Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Life, Death & The Space Between

Nov 10, 2022


“There seems to be an inexplicable link to facing our own impermanence and awakening spiritually… Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? What’s the purpose of all this? Until we are shaken out of the status quo, we don’t ordinarily ask those questions voluntarily. I like to say that most people are dragged kicking and screaming onto the spiritual path. And I really think that that’s true.“ [7:14] – author Mark Matousek


“Gratitude is the antidote to self-pity. You can’t feel both at the same time.” [15:41] – author Mark Matousek





If you’re enjoying the podcast and finding value in guest interviews, ghost stories, and the content I share, please consider supporting the show by becoming a Patreon member for as little as $5 a month at


As a member you’ll get more say in the content we cover and exclusive access to behind-the-scenes goodness!


Stay Connected with Dr. Amy Robbins:






Do you journal? 


Today we talk with Mark Matousek, a bestselling author, teacher, and speaker whose work focuses on personal awakening and creative excellence through transformational writing and self-inquiry. 


Mark is the award-winning author of seven books, including “Sex Death Enlightenment: A True Story”. His articles have appeared in The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. His book, “When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living” was just re-released.


Listen in to hear how Mark integrates being in the world, being in relationships, and making a living, without compromising his values and what matters to him most. 

Topics We Discuss:


  • [0:20] Amy introduces Mark Matousek. 


  • [3:40] Mark describes how he was a spiritual seeker starting in childhood. How unanswered questions and unaddressed suffering, followed by a 5-years-to-live diagnosis accelerated his spiritual growth. 


  • [6:44] Mark feels that spiritual unfolding is linked to existential crisis. 


  • [8:28] Mark discusses spiritual bypassing – running from vs. running into whatever ongoing crisis you are experiencing. Seeking spirituality outside of yourself vs. finding answers within. 


  • [10:18] Mark integrated his profoundly spiritual experiences. Contrary to his earlier belief that spiritual awakening meant not feeling pain, he learned that the more he evolved, the more deeply he felt both joy and pain. 


  • [14:33] The most common story people tell themselves to keep them spiritually stuck is the victim story: that life is happening TO them. 


  • [16:07] Gratitude is the antidote to self-pity.  But what if someone is NOT glad to be here, to be alive? 


  • [17:54] Mark’s process of writing as a self-examination tool. How truth telling, including the truth about the messiness of being human, changes the story we tell ourselves and other people. 


  • [19:40] Mark’s favorite lesson from the book: if you’re willing to change and let go of what has been, then it’s possible to be healed and move forward within any situation. 


  • [22:00] The importance of experiencing awe and wonder. Fall colors. Sunrise. Sunset.


  • [27:09] What his teacher’s question, “Do you go through the mountain or around the mountain?” means to Mark. The answer is often anti-Western culture.


  • [29:56] Humanity’s relationship with Mother Earth. The planet will be fine. Humanity’s future is what is uncertain.


  • [34:48] Everyday experiences are material for self-inquiry. These spiritual practices take you to the core of what you care about. All of our choices and thoughts can raise consciousness, and raise awareness.


  • [37:00] Amy’s speed round questions: What is spirituality? What is something people don’t know about you? What is one thing you’re looking forward to right now? What’s one thing you’re deeply grateful for? What book is on your nightstand? What is your favorite spiritual or healing practice? What do you believe happens when we die? What is the most spiritually transformative experience of your life?


Find Mark and his interactive Seeker’s Forum on his website. His latest book, “When You’re Falling, Dive”, and all his books are available wherever books are sold. 


Mark brings over three decades of experience as a memoirist, editor, interviewer, survivor, activist, and spiritual seeker to his penetrating and thought provoking work with students. His workshops, classes, and mentoring have inspired thousands of people around the world to reach their artistic and spiritual goals.


Life, Death and the Space Between is brought to you by:

Dr. Amy Robbins | Host, Executive Producer

PJ Duke | Executive Producer

Andrej | Podcasticize | Sound Editing

Mara Stallins | Outreach & Social Media Strategy

Claire | | Podcast Cover Design