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Podcast Ep. 24: Busy Philipps Gets Real About Emotional Healing, Parenting, and Authentic Self Discovery (without Ayahuasca)

In this episode

Justin first met Busy Philipps when they both went to the same high school in Scottsdale, Arizona. He knew her as a totally unique and artsy kid who danced to her own beat. They hung out in similar circles, and so I got to know her well enough that when she broke into the entertainment industry with a major role in the iconic “Freaks and Geeks,” it was absolutely no surprise to me. 

In her book, This Will Only Hurt a Little, Busy describes herself as a sparkly person and not in a self-important way. It's actually unassuming in matter of fact, when she describes it, and the thing is, it's a perfect description. She's always had that sparkle, even back in high school, and now we get the chance to bring that sparkle on The Family Thrive Podcast. 

We cannot express to you how much we loved talking with Busy. We covered childhood trauma, becoming a better parent, doing the deep inner work of healing our emotional wounds, showing up as an authentic, connected parent and human in the world, and we covered way more than that. We'll just stop this intro now so you can hear our conversation with the wise and talented and truly sparkly, Busy Philipps.

Listen here

About our guest

Busy Philipps is an actress, author, and — most importantly — a mom. Be sure to check out her amazing book, This Will Only Hurt a Little, and her podcast “Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best.” You can also keep up with Busy and her kids on Instagram!


Show notes

  • Caissie St. Onge is Busy’s co-host on “Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best.”
  • To check out the Hoffman Institute Foundation, click here.
  • Ayahuasca is a psychedelic used in a number of South American rituals that revolve around spiritual enlightenment. There are a number of retreats that offer safe and legal ayahuasca-assisted therapy like the Ayahuasca Foundation in Peru and Behold Retreats in Costa Rica.
  • "Internal Family Systems is a transformative, evidence-based psychotherapy that helps people heal by accessing and loving their protective and wounded inner parts...like members of a family." (IFS Institute) 
  • To learn more about the “Nice White Parents” podcast, click here!

Transcript highlights


2:37

Justin: Ok. Busy, I want to start off with a podcast-related question. So it's when I listen to your podcast. You and Caissie do so well together interviewing a guest and I wonder, do you have some secret hand…

Audra: Hand signals or something?

Justin: Secretly signals that you give each other as to when to talk and when not to talk? Because Audra and I will talk over each other all the time?

Busy: Yeah. Well, no. But you know, we've worked together for several years now, and I think that we just sort of naturally know when one person wants to jump in and the other. You know. Also, we do edit it and we aren't sitting next to each other. So even if I do jump in or she jumps on to something I'm saying in the edit, we can take it out.

Justin: Ah, so it's all, so you handle it in post.

Busy: But I would say that like, we have a good ability to kind of take turns.

Justin: Yeah, because it flows really well. And I think, Oh, man, Audra and I are like, we're always like, Wait, no, you, you go and...

Audra: And we’re married too. That's just like, I don't have a problem with interrupting.

Justin: With just saying, shut up. I have a question. Yeah, yeah.

Busy: I mean, I think that that makes sense. And I think we just sort of naturally take turns. And I have to say, you know, a lot of times I don't do a ton of research on… I swear to God just because I like, I don't know a lot of times it's people that I know or I've known for a long time, and I just want to hear what they have to say.

So we really genuinely have to listen because both of us because that's I mean, that's how the questions come organically from what the person we're interviewing is telling us. You know.

Justin: I love it. Well, that is. So that's the approach that Audra takes. Most of the time is like, let's just do.

Audra: I did the research for you.

Justin: Yeah, and I right know on this one, she did some research, the podcast, the book, the shows, typically I'm the one with like a sheet, just…

Audra: He has a plan and then I derail it.

Justin: Just go with the flow. Ok, but with this one Busy, oh my gosh, we both yeah, absolutely. Read the book.

Audra: I listened to it.

Justin: Podcast.

Busy: I feel like this is like a rare opportunity I haven't ever like been interviewed by someone I went to high school with who like knew me then.

Justin: Yes. Oh, Busy, it was so great. first of all, the entire book, not just the high school section, was riveting for me. I couldn't read it as I was trying to go to sleep because I wouldn't go to sleep. I'd like still be up at like one in the morning, but oh, I loved it. And Busy was, oh, I mean, there was so much just realness.

And then, of course, also knowing the real names of some of the people that were mentioned in the book, I absolutely loved it. One thing that was impressed upon me was how much pot I smoked in high school. And so it was just like there was a kind of fog over some of it. I was like, Oh yeah, I think I remember some of these things and…

Busy: You were there for some of it!

Justin: I was there for some of it. Yes, and I have, I keep telling Audra like, I have this distinct memory of hanging out at a park. Busy’s there. She's on a swing set and I like so it's just too much to eat.

Audra: Too much weed.

Justin: Yeah, too much.

Audra: If there is such a thing.

Justin: But oh my gosh, busy was so like there was so much depth and realness. I mean, in the whole book, but especially when you write about your childhood and then when things get really intense from middle school and to high school. So I want to know thinking back now to those times like middle school and high school, and now that your kids are moving into this area, what are you taking from that time because you talk about some really intense stuff like really intense. And so, how does this now inform what's happening for you as your kids start to move into this time?

Busy: Well, I mean, listen, it’s hard because no matter what, everything is always changing. You know what I mean? But what a few things stay the same, which is that if you don't talk to your kids about stuff, they'll never know and you'll never know, what's possible or what they're curious about or what even is happening out there. And sometimes look as cool as I may seem, my 13-year-old is very quick to remind me that I'm super lame and I don't know anything.

And so then I just very, you know, without judgment, say, right, I'm just asking, I'm asking you to explain it to me. Explain to me what this is. Explain to me what that is.

You know, I had a conversation with some friends the other day whose kids are actually older than Birdie, Birdie’s 13. And I said, “Oh, have you guys talked to your kids about fentanyl being laced in like prescription medication?” And how like, they're not, you know, they really need to not take any prescription medication. And if they see a kid overdosing like you, it's like, you know, you have to get the Narcan. And my friends were like, Birdie 13, why would you have that conversation? And I was like, I know a woman in Los Angeles who's like 14, 15 year old died because he thought he was buying Adderall or something on, you know, online and it was laced with fentanyl. And he died like, you know, a good kid. Like, these are they're all good kids. Justin, you and I were good kids. We just did a, we just had a lot of time with them, you know.

Justin: Not a lot of supervision.

Audra: Right thing. Right, right. And your cannabis wasn't laced with fentanyl.

Busy: Yeah. I mean, no. And I mean, but the truth is, if it had been, my parents wouldn't have talked to me about that. And I, you know, I think that the thing that is true about being an adult is the same thing that is true about being a kid and a teenager, which is that information is power and there is nothing ever bad about information.

Information helps you make good choices. It helps you take responsibility for your actions. It helps you, you know, move through the world in a way that you can feel good about. If you're making decisions from a place of not having the information. Well, then I guess you're like half the country, but you know. I don't want to raise those kids. Like, I want my kids to always be able to ask. I was embarrassed to ask questions.

Justin: Oh, absolutely.

Audra: Same here.

Justin: And Busy, one of the things that comes up right away is in your book, how your parents read your diary and this interaction, it just really impressed, like that felt so real and common, and they didn't know anything about you at that time like it was really. It was like they didn't know who you are or what you were up to. And I wonder now how much that informs this desire to really open the communication channels, no matter what between you and your kids.

Busy: Yeah, I mean, it's huge. It's also trust is huge, you know, and I think that even kids should be allowed to have private thoughts and keep their diaries and you know.

Justin: Absolutely, absolutely.

Busy: But also, if you cultivate the kind of relationship with your children, kids are going to lie. That's just a baseline. I'm not an idiot, you know what I mean? But if you cultivate the kind of relationship with your kids that allows them to be able to tell you the truth, they will tell you the truth way more than…

Justin: Yeah, yes.

Busy: And so there will always be things that kids are hiding from their parents, but just has to be, they have to they're trying to find autonomy. They're trying to be their own people. And the trick, as a parent, is to know that they're allowed to be their own people and to give them the permission to be their own person so that they don't actually feel like acting out in ways that could be dangerous to them or their friends or put them in harm's way or just in bad situations that that's not going to be the way that they go.

Audra: It's such a powerful point. Yeah, I so I cried at the end of chapter five of listening to you. Listening to you is the best, and I pick my son up from high school and I'm listening to your book. And, but I cried at the end of chapter five, when you're talking about your sister holding Birdie and loving her. And for me, that chapter was so much about cycle breaking. And what I hear you talking about now is cycle breaking that our kids aren't just a perpetuation of us in everything we've been through, like the dynamics of your mom and her sister sort of like, you know, kind of like perpetuated into how your mom saw you and your sister. And then the fear around like, are we just perpetuating this? And no, you're not. And your kids are just an extension of you, right? They're their own people. They're affected by you.

Busy: Yeah, it’s so interesting. I just went and did this, if you heard any of the recent podcast, I went into the Hoffman Institute. Which is…

Justin: We’ve got questions, we got questions. Tell us more.

Busy: The Hoffman Institute is essentially all about breaking the generational trauma and the patterns that get passed down. And, you know, I have done and continue to do a ton of work, but I will say I have found myself in a place where I was like, I am repeating so much of this stuff. I am seeing it being acted out in my own home and I need to figure this out. What the fuck am I doing? Yeah. Hoffman Institute is for those of you who haven't heard my podcast where I talk about it for two hours. It's a seven-day intensive, immersive, experiential like therapeutic retreat.

Justin: It sounds amazing. I mean, it sounds absolutely amazing.

Busy: It's hard. It was hard. It was work like it was not—it wasn't easy. And you know, the people that are in your session. I mean, I feel like bonded to these people for life. Like you know, these 224 other people, some of them you feel like you know them better than you've known, like your own family because. You just crack it all wide open and rebuild it like. It's so interesting. I had kind of a real, a real like boulder hit me in the soul like a week after I got back and I thought, Well, I failed. I failed. And that's part in that email from Hoffman, the like showed up in my inbox the next day that was like the subject line was “So I think I failed the Hoffman process.” And it's like, you can’t fail, it's like an ongoing thing. And of course, life is going to come and punch you in the gut, and you have to return to the work and remind yourself of how you reprogram your brain because we just are. You get so programmed.

Justin: Oh wow. Wow. So, yeah, I had saved the Hoffman questions till later in the interview. Busy, but now, oh my gosh. So I imagine so much of this is about. Well, there's two. There's two things that I'm thinking in relation to parenthood here. The first thing is going back into childhood and processing some of the patterns that built up in childhood. So my question is, without getting too into your own childhood, what has come up now in the weeks since? How are you bringing this into your own parenting now?

Busy: It looks different. I'll just be honest, you know, and my kids are like adjusting. But it is hard because they're 13 and eight and Birdie is 13. But really Birdie's like 13 going on 45. And so Birdie, especially in the beginning, was like, Oh, you're all zen now because you went to your retreat and you learned a different way to communicate.

Audra: That's amazing with you.

Justin: Not to interject myself into your story, but, I, a year and a half ago, went through some really intense therapeutic work for myself, and it really transformed my parenting, especially with my daughter. And so what did she call it? Where she calls me the namaste dad. Yeah. Like, Oh God, the namaste, stop it. Just stop it.

Audra: Without the man bun.

Justin: I have to tell you like it has, it has totally transformed my relationship with her and. And so even through all of the criticism and the snarkiness like, Oh, there's just this really beautiful relationship that has unfolded.

Busy: So Justin, I'll say, like, you know, Birdie is a tough cookie in a lot of ways and had started this teen pre-teen teen thing a while back where they were just like, didn't want any physical attention from me or their dad. And I will say, so, I've been back a month now. Birdie, like, is really deeply hugging me now. So, you know, we're still getting like, you know, the snarkiness eye rolls and like, why don't you clear your plate to the table? Why don't you, you know, like that does still happen. But you know, it's also like there are no shortcuts in any of this stuff. And even like your therapeutic work, Hoffmann Institute for a week, it's not a shortcut. I wasn't fixed in seven days and there's no fixing anyway.

Justin: Busy. So this is oh, this is one thing in doing this therapeutic work I thought that it was something like where you do get fixed right. Then I realized that it's just like any other health behavior like I. I'm not going to do a 30 day gym thing and to be like, ok, that's it. I'm done. Like, I don't ever have to go back to this gym again, you know. Like, Oh, you got to keep going back. It is daily. It's the daily work.

Busy: It is. And I think that we are, I mean, you know, just culturally in this moment, especially, you know, we all want it to just be done. We want to get it done, but. The thing that I've been kind of trying to hold on to is like, if we do a good enough job, then it's not just that each generation does a little bit better than the one before. It's a shift. It's like a seismic shift forward in consciousness and really being human.

Justin: Absolutely, oh my gosh. So this brings me well, ok, now this is another question, I think in yeah, one of the recent podcasts you talked about talking to your ancestors. Now I'm like, super interested in this. Are you able to talk about this or is this, can we not go there?

Busy: I mean, no it's interesting. It's just, it's a real journey. There's no drugs. I do want to say that like, I have no, I've never done psychedelic-assisted therapy, but I know people swear by it and I know it's hell. I mean, it's helped lots of friends of mine like Ayahuasca or any other one.

Justin: Exactly. When you originally said you were going on the retreat of like, Oh, she's going to Costa Rica to do a ceremony.

Busy: Yeah. No. I honestly Justin, I feel like I did so many drugs in high school. Freaks me out.

Justin: Seriously, there is a virtue to kind of getting it all out in high school, you know, because then you can get your shit together later on.

Busy: Yeah, I just because of how many drugs I did in high school, I can also understand how some of that stuff works for people. My big thing always in high school was whenever I would do what, we called it ecstasy back then.

Justin: I guess right now it's MDMA.

Busy: I wouldn't think I had a bunch of things figured out. I could just never hold on to it.

Justin: Oh, well, that was my, I like the mushroom LSD trips.

Audra: You held on to some of those I thought. I mean, there can be a transcendent essence that you hold on to.

Justin: Yes. But I remember distinctly several trips back in high school of thinking I found it. Like, I mean, I found the meaning of life, like I discovered it and then wake up the next day and damn it, it's gone.

Busy: Mine were always mostly like, boy-related.

Justin: No cosmic truths or anything.

Busy: No it was mostly just about boys. But yeah. So there was no drugs at Hoffman. And, but you do deep meditation and like visioning, and you do a lot of like body brain spirit connection. So there's a lot of movement with intention. And you know, it's also interesting they ask you not to do anything that you habitually do for the week that you're there. So obviously that there's no drugs or alcohol, you're asked not to work out if working out is something that you do daily, which I, it was something that I was doing daily, so I couldn't work out. They ask you not in, no TV, no music, no music.

Justin: Oh my god.

Busy: No books. Like no computers...

Justin: Your love for music just comes out. Oh yeah. I can't imagine a whole week without music for you, right?

Busy: It was really hard, but it also was incredible because I was able to really get still and really, I think that so much of these things we fill our lives with to block the voice inside. That's really our guiding light and our guiding principles.

Justin: That’s true. Yeah. Yes. Yeah.

Busy: And that voice sometimes is saying like some real uncomfortable stuff. So you're just like, Well. If I just play this music real loud and I work out, you know, exactly, and I got three tequilas tonight, like that voice is going to shut up. And I think that part of where I had gotten to several years ago, like five years ago, was that I had effectively stopped listening to that voice at all, and I didn't know who I was six years ago. And once I kind of rediscovered it, the last six years has just been a journey of continuing to figure it all out and really tap into what do I feel like is right for my life and my kids lives and the people that I'm responsible to and who are my family? And I think that when you are a person who has decided to stop asking those questions. It's a sad day, which would like just continually be asking ourselves that question.

Audra: Yeah, oh yeah. So this is hard work. I mean, this is like digging and doing that. Doing this inner work is really, really, really tough. It has the motivation of your husband, your kids. Is that something that brought you into it listening again six years ago?

Busy: Yeah. And I think just, I think just taking stock of the world, even like remeeting you guys and going to the fundraiser and seeing what you had turned, you know, the hardest situation that a parent could be faced with into such good and such good-ness. And I just like more of that. I wanted to try to focus on more of that in like a very genuine way, not in a savory way. I'm not... But I do think that it all starts, you know, from yourself. And it's hard to move from an authentic place if you're not living an authentic version…

Justin: If you're not in touch with it. Yeah. Busy. I don't know if Hoffman does any internal family systems work? Have you heard of Internal Family Systems?

Busy: No, I don't think so.

Justin: Oh my gosh, because it's...

Busy: Writing it down.

Justin: Yeah, I can't wait to introduce you to one of the books but it’s, the whole purpose is to really get to a point where we can relax all of the protector parts of it. When you talked about the working out in the music and it's like all of that is there, we have these parts that have learned how to protect the emotional wounds that we hold. And so it's and we have 1,000,000 different ways to protect this.

But if we can find a way to get in touch with these protector parts and have a relationship with them where we can relax, get them to relax and just calm down a bit and then we can have access to this true self like everybody has this true self that is full of all the wisdom and courage and connection. And yeah, that's it.

Busy: It seems honestly like the same theoretical ideas.

Justin: Totally.

Busy: Because Bob Hoffman, like in the ‘50s or whatever, he came up with the process. It's all about like, yeah, there's this core right of you and that's your being and surrounding it, he calls it like negative love syndrome is what he calls it. And those are just all the things that were built up as survival when you were a very, very small person in your family. And those are the things that just become like bedrock to you… being. Able to access that emotional, pure core. And I thought, like, I said this on my podcast, like, I did think that this white rage and anger and unsettled thing in my core was just a part of me, and that all I could hope for, for my life was to just manage around it like a really big dining room table that's too big for the room. Just scooch around it. But through that week, they really it's like gone, it's shattered. It's gone and it's pretty incredible. Feels great.

Justin: Ok, so have you been able to experience a new parenting relationship mojo?

Audra: So like, what's it like coming home? What does it look like?

Justin: Yeah, like and parenting from that true self?

Busy: Yeah, I have. Here's what I'm going to say. I have like things that come to me now where I'm like, Oh, Birdie needs X, Y and Z, you know, like, I'm just like, I can just, I just know what it is. I called Mark the other day and I was like, Birdie and Cricket need, not a ton of time, just like 20 or 30 minutes of alone time with each one of us individually every single fucking day. And they need to know that they're getting it, and that's what it is. If they want to sit there on their phone and show me Tic Tocs or whatever they want to do, whatever they want.

Justin: Wow, Busy, you had mentioned this, I think, on the podcast where you drove back from D.C. and you said something to the effect that like you just knew you needed to spend some one on one time with Birdie, like you just knew it. And that hit me. Like, I was like, Oh, that's that feels so wise and like so connected. And I just want to know, how did you know that that needed to happen? And you just explained it.

Busy: Yeah. Even just the, having the realization that I needed to learn how to play Nintendo with Cricket. My eight-year-old does not want to do arts and crafts with me. She does not want learn how to knit. She does not want to bake with me. These are all the things that inspire you. I enjoy doing those things. She wants to play Minecraft and Mario. Yeah, and like. And so I  had this like a lightning bolt. Like, Oh, I have to sit down and I need, if I want to engage with this kid, I need to show an interest in a thing that they like. Like in what she's interested in, that's important to kids, that makes them feel seen and understood.

Audra: Yeah, it's big. It's really big. It's because parenting, I mean, so much of parenting, it seems to me to be just managing us, like managing ourselves in a way of like and being aware. It's like, Yeah, I want to bake. And then I try to transfer that onto my kid, right? But to be able to really listen and show up for them is all about doing that work. It's really powerful.

And I love hearing about it from you, and I love that you are so vocal and open and vulnerable on your podcast and that you share on social media because I do think it matters to people. I do think it matters to moms all over who are often dependent on narratives they like pick up or how they were raised or whatever.

We often, I mean, I've seen it in the childhood cancer world over and over again. Moms often rely on a way to do it or a narrative. It's like we need permission from someone else before we find it inside sometimes. And I think it's really powerful to have examples out. People that are open enough as you are to be able to share how you navigate this and share that doing the work is important. Like, it's hard work doing this work. But there's like, is there anything more important in life? And it's like short time that we have.

Busy: No.

Audra: With all of the unknown?

Busy: No, and it's all there is. like it's literally all there is now. And you look at like, I think especially in the last couple of years, obviously. I think people get sort of just overwhelmed globally by everything that you're seeing and witnessing and feeling like, what are we doing?

What's the point? I'm just going to have another glass of wine. I'm like, whatever. Yeah, fuck it, right?

But the truth is these little people change it all. Like all of them, to get like, we all can do it. It just is not, you know, this is not, no man is an island. No woman is an island, no person is an island. This is like a thing that we collectively have to be committed to raising good kids. I'm going to say a thing. Maybe it shouldn't. But whatever I got into, like a little bit of a thing, there was a kid that is not my child, and I said I was like intervening in a way. And Mark was like, you don't have to. This is so you, don't, don't do it, whatever. Don't do this. You know, he was kind of like erring on the side of like, we don't want people to feel like. And I was like, No, dude, it's 100% my business. That child's welfare is my business. Making sure that kid is taken care of is my fucking business.

Justin: And yes, it takes a village.

Busy: And it's like, so what so somebody might say, you've overstepped. Ok. Is the kid safe and being taken care of? Then I don't care, right?

Audra: What's more important?

Busy: Yeah, right. What are we afraid of? I had a woman once, like I was like about to lose my shit. When one of my kids was little and a woman in the bathroom at I think I was in the airport was like just had a very gentle nice like word of kindness toward me. And if you're a mom and you've ever and maybe Justin, I don't know about dads, I can't speak to your bathroom experiences. But I know...

Justin: We are silent.

Busy: I know that I've been in multiple bathrooms, like in airports and sports arenas or whatever, where I've overheard a mom on the edge and, or hotels. And if there's ever a time to just like with all the compassion you can say, “you're doing great, mom. I know it's hard. Can I hold something for you? Do you need anything?” Without judgment. It is like a game-changer because it makes first of all, if the mom is and I think probably people listening have heard this before, the mom is like really losing it.

Maybe they're saying some things that they will regret saying to their kid, and it just causes them to pause and like, get outside of themselves. And if you can really do it just genuinely from a place of like, I'm just, I'm there, I've been there. Can I get you something? Do you need water? Like I've, I gave a woman a bottle of water once like they just, do you need some water here? I bought too many. You know it can, like, shift your whole day and we…

Audra: It can shift the world.

Busy: Yes, and people get so weird about interacting. And yes, what's the worst issue she can tell you? Like to go mind your own business and whatever, and then you can be like, ok, thank you, you know, like…

Audra: What’s the worst, right? Right. Like, I feel this is like the big shift that you're talking about, and I love it because it's about showing up. I feel like our time is super limited here on this earth in this form. And how do we want to approach each day together, right? And I look back on like growing up in the ‘80s, I remember being in like a subway, you know, my dad's family's from Manhattan. And I remember I think we experienced a moment of racism, of course, of somebody yelling at a Black guy in the train and everybody freezes is like, but it's not our place. It's not our place to say anything. Yes, it's our place. And it's a big shift in maybe for our generation are really, really big shift of it. So it is our fucking place show up.

This is like the moment, the moments we have, and I feel like I experience that from you just being one of your many followers on social media because you show up and you speak your mind and you stand up for people and you genuinely talk about things and causes that are important to you. Like women's reproductive rights, for one of the many things the MeToo movement moment when you showed up there, I realized for the first time, like looking back on and, you know, I graduated high school in ‘95. So all of those years, you know, the girl who was raped by the whole football team. And I remember that like ‘91 and be like, oh, that was normal. That was just normal. The things that we accept that we don't have to accept. And then most importantly, when you talk about the major shift in humanity, if we can model this for our kids as you're modeling this as we're doing, if we can model this for our kids, I mean, the change is exponential. It's not just like one step more it's exponentially more. And I think that it's so powerful.

Busy: And you know, it's so funny, like Birdie. I'll brag on my kid for a minute, but they have such an incredible ability to recognize injustice, in their own world at school, and I mean, you know, their kids, their worlds are pretty small and to stand up for what they really believe is right. Birdie went to the dean of their school and like without even talking to me and Mark about a thing that was affecting them and a couple of the other, a couple of other kids in their pod that had been like sort of a consistent issue that Birdie was like, this just isn't being handled well enough for me. Like, I need you to do better. What? Well, yes, I can’t even imagine back then. I would never...

Audra: Oh, it's incredible.

Justin: Ok, so Busy. You today would certainly do something like that. Would you have done that at age 13?

Busy: Well, I mean, in terms of like the things that Birdie is standing up for, no, like I felt and I wrote about it in the book. I definitely felt, you know, as a girl and a young woman that I had to be able to take it and that, you know, my body could be a joke for boys. My sexuality could be a joke for boys or girls. You know that I was a woman, person, young woman person was at the mercy of a culture where that was the normal. And if I wanted to succeed and I wanted to just and I wanted to get through it, I had to learn how to laugh, learn how to take it, learn how to move through these things.

So like toxic male culture, essentially. Upholding a patriarchal, toxic white supremacist male culture, Birdie has zero-tolerance for any of that. And you know, it still exists. These kids are, you guys have a teenager like, you know, there's still, things get said, words are used, and Birdie just is like, absolutely not. It's unacceptable. I have another friend whose kid is 16 I think now, who at Summer Camp, a boy did a thing, dropped a thing down her shirt and then did another thing. And she told the counselors about it, and he was sort of just slapped on the wrist. And then he did another thing to her, and she went to the head of the camp and was like, I need my parents to be called and I need that kid's parents to be called, and I'm not going to return to camp unless he's gone. It's like, you don't get to misbehave like this. This is my boundary.

Audra: Yeah, that's exponential. That's exponential change.

Justin: Yeah. Like when we were all growing up. Yeah, that would have never even been brought to a counselor. It just was…

Audra: I never would have said a word. I never would have said.

Justin: And so Busy I. So the question that I have because there's so much in the book. Well, I mean, it's so clear it's not even about the book, but just who you are as an adult, really vulnerable, authentic, real. And so I'm wondering, was there a specific turning point for you in young adulthood or at any point in time where you're like, You know what? Like, I am who I am, and I'm just going to put it out there? Or was this a gradual shift?

Busy: Well, I mean, I think that there was a part of me that was always doing that. I think it was just difficult depending on how it was received by certain, you know, and I think I spent a long time trying to mold myself into an idea that I didn't believe in. You know, I think that gets like, where is, it wears you out.

And I do think that our generation like Gen X specifically and maybe some millennials, older millennials, maybe I do think we reached especially women. I think we reached like our tipping point where we kind of like we can't. I actually just can't hold this shit anymore. I'm just not going to.

Justin: Was there a single tipping point for you or was this a more gradual shift?

Busy: I mean, once Trump really came into the zeitgeist in a real way, like before he was president, but just when he sort of took the national stage in such a way. We were kind of living in a little bit of an Obama bliss, I think. And once that started happening and I started to see the reactions from people around the country, I I started to have like that feeling not like sickening feeling from high school, you know? And I thought, well, I can't. What are we doing? How is it? How is this happening?

And that's when it all started to become, like, the movie Memento. Yeah, replaying like every three years, ahead. And you're like, Wait. Monica Lewinsky was a victim, you know? Yeah, yeah. You know, that's like, you know, the programming is, the social programming is deep. The river runs deep for all of us. And whether you're like political affiliations or whatever they are, there is no denying social programming.

And so I think that that shift where it just became so clear, you know, coupled with the fact that like you know, the LGBTQIA movement has been like able to make such major inroads in terms of rights like our trans friends and families, you know, are able to like have been able to really come out in such an amazing way and we've been able to, this is all part of like the shift right in consciousness because really ultimately and Birdie is non-binary, but like, that's the been the biggest realization I've had in the last year, which is just like, it's all about just dismantling the binary, like all, all of it. Which people don't. I don't think it's like when you say that some people are like, turn you off, they can't even comprehend.

Audra: I think it's amazing. It's so rad. And to me, it says a lot about your family and your relationships and your family dynamics. And I know so for The Family Thrive, what we're working on now is our focus is really on mental and emotional health for parents and so that we can break those cycles and make that change to produce a healthier family environment for our kids so that we can change the paradigm, change the world. We believe that that's what will happen when we do that work.

But hearing about not only Birdie coming out but then telling you, yeah, talk about on the potty, it's fine, anybody can know about this, like that badass, beautiful confidence and empowerment that I feel like hearing that like that. How, so there's a lot of us other moms out there who would like to be like, I want to be that mom. I so want to be that mom where my kid can come out to me, and it is something that they feel super safe.

So what kind of like, oh, like, how did you get there with them? Like, is it something that for both kids, even like do kind of like normalize in a sense? Like, did you defy the binary in your conversations before that? Or is it just that you had an open relationship? Like, what is that? How did that work for you?

Busy: Well, a couple of things. Like I do think that it's important to remember the thing that my mother always used to say to me. Actions speak louder than words. I think that we can say a lot of things to our children, but what they really know is what they see. So even as a woman breaking like body issues for myself, for the kids, it started with me being very disingenuous to be honest. And despite making a conscious decision that I was not going to talk about my body or anyone else's body. And I wasn't. And I was going to wear bathing suits and I would always get in the pool and I was not going to, like, pull my clothes like I made like a mental list. Of all the things that I felt like I needed to change, I wasn't comfortable. Do you know what I mean? Like, I still think about my own body and kind of free of it now, which is great. But so, yeah, you know, sometimes fake it till you make it does work.

Audra: Right? But modeling, Yeah, what you're modeling.

Busy: But even if I never shifted my body perspective that had been programmed into me, at least I could try to curb some of the programming in my kids. So in terms of how they identify gender-wise and who they want to love, we do have, I do have friends who I, you know, are trans, who identify as non-binary. I have lots of friends who are gay, who are married. You know. I do have that.

That is a thing that has been experienced in my family, from my kids when they were really little. And I think it just makes the difference. And culturally too, like, I think that's that's a thing too like and sometimes maybe I don't know. I don't listen to a ton of podcasts, so I don't know if other parenting podcasts have like, I know there's that like [Nice] White Parents podcast.

Audra: Is it about White parents? What is it called?

Busy: It's like to be a, nice White parent. But so I was going to say, I don't know if they deal with this on that or if they ever dealt with that on this podcast. But like several, several years ago, I did. I don't even know if I'd had Cricket yet, but I was like, “We need some more diversity in our friend group.” And you know, and especially living in Los Angeles, which is like, weirdly, very still segregated place in terms of housing, like we were. And I just was like, I don't like this for myself and I don't like this for what my kids see. So you can make, I mean, you can make choices like how you live your life.

Audra: Yes. Yes. Was New York a great change for that? I mean, we moved to LA from New York, and I remember being astounded. I was like, People just avoid the things that make them uncomfortable in LA and in New York. I mean it, even in the areas of extreme wealth. I mean, it's still just so much more diverse and alive.

Busy: Well, yeah, I mean, socioeconomically, like, I don't even think there is like one area that's like super-wealthy. Everything in this city is a melting pot, you know, like, it is incredible. I think the first weekend we were here, a little over a year ago, we were walking around and Birdie was like, “Oh, look, there's a Pride flag in the window. Is this like their West Hollywood?” And I was like. “No, no, this is New York City. This is New York.” And I was like. It's everywhere, like everyone is everywhere, and that's just the way that it is. And I think that it has offered the kids, yeah, like a really incredible perspective shift. Also.

Audra: I totally resonate with that.

Busy: Like obviously Mark and I, their parents both work in entertainment. But you know, it can be, in LA you can get really overwhelmed with an idea that that's all there is in the world. Here people's parents do all kinds of things.

Yeah. And I think and it's not like Birdie's set apart because of what their parents do, and it's not as though there are some kind of weird competition because of what their parents do, which, by the way, I had found in LA with some of the kids like comparing how famous their parents were, like oh no.

Audra: It's so bizarre.

Justin: Who's higher up in the titles? So I know that you have to go. So we have three questions that we ask every guest on the show. And so we're just going to shoot them at you rapid fire. the first one. Busy. If you could put a post-it note on every parent's fridge tomorrow morning, what would that post-it note say?

Busy: Compassion for yourself.

Justin: Compassion for yourself. Beautiful.

Busy: Maybe the compassion for yourself is too long on a post-it note, so maybe just be kind to you.

Justin: Be kind to you. And then is there a quote that you, I know this one's tough. Just think off the top of your head. But has there been a quote lately that has changed the way you think or feel?

Busy: Yeah, you got to be able to hold both. That’s been my mantra. You got to be able to hold both.

Justin: Beautiful. All right. So the very last question is we'd like to ask this because raising kids is hard and it's nice to take a step back and think about what is so great about kids. So Busy, what do you love about kids?

Busy: All of their ideas and the things they have to say. I was in my room reading last night and I overheard Cricket telling Mark a story, and I was laughing so hard from the other room, just listening to this person tell this animated story about what had happened at school that day. And I think that being present and being open to listening to what your kids have to say without judgment, without correcting, without making it teachable is the best.

Justin: That's it. That's it. That's the thing. Beautiful. Are busy. Thank you so much for your time. This has been such a joy for us.

Audra: It really has.

Busy: Thank you. Let me know if you guys come to New York!

Justin: Oh for sure. For sure.

Audra: We’re in Savannah, Georgia, so let us know if you ever come to Savannah.

Busy: You guys moved to Savannah?

Justin: Yeah, we moved to Savannah, Georgia. That's right. Yeah.

Audra: It’s our type of thing, it's like the kids were like, “Let's get out of Orange County, guys, see the world differently.”

Busy: I love Savannah. I'm not kidding.

Justin: Yeah. Oh, that's awesome.

Audra: We love it.

Busy: All right, it was so good to see you guys.

Audra: Yeah. Thank you again.

Justin: Have a wonderful day.

Busy: Okay. Bye.


Podcast Ep. 24: Busy Philipps Gets Real About Emotional Healing, Parenting, and Authentic Self Discovery (without Ayahuasca)

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Podcast Ep. 24: Busy Philipps Gets Real About Emotional Healing, Parenting, and Authentic Self Discovery (without Ayahuasca)

We cannot express to you how much we loved talking with Busy. We covered childhood trauma, becoming a better parent, doing the deep inner work of healing our emotional wounds, and showing up as an authentic, connected parent.

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90 minutes

In this episode

Justin first met Busy Philipps when they both went to the same high school in Scottsdale, Arizona. He knew her as a totally unique and artsy kid who danced to her own beat. They hung out in similar circles, and so I got to know her well enough that when she broke into the entertainment industry with a major role in the iconic “Freaks and Geeks,” it was absolutely no surprise to me. 

In her book, This Will Only Hurt a Little, Busy describes herself as a sparkly person and not in a self-important way. It's actually unassuming in matter of fact, when she describes it, and the thing is, it's a perfect description. She's always had that sparkle, even back in high school, and now we get the chance to bring that sparkle on The Family Thrive Podcast. 

We cannot express to you how much we loved talking with Busy. We covered childhood trauma, becoming a better parent, doing the deep inner work of healing our emotional wounds, showing up as an authentic, connected parent and human in the world, and we covered way more than that. We'll just stop this intro now so you can hear our conversation with the wise and talented and truly sparkly, Busy Philipps.

Listen here

About our guest

Busy Philipps is an actress, author, and — most importantly — a mom. Be sure to check out her amazing book, This Will Only Hurt a Little, and her podcast “Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best.” You can also keep up with Busy and her kids on Instagram!


Show notes

  • Caissie St. Onge is Busy’s co-host on “Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best.”
  • To check out the Hoffman Institute Foundation, click here.
  • Ayahuasca is a psychedelic used in a number of South American rituals that revolve around spiritual enlightenment. There are a number of retreats that offer safe and legal ayahuasca-assisted therapy like the Ayahuasca Foundation in Peru and Behold Retreats in Costa Rica.
  • "Internal Family Systems is a transformative, evidence-based psychotherapy that helps people heal by accessing and loving their protective and wounded inner parts...like members of a family." (IFS Institute) 
  • To learn more about the “Nice White Parents” podcast, click here!

In this episode

Justin first met Busy Philipps when they both went to the same high school in Scottsdale, Arizona. He knew her as a totally unique and artsy kid who danced to her own beat. They hung out in similar circles, and so I got to know her well enough that when she broke into the entertainment industry with a major role in the iconic “Freaks and Geeks,” it was absolutely no surprise to me. 

In her book, This Will Only Hurt a Little, Busy describes herself as a sparkly person and not in a self-important way. It's actually unassuming in matter of fact, when she describes it, and the thing is, it's a perfect description. She's always had that sparkle, even back in high school, and now we get the chance to bring that sparkle on The Family Thrive Podcast. 

We cannot express to you how much we loved talking with Busy. We covered childhood trauma, becoming a better parent, doing the deep inner work of healing our emotional wounds, showing up as an authentic, connected parent and human in the world, and we covered way more than that. We'll just stop this intro now so you can hear our conversation with the wise and talented and truly sparkly, Busy Philipps.

Listen here

About our guest

Busy Philipps is an actress, author, and — most importantly — a mom. Be sure to check out her amazing book, This Will Only Hurt a Little, and her podcast “Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best.” You can also keep up with Busy and her kids on Instagram!


Show notes

  • Caissie St. Onge is Busy’s co-host on “Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best.”
  • To check out the Hoffman Institute Foundation, click here.
  • Ayahuasca is a psychedelic used in a number of South American rituals that revolve around spiritual enlightenment. There are a number of retreats that offer safe and legal ayahuasca-assisted therapy like the Ayahuasca Foundation in Peru and Behold Retreats in Costa Rica.
  • "Internal Family Systems is a transformative, evidence-based psychotherapy that helps people heal by accessing and loving their protective and wounded inner parts...like members of a family." (IFS Institute) 
  • To learn more about the “Nice White Parents” podcast, click here!

In this episode

Justin first met Busy Philipps when they both went to the same high school in Scottsdale, Arizona. He knew her as a totally unique and artsy kid who danced to her own beat. They hung out in similar circles, and so I got to know her well enough that when she broke into the entertainment industry with a major role in the iconic “Freaks and Geeks,” it was absolutely no surprise to me. 

In her book, This Will Only Hurt a Little, Busy describes herself as a sparkly person and not in a self-important way. It's actually unassuming in matter of fact, when she describes it, and the thing is, it's a perfect description. She's always had that sparkle, even back in high school, and now we get the chance to bring that sparkle on The Family Thrive Podcast. 

We cannot express to you how much we loved talking with Busy. We covered childhood trauma, becoming a better parent, doing the deep inner work of healing our emotional wounds, showing up as an authentic, connected parent and human in the world, and we covered way more than that. We'll just stop this intro now so you can hear our conversation with the wise and talented and truly sparkly, Busy Philipps.

Listen here

About our guest

Busy Philipps is an actress, author, and — most importantly — a mom. Be sure to check out her amazing book, This Will Only Hurt a Little, and her podcast “Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best.” You can also keep up with Busy and her kids on Instagram!


Show notes

  • Caissie St. Onge is Busy’s co-host on “Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best.”
  • To check out the Hoffman Institute Foundation, click here.
  • Ayahuasca is a psychedelic used in a number of South American rituals that revolve around spiritual enlightenment. There are a number of retreats that offer safe and legal ayahuasca-assisted therapy like the Ayahuasca Foundation in Peru and Behold Retreats in Costa Rica.
  • "Internal Family Systems is a transformative, evidence-based psychotherapy that helps people heal by accessing and loving their protective and wounded inner parts...like members of a family." (IFS Institute) 
  • To learn more about the “Nice White Parents” podcast, click here!

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Transcript highlights


2:37

Justin: Ok. Busy, I want to start off with a podcast-related question. So it's when I listen to your podcast. You and Caissie do so well together interviewing a guest and I wonder, do you have some secret hand…

Audra: Hand signals or something?

Justin: Secretly signals that you give each other as to when to talk and when not to talk? Because Audra and I will talk over each other all the time?

Busy: Yeah. Well, no. But you know, we've worked together for several years now, and I think that we just sort of naturally know when one person wants to jump in and the other. You know. Also, we do edit it and we aren't sitting next to each other. So even if I do jump in or she jumps on to something I'm saying in the edit, we can take it out.

Justin: Ah, so it's all, so you handle it in post.

Busy: But I would say that like, we have a good ability to kind of take turns.

Justin: Yeah, because it flows really well. And I think, Oh, man, Audra and I are like, we're always like, Wait, no, you, you go and...

Audra: And we’re married too. That's just like, I don't have a problem with interrupting.

Justin: With just saying, shut up. I have a question. Yeah, yeah.

Busy: I mean, I think that that makes sense. And I think we just sort of naturally take turns. And I have to say, you know, a lot of times I don't do a ton of research on… I swear to God just because I like, I don't know a lot of times it's people that I know or I've known for a long time, and I just want to hear what they have to say.

So we really genuinely have to listen because both of us because that's I mean, that's how the questions come organically from what the person we're interviewing is telling us. You know.

Justin: I love it. Well, that is. So that's the approach that Audra takes. Most of the time is like, let's just do.

Audra: I did the research for you.

Justin: Yeah, and I right know on this one, she did some research, the podcast, the book, the shows, typically I'm the one with like a sheet, just…

Audra: He has a plan and then I derail it.

Justin: Just go with the flow. Ok, but with this one Busy, oh my gosh, we both yeah, absolutely. Read the book.

Audra: I listened to it.

Justin: Podcast.

Busy: I feel like this is like a rare opportunity I haven't ever like been interviewed by someone I went to high school with who like knew me then.

Justin: Yes. Oh, Busy, it was so great. first of all, the entire book, not just the high school section, was riveting for me. I couldn't read it as I was trying to go to sleep because I wouldn't go to sleep. I'd like still be up at like one in the morning, but oh, I loved it. And Busy was, oh, I mean, there was so much just realness.

And then, of course, also knowing the real names of some of the people that were mentioned in the book, I absolutely loved it. One thing that was impressed upon me was how much pot I smoked in high school. And so it was just like there was a kind of fog over some of it. I was like, Oh yeah, I think I remember some of these things and…

Busy: You were there for some of it!

Justin: I was there for some of it. Yes, and I have, I keep telling Audra like, I have this distinct memory of hanging out at a park. Busy’s there. She's on a swing set and I like so it's just too much to eat.

Audra: Too much weed.

Justin: Yeah, too much.

Audra: If there is such a thing.

Justin: But oh my gosh, busy was so like there was so much depth and realness. I mean, in the whole book, but especially when you write about your childhood and then when things get really intense from middle school and to high school. So I want to know thinking back now to those times like middle school and high school, and now that your kids are moving into this area, what are you taking from that time because you talk about some really intense stuff like really intense. And so, how does this now inform what's happening for you as your kids start to move into this time?

Busy: Well, I mean, listen, it’s hard because no matter what, everything is always changing. You know what I mean? But what a few things stay the same, which is that if you don't talk to your kids about stuff, they'll never know and you'll never know, what's possible or what they're curious about or what even is happening out there. And sometimes look as cool as I may seem, my 13-year-old is very quick to remind me that I'm super lame and I don't know anything.

And so then I just very, you know, without judgment, say, right, I'm just asking, I'm asking you to explain it to me. Explain to me what this is. Explain to me what that is.

You know, I had a conversation with some friends the other day whose kids are actually older than Birdie, Birdie’s 13. And I said, “Oh, have you guys talked to your kids about fentanyl being laced in like prescription medication?” And how like, they're not, you know, they really need to not take any prescription medication. And if they see a kid overdosing like you, it's like, you know, you have to get the Narcan. And my friends were like, Birdie 13, why would you have that conversation? And I was like, I know a woman in Los Angeles who's like 14, 15 year old died because he thought he was buying Adderall or something on, you know, online and it was laced with fentanyl. And he died like, you know, a good kid. Like, these are they're all good kids. Justin, you and I were good kids. We just did a, we just had a lot of time with them, you know.

Justin: Not a lot of supervision.

Audra: Right thing. Right, right. And your cannabis wasn't laced with fentanyl.

Busy: Yeah. I mean, no. And I mean, but the truth is, if it had been, my parents wouldn't have talked to me about that. And I, you know, I think that the thing that is true about being an adult is the same thing that is true about being a kid and a teenager, which is that information is power and there is nothing ever bad about information.

Information helps you make good choices. It helps you take responsibility for your actions. It helps you, you know, move through the world in a way that you can feel good about. If you're making decisions from a place of not having the information. Well, then I guess you're like half the country, but you know. I don't want to raise those kids. Like, I want my kids to always be able to ask. I was embarrassed to ask questions.

Justin: Oh, absolutely.

Audra: Same here.

Justin: And Busy, one of the things that comes up right away is in your book, how your parents read your diary and this interaction, it just really impressed, like that felt so real and common, and they didn't know anything about you at that time like it was really. It was like they didn't know who you are or what you were up to. And I wonder now how much that informs this desire to really open the communication channels, no matter what between you and your kids.

Busy: Yeah, I mean, it's huge. It's also trust is huge, you know, and I think that even kids should be allowed to have private thoughts and keep their diaries and you know.

Justin: Absolutely, absolutely.

Busy: But also, if you cultivate the kind of relationship with your children, kids are going to lie. That's just a baseline. I'm not an idiot, you know what I mean? But if you cultivate the kind of relationship with your kids that allows them to be able to tell you the truth, they will tell you the truth way more than…

Justin: Yeah, yes.

Busy: And so there will always be things that kids are hiding from their parents, but just has to be, they have to they're trying to find autonomy. They're trying to be their own people. And the trick, as a parent, is to know that they're allowed to be their own people and to give them the permission to be their own person so that they don't actually feel like acting out in ways that could be dangerous to them or their friends or put them in harm's way or just in bad situations that that's not going to be the way that they go.

Audra: It's such a powerful point. Yeah, I so I cried at the end of chapter five of listening to you. Listening to you is the best, and I pick my son up from high school and I'm listening to your book. And, but I cried at the end of chapter five, when you're talking about your sister holding Birdie and loving her. And for me, that chapter was so much about cycle breaking. And what I hear you talking about now is cycle breaking that our kids aren't just a perpetuation of us in everything we've been through, like the dynamics of your mom and her sister sort of like, you know, kind of like perpetuated into how your mom saw you and your sister. And then the fear around like, are we just perpetuating this? And no, you're not. And your kids are just an extension of you, right? They're their own people. They're affected by you.

Busy: Yeah, it’s so interesting. I just went and did this, if you heard any of the recent podcast, I went into the Hoffman Institute. Which is…

Justin: We’ve got questions, we got questions. Tell us more.

Busy: The Hoffman Institute is essentially all about breaking the generational trauma and the patterns that get passed down. And, you know, I have done and continue to do a ton of work, but I will say I have found myself in a place where I was like, I am repeating so much of this stuff. I am seeing it being acted out in my own home and I need to figure this out. What the fuck am I doing? Yeah. Hoffman Institute is for those of you who haven't heard my podcast where I talk about it for two hours. It's a seven-day intensive, immersive, experiential like therapeutic retreat.

Justin: It sounds amazing. I mean, it sounds absolutely amazing.

Busy: It's hard. It was hard. It was work like it was not—it wasn't easy. And you know, the people that are in your session. I mean, I feel like bonded to these people for life. Like you know, these 224 other people, some of them you feel like you know them better than you've known, like your own family because. You just crack it all wide open and rebuild it like. It's so interesting. I had kind of a real, a real like boulder hit me in the soul like a week after I got back and I thought, Well, I failed. I failed. And that's part in that email from Hoffman, the like showed up in my inbox the next day that was like the subject line was “So I think I failed the Hoffman process.” And it's like, you can’t fail, it's like an ongoing thing. And of course, life is going to come and punch you in the gut, and you have to return to the work and remind yourself of how you reprogram your brain because we just are. You get so programmed.

Justin: Oh wow. Wow. So, yeah, I had saved the Hoffman questions till later in the interview. Busy, but now, oh my gosh. So I imagine so much of this is about. Well, there's two. There's two things that I'm thinking in relation to parenthood here. The first thing is going back into childhood and processing some of the patterns that built up in childhood. So my question is, without getting too into your own childhood, what has come up now in the weeks since? How are you bringing this into your own parenting now?

Busy: It looks different. I'll just be honest, you know, and my kids are like adjusting. But it is hard because they're 13 and eight and Birdie is 13. But really Birdie's like 13 going on 45. And so Birdie, especially in the beginning, was like, Oh, you're all zen now because you went to your retreat and you learned a different way to communicate.

Audra: That's amazing with you.

Justin: Not to interject myself into your story, but, I, a year and a half ago, went through some really intense therapeutic work for myself, and it really transformed my parenting, especially with my daughter. And so what did she call it? Where she calls me the namaste dad. Yeah. Like, Oh God, the namaste, stop it. Just stop it.

Audra: Without the man bun.

Justin: I have to tell you like it has, it has totally transformed my relationship with her and. And so even through all of the criticism and the snarkiness like, Oh, there's just this really beautiful relationship that has unfolded.

Busy: So Justin, I'll say, like, you know, Birdie is a tough cookie in a lot of ways and had started this teen pre-teen teen thing a while back where they were just like, didn't want any physical attention from me or their dad. And I will say, so, I've been back a month now. Birdie, like, is really deeply hugging me now. So, you know, we're still getting like, you know, the snarkiness eye rolls and like, why don't you clear your plate to the table? Why don't you, you know, like that does still happen. But you know, it's also like there are no shortcuts in any of this stuff. And even like your therapeutic work, Hoffmann Institute for a week, it's not a shortcut. I wasn't fixed in seven days and there's no fixing anyway.

Justin: Busy. So this is oh, this is one thing in doing this therapeutic work I thought that it was something like where you do get fixed right. Then I realized that it's just like any other health behavior like I. I'm not going to do a 30 day gym thing and to be like, ok, that's it. I'm done. Like, I don't ever have to go back to this gym again, you know. Like, Oh, you got to keep going back. It is daily. It's the daily work.

Busy: It is. And I think that we are, I mean, you know, just culturally in this moment, especially, you know, we all want it to just be done. We want to get it done, but. The thing that I've been kind of trying to hold on to is like, if we do a good enough job, then it's not just that each generation does a little bit better than the one before. It's a shift. It's like a seismic shift forward in consciousness and really being human.

Justin: Absolutely, oh my gosh. So this brings me well, ok, now this is another question, I think in yeah, one of the recent podcasts you talked about talking to your ancestors. Now I'm like, super interested in this. Are you able to talk about this or is this, can we not go there?

Busy: I mean, no it's interesting. It's just, it's a real journey. There's no drugs. I do want to say that like, I have no, I've never done psychedelic-assisted therapy, but I know people swear by it and I know it's hell. I mean, it's helped lots of friends of mine like Ayahuasca or any other one.

Justin: Exactly. When you originally said you were going on the retreat of like, Oh, she's going to Costa Rica to do a ceremony.

Busy: Yeah. No. I honestly Justin, I feel like I did so many drugs in high school. Freaks me out.

Justin: Seriously, there is a virtue to kind of getting it all out in high school, you know, because then you can get your shit together later on.

Busy: Yeah, I just because of how many drugs I did in high school, I can also understand how some of that stuff works for people. My big thing always in high school was whenever I would do what, we called it ecstasy back then.

Justin: I guess right now it's MDMA.

Busy: I wouldn't think I had a bunch of things figured out. I could just never hold on to it.

Justin: Oh, well, that was my, I like the mushroom LSD trips.

Audra: You held on to some of those I thought. I mean, there can be a transcendent essence that you hold on to.

Justin: Yes. But I remember distinctly several trips back in high school of thinking I found it. Like, I mean, I found the meaning of life, like I discovered it and then wake up the next day and damn it, it's gone.

Busy: Mine were always mostly like, boy-related.

Justin: No cosmic truths or anything.

Busy: No it was mostly just about boys. But yeah. So there was no drugs at Hoffman. And, but you do deep meditation and like visioning, and you do a lot of like body brain spirit connection. So there's a lot of movement with intention. And you know, it's also interesting they ask you not to do anything that you habitually do for the week that you're there. So obviously that there's no drugs or alcohol, you're asked not to work out if working out is something that you do daily, which I, it was something that I was doing daily, so I couldn't work out. They ask you not in, no TV, no music, no music.

Justin: Oh my god.

Busy: No books. Like no computers...

Justin: Your love for music just comes out. Oh yeah. I can't imagine a whole week without music for you, right?

Busy: It was really hard, but it also was incredible because I was able to really get still and really, I think that so much of these things we fill our lives with to block the voice inside. That's really our guiding light and our guiding principles.

Justin: That’s true. Yeah. Yes. Yeah.

Busy: And that voice sometimes is saying like some real uncomfortable stuff. So you're just like, Well. If I just play this music real loud and I work out, you know, exactly, and I got three tequilas tonight, like that voice is going to shut up. And I think that part of where I had gotten to several years ago, like five years ago, was that I had effectively stopped listening to that voice at all, and I didn't know who I was six years ago. And once I kind of rediscovered it, the last six years has just been a journey of continuing to figure it all out and really tap into what do I feel like is right for my life and my kids lives and the people that I'm responsible to and who are my family? And I think that when you are a person who has decided to stop asking those questions. It's a sad day, which would like just continually be asking ourselves that question.

Audra: Yeah, oh yeah. So this is hard work. I mean, this is like digging and doing that. Doing this inner work is really, really, really tough. It has the motivation of your husband, your kids. Is that something that brought you into it listening again six years ago?

Busy: Yeah. And I think just, I think just taking stock of the world, even like remeeting you guys and going to the fundraiser and seeing what you had turned, you know, the hardest situation that a parent could be faced with into such good and such good-ness. And I just like more of that. I wanted to try to focus on more of that in like a very genuine way, not in a savory way. I'm not... But I do think that it all starts, you know, from yourself. And it's hard to move from an authentic place if you're not living an authentic version…

Justin: If you're not in touch with it. Yeah. Busy. I don't know if Hoffman does any internal family systems work? Have you heard of Internal Family Systems?

Busy: No, I don't think so.

Justin: Oh my gosh, because it's...

Busy: Writing it down.

Justin: Yeah, I can't wait to introduce you to one of the books but it’s, the whole purpose is to really get to a point where we can relax all of the protector parts of it. When you talked about the working out in the music and it's like all of that is there, we have these parts that have learned how to protect the emotional wounds that we hold. And so it's and we have 1,000,000 different ways to protect this.

But if we can find a way to get in touch with these protector parts and have a relationship with them where we can relax, get them to relax and just calm down a bit and then we can have access to this true self like everybody has this true self that is full of all the wisdom and courage and connection. And yeah, that's it.

Busy: It seems honestly like the same theoretical ideas.

Justin: Totally.

Busy: Because Bob Hoffman, like in the ‘50s or whatever, he came up with the process. It's all about like, yeah, there's this core right of you and that's your being and surrounding it, he calls it like negative love syndrome is what he calls it. And those are just all the things that were built up as survival when you were a very, very small person in your family. And those are the things that just become like bedrock to you… being. Able to access that emotional, pure core. And I thought, like, I said this on my podcast, like, I did think that this white rage and anger and unsettled thing in my core was just a part of me, and that all I could hope for, for my life was to just manage around it like a really big dining room table that's too big for the room. Just scooch around it. But through that week, they really it's like gone, it's shattered. It's gone and it's pretty incredible. Feels great.

Justin: Ok, so have you been able to experience a new parenting relationship mojo?

Audra: So like, what's it like coming home? What does it look like?

Justin: Yeah, like and parenting from that true self?

Busy: Yeah, I have. Here's what I'm going to say. I have like things that come to me now where I'm like, Oh, Birdie needs X, Y and Z, you know, like, I'm just like, I can just, I just know what it is. I called Mark the other day and I was like, Birdie and Cricket need, not a ton of time, just like 20 or 30 minutes of alone time with each one of us individually every single fucking day. And they need to know that they're getting it, and that's what it is. If they want to sit there on their phone and show me Tic Tocs or whatever they want to do, whatever they want.

Justin: Wow, Busy, you had mentioned this, I think, on the podcast where you drove back from D.C. and you said something to the effect that like you just knew you needed to spend some one on one time with Birdie, like you just knew it. And that hit me. Like, I was like, Oh, that's that feels so wise and like so connected. And I just want to know, how did you know that that needed to happen? And you just explained it.

Busy: Yeah. Even just the, having the realization that I needed to learn how to play Nintendo with Cricket. My eight-year-old does not want to do arts and crafts with me. She does not want learn how to knit. She does not want to bake with me. These are all the things that inspire you. I enjoy doing those things. She wants to play Minecraft and Mario. Yeah, and like. And so I  had this like a lightning bolt. Like, Oh, I have to sit down and I need, if I want to engage with this kid, I need to show an interest in a thing that they like. Like in what she's interested in, that's important to kids, that makes them feel seen and understood.

Audra: Yeah, it's big. It's really big. It's because parenting, I mean, so much of parenting, it seems to me to be just managing us, like managing ourselves in a way of like and being aware. It's like, Yeah, I want to bake. And then I try to transfer that onto my kid, right? But to be able to really listen and show up for them is all about doing that work. It's really powerful.

And I love hearing about it from you, and I love that you are so vocal and open and vulnerable on your podcast and that you share on social media because I do think it matters to people. I do think it matters to moms all over who are often dependent on narratives they like pick up or how they were raised or whatever.

We often, I mean, I've seen it in the childhood cancer world over and over again. Moms often rely on a way to do it or a narrative. It's like we need permission from someone else before we find it inside sometimes. And I think it's really powerful to have examples out. People that are open enough as you are to be able to share how you navigate this and share that doing the work is important. Like, it's hard work doing this work. But there's like, is there anything more important in life? And it's like short time that we have.

Busy: No.

Audra: With all of the unknown?

Busy: No, and it's all there is. like it's literally all there is now. And you look at like, I think especially in the last couple of years, obviously. I think people get sort of just overwhelmed globally by everything that you're seeing and witnessing and feeling like, what are we doing?

What's the point? I'm just going to have another glass of wine. I'm like, whatever. Yeah, fuck it, right?

But the truth is these little people change it all. Like all of them, to get like, we all can do it. It just is not, you know, this is not, no man is an island. No woman is an island, no person is an island. This is like a thing that we collectively have to be committed to raising good kids. I'm going to say a thing. Maybe it shouldn't. But whatever I got into, like a little bit of a thing, there was a kid that is not my child, and I said I was like intervening in a way. And Mark was like, you don't have to. This is so you, don't, don't do it, whatever. Don't do this. You know, he was kind of like erring on the side of like, we don't want people to feel like. And I was like, No, dude, it's 100% my business. That child's welfare is my business. Making sure that kid is taken care of is my fucking business.

Justin: And yes, it takes a village.

Busy: And it's like, so what so somebody might say, you've overstepped. Ok. Is the kid safe and being taken care of? Then I don't care, right?

Audra: What's more important?

Busy: Yeah, right. What are we afraid of? I had a woman once, like I was like about to lose my shit. When one of my kids was little and a woman in the bathroom at I think I was in the airport was like just had a very gentle nice like word of kindness toward me. And if you're a mom and you've ever and maybe Justin, I don't know about dads, I can't speak to your bathroom experiences. But I know...

Justin: We are silent.

Busy: I know that I've been in multiple bathrooms, like in airports and sports arenas or whatever, where I've overheard a mom on the edge and, or hotels. And if there's ever a time to just like with all the compassion you can say, “you're doing great, mom. I know it's hard. Can I hold something for you? Do you need anything?” Without judgment. It is like a game-changer because it makes first of all, if the mom is and I think probably people listening have heard this before, the mom is like really losing it.

Maybe they're saying some things that they will regret saying to their kid, and it just causes them to pause and like, get outside of themselves. And if you can really do it just genuinely from a place of like, I'm just, I'm there, I've been there. Can I get you something? Do you need water? Like I've, I gave a woman a bottle of water once like they just, do you need some water here? I bought too many. You know it can, like, shift your whole day and we…

Audra: It can shift the world.

Busy: Yes, and people get so weird about interacting. And yes, what's the worst issue she can tell you? Like to go mind your own business and whatever, and then you can be like, ok, thank you, you know, like…

Audra: What’s the worst, right? Right. Like, I feel this is like the big shift that you're talking about, and I love it because it's about showing up. I feel like our time is super limited here on this earth in this form. And how do we want to approach each day together, right? And I look back on like growing up in the ‘80s, I remember being in like a subway, you know, my dad's family's from Manhattan. And I remember I think we experienced a moment of racism, of course, of somebody yelling at a Black guy in the train and everybody freezes is like, but it's not our place. It's not our place to say anything. Yes, it's our place. And it's a big shift in maybe for our generation are really, really big shift of it. So it is our fucking place show up.

This is like the moment, the moments we have, and I feel like I experience that from you just being one of your many followers on social media because you show up and you speak your mind and you stand up for people and you genuinely talk about things and causes that are important to you. Like women's reproductive rights, for one of the many things the MeToo movement moment when you showed up there, I realized for the first time, like looking back on and, you know, I graduated high school in ‘95. So all of those years, you know, the girl who was raped by the whole football team. And I remember that like ‘91 and be like, oh, that was normal. That was just normal. The things that we accept that we don't have to accept. And then most importantly, when you talk about the major shift in humanity, if we can model this for our kids as you're modeling this as we're doing, if we can model this for our kids, I mean, the change is exponential. It's not just like one step more it's exponentially more. And I think that it's so powerful.

Busy: And you know, it's so funny, like Birdie. I'll brag on my kid for a minute, but they have such an incredible ability to recognize injustice, in their own world at school, and I mean, you know, their kids, their worlds are pretty small and to stand up for what they really believe is right. Birdie went to the dean of their school and like without even talking to me and Mark about a thing that was affecting them and a couple of the other, a couple of other kids in their pod that had been like sort of a consistent issue that Birdie was like, this just isn't being handled well enough for me. Like, I need you to do better. What? Well, yes, I can’t even imagine back then. I would never...

Audra: Oh, it's incredible.

Justin: Ok, so Busy. You today would certainly do something like that. Would you have done that at age 13?

Busy: Well, I mean, in terms of like the things that Birdie is standing up for, no, like I felt and I wrote about it in the book. I definitely felt, you know, as a girl and a young woman that I had to be able to take it and that, you know, my body could be a joke for boys. My sexuality could be a joke for boys or girls. You know that I was a woman, person, young woman person was at the mercy of a culture where that was the normal. And if I wanted to succeed and I wanted to just and I wanted to get through it, I had to learn how to laugh, learn how to take it, learn how to move through these things.

So like toxic male culture, essentially. Upholding a patriarchal, toxic white supremacist male culture, Birdie has zero-tolerance for any of that. And you know, it still exists. These kids are, you guys have a teenager like, you know, there's still, things get said, words are used, and Birdie just is like, absolutely not. It's unacceptable. I have another friend whose kid is 16 I think now, who at Summer Camp, a boy did a thing, dropped a thing down her shirt and then did another thing. And she told the counselors about it, and he was sort of just slapped on the wrist. And then he did another thing to her, and she went to the head of the camp and was like, I need my parents to be called and I need that kid's parents to be called, and I'm not going to return to camp unless he's gone. It's like, you don't get to misbehave like this. This is my boundary.

Audra: Yeah, that's exponential. That's exponential change.

Justin: Yeah. Like when we were all growing up. Yeah, that would have never even been brought to a counselor. It just was…

Audra: I never would have said a word. I never would have said.

Justin: And so Busy I. So the question that I have because there's so much in the book. Well, I mean, it's so clear it's not even about the book, but just who you are as an adult, really vulnerable, authentic, real. And so I'm wondering, was there a specific turning point for you in young adulthood or at any point in time where you're like, You know what? Like, I am who I am, and I'm just going to put it out there? Or was this a gradual shift?

Busy: Well, I mean, I think that there was a part of me that was always doing that. I think it was just difficult depending on how it was received by certain, you know, and I think I spent a long time trying to mold myself into an idea that I didn't believe in. You know, I think that gets like, where is, it wears you out.

And I do think that our generation like Gen X specifically and maybe some millennials, older millennials, maybe I do think we reached especially women. I think we reached like our tipping point where we kind of like we can't. I actually just can't hold this shit anymore. I'm just not going to.

Justin: Was there a single tipping point for you or was this a more gradual shift?

Busy: I mean, once Trump really came into the zeitgeist in a real way, like before he was president, but just when he sort of took the national stage in such a way. We were kind of living in a little bit of an Obama bliss, I think. And once that started happening and I started to see the reactions from people around the country, I I started to have like that feeling not like sickening feeling from high school, you know? And I thought, well, I can't. What are we doing? How is it? How is this happening?

And that's when it all started to become, like, the movie Memento. Yeah, replaying like every three years, ahead. And you're like, Wait. Monica Lewinsky was a victim, you know? Yeah, yeah. You know, that's like, you know, the programming is, the social programming is deep. The river runs deep for all of us. And whether you're like political affiliations or whatever they are, there is no denying social programming.

And so I think that that shift where it just became so clear, you know, coupled with the fact that like you know, the LGBTQIA movement has been like able to make such major inroads in terms of rights like our trans friends and families, you know, are able to like have been able to really come out in such an amazing way and we've been able to, this is all part of like the shift right in consciousness because really ultimately and Birdie is non-binary, but like, that's the been the biggest realization I've had in the last year, which is just like, it's all about just dismantling the binary, like all, all of it. Which people don't. I don't think it's like when you say that some people are like, turn you off, they can't even comprehend.

Audra: I think it's amazing. It's so rad. And to me, it says a lot about your family and your relationships and your family dynamics. And I know so for The Family Thrive, what we're working on now is our focus is really on mental and emotional health for parents and so that we can break those cycles and make that change to produce a healthier family environment for our kids so that we can change the paradigm, change the world. We believe that that's what will happen when we do that work.

But hearing about not only Birdie coming out but then telling you, yeah, talk about on the potty, it's fine, anybody can know about this, like that badass, beautiful confidence and empowerment that I feel like hearing that like that. How, so there's a lot of us other moms out there who would like to be like, I want to be that mom. I so want to be that mom where my kid can come out to me, and it is something that they feel super safe.

So what kind of like, oh, like, how did you get there with them? Like, is it something that for both kids, even like do kind of like normalize in a sense? Like, did you defy the binary in your conversations before that? Or is it just that you had an open relationship? Like, what is that? How did that work for you?

Busy: Well, a couple of things. Like I do think that it's important to remember the thing that my mother always used to say to me. Actions speak louder than words. I think that we can say a lot of things to our children, but what they really know is what they see. So even as a woman breaking like body issues for myself, for the kids, it started with me being very disingenuous to be honest. And despite making a conscious decision that I was not going to talk about my body or anyone else's body. And I wasn't. And I was going to wear bathing suits and I would always get in the pool and I was not going to, like, pull my clothes like I made like a mental list. Of all the things that I felt like I needed to change, I wasn't comfortable. Do you know what I mean? Like, I still think about my own body and kind of free of it now, which is great. But so, yeah, you know, sometimes fake it till you make it does work.

Audra: Right? But modeling, Yeah, what you're modeling.

Busy: But even if I never shifted my body perspective that had been programmed into me, at least I could try to curb some of the programming in my kids. So in terms of how they identify gender-wise and who they want to love, we do have, I do have friends who I, you know, are trans, who identify as non-binary. I have lots of friends who are gay, who are married. You know. I do have that.

That is a thing that has been experienced in my family, from my kids when they were really little. And I think it just makes the difference. And culturally too, like, I think that's that's a thing too like and sometimes maybe I don't know. I don't listen to a ton of podcasts, so I don't know if other parenting podcasts have like, I know there's that like [Nice] White Parents podcast.

Audra: Is it about White parents? What is it called?

Busy: It's like to be a, nice White parent. But so I was going to say, I don't know if they deal with this on that or if they ever dealt with that on this podcast. But like several, several years ago, I did. I don't even know if I'd had Cricket yet, but I was like, “We need some more diversity in our friend group.” And you know, and especially living in Los Angeles, which is like, weirdly, very still segregated place in terms of housing, like we were. And I just was like, I don't like this for myself and I don't like this for what my kids see. So you can make, I mean, you can make choices like how you live your life.

Audra: Yes. Yes. Was New York a great change for that? I mean, we moved to LA from New York, and I remember being astounded. I was like, People just avoid the things that make them uncomfortable in LA and in New York. I mean it, even in the areas of extreme wealth. I mean, it's still just so much more diverse and alive.

Busy: Well, yeah, I mean, socioeconomically, like, I don't even think there is like one area that's like super-wealthy. Everything in this city is a melting pot, you know, like, it is incredible. I think the first weekend we were here, a little over a year ago, we were walking around and Birdie was like, “Oh, look, there's a Pride flag in the window. Is this like their West Hollywood?” And I was like. “No, no, this is New York City. This is New York.” And I was like. It's everywhere, like everyone is everywhere, and that's just the way that it is. And I think that it has offered the kids, yeah, like a really incredible perspective shift. Also.

Audra: I totally resonate with that.

Busy: Like obviously Mark and I, their parents both work in entertainment. But you know, it can be, in LA you can get really overwhelmed with an idea that that's all there is in the world. Here people's parents do all kinds of things.

Yeah. And I think and it's not like Birdie's set apart because of what their parents do, and it's not as though there are some kind of weird competition because of what their parents do, which, by the way, I had found in LA with some of the kids like comparing how famous their parents were, like oh no.

Audra: It's so bizarre.

Justin: Who's higher up in the titles? So I know that you have to go. So we have three questions that we ask every guest on the show. And so we're just going to shoot them at you rapid fire. the first one. Busy. If you could put a post-it note on every parent's fridge tomorrow morning, what would that post-it note say?

Busy: Compassion for yourself.

Justin: Compassion for yourself. Beautiful.

Busy: Maybe the compassion for yourself is too long on a post-it note, so maybe just be kind to you.

Justin: Be kind to you. And then is there a quote that you, I know this one's tough. Just think off the top of your head. But has there been a quote lately that has changed the way you think or feel?

Busy: Yeah, you got to be able to hold both. That’s been my mantra. You got to be able to hold both.

Justin: Beautiful. All right. So the very last question is we'd like to ask this because raising kids is hard and it's nice to take a step back and think about what is so great about kids. So Busy, what do you love about kids?

Busy: All of their ideas and the things they have to say. I was in my room reading last night and I overheard Cricket telling Mark a story, and I was laughing so hard from the other room, just listening to this person tell this animated story about what had happened at school that day. And I think that being present and being open to listening to what your kids have to say without judgment, without correcting, without making it teachable is the best.

Justin: That's it. That's it. That's the thing. Beautiful. Are busy. Thank you so much for your time. This has been such a joy for us.

Audra: It really has.

Busy: Thank you. Let me know if you guys come to New York!

Justin: Oh for sure. For sure.

Audra: We’re in Savannah, Georgia, so let us know if you ever come to Savannah.

Busy: You guys moved to Savannah?

Justin: Yeah, we moved to Savannah, Georgia. That's right. Yeah.

Audra: It’s our type of thing, it's like the kids were like, “Let's get out of Orange County, guys, see the world differently.”

Busy: I love Savannah. I'm not kidding.

Justin: Yeah. Oh, that's awesome.

Audra: We love it.

Busy: All right, it was so good to see you guys.

Audra: Yeah. Thank you again.

Justin: Have a wonderful day.

Busy: Okay. Bye.


Transcript highlights


2:37

Justin: Ok. Busy, I want to start off with a podcast-related question. So it's when I listen to your podcast. You and Caissie do so well together interviewing a guest and I wonder, do you have some secret hand…

Audra: Hand signals or something?

Justin: Secretly signals that you give each other as to when to talk and when not to talk? Because Audra and I will talk over each other all the time?

Busy: Yeah. Well, no. But you know, we've worked together for several years now, and I think that we just sort of naturally know when one person wants to jump in and the other. You know. Also, we do edit it and we aren't sitting next to each other. So even if I do jump in or she jumps on to something I'm saying in the edit, we can take it out.

Justin: Ah, so it's all, so you handle it in post.

Busy: But I would say that like, we have a good ability to kind of take turns.

Justin: Yeah, because it flows really well. And I think, Oh, man, Audra and I are like, we're always like, Wait, no, you, you go and...

Audra: And we’re married too. That's just like, I don't have a problem with interrupting.

Justin: With just saying, shut up. I have a question. Yeah, yeah.

Busy: I mean, I think that that makes sense. And I think we just sort of naturally take turns. And I have to say, you know, a lot of times I don't do a ton of research on… I swear to God just because I like, I don't know a lot of times it's people that I know or I've known for a long time, and I just want to hear what they have to say.

So we really genuinely have to listen because both of us because that's I mean, that's how the questions come organically from what the person we're interviewing is telling us. You know.

Justin: I love it. Well, that is. So that's the approach that Audra takes. Most of the time is like, let's just do.

Audra: I did the research for you.

Justin: Yeah, and I right know on this one, she did some research, the podcast, the book, the shows, typically I'm the one with like a sheet, just…

Audra: He has a plan and then I derail it.

Justin: Just go with the flow. Ok, but with this one Busy, oh my gosh, we both yeah, absolutely. Read the book.

Audra: I listened to it.

Justin: Podcast.

Busy: I feel like this is like a rare opportunity I haven't ever like been interviewed by someone I went to high school with who like knew me then.

Justin: Yes. Oh, Busy, it was so great. first of all, the entire book, not just the high school section, was riveting for me. I couldn't read it as I was trying to go to sleep because I wouldn't go to sleep. I'd like still be up at like one in the morning, but oh, I loved it. And Busy was, oh, I mean, there was so much just realness.

And then, of course, also knowing the real names of some of the people that were mentioned in the book, I absolutely loved it. One thing that was impressed upon me was how much pot I smoked in high school. And so it was just like there was a kind of fog over some of it. I was like, Oh yeah, I think I remember some of these things and…

Busy: You were there for some of it!

Justin: I was there for some of it. Yes, and I have, I keep telling Audra like, I have this distinct memory of hanging out at a park. Busy’s there. She's on a swing set and I like so it's just too much to eat.

Audra: Too much weed.

Justin: Yeah, too much.

Audra: If there is such a thing.

Justin: But oh my gosh, busy was so like there was so much depth and realness. I mean, in the whole book, but especially when you write about your childhood and then when things get really intense from middle school and to high school. So I want to know thinking back now to those times like middle school and high school, and now that your kids are moving into this area, what are you taking from that time because you talk about some really intense stuff like really intense. And so, how does this now inform what's happening for you as your kids start to move into this time?

Busy: Well, I mean, listen, it’s hard because no matter what, everything is always changing. You know what I mean? But what a few things stay the same, which is that if you don't talk to your kids about stuff, they'll never know and you'll never know, what's possible or what they're curious about or what even is happening out there. And sometimes look as cool as I may seem, my 13-year-old is very quick to remind me that I'm super lame and I don't know anything.

And so then I just very, you know, without judgment, say, right, I'm just asking, I'm asking you to explain it to me. Explain to me what this is. Explain to me what that is.

You know, I had a conversation with some friends the other day whose kids are actually older than Birdie, Birdie’s 13. And I said, “Oh, have you guys talked to your kids about fentanyl being laced in like prescription medication?” And how like, they're not, you know, they really need to not take any prescription medication. And if they see a kid overdosing like you, it's like, you know, you have to get the Narcan. And my friends were like, Birdie 13, why would you have that conversation? And I was like, I know a woman in Los Angeles who's like 14, 15 year old died because he thought he was buying Adderall or something on, you know, online and it was laced with fentanyl. And he died like, you know, a good kid. Like, these are they're all good kids. Justin, you and I were good kids. We just did a, we just had a lot of time with them, you know.

Justin: Not a lot of supervision.

Audra: Right thing. Right, right. And your cannabis wasn't laced with fentanyl.

Busy: Yeah. I mean, no. And I mean, but the truth is, if it had been, my parents wouldn't have talked to me about that. And I, you know, I think that the thing that is true about being an adult is the same thing that is true about being a kid and a teenager, which is that information is power and there is nothing ever bad about information.

Information helps you make good choices. It helps you take responsibility for your actions. It helps you, you know, move through the world in a way that you can feel good about. If you're making decisions from a place of not having the information. Well, then I guess you're like half the country, but you know. I don't want to raise those kids. Like, I want my kids to always be able to ask. I was embarrassed to ask questions.

Justin: Oh, absolutely.

Audra: Same here.

Justin: And Busy, one of the things that comes up right away is in your book, how your parents read your diary and this interaction, it just really impressed, like that felt so real and common, and they didn't know anything about you at that time like it was really. It was like they didn't know who you are or what you were up to. And I wonder now how much that informs this desire to really open the communication channels, no matter what between you and your kids.

Busy: Yeah, I mean, it's huge. It's also trust is huge, you know, and I think that even kids should be allowed to have private thoughts and keep their diaries and you know.

Justin: Absolutely, absolutely.

Busy: But also, if you cultivate the kind of relationship with your children, kids are going to lie. That's just a baseline. I'm not an idiot, you know what I mean? But if you cultivate the kind of relationship with your kids that allows them to be able to tell you the truth, they will tell you the truth way more than…

Justin: Yeah, yes.

Busy: And so there will always be things that kids are hiding from their parents, but just has to be, they have to they're trying to find autonomy. They're trying to be their own people. And the trick, as a parent, is to know that they're allowed to be their own people and to give them the permission to be their own person so that they don't actually feel like acting out in ways that could be dangerous to them or their friends or put them in harm's way or just in bad situations that that's not going to be the way that they go.

Audra: It's such a powerful point. Yeah, I so I cried at the end of chapter five of listening to you. Listening to you is the best, and I pick my son up from high school and I'm listening to your book. And, but I cried at the end of chapter five, when you're talking about your sister holding Birdie and loving her. And for me, that chapter was so much about cycle breaking. And what I hear you talking about now is cycle breaking that our kids aren't just a perpetuation of us in everything we've been through, like the dynamics of your mom and her sister sort of like, you know, kind of like perpetuated into how your mom saw you and your sister. And then the fear around like, are we just perpetuating this? And no, you're not. And your kids are just an extension of you, right? They're their own people. They're affected by you.

Busy: Yeah, it’s so interesting. I just went and did this, if you heard any of the recent podcast, I went into the Hoffman Institute. Which is…

Justin: We’ve got questions, we got questions. Tell us more.

Busy: The Hoffman Institute is essentially all about breaking the generational trauma and the patterns that get passed down. And, you know, I have done and continue to do a ton of work, but I will say I have found myself in a place where I was like, I am repeating so much of this stuff. I am seeing it being acted out in my own home and I need to figure this out. What the fuck am I doing? Yeah. Hoffman Institute is for those of you who haven't heard my podcast where I talk about it for two hours. It's a seven-day intensive, immersive, experiential like therapeutic retreat.

Justin: It sounds amazing. I mean, it sounds absolutely amazing.

Busy: It's hard. It was hard. It was work like it was not—it wasn't easy. And you know, the people that are in your session. I mean, I feel like bonded to these people for life. Like you know, these 224 other people, some of them you feel like you know them better than you've known, like your own family because. You just crack it all wide open and rebuild it like. It's so interesting. I had kind of a real, a real like boulder hit me in the soul like a week after I got back and I thought, Well, I failed. I failed. And that's part in that email from Hoffman, the like showed up in my inbox the next day that was like the subject line was “So I think I failed the Hoffman process.” And it's like, you can’t fail, it's like an ongoing thing. And of course, life is going to come and punch you in the gut, and you have to return to the work and remind yourself of how you reprogram your brain because we just are. You get so programmed.

Justin: Oh wow. Wow. So, yeah, I had saved the Hoffman questions till later in the interview. Busy, but now, oh my gosh. So I imagine so much of this is about. Well, there's two. There's two things that I'm thinking in relation to parenthood here. The first thing is going back into childhood and processing some of the patterns that built up in childhood. So my question is, without getting too into your own childhood, what has come up now in the weeks since? How are you bringing this into your own parenting now?

Busy: It looks different. I'll just be honest, you know, and my kids are like adjusting. But it is hard because they're 13 and eight and Birdie is 13. But really Birdie's like 13 going on 45. And so Birdie, especially in the beginning, was like, Oh, you're all zen now because you went to your retreat and you learned a different way to communicate.

Audra: That's amazing with you.

Justin: Not to interject myself into your story, but, I, a year and a half ago, went through some really intense therapeutic work for myself, and it really transformed my parenting, especially with my daughter. And so what did she call it? Where she calls me the namaste dad. Yeah. Like, Oh God, the namaste, stop it. Just stop it.

Audra: Without the man bun.

Justin: I have to tell you like it has, it has totally transformed my relationship with her and. And so even through all of the criticism and the snarkiness like, Oh, there's just this really beautiful relationship that has unfolded.

Busy: So Justin, I'll say, like, you know, Birdie is a tough cookie in a lot of ways and had started this teen pre-teen teen thing a while back where they were just like, didn't want any physical attention from me or their dad. And I will say, so, I've been back a month now. Birdie, like, is really deeply hugging me now. So, you know, we're still getting like, you know, the snarkiness eye rolls and like, why don't you clear your plate to the table? Why don't you, you know, like that does still happen. But you know, it's also like there are no shortcuts in any of this stuff. And even like your therapeutic work, Hoffmann Institute for a week, it's not a shortcut. I wasn't fixed in seven days and there's no fixing anyway.

Justin: Busy. So this is oh, this is one thing in doing this therapeutic work I thought that it was something like where you do get fixed right. Then I realized that it's just like any other health behavior like I. I'm not going to do a 30 day gym thing and to be like, ok, that's it. I'm done. Like, I don't ever have to go back to this gym again, you know. Like, Oh, you got to keep going back. It is daily. It's the daily work.

Busy: It is. And I think that we are, I mean, you know, just culturally in this moment, especially, you know, we all want it to just be done. We want to get it done, but. The thing that I've been kind of trying to hold on to is like, if we do a good enough job, then it's not just that each generation does a little bit better than the one before. It's a shift. It's like a seismic shift forward in consciousness and really being human.

Justin: Absolutely, oh my gosh. So this brings me well, ok, now this is another question, I think in yeah, one of the recent podcasts you talked about talking to your ancestors. Now I'm like, super interested in this. Are you able to talk about this or is this, can we not go there?

Busy: I mean, no it's interesting. It's just, it's a real journey. There's no drugs. I do want to say that like, I have no, I've never done psychedelic-assisted therapy, but I know people swear by it and I know it's hell. I mean, it's helped lots of friends of mine like Ayahuasca or any other one.

Justin: Exactly. When you originally said you were going on the retreat of like, Oh, she's going to Costa Rica to do a ceremony.

Busy: Yeah. No. I honestly Justin, I feel like I did so many drugs in high school. Freaks me out.

Justin: Seriously, there is a virtue to kind of getting it all out in high school, you know, because then you can get your shit together later on.

Busy: Yeah, I just because of how many drugs I did in high school, I can also understand how some of that stuff works for people. My big thing always in high school was whenever I would do what, we called it ecstasy back then.

Justin: I guess right now it's MDMA.

Busy: I wouldn't think I had a bunch of things figured out. I could just never hold on to it.

Justin: Oh, well, that was my, I like the mushroom LSD trips.

Audra: You held on to some of those I thought. I mean, there can be a transcendent essence that you hold on to.

Justin: Yes. But I remember distinctly several trips back in high school of thinking I found it. Like, I mean, I found the meaning of life, like I discovered it and then wake up the next day and damn it, it's gone.

Busy: Mine were always mostly like, boy-related.

Justin: No cosmic truths or anything.

Busy: No it was mostly just about boys. But yeah. So there was no drugs at Hoffman. And, but you do deep meditation and like visioning, and you do a lot of like body brain spirit connection. So there's a lot of movement with intention. And you know, it's also interesting they ask you not to do anything that you habitually do for the week that you're there. So obviously that there's no drugs or alcohol, you're asked not to work out if working out is something that you do daily, which I, it was something that I was doing daily, so I couldn't work out. They ask you not in, no TV, no music, no music.

Justin: Oh my god.

Busy: No books. Like no computers...

Justin: Your love for music just comes out. Oh yeah. I can't imagine a whole week without music for you, right?

Busy: It was really hard, but it also was incredible because I was able to really get still and really, I think that so much of these things we fill our lives with to block the voice inside. That's really our guiding light and our guiding principles.

Justin: That’s true. Yeah. Yes. Yeah.

Busy: And that voice sometimes is saying like some real uncomfortable stuff. So you're just like, Well. If I just play this music real loud and I work out, you know, exactly, and I got three tequilas tonight, like that voice is going to shut up. And I think that part of where I had gotten to several years ago, like five years ago, was that I had effectively stopped listening to that voice at all, and I didn't know who I was six years ago. And once I kind of rediscovered it, the last six years has just been a journey of continuing to figure it all out and really tap into what do I feel like is right for my life and my kids lives and the people that I'm responsible to and who are my family? And I think that when you are a person who has decided to stop asking those questions. It's a sad day, which would like just continually be asking ourselves that question.

Audra: Yeah, oh yeah. So this is hard work. I mean, this is like digging and doing that. Doing this inner work is really, really, really tough. It has the motivation of your husband, your kids. Is that something that brought you into it listening again six years ago?

Busy: Yeah. And I think just, I think just taking stock of the world, even like remeeting you guys and going to the fundraiser and seeing what you had turned, you know, the hardest situation that a parent could be faced with into such good and such good-ness. And I just like more of that. I wanted to try to focus on more of that in like a very genuine way, not in a savory way. I'm not... But I do think that it all starts, you know, from yourself. And it's hard to move from an authentic place if you're not living an authentic version…

Justin: If you're not in touch with it. Yeah. Busy. I don't know if Hoffman does any internal family systems work? Have you heard of Internal Family Systems?

Busy: No, I don't think so.

Justin: Oh my gosh, because it's...

Busy: Writing it down.

Justin: Yeah, I can't wait to introduce you to one of the books but it’s, the whole purpose is to really get to a point where we can relax all of the protector parts of it. When you talked about the working out in the music and it's like all of that is there, we have these parts that have learned how to protect the emotional wounds that we hold. And so it's and we have 1,000,000 different ways to protect this.

But if we can find a way to get in touch with these protector parts and have a relationship with them where we can relax, get them to relax and just calm down a bit and then we can have access to this true self like everybody has this true self that is full of all the wisdom and courage and connection. And yeah, that's it.

Busy: It seems honestly like the same theoretical ideas.

Justin: Totally.

Busy: Because Bob Hoffman, like in the ‘50s or whatever, he came up with the process. It's all about like, yeah, there's this core right of you and that's your being and surrounding it, he calls it like negative love syndrome is what he calls it. And those are just all the things that were built up as survival when you were a very, very small person in your family. And those are the things that just become like bedrock to you… being. Able to access that emotional, pure core. And I thought, like, I said this on my podcast, like, I did think that this white rage and anger and unsettled thing in my core was just a part of me, and that all I could hope for, for my life was to just manage around it like a really big dining room table that's too big for the room. Just scooch around it. But through that week, they really it's like gone, it's shattered. It's gone and it's pretty incredible. Feels great.

Justin: Ok, so have you been able to experience a new parenting relationship mojo?

Audra: So like, what's it like coming home? What does it look like?

Justin: Yeah, like and parenting from that true self?

Busy: Yeah, I have. Here's what I'm going to say. I have like things that come to me now where I'm like, Oh, Birdie needs X, Y and Z, you know, like, I'm just like, I can just, I just know what it is. I called Mark the other day and I was like, Birdie and Cricket need, not a ton of time, just like 20 or 30 minutes of alone time with each one of us individually every single fucking day. And they need to know that they're getting it, and that's what it is. If they want to sit there on their phone and show me Tic Tocs or whatever they want to do, whatever they want.

Justin: Wow, Busy, you had mentioned this, I think, on the podcast where you drove back from D.C. and you said something to the effect that like you just knew you needed to spend some one on one time with Birdie, like you just knew it. And that hit me. Like, I was like, Oh, that's that feels so wise and like so connected. And I just want to know, how did you know that that needed to happen? And you just explained it.

Busy: Yeah. Even just the, having the realization that I needed to learn how to play Nintendo with Cricket. My eight-year-old does not want to do arts and crafts with me. She does not want learn how to knit. She does not want to bake with me. These are all the things that inspire you. I enjoy doing those things. She wants to play Minecraft and Mario. Yeah, and like. And so I  had this like a lightning bolt. Like, Oh, I have to sit down and I need, if I want to engage with this kid, I need to show an interest in a thing that they like. Like in what she's interested in, that's important to kids, that makes them feel seen and understood.

Audra: Yeah, it's big. It's really big. It's because parenting, I mean, so much of parenting, it seems to me to be just managing us, like managing ourselves in a way of like and being aware. It's like, Yeah, I want to bake. And then I try to transfer that onto my kid, right? But to be able to really listen and show up for them is all about doing that work. It's really powerful.

And I love hearing about it from you, and I love that you are so vocal and open and vulnerable on your podcast and that you share on social media because I do think it matters to people. I do think it matters to moms all over who are often dependent on narratives they like pick up or how they were raised or whatever.

We often, I mean, I've seen it in the childhood cancer world over and over again. Moms often rely on a way to do it or a narrative. It's like we need permission from someone else before we find it inside sometimes. And I think it's really powerful to have examples out. People that are open enough as you are to be able to share how you navigate this and share that doing the work is important. Like, it's hard work doing this work. But there's like, is there anything more important in life? And it's like short time that we have.

Busy: No.

Audra: With all of the unknown?

Busy: No, and it's all there is. like it's literally all there is now. And you look at like, I think especially in the last couple of years, obviously. I think people get sort of just overwhelmed globally by everything that you're seeing and witnessing and feeling like, what are we doing?

What's the point? I'm just going to have another glass of wine. I'm like, whatever. Yeah, fuck it, right?

But the truth is these little people change it all. Like all of them, to get like, we all can do it. It just is not, you know, this is not, no man is an island. No woman is an island, no person is an island. This is like a thing that we collectively have to be committed to raising good kids. I'm going to say a thing. Maybe it shouldn't. But whatever I got into, like a little bit of a thing, there was a kid that is not my child, and I said I was like intervening in a way. And Mark was like, you don't have to. This is so you, don't, don't do it, whatever. Don't do this. You know, he was kind of like erring on the side of like, we don't want people to feel like. And I was like, No, dude, it's 100% my business. That child's welfare is my business. Making sure that kid is taken care of is my fucking business.

Justin: And yes, it takes a village.

Busy: And it's like, so what so somebody might say, you've overstepped. Ok. Is the kid safe and being taken care of? Then I don't care, right?

Audra: What's more important?

Busy: Yeah, right. What are we afraid of? I had a woman once, like I was like about to lose my shit. When one of my kids was little and a woman in the bathroom at I think I was in the airport was like just had a very gentle nice like word of kindness toward me. And if you're a mom and you've ever and maybe Justin, I don't know about dads, I can't speak to your bathroom experiences. But I know...

Justin: We are silent.

Busy: I know that I've been in multiple bathrooms, like in airports and sports arenas or whatever, where I've overheard a mom on the edge and, or hotels. And if there's ever a time to just like with all the compassion you can say, “you're doing great, mom. I know it's hard. Can I hold something for you? Do you need anything?” Without judgment. It is like a game-changer because it makes first of all, if the mom is and I think probably people listening have heard this before, the mom is like really losing it.

Maybe they're saying some things that they will regret saying to their kid, and it just causes them to pause and like, get outside of themselves. And if you can really do it just genuinely from a place of like, I'm just, I'm there, I've been there. Can I get you something? Do you need water? Like I've, I gave a woman a bottle of water once like they just, do you need some water here? I bought too many. You know it can, like, shift your whole day and we…

Audra: It can shift the world.

Busy: Yes, and people get so weird about interacting. And yes, what's the worst issue she can tell you? Like to go mind your own business and whatever, and then you can be like, ok, thank you, you know, like…

Audra: What’s the worst, right? Right. Like, I feel this is like the big shift that you're talking about, and I love it because it's about showing up. I feel like our time is super limited here on this earth in this form. And how do we want to approach each day together, right? And I look back on like growing up in the ‘80s, I remember being in like a subway, you know, my dad's family's from Manhattan. And I remember I think we experienced a moment of racism, of course, of somebody yelling at a Black guy in the train and everybody freezes is like, but it's not our place. It's not our place to say anything. Yes, it's our place. And it's a big shift in maybe for our generation are really, really big shift of it. So it is our fucking place show up.

This is like the moment, the moments we have, and I feel like I experience that from you just being one of your many followers on social media because you show up and you speak your mind and you stand up for people and you genuinely talk about things and causes that are important to you. Like women's reproductive rights, for one of the many things the MeToo movement moment when you showed up there, I realized for the first time, like looking back on and, you know, I graduated high school in ‘95. So all of those years, you know, the girl who was raped by the whole football team. And I remember that like ‘91 and be like, oh, that was normal. That was just normal. The things that we accept that we don't have to accept. And then most importantly, when you talk about the major shift in humanity, if we can model this for our kids as you're modeling this as we're doing, if we can model this for our kids, I mean, the change is exponential. It's not just like one step more it's exponentially more. And I think that it's so powerful.

Busy: And you know, it's so funny, like Birdie. I'll brag on my kid for a minute, but they have such an incredible ability to recognize injustice, in their own world at school, and I mean, you know, their kids, their worlds are pretty small and to stand up for what they really believe is right. Birdie went to the dean of their school and like without even talking to me and Mark about a thing that was affecting them and a couple of the other, a couple of other kids in their pod that had been like sort of a consistent issue that Birdie was like, this just isn't being handled well enough for me. Like, I need you to do better. What? Well, yes, I can’t even imagine back then. I would never...

Audra: Oh, it's incredible.

Justin: Ok, so Busy. You today would certainly do something like that. Would you have done that at age 13?

Busy: Well, I mean, in terms of like the things that Birdie is standing up for, no, like I felt and I wrote about it in the book. I definitely felt, you know, as a girl and a young woman that I had to be able to take it and that, you know, my body could be a joke for boys. My sexuality could be a joke for boys or girls. You know that I was a woman, person, young woman person was at the mercy of a culture where that was the normal. And if I wanted to succeed and I wanted to just and I wanted to get through it, I had to learn how to laugh, learn how to take it, learn how to move through these things.

So like toxic male culture, essentially. Upholding a patriarchal, toxic white supremacist male culture, Birdie has zero-tolerance for any of that. And you know, it still exists. These kids are, you guys have a teenager like, you know, there's still, things get said, words are used, and Birdie just is like, absolutely not. It's unacceptable. I have another friend whose kid is 16 I think now, who at Summer Camp, a boy did a thing, dropped a thing down her shirt and then did another thing. And she told the counselors about it, and he was sort of just slapped on the wrist. And then he did another thing to her, and she went to the head of the camp and was like, I need my parents to be called and I need that kid's parents to be called, and I'm not going to return to camp unless he's gone. It's like, you don't get to misbehave like this. This is my boundary.

Audra: Yeah, that's exponential. That's exponential change.

Justin: Yeah. Like when we were all growing up. Yeah, that would have never even been brought to a counselor. It just was…

Audra: I never would have said a word. I never would have said.

Justin: And so Busy I. So the question that I have because there's so much in the book. Well, I mean, it's so clear it's not even about the book, but just who you are as an adult, really vulnerable, authentic, real. And so I'm wondering, was there a specific turning point for you in young adulthood or at any point in time where you're like, You know what? Like, I am who I am, and I'm just going to put it out there? Or was this a gradual shift?

Busy: Well, I mean, I think that there was a part of me that was always doing that. I think it was just difficult depending on how it was received by certain, you know, and I think I spent a long time trying to mold myself into an idea that I didn't believe in. You know, I think that gets like, where is, it wears you out.

And I do think that our generation like Gen X specifically and maybe some millennials, older millennials, maybe I do think we reached especially women. I think we reached like our tipping point where we kind of like we can't. I actually just can't hold this shit anymore. I'm just not going to.

Justin: Was there a single tipping point for you or was this a more gradual shift?

Busy: I mean, once Trump really came into the zeitgeist in a real way, like before he was president, but just when he sort of took the national stage in such a way. We were kind of living in a little bit of an Obama bliss, I think. And once that started happening and I started to see the reactions from people around the country, I I started to have like that feeling not like sickening feeling from high school, you know? And I thought, well, I can't. What are we doing? How is it? How is this happening?

And that's when it all started to become, like, the movie Memento. Yeah, replaying like every three years, ahead. And you're like, Wait. Monica Lewinsky was a victim, you know? Yeah, yeah. You know, that's like, you know, the programming is, the social programming is deep. The river runs deep for all of us. And whether you're like political affiliations or whatever they are, there is no denying social programming.

And so I think that that shift where it just became so clear, you know, coupled with the fact that like you know, the LGBTQIA movement has been like able to make such major inroads in terms of rights like our trans friends and families, you know, are able to like have been able to really come out in such an amazing way and we've been able to, this is all part of like the shift right in consciousness because really ultimately and Birdie is non-binary, but like, that's the been the biggest realization I've had in the last year, which is just like, it's all about just dismantling the binary, like all, all of it. Which people don't. I don't think it's like when you say that some people are like, turn you off, they can't even comprehend.

Audra: I think it's amazing. It's so rad. And to me, it says a lot about your family and your relationships and your family dynamics. And I know so for The Family Thrive, what we're working on now is our focus is really on mental and emotional health for parents and so that we can break those cycles and make that change to produce a healthier family environment for our kids so that we can change the paradigm, change the world. We believe that that's what will happen when we do that work.

But hearing about not only Birdie coming out but then telling you, yeah, talk about on the potty, it's fine, anybody can know about this, like that badass, beautiful confidence and empowerment that I feel like hearing that like that. How, so there's a lot of us other moms out there who would like to be like, I want to be that mom. I so want to be that mom where my kid can come out to me, and it is something that they feel super safe.

So what kind of like, oh, like, how did you get there with them? Like, is it something that for both kids, even like do kind of like normalize in a sense? Like, did you defy the binary in your conversations before that? Or is it just that you had an open relationship? Like, what is that? How did that work for you?

Busy: Well, a couple of things. Like I do think that it's important to remember the thing that my mother always used to say to me. Actions speak louder than words. I think that we can say a lot of things to our children, but what they really know is what they see. So even as a woman breaking like body issues for myself, for the kids, it started with me being very disingenuous to be honest. And despite making a conscious decision that I was not going to talk about my body or anyone else's body. And I wasn't. And I was going to wear bathing suits and I would always get in the pool and I was not going to, like, pull my clothes like I made like a mental list. Of all the things that I felt like I needed to change, I wasn't comfortable. Do you know what I mean? Like, I still think about my own body and kind of free of it now, which is great. But so, yeah, you know, sometimes fake it till you make it does work.

Audra: Right? But modeling, Yeah, what you're modeling.

Busy: But even if I never shifted my body perspective that had been programmed into me, at least I could try to curb some of the programming in my kids. So in terms of how they identify gender-wise and who they want to love, we do have, I do have friends who I, you know, are trans, who identify as non-binary. I have lots of friends who are gay, who are married. You know. I do have that.

That is a thing that has been experienced in my family, from my kids when they were really little. And I think it just makes the difference. And culturally too, like, I think that's that's a thing too like and sometimes maybe I don't know. I don't listen to a ton of podcasts, so I don't know if other parenting podcasts have like, I know there's that like [Nice] White Parents podcast.

Audra: Is it about White parents? What is it called?

Busy: It's like to be a, nice White parent. But so I was going to say, I don't know if they deal with this on that or if they ever dealt with that on this podcast. But like several, several years ago, I did. I don't even know if I'd had Cricket yet, but I was like, “We need some more diversity in our friend group.” And you know, and especially living in Los Angeles, which is like, weirdly, very still segregated place in terms of housing, like we were. And I just was like, I don't like this for myself and I don't like this for what my kids see. So you can make, I mean, you can make choices like how you live your life.

Audra: Yes. Yes. Was New York a great change for that? I mean, we moved to LA from New York, and I remember being astounded. I was like, People just avoid the things that make them uncomfortable in LA and in New York. I mean it, even in the areas of extreme wealth. I mean, it's still just so much more diverse and alive.

Busy: Well, yeah, I mean, socioeconomically, like, I don't even think there is like one area that's like super-wealthy. Everything in this city is a melting pot, you know, like, it is incredible. I think the first weekend we were here, a little over a year ago, we were walking around and Birdie was like, “Oh, look, there's a Pride flag in the window. Is this like their West Hollywood?” And I was like. “No, no, this is New York City. This is New York.” And I was like. It's everywhere, like everyone is everywhere, and that's just the way that it is. And I think that it has offered the kids, yeah, like a really incredible perspective shift. Also.

Audra: I totally resonate with that.

Busy: Like obviously Mark and I, their parents both work in entertainment. But you know, it can be, in LA you can get really overwhelmed with an idea that that's all there is in the world. Here people's parents do all kinds of things.

Yeah. And I think and it's not like Birdie's set apart because of what their parents do, and it's not as though there are some kind of weird competition because of what their parents do, which, by the way, I had found in LA with some of the kids like comparing how famous their parents were, like oh no.

Audra: It's so bizarre.

Justin: Who's higher up in the titles? So I know that you have to go. So we have three questions that we ask every guest on the show. And so we're just going to shoot them at you rapid fire. the first one. Busy. If you could put a post-it note on every parent's fridge tomorrow morning, what would that post-it note say?

Busy: Compassion for yourself.

Justin: Compassion for yourself. Beautiful.

Busy: Maybe the compassion for yourself is too long on a post-it note, so maybe just be kind to you.

Justin: Be kind to you. And then is there a quote that you, I know this one's tough. Just think off the top of your head. But has there been a quote lately that has changed the way you think or feel?

Busy: Yeah, you got to be able to hold both. That’s been my mantra. You got to be able to hold both.

Justin: Beautiful. All right. So the very last question is we'd like to ask this because raising kids is hard and it's nice to take a step back and think about what is so great about kids. So Busy, what do you love about kids?

Busy: All of their ideas and the things they have to say. I was in my room reading last night and I overheard Cricket telling Mark a story, and I was laughing so hard from the other room, just listening to this person tell this animated story about what had happened at school that day. And I think that being present and being open to listening to what your kids have to say without judgment, without correcting, without making it teachable is the best.

Justin: That's it. That's it. That's the thing. Beautiful. Are busy. Thank you so much for your time. This has been such a joy for us.

Audra: It really has.

Busy: Thank you. Let me know if you guys come to New York!

Justin: Oh for sure. For sure.

Audra: We’re in Savannah, Georgia, so let us know if you ever come to Savannah.

Busy: You guys moved to Savannah?

Justin: Yeah, we moved to Savannah, Georgia. That's right. Yeah.

Audra: It’s our type of thing, it's like the kids were like, “Let's get out of Orange County, guys, see the world differently.”

Busy: I love Savannah. I'm not kidding.

Justin: Yeah. Oh, that's awesome.

Audra: We love it.

Busy: All right, it was so good to see you guys.

Audra: Yeah. Thank you again.

Justin: Have a wonderful day.

Busy: Okay. Bye.


Transcript highlights


2:37

Justin: Ok. Busy, I want to start off with a podcast-related question. So it's when I listen to your podcast. You and Caissie do so well together interviewing a guest and I wonder, do you have some secret hand…

Audra: Hand signals or something?

Justin: Secretly signals that you give each other as to when to talk and when not to talk? Because Audra and I will talk over each other all the time?

Busy: Yeah. Well, no. But you know, we've worked together for several years now, and I think that we just sort of naturally know when one person wants to jump in and the other. You know. Also, we do edit it and we aren't sitting next to each other. So even if I do jump in or she jumps on to something I'm saying in the edit, we can take it out.

Justin: Ah, so it's all, so you handle it in post.

Busy: But I would say that like, we have a good ability to kind of take turns.

Justin: Yeah, because it flows really well. And I think, Oh, man, Audra and I are like, we're always like, Wait, no, you, you go and...

Audra: And we’re married too. That's just like, I don't have a problem with interrupting.

Justin: With just saying, shut up. I have a question. Yeah, yeah.

Busy: I mean, I think that that makes sense. And I think we just sort of naturally take turns. And I have to say, you know, a lot of times I don't do a ton of research on… I swear to God just because I like, I don't know a lot of times it's people that I know or I've known for a long time, and I just want to hear what they have to say.

So we really genuinely have to listen because both of us because that's I mean, that's how the questions come organically from what the person we're interviewing is telling us. You know.

Justin: I love it. Well, that is. So that's the approach that Audra takes. Most of the time is like, let's just do.

Audra: I did the research for you.

Justin: Yeah, and I right know on this one, she did some research, the podcast, the book, the shows, typically I'm the one with like a sheet, just…

Audra: He has a plan and then I derail it.

Justin: Just go with the flow. Ok, but with this one Busy, oh my gosh, we both yeah, absolutely. Read the book.

Audra: I listened to it.

Justin: Podcast.

Busy: I feel like this is like a rare opportunity I haven't ever like been interviewed by someone I went to high school with who like knew me then.

Justin: Yes. Oh, Busy, it was so great. first of all, the entire book, not just the high school section, was riveting for me. I couldn't read it as I was trying to go to sleep because I wouldn't go to sleep. I'd like still be up at like one in the morning, but oh, I loved it. And Busy was, oh, I mean, there was so much just realness.

And then, of course, also knowing the real names of some of the people that were mentioned in the book, I absolutely loved it. One thing that was impressed upon me was how much pot I smoked in high school. And so it was just like there was a kind of fog over some of it. I was like, Oh yeah, I think I remember some of these things and…

Busy: You were there for some of it!

Justin: I was there for some of it. Yes, and I have, I keep telling Audra like, I have this distinct memory of hanging out at a park. Busy’s there. She's on a swing set and I like so it's just too much to eat.

Audra: Too much weed.

Justin: Yeah, too much.

Audra: If there is such a thing.

Justin: But oh my gosh, busy was so like there was so much depth and realness. I mean, in the whole book, but especially when you write about your childhood and then when things get really intense from middle school and to high school. So I want to know thinking back now to those times like middle school and high school, and now that your kids are moving into this area, what are you taking from that time because you talk about some really intense stuff like really intense. And so, how does this now inform what's happening for you as your kids start to move into this time?

Busy: Well, I mean, listen, it’s hard because no matter what, everything is always changing. You know what I mean? But what a few things stay the same, which is that if you don't talk to your kids about stuff, they'll never know and you'll never know, what's possible or what they're curious about or what even is happening out there. And sometimes look as cool as I may seem, my 13-year-old is very quick to remind me that I'm super lame and I don't know anything.

And so then I just very, you know, without judgment, say, right, I'm just asking, I'm asking you to explain it to me. Explain to me what this is. Explain to me what that is.

You know, I had a conversation with some friends the other day whose kids are actually older than Birdie, Birdie’s 13. And I said, “Oh, have you guys talked to your kids about fentanyl being laced in like prescription medication?” And how like, they're not, you know, they really need to not take any prescription medication. And if they see a kid overdosing like you, it's like, you know, you have to get the Narcan. And my friends were like, Birdie 13, why would you have that conversation? And I was like, I know a woman in Los Angeles who's like 14, 15 year old died because he thought he was buying Adderall or something on, you know, online and it was laced with fentanyl. And he died like, you know, a good kid. Like, these are they're all good kids. Justin, you and I were good kids. We just did a, we just had a lot of time with them, you know.

Justin: Not a lot of supervision.

Audra: Right thing. Right, right. And your cannabis wasn't laced with fentanyl.

Busy: Yeah. I mean, no. And I mean, but the truth is, if it had been, my parents wouldn't have talked to me about that. And I, you know, I think that the thing that is true about being an adult is the same thing that is true about being a kid and a teenager, which is that information is power and there is nothing ever bad about information.

Information helps you make good choices. It helps you take responsibility for your actions. It helps you, you know, move through the world in a way that you can feel good about. If you're making decisions from a place of not having the information. Well, then I guess you're like half the country, but you know. I don't want to raise those kids. Like, I want my kids to always be able to ask. I was embarrassed to ask questions.

Justin: Oh, absolutely.

Audra: Same here.

Justin: And Busy, one of the things that comes up right away is in your book, how your parents read your diary and this interaction, it just really impressed, like that felt so real and common, and they didn't know anything about you at that time like it was really. It was like they didn't know who you are or what you were up to. And I wonder now how much that informs this desire to really open the communication channels, no matter what between you and your kids.

Busy: Yeah, I mean, it's huge. It's also trust is huge, you know, and I think that even kids should be allowed to have private thoughts and keep their diaries and you know.

Justin: Absolutely, absolutely.

Busy: But also, if you cultivate the kind of relationship with your children, kids are going to lie. That's just a baseline. I'm not an idiot, you know what I mean? But if you cultivate the kind of relationship with your kids that allows them to be able to tell you the truth, they will tell you the truth way more than…

Justin: Yeah, yes.

Busy: And so there will always be things that kids are hiding from their parents, but just has to be, they have to they're trying to find autonomy. They're trying to be their own people. And the trick, as a parent, is to know that they're allowed to be their own people and to give them the permission to be their own person so that they don't actually feel like acting out in ways that could be dangerous to them or their friends or put them in harm's way or just in bad situations that that's not going to be the way that they go.

Audra: It's such a powerful point. Yeah, I so I cried at the end of chapter five of listening to you. Listening to you is the best, and I pick my son up from high school and I'm listening to your book. And, but I cried at the end of chapter five, when you're talking about your sister holding Birdie and loving her. And for me, that chapter was so much about cycle breaking. And what I hear you talking about now is cycle breaking that our kids aren't just a perpetuation of us in everything we've been through, like the dynamics of your mom and her sister sort of like, you know, kind of like perpetuated into how your mom saw you and your sister. And then the fear around like, are we just perpetuating this? And no, you're not. And your kids are just an extension of you, right? They're their own people. They're affected by you.

Busy: Yeah, it’s so interesting. I just went and did this, if you heard any of the recent podcast, I went into the Hoffman Institute. Which is…

Justin: We’ve got questions, we got questions. Tell us more.

Busy: The Hoffman Institute is essentially all about breaking the generational trauma and the patterns that get passed down. And, you know, I have done and continue to do a ton of work, but I will say I have found myself in a place where I was like, I am repeating so much of this stuff. I am seeing it being acted out in my own home and I need to figure this out. What the fuck am I doing? Yeah. Hoffman Institute is for those of you who haven't heard my podcast where I talk about it for two hours. It's a seven-day intensive, immersive, experiential like therapeutic retreat.

Justin: It sounds amazing. I mean, it sounds absolutely amazing.

Busy: It's hard. It was hard. It was work like it was not—it wasn't easy. And you know, the people that are in your session. I mean, I feel like bonded to these people for life. Like you know, these 224 other people, some of them you feel like you know them better than you've known, like your own family because. You just crack it all wide open and rebuild it like. It's so interesting. I had kind of a real, a real like boulder hit me in the soul like a week after I got back and I thought, Well, I failed. I failed. And that's part in that email from Hoffman, the like showed up in my inbox the next day that was like the subject line was “So I think I failed the Hoffman process.” And it's like, you can’t fail, it's like an ongoing thing. And of course, life is going to come and punch you in the gut, and you have to return to the work and remind yourself of how you reprogram your brain because we just are. You get so programmed.

Justin: Oh wow. Wow. So, yeah, I had saved the Hoffman questions till later in the interview. Busy, but now, oh my gosh. So I imagine so much of this is about. Well, there's two. There's two things that I'm thinking in relation to parenthood here. The first thing is going back into childhood and processing some of the patterns that built up in childhood. So my question is, without getting too into your own childhood, what has come up now in the weeks since? How are you bringing this into your own parenting now?

Busy: It looks different. I'll just be honest, you know, and my kids are like adjusting. But it is hard because they're 13 and eight and Birdie is 13. But really Birdie's like 13 going on 45. And so Birdie, especially in the beginning, was like, Oh, you're all zen now because you went to your retreat and you learned a different way to communicate.

Audra: That's amazing with you.

Justin: Not to interject myself into your story, but, I, a year and a half ago, went through some really intense therapeutic work for myself, and it really transformed my parenting, especially with my daughter. And so what did she call it? Where she calls me the namaste dad. Yeah. Like, Oh God, the namaste, stop it. Just stop it.

Audra: Without the man bun.

Justin: I have to tell you like it has, it has totally transformed my relationship with her and. And so even through all of the criticism and the snarkiness like, Oh, there's just this really beautiful relationship that has unfolded.

Busy: So Justin, I'll say, like, you know, Birdie is a tough cookie in a lot of ways and had started this teen pre-teen teen thing a while back where they were just like, didn't want any physical attention from me or their dad. And I will say, so, I've been back a month now. Birdie, like, is really deeply hugging me now. So, you know, we're still getting like, you know, the snarkiness eye rolls and like, why don't you clear your plate to the table? Why don't you, you know, like that does still happen. But you know, it's also like there are no shortcuts in any of this stuff. And even like your therapeutic work, Hoffmann Institute for a week, it's not a shortcut. I wasn't fixed in seven days and there's no fixing anyway.

Justin: Busy. So this is oh, this is one thing in doing this therapeutic work I thought that it was something like where you do get fixed right. Then I realized that it's just like any other health behavior like I. I'm not going to do a 30 day gym thing and to be like, ok, that's it. I'm done. Like, I don't ever have to go back to this gym again, you know. Like, Oh, you got to keep going back. It is daily. It's the daily work.

Busy: It is. And I think that we are, I mean, you know, just culturally in this moment, especially, you know, we all want it to just be done. We want to get it done, but. The thing that I've been kind of trying to hold on to is like, if we do a good enough job, then it's not just that each generation does a little bit better than the one before. It's a shift. It's like a seismic shift forward in consciousness and really being human.

Justin: Absolutely, oh my gosh. So this brings me well, ok, now this is another question, I think in yeah, one of the recent podcasts you talked about talking to your ancestors. Now I'm like, super interested in this. Are you able to talk about this or is this, can we not go there?

Busy: I mean, no it's interesting. It's just, it's a real journey. There's no drugs. I do want to say that like, I have no, I've never done psychedelic-assisted therapy, but I know people swear by it and I know it's hell. I mean, it's helped lots of friends of mine like Ayahuasca or any other one.

Justin: Exactly. When you originally said you were going on the retreat of like, Oh, she's going to Costa Rica to do a ceremony.

Busy: Yeah. No. I honestly Justin, I feel like I did so many drugs in high school. Freaks me out.

Justin: Seriously, there is a virtue to kind of getting it all out in high school, you know, because then you can get your shit together later on.

Busy: Yeah, I just because of how many drugs I did in high school, I can also understand how some of that stuff works for people. My big thing always in high school was whenever I would do what, we called it ecstasy back then.

Justin: I guess right now it's MDMA.

Busy: I wouldn't think I had a bunch of things figured out. I could just never hold on to it.

Justin: Oh, well, that was my, I like the mushroom LSD trips.

Audra: You held on to some of those I thought. I mean, there can be a transcendent essence that you hold on to.

Justin: Yes. But I remember distinctly several trips back in high school of thinking I found it. Like, I mean, I found the meaning of life, like I discovered it and then wake up the next day and damn it, it's gone.

Busy: Mine were always mostly like, boy-related.

Justin: No cosmic truths or anything.

Busy: No it was mostly just about boys. But yeah. So there was no drugs at Hoffman. And, but you do deep meditation and like visioning, and you do a lot of like body brain spirit connection. So there's a lot of movement with intention. And you know, it's also interesting they ask you not to do anything that you habitually do for the week that you're there. So obviously that there's no drugs or alcohol, you're asked not to work out if working out is something that you do daily, which I, it was something that I was doing daily, so I couldn't work out. They ask you not in, no TV, no music, no music.

Justin: Oh my god.

Busy: No books. Like no computers...

Justin: Your love for music just comes out. Oh yeah. I can't imagine a whole week without music for you, right?

Busy: It was really hard, but it also was incredible because I was able to really get still and really, I think that so much of these things we fill our lives with to block the voice inside. That's really our guiding light and our guiding principles.

Justin: That’s true. Yeah. Yes. Yeah.

Busy: And that voice sometimes is saying like some real uncomfortable stuff. So you're just like, Well. If I just play this music real loud and I work out, you know, exactly, and I got three tequilas tonight, like that voice is going to shut up. And I think that part of where I had gotten to several years ago, like five years ago, was that I had effectively stopped listening to that voice at all, and I didn't know who I was six years ago. And once I kind of rediscovered it, the last six years has just been a journey of continuing to figure it all out and really tap into what do I feel like is right for my life and my kids lives and the people that I'm responsible to and who are my family? And I think that when you are a person who has decided to stop asking those questions. It's a sad day, which would like just continually be asking ourselves that question.

Audra: Yeah, oh yeah. So this is hard work. I mean, this is like digging and doing that. Doing this inner work is really, really, really tough. It has the motivation of your husband, your kids. Is that something that brought you into it listening again six years ago?

Busy: Yeah. And I think just, I think just taking stock of the world, even like remeeting you guys and going to the fundraiser and seeing what you had turned, you know, the hardest situation that a parent could be faced with into such good and such good-ness. And I just like more of that. I wanted to try to focus on more of that in like a very genuine way, not in a savory way. I'm not... But I do think that it all starts, you know, from yourself. And it's hard to move from an authentic place if you're not living an authentic version…

Justin: If you're not in touch with it. Yeah. Busy. I don't know if Hoffman does any internal family systems work? Have you heard of Internal Family Systems?

Busy: No, I don't think so.

Justin: Oh my gosh, because it's...

Busy: Writing it down.

Justin: Yeah, I can't wait to introduce you to one of the books but it’s, the whole purpose is to really get to a point where we can relax all of the protector parts of it. When you talked about the working out in the music and it's like all of that is there, we have these parts that have learned how to protect the emotional wounds that we hold. And so it's and we have 1,000,000 different ways to protect this.

But if we can find a way to get in touch with these protector parts and have a relationship with them where we can relax, get them to relax and just calm down a bit and then we can have access to this true self like everybody has this true self that is full of all the wisdom and courage and connection. And yeah, that's it.

Busy: It seems honestly like the same theoretical ideas.

Justin: Totally.

Busy: Because Bob Hoffman, like in the ‘50s or whatever, he came up with the process. It's all about like, yeah, there's this core right of you and that's your being and surrounding it, he calls it like negative love syndrome is what he calls it. And those are just all the things that were built up as survival when you were a very, very small person in your family. And those are the things that just become like bedrock to you… being. Able to access that emotional, pure core. And I thought, like, I said this on my podcast, like, I did think that this white rage and anger and unsettled thing in my core was just a part of me, and that all I could hope for, for my life was to just manage around it like a really big dining room table that's too big for the room. Just scooch around it. But through that week, they really it's like gone, it's shattered. It's gone and it's pretty incredible. Feels great.

Justin: Ok, so have you been able to experience a new parenting relationship mojo?

Audra: So like, what's it like coming home? What does it look like?

Justin: Yeah, like and parenting from that true self?

Busy: Yeah, I have. Here's what I'm going to say. I have like things that come to me now where I'm like, Oh, Birdie needs X, Y and Z, you know, like, I'm just like, I can just, I just know what it is. I called Mark the other day and I was like, Birdie and Cricket need, not a ton of time, just like 20 or 30 minutes of alone time with each one of us individually every single fucking day. And they need to know that they're getting it, and that's what it is. If they want to sit there on their phone and show me Tic Tocs or whatever they want to do, whatever they want.

Justin: Wow, Busy, you had mentioned this, I think, on the podcast where you drove back from D.C. and you said something to the effect that like you just knew you needed to spend some one on one time with Birdie, like you just knew it. And that hit me. Like, I was like, Oh, that's that feels so wise and like so connected. And I just want to know, how did you know that that needed to happen? And you just explained it.

Busy: Yeah. Even just the, having the realization that I needed to learn how to play Nintendo with Cricket. My eight-year-old does not want to do arts and crafts with me. She does not want learn how to knit. She does not want to bake with me. These are all the things that inspire you. I enjoy doing those things. She wants to play Minecraft and Mario. Yeah, and like. And so I  had this like a lightning bolt. Like, Oh, I have to sit down and I need, if I want to engage with this kid, I need to show an interest in a thing that they like. Like in what she's interested in, that's important to kids, that makes them feel seen and understood.

Audra: Yeah, it's big. It's really big. It's because parenting, I mean, so much of parenting, it seems to me to be just managing us, like managing ourselves in a way of like and being aware. It's like, Yeah, I want to bake. And then I try to transfer that onto my kid, right? But to be able to really listen and show up for them is all about doing that work. It's really powerful.

And I love hearing about it from you, and I love that you are so vocal and open and vulnerable on your podcast and that you share on social media because I do think it matters to people. I do think it matters to moms all over who are often dependent on narratives they like pick up or how they were raised or whatever.

We often, I mean, I've seen it in the childhood cancer world over and over again. Moms often rely on a way to do it or a narrative. It's like we need permission from someone else before we find it inside sometimes. And I think it's really powerful to have examples out. People that are open enough as you are to be able to share how you navigate this and share that doing the work is important. Like, it's hard work doing this work. But there's like, is there anything more important in life? And it's like short time that we have.

Busy: No.

Audra: With all of the unknown?

Busy: No, and it's all there is. like it's literally all there is now. And you look at like, I think especially in the last couple of years, obviously. I think people get sort of just overwhelmed globally by everything that you're seeing and witnessing and feeling like, what are we doing?

What's the point? I'm just going to have another glass of wine. I'm like, whatever. Yeah, fuck it, right?

But the truth is these little people change it all. Like all of them, to get like, we all can do it. It just is not, you know, this is not, no man is an island. No woman is an island, no person is an island. This is like a thing that we collectively have to be committed to raising good kids. I'm going to say a thing. Maybe it shouldn't. But whatever I got into, like a little bit of a thing, there was a kid that is not my child, and I said I was like intervening in a way. And Mark was like, you don't have to. This is so you, don't, don't do it, whatever. Don't do this. You know, he was kind of like erring on the side of like, we don't want people to feel like. And I was like, No, dude, it's 100% my business. That child's welfare is my business. Making sure that kid is taken care of is my fucking business.

Justin: And yes, it takes a village.

Busy: And it's like, so what so somebody might say, you've overstepped. Ok. Is the kid safe and being taken care of? Then I don't care, right?

Audra: What's more important?

Busy: Yeah, right. What are we afraid of? I had a woman once, like I was like about to lose my shit. When one of my kids was little and a woman in the bathroom at I think I was in the airport was like just had a very gentle nice like word of kindness toward me. And if you're a mom and you've ever and maybe Justin, I don't know about dads, I can't speak to your bathroom experiences. But I know...

Justin: We are silent.

Busy: I know that I've been in multiple bathrooms, like in airports and sports arenas or whatever, where I've overheard a mom on the edge and, or hotels. And if there's ever a time to just like with all the compassion you can say, “you're doing great, mom. I know it's hard. Can I hold something for you? Do you need anything?” Without judgment. It is like a game-changer because it makes first of all, if the mom is and I think probably people listening have heard this before, the mom is like really losing it.

Maybe they're saying some things that they will regret saying to their kid, and it just causes them to pause and like, get outside of themselves. And if you can really do it just genuinely from a place of like, I'm just, I'm there, I've been there. Can I get you something? Do you need water? Like I've, I gave a woman a bottle of water once like they just, do you need some water here? I bought too many. You know it can, like, shift your whole day and we…

Audra: It can shift the world.

Busy: Yes, and people get so weird about interacting. And yes, what's the worst issue she can tell you? Like to go mind your own business and whatever, and then you can be like, ok, thank you, you know, like…

Audra: What’s the worst, right? Right. Like, I feel this is like the big shift that you're talking about, and I love it because it's about showing up. I feel like our time is super limited here on this earth in this form. And how do we want to approach each day together, right? And I look back on like growing up in the ‘80s, I remember being in like a subway, you know, my dad's family's from Manhattan. And I remember I think we experienced a moment of racism, of course, of somebody yelling at a Black guy in the train and everybody freezes is like, but it's not our place. It's not our place to say anything. Yes, it's our place. And it's a big shift in maybe for our generation are really, really big shift of it. So it is our fucking place show up.

This is like the moment, the moments we have, and I feel like I experience that from you just being one of your many followers on social media because you show up and you speak your mind and you stand up for people and you genuinely talk about things and causes that are important to you. Like women's reproductive rights, for one of the many things the MeToo movement moment when you showed up there, I realized for the first time, like looking back on and, you know, I graduated high school in ‘95. So all of those years, you know, the girl who was raped by the whole football team. And I remember that like ‘91 and be like, oh, that was normal. That was just normal. The things that we accept that we don't have to accept. And then most importantly, when you talk about the major shift in humanity, if we can model this for our kids as you're modeling this as we're doing, if we can model this for our kids, I mean, the change is exponential. It's not just like one step more it's exponentially more. And I think that it's so powerful.

Busy: And you know, it's so funny, like Birdie. I'll brag on my kid for a minute, but they have such an incredible ability to recognize injustice, in their own world at school, and I mean, you know, their kids, their worlds are pretty small and to stand up for what they really believe is right. Birdie went to the dean of their school and like without even talking to me and Mark about a thing that was affecting them and a couple of the other, a couple of other kids in their pod that had been like sort of a consistent issue that Birdie was like, this just isn't being handled well enough for me. Like, I need you to do better. What? Well, yes, I can’t even imagine back then. I would never...

Audra: Oh, it's incredible.

Justin: Ok, so Busy. You today would certainly do something like that. Would you have done that at age 13?

Busy: Well, I mean, in terms of like the things that Birdie is standing up for, no, like I felt and I wrote about it in the book. I definitely felt, you know, as a girl and a young woman that I had to be able to take it and that, you know, my body could be a joke for boys. My sexuality could be a joke for boys or girls. You know that I was a woman, person, young woman person was at the mercy of a culture where that was the normal. And if I wanted to succeed and I wanted to just and I wanted to get through it, I had to learn how to laugh, learn how to take it, learn how to move through these things.

So like toxic male culture, essentially. Upholding a patriarchal, toxic white supremacist male culture, Birdie has zero-tolerance for any of that. And you know, it still exists. These kids are, you guys have a teenager like, you know, there's still, things get said, words are used, and Birdie just is like, absolutely not. It's unacceptable. I have another friend whose kid is 16 I think now, who at Summer Camp, a boy did a thing, dropped a thing down her shirt and then did another thing. And she told the counselors about it, and he was sort of just slapped on the wrist. And then he did another thing to her, and she went to the head of the camp and was like, I need my parents to be called and I need that kid's parents to be called, and I'm not going to return to camp unless he's gone. It's like, you don't get to misbehave like this. This is my boundary.

Audra: Yeah, that's exponential. That's exponential change.

Justin: Yeah. Like when we were all growing up. Yeah, that would have never even been brought to a counselor. It just was…

Audra: I never would have said a word. I never would have said.

Justin: And so Busy I. So the question that I have because there's so much in the book. Well, I mean, it's so clear it's not even about the book, but just who you are as an adult, really vulnerable, authentic, real. And so I'm wondering, was there a specific turning point for you in young adulthood or at any point in time where you're like, You know what? Like, I am who I am, and I'm just going to put it out there? Or was this a gradual shift?

Busy: Well, I mean, I think that there was a part of me that was always doing that. I think it was just difficult depending on how it was received by certain, you know, and I think I spent a long time trying to mold myself into an idea that I didn't believe in. You know, I think that gets like, where is, it wears you out.

And I do think that our generation like Gen X specifically and maybe some millennials, older millennials, maybe I do think we reached especially women. I think we reached like our tipping point where we kind of like we can't. I actually just can't hold this shit anymore. I'm just not going to.

Justin: Was there a single tipping point for you or was this a more gradual shift?

Busy: I mean, once Trump really came into the zeitgeist in a real way, like before he was president, but just when he sort of took the national stage in such a way. We were kind of living in a little bit of an Obama bliss, I think. And once that started happening and I started to see the reactions from people around the country, I I started to have like that feeling not like sickening feeling from high school, you know? And I thought, well, I can't. What are we doing? How is it? How is this happening?

And that's when it all started to become, like, the movie Memento. Yeah, replaying like every three years, ahead. And you're like, Wait. Monica Lewinsky was a victim, you know? Yeah, yeah. You know, that's like, you know, the programming is, the social programming is deep. The river runs deep for all of us. And whether you're like political affiliations or whatever they are, there is no denying social programming.

And so I think that that shift where it just became so clear, you know, coupled with the fact that like you know, the LGBTQIA movement has been like able to make such major inroads in terms of rights like our trans friends and families, you know, are able to like have been able to really come out in such an amazing way and we've been able to, this is all part of like the shift right in consciousness because really ultimately and Birdie is non-binary, but like, that's the been the biggest realization I've had in the last year, which is just like, it's all about just dismantling the binary, like all, all of it. Which people don't. I don't think it's like when you say that some people are like, turn you off, they can't even comprehend.

Audra: I think it's amazing. It's so rad. And to me, it says a lot about your family and your relationships and your family dynamics. And I know so for The Family Thrive, what we're working on now is our focus is really on mental and emotional health for parents and so that we can break those cycles and make that change to produce a healthier family environment for our kids so that we can change the paradigm, change the world. We believe that that's what will happen when we do that work.

But hearing about not only Birdie coming out but then telling you, yeah, talk about on the potty, it's fine, anybody can know about this, like that badass, beautiful confidence and empowerment that I feel like hearing that like that. How, so there's a lot of us other moms out there who would like to be like, I want to be that mom. I so want to be that mom where my kid can come out to me, and it is something that they feel super safe.

So what kind of like, oh, like, how did you get there with them? Like, is it something that for both kids, even like do kind of like normalize in a sense? Like, did you defy the binary in your conversations before that? Or is it just that you had an open relationship? Like, what is that? How did that work for you?

Busy: Well, a couple of things. Like I do think that it's important to remember the thing that my mother always used to say to me. Actions speak louder than words. I think that we can say a lot of things to our children, but what they really know is what they see. So even as a woman breaking like body issues for myself, for the kids, it started with me being very disingenuous to be honest. And despite making a conscious decision that I was not going to talk about my body or anyone else's body. And I wasn't. And I was going to wear bathing suits and I would always get in the pool and I was not going to, like, pull my clothes like I made like a mental list. Of all the things that I felt like I needed to change, I wasn't comfortable. Do you know what I mean? Like, I still think about my own body and kind of free of it now, which is great. But so, yeah, you know, sometimes fake it till you make it does work.

Audra: Right? But modeling, Yeah, what you're modeling.

Busy: But even if I never shifted my body perspective that had been programmed into me, at least I could try to curb some of the programming in my kids. So in terms of how they identify gender-wise and who they want to love, we do have, I do have friends who I, you know, are trans, who identify as non-binary. I have lots of friends who are gay, who are married. You know. I do have that.

That is a thing that has been experienced in my family, from my kids when they were really little. And I think it just makes the difference. And culturally too, like, I think that's that's a thing too like and sometimes maybe I don't know. I don't listen to a ton of podcasts, so I don't know if other parenting podcasts have like, I know there's that like [Nice] White Parents podcast.

Audra: Is it about White parents? What is it called?

Busy: It's like to be a, nice White parent. But so I was going to say, I don't know if they deal with this on that or if they ever dealt with that on this podcast. But like several, several years ago, I did. I don't even know if I'd had Cricket yet, but I was like, “We need some more diversity in our friend group.” And you know, and especially living in Los Angeles, which is like, weirdly, very still segregated place in terms of housing, like we were. And I just was like, I don't like this for myself and I don't like this for what my kids see. So you can make, I mean, you can make choices like how you live your life.

Audra: Yes. Yes. Was New York a great change for that? I mean, we moved to LA from New York, and I remember being astounded. I was like, People just avoid the things that make them uncomfortable in LA and in New York. I mean it, even in the areas of extreme wealth. I mean, it's still just so much more diverse and alive.

Busy: Well, yeah, I mean, socioeconomically, like, I don't even think there is like one area that's like super-wealthy. Everything in this city is a melting pot, you know, like, it is incredible. I think the first weekend we were here, a little over a year ago, we were walking around and Birdie was like, “Oh, look, there's a Pride flag in the window. Is this like their West Hollywood?” And I was like. “No, no, this is New York City. This is New York.” And I was like. It's everywhere, like everyone is everywhere, and that's just the way that it is. And I think that it has offered the kids, yeah, like a really incredible perspective shift. Also.

Audra: I totally resonate with that.

Busy: Like obviously Mark and I, their parents both work in entertainment. But you know, it can be, in LA you can get really overwhelmed with an idea that that's all there is in the world. Here people's parents do all kinds of things.

Yeah. And I think and it's not like Birdie's set apart because of what their parents do, and it's not as though there are some kind of weird competition because of what their parents do, which, by the way, I had found in LA with some of the kids like comparing how famous their parents were, like oh no.

Audra: It's so bizarre.

Justin: Who's higher up in the titles? So I know that you have to go. So we have three questions that we ask every guest on the show. And so we're just going to shoot them at you rapid fire. the first one. Busy. If you could put a post-it note on every parent's fridge tomorrow morning, what would that post-it note say?

Busy: Compassion for yourself.

Justin: Compassion for yourself. Beautiful.

Busy: Maybe the compassion for yourself is too long on a post-it note, so maybe just be kind to you.

Justin: Be kind to you. And then is there a quote that you, I know this one's tough. Just think off the top of your head. But has there been a quote lately that has changed the way you think or feel?

Busy: Yeah, you got to be able to hold both. That’s been my mantra. You got to be able to hold both.

Justin: Beautiful. All right. So the very last question is we'd like to ask this because raising kids is hard and it's nice to take a step back and think about what is so great about kids. So Busy, what do you love about kids?

Busy: All of their ideas and the things they have to say. I was in my room reading last night and I overheard Cricket telling Mark a story, and I was laughing so hard from the other room, just listening to this person tell this animated story about what had happened at school that day. And I think that being present and being open to listening to what your kids have to say without judgment, without correcting, without making it teachable is the best.

Justin: That's it. That's it. That's the thing. Beautiful. Are busy. Thank you so much for your time. This has been such a joy for us.

Audra: It really has.

Busy: Thank you. Let me know if you guys come to New York!

Justin: Oh for sure. For sure.

Audra: We’re in Savannah, Georgia, so let us know if you ever come to Savannah.

Busy: You guys moved to Savannah?

Justin: Yeah, we moved to Savannah, Georgia. That's right. Yeah.

Audra: It’s our type of thing, it's like the kids were like, “Let's get out of Orange County, guys, see the world differently.”

Busy: I love Savannah. I'm not kidding.

Justin: Yeah. Oh, that's awesome.

Audra: We love it.

Busy: All right, it was so good to see you guys.

Audra: Yeah. Thank you again.

Justin: Have a wonderful day.

Busy: Okay. Bye.


Transcript highlights


2:37

Justin: Ok. Busy, I want to start off with a podcast-related question. So it's when I listen to your podcast. You and Caissie do so well together interviewing a guest and I wonder, do you have some secret hand…

Audra: Hand signals or something?

Justin: Secretly signals that you give each other as to when to talk and when not to talk? Because Audra and I will talk over each other all the time?

Busy: Yeah. Well, no. But you know, we've worked together for several years now, and I think that we just sort of naturally know when one person wants to jump in and the other. You know. Also, we do edit it and we aren't sitting next to each other. So even if I do jump in or she jumps on to something I'm saying in the edit, we can take it out.

Justin: Ah, so it's all, so you handle it in post.

Busy: But I would say that like, we have a good ability to kind of take turns.

Justin: Yeah, because it flows really well. And I think, Oh, man, Audra and I are like, we're always like, Wait, no, you, you go and...

Audra: And we’re married too. That's just like, I don't have a problem with interrupting.

Justin: With just saying, shut up. I have a question. Yeah, yeah.

Busy: I mean, I think that that makes sense. And I think we just sort of naturally take turns. And I have to say, you know, a lot of times I don't do a ton of research on… I swear to God just because I like, I don't know a lot of times it's people that I know or I've known for a long time, and I just want to hear what they have to say.

So we really genuinely have to listen because both of us because that's I mean, that's how the questions come organically from what the person we're interviewing is telling us. You know.

Justin: I love it. Well, that is. So that's the approach that Audra takes. Most of the time is like, let's just do.

Audra: I did the research for you.

Justin: Yeah, and I right know on this one, she did some research, the podcast, the book, the shows, typically I'm the one with like a sheet, just…

Audra: He has a plan and then I derail it.

Justin: Just go with the flow. Ok, but with this one Busy, oh my gosh, we both yeah, absolutely. Read the book.

Audra: I listened to it.

Justin: Podcast.

Busy: I feel like this is like a rare opportunity I haven't ever like been interviewed by someone I went to high school with who like knew me then.

Justin: Yes. Oh, Busy, it was so great. first of all, the entire book, not just the high school section, was riveting for me. I couldn't read it as I was trying to go to sleep because I wouldn't go to sleep. I'd like still be up at like one in the morning, but oh, I loved it. And Busy was, oh, I mean, there was so much just realness.

And then, of course, also knowing the real names of some of the people that were mentioned in the book, I absolutely loved it. One thing that was impressed upon me was how much pot I smoked in high school. And so it was just like there was a kind of fog over some of it. I was like, Oh yeah, I think I remember some of these things and…

Busy: You were there for some of it!

Justin: I was there for some of it. Yes, and I have, I keep telling Audra like, I have this distinct memory of hanging out at a park. Busy’s there. She's on a swing set and I like so it's just too much to eat.

Audra: Too much weed.

Justin: Yeah, too much.

Audra: If there is such a thing.

Justin: But oh my gosh, busy was so like there was so much depth and realness. I mean, in the whole book, but especially when you write about your childhood and then when things get really intense from middle school and to high school. So I want to know thinking back now to those times like middle school and high school, and now that your kids are moving into this area, what are you taking from that time because you talk about some really intense stuff like really intense. And so, how does this now inform what's happening for you as your kids start to move into this time?

Busy: Well, I mean, listen, it’s hard because no matter what, everything is always changing. You know what I mean? But what a few things stay the same, which is that if you don't talk to your kids about stuff, they'll never know and you'll never know, what's possible or what they're curious about or what even is happening out there. And sometimes look as cool as I may seem, my 13-year-old is very quick to remind me that I'm super lame and I don't know anything.

And so then I just very, you know, without judgment, say, right, I'm just asking, I'm asking you to explain it to me. Explain to me what this is. Explain to me what that is.

You know, I had a conversation with some friends the other day whose kids are actually older than Birdie, Birdie’s 13. And I said, “Oh, have you guys talked to your kids about fentanyl being laced in like prescription medication?” And how like, they're not, you know, they really need to not take any prescription medication. And if they see a kid overdosing like you, it's like, you know, you have to get the Narcan. And my friends were like, Birdie 13, why would you have that conversation? And I was like, I know a woman in Los Angeles who's like 14, 15 year old died because he thought he was buying Adderall or something on, you know, online and it was laced with fentanyl. And he died like, you know, a good kid. Like, these are they're all good kids. Justin, you and I were good kids. We just did a, we just had a lot of time with them, you know.

Justin: Not a lot of supervision.

Audra: Right thing. Right, right. And your cannabis wasn't laced with fentanyl.

Busy: Yeah. I mean, no. And I mean, but the truth is, if it had been, my parents wouldn't have talked to me about that. And I, you know, I think that the thing that is true about being an adult is the same thing that is true about being a kid and a teenager, which is that information is power and there is nothing ever bad about information.

Information helps you make good choices. It helps you take responsibility for your actions. It helps you, you know, move through the world in a way that you can feel good about. If you're making decisions from a place of not having the information. Well, then I guess you're like half the country, but you know. I don't want to raise those kids. Like, I want my kids to always be able to ask. I was embarrassed to ask questions.

Justin: Oh, absolutely.

Audra: Same here.

Justin: And Busy, one of the things that comes up right away is in your book, how your parents read your diary and this interaction, it just really impressed, like that felt so real and common, and they didn't know anything about you at that time like it was really. It was like they didn't know who you are or what you were up to. And I wonder now how much that informs this desire to really open the communication channels, no matter what between you and your kids.

Busy: Yeah, I mean, it's huge. It's also trust is huge, you know, and I think that even kids should be allowed to have private thoughts and keep their diaries and you know.

Justin: Absolutely, absolutely.

Busy: But also, if you cultivate the kind of relationship with your children, kids are going to lie. That's just a baseline. I'm not an idiot, you know what I mean? But if you cultivate the kind of relationship with your kids that allows them to be able to tell you the truth, they will tell you the truth way more than…

Justin: Yeah, yes.

Busy: And so there will always be things that kids are hiding from their parents, but just has to be, they have to they're trying to find autonomy. They're trying to be their own people. And the trick, as a parent, is to know that they're allowed to be their own people and to give them the permission to be their own person so that they don't actually feel like acting out in ways that could be dangerous to them or their friends or put them in harm's way or just in bad situations that that's not going to be the way that they go.

Audra: It's such a powerful point. Yeah, I so I cried at the end of chapter five of listening to you. Listening to you is the best, and I pick my son up from high school and I'm listening to your book. And, but I cried at the end of chapter five, when you're talking about your sister holding Birdie and loving her. And for me, that chapter was so much about cycle breaking. And what I hear you talking about now is cycle breaking that our kids aren't just a perpetuation of us in everything we've been through, like the dynamics of your mom and her sister sort of like, you know, kind of like perpetuated into how your mom saw you and your sister. And then the fear around like, are we just perpetuating this? And no, you're not. And your kids are just an extension of you, right? They're their own people. They're affected by you.

Busy: Yeah, it’s so interesting. I just went and did this, if you heard any of the recent podcast, I went into the Hoffman Institute. Which is…

Justin: We’ve got questions, we got questions. Tell us more.

Busy: The Hoffman Institute is essentially all about breaking the generational trauma and the patterns that get passed down. And, you know, I have done and continue to do a ton of work, but I will say I have found myself in a place where I was like, I am repeating so much of this stuff. I am seeing it being acted out in my own home and I need to figure this out. What the fuck am I doing? Yeah. Hoffman Institute is for those of you who haven't heard my podcast where I talk about it for two hours. It's a seven-day intensive, immersive, experiential like therapeutic retreat.

Justin: It sounds amazing. I mean, it sounds absolutely amazing.

Busy: It's hard. It was hard. It was work like it was not—it wasn't easy. And you know, the people that are in your session. I mean, I feel like bonded to these people for life. Like you know, these 224 other people, some of them you feel like you know them better than you've known, like your own family because. You just crack it all wide open and rebuild it like. It's so interesting. I had kind of a real, a real like boulder hit me in the soul like a week after I got back and I thought, Well, I failed. I failed. And that's part in that email from Hoffman, the like showed up in my inbox the next day that was like the subject line was “So I think I failed the Hoffman process.” And it's like, you can’t fail, it's like an ongoing thing. And of course, life is going to come and punch you in the gut, and you have to return to the work and remind yourself of how you reprogram your brain because we just are. You get so programmed.

Justin: Oh wow. Wow. So, yeah, I had saved the Hoffman questions till later in the interview. Busy, but now, oh my gosh. So I imagine so much of this is about. Well, there's two. There's two things that I'm thinking in relation to parenthood here. The first thing is going back into childhood and processing some of the patterns that built up in childhood. So my question is, without getting too into your own childhood, what has come up now in the weeks since? How are you bringing this into your own parenting now?

Busy: It looks different. I'll just be honest, you know, and my kids are like adjusting. But it is hard because they're 13 and eight and Birdie is 13. But really Birdie's like 13 going on 45. And so Birdie, especially in the beginning, was like, Oh, you're all zen now because you went to your retreat and you learned a different way to communicate.

Audra: That's amazing with you.

Justin: Not to interject myself into your story, but, I, a year and a half ago, went through some really intense therapeutic work for myself, and it really transformed my parenting, especially with my daughter. And so what did she call it? Where she calls me the namaste dad. Yeah. Like, Oh God, the namaste, stop it. Just stop it.

Audra: Without the man bun.

Justin: I have to tell you like it has, it has totally transformed my relationship with her and. And so even through all of the criticism and the snarkiness like, Oh, there's just this really beautiful relationship that has unfolded.

Busy: So Justin, I'll say, like, you know, Birdie is a tough cookie in a lot of ways and had started this teen pre-teen teen thing a while back where they were just like, didn't want any physical attention from me or their dad. And I will say, so, I've been back a month now. Birdie, like, is really deeply hugging me now. So, you know, we're still getting like, you know, the snarkiness eye rolls and like, why don't you clear your plate to the table? Why don't you, you know, like that does still happen. But you know, it's also like there are no shortcuts in any of this stuff. And even like your therapeutic work, Hoffmann Institute for a week, it's not a shortcut. I wasn't fixed in seven days and there's no fixing anyway.

Justin: Busy. So this is oh, this is one thing in doing this therapeutic work I thought that it was something like where you do get fixed right. Then I realized that it's just like any other health behavior like I. I'm not going to do a 30 day gym thing and to be like, ok, that's it. I'm done. Like, I don't ever have to go back to this gym again, you know. Like, Oh, you got to keep going back. It is daily. It's the daily work.

Busy: It is. And I think that we are, I mean, you know, just culturally in this moment, especially, you know, we all want it to just be done. We want to get it done, but. The thing that I've been kind of trying to hold on to is like, if we do a good enough job, then it's not just that each generation does a little bit better than the one before. It's a shift. It's like a seismic shift forward in consciousness and really being human.

Justin: Absolutely, oh my gosh. So this brings me well, ok, now this is another question, I think in yeah, one of the recent podcasts you talked about talking to your ancestors. Now I'm like, super interested in this. Are you able to talk about this or is this, can we not go there?

Busy: I mean, no it's interesting. It's just, it's a real journey. There's no drugs. I do want to say that like, I have no, I've never done psychedelic-assisted therapy, but I know people swear by it and I know it's hell. I mean, it's helped lots of friends of mine like Ayahuasca or any other one.

Justin: Exactly. When you originally said you were going on the retreat of like, Oh, she's going to Costa Rica to do a ceremony.

Busy: Yeah. No. I honestly Justin, I feel like I did so many drugs in high school. Freaks me out.

Justin: Seriously, there is a virtue to kind of getting it all out in high school, you know, because then you can get your shit together later on.

Busy: Yeah, I just because of how many drugs I did in high school, I can also understand how some of that stuff works for people. My big thing always in high school was whenever I would do what, we called it ecstasy back then.

Justin: I guess right now it's MDMA.

Busy: I wouldn't think I had a bunch of things figured out. I could just never hold on to it.

Justin: Oh, well, that was my, I like the mushroom LSD trips.

Audra: You held on to some of those I thought. I mean, there can be a transcendent essence that you hold on to.

Justin: Yes. But I remember distinctly several trips back in high school of thinking I found it. Like, I mean, I found the meaning of life, like I discovered it and then wake up the next day and damn it, it's gone.

Busy: Mine were always mostly like, boy-related.

Justin: No cosmic truths or anything.

Busy: No it was mostly just about boys. But yeah. So there was no drugs at Hoffman. And, but you do deep meditation and like visioning, and you do a lot of like body brain spirit connection. So there's a lot of movement with intention. And you know, it's also interesting they ask you not to do anything that you habitually do for the week that you're there. So obviously that there's no drugs or alcohol, you're asked not to work out if working out is something that you do daily, which I, it was something that I was doing daily, so I couldn't work out. They ask you not in, no TV, no music, no music.

Justin: Oh my god.

Busy: No books. Like no computers...

Justin: Your love for music just comes out. Oh yeah. I can't imagine a whole week without music for you, right?

Busy: It was really hard, but it also was incredible because I was able to really get still and really, I think that so much of these things we fill our lives with to block the voice inside. That's really our guiding light and our guiding principles.

Justin: That’s true. Yeah. Yes. Yeah.

Busy: And that voice sometimes is saying like some real uncomfortable stuff. So you're just like, Well. If I just play this music real loud and I work out, you know, exactly, and I got three tequilas tonight, like that voice is going to shut up. And I think that part of where I had gotten to several years ago, like five years ago, was that I had effectively stopped listening to that voice at all, and I didn't know who I was six years ago. And once I kind of rediscovered it, the last six years has just been a journey of continuing to figure it all out and really tap into what do I feel like is right for my life and my kids lives and the people that I'm responsible to and who are my family? And I think that when you are a person who has decided to stop asking those questions. It's a sad day, which would like just continually be asking ourselves that question.

Audra: Yeah, oh yeah. So this is hard work. I mean, this is like digging and doing that. Doing this inner work is really, really, really tough. It has the motivation of your husband, your kids. Is that something that brought you into it listening again six years ago?

Busy: Yeah. And I think just, I think just taking stock of the world, even like remeeting you guys and going to the fundraiser and seeing what you had turned, you know, the hardest situation that a parent could be faced with into such good and such good-ness. And I just like more of that. I wanted to try to focus on more of that in like a very genuine way, not in a savory way. I'm not... But I do think that it all starts, you know, from yourself. And it's hard to move from an authentic place if you're not living an authentic version…

Justin: If you're not in touch with it. Yeah. Busy. I don't know if Hoffman does any internal family systems work? Have you heard of Internal Family Systems?

Busy: No, I don't think so.

Justin: Oh my gosh, because it's...

Busy: Writing it down.

Justin: Yeah, I can't wait to introduce you to one of the books but it’s, the whole purpose is to really get to a point where we can relax all of the protector parts of it. When you talked about the working out in the music and it's like all of that is there, we have these parts that have learned how to protect the emotional wounds that we hold. And so it's and we have 1,000,000 different ways to protect this.

But if we can find a way to get in touch with these protector parts and have a relationship with them where we can relax, get them to relax and just calm down a bit and then we can have access to this true self like everybody has this true self that is full of all the wisdom and courage and connection. And yeah, that's it.

Busy: It seems honestly like the same theoretical ideas.

Justin: Totally.

Busy: Because Bob Hoffman, like in the ‘50s or whatever, he came up with the process. It's all about like, yeah, there's this core right of you and that's your being and surrounding it, he calls it like negative love syndrome is what he calls it. And those are just all the things that were built up as survival when you were a very, very small person in your family. And those are the things that just become like bedrock to you… being. Able to access that emotional, pure core. And I thought, like, I said this on my podcast, like, I did think that this white rage and anger and unsettled thing in my core was just a part of me, and that all I could hope for, for my life was to just manage around it like a really big dining room table that's too big for the room. Just scooch around it. But through that week, they really it's like gone, it's shattered. It's gone and it's pretty incredible. Feels great.

Justin: Ok, so have you been able to experience a new parenting relationship mojo?

Audra: So like, what's it like coming home? What does it look like?

Justin: Yeah, like and parenting from that true self?

Busy: Yeah, I have. Here's what I'm going to say. I have like things that come to me now where I'm like, Oh, Birdie needs X, Y and Z, you know, like, I'm just like, I can just, I just know what it is. I called Mark the other day and I was like, Birdie and Cricket need, not a ton of time, just like 20 or 30 minutes of alone time with each one of us individually every single fucking day. And they need to know that they're getting it, and that's what it is. If they want to sit there on their phone and show me Tic Tocs or whatever they want to do, whatever they want.

Justin: Wow, Busy, you had mentioned this, I think, on the podcast where you drove back from D.C. and you said something to the effect that like you just knew you needed to spend some one on one time with Birdie, like you just knew it. And that hit me. Like, I was like, Oh, that's that feels so wise and like so connected. And I just want to know, how did you know that that needed to happen? And you just explained it.

Busy: Yeah. Even just the, having the realization that I needed to learn how to play Nintendo with Cricket. My eight-year-old does not want to do arts and crafts with me. She does not want learn how to knit. She does not want to bake with me. These are all the things that inspire you. I enjoy doing those things. She wants to play Minecraft and Mario. Yeah, and like. And so I  had this like a lightning bolt. Like, Oh, I have to sit down and I need, if I want to engage with this kid, I need to show an interest in a thing that they like. Like in what she's interested in, that's important to kids, that makes them feel seen and understood.

Audra: Yeah, it's big. It's really big. It's because parenting, I mean, so much of parenting, it seems to me to be just managing us, like managing ourselves in a way of like and being aware. It's like, Yeah, I want to bake. And then I try to transfer that onto my kid, right? But to be able to really listen and show up for them is all about doing that work. It's really powerful.

And I love hearing about it from you, and I love that you are so vocal and open and vulnerable on your podcast and that you share on social media because I do think it matters to people. I do think it matters to moms all over who are often dependent on narratives they like pick up or how they were raised or whatever.

We often, I mean, I've seen it in the childhood cancer world over and over again. Moms often rely on a way to do it or a narrative. It's like we need permission from someone else before we find it inside sometimes. And I think it's really powerful to have examples out. People that are open enough as you are to be able to share how you navigate this and share that doing the work is important. Like, it's hard work doing this work. But there's like, is there anything more important in life? And it's like short time that we have.

Busy: No.

Audra: With all of the unknown?

Busy: No, and it's all there is. like it's literally all there is now. And you look at like, I think especially in the last couple of years, obviously. I think people get sort of just overwhelmed globally by everything that you're seeing and witnessing and feeling like, what are we doing?

What's the point? I'm just going to have another glass of wine. I'm like, whatever. Yeah, fuck it, right?

But the truth is these little people change it all. Like all of them, to get like, we all can do it. It just is not, you know, this is not, no man is an island. No woman is an island, no person is an island. This is like a thing that we collectively have to be committed to raising good kids. I'm going to say a thing. Maybe it shouldn't. But whatever I got into, like a little bit of a thing, there was a kid that is not my child, and I said I was like intervening in a way. And Mark was like, you don't have to. This is so you, don't, don't do it, whatever. Don't do this. You know, he was kind of like erring on the side of like, we don't want people to feel like. And I was like, No, dude, it's 100% my business. That child's welfare is my business. Making sure that kid is taken care of is my fucking business.

Justin: And yes, it takes a village.

Busy: And it's like, so what so somebody might say, you've overstepped. Ok. Is the kid safe and being taken care of? Then I don't care, right?

Audra: What's more important?

Busy: Yeah, right. What are we afraid of? I had a woman once, like I was like about to lose my shit. When one of my kids was little and a woman in the bathroom at I think I was in the airport was like just had a very gentle nice like word of kindness toward me. And if you're a mom and you've ever and maybe Justin, I don't know about dads, I can't speak to your bathroom experiences. But I know...

Justin: We are silent.

Busy: I know that I've been in multiple bathrooms, like in airports and sports arenas or whatever, where I've overheard a mom on the edge and, or hotels. And if there's ever a time to just like with all the compassion you can say, “you're doing great, mom. I know it's hard. Can I hold something for you? Do you need anything?” Without judgment. It is like a game-changer because it makes first of all, if the mom is and I think probably people listening have heard this before, the mom is like really losing it.

Maybe they're saying some things that they will regret saying to their kid, and it just causes them to pause and like, get outside of themselves. And if you can really do it just genuinely from a place of like, I'm just, I'm there, I've been there. Can I get you something? Do you need water? Like I've, I gave a woman a bottle of water once like they just, do you need some water here? I bought too many. You know it can, like, shift your whole day and we…

Audra: It can shift the world.

Busy: Yes, and people get so weird about interacting. And yes, what's the worst issue she can tell you? Like to go mind your own business and whatever, and then you can be like, ok, thank you, you know, like…

Audra: What’s the worst, right? Right. Like, I feel this is like the big shift that you're talking about, and I love it because it's about showing up. I feel like our time is super limited here on this earth in this form. And how do we want to approach each day together, right? And I look back on like growing up in the ‘80s, I remember being in like a subway, you know, my dad's family's from Manhattan. And I remember I think we experienced a moment of racism, of course, of somebody yelling at a Black guy in the train and everybody freezes is like, but it's not our place. It's not our place to say anything. Yes, it's our place. And it's a big shift in maybe for our generation are really, really big shift of it. So it is our fucking place show up.

This is like the moment, the moments we have, and I feel like I experience that from you just being one of your many followers on social media because you show up and you speak your mind and you stand up for people and you genuinely talk about things and causes that are important to you. Like women's reproductive rights, for one of the many things the MeToo movement moment when you showed up there, I realized for the first time, like looking back on and, you know, I graduated high school in ‘95. So all of those years, you know, the girl who was raped by the whole football team. And I remember that like ‘91 and be like, oh, that was normal. That was just normal. The things that we accept that we don't have to accept. And then most importantly, when you talk about the major shift in humanity, if we can model this for our kids as you're modeling this as we're doing, if we can model this for our kids, I mean, the change is exponential. It's not just like one step more it's exponentially more. And I think that it's so powerful.

Busy: And you know, it's so funny, like Birdie. I'll brag on my kid for a minute, but they have such an incredible ability to recognize injustice, in their own world at school, and I mean, you know, their kids, their worlds are pretty small and to stand up for what they really believe is right. Birdie went to the dean of their school and like without even talking to me and Mark about a thing that was affecting them and a couple of the other, a couple of other kids in their pod that had been like sort of a consistent issue that Birdie was like, this just isn't being handled well enough for me. Like, I need you to do better. What? Well, yes, I can’t even imagine back then. I would never...

Audra: Oh, it's incredible.

Justin: Ok, so Busy. You today would certainly do something like that. Would you have done that at age 13?

Busy: Well, I mean, in terms of like the things that Birdie is standing up for, no, like I felt and I wrote about it in the book. I definitely felt, you know, as a girl and a young woman that I had to be able to take it and that, you know, my body could be a joke for boys. My sexuality could be a joke for boys or girls. You know that I was a woman, person, young woman person was at the mercy of a culture where that was the normal. And if I wanted to succeed and I wanted to just and I wanted to get through it, I had to learn how to laugh, learn how to take it, learn how to move through these things.

So like toxic male culture, essentially. Upholding a patriarchal, toxic white supremacist male culture, Birdie has zero-tolerance for any of that. And you know, it still exists. These kids are, you guys have a teenager like, you know, there's still, things get said, words are used, and Birdie just is like, absolutely not. It's unacceptable. I have another friend whose kid is 16 I think now, who at Summer Camp, a boy did a thing, dropped a thing down her shirt and then did another thing. And she told the counselors about it, and he was sort of just slapped on the wrist. And then he did another thing to her, and she went to the head of the camp and was like, I need my parents to be called and I need that kid's parents to be called, and I'm not going to return to camp unless he's gone. It's like, you don't get to misbehave like this. This is my boundary.

Audra: Yeah, that's exponential. That's exponential change.

Justin: Yeah. Like when we were all growing up. Yeah, that would have never even been brought to a counselor. It just was…

Audra: I never would have said a word. I never would have said.

Justin: And so Busy I. So the question that I have because there's so much in the book. Well, I mean, it's so clear it's not even about the book, but just who you are as an adult, really vulnerable, authentic, real. And so I'm wondering, was there a specific turning point for you in young adulthood or at any point in time where you're like, You know what? Like, I am who I am, and I'm just going to put it out there? Or was this a gradual shift?

Busy: Well, I mean, I think that there was a part of me that was always doing that. I think it was just difficult depending on how it was received by certain, you know, and I think I spent a long time trying to mold myself into an idea that I didn't believe in. You know, I think that gets like, where is, it wears you out.

And I do think that our generation like Gen X specifically and maybe some millennials, older millennials, maybe I do think we reached especially women. I think we reached like our tipping point where we kind of like we can't. I actually just can't hold this shit anymore. I'm just not going to.

Justin: Was there a single tipping point for you or was this a more gradual shift?

Busy: I mean, once Trump really came into the zeitgeist in a real way, like before he was president, but just when he sort of took the national stage in such a way. We were kind of living in a little bit of an Obama bliss, I think. And once that started happening and I started to see the reactions from people around the country, I I started to have like that feeling not like sickening feeling from high school, you know? And I thought, well, I can't. What are we doing? How is it? How is this happening?

And that's when it all started to become, like, the movie Memento. Yeah, replaying like every three years, ahead. And you're like, Wait. Monica Lewinsky was a victim, you know? Yeah, yeah. You know, that's like, you know, the programming is, the social programming is deep. The river runs deep for all of us. And whether you're like political affiliations or whatever they are, there is no denying social programming.

And so I think that that shift where it just became so clear, you know, coupled with the fact that like you know, the LGBTQIA movement has been like able to make such major inroads in terms of rights like our trans friends and families, you know, are able to like have been able to really come out in such an amazing way and we've been able to, this is all part of like the shift right in consciousness because really ultimately and Birdie is non-binary, but like, that's the been the biggest realization I've had in the last year, which is just like, it's all about just dismantling the binary, like all, all of it. Which people don't. I don't think it's like when you say that some people are like, turn you off, they can't even comprehend.

Audra: I think it's amazing. It's so rad. And to me, it says a lot about your family and your relationships and your family dynamics. And I know so for The Family Thrive, what we're working on now is our focus is really on mental and emotional health for parents and so that we can break those cycles and make that change to produce a healthier family environment for our kids so that we can change the paradigm, change the world. We believe that that's what will happen when we do that work.

But hearing about not only Birdie coming out but then telling you, yeah, talk about on the potty, it's fine, anybody can know about this, like that badass, beautiful confidence and empowerment that I feel like hearing that like that. How, so there's a lot of us other moms out there who would like to be like, I want to be that mom. I so want to be that mom where my kid can come out to me, and it is something that they feel super safe.

So what kind of like, oh, like, how did you get there with them? Like, is it something that for both kids, even like do kind of like normalize in a sense? Like, did you defy the binary in your conversations before that? Or is it just that you had an open relationship? Like, what is that? How did that work for you?

Busy: Well, a couple of things. Like I do think that it's important to remember the thing that my mother always used to say to me. Actions speak louder than words. I think that we can say a lot of things to our children, but what they really know is what they see. So even as a woman breaking like body issues for myself, for the kids, it started with me being very disingenuous to be honest. And despite making a conscious decision that I was not going to talk about my body or anyone else's body. And I wasn't. And I was going to wear bathing suits and I would always get in the pool and I was not going to, like, pull my clothes like I made like a mental list. Of all the things that I felt like I needed to change, I wasn't comfortable. Do you know what I mean? Like, I still think about my own body and kind of free of it now, which is great. But so, yeah, you know, sometimes fake it till you make it does work.

Audra: Right? But modeling, Yeah, what you're modeling.

Busy: But even if I never shifted my body perspective that had been programmed into me, at least I could try to curb some of the programming in my kids. So in terms of how they identify gender-wise and who they want to love, we do have, I do have friends who I, you know, are trans, who identify as non-binary. I have lots of friends who are gay, who are married. You know. I do have that.

That is a thing that has been experienced in my family, from my kids when they were really little. And I think it just makes the difference. And culturally too, like, I think that's that's a thing too like and sometimes maybe I don't know. I don't listen to a ton of podcasts, so I don't know if other parenting podcasts have like, I know there's that like [Nice] White Parents podcast.

Audra: Is it about White parents? What is it called?

Busy: It's like to be a, nice White parent. But so I was going to say, I don't know if they deal with this on that or if they ever dealt with that on this podcast. But like several, several years ago, I did. I don't even know if I'd had Cricket yet, but I was like, “We need some more diversity in our friend group.” And you know, and especially living in Los Angeles, which is like, weirdly, very still segregated place in terms of housing, like we were. And I just was like, I don't like this for myself and I don't like this for what my kids see. So you can make, I mean, you can make choices like how you live your life.

Audra: Yes. Yes. Was New York a great change for that? I mean, we moved to LA from New York, and I remember being astounded. I was like, People just avoid the things that make them uncomfortable in LA and in New York. I mean it, even in the areas of extreme wealth. I mean, it's still just so much more diverse and alive.

Busy: Well, yeah, I mean, socioeconomically, like, I don't even think there is like one area that's like super-wealthy. Everything in this city is a melting pot, you know, like, it is incredible. I think the first weekend we were here, a little over a year ago, we were walking around and Birdie was like, “Oh, look, there's a Pride flag in the window. Is this like their West Hollywood?” And I was like. “No, no, this is New York City. This is New York.” And I was like. It's everywhere, like everyone is everywhere, and that's just the way that it is. And I think that it has offered the kids, yeah, like a really incredible perspective shift. Also.

Audra: I totally resonate with that.

Busy: Like obviously Mark and I, their parents both work in entertainment. But you know, it can be, in LA you can get really overwhelmed with an idea that that's all there is in the world. Here people's parents do all kinds of things.

Yeah. And I think and it's not like Birdie's set apart because of what their parents do, and it's not as though there are some kind of weird competition because of what their parents do, which, by the way, I had found in LA with some of the kids like comparing how famous their parents were, like oh no.

Audra: It's so bizarre.

Justin: Who's higher up in the titles? So I know that you have to go. So we have three questions that we ask every guest on the show. And so we're just going to shoot them at you rapid fire. the first one. Busy. If you could put a post-it note on every parent's fridge tomorrow morning, what would that post-it note say?

Busy: Compassion for yourself.

Justin: Compassion for yourself. Beautiful.

Busy: Maybe the compassion for yourself is too long on a post-it note, so maybe just be kind to you.

Justin: Be kind to you. And then is there a quote that you, I know this one's tough. Just think off the top of your head. But has there been a quote lately that has changed the way you think or feel?

Busy: Yeah, you got to be able to hold both. That’s been my mantra. You got to be able to hold both.

Justin: Beautiful. All right. So the very last question is we'd like to ask this because raising kids is hard and it's nice to take a step back and think about what is so great about kids. So Busy, what do you love about kids?

Busy: All of their ideas and the things they have to say. I was in my room reading last night and I overheard Cricket telling Mark a story, and I was laughing so hard from the other room, just listening to this person tell this animated story about what had happened at school that day. And I think that being present and being open to listening to what your kids have to say without judgment, without correcting, without making it teachable is the best.

Justin: That's it. That's it. That's the thing. Beautiful. Are busy. Thank you so much for your time. This has been such a joy for us.

Audra: It really has.

Busy: Thank you. Let me know if you guys come to New York!

Justin: Oh for sure. For sure.

Audra: We’re in Savannah, Georgia, so let us know if you ever come to Savannah.

Busy: You guys moved to Savannah?

Justin: Yeah, we moved to Savannah, Georgia. That's right. Yeah.

Audra: It’s our type of thing, it's like the kids were like, “Let's get out of Orange County, guys, see the world differently.”

Busy: I love Savannah. I'm not kidding.

Justin: Yeah. Oh, that's awesome.

Audra: We love it.

Busy: All right, it was so good to see you guys.

Audra: Yeah. Thank you again.

Justin: Have a wonderful day.

Busy: Okay. Bye.


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