Episode 85 | Healing Spiritual Wounds with Carol Howard Merritt


You can find this week's episode on iTunes here.

Many women have been hurt by religious institutions. It may have come from the views on women, LGBTQ, or your own personal experience within a faith organization. Whether you've left or stayed you have probably needed to reconcile your experience.

I've been following this week's guest on twitter and I was excited when she agreed to be on the podcast. Rev. Carol Howard Merritt is the award-winning author of four books, including Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God after Experiencing a Hurtful Church. She is a frequent contributor to websites, magazines, and journals. She’s a Presbyterian (USA) minister, who has served churches in Cajun Louisiana, Rhode Island, DC, and Appalachia.

Raised as a conservative Christian, Merritt discovered that the traditional religious institutions she grew up in often inflicted great pain and suffering on others. Instead of offering refuge, these institutions have betrayed people’s hearts and souls. Merritt contends that many people leave the church because they have lost trust in the institution, not in God. Healing Spiritual Wounds addresses the church’s dichotomous image—as a safe space and as a dangerous place—and provides a way to restore personal faith and connection to God for those who have been hurt or betrayed by established institutions of faith. Merritt lays out a multistage plan for moving from pain to spiritual rebirth, from recovering theological and emotional shards to recovering communal wholeness.

Sympathetic, understanding, and deeply positive, Healing Spiritual Wounds offers hope and a way to help them heal and reclaim the spiritual joy that can make them whole again. Click on book cover to purchase. Find our more about Carol Howard Merritt at her website. Or follow her on twitter: @carolhoward

And here are some of the blog posts I've been working on - I won't list them all. Follow me on social media for daily updates.

You Will Have Regrets - On this post I talk about some of the regrets I have and what I've learned.

You Don't Have to Remain a Victim - If you have ever been abused you know that dealing with your abuse raises the question of how to deal with your abuser. I talk about why I think confronting abuse is part of healing. NOTE: If you have been abused find support in your healing journey. Feel free to reach out to me.

Is that what you really value? - Are you living by your true values? Part of the course I am developing explores values. This post will get you thinking about what is important to you.

Episode 84 | Do you feel good about your clothing purchases? Interview with influencer Leah Wise

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Do you like clothes? Do you love fashion? Do you enjoy putting together outfits? Or are clothes more utilitatrian for you? My mother has told me I've always loved fashion. I remember riding my bike to a casket factory and dumpster diving for silk remants to make my Barbie doll clothes when I was a kid. (Clearly that was back in the day when ten year olds were out exploring the neighbourhood on their bikes without parental supervision.) My friends and I would go find all kinds of beautiful fabrics and come home and hand sew outfits. And it wasn't just my dolls that were well dressed. I started carrying a purse when I was 5. I worked in retail stores throughout high school so I could buy clothes with an employee discount. I can tell you what I was wearing in all of the significant memories of my life.

So when I started looking at the bigger impact of my clothing purchases it was disturbing. Was I supporting garment factories? I had no idea how much water it took to make one T-Shirt. (It takes 2700 litres of water to make one T-Shirt.) This awareness that my choices were actually hurting people and our planet created a crisis for me. Then to top it off the first time I went to Cambodia I saw first hand the living conditions of garment workers. It was deeply disturbing.  

When I returned to Canada I decided to start being more thoughtful about my purchases. And I took to social media to find out more. On Instagram I discovered this week's guest, Leah Wise. She is a writer and blogger based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her expertise in the fields of sustainable fashion and social justice have afforded her the opportunity to write for publications such as Elephant Journal, Mind Body Green, Relevant Magazine, and Christianity Today, as well as on her own blog, stylewise-blog.com. Over the past five years, Leah has created successful influencer marketing campaigns with dozens of ethical brands on her blog platform. Leah has been named a top sustainable blogger by Bustle, ORIGIN Magazine, AGAATI, FeedSpot, and Moon Cloth, and has received various write-ups on ethical lifestyle blogs and brand websites.

Here are some of the highlights of what we talked about and links to some of her articles for more on those topics.

Capsule Wardrobes: If you love expressing yourself through fashion and the idea of limiting yourself to 33 items makes you feel stifled creatively check out Leah’s take on capsule wardrobes. Read her blog post here: Why I Quit My Capsule Wardrobe Leah also talks about the Wonder Wardrobe Capsule Closet Course - read her blog post about it here and if it appeals to you there is a discount code at the end of her post if you decide to sign up.

Are you wondering about sustainable/ethical/fair trade and other terms? When you start to think about your purchases including clothing you begin to encounter a lot of new terms. Leah defines them in this episode and in more detail on her website. This resource is very helpful as you start to navigate this new world in your clothing shopping.

We discussed Leah's blog post: I Don't Think Conscious Consumerism Has Made Me a Better Person where she discussed some of the struggles that go along with being an online influencer in this area. There is a lot to think about this week! At the end of the episode I ask Leah for some more resources to inform and inspire you on this journey.

Leah suggested these two documentaries to expand your thinking on this topic:

The True Cost  and Poverty Inc.

To connect with Leah you can find her at her website or on Instagram

A Blessing for Equilibrium

by John O'Donohue

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,

May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.


As the wind loves to call things to dance,

May your gravity be lightened by grace.


Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,

May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.


As water takes whatever shape it is in,

So free may you be about who you become.


As silence smiles on the other side of what's said,

May your sense of irony bring perspective.


As time remains free of all that it frames,

May your mind stay clear of all it names.


May your prayer of listening deepen enough

To hear in the depths the laughter of God. 


Episode 83 | Desperately Seeking Spirituality with Meredith Gould

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It's mid afternoon and aside from a walk at 6 o'clock this morning, I have not left the house and I don't plan on it. As long as the air conditioning is working I'll be right here. In my reasoning mind, any humidex over 40ºc is too hot to venture outdoors. It is the reason Netflix was invented. I'm sure there are women who love the slow trickle of sweat running between their breasts but I'm not one of them. I find myself unable to trust people who say, "It doesn't bother me, I like the heat." I just don't believe them.

It's amazing how easy it is to draw lines! Our weather preferences are just the start. And once we get into the topic of faith and spirituality I know we'll find ourselves in opposite camps at some point. I think it is why I hesitated for so long to focus my work in this direction. I've changed my opinion on issues I once held as central to my faith and I've experienced that feeling of not being welcome as a result.

I'm thankful to encounter other women on a similar journey like my guest this week - Meredith Gould. She has had enough experience on her faith journey to know that who we are is going to bring us a lot more peace than getting twisted up over what we believe or don't believe. Her book Desperately Seeking Spirituality focuses on five spiritual practices of being: willingness, curiousity, empathy, generosity and delight. If we all focused on developing in these areas I'm sure we would find ourselves able to manage our polarities with a lot more grace.

If you are looking for ways to escape the heat this week - check out these recommendations:

Worth listening:

Episode 83 | Desperately Seeking Spirituality Meredith Gould shares her spiritual journey and discusses her book.It's my first solo interview and Meredith made it easy for me. We could have talked for hours. And I hope to have that opportunity in the future. Listen on iTunes or your fave podcast site or at the link above.

Find out more about this week's guest:

Dr. Meredith Gould is a sociologist, longtime spiritual seeker, mixed media mosaic artist and award-winnng author of eleven published books. No wonder an hour wasn't enough time with her! Visit her website for more or check out her mosaics here

Worth reading:


Don't let appearances deceive you. This is not a lengthy book but once you get into it you will realize you can't rush through it. It would be worth committing a week to each of the five practices and taking your time to really integrate them into your life. I will be focusing on one each day on Instagram this week (@sandyareynolds if you aren't already following me).

Worth watching:

I have watched this movie almost every summer since I first discovered it when my kids were young (but old enough to understand the message of this movie). It's a good movie with a great soundtrack and the message is as relevant now as it was when it came out in 1994. Watch the trailer here or click on the picture to order a copy. I am sure you can stream it somewhere if you look for it!

Get out your journal!

I hope your summer includes some time for reflection. I've created a download for you called "Reclaiming Your Faith." It's a one pager with some questions to get you thinking about our relationship with faith. 

 Thanks for being on this journey with me!  I want this to be a space where we can talk about spirituality without judgment. It doesn't matter what you believe - you are welcome here.

Episode 82 | Reclaiming Your Relationship with Faith

I've been eager to get this new episode up and to share this new venture with you. And a little freaked out as well!  I've always related to these words from the T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets: 

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

I've experienced this truth in my life many times. And so it wasn't surprising to me that after years of rethinking my faith and beliefs that I would find myself back where I started - wanting to share my story with women. I am wired to want to pass on my learning to others. I call myself a 'learning catalyst.' I like to share resources and have conversations that will help you navigate life transitions and challenges. For me, that includes spirituality and faith.

I am drawn to big questions of life. All of us, wherever we sit in our beliefs are trying to make sense of the world. And many of us have found our faith lacking (my apologies to G.K. Chesterton). So when Jo-Anne decided that her time with Reframe Your Life was coming to an end, I was ready to take it into a new direction. I've been interviewing guests and I'm starting to see that a new path opening up as I move forward. I hope you will hang in for a little while why I sort it all out. And please give me feedback as well!

(Photo credit: Jose Antonio Gallego Vazquez)

(Photo credit: Jose Antonio Gallego Vazquez)

I'm interested in knowing what will be of interest and helpful to you in your life.

On this episode I give you a bit more of my background and how I am refocusing.

Get out your journal! I hope your summer includes some time for reflection. I've created a download for you called "Reclaiming Your Faith." It's a one pager with some questions to get you thinking about our relationship with faith. Get it here

Thanks for being on this journey with me! If you know someone who you think would be interested in this conversation please share this podcast with them.