Today I’m chatting with Sebene Selassie, a meditation teacher and transformational coach who helps modern, multicultural spiritual seekers create transformation in their lives by teaching them how to make space for self–care, new practices, and liberating change.

She has been studying Buddhism for over 25 years and for two decades worked nationally and internationally for social change & social justice organizations. Her work took her everywhere from the Tenderloin in San Francisco to refugee camps in Guinea, West Africa.

Currently, she coaches individuals, teaches meditation classes and retreats regularly in New York City and around the U.S., and works as an organizational consultant. Sebene is also a 3–time breast cancer survivor.

Enjoy our ramble through the Buddhist tale of Kisagotami, relationships with our bodies, and with our creativity.

Things we chatted about in this episode:

  • the Buddhist tale Kisagotami
  • on being a child of immigrants, growing up in the US
  • having 3rd stage breast cancer at the age of 34
  • on surviving breast cancer three times
  • normalizing grief and challenges in life (as Kisagotami teaches)
  • reacting to challenges by thinking ‘this is a mistake’ then remembering it’s a natural ebb and flow in life
  • the masculine patriarchal legacy of Buddhist teachings and opening up other pathways for people
  • relationship to body: on losing a connection with her body as a teenager
  • on waking up to her body disconnection through yoga and a meditation practice
  • on having a natural inclination upwards towards the head, and practicing to connect down into the body
  • how our culture rewards people for being smart AKA in the head
  • taking care of the body by paying attention to it
  • on feeling betrayed by her body and disassociating from it during cancer treatment
  • going through chemically & surgically induced menopause
  • how menopause is teaching her about reactivity and meeting and experiencing the body as it is
  • meeting hot flashes with ease and curiosity
  • on why wise elder women are revered in most cultures
  • how the possibility for ease can only be found through the body
  • relationship to creativity: needing structure and a container
  • how creativity is always ready and willing when tapped into
  • how lack of belief in creativity keeps resistance fueled
  • how not wanting to be a fraud puts pressure on self (sometimes in a good way)
  • on loving words and the visual expression of creativity
  • on following what grabs you in creative non-fiction (Janelle)

Resources from this episode:

Connecting with Sebene:

Connecting with Janelle: