10. How Can I Accept My Body and My Fears? With BJ Miller

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30 years ago Dr. BJ Miller had an accident that changed his life forever. He was out late one night, messing around with his college buddies, and he jumped up on a train car and was electrocuted with 11000 volts of electricity. BJ went on to lose both legs and most of one arm. He spent a year in physical recovery and longer in emotional and psychological recovery. But all of these experiences led him to where he is today: interviewed by Oprah; profiled by “The New York Times Magazine”; and a leading figure in the death and dying realm. This week’s practice is all about accepting our bodies–and our fears. As BJ Miller says, “The goal isn’t to become fearless. The goal is to learn how to live with fear.”

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Claire, BJ Miller

Claire  00:09

Hi, I’m Claire Bidwell Smith. This is NEW DAY. Do you ever have one of those moments where you feel like the whole combination of your life led right up to it? I had one of those with my guest today Dr. BJ Miller, on a motorcycle no less. But before you hear that story in our interview, let me backtrack and tell you how I came to know him. I met BJ about seven years ago, when I was doing research for a project. I was working on a book about what happens when we die and how different views of the afterlife affect how we grieve. In my research, I did all kinds of exciting stuff. I saw psychic mediums talk to priests and rabbis underwent a past life regression and danced in shamanic circles, it was a trip. At one point I got it in my head that I wanted to interview this man named Frank Ostaseski, author of The Five Invitations and founder of the Zen Hospice project in San Francisco. I’d used his teachings when I worked in hospice, and I loved his thoughts about end of life. But when I looked him up, he was no longer there. And instead, there was a doctor named BJ Miller running the hospice. It only took me a few clicks around the internet to realize that BJ was a pretty extraordinary guy.


And this was before he’d gone on to give one of the top watch TED Talks sit down with Oprah, and be profiled by the New York Times Magazine. So I sent him an email and asked him if I could interview him for my book. And he responded pretty quickly saying yes. And then he asked if I wanted to talk to him by phone or in person. You know, I replied, I think I’ll drive up to San Francisco. After reading his backstory, I was super curious to meet him. Because what I’d read was this. 30 years ago, when BJ was a college student at Princeton, he was out late one night messing around with his buddies, and he jumped up on a train car and was electrocuted with 11,000 volts of electricity. BJ went on to lose both legs and most of one arm, he spent a year in physical recovery and longer in emotional and psychological recovery. That first meeting at Zen hospice did not disappoint. And in fact, I walked away with a bit of a crash. These days, we actually live in the same town. And in the years since I met him BJ and I’ve become close friends and have worked on lots of projects together in the death and dying realm. But that’s the thing I want to emphasize about our talk today. BJ and I both come to our work from our own traumas, but we’re also very far out from them. And it’s something I always want to stay aware of. Since I know that many of the people who come to both of us are still in the throes of their pain. We get pretty candid in today’s conversation, BJ’s, given a ton of incredible interviews, did I mention Oprah? But I really wanted you to get a chance to know the BJ I’ve come to know and love.

Claire  02:50

You and I both tell this story, our story of what changed in our lives and how what led us down this path. And I mean, I say it all the time. I’ve heard you say yours. I say mine, both of my parents got cancer when I was 14, my mom died when I was 18. My dad 25. But like, it’s interesting, because it’s not that I don’t connect to it, but so much good has come from it that I no longer think of it as this horrible thing. So it’s not that I don’t feel this emotional pain. It’s just that it’s not really there anymore. Yeah. But I think about people who right now are struggling and going through something big and something really hard. And that seems so far away. Right? Like when you’re in the middle of something, when you’re right in the throes of despair, grief or trauma, listening to somebody be like I said, the pain is not even there anymore. And it’s you know, here I am. How do you think about that?

BJ Miller

Yeah, that’s really important to mention. It can be not only not helpful, but actually unhelpful for us to sit here now. It was so far removed from some of that action. And so yeah, it’s not bad, it’s good. You know, that is not very helpful. And of course, that wasn’t the process for either of us. And there were years and ongoing anxieties around it. I mean, I was deeply impacted by that, it doesn’t go away. And you only get to make these kinds of statements about you know, the good that’s come from it down the road, and you can’t leapfrog to the meaning making and the lessons learned. Someday there’s a leap of faith, I think for all of us, especially sitting in the midst of a pandemic that someday you know, we may get to that sort of sweet other side and get to reflect on this experience once we’re through it in so many ways, you know, and once we’ve had time to sit with it and accommodate these changes in our lives and, but we can’t do that. Now. That’s like I said, not only not helpful but probably hurtful. The truth is to get there, you got to go through this weird desert filled with surprises and pains and triumphs and surprise, surprisingly joyful moments and that didn’t take years.

BJ Miller  04:59

One of my favorite and most interesting things you ever said to me was in that very first meeting that we had at the Zen Hospice project, and you said that when you woke up from your accident, you know, a third of your body or more was gone. But nothing had really changed about you. I mean, obviously, so much had changed, but like, you weren’t gone. This physical parts of you are gone. But you weren’t gone. Can you say more about that? I think about it all the time.

BJ Miller 

I mean, when I was in the burning it, there were plenty of joyful moments. You know, like, invariably time with friends who’d come visit or nurses whom I got very close. Some of the funniest people I’ve met, in my whole experience, where the burn techs who work in what was called the tank room, which is horrible. I mean, it’s a torture. It really is a torture chamber. I mean, that is daily where you go and you sit under this hose and people debrief the birth to me, they’re plucking dead skin off. And it’s, I mean, you’re there screams coming from the room that every day, you can hear the metal cart coming to fetch you to take you to the tanker, it is truly torture. Oh, it’s horrible. There’s no spinning that as anything good. Well, I suppose there is. I mean, that is how you survive. But there was one tech, she was freaking hilarious. She had a flask with her every day that I remember. And so she’d be sipping from this flask in the tank room. I mean, it’s obviously coping, and she’s just cracking these crazy jokes. And anyway, I would be intermittently […], like, busting up laughing and wailing, you know, in the same breath, you know, it was just it was that’s the kind of mix you get this, you get is, this explosion clears this huge space. And what you have access to is the full panoply of emotions and thoughts and, you know, feelings you never knew a body could feel. And while that’s miserable in a lot of ways, it’s also expansive in a way you can see what a body can take, and what people can do for each other, you know, so that’s all happening too. And it’s not sequential. It’s not like the hard stuff first, and then the good stuff comes. It’s all this swirling heap in any one day, it was filled with all of it.

BJ Miller  07:15

Yeah, it was just just like you say it was just sort of, it was a very, it’s a poignant realization, it’s not an idea, like you and I are talking about this, we’re not just our bodies. And that, you know, we could kind of ponder that and, you know, digested and analyze it and even though we think that to be true, and we follow it up as an idea, that doesn’t do justice to the moment where you’re looking at your dad’s body, or I’m looking at my body and just knowing viscerally not an idea, but knowing in my bones that we are not just our bodies. And the feeling that goes with that the aesthetic of that is really stunning and gorgeous and important. Because there’s a lot of relief in that statement too. I think once you’re prime to understand that in your bones, well, then it becomes part of your coping mechanism. You can look around and whatever your body’s doing, or not doing or however much you hate, or love your body in any one moment. There’s relief knowing there’s more to your own life and more to life than yourself and more to your own life than your body. And this gives you other ways it gives you a way to relax into it gives you a way to kind of get proportional with your worries. I guess my point here is there’s a lot of relief because depressurizes our bodily life to do everything. It blows us into a bigger world than ourselves. It connects us to other things seen and unseen. And these are some of for me, the favorite sort of lessons or fallout to come from this experience. As I get to know this, I get to feel this. And it’s reified in our work too, all the time. But that just makes me less afraid to die, makes me less afraid to lose whatever body part I’m going to lose next, you know, because I know there’s more going on than just that us all the time.


So this way of looking at your body, you were primed for this a little bit by your mom, right, because she’s in a wheelchair.

BJ Miller 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I was around disability as a young, my mom had polio and post-polio syndrome. So for my whole life, I have been around disability so I hadn’t had reason to think about these things and to know and to learn from the disability rights movement. And I have pondered the issues around disability which are really kind of fascinating and especially through a civil rights lens, and an access lens and a weapon. Next, the human being a human being lens, you know, like, am I less of a person because I have fewer body parts? No, you and I know, that’s crazy talk. But that will take a lot of folks many years to really believe. I mean, I’ve known a lot of folks back in the early days when I was in rehab a lot, especially the young men that I was around who didn’t have a mom like mine. I watched a lot of people sort of seem to have to hate themselves and hate their bodies and hate their lives. It was almost part of their process for months or years, until they realize that some of the things we’re talking about one way or another, but I didn’t have to go..

Claire  10:37

You messed up at some point, though, right?

BJ Miller

Oh, for sure. And I still do my body drives me nuts. And, you know, I’m tempted to say things like, it fails me now. And again, there’s parts of it that I really don’t like, don’t get me started in a full-length mirror right now, you know, like, So, I mean, but this is such a good […]


Those kind of guys didn’t have to, I mean, those guys had to go through something that you didn’t quite because of your mom.

BJ Miller

Yes. And I could have these feelings. Like I can still have these feelings now. But I know, I also know, these feelings have a proportionality. Because I also know what we were just saying before that we aren’t just our body, etc, etc. So I can kind of localize and contextualize these feelings. I mean, I think that’s a very important message that things like just because you’ve walked through these particular kinds of woods, or versions of these woods, doesn’t mean you’re done with fear, or shame, or body image issues or anything else. Or, you know, before and after the act, we still have all these same insecurities, the same sort of particulars that idiosyncrasies this little thought loops that go nowhere, I have all the same, you know, my persona is much the same. The losses are obvious, but the gains are sense of perspective of how-to kind of keep context around some of those feelings. So I think the goal is to become fearless. The goal is to learn how to live with fear. That’s a really important distinction, just to pick fear as one.

Claire  12:01

What about shame, how to live with shame?

BJ Miller 

Yeah, I mean, shame is one of those buggers. I mean, I’m not really trying to change the world so much is I’m […] to help myself and others live with the world, you know, and yes, there’s some that’s overly Pat, there’s a lot of changes that can happen and need to happen. But, you know, I’m trying to like if I’m trying to get rid of anything as skim that shame level off the top, because you know, like depression, mental health issues, for example, anxiety, depression, classic in this country, there’s a lot of shame around that. So in other words, we’re saying to each other, not only do you have to feel shitty around anxiety to depression loss, then you have to feel shitty for feeling shitty, like you have to feel bad for feeling bad. That’s just mean, you know? And what purpose does that possibly serve? So that kind of shame, I am actually am trying to append that I am trying to get rid of that. And at the same time..


When did that, like when was your shift? And I mean, I’m sure there were 1000.

BJ Miller 

Well, I was already engaged on some level with mom, I was or who was herself has been something of an activist in her own local community, too. So she was pushing some of these buttons herself. And I was, you know, privy to these conversations before my accident. And I was increasingly as I became more confident or secure myself wanting to kind of fight that war with her and push back on idiots who parked in the handicapped parking zone. So just be a couple minutes, or what’s the big deal are, you say stupid things to my mom in a wheelchair, you know, just, you know, I was beginning to mobilize my own advocacy and activism around those issues just on behalf of my mom and what I was learning. So when it became my turn, it was years of so it was gradual of years of just trying to get through the day, trying to deal with my own pain, trying to like get myself to like, you know, get on a dance floor or have a girlfriend again, are just all these sort of things are trying to like ram yourself fit back into the world and demand on some level, you know, it was empowering for me is I really had to demand my place a little bit. People weren’t handing it to me, they’re handing it to me it was in this sort of bow of specialness, like special needs special your special, which is such a friggin trap. Because if you buy into that you bought into you’re separate from everybody else. And it might have this like toothy grin to it like special with a bow. But trap trap trap trap, you are buying into this idea that you’re separate from, and that’s where so much the trouble, so how did you demand it? Just I force myself to wear shorts, I forced myself to go out in public in the world.

Claire  14:40

And when you say wear shorts for people who aren’t familiar with you, can you explain what that really means for you to have worn shorts?

BJ Miller 

Well, they make your prosthetic legs or to look like normal legs have the shape and the color and you know, the impulse is trying to hide it, you know? And that’s some of the messages you receive is that’s what you should do. That’s the polite thing. To do or something like that. So, you know, wearing shorts, revealing my legs, you know, was sort of a little kind of activism, like, how’s the world gonna wrap his mind around who’s able bodied happens around the importance of disability if they don’t see any disabled people around, you know, like, so trying to be visible, you know, as an activism?


And did you have both positive and negative reinforcement for that?

BJ Miller 

Oh, absolutely. I mean, the norm back then this was just around the time with the Americans with Disabilities Act was coming online. So this was this straddles on where those sort of old thinking and new thinking but the norm was, you know, people would treat you either one of two ways, either like some Jesus figure, like you have some special knowledge or special power, like you’ve survived this thing. So you must have some special power. And so they’ll treat you as differently in this glorified way and project all this specialness on you, which is just such a setup for you to disappoint because I am not Jesus. So there’s that version, or the other version is the sort of Frankenstein one where people are like, repulsed by your body. I mean, I remember so many examples where I’d come around a corner and bump into someone and someone didn’t have like, didn’t have time to look at me and kind of themselves prepared. And I would see these looks of horror and disgust come on their face in ways they couldn’t control it. They were just reflexes.

Claire  16:28

What did that feel like to you?

BJ Miller 

Hard. Not pleasant. I mean, I couldn’t get find a lot of beauty in my body. I could find beauty and be trying to find beauty. I could try and beauty and trying to be out there. Like I admired that.


That’s like the opposite of having shame about feeling shame.

BJ Miller 

Yeah, right on. Right. And I couldn’t work. I work that, you know, so. But no, in general, it felt horrible. I remember one time I was getting a massage. And usually I would warn people just because I didn’t want to, you know, go and shop for a massage appointment or something. And, you know, then have to back well, I just for my own expectation would want and then I remember one time I didn’t. And she stopped early massage said so I can’t I’m sorry, I can’t do this. I’m too upset. It’s too upsetting. And it’s just like..


I have chills. Yeah. There’s this other really interesting thing I heard you say just recently, I’d never heard you say this. You were talking about suffering. And you said suddenly, after your accident, people able to see that you were suffering in an external way, when you had felt like you were suffering internally, but no one would recognize it. Can you explain that a little bit?

BJ Miller 

You know, I was white. I was a man. I grew up in suburbia, I had parents who were together and who loved me. I was at Princeton. And so on some level, you would look at me and go, why, what do you have to be sad about, you know, it’d be a something of that refrain. people not understanding how you know how just because you have a certain education doesn’t buy you happiness, or just, you know, etc. But people project this all the time. And so, I would try to share my anxieties, and I just sounded like a spoiled brat, you know, and I would see people just not, no one was moved by what I was selling. So I’m just what did that do, but shut me up. And shame me for having daring to be sad when I had all this good luck. So I could control all that, you know. And so then all of a sudden, my body looked all messed up and funky and weird, and obviously a source of some amount of pain at some point. And then the worlds gave me some more space and more credit, in a way, you know, like I belonged in the club now. And I feel that all the time when I bump into patients, or folks or who have had, like, all sorts of misfortune, I’ll get a nod or a wink from a lot of people, because ostensibly I’m in that club somehow. I don’t even know what that means. But I’ll feel that from people. And so all that is to say, to your point, the injuries on some level, help my external life, approximate my inner life, felt broken and disjointed and a fish out of water and not understanding this thing called life or being human. And so in some ways, it was welcome.

Claire  19:23

How can we do that better for people who don’t have an external, obvious sign of how they’re feeling inside? You know, what could we be doing better? Because I think so many of us are walking around day to day struggling and it’s not recognized or it’s not allowed.

BJ Miller 

So I think what is an all of us, myself included, just starting with presuming that anyone we’re talking to that we’re not that we’re there’s all sorts of things that we’re not seeing going on for them. And just assume that, you know, assume that the people we’re talking to have some access to pain because they’re human beings, I don’t know a human being who has not suffered, I think we really get into trouble when we start comparing and contrasting our sufferings. That is a deeply flawed enterprise. And as a dead end, I guarantee you so catching yourself when you’re comparing sufferings who, who’s more, who’s better, who deserves what, just say, hey, life’s hard, I just say being a human being is a difficult enterprise period. No matter how fortunate or unfortunate we are, it is not an easy thing to be a human being, period. Start there. So we give each other that space that credit that room and that love, you know, so that’s one thing another is on for those of us to dare to wear your literally or metaphorically dare to wear your shorts, you know, like, reveal yourself, even if you’re going to get stung, even when you can, this is like you don’t owe the world. It’s not a sacrificial pursuit, but into the enterprise of being part of this good change. Reveal yourself. And you know, yeah, maybe people are gonna treat you like Jesus or Frankenstein, maybe who knows. But when you can muster that energy, it’s good for you. And it’s good for the world for these things to be shown and revealed.


I know you and I have talked about imposter syndrome, right? Where both these people who are supposed to know so much about death and grief and loss and life and we’re just still regular people. I feel like you do a better job than I do of what do you always say? Like, you keep people’s expectations about you really low? How do you do that?

BJ Miller  22:00

Well, you know, sometimes it’s, you know, one too many cocktails at an event, sometimes being slightly like I play with my eye, you know, I don’t do it all that much anymore. But I really do I play with my look, how I come off. So I don’t wear white coat as a doctor I wear these clothes with have holes in them. And, you know, I admittedly, it’s somewhat it’s an affected state because I am trying to provoke what gets respect? What’s normal? What’s abnormal? I am taking that on. So yeah, I do play with that sometimes to my peril. But oftentimes, to my great joy. And I do you think the world does respond well to playfulness, especially amidst pain. So I think often the in sometimes, I know, I rub people the wrong way with some of that. And I get forced people to look at their own opinions that way. But I also know it does that playfulness can be it can help people; a lot of people don’t know what to say to someone in a body like mine. And if I’m sort of playing with it, that kind of sets a nice tone that, you know, hey, let it rip. You know, don’t muzzle yourself, I’d rather you say something crazy. And then we can process it or own you know, whatever. So I invite that kind of stuff. And just talk about it. I you know, I don’t hide my imposter syndrome concerns very much, you know, of course, I think those are I’ve come to think of them as pretty normal for someone who gets an outsized attention.

BJ Miller 

And I also kind of see like, if something’s saying I hit upon and I love it is if I can’t change if I can’t change someone or something. I know next up is love it. And then I’m just done my enterprises just to love it. So this imposter syndrome thing, just presume that these impulses, even if they feel self-low, they are problematic, if they keep coming, assume they’re trying to assume they have a point assume they’re coming from something. So this imposter syndrome well, okay, well, maybe it’s an impulsive me that wants to make sure I don’t become an arrogant jerk. You know, maybe it is just a simple way of staying humble and not losing sight of all the things I don’t know and don’t understand. Maybe it’s a way to sort of be back any, you know, hierarchy that forums when people project good things on you, they start putting you on a pedestal. And so the higher you go on a pedestal, the more separation between you and people around you. So noting the imposter syndrome is another way just bring yourself back down to earth don’t open up that gap between yourself and others. You know, those are very lovely impulses, you know, so try to see the upshot of that imposter syndrome impulse and work with it. I think that’s actually a pretty sweet way to go. So I don’t fight that syndrome anymore. I don’t think it reflects me having this deep-seated insecurity or something that I’ve got to overcome. No, it’s just a way of keeping myself in check, which sounds actually pretty smart.

Claire  25:01

You always make me feel better about being human. I think you make everybody feel better about that.

BJ Miller 

Well, that is so much the idea by the way, you know, that is on purpose. For myself included not as like some public service. I want to feel okay about being human, too.


One of the last things I want to tell you about and remind you of was a time that you took me on your motorcycle. Do you remember that? Tell us a little bit about your motorcycle for a minute.

BJ Miller 

Oh, I love that thing. I mean, I’ve always I’ve just, I grew up on a bicycle, you know, I just went on two wheels all my life, I just love. It’s one of my favorite aesthetic feelings as being on two wheels. So whenever I get a chance, I’m on my bicycle or my motorcycle. So motorcycle was a big dream after my accident. I mean, in the years after my injuries, I spent not an insignificant amount of time trying to do things that just sounded crazy or hard to push back on this perception of limits, and to see and to try to find real limits, not just serve supposed or presumed limits. So I you know, tried just about everything, like skiing and stuff, you know, all sorts of fun just to see if I could do it didn’t matter if I enjoyed it, I needed to know where my limits were so and part of one of the things on my list was to try to ride a motorcycle again. And what really, for the first time, I’d spent a lot time on bicycles and scooters, but I had never really ridden a motorcycle, which I had to lie about when I go to these motorcycle shops because they didn’t want to know what happened to touch man walking these motorcycle shops and like, Hey, I’d love to talk to you about trying to get on a bike, and I need some help figuring it out. And I do that every so often when I had time and over years.

Claire  26:44

Because one of your arms ends at the elbow.

BJ Miller 

Yeah. And no feet. So you know, so all sorts of issues. And so I’d go in these shops and try to enlist their creative juice to help me figure out how to do this. And everyone turned me wait, no, no one was like, you can just watch them. I don’t want that on. They don’t want that on their hands, putting this guy on a bike. Until finally. So I started lying. I started saying that I had a lot of experience before my accident riding a motorcycle. That was not true. But it worked. And so the stored scooter Rio West in San Francisco, and specifically with Randy, who was the mechanic was like, hell, yeah, work on this. And so he figured out a way how to rig the bike, so I could ride it. And only after he did that I had to go pick up the bike. I had to go I didn’t have a license. I couldn’t even take a class because I couldn’t use a regular motorcycle to take a class I had to get the motorcycle first and then ride it home from the scooter […] across the Golden Gate Bridge without a license and never having no motorcycle. And I ride out of the driveway oh, terrifying and hilarious and awesome. I mean, I just it was on the Golden Gate Bridge. And I just remember I just like, I just wanted to scream and squeal with delight, but also screamed like I wanted to warn everybody around me. I just, it was just a wild mix of fear and excitement. I just remember Randy and Randy was like my dad was there. Randy and my dad were crying when I just sped off, you know, down the alley, and into the sunroof at sunset and this motorcycle. And then I circle back to Randy and some I’d never written one before. And I really think he was actually pretty pissed about that.

BJ Miller  28:27

It all worked out. And there’s a great story that Randy and I had some real life together thanks to that motorcycle. He ended up being, he ended up being a patient and dying with us at Zen Hospice. Not too long after that. So anyway, there there’s lots to say about that. But that’s the motorcycle so for me it means it’s symbolic as an adaptive response to this world as a daring courageous thing is a fun as hell thing is. Being on a motorcycle is like a meditation. I can’t like my mind can’t run my body and mind are sort of in sync and it is very much meditative for me and I friggin love it. And it’s dangerous and it’s stupid, too.


I remember that that ride that you took me on. I didn’t live here yet. And we went it was around sunset and we just went you know, just around Mill Valley. And it’s so pretty here the redwoods and the trees and I remember being on that bike and being kind of scared. I was like, can we drive this thing? But exhilarated too but then I remember having this one moment where I thought wow, neither of us would be here or know each other had not all this hardship, awful shit happen to us, you know. And here we were, like riding this motorcycle in this beautiful place that sunset and you know, it’s everything all wrapped up together in those moments.

BJ Miller 

Yes, exactly. And that’s I think what we keep pointing to it is not one or the other. It’s not. You can’t leapfrog to this the Triumph II stuff and it is this swirling heap. And if you’re paying attention at all, it all makes the pain is the foil for the joy and the joy kind of pops in the, and the joy fills your tank. So you’re ready for the next pain and you’re just it’s such this admixture and you try to pull it apart at your peril. It doesn’t work as it works and as an ensemble. And you can’t just have part without, you know, if you want to just have part of that mass and you get none of it. You have to, on some level, get the whole enchilada.

Claire  30:27

On that note, thank you. I’m coming over later. I’m going to bring cocktails, we’ll keep talking. Thank you so much, BJ.

BJ Miller 

Thank you, Claire.


It’s always, always fun to talk to you. And I just thank you for being who you are.

BJ Miller  30:41

Thank you. It’s such a joy.


Every time I talked to BJ; he leaves me with some nugget of wisdom. My favorite part from this interview was when he said, so I don’t think the goal is to become fearless. The goal is to learn how to live with fear. It’s like when I remind my kids that being brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you are scared, but you did the scary thing anyway. For this week’s practice, I want you to think about reframing what you consider to be your flaws and what you fear others will judge you for. What would it mean to wear your shorts and reveal yourself, maybe wear that bathing suit, even if you didn’t lose your COVID weight yet, or ever plan to. Go without makeup. This one’s for me. I’m always wearing makeup. Stop wearing a hat to hide that thinning hairline. We’re all aging and changing all the time. It’s okay to see it. And then there’s the emotional stuff. I have clients who will say something like I was triggered at work today or in a public space and I had to force myself not to cry.


But why? Allowing ourselves to cry in front of others is a way of owning our own feelings and giving others permission to cry as well. These are all the things we’ve been told our forms of weakness, but we can choose to reframe them. For BJ, wearing his shorts as a radical form of activism, something we can all be adapting in our own unique ways. BJ likes to say that he always likes to keep the bar low. But I think what he’s really doing is just teaching all of us how to be more real. So if you’re left wanting a little more of BJ Miller, I really recommend his book, A Beginner’s Guide To The End Practical Advice For Living Life and Facing Death. Vijay is also the founder of an incredible company called Metal Health which offers online palliative and holistic care to anyone in the United States and you don’t need a doctor’s referral to reach out to them for help. We’ll put a link in the show notes. I hope you’ll tune in again next week for a conversation with the Lumineers Jeremiah Frates and his wife Francesca Lazzarin about what it’s like to be a couple in the pandemic, making art moving countries and being together all the time.


NEW DAY is a Lemonada Media Original. The show is produced by Jackie Danziger, Liliana Maria Percy Ruiz and Erianna Jiles. Kat Yore is our engineer. Music is by Hannis Brown. Executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Lily Cornell Silver and Claire Bidwell Smith. NEW DAY is produced in partnership with the Well Being Trust, The Jed Foundation and Education Development Center. Help others find our show by leaving us a rating and writing a review. Follow us at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms, or find me at clairebidwellsmith.com. Join our Facebook group to connect with me and fellow NEW DAY listeners at facebook.com/groups/newdaypod. You can also get bonus content and behind the scenes material by subscribing to Lemonada Premium. You can subscribe right now on the Apple podcast app by clicking on our podcast logo and then the subscribe button. Thanks for listening. See you next week.

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