Kelly Corrigan Interviews ME | On Showing Up As Your True Self

You’ve been asking for it for years. And In this week’s special episode, we’re turning around the mic, and I’m stepping into the guest seat to be interviewed by none other than Kelly Corrigan.

Kelly is a four-time New York Times bestselling author, the host of the PBS interview show Tell Me More, and the wildly popular podcast Kelly Corrigan Wonders. Known for her wit, wisdom and authenticity, she’s been called “the voice of a generation” and “our Poet Laureate of the Ordinary.” And, on a personal level, I just love how her mind works and the way she follows her curiosity and is pretty fearless in asking questions others shy away from.

In today’s conversation, she’s stepping into the hosting seat, and asking me all sorts of things about my life and lens on everything from work to relationships, mindset, challenges, creations, and beyond. I was thrilled to get the chance to chat with her about some of the topics we love to explore on this show – the quest for self-discovery, the courage to follow your dreams, the simple yet powerful acts that can change your life, the reality of struggle and adversity, as well as some things I don’t think I’ve ever shared publicly that you’ll have to listen in to find out about.

As we swap roles, I share and reflect together on our winding paths, missteps made in different seasons and how many have become gateways to new possibilities, and lessons learned. Kelly nudged me into places and stories I usually keep closer to the chest, but I’m glad I shared. And who knows? Maybe you’ll pick up an unexpected insight or two that just might stick with you long after you press stop. Our conversation felt more like an intimate heart-to-heart between old friends.

So grab a cup of tea, get cozy, and join Kelly and me for a lively, heartfelt, and joyful conversation.

You can find Kelly at: Website | Instagram | Kelly Corrigan Wonders podcast | Episode Transcript

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Episode Transcript:

Jonathan Fields: [00:00:00] I was largely visibly invisible in high school. I fit in everywhere but was sought out or celebrated nowhere. I more or less hid my edges and also hid my essence, probably because it was safer that way, and it’s taken me a long time to show up as me. So I don’t know if I would have qualified for any kind of superlative in high school, let alone even being acknowledged.


Jonathan Fields: [00:00:26] So you’ve been asking about this for years, and in this week’s special episode, we’re turning around the mic and I am stepping into the guest seat to be interviewed by none other than Kelly Corrigan. So Kelly is a four-time New York Times bestselling author, the host of the PBS interview show Tell Me More and the wildly popular podcast Kelly Corrigan Wonders. Really known for wit and wisdom and authenticity. She’s been called the voice of a generation and our poet laureate of the ordinary. And just on a personal level, I love how her mind works and the way she follows her curiosity and her fearlessness in asking questions that others shy away from. In today’s conversation, she’s stepping into the hosting seat and asking me all sorts of things about my life and lens on everything from work to relationships, mindset, challenges, creativity and beyond.


Jonathan Fields: [00:01:17] And I was just really thrilled to get a chance to chat with her about some of the topics that we love to explore on this show the quest for self-discovery, the courage to follow your dreams, the simple yet powerful acts that can change your life, the reality of struggle and adversity, as well as some things I don’t think I’ve ever talked about or shared publicly that you’ll have to listen in to find out about. And as we swap roles, we share and reflect together on our winding paths, missteps that were made in different seasons, and how many have actually become gateways to new possibilities that I never saw coming. And Kelly nudged me into places and stories that I usually keep pretty close to the chest. But I’m also really glad that I shared. And who knows, maybe you’ll pick up an unexpected insight or two that just might stick with you. Long after this conversation, it felt like more of an intimate heart-to-heart between old friends. So grab a mug or a cup of whatever you like to drink. Get cozy. Join Kelly and me for a lively, heartfelt and enjoyable conversation. So excited to share this conversation with you! I’m Jonathan Fields and this is Good Life project.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:02:27] So hi, interviewer to interviewer. Nice to meet you. Nice to be with you.


Jonathan Fields: [00:02:32] Yeah, you as well. It is a little bit odd for me to be on this side of the mic, but looking forward to it.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:02:38] I love it, I love it. I got to interview Judy Woodruff for my show, and she was so fidgety and she had notes in her lap and a pen and I said, Judy, you’re going to have to hand this in now. She’s like, I don’t like this. And I was like, you can do it, I promise.


Jonathan Fields: [00:02:53] Right? There’s a reason that we choose to be on one side of the mic or another generally. And it’s like when you flip that, it’s like, hmm, I’m being reminded of that.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:03:01] Yeah. I mean, it’s probably good for both of us to be empathetic to our guests in these various venues that we participate in. And just to remember that it is a little different on that side of the equation. But I think you and I have a lot in common in terms of our interview style, which is to say that it becomes much more conversational and much less Q&A. And you’re you’re good about revealing and sharing and being open to new information as it hits you and sharing those reactions. So I’m grateful for a good life.


Jonathan Fields: [00:03:35] Yeah, well, I appreciate that. It’s very kind of you. It’s still very much a work in progress on my side, but.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:03:41] 900 interviews in it’s a work in progress?


Jonathan Fields: [00:03:44] 100% it will be until I, you know, like one day decide it’s the final one, which hopefully will be a very long time from now. How can it not be a work in progress? Right? It’s sort of like we as long as I’m me, as a human being, as long as I’m a work in progress, I would like to think anything I create will continue to be as well.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:04:03] For sure, and it would cease to be interesting for you if suddenly it started repeating itself and they felt like you had covered all the ground there is to cover. But fortunately, human beings have limitless corners, dark corners to explore. So I just took the quiz on your website on the Good Life website, and I had very uneven scores. I was a 52 in Vitality because I don’t exercise that much because I don’t really like to shower and I don’t really need to shower because my hair doesn’t really get greasy. But connection and contribution were really high and it made me wonder, like, what are your scores? And have they changed over time?


Jonathan Fields: [00:04:44] Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting we first developed that model in 2015, and for those who have no idea what we’re talking about on the Good Life Project website, there’s a quiz that you can take. And it’s based on the idea that a life is effectively made up of three different buckets connection, vitality, and contribution. And the fuller those buckets are, the better we generally feel about the way that our life is going. So we developed this quiz looking at a lot of research actually on like, what are some of the big drops that ended up getting added into most people’s buckets that make a meaningful difference, and just giving sort of like a rough score. So people could kind of like benchmark. How am I doing? Because sometimes, you know, our subjective experience likes to tell us what we want to hear. So sometimes numbers can help a little bit. And for me, I probably do it once every year or two again just to kind of check in. And it fluctuates wildly. There are some years where I’m really good. Most of my buckets are an 8/10. There are some years where they’re dreadfully low and I’m feeling it. And it also helps explain why I’m feeling the way that I’m feeling, because one of the rules of the buckets is that they all speak to each other. You know, you cannot have one that’s running low without it affecting the capacity to fill the remaining two.


Jonathan Fields: [00:06:02] So if, for example, your connection bucket, your the state of your relationships is really if you are feeling completely disconnected, lonely, isolated, if there are no people who are close to you, no sense strong sense of belonging, that’s not just going to affect the relationships, it’s going to affect your well-being. It’s going to affect your physical and mental health. And that is then going to carry over into the way that you show up in whatever your primary devotion or role or work is. You are not going to be able to access the wellspring of resources that you might otherwise have. So for me, because I’ve been pretty much a lifelong entrepreneur, that journey has jagged swings. And oftentimes that will lead me to just go really deep into maker mode, which can become obsessive and sometimes to the exclusion of other things or activities or relationships that I hold genuinely dear in my life. And I need a bit of a reset to come back. And in the past, it’s often come in the form of burnout, sometimes physical or mental health. And I’d like to think that hopefully I’m getting a little bit better at identifying those signs a little bit earlier on and trying to do the things that I need to do. That said, as we started out this conversation, I am very much a work in progress, just like everybody else.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:07:22] Yeah, I think about what the quiz going through the experience of the quiz for me pointed out something that I feel is so true and important, which is that well-being is something we pursue so that we might be able to contribute more regularly and fully to the whole. Rather than the value of well-being as something that’s tied to your personal levels of happiness. Like happiness is underwrites productivity. Like there’s a relationship there. And if things are right, if you’re sleeping right and you get some exercise and some fresh air and you’re not drinking too much and you’re not eating ultra highly processed foods and you’re not in a state of disconnection, then you can be like a great contributor over the course of your day. And that, of course, as the quiz makes so evident, underwrites your sense of well-being, because nothing is as big a thrill to me anyway, as being useful. But our usefulness is tied to our vitality, and our vitality is tied to these very knowable factors that are all just laid out right there in black and white. In the quiz is how much are you sleeping? How much are you outside? How many days a week do you exercise like it’s known? And so I wondered if there’s anything inside that quiz where you feel personally that you’re very aware of the research and the consequences of not doing one of those positive activities, but you just can’t make yourself do it. For me, that is exercise. Like I just really don’t exercise that much. I walk, but I mean, I play some pickleball here and there. I snowboard a couple of times a year. I’m married to somebody who gets up and gets out every day and I can see it. I can see the benefit. I can feel his endorphins sloshing towards me when he comes back from a bike ride. And still all these years later, 56 years old, I really don’t do it regularly. Do you have anything like that where you just can’t connect the dots between what you know and what you do?


Jonathan Fields: [00:09:35] Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting because if I look at the vitality bucket, which is all sort of like the markers and the contributors for physical and mental health, are there things that really jump out at me that I really struggle doing? I would say at certain points in my life, there definitely were. At this moment in time with that bucket, I’d probably say no. And the reason is probably tied back to 2010. So I have tinnitus. I have a sound in my head 24/7, high-pitched loud sound that has been there since I woke up in March 2010. For the first year or so, maybe longer. It was brutalizing me on every level. It was making me question everything and making it hard to get through each day, let alone live.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:10:19] And Jonathan, millions and millions of people have this, right?


Jonathan Fields: [00:10:22] Yeah, tens of millions. And most people, their brains habituate to it fairly regularly. There’s no there’s so many different potential causes. Generally, medicine looks at it and says, deal with it. There’s nothing you really do about it. It is, from what I understand, actually, the number one cause of disability in the military, because one of the potential sources is percussive noise. It can cause hearing loss. So for me, we don’t know to this day what caused it. It could be a bunch of different things. But I woke up and I was sort of instantly devastated, and I happened to be working on a book on how people grapple with uncertainty at that moment in time, which is sort of like, thank you, universe. And it led me in a meandering path. But eventually it led me down a path of exploring the relationship between mindfulness meditation and chronic pain. And I started to wonder if there was a similar relationship between chronic sound, between sound in your head, that your brain would translate as alarm and alert and anxiety, and then overlay that with a sort of a meta anxiety of like, Will this ever go away? And is this going to destroy me from my life and my ability to do everything? And I ended up seeking out a mindfulness-based cognitive therapist who was a former rock drummer, who also had it and said, could this work? And he said it could not that it will, But maybe. That led me back to a long journey to a meditative practice and to just a lot of the things that I had given lip service to for a lot of years in my life. And by the way, I owned a yoga studio in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, and taught yoga and meditation for seven years. And my dirty little secret was that I really struggled doing the meditation side of it myself. For me, it was always moving meditation outside.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:12:02] Talk about a disconnect between what you know and what you can do. 


Jonathan Fields: [00:12:07] 100%. Literally seven years I was stepping onto a floor. I knew how to teach it really well, but my personal practice was barely there on any given day, and I justified it in all sorts of different ways. But this brought me back to that practice and basically said, if this is the thing, this is me for life, this is a thing that can actually help my brain reorient the way that it’s processing the sound so that it no longer terrifies me on a daily basis, then how can I not at least explore this? And I began to deepen into it. And it was really hard because. Classic. Meditation practice, especially in mindfulness, is you focus on some anger, often your breath. If something else keeps coming in on a repeated basis, you allow that to become your mantra. For me, of course, that was the sound in my head. So now this thing that I was spending all of my waking hours trying to push away, I had to welcome in and center as the focus of my attentiveness. And it was it was brutal. That also started to allow me to draw on some breathing practices that I had learned as a person in the yoga world, and it sort of developed my own self-care practice that integrated a bunch of different things. And to this day, I start my day with those because about, I don’t know, three, six months into that, I remember sitting one day focusing on the sound and allowing it to basically consume me, and then noticing that my mind had drifted away from it.


Jonathan Fields: [00:13:35] And that was a huge moment for me, because it allowed me to realize that it could it could actually let go of it, and I could actually find a place of solace and peace and grace, even if this was me for the rest of my life. And because that sound remains in my head any moment when I look for it, it is a daily reminder that I actually I need to be in this practice or some form of it, probably for the rest of my life. So I didn’t come back to things like meditation because I wanted to. I came to it on my knees because it was maybe the thing that would save me, and because I had this constant reminder, I’m always reminded of the place that I can go to if I abandon certain practices in my life, so that that kind of keeps me honest. It keeps me true to it. On the exercise side of things, I don’t love exercising indoors. We now live in Boulder, Colorado, so I hike outside of my front door about four days a week. So exercise is something that most people have the greatest struggle with. And I have a particular point of view which is a little bit contrarian, as I do with a lot of point of views around exercise, which is that centering around joy is more important than efficacy.


Jonathan Fields: [00:14:53] I will go hike for an hour and a half or two hours joyfully, and I will work up a storm. And I’ve literally like weighed myself pre and post-hike, and I sweat off 2 to £3 of water in my body from hiking because I was curious. I’m like, you know, like it feels like I just feel a lot drier when I come home. And I was like, let me just run this kind of fun experiment. I love doing this. Like, you can’t stop me from doing that. Whereas so many other things, people generally go and do the thing because they have to do it. And a lot of the modern fitness industry has built around a model of maximizing revenue per square foot, which means what you add in a whole bunch of repetitive motion machines to try and sort of like move as many people into a place as you can. Those tend to be so monotonous and boring that in the olden days you went to a gym, you got on a treadmill, and there were like rows of TVs. Now we have those monitors built in to all of the different machines. So it’s not that we’ve actually swapped in modes of movement that are genuinely fun and joyful and engaging and require you to be not just physically present, but like psychologically present in them.


Jonathan Fields: [00:16:01] It’s that that we’ve really figured out mechanisms for distraction. And part of the problem with that, too, is that to access that distraction, now you need to plug in with headphones, which also then basically annihilates the potential for community and belonging and conversation, because now we’re all in a big facility, but we’re not. We’re in our own treadmill bubble. I have a lot to say about the state of the fitness industry. There are some amazing options that have evolved over time that are actually really breaking that model and doing very cool things. Some home-based exercise like, like providers and and fitness facilities and that are really shaking things up that I love. But for years that has been the model. And a lot of people get this association that say says I hate exercise, but they don’t hate exercise because pretty much all of us ran around as kids and we called it play. But that’s exercise. The difference is, the nature of what we’re doing fundamentally required our minds to be present in the activity and joyfully present, and that has been stripped out of it. And we don’t realize that the problem isn’t exercise. The problem is the modes of exercise that we’re most often offered.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:17:13] I mean, I have lots of thoughts. So my daughter is a junior in college, and she just came to this conclusion organically, which is I’m trying to get a little bit of play in my life every day. And then we got talking about what a modern gym looks like, just as you described it. People tuning out on their headphones, multitasking while they’re working, their legs and their quads. And we got laughing, imagining like, you know, the Industrial Revolution where they would put people in a factory and everyone would stand alone for hours and just trudge through their work. And how that kind of maps like pretty closely to a modern gym. Like, it’s not fun, it’s not games, it’s not teams, it’s not high fives. So I in Bozeman have started playing pickleball, and the only people who play pickleball in this place that I go to play are over 70. Everyone has like braces on their arms and their knees and their backs and they’re all incredible. And we all introduce ourselves. And you just jump into any game and you rotate through and it has those component parts of play, which is other people total focus on actually what you’re doing rather than diverting your attention to something else. And I do work up a little sweat, honestly.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:18:35] So I think if I could just make more time to get over there, I would do it more, because that’s the joy of it. To roll back to the work that you’ve done, to be present in the face of that sound that you can’t shake, that millions of people are stuck with. There were a couple of things that you said that I just think are worth underlining. One is that there is this great moment of acceptance, and I think I had a couple of panic attacks. And when I went to see this woman about them, Priscilla Marquis on Geary Street in San Francisco, she said, why don’t you play it out for me? Like what would happen if if the list of things that you were afraid of were actually to come to pass, like just play it out. And then I would say, you know, I would go to the nadir, I would say, and then this would happen and this would happen. I would go totally broke, and I’d have to leave San Francisco, and I probably had to move home to Philadelphia and live with my mom. And maybe I’d, like, be single forever, and I’d never have children and whatever. And then she’s like, and then what would happen? And then what would happen? And it was like, imagine both the negative, the thing you’re most afraid of.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:19:44] I will never have another day again where I don’t have this sound driving me mad. And then imagine yourself somehow conquering it. And that goes to like the exquisite hope in like a single moment of relief, like per that moment where you were meditating and you actually forgot about the sound for a second. I have had many multi-day migraines in my life, and what I’m doing when I’m sitting there in complete stillness with my eyes covered, my head wrapped in ice, a heating pad on my the back of my neck waiting for sumatriptan to kick in, waiting for Zofran to kick in so I don’t vomit. I’m inside my mind just as you are when you’re meditating, looking for one moment where it doesn’t hurt and it’s like, if I could just find it, I could believe again. I could remember that there are days and days and days, months and months where I don’t feel this way and where I can be all the way into my day and my relationships and my work. Yeah. So I think about the power of like, a one moment of relief.


Jonathan Fields: [00:20:55] Yeah. I mean, it’s interesting that you use the word hope in that context, because I’ve thought about that moment myself. And the thing that got me to that moment is there’s a Buddhist concept that roughly translates to abandoning hope, and that is one of the tenets. And the thing that allowed me to get to a point of realizing hope was abandoning hope, of what became of the step that came before it, which is the desperate hope for a cure. So for me to get to a place where I was actually willing to allocate my own personal resources to pursuing, to basically saying, if this is me for life, what do I do with that? I had to abandon hope of a quote cure to get me to a place where then I was willing to invest in. If this is me for life, what can I do? What is available to me? What can I look for? What can I explore? And it was that that got me to a place where flickers of hope, not for a cure anymore, but for a different path into finding peace again, started to enter the equation.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:22:01] Yeah, it’s like the combination of a moment of acceptance because there’s a lot of fight, there’s a lot of energy pre-acceptance where you’re like, I can’t live this way. I won’t live this way. If this is me for life I give up I won’t do it. And that’s a lot of energy. Like that’s a lot of cognitive load. So if you need more of yourself to apply to just the tiniest bit of relief, then you have to say, okay, maybe this is my life. And I feel like for me, once I get kind of untied on that level, then I could move into like some tiny step that’s like, okay, like I’m going to live this way. I’m going to think about it in parenting a lot. I think I’m going to worry about my kids forever. I don’t think I’m going to be able to put it down. And so I accept it. I accept that this is parenthood.


Jonathan Fields: [00:22:51] I agree, I mean, not about your kids, but like as a parent.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:22:54] Yeah, this is it. And I also have been working on accepting like it should be me –  is the little mantra in my head, which is to say, if my kid is moody and dismissive and unkind, it should be. To me, that’s the job I signed up for, is they will be out there in the world, in their social lives, in their jobs, in their circles, bringing their whole selves, behaving correctly, worrying about what they say, hoping to engender relationships and friendship. And then when they come home to me, they should be able to let down. And sometimes that might be unpleasant for me, but it should be me.


Jonathan Fields: [00:23:38] So can I question that?


Kelly Corrigan: [00:23:40] Yes, please. But don’t undo it because I’ve been working on this a long time, Jonathan.


Jonathan Fields: [00:23:45] No. Okay. Okay, okay. Because we’re both parents, right? And my daughter just graduated college at, like, similar ish age.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:23:52] Oh. Me too.


Jonathan Fields: [00:23:54] and I agree. I think home is and parents, you know, like we are a place of respite. We are a place where like, you can drop the guard. You can just be you. If you’ve been doing what you need to do as a kid to get through each day, which this is not an easy world for kids to be moving through these days. It’s very different than when you and I were like, at that age, you want your kid to come home and feel that sense of like, I can let it all out here. It’s safe. I’m going to be held and seen and it’s okay because I’ve thought about this a lot also. But the flip side of this in my mind is at what point do we want to lay the foundation for our kids to take that same social risk with people who are other than us? Because that is the moment that seeds vulnerability and openness and realness and mutual revelation. That actually is the foundation of true friendship, true love, like true companionship. And if we are always like the respite for all of it, is there a moment? Is there an effect where our kid knows that to a point where they hold it all back? And don’t let that enter the relationships with other people. And by doing so, it doesn’t allow them to connect as deeply with people who are feeling the same thing and want to be able to share on that level.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:25:15] That’s a great edit, and I will say that the most comfort I take for both my kids, so they’re 20 and 22, is that I know that they both have one deep friendship, and I know that with that person, they have cried and they have been bitchy and they’ve had to apologize. There’s been rupture and there’s been repair. And so they have not had boyfriends yet. They haven’t had romance yet, which is just a whole different level of vulnerability and interaction and connection and sharing. But I love the most kind of calm in my heart I feel about my kids is when I overhear them talking to their BFFs, and I think that’s it. That is the cornerstone of your life. If you can do that, if you can love somebody and be loved as you are, as they are, what is as is. If you can do that, everything is possible.


Jonathan Fields: [00:26:17] Yeah.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:26:18] Totally agree. And the most undone I am is when I feel those relationships are broken.


Jonathan Fields: [00:26:23] Yeah, always.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:26:24] And when they. It seems like they can’t, they don’t trust that they can be the more rounded version of themselves with just one person. I mean, I don’t think you need I actually don’t think you need that many people in life. I think, you know, a handful is kind of amazing. So yeah, no, I think that’s a really good add-on to what I said. I was wondering if your sence, what I’m thinking about, your buckets and connection and contribution. You work with your wife, which is just so interesting to me because it keeps an integrity to everything. Like your connection and your contribution are intertwined, like she’s allowing you to contribute at greater levels and you are allowing her to contribute at greater levels, which I would assume would be really good for your connection. But maybe that’s naive. Is it hard to work with your wife, or is it great, or is it both?


Jonathan Fields: [00:27:17] Yes And. It’s never hard for us to work together. We are very like-minded. We’re together 30 plus years now, and we share values. We share a lot of beliefs. We’re very much different people with different competencies and different things that light us up. So because we tend to be drawn towards different ways to express ourselves or to contribute, that just happened to be complementary in when you’re building a business or a company or running things together, it works really well together. Is that true of like every relationship or partnership? Absolutely not. For us, it’s sort of like it’s kind of magical. But at the same time, you know, we’ve run things where for five years we ran an adult summer camp where something like 450 people from around the world would get on trains, planes and automobiles and take over a kid’s sleepaway camp for the last four days of every summer. That was hers because she is an astonishingly gifted experiential designer. So her and like the rest of our team, that was like 95% of everything that happened, if not 99% was all about them. And the joke with me was often like, just tell Jonathan where to be and when.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:28:30] Was that the greatest experience ever?


Jonathan Fields: [00:28:34] It was a lot of fun. I mean, the things we saw happen there were just breathtaking and probably the most of which is just most folks who came a lot folks are introverts. A lot of folks came as individuals, literally from Australia, from the other side of the world for four day weekend, and a lot of them were a little bit like they’re more seasoned in life. You know, the age range on any given year was from about 18 to 81, but generally it was more folks in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. It is not easy to make really good, deep friends. The further you get into life. So part of what we were trying to do is create a container of safety and grace and belonging and joy, where anyone could show up and just exhale the minute they stepped on to the campus and be welcomed and know that they don’t have to perform and then create mechanisms for grown-ups who genuinely don’t have mechanisms anymore to actually go and just like, walk up to strangers and meet them. We just built all these mechanisms to do that. And the most amazing thing about it, aside from just like being a ton of fun, was to see people who would walk away in tears because they had just made, like, the deepest friends they’d made in decades, and they didn’t want it to end. And those many of those friendships has continued on a global scale. People are constantly visiting each other all over the world, and we hear about it all the time. So that was incredible. And it’s amazing. And at some point…


Kelly Corrigan: [00:30:00] What brought it to an end?


Jonathan Fields: [00:30:01] So after five years, there were a couple of things that happened. One was our daughter was going to college, and we always did this on the last weekend of every summer, and we wanted to be able to devote that summer to her. We have one kid where we role as a very tight unit together, and we really wanted to make it to just be there for however much she did or didn’t want us to be there. Two was we were five years in. Every year we kept raising the bar on what we were doing. We just brainstormed, brainstorm, brainstorm. How can we make this better and more amazing and more fun? And we kind of felt like at the end of the five years, we hit the edge of what was possible in the container that we had created, and we wanted to hit pause and take a year to reimagine what would be the next evolution of the way that we gather our community. What we didn’t know is that that year would then lead into the global pandemic. So.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:30:50] That old thing.


Jonathan Fields: [00:30:52] Yeah, but we’re very much back in the mode of okay, so reimagining right now, like what will be that next evolution for us to get the band back together.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:31:03] So cool. Have you ever been to Chautauqua.


Jonathan Fields: [00:31:05] In Boulder?


Kelly Corrigan: [00:31:06] No, it’s in New York.


Jonathan Fields: [00:31:08] I haven’t been to that one, but I’m in the one two blocks from me.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:31:12] It’s kind of like adult summer camp. It’s just so many lovely people. Can’t wait to meet you and share stories and ride around on this little lake together and go see a lecture. And just so wonderful.


Jonathan Fields: [00:31:24] And it gets back to what you were saying about your daughter, right? Like the happiest you are, like in the context of being a mom, is when you see your kid just deeply, joyfully connected with somebody else. Yes. And but we kind of forget about ourselves in the same domain, you know, we’re kind of life gets busy where there’s a lot of outflow and a lot of different ways. How many times have we realized there’s somebody who we say we love, who we love being around, who we haven’t talked to in five years? It’s hard.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:31:54] I know. You know, it’s interesting. There was a little piece in the New York Times, maybe a year ago, about how great a seven-minute conversation is, just a little op-ed that said to people, the reason that we don’t reach out to these people that we love, we haven’t talked to in five years, it feels like too big a mountain to climb. Like, I don’t have to tell you every story from the last five years. Who’s got like nine hours to re-stitch our lives back together again? And this piece was saying, you know, you can, like, get all the feels you can get. Your central nervous system can rub up against their central nervous system to your mutual benefit in like seven minutes. And I sent it around to people and said, I hope you’re ready because I’m calling you for a seven-minute conversation one of these days. Just pick up and we’ll we’ll power talk on the way to the grocery store. And I can’t get over it. Like, sometimes I’m like, I’m such a fool. I’m like, these phones are amazing. Like, I can just dial up Christy Smith and there’s like, her little face right there, and we’re together for 5 or 10 minutes, like, it’s like bumping into her, you know, at the lacrosse field or something. So yeah, I think that we should put that on our agenda, like I used to do Friday Faves, where I would just call somebody on Friday who’s like a big favorite of mine, and I say, hi, you’re my Friday fave, how are you? And they’re like, all right, I’m your Friday fave. You know, I made the list. Yeah, yeah. I think that we can take a little initiative there and just try to connect with someone, even for five minutes. It’s kind of wonderful.


Jonathan Fields: [00:33:21] Yeah. Even like, I’ll often actually do something I call text roulette where I’ll just open my phone. I’ll give the phone like a really strong flick because I want it to go back a long way and like, whatever name it lands on, I’m like, you’re the person of the day.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:33:35] That’s so great, I love that. So when you think about vitality, there’s something that we have in common and I just love to know how you’re managing it, which is that all your work and all my work completely hinges on my energy levels. So if I have it and I can bring it, then everything works. My podcast comes together, the pages of the next book get written, the show gets booked and funded and set up and researched and we’re filming. How hard or easy is it for you to keep coming back to this project that you started in 2016? And you’re getting close to like a thousand episodes?


Jonathan Fields: [00:34:14] Yeah, so we started 2012, actually, the first two years were video, and then we transitioned into audio in 2014. So it’s been 11 years now I guess.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:34:22] Yeah


Jonathan Fields: [00:34:23] It’s interesting. It’s also the project has changed in a lot of meaningful ways over like a decade plus. The focus has changed. The size of it has changed dramatically. I’ve changed as a person. I’ve gotten older. Um, you know, we’ve been through a lot as a world. And for me, the quest is kind of consistently who do I want to keep learning from? And that’s a lot of the big question we ask when we’re sort of like, invite people onto the show is like, so if I get to keep learning, if I admire people’s work, if I admire just the way that they show up in the world, and I want to know, what do you know that I don’t know? That’s a lot of who we look for. And that can be really famous people. It can also be like the person down the road from me. I don’t particularly care. There’s something you can learn from everybody. But you’re right. In a business like this where I am front and center a lot, if I’m not on my game, which you can’t be 100% of the time, like you’re a human being, you go through stuff, it’s harder to show up. You know, it’s not just in the podcast like I speak, you know, if I have a gig booked and there’s a big audience that’s waiting for me and like, there’s a lot that’s been arranged around that and I have to show up and do a keynote, I will do almost anything that I need to do to figure out how to be as okay as I can possibly be and be of service for that one hour, and then I’ll retreat. So I look at it as really investing heavily in self-care, and I do about 2 to 3 hours of self-care a day at this point in my life. 


Kelly Corrigan: [00:35:57] Between, meditation and hiking and reading?


Jonathan Fields: [00:36:00] Yeah, meditation, hiking, breathwork, all the different stuff. And for me it’s kind of mission-critical because as you said, you know, just me as a person, I’m central to our ability to sustain two different companies. Actually, right now. One of the companies actually our SPARKED Endeavors brand, we’re building very intentionally without me at the center of that, because we want something to be able to exist and move out into the world and make impact where it’s not the Jonathan Field Show. I go back to when I was teaching yoga, we opened a yoga studio in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. I signed a six-year lease for a floor in a building with a three-month-old baby, married and a new home the day before 9/11 in New York. Woke up the next day and it was like,


Kelly Corrigan: [00:36:46] Oh my God.


Jonathan Fields: [00:36:47] Wow. Okay, so first, who do we lose? Because anyone who is a longtime New Yorker like you, new people who didn’t come home that day, and indeed we did. And then it was like, am I really going to do this? Am I going to open? Yes, a community, but also a business. Trying to support a young family in a city that was basically destroyed and we had no idea what the future was. But we opened it. We built an just an incredible community and a thriving business. But over the seven years or so where I was teaching over the years, we built a big staff and I sort of like taught less and less and less. But a lot of that time I would show up and there were days where I was really sick, where I was shaking because I shouldn’t have been there. There were days where I was injured. There are days where and, you know, looking back on it, there were probably days where I shouldn’t have been there. And I think hopefully with a little bit more seasoning, I would have figured out how to actually tag out and get other people to tag in and trust that other people would be able to actually do the job in a much better way than I would have. But I also felt just like a deep sense that people were giving me their most precious asset, you know, which back then was 90 minutes of their day in New York City. And that is not easy to come by. And they show up with needs. And I was responsible to that. I was responsible to 50 people in the room who many of them just had a really tough day. And this was their respite. And like I held the capacity to either blow up that expectation or deliver in that expectation. And it was my job to do whatever I needed to do personally, to get myself to a place where I could get as close as I could possibly get to be able to deliver on it. Did I do it all the time? Of course not. But I felt really beholden to like, if I’m going to put myself in this position, then another big part of my job is not just to show up for. Of those 90 minutes, but to do everything outside of those 90 minutes to try and make sure that I’m as capable as I can to actually do that. Right. And that kind of continues to this day.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:38:54] I think about. We had just had somebody on Kelly Corrigan Wonders, named Jennie Wallace. She wrote a book called Never Enough and she talks about mattering. I always feel this with my daughters. I think, like, yeah, it’s good to like, think about yourself and get your thoughts together and do therapy. But it’s also like equally, if not more enlarging to be in service. And so, like you mattered to those 50 people who took those 90 minutes like you mattered so much. And falling into that and like letting go of self and just being in service, I feel it’s like a very relaxing state to be in. Like, I love setting myself aside. And I remember when I was first writing, like the first book is called The Middle Place, and it came out a long time ago, 2008. And I remember thinking, all I want is for people to finish and think, that was definitely worth my time. Like, I would just be mortified if they closed the book and thought like, I could have been reading something else. You know, the feeling that commitment to like being of service, of returning their investment of time in your work, it’s not a bad North Star. I wanted to ask you specifically about the business of this kind of business that we’re in. I find that I love making things, and I know you’re a total Maker, and I’m always in a good mood when I’m making, and I’m always in a bad mood when I’m thinking about marketing and audience growth and looking at all the numbers and revenue. And it’s a very tricky part of this, which is to say you’re a small business owner, you’re running a little organization, as am I, but you’re also like just trying to put good shit out there, you know, it’s like make things better. How do you manage the kind of dirtier parts of the business, like emotionally, do you get cranky around marketing and revenue?


Jonathan Fields: [00:40:57] So I’m a weirdo in that I generally don’t. I actually love I love marketing. To me,


Kelly Corrigan: [00:41:02] You do? God, you’re so lucky.


Jonathan Fields: [00:41:04] I hate it. But it’s also part of like what I love about Good Life Project. Like fundamentally, this is a project that deepens into the human condition, like psychology, why people do and don’t do what they do, why they they make decisions that they do or don’t make decisions, why they invest effort or resources behind those decisions. So that fascinates me about people. That’s also marketing. So if I can reframe marketing as just like this is a deep dive into human beings psychology, like how to actually inspire people to invest in learning things that will help them thrive, and actually making decisions and investing effort and resources into actions and behaviors that will help them live better lives. To me, it’s marketing also. So I look at it just as a human behavioral puzzle. So I’m a weirdo in that I’m kind of like, I actually kind of really like that. Part of it most people don’t know about me is also, even though I’ve been very front and center on audio for many years, I fundamentally consider myself a writer at the end of the day, and part of my writing is I have spent years and years and years studying copywriting. How do you write in a way that you enter into a conversation that is happening in somebody’s head and then understand them, empathize with them, and then join the conversation and help orient it in a way that leads to a positive outcome.


Jonathan Fields: [00:42:25] To me, that’s what copywriting is. It’s not trying to get something from somebody. It’s how do we actually all do this together in a way where like, everybody wins. So I like bit of copy that we’ve written for years and years and years, including 20 years ago when I ran a yoga studio, like came from me because I was fascinated by studying the relationship between the written word and why people do what they do. And how can you blend the two? So again, to me, that’s marketing. Now, if you talk about accounting and like watching the numbers and all that, a lot of administrative stuff, that is 100% not my wheelhouse. And thankfully we have an amazing team at this point who basically that is they’re like our producer is she loves systems and process and she’s amazing at it. And she’s the one who makes this show work the way that it works. So we get like, Stephanie handles like certain things that are more in her wheelhouse, and we have other people who do different things. So part of it, I think, has just been growing to a certain size, where we are fortunate enough to have enough resources to be able to actually bring together a group of people where they get to show up and do the parts that they love, which happen to complement the parts that I don’t love.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:43:36] I will confess that on my worst days, if I didn’t exist, if I didn’t write these books, if I didn’t have this pod, if I didn’t do the PBS show like someone else would do it, someone else is doing it. I mean, we both interviewed Jennie Wallace, like, you know, you can people can find that conversation in a multitude of places. The thing that brings me back, though, is when I’m out giving a speech and people come and they say, I listen to you. And I think, oh, well, I’m doing it then for you because you don’t listen to these other places. And so we can all focus on the actual audience, like by name, by location, by personality, by set of worries and concerns. And therefore it does matter that you and I are both doing something quite similar because you’re talking to who you’re talking to, and I’m talking to who I’m talking to, and it’s a big world out there. There’s a lot of people who are looking for something better, and so wherever they find it, they find it. And we’re all kind of in mutual service to the whole.


Jonathan Fields: [00:44:40] Yeah. No. Completely agree. I mean, I’ve been thinking about this a lot also. And I’m curious where you land on this. We both do this. We both write, we both speak. There’s this interesting divide in the world of I kind of hate the word content, but I still haven’t figured out a better way to phrase it but


Kelly Corrigan: [00:44:55] Yes, yes.


Jonathan Fields: [00:44:56] Putting language and ideas out into the world and often the divide falls along. Especially let’s talk about books, right? Like generally the divide is fiction and non-fiction, and there are all sorts of subgenres there also. But it’s like, do you write fiction or do you write non-fiction? Those are the two primary lanes. Increasingly, I don’t really see that as the primary divide. To me, there are books that tell you what to do or invite you to think about what you might do to feel a certain way. There are other books that just make you feel that way, and to me, that is the big divide. Like, I sort of like. And I start with books, but then I look at look at movies, I look at music, I look at podcasts, I look at all these different things, and I can draw a pretty clear divide right away that says, okay, so this is something where the value of it is that it invites you in to something where it shares with you something to think about, or something to do so that you can feel the way you want to feel.


Jonathan Fields: [00:45:58] And then there are these other things that simply make you feel it. So I’ve spent most of my career doing the former, and maybe it’s age. I don’t know what it is, but increasingly I’m really drawn to the latter, to writing much more personal, much more emotionally driven to creating experiences and media that are not the thing that invites you how to think and do so that you can feel the way you want to feel, but simply makes you feel it. Because I feel like the world is spinning so fast right now, and we are so overwhelmed by so many things, that if I can shortcut the process and just get the person to the feeling, then I’m serving at a higher level and that may be completely made up in my head. And it doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop writing and doing things that offer prescriptive value. I think there’s. But just on a very personal level, there’s something in me that is calling me much more towards simply creating the experience that leaves you changed.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:46:56] Yeah, all the books I’ve written are stories of family life, so like middle places. My dad and I had cancer at the same time. It was just the story of that year and blended in a bunch of stories of what it was like to be a kid. When I was a kid and my editor, this guy Andy Ward at Random House, always says, stick with story. You’re a storyteller. And I feel that. And I know I have a master’s in English Lit. And I know that in all those seminars, I did it at night at San Francisco State while I was working at United Way, during the day when I was in my late 20s, and all those evening seminars with those like total brainiacs, like people who get a master’s in English literature at San Francisco State are just people who love to read like a thousand pages a week of Charles Dickens plus criticism. Like, it’s just such an incredible sliver of the population that I got to learn from for all those years. The engagement, like if you had if you were in an MRI machine while you’re reading fiction or while you’re reading a story, the engagement level is multiples of the engagement level. When you’re reading self-help, when you’re reading a to do list, when you’re reading a prescription, because the less telling and the more showing, there’s more space for the reader to lean all the way in and they’re co-writing it with you. Like I’m telling you, this one story about going to the prom and my Princess Leia buns and my stupid Gunne Sax dress that with the high collar that, like, touched my ears and whatever. And I’m telling you this story in the context of shaving my head before chemo, and you are doing all of this work with every word that I tell you, you’re bringing all of your stuff to it. And the more the reader is working, the more engagement and the more impact.


Jonathan Fields: [00:48:50] Yeah, Totally agree.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:48:50] So I’m just totally applauding your shift to story over self-help.


Jonathan Fields: [00:48:57] That’s where it’s got ahead. I mean, part of it is and it goes back to your original question, it’s like not just physically, how do you if you’re not feeling it, but how do you stay in it emotionally and cognitively? And I think, you know, you’ve got to run a business. You have to deliver something that actually is of value to other people, which is awesome. And at the same time, you have to do it in a way which feels good and right and nourishing to you on a personal level. And if you can’t bridge that gap, then at some point everything breaks down.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:49:29] What are transformational books for you like while we’re talking about things that make you think? Do you have fiction or story-based nonfiction that has changed you?


Jonathan Fields: [00:49:40] It’s funny fiction that blew my mind recently. Jennifer Egan’s writing.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:49:47] She’s so good. Goon Squad. I loved Goon Squad.


Jonathan Fields: [00:49:49] Goon squad and then the Candy House, which was like the ten year follow-up on that, which I guess they call them mosaic novels, where, like, each chapter is written by a different character in their voice, and you don’t know who it is until you’re, like, halfway into the chapter. It’s not linear time. It bounces between like 70 years of history and your head is spinning the whole time, and yet somehow at the end, it feels complete. It feels good. I was reading the whole thing, and I mean, her stories and her characters and her worlds were so good and so rich. And then, like as a writer, I was just like, how in the world is she doing this? How is she holding this in her head? This is incomprehensible to me. And I heard an interview with her because as soon as I finished it, I was like, I need to know more about who this person is. And because I was like, there’s no conceivable way to do something like this. She had to have spent six months outlining this to start with. She doesn’t, she free writes it. And I was just my mind exploded when I when I read that and I immediately like I started with the Goon Squad. I immediately read the Candy house after that, which picks up ten years later from one of the characters from like the original story. And those two books actually were just so much fun for me. But also, I recommended them to a few other people who really didn’t like them, because you have to be down for that kind of wild ride. If you’re going to read that kind of book. It is not linear. It is. It is a hold-on to your seat and just trust that you’re going to get there.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:51:16] Yeah. It reminds me of Lincoln in the Bardo, the George Saunders book that won the Booker Prize, which is written like a play, and there’s like 200 characters. And I’m friendly with George, and I tried it twice and put it down. And then finally I was in the right frame of mind and the right little window of time. And I, you know, I really think you should read 75 pages, like when you first sit with a book and you should go to 75 just so you can follow all the way in. And I got it. I got the rhythm. It was like reading Shakespeare where you’re like, aha, I got it, I can hear it. It’s like rolling. And I thought, this is so rewarding because my gut is that people want to be pushed harder, actually in every way, intellectually, emotionally, physically, volunteer wise, donation wise, like people want to feel their lives. And in order to do it, you have to put a lot in. And George Saunders and Jennifer Egan and Marilynne Robinson and some of these. Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, these people are asking a lot, a lot of the readers, but the promise is always fulfilled. I mean, if you can stand it, if you can find the headspace and lean into it, the reward is like lifelong, like I’ll always have that. I’ll always have that book in my heart.


Jonathan Fields: [00:52:37] And I think what you just said is so critical also, which is that people really just want to feel right now and not feel constantly like their inner and outer worlds are collapsing. That’s a really delicate dance. And I think because there’s been so much circumstantial trauma around us for quite a while now, that so many of us have shut down our capacity to feel, because that’s how we make it through each day. And then we’re mourning the loss of the fact that we are no longer feeling the lives that we’re living and trying to figure out how do we navigate that? How do we do that dance where we let the reality of the world in because we actually need to to feel empowered, to actually take action because we need to act, but at the same time not feel devastated and destroyed on a level where we become paralyzed and dysfunctional. Because letting that in is also the same thing that lets in the love and the vulnerability and the deep connection and the fun experiences with your friends. You know, if you’re going to feel, you got to know that you’re going to feel more than just the things you want to cherry-pick. 


Kelly Corrigan: [00:53:43] Right. And more and more, I feel that that’s what we’re here to do, is to experience the whole crazy wheel of emotion and that to know one is to know its opposite. Like to know fear is to know security, and to know worry is to know peace. And to know loss is to know love like that. There’s a pretty big payoff to every hard moment. And my husband just came in. What’s today? Thursday? On Tuesday at 4:00pm he came in and said, you will not believe what I’m about to tell you. My father is having double bypass surgery tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. in Little Rock, Arkansas. He felt a little pain. He went to the hospital. They checked him in on the spot, totally blocked, and we had all this stress and never got on a flight the next morning at 530. And the surgery took six hours. And you don’t have any information. And the clock is moving so slowly. And I’m thinking, please do not let anything happen to this man. And then the Italian surgeon who lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, comes out and says, it was beautiful. His heart is a masterpiece. And the relief like the joy, I was like, bouncing off the walls. And I paid for that in every minute of stress that came starting at 4:00pm on Tuesday afternoon. Those things are completely related, and if I can remind myself of that when I feel like really strong “negative emotions”, if I can just remember that, like I’m paying in advance for some future state where this emotion will be gone. I mean, it’s almost similar to coming out of a migraine. Like I am unstoppable when the migraine ends, I’m like, Edward, I’m feeling good, let’s put on some music. The headache is gone. Like, I’m like so grateful to for the relief. But it’s all related to how awful it was.


Jonathan Fields: [00:55:50] Yeah. And no doubt a friend of mine calls that Wonder Hell. It’s sort of like the wonder of this amazing new threshold or thing happening at the same time. There’s like this relationship. There’s always a certain hell that accompanies the experience, and you can flip it around like the hell preceding or after when you realize. But yeah, it’s life tends to serve up things in complex doses rather than simple ones.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:56:18] Yeah. When my husband’s best friend Andy lost his wife Liz, who was a great friend of ours too, we had this long, cool conversation about like, units, like units of emotion, which was to say that for every unit of positive emotion that Liz and Andy had together while she was alive, there was going to be a corollary moment of pain and loss. And that he would pay them off like there would be a big rush of payoff in the early days for six months, first year. And then he would be they would be sprinkled across the rest of his life. There would be he would pay a unit the day his kid graduates from high school, and the day his kid gets into college and the day somebody gets married and she’s not there and she’s still not there, and now he’s a grandfather and she’s not there. Then he added to it that there’s something kind of exquisite in the feeling of the negative units, if you will, the payback units, because it keeps her very alive in him. And I know that I know that from like days when I don’t actively, viscerally miss my father and then like something will happen, like a man will walk past me wearing Old Spice and I’ll be like, there he is. Like, boy, would I like to talk to him right now, and I’d rather be missing him than to not be thinking about him at all.


Jonathan Fields: [00:57:45] Yeah, no, totally get that.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:57:47] All right. At the end of every episode of the show, we give our guests a speed round. So I thought I’d take you through it because I bet your listeners don’t know some of this stuff. Are you ready?


Jonathan Fields: [00:57:57] Okay. Yeah. Let’s do it.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:57:59] First concert? 


Jonathan Fields: [00:58:01] KC and the Sunshine Band at the beach.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:58:06] That’s great.


Jonathan Fields: [00:58:07] If anybody actually knows who that is. Like, you were definitely of a certain age.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:58:11] I totally know because I was Kelly Corrigan, like, I’m KC. Yeah. The last book that blew you away?


Jonathan Fields: [00:58:17] A book that touched me really, really deeply. It’s been a couple of years now, but it’s still staying with me. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. And that book destroyed me in the best of ways, especially the epilogue, which was written by his wife Lucy, where he was gone at that point. So she literally had to write the death scene. And I started reading that on a plane and started just bawling. And I put it down. I said, I can’t do this because people around me are going to freak out, like, what’s wrong with this guy? I came home and finished it and just wept. But in the best of ways.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:58:50] Such a beautiful meditation on life. The best live performance of any kind you’ve ever seen?


Jonathan Fields: [00:58:58] Got to be tied between Bruce Springsteen at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, which I don’t think is called the Meadowlands anymore, actually. But, you know, Bruce on his home turf, there’s totally there is nothing like that. And then I’m a huge U2 fan, so I’ve seen them a handful of times and it’s always just a stunning show.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:59:14] I just saw Bono on Broadway do the one man show.


Jonathan Fields: [00:59:17] Yeah.


Kelly Corrigan: [00:59:18] Wow. He’s such a good actor. I mean, he does Clinton. He does his father like he has impressions. Totally cried. Laughed. If your high school did superlatives, what would you have been most likely to become?


Jonathan Fields: [00:59:33] Mhm. Honestly? Nothing. I was largely visibly invisible in high school. I fit in everywhere but was sought out or celebrated nowhere. I more or less hid my edges and also hid my essence. Probably because it was safer that way, and it’s taken me a long time to show up as me. So I don’t know if I would have qualified for any kind of superlative in high school, let alone even being acknowledged.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:00:01] What’s your go-to mantra for hard times?


Jonathan Fields: [01:00:04] There is no such thing as disruption without possibility, so if you’re feeling disrupted, your job becomes to find the possibility and the experience.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:00:16] Is there anyone you would like to apologize to?


Jonathan Fields: [01:00:19] Man, if I think my entire life there’s probably a mountain of people, no one specific comes to mind. But I have been alive long enough to know that. I have very likely hurt people along the way, even when I didn’t realize I was doing it. Everyone who I didn’t show up for because I was too wrapped up in my own mishegoss my own head space across the span of my life. That’s got to be a whole lot of people. If that’s been the experience of anybody that was not you, it was me, and I apologize.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:00:51] When was the last time you cried?


Jonathan Fields: [01:00:53] I cried pretty easily. I’m like, if I watched lifetime movies or like hallmark movies, and I’m like.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:01:01] You’re like the guy crying at the AT&T commercial, right?


Jonathan Fields: [01:01:04] Exactly. So I recently wrote a book to one person, My daughter. Took me four years to write, and I wanted to give it to her when she graduated college. And there were some tough things that I wanted to share in it, topics I didn’t want to think about, I didn’t want to write about, but I felt they needed to be talked about. As I wrote, I couldn’t help but visualize some of the scenarios around them, and there were times where I found myself crying while I was writing. They were just that close to the bone. But going back to the earlier part of the conversation, it also reminded me what I want to do more of in my public writing moving forward. And I think for me, hard truths often just moved me to tears.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:01:46] Yeah, boy, she must have loved it. Did she love the book?


Jonathan Fields: [01:01:49] Yeah, it’s kind of between me and her, though.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:01:52] What’s something big you’ve been wrong about? 


Jonathan Fields: [01:01:56] Everything. It’s probably a much shorter list of what I’ve been right about across my entire life. Probably the biggest is that there is a there there. That equates to enough. The only true there is here Now.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:02:13] If you could pass one law or overturn one Supreme Court case, what would it be?


Jonathan Fields: [01:02:18] There’s a lot in the last couple of years that doesn’t sit right with me, but one that goes back a little bit further, that I think changed the landscape of culture was actually Citizens United, which was the case that allowed private money into civic service. And I think we have been reeling since that day.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:02:39] Yeah, I’m totally with you. That’s mine. If your mother wrote a book about you, what would it be called?


Jonathan Fields: [01:02:45] Naches.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:02:46] What does that mean?


Jonathan Fields: [01:02:47] It’s a Yiddish word that that actually equates to one of the four immeasurables in Buddhism, which translates roughly to appreciative joy. And it’s it’s the joy that you feel for somebody that you love so unconditionally that you experience their joy, their success, their thriving, their flourishing as your own. And that would be the way that my mom feels about her kids.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:03:08] That’s awesome. Sometimes the Yiddish words are just like like agita. I love I love the idea of agita.


Jonathan Fields: [01:03:14] There’s no real way to translate it. You can kind of approximate it.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:03:17] And Mishegas is just like a and mensch. Like, those are good words.


Jonathan Fields: [01:03:22] Right, exactly.


Kelly Corrigan: [01:03:23] Okay. Last one. If you could say four words to anyone, who would you address and what would you say?


Jonathan Fields: [01:03:29] Well, I’ll relate it back to the book. Probably be my mom. And the four words would probably be. I’m counting them in my head. You loved me good.


Jonathan Fields: [01:03:40] Oh. Thank you so much for letting me interview you. And. Hi, everybody at Good Life.


Jonathan Fields: [01:03:46] Thank you, thank you. It’s been a joy.


Jonathan Fields: [01:03:50] Hey, before you leave, if you love this episode safe, bet you’ll also love the conversation that we had with Peter Frampton about a life of creativity, struggle, and making peace with what is. You’ll find a link to Peter’s episode in the show. Notes. This episode of Good Life Project was produced by executive producers Lindsey Fox and me, Jonathan Fields. Editing help by Alejandro Ramirez. Kristoffer Carter crafted our theme music. And of course, if you haven’t already done so, please go ahead and follow Good Life Project in your favorite listening app. And if you found this conversation interesting or inspiring or valuable, and chances are you did. Since you’re still listening here, would you do me a personal favor? A seven-second favor and share it? Maybe on social or by text or by email? Even just with one person? Just copy the link from the app you’re using and tell those you know, those you love, those you want to help navigate this thing called life a little better so we can all do it better together with more ease and more joy. Tell them to listen, then even invite them to talk about what you’ve both discovered. Because when podcasts become conversations and conversations become action, that’s how we all come alive together. Until next time, I’m Jonathan Fields signing off for Good Life Project.


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