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Wendy Shinyo Haylett, a Buddhist teacher, lay minister, mindfulness coach, and behavioral analyst shares the "tips and tricks" found in Buddhist teachings to make your professional and personal life better ... everyday!

Oct 29, 2023

I am very happy to share the wisdom of Gemma Naturkach, a member of our Everyday Buddhism Community and Sangha. I asked Gemma to join me for a conversation on the podcast, after listening to her share her reflections and insight about her experiences as a refugee from Ukraine. It really helps give us a bigger perspective—a perspective from the real-life experience of a woman trying to make sense of everything that happened to her and her family, who were driven from their home and country because of war.

Gemma is a U.S. Army vet and member of a three-culture family. She is an ICF and iPEC certified coach and founder of Social Media for Coaches. She is deeply committed to using her experiences to champion the voices of those who have been uprooted from their homes. Her wisdom was sharpened through her own experience as she and her family made their way from Ukraine to Wisconsin in February 2022.

After asking her to be guest on the podcast, I found out that Gemma has written a book, called  Surviving Patriotism, targeted for release in 2024.This work serves as a testament to her emotional journey during her and her family's evacuation and subsequent resettlement.

Among other things, we talked about how home and community is where you make it … the complex emotions of hating and then trying not to hate the "enemy" … how rage doesn't think, reflect, or consider … how war is romanticized … and how we feel pressured to pick a side, labeling one as bad and the other as good … and ways we might help when we feel helpless.

I am positive Gemma's reflection on her experience … her honest sharing of what she went through and her thoughts along the way … may help you see war, anger, and propaganda from a broader and clearer lens … a lens outside our cultural or tribal bubbles. I know it did me!

* Note: Correction - Near the end of the episode, I mistakenly referred to Palestine as Pakistan.


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