Tara Brach tells us to trust our capacity to change!
I am so thrilled and honored to share this interview with you. This week’s episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit is one of my all-time favorites because I had the opportunity to interview my absolute idol, Tara Brach. For those who do not know who Tara Brach is, let me introduce you to an inspirational and all-around amazing human.
As a Clinical Psychologist and meditation teacher, Tara Brach is a leading Western teacher of Buddhist Meditation, spiritual awakening, and emotional healing. An author as well, she wrote two of my favorite books titled Radical Acceptance and True Refuge. Additionally, Tara Brach co-founded the Awareness Training Institute (ATI) and the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program (MMTCP) alongside Jack Kornfield.
In my own journey, Tara’s podcast (TaraBrach.com) has been—and still is—one of the most important parts of my personal development and growth. I would walk the neighborhood for hours and listen to her podcast. I still do this today. Through Tara’s freely offered podcast and streaming service, I was able to access her tools and wisdom. She helped me through some of the hardest times in my life and her work inspired me to create CBTschool.com. In fact, you might find that much of CBT School follows Tara’s goal of offering skillful and generous work. Tara truly taught me to be a fearless mental health advocate.
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I was lucky enough to meet with Tara in person while I was in Washington, DC, for the International OCD Foundation conference. We met before her Wednesdays with Tara Meditation Talk and I asked her some questions about anxiety and mindfulness. I am still freaking out with excitement that I had the opportunity to both meet her in person and interview her for the Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.
My goal for this podcast was to hone in on the questions that my clients and members of the CBT School community often ask me and see what Tara’s responses would be. True to form, Tara offered BEAUTIFUL insight that is easy to understand and apply in your own life. She said something that really hit home for me and I think will do the same for you: "It takes courage to say 'I am not going to believe my beliefs.'"
In this interview, we talk specifically about uncertainty and how it can be of the hardest and most challenging parts of anxiety, panic attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and depression. Tara offered some incredible mindfulness tools to help us approach uncertainty.
We also talked about her book, Radical Acceptance, and some of the barriers to radically accepting our fears or discomforts. I highly encourage you to read one of Tara’s books if you have not. She has this wonderful ability to bring compassion into the room, even if she is not physically there with you, and help you "turn towards love."
Additionally, Tara offered wonderful tips on implementing mindfulness practices into our everyday life and normalized the challenges that we all have with this. A key piece of knowledge she shared is that how you pay attention changes your biochemistry.
One of the questions that I was most interested in asking Tara was what she would say to those who are suffering deeply with mental health right now. She so beautifully responded with compassion and profound knowledge of mindfulness practice, and her answer brought me to tears. As she said during the interview, "You are not alone. It changes and it can change. Trust your capacity to change." This experience with her was one that I will never forget and I am so grateful for it.
Lastly, I just had to ask Tara about her use of humor in meditation talks. Specifically, I was interested in why she uses humor and Tara kindly shared with us one of her favorite jokes. She frequently uses humor to help us understand our own idiosyncrasies or reactivity and I just loved having a laugh with her.
As you may have picked up on, I...Kimberley Quinlan...am just a teeny bit in love with Tara (wink, wink). I really hope you get as much out of this episode as I did. Tara, thank you so much for your kindness, generosity, and beautiful spirit.
P.S. DO NOT FORGET to stay until the end of the episode because Tara so kindly gives an INCREDIBLE GIFT for our wonderful CBT School community at the end of the interview. Go to Tara's website for free meditations on mindfulness and to check out the 40-day online mindfulness program. She has so Kindly offered to share a subscription of the mindfulness program with you for free if you email her. In her words, "Whatever you practice grows stronger."
P.S.S. This is a friendly reminder that ERP School (our online course for OCD and other Anxiety Disorders) is COMING SOON, so stay tuned. Sign up HERE to be on the waitlist and be alerted as soon as it is available.