Closing Another Chapter (Goodbye to Spiritualish)

This isn’t going to be eloquent or complete. I’m surrounded by moving boxes and two nervous cats, a kid that should be in camp but isn’t because we’re both too tired, and I’ve got a mild headache. But I wanted to document and communicate something about this moment because it feels important.

The first podcast I ever listened to, back when podcasts were still a niche, underground thing, was an episode of Radiolab titled Falling. This was back in 2010. I was a new mom, anxiety had me so much by the throat that I couldn’t eat, and we — me, my husband, dog, and Alma — were living in my brother’s tiny apartment in Colorado. Things were scary and pretty damn dark.

But that show…damn.

The production, the stories, especially the segment about Simon and Serita, it hooked into me, cracked open my heart, and transported me into another world. (I still think about the story of those two all the damn time.) 

I went on to listen to every episode of Radiolab. When we moved back to Boston and I got a job at an agency downtown, we’d talk about the new episodes. Have you listened to the new one yet? A new episode just dropped! OMG have you HEARD this one?! (Here’s another personal favorite).

Then I got into On Being. Then WTF with Marc Maron. Then This American Life with Ira Glass.

There was something about this medium that felt so intimate and captivating. I could listen anywhere. Once in a while, I thought, I want to do a podcast, but it was a silly thought. All the shows then were extraordinarily produced and what the hell would I talk about, anyway?


HOME_ep_cover.jpg

Fast forward a few years - I’m newly sober and Holly and I decide to do a show about sobriety. HOME podcast was born in July of 2015. I record from my daughter’s room because it has the best acoustics (probably all the stuffed animals?) and sometimes, my closet. Holly sits in her closet. We had no fucking clue what we were doing, but it was fun. When we saw — the morning after recording the first episode — that 150 people had listened, we squealed.

HOME grew to be a thing. We got to meet some of our heroes, made new friends, and learned a whole different skill set. It became far bigger than either of us imagined. It was fucking hard and exciting and crazy-making and wonderful. To date it has 1.3 million downloads.

By January of 2017, HOME ended around the same time Spiritualish was born. Those events were not directly correlated, but people thought they were. It was scary. People were mad. I was shaky. We kept going.


spiritualish_logo.png

Spiritualish has been a whole different animal. By the time we started, Meadow and I had been working together for over two years: co-teaching retreats and weekly classes. We came into each other’s lives at exactly the right time, as is always the case, and witnessed and ushered each other through some big shit. We both wrote books which will come out on the same day in January. We both moved. She got into a new relationship; I got through some of the biggest, murky waters of my relationship past.

Now, 18 months and 75 episodes later, we realized at the end of a 45-minute conversation last week that Spiritualish needed to be done. It was coming, but we still didn’t know it would be now until it was … now. This is how things go.

Was it the right time? Can’t be sure, but it feels like it.

Is this a bad decision? Maybe.

Will people be disappointed? Perhaps.

Are we sure? Every time we revisited this question individually, the same answer returned: Yes.

Me and Mett-o.

Me and Mett-o.


Do not be timid in your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m giving you this long, but abbreviated history for a few reasons.

First, I want to urge you to try things. That idea that won’t leave you alone? Just fucking try it already! The thing that makes no sense but stirs you up? GO. This morning, a friend texted me this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. “Do not be timid in your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”

All of this has been an experiment. Sometimes it has worked, sometimes it has exploded in my face, but the ride has been exhilarating. The ride is everything. Go for a damn ride.

Second, remember you have choices. Everything you’re doing is a choice: your relationships, your job, your geography, all of it. The things you don’t believe you can question or change? Look at those things especially.

Third, and most important of all, I want to say Thank You. While the above is primarily about my experience and perspective, what’s made it all happen are the people on the other end, listening. So, thaaaank youuuuu. To every single one of you who has emailed, messaged, commented, cheered on, and invited me into your world for the past 4.5 years. To everyone who told me how bad I am at doing it, how inarticulate and privileged and boring I sound, thank you for teaching me the most invaluable career/sanity/life advice: NEVER EVER EVER READ THE REVIEWS.


These are my favorite Spiritualish episodes:

  • Ep. 9: Gossip, Triangulation, and Wearing Other People’s Underwear - In Part 3 of the Boundary Series, Laura and Meadow discuss the flip side of boundary violations: containment. There are some super sneaky ways we violate other people's boundaries including gossip, triangulation, "helping" and actual, (ahem) trespassing.

  • Ep. 15: When You Lose Yourself - Co-Dependency has been called "The Disease of The Lost Self" and we think that's exactly the right description. In this episode (one of many to come on this topic) Laura & Meadow talk about the basics of co-dependency: what it is, what it isn't, some common myths, and how you can start to look at it in your own life.

  • Ep. 18: The Myth of Self-Care - Self-care is all the rage, but what does it actually mean? In this longer-than-usual ep, Laura and Meadow take down some of the myths of self-care, why it's *way* more important than it sounds, and what it might look like for different types of people.

  • Ep. 19: A Map of Loneliness - Loneliness may just be the most dangerous affliction of our time. In this episode, we dissect it: What is loneliness, anyway? How is it different than isolation and solitude? Why are we so damn lonely and is there anything we can do about it? We each talk about our own maps of loneliness, what it was like, and how we got through (or didn't).

  • Ep. 32: Surviving Heartbreak - This week, we answer a letter from a woman whose long-term relationship has just ended--an ending she did not want--and she's struggling to make it through. We share our own stories of devastating heartbreak, including divorce: what helped, what didn't, and what we know now.

  • Ep. 43: Groundhog Day One - This week, we answer a letter from a woman who is sick of seeing Day One in her sobriety. So how do we REALLY stop doing the things we no longer want to do? Does counting days matter, or not? Why? We share our own experiences, of course, and give you big questions to ask yourself to get to the bottom of the Day One Groundhog Day cycle.

  • Ep. 70: The Anatomy of Anxiety - Earlier this week, Laura came within inches of a panic attack. In this episode, we dissect the thoughts and feelings leading up to that moment, how she pulled herself out, and what we learned from it. This one is a meditation on friendship, dating, foreboding joy, worthiness, and the futility of trying to control what we cannot.

The final episode of Spiritualish, Ep. 75: How to Know When Something is Over aired today.


What’s next?

The best way to stay in touch is to get on my newsletter. I love writing those emails and I send them about once a week.

Okay, that’s all for now. I love you all. Thank you, thank you for being here. Onward.

Laura