Discussion Questions for Hillary McBride: Living Inside Our Bodies
1. Kate begins the conversation on embodiment by reflecting on the most embodied person she knows: her six-year old son. Who models for you what it’s like to love and live in your own skin?
2. Psychologist Hillary McBride gets that fear is uncomfortable. She explains that it’s because fear is not just a physiological reaction but a psychological and socio cultural one, too. What is your relationship to fear?
3. Many of us have grown up believing the lie that our minds are the most powerful thing about us. Instead, Hillary explains our minds are really the dumping ground for what our body is experiencing behind the scenes. What does this reframe shift in you?
4. Trying to get rid of fear is like trying to get rid of swallowing or digestion, Hillary says. It’s hardwired into our neurobiology. Instead of dismissing it, we’d be better off dancing with it. When have you had an experience of dancing with your fear?
5. “Tell me what you’re afraid of, and I’ll tell you what’s happened to you.” This is a common catchphrase from psychotherapy meant to show how fear memory shapes fear response. What is something you are afraid of—big or small? What memory fuels your fear? Have you ever thanked that fear?
6. Often we get irritated when we feel fear, and there’s no danger. But if we can get curious about our bodies instead, we can live with more ease, more freedom, more creativity. If you could ask your body a loving question about the fear you feel, what would it be?
7. When other people talk about big emotions, like fear, it can trigger big emotions in us. This is especially true of us in more privileged positions who may have been taught to avoid pain in favor of comfort. Whose pain do you need to move toward in order to move forward?
8. Kate admits that embodiment is hard when your body is trying to murder you. Hillary affirms that while we may need to dissociate from our body to survive, if cut off for too long, we miss the wholeness needed to thrive. Have you ever needed to disassociate from your body to get by? How did you come back to your body when the time was right?
9. Hillary shares how a near-death experience shaped her trauma story and led her to be rigorously compassionate toward herself. She reflects, “There is, in me, this force that always turns toward the pain with love and says, no matter what’s happening out there, we will be together, and I will always be kind to you.” Have you ever felt that force within you? What hurt do you need it to speak into now?
10. When living through a season where we cannot see the horizon, Hillary recommends getting our body moving and talking sweet to ourselves. What’s one strategy you will try to live better together in your body?
Bonus: After listening to this week’s podcast, what part of Kate and Hillary’s conversation resonated with you most? What insight will you carry with you?
Discussion Questions written by author, editor, and facilitator Erin S. Lane.