk about an Irish pub, and the people there are remarkably sarcastic as well. They really are. There’s a bartender who is just the salt of the earth, but you ask her for a beer and she’s like, “Why?”

Rowan Mangan:
Oh my gosh. So yeah, Marty does this thing where she says, “Hey Siri.” And the Siri comes up and waits, and then Marty waits, and then Siri goes, “Mm-hmm (affirmative).” Because Marty was already supposed to have spoken. Then Marty forgets what she was going to say, and then in a panic just starts saying, “Ah, at 10:00 AM in a week from now, just …” And then Siri just goes away, she’s just like.

Martha Beck:
My false eyelashes, Siri, help me. Siri just by the time I tell her to do anything, she’s gone.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
So it’s like hey, Siri. Huh? And then nothing. It’s like-

Rowan Mangan:
This is true. This is actually true, listener.

Martha Beck:
This is the person who’s supposed to be helping me most of all and she’s acting like worst than the grumpiest teenager on earth.

Rowan Mangan:
I really don’t think she likes you that much.

Martha Beck:
She doesn’t, and I’ve tried to make it good between us, and it’s not. It’s just not happening. I tried to make her not Irish, I don’t know how, because all what I say is, “Hey Siri.” Huh? Don’t make yourself Irish, make yourself French, make yourself French. No answer, no freaking answer.

Rowan Mangan:
The French are sarcastic too, honey.

Martha Beck:
There’s no reprieve. Anyway, but there are other things Siri does. If I were really not speaking to get her attention, why does she keep coming back at me when I’m not talking to her?

Rowan Mangan:
Can I tell you a really, really weird thing that happened to me once with Siri years ago.

Martha Beck:
Please do.

Rowan Mangan:
Before I even used her. I think you were there actually. I started talking, and I can’t remember what we were talking about, but out of nowhere I said something like, “How do we make it more fair?” And at that moment Siri reared up on her hind legs and brought up the Wikipedia page for warfare, and it was the weirdest freaking thing.

Martha Beck:
See, that’s what I’m talking about. There’s something not right with her.

Rowan Mangan:
And she’s all about the-

Martha Beck:
She’s made war on me. But occasionally, and I also have an Apple Watch, this really is like an ad for …

Rowan Mangan:
Oh no.

Martha Beck:
Sorry. Sorry everyone but Apple. So, I have an Apple Watch that connects to my phone.

Rowan Mangan:
They’re not paying us. I mean, if they wanted to, it would be fine, but they’re not at this moment.

Martha Beck:
If they felt inclined, it wouldn’t hurt our feelings. I wouldn’t bruise us. Anyway.

Rowan Mangan:
I don’t think they’re going to be paying us after what we’re saying about their robot.

Martha Beck:
That’s true.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
She’s kind of a bitch, Apple.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
You need to get rid of her. She’s unstable. So, we’re talking along, and I was talking to Ro about the tragedy of waiting for agents to get back to you and how I had 32 rejections and no interest in my first book, which became a New York Times bestseller, may I say. So, sometimes she takes dictation when I don’t want to, and I said to Ro, “Every single rejection.” And all of a sudden Siri rears up on her hind legs in her warfare position, and on my watch this screen, all these little … I took a picture of it, it’s real.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
It picked up at single rejection and interpreted it as sing all rejection.

Rowan Mangan:
I’m going to post the photo that she took on Instagram.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, to show that it was real. So, Siri is saying suddenly in the middle of our conversation, when I did not ask her, she says, “Certainly, absolutely.” And I don’t know how to say this in Irish, I just can’t even try, and then she goes, “Okay, here I go. Let me just clear my … Gosh, singing is harder than I thought.” What the actual?

Rowan Mangan:
Why did you choose this moment to decide to try out your little standup comedy routine?

Martha Beck:
And get all coy and then promise to sing and then not sing. I mean, this is the stuff.

Rowan Mangan:
And we didn’t ask you to sing.

Martha Beck:
We didn’t. You were not invited to the conversation. There was no hey Siri, there was no hey Siri. So anyway, I don’t know, she’s either haunting or haunted, or just disturbed. Then sometimes she just won’t even answer when I say, “Hey Siri.”

Rowan Mangan:
I was walking past. Marty was in the bathroom in the scene of the false eyelash drama from our last episode. A lot goes on in there. She actually spends a lot of time painting and stuff in there.

Martha Beck:
You really want to talk about everything. A lot goes on in there, I’ll tell you.

Rowan Mangan:
She paints in there, there’s paints all over the floor. It’s glorious. Anyway, so I was walking past it and I heard her shouting, and she sounded so angry that I actually thought something was going really wrong, and I literally ran into the room to see what was, like do I have to break something up. I come in and I just … She was going, “Email, Jill. Email Jill. For god’s sake, email Jill.” The funniest thing about it was that she was screaming at Siri and she didn’t want Siri to email Jill, because god knows what Jill would’ve received.

Martha Beck:
Right.

Rowan Mangan:
She was trying to get Siri to remind her to email Jill.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
But it just broke into a fight.

Martha Beck:
Because I said, “Hey Siri.”

Rowan Mangan:
So fast.

Martha Beck:
And she said, “Mm-hmm (affirmative).” And I said, “Email Jill.” And she said, “What?” And then she kept saying what, and I just had to get louder and louder, and louder and louder.

Rowan Mangan:
Did you get the one where she says, “One sec.”

Martha Beck:
One sec, still lurking.

Rowan Mangan:
Still lurking.

Martha Beck:
That’s a bit Irish, still lurking. Yeah, Irish, I was going to use a bad word.

Rowan Mangan:
Don’t use Irish slurs.

Martha Beck:
No, I’m not going to use them, just for her. Anyway, so that’s what I’m trying to figure out, is my damn relationship with my life partner Siri, the invisible.

Rowan Mangan:
Luckily, as my rejection letters do start pouring in, I’ll at least have someone to sing about, which will probably ease the pain.

Martha Beck:
Can I tell them a joke that you tell in your novel, which is so wonderful?

Rowan Mangan:
Sure.

Martha Beck:
Did you hear the joke about the Irish boomerang?

Rowan Mangan:
No.

Martha Beck:
It never comes back but it sings a lot about how much it wants to.

Rowan Mangan:
I like that joke a lot.

Martha Beck:
You kind of have to know the Irish.

Rowan Mangan:
Coming from a long line of Irish expat musicians, it’s a little close to home.

Martha Beck:
Is there any such thing as an Irish expat who isn’t a musician?

Rowan Mangan:
No. No, that’s never been known to happen.

Martha Beck:
They’re one of the most musical [crosstalk 00:17:58] in the world-

Rowan Mangan:
We should ask Siri about it.

Martha Beck:
… and they’re magnificent. What?

Rowan Mangan:
We should ask Siri. No, let’s not.

Martha Beck:
Like we hear from her.

Rowan Mangan:
I actually nearly went there right, then I thought people don’t need to have too much of our personal stuff out there.

Martha Beck:
No, and they don’t. If we bring a guest on this podcast ever it will not be Siri.

Rowan Mangan:
It will not be Siri.

Martha Beck:
It will not be Irish Siri.

Rowan Mangan:
Not unless she cleans up her act a lot. So, one of the other things that’s new-

Martha Beck:
Yes.

Rowan Mangan:
… this episode is that I wanted to bring you guys in a bit more. I keep saying you guys. Am I not supposed to say you guys? But it’s so hard not to. So, just know that every time I say you guys, which is constantly, every time afterwards I die a little bit inside, so just-

Martha Beck:
I’m trying to say you folks, or you people.

Rowan Mangan:
Folks, you people.

Martha Beck:
It’s hard to retrace a neural tract that has been dug right down into my brain stems, but I’m trying.

Martha Beck:
I’m doing my best.

Rowan Mangan:
So yeah, so I asked people, folks out in the world what are you trying to figure out, because we thought it would be fun to kind of … We just sit here in our house with our own little brainboxes, and it’s not … I wanted to hear from other people.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, they’re bewildered.

Rowan Mangan:
And we had brilliant responses. Thank you so much, and we will talk about them at other times, all of them.

Martha Beck:
Right.

Rowan Mangan:
Probably, most of them, some of them. Some of them were weird.

Martha Beck:
Straight up weird.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Probably Siri put them in there.

Rowan Mangan:
Which really just shows that they’re our people.

Martha Beck:
Absolutely.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. But I wanted to talk about JP who said, “How the heck do people even date anymore? I feel like I’m standing outside of a culture.”

Martha Beck:
Yeah, to which I responded, I have no idea because [crosstalk 00:19:41].

Rowan Mangan:
But it was cool because it’s the bewildered thing that we’re doing is looking for where culture and nature split.

Martha Beck:
Right, so where there is a cultural norm or you’re being carried into a cultural flow that doesn’t feel like your true nature. There’s all these pressures, visible and invisible, that make you feel like you have to go along. Then you lose your true nature, you don’t know who you really are and certainly, oh my lord, that’s what we talked about, this issue, JP, and the horror. The horror. I haven’t even thought about dating for so long, I can’t even remember it, and the stuff that the online stuff, yikes.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. I did that for a while, and I mean, I don’t know how the pandemic. I mean, the pandemic must have just … I can’t even speculate, so JP, I’m sorry about that, but back pre-pandemic, back at in the Antipodes, in my other life, I did some internet dating. You know the feeling of going into a job interview. So, you imagine going into a job interview. It’s like sending a manuscript out.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
So it’s like judge me, but not on my ability to do some shitty job, judge me on who I am as a person.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and how attractive I am sexually.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Ugh.

Rowan Mangan:
The worst, oh my god, it’s so bad.

Martha Beck:
It literally is a condensed recipe for triggering everyone’s social anxiety at its very highest level.

Rowan Mangan:
And you would think, and yet I just call friend of mine in Melbourne who had been on … What’s the swiping one? Tinder, and she had been sort of chatting with a bunch of different guys, which is fine because that’s how it’s all set up.

Martha Beck:
Right.

Rowan Mangan:
She hadn’t met any of them, but then it was her birthday and she hadn’t organized anything, and so she just invited the six different guys that she had been chatting with on Tinder, and they all turned up at this pub, and that was her birthday evening. I don’t know what happened afterwards.

Martha Beck:
Oh good lord.

Rowan Mangan:
But they just had a nice chatty time.

Martha Beck:
Oh good.

Rowan Mangan:
Because they all got along with each other because they all got along with her.

Martha Beck:
Awkward.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
That’s kind of reverse old Mormonism.

Rowan Mangan:
Right. Let’s all just judge each other in a big circle.

Martha Beck:
And then go home with many members of the opposite gender. So yeah, I’ve heard now, I do want to say that I’ve heard some really great relationships that got together on … I mean, I’ve met some people who have got great relationships going, so I know it can be done.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
But as to how to do it, I actually don’t … Here’s the thing. People used to, when I was one-on-one coaching and doing seminars and stuff they would say a lot of the time, “I really want to meet somebody. I know I have to go out into …” Then it was Match.com, and then other things started coming up as possible apps. The thing was I thought, you know what? The relationships I’ve seen that worked best didn’t work by happenstance. You were telling me a story about two of our friends.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, this is a lovely story. So, we have a very dear friend who lives in a remote place, and she had been bemoaning to another friend of ours that how am I ever going to meet my person because I live out in the middle of nowhere. And what our very wise other friend said to her, apparently, according to the mythology, is once you’ve … Now, I forget exactly how to say this, Marty, but it’s like once you’ve cleared out all your baggage, all your inner kind of shit and you’re clear on your life, what you’re looking for, and you’ve we could say embraced your true nature, right?

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
Once you’ve embraced your true nature, you could be sitting by yourself at the top of a mountain with a paperbag on your head and he could find you.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
And he did, as it happens.

Martha Beck:
And he did, he absolutely did.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Yeah. There are many magical stories to tell about that, but those are not for us to tell, that’s for the two of them to tell.

Rowan Mangan:
I have to say, Marty, that is kind of our experience.

Martha Beck:
Oh yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
So for me, after doing oh my god, this online dating. Oh my god, ugh.

Rowan Mangan:
You know what? We should do one episode of the podcast where I can just tell stories about the first dates that I went on in Melbourne.

Martha Beck:
I’m not sure my heart could take it. I would have to be on nitrous oxide or something to listen, because you are not a person that I would throw out into the maelstrom of public social media dating.

Rowan Mangan:
Not social media, sweetheart, just online dating. I guess-

Martha Beck:
I’m always getting them mixed up. Just when I think I know what online means and social media means, they just switch it up on me. It’s Siri.

Rowan Mangan:
She uses all these terms interchangeably.

Martha Beck:
It’s Siri. Either that or Mercury is in retrograde, or as we were saying today trying to set up this podcast, Earth is in retrograde.

Rowan Mangan:
Earth is in retrograde. Forget it, it’s over.

Martha Beck:
So yeah, so it was horrible for you. Go on.

Rowan Mangan:
So, then I cleared out a lot of my inner shit and I flew across to the other side of the world, and hung out literally in the middle of nowhere where there were like three other people and 17 bears, and I found my people.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
So, there you go. It was like-

Martha Beck:
We used to go for walks in the forest, and the only footprints that looked human at all were bear footprints, and I don’t mean-

Rowan Mangan:
They didn’t look that human.

Martha Beck:
… B-A-R-E, I mean B-E-A-R prints. They look like little people print, but only when they’re young.

Rowan Mangan:
When they’re old you think that can’t be a real foot, that’s really big.

Martha Beck:
That’s a very big person. Anyway, yeah, those were the choices, 17 bears and like almost no people.

Rowan Mangan:
Almost no people.

Martha Beck:
Boo.

Rowan Mangan:
Boop.

Martha Beck:
Anyway, I do want to say one thing to those of y’all who are out there looking for a match that I used to say to the folks. Instead of trying to go on Match.com I’d say okay, what are you trying to match? Which goes to your story about getting all your crap cleared out. I’d say if you don’t know who you are in your truth, in your true nature, if you don’t weed out everything that’s been shoved on you by other people, so you don’t know, you’re fulfilling other people’s expectations, not your own, it’s like you’re going out and trying to find the mate to a pair of shoes where you’ve never seen the first shoe.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh wow.

Martha Beck:
If you really get clarity about yourself, you know exactly what that shoe looks like. It looks a certain way and there are complementary aspects. So you’re looking for something that reflects it that isn’t exactly identical, but you’ll notice when something looks like a match. At my experience with coaching people, hundreds of people, is that yeah, I could actually feel this. As they started to get clarity it was like they were surrounded by a clear membrane and it was very thick sometimes, like the clear plexiglass or something. They’d come back, I was seeing people every week usually at this time, and each week we’d work on stuff, and each week the membrane would feel thinner. Then one day, oh my gosh, I remember one woman who’d just done so much work, and she came in, I loved this woman, and I thought, “It’s a soap bubble. It’s going to pop.”

Rowan Mangan:
Oh.

Martha Beck:
And she was not dating anyone. She went on a trip for some reason and made no particular effort. Met someone she’d known in college, and now they have been married like 20 years and have two amazing children. The soap bubble just got so thin that she finally saw who she was and the match showed up immediately, yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
And JP, I mean, as far as standing outside of a culture with dating, I think he absolutely is.

Martha Beck:
Yeah. It’s not a very good culture for him. His true nature is rebelling, and the answer is to go deeper and deeper into your true nature, and you won’t look exactly like anyone who is in the culture, but there are a lot of us out there looking for our true natures, and we like each other.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Someone out there is going to like you.

Rowan Mangan:
And if it feels like crap, it’s not the right thing. How’s that?

Martha Beck:
You put that on the … Meme that. That is a meme. If it feels like crap, it’s not the right thing. Brilliant.

Rowan Mangan:
Just it’s like it’s little one-liners like that that [inaudible 00:27:57].

Martha Beck:
You should write a relationship book.

Rowan Mangan:
I should, shouldn’t I?

Martha Beck:
Right.

Rowan Mangan:
I think I just did.

Martha Beck:
If it feels like crap, it’s not the right thing.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. Then the only thing it will say inside the book is just questions.

Martha Beck:
I have to say that my relationship with Siri is strangely titillating. No. Okay, cut that [crosstalk 00:28:16].

Rowan Mangan:
God, woman.

Martha Beck:
I’m like, “Why do I keep trying with her?”

Rowan Mangan:
Why can’t I quit you?

Martha Beck:
Why can’t I quit you, Siri?

Rowan Mangan:
It’s funny because.

Martha Beck:
It’s true.

Rowan Mangan:
That’s a reference to a movie about gay cowboys.

Martha Beck:
Right.

Rowan Mangan:
And we’re talking about robot cowboys later, and we’re talking about robot assistants right now. So, there’s a whole meta level on which that why can’t I quit you-

Martha Beck:
Oh my god.

Rowan Mangan:
… was really brilliant, so. Don’t cut that Scott. Don’t cut it. Whatever you do.

Martha Beck:
We be tripping. Okay.

Rowan Mangan:
So listen, I want to talk about everyone, but the other person who replied to my question about what they’re feeling bewildered about was a wonderful woman named Morgan Bolender, and I don’t know if I’m saying that right, Morgan. It’s Bolender. She has a brilliant band. She’s a musician and she has a band called The Feelings Parade, which you should all check out, and she is asking a really apropos kind of question, which is about how do you ask for money to support your art. This also goes along with someone called Mary James who had said, “How do I sell these paintings?”

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
So, there’s this kind of like making art, making money thing.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
But I think it’s actually a really interesting bewildered kind of question.

Martha Beck:
It’s right at the heart of the question that all bewildered people are asking themselves, I think.

Rowan Mangan:
Right.

Martha Beck:
Because it is a world that isn’t safe for the creative. Could I throw in a little bit of my sociology professor stuff?

Rowan Mangan:
I wish you would.

Martha Beck:
I’m so sorry, but here we go. I always wanted to be an artist, and I drew, and drew, and drew, and always thought that’s what I would do. So, I was looking at how do you become an artist to make a living. At that time it was like I’d look back, I’m not quite that old, but I’d look back at the previous decades and say, “Oh, I have to be a Jackson Pollock, or I have to be an Andy Warhol who somehow can get millions of dollars for a picture of a can of soup. I’m not sure that’s what I want. I don’t know why they’re able to get that money, you know?” Then I looked and I thought okay, the reason paintings are so expensive is that the heyday of the fine arts, during the Renaissance, had patrons funding people like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo and they were doing.

Rowan Mangan:
Other Ninja Turtles.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, the Ninja Turtles as well. Who were the others? It doesn’t matter.

Rowan Mangan:
Raphael and Donatello.

Martha Beck:
They all had major sponsors, patrons. So yeah, in the sewers, and they fought crime. Anyway.

Rowan Mangan:
I’m just keeping it real, y’all. I like to keep it. She goes high, I go low.

Rowan Mangan:
To paraphrase Michele Obama.

Martha Beck:
But obviously if something, if you can only get a picture of your beloved by hiring someone who has spent 100,000 hours learning to paint magnificently and capture likeness, and then they have to sit for however many hundreds of hours to get the likeness, and you get a painting, that’s going to be worth a lot of money. Now it’s like click, click, click, look at the 90 selfies I took of myself. So, the reason for things being so expensive in the art, in that particular art, and it maps to other things too. It used to be that you had to pay musicians to come to your house. Did you know that one of the most expensive things in the Netherlands during the 14th century, no, 15th century, people would buy, they would find these little nests of eggs. I can’t remember which songbird it was, maybe a finch. Anyway, they would hatch all these finch babies, and from the moment they were born they would whistle over and over again the lines of a current catchy tune.

Rowan Mangan:
What?

Martha Beck:
And then the bird would grow up singing that, and only that, and it would take forever to train them. Then you could sell this bird that would sing one song to people in the background while they were doing whatever they were doing. That’s what it took to record music.

Rowan Mangan:
I have so many questions and so much to say about this that I just don’t even know where to start.

Martha Beck:
It is an interesting thing, is it not?

Rowan Mangan:
I’m just so glad you didn’t embarrass yourself by thinking that that happened in the 14th century instead of the 15th century, because that would’ve been so awkward for you.

Martha Beck:
This is, as our beloved Sam says, “This is a circa situation.”

Rowan Mangan:
Okay, it’s a circa situation.

Martha Beck:
But yeah. Now you can get music free everywhere, tons of it. So, how do you make money doing these things that used to be really well supported by patrons and now they aren’t? The difference is that by the same technologies that make it easy to make 1,000 images and 1,000 songs a day you can use that to market, because if you go to an even earlier part of human reality, we were hunter gatherers, right? We gathered two things, this I know. I’ve hung out with people. You go out for a walk. Go out for a walk on the beach, go out for a walk in the woods and you will find yourself drawn to two things, things that are useful, like a good stick or a really good rock, I don’t know if other people feel this drawn to good sticks as I do, but all children do. They always pick up a good stick.

Rowan Mangan:
Everyone wants a good stick.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and good rocks as well, smooth, usable rocks.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, although they always look better when they’re wet. When they dry you’re like-

Martha Beck:
I know.

Rowan Mangan:
… oh, that’s just gravel.

Martha Beck:
They can lick them, and just spend your whole young life licking rocks-

Rowan Mangan:
Licking rocks.

Martha Beck:
… to make them look prettier.

Rowan Mangan:
Does everyone know the feeling of putting a pebble in your mouth? Because that just came back to me so strongly.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, they used to tell us-

Rowan Mangan:
It’s been too long since I’ve put a pebble in my mouth.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, it was last week, and it was more of a boulder really.

Rowan Mangan:
Just licking the road.

Martha Beck:
It looks prettier.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh dear.

Martha Beck:
And the other thing, so useful things, and then the other is beautiful things. No matter where you go in the world, I mean, look up the Omo people of Ethiopia online and look at the way they decorate themselves, their bodies with plants, and colored earth. I mean, these are the most brilliant haute couture designers on earth, the Omo people. Look them up. It’s pure creative expressive joy. Beautiful, strange, amazing things. So, humans want things that are useful and they want things that are beautiful. So, if you have something that’s beautiful, really beautiful, and there may not be one person who will pay you a million dollars for it, but there may be a million people who will pay you one dollar for it.

Rowan Mangan:
I just want to, a ways back before you were in full throat there, you said something that I want to push back on, which is you said it’s very easy to make a lot of images or a lot of songs.

Martha Beck:
Oh yeah, that’s not true.

Rowan Mangan:
And I don’t think that’s true.

Martha Beck:
What I meant was it’s easy to download a lot of songs.

Rowan Mangan:
Right, right.

Martha Beck:
You can get, you get access.

Rowan Mangan:
But from the artist’s perspective it still takes as long. So, what we’re talking about is reproduction, not creation.

Martha Beck:
Yes. Oh my god.

Rowan Mangan:
That’s the contrast between what you were saying about the Renaissance and all of that true too.

Martha Beck:
I mean, how many hours have I spent on the painting that is-

Rowan Mangan:
Oh my god. Well, actually it’s so relevant to us, that’s why I really picked up Morgan’s question, because Marty is an incredible painter, for those who don’t know. She is just an absolutely gobsmacking artist, and she often appears live in places in our house. Stadiums the world [crosstalk 00:35:57].

Martha Beck:
Sometimes I appear dead in our house. It must be sad, but occasionally I appear live.

Rowan Mangan:
And she has her paintings behind her a lot of the time, and people are always like, “Oh, how do we get it? How do we get it? How do we get it?” Anyone who’s seen the cover of Diana, Herself will have a sense of just how incredible Marty’s paintings are. We are engaged in this long, long quest to try and figure out how to get reproductions that are good enough for us to let people have them.

Martha Beck:
The cover of Diana, Herself is not as pretty as the painting.

Rowan Mangan:
No.

Martha Beck:
Not at all.

Rowan Mangan:
The painting is incredible.

Martha Beck:
But yeah, I really think about this, and I even when I also have complexes about asking people for tons of money. So, when I was starting my career I was like, “I don’t feel comfortable asking for huge amounts of salary, but if I wrote a book and 100,000 people really, really liked it and I got a dollar a piece for that, I’d be doing okay.” So, I’ve always thought this way.

Rowan Mangan:
It’s an interesting time to live then because there is that opportunity, where there hasn’t been in the past. I used to work in an academic library, so it’s a lot of digital, the digitization of so many things. I was talking to Marty when we were planning this podcast about how the mentality of the library has changed so much, because traditionally it’s a literally conservative role, where you are there to conserve the sacred knowledge, and there is one thing, this book is the thing.

Martha Beck:
And just let me insert that books were the most precious thing in Europe during the Middle Ages because they took so long. I mean, one book was worth 1,000 paintings, right? And now I have-

Rowan Mangan:
So, that’s the tradition through which this has come. Then all of a sudden in the space of a couple of decades you’ve now got a situation where the knowledge can be accessed from anywhere, by as many people as you want at once for no money, or tiny amounts of money, and it’s an entirely revolutionary perspective.

My old boss at the library used to talk about the Shmoo, which I think is like a 1950s cartoon thing where you can … I’m not going to go into what I think it is, because it’s kind of gross, but-

Martha Beck:
It is. She told me, it’s gross.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, don’t worry about it, or Google it or let’s just pretend I never mentioned it, but it’s the-

Martha Beck:
Google it. It’s gross.

Rowan Mangan:
It’s the gift that keeps on giving. It’s infinite. It gives infinitely of itself, and that’s this abundance culture sort of notion that libraries have, but we also as artists there’s also the same thing. You don’t have to go into a room and play your song. You play your song in a room and it can then be played in huge numbers of rooms. One solution to that is really quite interestingly based, it seems to me, on that sort of patron Ninja Turtles idea, which is Patreon.

Martha Beck:
Right, right.

Rowan Mangan:
So, it’s literally being a patron, and Morgan and The Feelings Parade have that setup. I’m a patron of them, which costs me very little month to month, but it’s a way that they can be making their music and putting it out there.

Martha Beck:
A dollar from a million people.

Rowan Mangan:
Exactly.

Martha Beck:
Seth Godin in Tribes actually says, and he’s thought about it a lot, that if you just have 1,000 people who like your work you can get by. You may not be the wealthiest artist on earth, but you can get by. I want to say something about that. You said the abundance mentality. I was just reading about the Maslow’s hierarchy where you start out with needing food and shelter, and at the very top is artistic expression and spiritual development and everything. It turns out there are two ways to go about that. One is from a sense of deficiency. So, if you’re going out as an artist going, “I need, I need, I need.” That will create a certain energy that people will pick up, and the opposite of that is to express yourself as growth. So, I’m going to do this for the love of it, for the love of it, for the love of it. Weirdly, that energy, and I’ve done it both ways. Trust me, I’ve tried it both ways, and I’ve failed a lot more often than I’ve succeeded, but it’s back to what we said to JP, that true nature thing. If it’s bubbling over because that’s your soul, that’s your truth, that’s your beauty, I actually think you’re going to have a better chance at getting that patronage.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. Yeah.

Martha Beck:
But it’s an open question, and we will check back, because this is big.

Rowan Mangan:
For sure. Before we move on, I just want to say also that I believe, and this could be a really sort of stupid belief to hold, but I think that if you’re an artist, then you can apply the creativity that you use for your art.

Martha Beck:
Yes.

Rowan Mangan:
To this problem, and I think too many artists, they look down on the money making stuff, but if you’re not looking at asking people for huge amounts of money, it’s easier to cut through all those thought processes that make that bad and turn it into an artistic endeavor.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and we designed this course that I’m delivering right now online called Practical Wayfinding, and it’s about taking that creativity that makes you such a great artist and saying, “How can I go into the capitalist system and patch together a life that makes money?” And that’s how I’ve made my career. I have a very feeble body and I am not interested in what I’m not interested in.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
And I’ve just patched it together. I don’t make millions of dollars from my books, I wish I did, but I don’t. I’ve just patched it together with oh, coaching, oh, teaching, oh, online stuff. I love to teach, let’s do it online. So, just keep giving yourself to your art, but then bring your artistic mind to the noxious capitalist system and find a way to make beauty out of it, and bring beauty to it, and you can find a way, I believe.

Rowan Mangan:
And if you find yourself thinking thoughts like it’s bad to ask for money for my art, just make sure you question that and say, “Am I sure that that’s true?” So, as frequent listeners to this podcast will be aware, on bewildered we’re all about moving from a state of bewilderment into a state of be-wild-ment, which is when you’re in touch with your true nature. Culture be dammed.

Martha Beck:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rowan Mangan:
Is that fair?

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and culture doesn’t like to be dammed.

Rowan Mangan:
No.

Martha Beck:
So, we want to talk about a situation that happens a lot. We’ve already been touching on it throughout the podcast.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
But it happens whenever a person brings out their true nature into the world in any form, whether it’s their artistic expression, or their-

Rowan Mangan:
Gender identity.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, their way of talking, or walking, or dancing, or singing, or anything that runs even slightly outside the cultural lines, they’re going to get some pushback, and they’re also going to get this thing that we call it doesn’t look like anything to me.

Rowan Mangan:
We use this term in our household all the time as a kind of shorthand for this phenomenon, which we actually pulled from a TV show that you guys might have seen, really good remake of an old show, it’s called Westworld.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, it was a series, an event series. It was amazing. Go binge watch it if you haven’t. But in Westworld, I don’t think this is a spoiler, this is the main premise.

Rowan Mangan:
Robot cowboys.

Martha Beck:
Robot cowboys. It’s an amusement park in the future where they have these incredibly lifelike robots, and these people created an amusement park that is meant to look like the American Southwest in the 19th century, and it’s peopled by robots, incredibly realistic robots who are cowboys, and bar owners, and bad guys.

Rowan Mangan:
Madams.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, sheep wrestlers. I don’t think sheep wrestlers were a big thing, but-

Rowan Mangan:
I don’t think there were too many sheep harmed in the making of that.

Martha Beck:
It’s very tame. Horse wrestlers.

Rowan Mangan:
There you go.

Martha Beck:
And people can pay money to go in and they interact with the robots, and have fights with the robots, and have sex with the robots. It’s all very, yeah, very saucy. So, but one thing the robots do is that they’re programmed to react to anything that’s outside of their designated worldview by saying, “It doesn’t look like anything to me.”

Rowan Mangan:
So, if they’re shown … So, the first example of this in the show, as I recall, is that someone was showing a photograph of a city, and it’s outside of the programming of that robot. So, the robot simply says, “It doesn’t look like anything to me. That doesn’t look like anything to me.” And that’s the sort of refrain any time they’re confronted with a world outside of the theme park.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, which is often because people are coming from this future, super high tech thing to interact with them, and they bring their watches, and their devices and whatever, and it doesn’t matter because the robot sees that and says, “It doesn’t look like anything to me.” So.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, and so that’s how we sort of talk about not the phenomenon where the culture goes, “That’s stupid, I hate that.” But when you bring something of yourself out and what you just get is oh. You know what I mean?

Martha Beck:
Right.

Rowan Mangan:
Is that a fair way of saying? Oh, okay.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, and this has happened in its early versions, Ro’s novel, which was brilliant from the beginning, I have to tell you, but it’s got magical realism in it, which I love, but it goes from being completely normal to slightly huh, to being, to weaving these webs of magic.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. I mean, it’s that sort of mythology coming into real life.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
I mean, it’s not that original, but it’s still I think when some of my early readers read it I got a couple of people were like, “Oh.”

Martha Beck:
I thought this was just a story about a woman who wanted to date more.

Rowan Mangan:
She wanted to do more online dating, she just loved that shit.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
But yes, but it wasn’t I hate this, it was just like maybe just not so much with the magic.

Martha Beck:
Or they would say, “I just don’t get how that could happen.”

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, yeah.

Martha Beck:
And it was really well written, you guys. It’s not like it was hard to follow. Sorry, Rowan is rolling her eyes-

Rowan Mangan:
I’m giving her signals of enough with the-

Martha Beck:
… because she doesn’t wish to be praised in public. Anyway, I so identified with this when she told me about it because I wrote a book, I don’t know, 10 years ago, called-

Rowan Mangan:
Maybe.

Martha Beck:
… Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, and it was based on the premise, we talked on one of our other podcasts about closet mystics. People who are having mystical experiences for real and don’t dare talk about it because it’s outside sort of the mainstream culture. Well, I had this theory based on a time, I kid you not, when I had a dream that my ancestors were visiting me in Africa, and told this to some people who immediately ran to get me a shaman from their tribe. She wasn’t from their tribe, but they found me a shaman, because when you have that dream you have to see a shaman. She told me, “You need to know the ancient wisdom of the shamans of old in all over the world in indigenous peoples and you need to talk to the white people about it.”

So, I wrote this book after five years of research where I talked about the fact that in every culture, ancient culture all around the world, any historical period, there are at least three, five people, I talked about this in the other podcast, who were by nature very mystical, very artistic, they loved animals, nature, biomes, whatever. All of this just to say I wrote that down and my publishers, my editor, who is a lovely person, nothing against her-

Rowan Mangan:
It just didn’t look like anything to her.

Martha Beck:
It did not look like anything, and I was so proud of my research, and these chapters, and I sent them in and she literally wrote me back and said, “Why don’t you stop all this and write a book called how to stop doing all the wrong things.”

Rowan Mangan:
I think she should write that book.

Martha Beck:
I think she should. It’s like it’s a jewel waiting to be formed, but I don’t have the capacity.

Rowan Mangan:
How to stop doing all the wrong things.

Martha Beck:
But she was like, “This doesn’t mean anything. I don’t understand.” That’s the thing, that the robots aren’t programmed to not see it, they’re programmed not to assign meaning to it.

Rowan Mangan:
Yes. Yeah, that’s a really key point.

Martha Beck:
And this stuff, it was not meaningful to her, and it was scary. We sort of shut down communication and I said, “This is the book I want to write.” And pushed it out into the world, and there it was.

Rowan Mangan:
So it’s like it wasn’t for her, and I think maybe one place where our culture is really lagging behind our reality, just thinking back to Morgan’s question about money and art.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
Is that we’re still in an old media perspective in the culture which is this has to appeal to everyone.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
But with the ability to proliferate stuff, and this is what Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, that Marty mentioned earlier is about too, is you can reach the people for whom it does look like something to them.

Martha Beck:
Yes, yes.

Rowan Mangan:
And that’s what Finding Your Way in a Wild New World did for me.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, tell the story.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
So then what? A year later, after I’ve really … I basically left publishing with my head hung low, thinking I am a terrible person, and a bad writer, and I shouldn’t have even tried. Nobody is out there, because the criticism sinks deep, and you’re all alone writing that book.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
So, a year later on the other side of the world.

Rowan Mangan:
So yeah, because then the book starts creeping out, and it’s like a little underground movement. I think your books are often like this.

Martha Beck:
They’re creepy and frequently underground. I bury them everywhere.

Rowan Mangan:
It was creeping around, doing its creepy little thing, reaching the people that it was written to.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
And there I was, far, far, far away, in Melbourne, Australia, and a friend of mine … I’m pretty sure we’ve talked about this on this podcast before, but whatever, it bears repeating. Handed me this book and said, “You have to read this book. It’s about you.” And here we are.

Martha Beck:
And here we are. I had people write to me and say they sat down on the floor of the bookstore and opened the book and wept, because it was about them, and it was by no means the majority of all people, but they were out there.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, and there are so many of them, even if they’re a tiny proportion that it starts to become meaningful. I’m just saying that thinking back to Morgan and-

Martha Beck:
It does, it really does. It starts to build. So, Ro, we were talking about some of the things that people hear that could just wither you if you’re trying to be yourself, your true self out in the world and it doesn’t look like anything to them.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah. So, it’s like this particular phenomenon when it doesn’t look like anything to them. It’s a different kind of feedback that’s not exactly criticism, but it’s-

Martha Beck:
It’s insidious because it’s so blank.

Rowan Mangan:
It is insidious. Yeah. So, you hear things like I don’t get it. I don’t get it, I don’t think it works.

Martha Beck:
I don’t think it works.

Rowan Mangan:
Maybe make it more like The Secret or how to stop doing all the wrong things.

Martha Beck:
Sometimes it’s like oh, that’s just shocking, that’s sinful. How dare you say that, you know?

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah, yeah. That’s right, or it’s stupid even.

Martha Beck:
That’s a really common one, because people, they don’t understand it.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
So, they think that it’s way below them instead of maybe being off to the side somewhere.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
I will not say above, I will say off to the side.

Rowan Mangan:
Exactly. So, in that instance we have to see the people who are coming from the culture that’s basically robot cowboys, whose programming can’t extend that far, but the mistake that we make is when we think that the robot cowboy represents the people we’re talking to, whether it’s the people we want to date, the people we want to share our art with, any of that. They’re just robot cowboys. I don’t know how to say this any more clearly.

Martha Beck:
I’ve been trying to get Siri to say it more clearly and she will not. Doesn’t look like anything to her. Oh my god, she is a robot. That’s the problem in our relationship.

Rowan Mangan:
Duh.

Martha Beck:
I am smiting my forehead at this moment. Anyway, yeah. It’s so insidious, it hurts so much to not be seen. It’s almost worse.

Rowan Mangan:
It’s worse than being condemned.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, because at least you know you’ve made a difference.

Rowan Mangan:
Right.

Martha Beck:
When your best, most beautiful work just slides by and nobody says anything, it hurts a lot, but as an out of the closet mystic myself, I believe we have almost a metaphysical imperative to express our true nature.

Rowan Mangan:
It’s like that thing that Brené Brown says, you remember about unexpressed creativity is not benign.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
That’s what you’re saying.

Martha Beck:
That’s right. If you don’t, if it doesn’t, or it says in the Apocryphal Gospel of Thomas, “If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you.”

Rowan Mangan:
So Marty, how do you know the difference between feedback that it doesn’t look like anything to them, or feedback from someone who does get you but actually has good feedback?

Martha Beck:
Right.

Rowan Mangan:
Because the worst thing we could do is say, “No one will ever … Anyone who criticizes my work is a robot cowboy.”

Martha Beck:
No, it’s all perfect. Everything I do is perfect.

Rowan Mangan:
Right.

Martha Beck:
No. That actually discourages children, when you tell them that everything they do is perfect. Different podcast.

Rowan Mangan:
I thought you were going to say it discourages children when you tell them that they’re robot cowboys, whereas I think if someone had told me that as a child it would’ve made my day.

Martha Beck:
I know. It would’ve been awesome. You mean all this Mormon crap is just fake. I really don’t have to wear a sunbonnet on the 24th of July.

Rowan Mangan:
You were in Mormon world.

Martha Beck:
Google it.

Rowan Mangan:
Utah world.

Martha Beck:
24th of July, sunbonnet, Google it. All right, so you make a solid point, Rowie.

Rowan Mangan:
Thank you.

Martha Beck:
I’ve studied this question from every angle over the years, and what I come back to is does it feel true, your true nature. The book I just put out, The Way of Integrity, is about finding the truth in what it feels like to you, and what it feels like when you hear something true, I describe it as all four of your meaning making systems lining up to say yes. So, it’s your body, heart, mind and spirit, they all say yes.

Rowan Mangan:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Martha Beck:
When they say yes to something. Now, just to show you the difference. Think of something you have to do every week, like taking out the garbage, or going to a job you don’t like, and say in your mind the statement, the meaning of my life is to go to this job, or I am meant to go to this job and just notice how that feels in the body. Body, heart, mind, spirit, and then say this sentence to yourself. I am meant to live in peace. If you repeat that over and over in your head, you’ll feel, this is the one statement where I’ve tested it on people all around the world, and everyone I’ve tested, including convicted murderers in prison, feels that as the truth, and I believe it.

Rowan Mangan:
Yikes. They let themselves down a little bit then from their true purpose.

Martha Beck:
Tiny bit.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Tiny bit.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh well, maybe it’s more peaceful in [crosstalk 00:55:24].

Martha Beck:
Anyway. Another podcast. So many podcasts sprouting out of [crosstalk 00:55:27].

Rowan Mangan:
That’s really, really good though. I love the I’m meant to live in peace. I just went all quiet because I was going there. It’s really nice.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, me too. It’s a nice place to go.

Rowan Mangan:
So, how do you apply that to feedback?

Martha Beck:
So, somebody says, “Oh, this just doesn’t work for me.” I’d really like to see something that’s more like Harry Potter. If you’re going to go with magic, it’s really for 12-year-olds or something.

Rowan Mangan:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Martha Beck:
Take that and ask yourself first, what does it hurt like? Because it’s going to hurt.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
So, when you get an infection in a wound, it hurts. You may have had an infected cut in your life.

Rowan Mangan:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.

Martha Beck:
Remember that feeling? That burning, throbbing, not good.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Very bad feeling, and then you put alcohol on it, antiseptic, and it stings like a mofo, but you know after a few tries, after it’s happened a few times you know that sting is a healing sting.

Rowan Mangan:
Sorry, I just had that memory of you with the tick on the boardwalk on Fire Island, running up and down the boardwalk.

Martha Beck:
Is this the time to tell that story?

Rowan Mangan:
I’m so sorry, but it was so funny because she got a tick, and we had to put tequila all over it.

Martha Beck:
I can, well-

Rowan Mangan:
And it stung good. It hurt so good.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, it did. We were with friends at Fire Island, and Fire Island, if you’ve ever been there, has literally one street that goes the length of the island, and I went to get something at the store, and then I got completely lost going home, as only I can do, on one street. There are lots of deer, and you can come up and pet them. I was desperately walking up and down the street, looking for where we were and getting increasingly sweaty and anxious.

Martha Beck:
I happen to feel upon my neck a tiny tick, which is a deer tick, with is like ah, Lyme disease. So, then I started texting, help, help.

Rowan Mangan:
I’m lost, I have a tick.

Martha Beck:
I have a tick, I have tick, I’m lost. Have tick, I’m lost. So, they came out onto the street.

Rowan Mangan:
With a bottle of tequila and a pair of tweezers.

Martha Beck:
Tweezers. Tequila was the only alcohol we had on hand.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Yeah, you all smoked that tick for me with the alcohol and the tweezers and it was a good sting.

Rowan Mangan:
And it was a good sting, so it was really lucky that I brought this up, because it was really on point.

Martha Beck:
Not for the tick.

Rowan Mangan:
No, not a good day for the tick.

Martha Beck:
Anyway, so if it stings like antiseptic, you may want to sit with it and there’s probably some gold in there. That’s how I felt when I started taking art classes at Harvard. I’d been trying on my own and taking high school art classes. Then I got one teacher who just took me apart the first day of class because he knew that I was somebody who did this, and I loved it. It was like someone had given me a machete to clear the jungle. It was delicious, and it stung. That happened a lot to me at Harvard, actually, made it worth going there.

So, then once the sting, once you know how it hurts, sit with it and ask, look at each piece of it and say, “Does this feel true to me?”

Rowan Mangan:
Right.

Martha Beck:
Not according to my friends, my family, anybody.

Rowan Mangan:
And don’t listen too much to the answer from your mind, because that’s the least reliable in this instance.

Martha Beck:
Good point.

Rowan Mangan:
Like for me, I’ve got to ask my body that question and feel like, does it feel like I’m meant to live in peace? Because my brain can always say, “This is nonsense, my work is perfect.”

Martha Beck:
The brain is programmed to go with culture wherever she leads, so be careful with your brainbox, but does it feel true? Does it resonate through my whole body? Does it make sense to my heart, my soul, and my body? And then bring the mind in and say, “Yeah, that feedback was just it doesn’t look like anything to me, because that person, it’s out beyond their capacity.” And you’ll feel that peace come in when you designate. I hope that’s what you felt, because we talked about that feedback when you got it.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
And it was like, it doesn’t look like anything to this person.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
Did it help?

Rowan Mangan:
No.

Martha Beck:
What I said.

Rowan Mangan:
Oh, what you … I’m sorry, honey. It was completely useless. No, the feedback didn’t help.

Martha Beck:
Yeah.

Rowan Mangan:
Because that’s what we came to, it didn’t look like anything to that person. However, I could’ve got different feedback on the same thing, and it would’ve been-

Martha Beck:
Helped you make it better.

Rowan Mangan:
It would’ve helped me make it a lot better, so.

Martha Beck:
It would ring true. So, just remember that your true nature is always in action, and when you get feedback for your work it will help you discern between the good and the bad. If you try to change your self-expression for somebody who says it doesn’t look like anything to me, you will be in the fog, because they’re not giving you anything.

Rowan Mangan:
Yeah.

Martha Beck:
You are just be better for culture, go forth. It’s horrible.

Rowan Mangan:
Absolutely, and that’s JP with dating, and that’s Morgan-

Martha Beck:
Absolutely.

Rowan Mangan:
… putting her art out there. It’s for ourselves just walking out into the world every day.

Martha Beck:
Absolutely. So, stick to your truth, don’t worry about the people who just can’t see it, and stay wild.

Rowan Mangan:
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. 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.


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