And I think that the cult of individualism has deepened that gap between the natural state and the fake state, between life and death in some ways.
Hello and welcome. I'm Shane Parrish, and this is another episode of the Knowledge Project, a podcast exploring the ideas, methods and mental models that help you learn from the best, what other people have already figured out.
You can learn more and stay up to date at F-stop Blogs podcast. On the show today is Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. For those of you that don't know, Sophie is the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Our conversation, however, has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with living a meaningful life. This is the most intimate interview I've ever done. We talk about the biggest lessons she's learned from her mother, her battle with eating disorders, why nature and art play such a huge role in her life, how she raises a family in the public eye, gender, and, more importantly, what unites us as people.
There are moments in this conversation, especially around the role of vulnerability in living a meaningful life that leave us both with watery eyes and emotional. As you'll see, Sophie's passion for life comes through and it's contagious. Time to listen and learn. Before we get started, here's a quick word from our sponsor. Farnam Street is sponsored by Medlab for a decade, Medlab has helped some of the world's top companies and entrepreneurs build products that millions of people use every day.
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And when you get in touch, tell them chainsawing you. All right, I'm so happy to have you on the show, me, too. I have to say, I I'm interested with about what you talk about on this show. I think it's fascinating.
Thank you. I want to start with. A question that I've always wondered, what's the biggest lesson that your mother taught you? The biggest lesson my mummy taught me. I think through her journey, it has been the lesson of self-love. What does that mean? To be able to see yourself as you truly are and to be able to accept yourself as you truly are, and that is probably the biggest gift I think a human can actually benefit from on all levels.
And how you then interact with yourself and therefore with the universe, with humans around you, what does it mean to lead a fully human life if we're not in contact with our deeper knowledge, who we are as individuals? So I don't think it's a lesson she taught me. Like, Listen, Sophie, this is the lesson. I think I took it from her as a child through her own journey.
And today I'm a parent and I'm realizing that no matter what we tell our kids, it's all about how we act and how we live. They feed off of it. What's parenting like for you?
You have a quite a unique situation.
Parenting for me is I would say the love of my life is my priority is my joy, is my grounds. I'm very close to my kids physically, mentally, psychologically. We we discuss a lot. We talk a lot. We try to even when there was frustrations that come along, we talk about them very physical, very cuddly, close closeness, proximity, lots of time in nature with my kids when those moments arise in a very chaotic rhythm that that our lives are all in.
And yes, my life is in a unique context right now. I, I must say that I pinch myself and I'm somebody who loves life. I'm an only child. And I grew up kind of thinking in my head and also my parents telling me, hey, you know, just say hi, my name is Sophie. Would you like to play?
I still have that in me. I still want to, you know, play with my kids. And that's where I just I experienced deep joy.
So it's not something I think about, something I just fully live.
How much harder is that doing all of this and more of a public spotlight than most families.
So, yes, the public spotlight is part of our lives. That's that's true. But it's not our lives.
And we talk about daddy's job being the prime minister of Canada. And one day he won't be prime minister of Canada. I will be somebody else. And who are we what do we stand for when nobody's watching?
When there was no spotlight, no titles, no important events, no important people or whatever they are around us, who are we? Who are we in our core? I ask myself that question, always checking in. And I think that my kids know that they should be asking themselves that question to actually discover what they're made of and whether Daddy's in that job or not. Who are they? I think that's the most important. So when we are exposed, when we do go to a park and people are clapping with balloons or whatever, they look back to me sometimes and they'll raise their eyes or roll their eyes back and go, we know.
We know don't get used to this because I'm like one day nobody's going to be clapping and it's going to be a different life situation. And you will adapt because you have enough knowledge and education and love that you'll be able to adapt. It's my only wish for my kids, really. The rest doesn't belong to me, belongs to them.
Who are you as a family? When you think about those values and like who you are and nobody's watching, what does that look like? The same person as when everybody's watching. Thank you.
To the 40s. Yeah. No, I've never felt like this was taken on a role.
It's it became very organically organized, I would say, even if it's organized chaos, politics and what it's what it entails in some aspects of our lives, but. When we started, everything became kind of like a natural extension of what I had already started in my life as a as a person, as Sophi, with, you know, talking about women's issues and giving speeches.
And there's nothing that I changed from one day to the other because we're in this job.
My values are the same, but my surroundings are different and there are security.
And, you know, it's there's a tension and it's intense. But I always go back to my center. I think that's what I have been looking for for a very long time, is how do I go back to my center? How do I actually find peace in my mind, in my heart, and be able to adapt every single situation that life will throw at me? I think that's the main goal here.
Is it harder to raise a family given the circumstances that you're in?
Do you think you know, I mean, some people would argue that, yes, it is harder, but it's my life, so I'm not going to start comparing it. I'm in it. I'm going to start living it fully. And it is treacherous by time in some some some times. And it is very demanding because there's lots of pressures and lots of demands and lots of requests and lots of work that I want to accomplish.
And I do put pressure on myself because. About, you know, 20 years ago when I started in television in Quebec, I was already used to the cameras and all that. That wasn't an issue. So that all of that is not new. But when there was more attention focused on what I was doing, it was even more meaningful to me for me to be in contact with so many human beings that were telling us, because you're telling your story, we feel that we can tell our story.
And that's my story about eating disorders and what I went through in my teenage years and how I'm healed. And I just want to help. Now, it's my only duty right now is to actually share the love and the knowledge that I got through my experience to be able to help others.
So it's my life and I live it fully. I don't want to compare it with any others.
When did you realize you had an eating disorder? You know, first of all, I knew exactly what I was suffering from in those years. I was educated. I knew of it.
We weren't talking about eating disorders much in those years. And we thought that they must be maybe a capricious moment in a fortunate adolescent life, which is totally a stigma, a taboo and wrong.
The truth is that eating disorder is like any other kind of compulsion are rooted in fear and anxiety, and every single teenage person goes through those phases, we express it differently. But in the brain, the incentive reward system resembles many other types of addictions.
So I was telling myself, you must stop this, this. Why are you doing this? But it's not that easy. It's a compulsion and your brain is learning how to react and want it.
So it's a tough it was a tough journey and I healed from it.
And I learned in so many ways that this kind of adversity or what whatever your adversity is. And yes, of course, there is worse adversity than others.
But you can't compare it because if one day you decide that you see your adversity as the nastiest, disgusting looking, you know, gift wrapped in this nasty paper, you'll know that inside it is a gift and that it's a gift for breaking open and looking inside and learning that self-love is possible.
And that you can offer it to the world and I think that is a healing path for peace and more justice, because it completely changes the way that you perceive yourself and other human beings. And everywhere I go in this life at the corner of the street or the on the end of the world on a trip, I do not not only do I not see differences, I don't feel differences until somebody now talks about them or wants to make them something that separates us as human beings, which I think is not the right path for more peace on this planet.
So it taught me how to live differently with myself and with others. And I think that I truly I'm curious about others journeys.
I want to know. Well, were you scared of you said, the most eating disorder as a result of fear?
You know, when you go back to those days, like when I'm asked, when did you when did you, you know, stop suffering from eating disorders, when you're in it, you don't think about that stuff and you don't write the date down.
There are many reasons why I had anxiety. I think it's, you know, teenage angst. I was an only child. So whether my parents gave me love because they did you feel pressures in other ways, you know, that siblings can share and can talk about. I couldn't. So I grew up with a father who was extremely performant and he started from nothing. And he you know, he succeeded in many ways that we can describe as patriarchal in our society.
And that put pressure on me as a young girl.
I was always part of the boys because I was super sporty and I liked stuff that was a bit scary, you know, from their footing into skydiving. And I, I really got along well with a gang of boys. And I also had a couple of really good girlfriends, but I was never a gang girl.
It was really more about one on one, maybe because I like all I knew because I was an only child.
And I think that, you know, mix that up with all the culture that we were brought up in.
As somebody who's 43, born in 1975, where there are still so many paradoxes between the emancipation of women and girls and the barriers that we still face on this planet, whether there are physical or mental. So I think it was kind of a struggle between all that.
And I was also someone who was always seeking truth.
I wanted to know what was going on inside of me. I want to know what was going on inside of others.
I didn't like superficial relationships. I wanted depth. And I think that at that age, depth can be tricky because we're all trying to figure out who we are.
But it's even rarer at that age to want.
I know I don't know where that's from. And you know what? Sometimes I find that it might not belong to me. It might be something just bigger than me. And many times in my life, I've had very how do you say, serendipitous moments filled with synchronicity.
I've have maybe somebody come into a room and I would have like a flash of, oh, my God, that person is meant to be with that other person. And today they're married with kids. And that has happened more than once.
So it doesn't really belong to me. That kind of, I would say deep intuition. Right. But it moves me in many ways. I have chills just talking about it.
You're as married to the prime minister. I mean, you're in a unique position to see the world differently than most people not only see more of it, and you mentioned you chose to see similarities. What are the things that you see that most of us don't see behind the curtain of politics?
You know, I was not overly politicized before I met my husband. I had some core values that I believed in as a human being.
And I was completely blown away by what I have seen in the past years in politics by the human beings I have met who sacrificed their lives, their family lives, the quality of life to serve.
And it is very inspiring and at the same time very frustrating to see that that sometimes some people will want to darken that picture and will, you know, have actions that will make it darker for everybody, but not for long, because I think that going back to the truth, I think it's Churchill who said that the truth, the truth is incontrovertible and malice may attack it. Ignorance may to write it. But there it is. In the end, I believe that I believe that human goodness rises at many moments.
And it doesn't mean I'm naive. Quite the contrary. I see the forces at play and I also see that goodness usually prevails. When you look at the state of the world right now, it's difficult to believe that because so many people are suffering.
But when you do take all the facts together and whether it's, you know, so many authors are working on this theme right now as Steven Pinker, the better angels of our nature.
I know you probably read all this stuff, but there are so many researchers and scientists to looking at data and evidence showing us that in our daily lives there is less violence than there was before.
There is positive thoughts and spirit that are moving this humanity forward.
And I, I believe that it doesn't mean that the negative forces are not strong.
They're probably going to get stronger. This means that. We need to be as organized as human beings who want peace and justice as the other part of our own lives, where it's not working out as well.
So I think that the one thing I have seen and that I would love for people everybody to see is what it's really like in politics.
It's not glamorous. And if you see me, for example, in a couple of shots during the year in heels and a dress, because that's the dress code for the event, while good. But that does not reflect my life or what we're doing.
I want to talk a little bit about that, we were talking a little bit before the podcast started about the Photoshop sort of like generation and Instagram and why people choose to. What's your take on why people choose to accentuate these moments in their lives that are non representative of their broader lives? And what do you think the impact is? Oh, that's a deep question. I think that we all crave love and attention, we all want to be understood and cared for, and that's how a baby comes into the world.
And I'm a mother now, and I always felt like I've I've had this maternal intuition of caring. And I want other people to thrive. I want other people to succeed.
But I see that in a world where in an in a culture of individualism, where we have been taught that we were never enough and where we have been shown visually models, quote unquote, poor people or concepts of perfection, of obsession with youth, we are denying who we are as mortals, as human beings, as our condition say, and how we come into this world.
The flower grows and dies.
And, you know, it's the circle of life cycle. It's kind of like we're denying that in some ways. And I think that the cult of individualism has deepened that gap between the natural state and the fake state, between life and death.
In some ways, ageism, thinking about that gap between young people and older people, how do we see older people? What are we taught about them when we grow up? Where is that wise man or woman who should be transferring us her? His wisdom is that how we really live? I mean, in many indigenous communities, that's how they live it.
And and we have so much to learn about that, because I think that as we are getting older very slowly and when we are youth obsessed. We are losing spirit and wisdom and intelligence if we focus on that youth obsessively and when, you know, half of the planet is not eating adequately to be healthy and we're looking at ourselves in the mirror to to think how are we going to fix this sagging under her chin or whatever it is, lines, what are we doing?
What are we actually showing of who we are? And it's a current it's a strong current. It's normal. It's like we've normalized this obsession with our non condition. I try to go back to that as much as possible. We're pulled in so many different directions that it's tough for especially young people to find their center. A lot of people say just be yourself. What does that mean?
What does that mean to be yourself? It's it's a great concept. Makes me happy to hear it. But how does that articulate in our daily lives? And when I speak with young people, I'm always so inspired by what they tell me.
And I always try to invite them to think about this. And not only young people, but also adults.
When you left this morning or last night when nobody was looking, when you were alone in your bedroom or in your bath or whatever it is, we get quite cut time.
And mothers of three here or any kid or kids we all know, that's very rare to have quiet time. But we do have quite time as men, as women, as girls, as boys.
How do we talk to ourselves? How do we feel? Are we kind, compassionate with ourselves, or are we like, oh, never good enough, you know, that person has more. Why not me?
It's like we're taught to believe that. We're taught to think that therefore the brain kind of processes these messages and stays there because it almost becomes a comfort zone when it's totally not comfortable. And when you actually ask yourself, does this make me happy? Not a lot of people will say yes.
And I think we live in an era where it's time to actually speak the truth and break open and open our hearts and say, how do you feel? Tell me the truth. Let's stop putting our heads into the sand and let's talk about the real stuff. You sound like somebody who's gone through negative self, perhaps with the eating disorder to maybe changing that vocabulary. What was the process for doing that? How did you go about it? I think it's like everybody's process.
I don't think any human being doesn't go through a negative thought patterns.
I think we're we're taught it naturally and unnaturally through living in society because we're not, you know, like Thoreau said, living in a house in the woods alone by ourselves.
So I think that we learn it through behaviors, through social dynamics. Sometimes our social contracts are not so clear. And I think for myself, I think life life learned it to me.
And I I was ready to open up and look at myself truly in in real light. And see where I suffered and why was that, because you were at a low like what? Cause. Absolutely, yes, absolutely. I was suffering. It was difficult.
And and you had no outlet for talking about this or. Thank God I still had sports that allowed me to.
And in French, we say, well, it means getting rid of the negative, but I went through therapy so deep, provoking thought processes and heart opening, I wanted to understand where it was coming from and yoga meditation.
Perspective, maturity, motherhood, everything, everything about life, I think you can learn from and sometimes when the negative arises because it arises and in everybody's life in different forms. I don't get scared of it, whether it's critiques, you know, I try to keep a distance from it and to create. The same self-respect and in your love that I have in stillness and happiness and in sorrow so that I can always go back there, it's my home, that's who I am.
That's who everybody is. By the way, this doesn't belong just to me. Everybody has that capacity for inner peace and inner love.
And I always tell my kids, you have this home, you have this life, but you should have all of that in a miniature version in your heart.
Take it in that grand scheme of things and put it in your heart in a miniature version and take care of it, because that's the gift of life.
And I'm getting emotional because it really is the gift of.
I want to go back to something you said about sort of two ends of the continuum between individuals and maybe our responsibilities to other people, and you called it, I believe, the cult of the individual. Can you expand on that and maybe those roles and how they change?
You're listening to Ellen, huh? I only have one job now.
You know, it's interesting that you put it under that light, because even if there is a continuum between the individual and the cult of individuality.
They're not polar opposites because we cannot have the cult of individuality without the individual.
What I mean is that the culture that we have grown up in, let's say in the past, what? Fifty years or more has been centered on the. Potential of the individual to grow. And to succeed, especially in a capitalist market, so to have opportunity to grow that definition of success. Has been boxed in to a narrow notion by society, by society, by society flows, by markets, by everything, and market forces are very strong.
We have to see it as it is.
And I think that with time, that idea of success has not contributed. To. Potentially allowing us to bloom to our full potential as human beings. To collaborate, to respect one another. To flourish and being happy without comparing to one another. Without thinking of drastic competition. And. What I see now is that there's a backlash and people people are thirsty for Nobilis, sorry, authenticity, truth, connection, intimacy. I think we're all thirsty for that.
A baby comes into the world needing that immensely.
And it's what connects us. Yes.
What else do we do?
And we forget and I'll tell you this, I am having chills again, because when I if I see somebody who's suffering on the street, for example, with my kids, we'll discuss this and I'll say, who was he has a baby. What happened along the way? And I think that every single time I see somebody suffer an adult, where does that suffering come from and how does it relate to me on on the continuum? How does it relate to me?
How can I relate to that or him or her?
And when you start living that way, it's like you feel responsible for one another. If I'm somewhere and somebody gets hurt, I'm going to try to help. Obviously, if a mother is struggling, I will feel for her and I will want her to get better and for her child to have an opportunity.
And when I put this in the big scheme of things, sometimes I get nervous because I want I would like to help save everybody, but we can't.
What we can do is save ourselves. And for the ones who can't save themselves, we need to create. What I like to call a tightly knit social network where people feel safe to fall back and to know that somewhere along the way there's going to be human arms to it to catch them. That's what makes me believe that we can make this world better. Even with all that's happening right now, a better version of ourselves, the most or the best version of ourselves?
When you talk to your kids about the suffering that you see, what is the lesson that you're trying to to give them?
But they can see themselves and the people who don't look like them and who don't live like them, that that could be you.
Yeah, well, not only it could be you. Yeah. Because, I mean, that stuff happens to good people. Yeah. Nobody is hidden from or protected from from bad events. So that's that's one thing. And the other thing is I go back to this. Who was that person before all this happened? What's his or her journey and how can you see yourself through that journey? And the last question is, what can you do to help in your daily life?
And for me, it's about baby steps. It's not about grand grand things, big gestures.
I mean, they're great and good if you have the means to do them and some people do.
I actually think that, you know, the richest people of the planet are are in some parts realizing that they can make a big difference with their big money. And a lot of them aren't taking big actions.
Amazing. Please continue. Yeah, but in our daily lives, I think it's the small stuff that makes a difference. Your presence, are you present in your life?
I we read the newspaper or we don't we we hop on the bus, we're in a rush. We, we go to work.
We don't have time. Time is of essence and time is a luxury now. So when do we actually we have time to be on social media and to look at the messages and what people think of us and how are we favorites?
Are we not shared or whatever it is? And do we do we take five to ten minutes to actually breathe and sit down in silence?
It's like we're we're never fully in the moment. We're always in the next moment are always looking to escape the moment that we're in. Do you have any advice on how to be more present? I was going to say, hey, count me in.
You know what I mean? I'm not I'm no different, but I have cultivated tools because I was interested to know how does a human being how can we control our breath? How do we become more present? I want to. That is really. My goal, but I also my my life and my my duty, in some ways, my responsibility, I find as a human being is to be present so I can actually grasp reality as it is and not as I wanted to be.
So breath work that we call pranayama and yoga, meditation, silence, nature, for me, nature is the mother of all.
She she teaches me so many lessons and to be in silence with her is, for me, a blessing. And I look for it and I search for it. Remember, it was for me.
My kids help me actually be more present. And it was hanging around other parents. And I found this really interesting thing where everybody was when you first have kids, the kids are very much the center point of your life, but then it quickly becomes overwhelming.
And it's like, you think I can't wait until they're out of diapers, they're out of diapers. You the diaper.
I can't wait until they're in this next stage. And I was always hanging around people like that. And I was like, that's really weird to me because you're always just like you're anticipating the next phase of your children's lives instead of being present in the phase that you're in and you'll never be able to come back to this moment with them. So I sort of like resolved that if I ever caught myself thinking, like, I can't wait.
And there's moments where every parent has because there's moments where you're definitely like, I can't wait for this to be over.
But on the flip side of that, it's really helped me be present not only with my kids, but outside of my kids and in daily life.
This is interesting to me because I'm someone who is very inspired by the fact that we're humans and that we're living on planet Earth. I love to sing, paint, dance. I have a very photographic I I'm I'm in awe of what I see, whether it's good or bad. I'm curious.
Therefore, especially with having kids, I've noticed that that has been enhanced ten times fold. So will be in a fabulous moment where I have chills all over my body and I look at my kids and I can't believe the happiness. And at the same time, I'm already melancholic. Yeah, because I know it's gone. Yeah. So are they trying to grab on to it takes you out of the movement that you can grab onto it? An attachment is a huge thing that I work on.
And that's was one of the biggest, I think lessons of my yoga journey is attachment to were attached, were attached to human beings, were attached.
The concepts were attached to life itself, were so attached.
But then we all end up the same way. Yeah, and what happens then? So all those attachments, I mean, and I, I, I make a difference between attachment and love, attachment and friendship. There can be deep love and deep friendship without emotional dependence.
The attachment for me is the emotional dependence where when we are deprived of something or someone, we can't find our center. What do you think is the root of emotional dependence? Is it that we don't we don't fully understand who we are?
I think that will be different for every single human being on this planet. I think that from the time you were in the womb, from the stress or non stress, you have lived. From the time you're out of the womb and the love and attention and care or not, that you have been exposed to the relational patterns, that you have been exposed to the capacity for relational agility in the adults that have surrounded you.
What do you mean relationship agility? I like that term a lot. What does that mean?
It means and you know what? This is a topic that I've discussed with a friend of mine who is a Canadian author called Jeff Brown, who is a deeply wise I'd invite people to to read. And his wife actually is a great author, also called Susan Forsight. And they reflect a lot on the human condition and relational agility. For me, is the capacity. To understand yourself in a relational context, therefore to understand the other, so the more, yes, you just said it, the more knowledge of ourselves that we have, the more capacity we have to adapt to a relationship.
I do believe that we are meant to live surrounded. I don't believe her cave men who are supposed to be isolated and live alone, I believe that we deeply search for a good group.
Dynamics, compassion. Strength together. I think we naturally lean towards that, so our role as a society is to encourage those dynamics, but as I said, we do live in a very paradoxal at times and concepts. So it's not easy to navigate and to swim against a lot of currents. I want to hone in on a couple of things here and then backtrack a little bit, because I want to talk about science and art and come back to nature in your life.
But you mentioned love. And I'm wondering, is love a choice?
I choose to love somebody. Are you asking me that question? No, it's not a choice. I don't think so. That's a big question. Let's unpack it.
We need time.
So when I have all that, I'm into politics. I don't know. I'm not in politics. My husband is about.
I would say, you know, I said no, but I would say yes and no. So here we go.
I think that when a human life comes out of the womb, let's put it as it is, love is needed for that life to go forward because in lack of care and love, that too many comes naturally to others doesn't come so naturally. But then you asked your question. Were you offered unconditional love? Are we really offered unconditional love? I think that we naturally are born to love and be loved. That is why I believe in the goodness of humanity.
Now, if we talk about institutions, marriage, monogamy, couples, relationships, that's different.
But you're asking me about love. What kind of love are you talking about? Romantic love. Like what? Love.
Let's talk about all different types of love. Right. So I like the idea of first exploring sort of like this parental love and the love we have for each other. And then does that change if we transition to relationships? Is love a choice in a relationship or is it something that I think relationship is a choice?
I don't think you can invent love. I think love advance itself. I think love fades. But wisdom, which for me is love. Doesn't have to feed. There are different types of love, so therefore there are different answers to this question, but the most intuitive love, the one that comes out naturally. Between human beings, that is not forced or constructed. I think it exists. I think it might be even greater than the relationship. Do you believe in love at first sight?
I believe in chemistry at first sight. I believe in. A wisdom that you don't know where it comes out from in a moment, but it's there. I believe that the choice is what we make of it and how we decide to make it last. I think that's a choice and it's not easy. Does that relate to you saying that love fades and then it's a choice to make a lasting order?
Yes, I think I think passion fades. I think intuitive, deep, intrinsic, intuitive love, which encompasses, I think, compassion, empathy, self-love, self-respect, I think that can exist almost on its own, that it's almost greater than who we are.
I like that. Right.
And you can't possess it. You can't think it's yours. And it only can only exist when you don't possess it, when you actually let it flow and live.
And that's a major life lesson because we go back to the concept of attachment, even attachment to the concept of love can be one.
Want to come back to the role of art and science, not only on. In our individual lives, but in culture writ large, what do you think? How do you think about that, but the relationship between art and science? Yeah, for the individual and for culture. I think that most artists are truth seekers and not just artists, but the ones who choose to express through their lives their artistry.
I think science allows us. For truth to be respected. Because at one point, you have to start arguing with the fact, right? Of course, some facts can be proven wrong, but I think as we grow as human beings are, our science is becoming more and more.
I think pinpoint or precise, and we're not even there, we don't even know, it would be completely endearing to think that we're halfway through or whatever it is. That's fascinating, too.
That's another conversation, another broadcast. But I think that science can allow us to see truth and our human condition in a more precise light. And therefore, artists can be inspired by truth to share it with the public and with society and to be responsible for it in a way, because we are because truth can be derided and it can be pushed, pushed aside. We have to protect it.
It's important and. That's part of what it means to be free and democratic, a democratic society. And it's essential it's essential to protect the truth. Do you have a favorite painting, a favorite painting?
Yeah, I have many favorite paintings imaginable. Does that have to be well known?
No, not at all. That's tough because I would say one of my kid's paintings, I paint because I love it and I started to take the courses because I've never had technique and I love painting. So I'm starting to get, you know, the experts to teach me the, you know, the technique. What made you start that? Because I've always painted it just in my life, because I loved it. Because I'm obsessed with. What I'm surrounded by and the magic of nature, usually I'll paint nature.
It just fascinates me the colors, the forms, the shapes, the perspectives, Lauren Harris wrote.
And he's the great Canadian painter, he said light has no weight yet one is lifted on its flood swept by. When I read that, I'm like, OK, I'm not the only crazy person feeling this. And when I paint, that's how I feel. It's like you want to paint from a place in yourself where.
It's not you, it's just. Freedom and deep respect and bow towards life. And the paintings that come to mind are a lot of the Canadian painters, to be honest, and my kids paintings, because they represent our history, past is important.
It is the most important. And they reflect what we have gone through, but they all of us also reflect moments where human beings have been in such presence of beauty or suffering. That this is why art and so important is that we never cover the truth.
We let it rise and shine and that we're not afraid of it because what are we so afraid of? That's a question I ask myself often. When there is conflict within myself or in the world on this planet, we see it. It's awful.
What are we so afraid of? I still don't know. What sort of answers do you hypothesize? That were not loveable enough. That we are not worthy enough that others can take away from our happiness, that there are threat. For us to become who we are supposed to become. This you cannot dissociate all of this. With, you know, religions and organized groups, and I believe that if we go back to what is sacred amongst us and that we push away any kind of.
Self-imposed or society imposed thought process, we could discover truths about ourselves that would hit us so hard that we'd feel almost carried. And protected and loved and cared for without having even that person beside us think it's greater than that. I don't think you're crazy at all. Good. Well, that's reassuring. I want to come back to nature and the role that nature plays in your life. What I was doing for this, it comes up almost all the time.
Talk to me about not only why you choose to spend so much time in nature with your kids, but what what that does for you. It heals how. By being present. I think that nature will and has allowed us to be present as human beings in ways that. You can't be as present in other contexts. We live in a country where nature is beyond sublime and large and vast.
I'm a spokesperson for Fitzpatricks, which is an organization that encourages young girls to continue sports in their teenage years. Because when I go to college and girls will drop sports for many reasons, it's too it's too boyish. They lack the self-esteem to think they're going to thrive, whatever.
I think that nature allows us, whether it's a walk, it's a hike. It's a jog. It's a canoe. It's a kayaking. It's a water skiing. It's a skiing. It's a skating, whatever it is.
And God knows that or the universe knows whoever whatever you believe in that in this country, nature is close to us.
Even if you live in the city, we're pretty lucky. Oh, Ottawa is like phenomenal.
Oh, my goodness. Most people don't understand that. Like, everything is accessible.
I know. And whether you have money or not, you can go to the river. You can look at the Canadian geese there. You can, you know, look at the squirrels. You can look at the leaves, changing colors.
I am in awe all the time of the subtle intelligence of nature. Which is greater than ours in many ways, but it nourishes us and. Not only baby, not everybody has the time to actually. Go for half an hour hike or walk in nature, you know, during a day. And five minutes could do the trick if we actually encouraged it between ourselves, if companies, institutions, schools. Libraries, community centers, families, I think it's about education, a way it all goes back to that.
It's another part of education, but it's a part that we never think of consciously.
Yeah, but most people, if you ask them, you know, after exercising, after being in nature, do you feel worse or better? Like 99 percent will see better. And I ask that question often because I'm curious to know.
So there's like a natural lesson of a natural cycle and natural presence. And we're going back to love a natural love that is just there. A caring energy where you feel that. There is opportunity for things to get better. Mm. And I think nature makes that even more tangible. And that we have it here in this country, so we should really, really celebrate it and get our youth to get out there and have fun and not always wanted to be about competing in competition.
And it's actually just about enjoying and looking and being present and feeling lucky.
What's your favorite season? Oh, that's such a tough one, because my kids ask me that question all the time. It's too tough for me. I'll tell you why, because every season for me is another season for another sport.
I do have a romantic association with Fall because it's quiet time, because it's cuddled, you know, by a fireplace if possible, or going for long walks.
It's like people slow down for a while and transitional period for a brief moment. Beauty, beauty. Oh, my God. I feel that that's such an inspiration.
So summer is all about the water. Sports fall is about the hike's.
Winter is about snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, skiing, skating. And spring is about.
That's the month before summer. Yes, that's it. That's it.
But spring to me is interesting. And we talk about this with the kids because it's not beautiful, the transition. It's not beautiful. That's kind of a lesson because transitions are not always beautiful within ourselves. They're tough and it's muddy out there. It's muddy inside.
So I see spring as a time of revelation and life is getting back into its shape and the flowers and everything starting to grow again.
So it's the cycle again that we.
That we learn to dissociate from, you know, whether you're a woman and it's your natural cycles, your your menstrual cycle, the cycle of life, the giving birth, it's like we push that away.
It's like, do we actually know what birth looks like until we give it? Why why are we so scared of.
Why, as you know, sexuality in youth not discussed enough. It should be why, because it's truth, let's face our truths and not be afraid of our condition, because it's our only way to evolve and grow if we actually discuss our truths, not hide from them.
Do you think vulnerability prevents us from doing that? Or to what extent is the fear of putting yourself out there and exposing yourself? Well, I would switch it around.
I think vulnerability is what would allow us to go there.
But do you think it also is what prevents. Yeah, in the same way. You're right. Yeah, in a way, because. Yeah. Vulnerability or lack of, you know, fear of judgment. Fear of maybe our own repressed emotions and feelings and desires.
We are, you know, beings, human beings with desires.
And we come to life with them. And in many ways we are taught to repress them. Hmm.
And I think that we are much more creative than we are thought to be and that we teach ourselves that you have to be an artist to be creative.
And I really don't believe that. I think human relationships can be the most the deepest exploration of our creativity. It doesn't have to be art.
What do you mean by that? I mean that. When you want and when you are ready to explore. Your desires, your thoughts. And how you feel and you make the choice at one point or somebody has allowed you to feel safe enough to become vulnerable, and let's go back to that vulnerability. It's a gift.
And that gift is of human creativity, because when we open up, we become creative just by actually accepting, accepting what is and what we can do with it. That is an art of creativity. What do we do with the truth? What do we do with it now that I can be creative?
And it's it happens in our everyday lives at the office and how we interact with other people and the decision decisions that we make as families, as mothers, as dads.
I think that all those moments are acts of creativity and that we should feel like we're much more artistic and we can contribute much more to society's creativity, not just by doing art. I like that alone. We're kind of coming up on the end of the interview here, so I want to ask you some rapid fire sort of like type questions, Rick. And I'm as deep as you want, but give me your thoughts. So what's the biggest mistake you've ever made?
And more importantly, like, how did you recover from that?
No. Yeah, not not loving myself enough. Yeah. Having deep respect for. And does that go back to the eating disorder or was this another I mean, you could say eating disorders.
You could you could name anything. It's it's everyone's struggle in their own ways. So, yeah, the biggest mistake, I think, in a human being's life and in my life is but it's not a mistake.
It's it's my journey. It was my journey. I don't like to see mistakes as mistakes. You know, obviously, maybe I could have been more compassionate to one person, but they're not mistakes. Mistake is the wrong word. There are opportunities for growth when you see them as opportunities for growth.
And when I've done things that have hurt somebody, for example, I've actually asked myself, holy, you know, what could I have done better? And it hurts. It hurts to know that I have hurt somebody else or was disconnected from myself and thought that for a moment I was important when I'm really not. So, yeah, I really want to.
What do you do in those moments where you've unintentionally hurt somebody either through ignorance or just lack of thought?
But honestly, I deal with it right away. I do not hold it in. I like proximity. I like intimacy. I like connection. I look at that person in the eyes all or I will call and I'll say, what's going on, man? Tell me.
We got to figure this out. I don't want to. You don't want to marry it.
Do not let let linger repressed emotions or negative thoughts. They will only intoxicate your life. And most people want to talk about it and most people don't want to to encourage negativity within themselves or within others.
So it's sometimes more simple than one might think.
It's interesting you say most people would want to talk about it. I don't know. Like, is that a male female thing? Because it seems culturally we promote that as women are very much open to talking about this, whereas men are very shut down and closed.
OK, so quickly, big, big picture of the world. As a spokesperson for gender equality, I would like to talk about gender unity, harmony.
We are two species that have differences, but a lot of similarities and much more similarities than differences totally. We are seeing right now in the world when you look at the facts and the science and the research that girls and women have been facing barriers mentally and physically more than men have on many aspects of their lives, that is the truth.
This being said, I got tapped on the head a couple of years ago or months ago because on International Women's Day, I had said, please and invite the men in your life who treat you with respect and who see your potential and beauty and intelligence and wisdom, because those people, those wonderful creatures that men are also meant to become are with us on this journey.
And without gender unity and harmony, we will get nowhere.
How is that controversial at all? Oh, don't can we. OK, that's what I think too.
But understand I understand the the boys have also been living in a culture and men where they have been taught to repress what needs to be expressed. It is not fair and I believe you are worth much more than that. And that we need this connection between men and women, whether we're just friends, acquaintances or in a couple's relationship where proximity, truth and opening up to one another will actually determine how peaceful as human beings we will become. It all it all goes back to human dynamics between men and women and girls and boys.
There's an article I wrote a long time ago on the website, but as I was going through my divorce, I realized I wasn't fully present with my friends and it changed sort of like my definition of being present because it came as a surprise to them, because I was always one to never want to talk about my troubles, never put the spotlight on what I was going through. And I don't know why I thought that at the time, but it's been something I've worked on over the past four years to be a lot more open about not only the joys and happiness of my life, but the sorrows and the problems with it, with my friends.
And I think it's made me a much better friend because of that.
Just hearing this makes me emotional.
Thank you for saying that because it's a gift. Every time we open up as a gift, there will always be, you know, opposition and people who will judge.
But most people want you, Shane, to tell your truth and to hear about what you're going through and you will find support.
And what I've seen listening to, you know, gender equality advocates, people who are making a difference all throughout this planet, who are dedicating their lives to create more justice and equality, is that when one raises his or her voice and becomes vulnerable, it allows for other humans to do the same.
It's not mathematical. This is human potential and reality, and it's doable. So and I think we're starting to do it more and more, whether it's the Metoo movement or. Any movement of truth that is coming to the surface where we see where human beings are suffering and how we can help out?
I think that's truly good news for where where we're going as a world because, yeah, it's true. When you look at the state of the world, you can be totally depressed. But when you actually meet those people who and those thousands and millions of individuals who believe in peace and justice and and and goodness, you know that it's possible because you see it happen. Everywhere on the ground in companies. Yeah, it is possible I think the people like yourself are more open about this, make it possible for other people.
I hope so. Slowly it becomes something that builds over time. And you're a huge reader.
I mean, where did this interest from reading come from?
I love reading. I have less time to read. But just because what I read most of the time is that all the facts and the research that comes out on equality's on our planet, especially concerning girls and boys, men and women, so that I comprehend the topic that I discuss with other people. And I like to do my homework before I get up on a stage, even if it's been 20 years, every single time I have butterflies, every single time I've done my homework, every single time, it's a new encounter with new human beings and I long for proximity and connection.
So I want to make sure that I'm ready to.
Have that moment, maybe it's not if I'm ready, maybe it's are they ready because I know I'm ready.
Wait, what's the question? I would be interested from reading. Oh, the interest in reading. I mean.
When I was young, I used to ask my parents to buy me at the courts in which are kind of like singing poems and about, I was also curious about more mature content, more philosophical content, what is happiness?
Why are we here at a young age, romantic love?
I was more into biographies than fiction, and I married a man, Justin, who is an avid reader.
I don't think I've ever met anybody who reads more than he has. And when he was seven years old, he was sitting in his father's library and he looked around and he said, I'm going to read every book in here. A whole universe had opened up for him. And he since the day we met, he he and I were exchanging, you know, reading suggestions and stuff.
But we just don't read the same stuff. But it's good so we can learn from one another the stuff that we read differently.
But my love for reading continues because I like to once again learn about human truths and what's happening. And I am an eternal. Life lover, so anything that inspires me to love life even more. I will read and there are so many authors and Canadian authors out there who are.
Exploring truth in different ways, whether it's through biographies or whether it's through poems, and I have them beside my, you know, my bedside table and I don't have a part from work and all the reading on gender equality and human trafficking and what's happening socially and in social contexts and on different levels on this planet.
I'm so totally passionate, totally passionate about.
And then it's really about more human philosophy, poetry, art, the art of letting go.
Yeah, I'm in a way, it sounds as you're saying it. I'm thinking it's like not only connecting to other people and making yourself more open to other people, but revealing what exists within the world, but more importantly, revealing parts of yourself that you may never have thought about in that way and showing you more about who you are or who you could be maybe.
Yeah, I think pushback on that if you don't agree.
No, no. I think that's interesting because. If I if I'm willing to explore within me. Who I am, and it's not in a narcissistic way, it's actually in a way where I'm not I'm not sure what I'm going to find. Let's go see what's down there. And how do I express that, whether it's I love to writes, sometimes I walk down the street, I'll hear a melody in my head, I'll write the melody down with words.
Sometimes it will be I'll look at a flower or my kid blowing on a daffodil.
On to those calling it dandelion. Yeah, dandelion.
And it's all those little moments of sharing a smile with a stranger or whatever it is. And I'm inspired. I just I just don't know where it's from, but I'm constantly inspired and that translate into self exploration and it allows me to you're right. To maybe explore in a way that is I don't think I possess the answer. But if I feel like that about myself, then maybe the person that I'll talk to next will will feel that energy and will feel safe enough to go there as well.
So, yeah, thank you for pointing that out. Maybe it's a contagious process in a way.
I think that's one of the things about reading that people don't realize is you can explore yourself and you can explore yourself in a different world and a different universe and sort of like discover different parts of you that connect you to the world that you're living in and the relationships that you're in and the person that you inspire to be without having to do all of that trial and error necessarily in person.
Well, it can be freaky to actually think, you know, when nobody's watching, when I'm alone, if I didn't live in this culture and in this kind of planet, who would I be?
Who I love that. That's how we started this interview, which is like, who are you in? Nobody's watching. Right. So it kind of comes full circle in terms of chills.
Again, chills come back. So he's really a watery eyes during this process. What do you do on a routine basis that has a positive other than nature? Because we've already covered that. But like what little habit do you have that other people would be interested in that positively impacts you?
That I mean, without thinking it's kissing my kids, smelling their necks and their hair and having them close to me.
But it's also talking gently to myself, breathing, taking time to sit down for five to ten minutes and breathe and try to sometimes I imagine my thoughts in my head that you cannot pull them out. And it's all space and that space is pure, it's untouched, and it's every day to renew again.
What am I going to put in this body and this mind and in this heart so that this day is better and can create better for other people? Like to start kind of like on a blank slate every day, even with everything that we know and feel it's possible. So the habit of actually taking perspective, maybe even for five minutes, even for two minutes, even on a bus right where you close your eyes and you you feel that I'm actually surround with people I don't know here and nothing's happening and it's peaceful.
Yeah, I'm actually driving down the highway highway 120 kilometres an hour and nobody's hitting one another. There must be something that's keeping us. In love of who we are and the less narcissistic way possible that we were responsible for one another as a whole, as a community, as a country and as a world. Last question.
It's a big one. But I want to end with this because I really want to hear your thoughts are such a deep thinker on this stuff that I think it'd be amazing, which is how do you think about the meaning and purpose of life? I told you it was a big one. If I could give you a solid answer, it would be my answer. Because nothing, no words of our language will ever grasp the magic of what it is to be human.
The beauty of silence between us, between strangers on this planet, the meaning of what it is to be fully human, I think happens between the lines, between the actions, between the exchange and between the words. I think that is the most creative place. And we must. Go back to that. Because I think it unites us in more subtle ways that we might think, and that is what it really means to be human is something we might not just see with the eyes.
It somehow might be just bigger and greater than that. Thank you. Thank you, Shane. Hey, guys, this is Shane again, just a few more things before we wrap up. You can find show notes at Farnam Street blog, dotcom slash podcast. That's fair. And AM S-t REIT blog, dotcom slash podcast. You can also find information there on how to get a transcript.
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Thank you for listening.