Episode 2: Extra Addition to Intro - Special Guest Anabelle Harari

Episode 2: Extra Addition to Intro - Special Guest Anabelle Harari

How do we deepen relationships with others and with ourselves? In this bonus supplement to the intro episode, I speak with Anabelle Harari about the transformative power of spiritual community.

What started as a simple sound check to test the microphone before recording the first ever episode of the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast - ended up being a really interesting conversation in and of itself about community, prayer, and how to be our truest selves.

In episode 2 of ‘Raising Holy Sparks’, I speak with Anabelle Harari who is not only my amazing partner in life and crazy antics but is also a deep thinker about wellness - both physical and also mental.

"It's important to remember that you're not going through this alone, all of us struggle with these issues." - Anabelle Harari

The struggles that each of us experiences in finding our place in the broader community or our general path in life can make us feel very overwhelmed or even isolated. In our conversation we talk about real-life strategies for how to gather with others, how to feel most authentically you, and how to feel more energetic - all the while acknowledging the real challenges in figuring out the right way to go about doing all of these things.


Full Transcript - Scroll below to read along:

Misha: 00:00 Hey everyone, welcome. What you're about to hear is just a mock podcast, something just for fun, something my wife Anabelle and I did just to check the sound quality of the mic, but then the interview actually ended up being pretty interesting and so we figured why not just keep it and throw it up online and if you like it, we'll try to do some more of these later down the road in the future. Enjoy.

Anabelle: 00:23 Thank you so much for joining us today. I'm really excited for today's episode because we have a very special guest with us Misha Clebaner, he's a spiritual guide. He's a community leader, passionate advocate, and generally just a very positive, upbeat kind of guy. So I'm so excited to have him on the show today to talk about spirituality and how we can infuse more holy sparks into our lives. Welcome.

Misha: 01:00 Thanks so much for having me.

Anabelle: 01:02 Thanks for being on the show. I know that you're a big proponent of spiritual communities, so why don't you tell us a little bit more about how you got started.

Misha: 01:15 Sure. So spiritual communities are so important in the Western world, right? Because anthropologists say that people can really only handle knowing about 150 people. Okay, and we live in communities that have millions, so how can we feel as though we matter that we're seen? And how can we also do the holy work of seeing someone else when we can only really hold 150 real relationships in our heart at one time. And so that's where the role of spiritual communities comes into play for us to be able to see others and to be seen.

Anabelle: 02:03 Wow, that's so interesting and so important for so many of us to hear. You know, we all have social media followings, we.. we see the numbers in the hundreds or thousands and those often are just numbers, but how often do we really connect with others around us and in community. I know that's something that a lot of people really strive for. So how do people get connected into these communities if they're just completely disconnected?

Misha: 02:39 Well, communities can really look like anything. I've heard it said that SoulCycle is the new church and I think that's perfectly fine. Really community is just, honestly, about seeing someone else and being seen. So that could be anything. Of course want to make sure people are safe and protected and so a cult is not a community because you are not really seen for who you are, rather you're just seen as some sort of an object. But aside from those more harmful, communities that we definitely have to keep an eye out open for, to protect, folks, really any kind of community is a spiritual community.

Anabelle: 03:25 Fascinating. And as I was just listening to you talk, I feel like what I really want to do is do more community stuff and like have events in person and gathered people together because I really enjoy that. Like I love hosting dinners at my home and I like interacting with people in person and so much of my time is spent online. And so I'm just thinking now about how can I create more community in person and really cultivate those relationships.

Misha: 04:05 Absolutely. And I think about that a lot because it's not necessarily a millennial thing about, oh, it's this day and age, that's anti community. But I think as just coming of age, so people that are coming into the thirties, coming into their forties, these are the folks that are realizing the value of community because as you're younger, you've seen in the TV, people having cocktail parties, you see your parents and their friends having cocktail parties and you think how lame, the fact that these people have to schedule something in their book, they come together, there's formalities, they check in with one another. It's not hip and cool like the way that we gather as young people where it's spontaneous and we just get into the thick of it.

Misha: 04:57 And so as a younger person, you have a different understanding of what it means to gather. But I think as you get older you realize that there actually is a great benefit to these cocktail party type of gatherings where you do have to take the time and do all the hard work of figuring out the catering. How.. who's going to cook, who's going to bring what, who's going to clean up, what have you.. to do that hard work. And then as a result of all that hard labor, you get the benefit of community, you have conversation... deep connection and so it's very challenging, but it's been done in previous generations. People make time for social gatherings and you know, our generation also starting to make time for these types of things as well.

Anabelle: 05:52 Yeah, I totally agree with that. I also think that so many of our gatherings are around like you said, cocktail parties and alcohol and I feel like maybe this is something that I'm just experiencing now as I get older, but really just trying to find other ways to gather in community that does not involve drinking. So going on yoga dates or taking a walk around the pond with a friend while we're able to catch up, hosting a dinner. Something aside from the typical like let's grab a drink. And I think a lot of us maybe feeling like this, like how do we gather in spaces without it being focused on alcohol? And I'd love to explore more of that.

Misha: 06:43 That's such a fantastic question and it's a tricky one because the benefit of the bar scene is that it has so much buzz, it has so much energy and we shouldn't discount that, because as human beings, we want to be near energy. We're attracted to buzz, we're attract to life and we shouldn't stop searching out for these types of gatherings. That being said, there's also so much that's not ideal in gathering at a bar. Number one, it's expensive to get drink after drink. Number two, the calories of hard alcohol, the calories of beer, that's something that everyone's going to have to deal with in the days afterwards to go to the gym and work all that stuff out. The fact that it's so loud in there and people can actually, people cannot actually connect with one another in a sincere fashion. The fact that it's so crowded in there and people are constantly being pushed and just what does it do psychologically for the fact that people are constantly pushing you out of the way as if you don't matter?! So there's so many little things about the, [coughs] excuse me, about the bar experience that are not ideal for gathering. So we do. I think you're absolutely right. We do have to get creative and think about how we can create buzz and energy at places that don't revolve around alcohol.

Anabelle: 08:16 Beautifully said. And just to add to that, it's not even necessarily thinking about calories for drinking, but how does it make you feel? For me the next day, even the next two days, as I get older, are just awful. So really being conscious and intentional of checking in with your body and seeing how alcohol makes you feel after a night of drinking. And is that something you really want to continue doing on a consistent basis?

Anabelle: 08:46 I want to shift gears a little bit and talk about prayer and how people can really get in tune with prayer, whether that's through traditional modes or through other more "woowoo" new age modes of prayer. And just talk a little bit about how you view prayer and if you do think it's important.

Misha: 09:16 Definitely. I, I very much so think prayer is important, which is why I'm so happy that meditation is having this rocket like ascent. Where people are fixing time in their day in order to check in with them, with their, with theirselves. So really just depends on what religious tradition you're coming from.

Misha: 09:38 Within the Jewish context prayer was originally an opportunity for the human being to be in close relationship with something bigger than themselves, right? With God. So people would go to the holy Temple in Jerusalem, this huge edifice built by King Solomon and they'd be able to step into that place with their sacrifice and they'd be able to say, here's a little gift from me and I'm offering it up to you, right. And so actually the word for sacrifice in Hebrew of korban literally just means to "come close", right? So prayer and its original sense, in Judaism, was all about that opportunity for getting close. Now the way we get close is not through the very visceral, and at times disturbing act of sacrifice. Rather it's through, saying specific prayers and specific words. And that can be really tricky for people as, you know, you want to be saying one thing, but then your liturgy tells you to be saying something else. And how do you deal with that tension?

Anabelle: 10:51 How do you deal with that tension?

Misha: 10:58 I think that you kind of have to shake it up. Sometimes you take yourself out of your traditional practice and you say, today I'm not going to be doing what I do everyday. Rather I just need to say these very specific concrete things that I'm feeling today and I want to just address that. I want to journal about those feelings. I want to just focus on these types of thoughts rather than going through the whole set of.. of prayers, right? So in Judaism we have our, our liturgy. And then in Christianity for instance, if you're a Catholic, you have the Holy Father or the Hail Mary's, right? So do you want to say that stuff or do you have something else on your heart? And the answer is you, you're going to have to wrestle with doing some at sometimes and doing the other ones at other times.

Anabelle: 11:57 So, you know, a lot of people struggle with living their, their truest selves, you know, like not caring what others think and just being so authentically them and I'm wondering if there's any connection points that you see between connection to higher power, or God, and connecting to your higher self.

Misha: 12:30 That's such a great question. And I think that it's hard to address it without thinking about the soul. Right? And then what it means.. whether or not a person that has a core identity. I think that yes, a person does have a core identity of what makes them them, right? It's their.. kind of the twinkle in their eye that they have since they're a little kid, right? You look at baby photos of me and I have the same twinkle as a kid as I do now. So there's kind of like this energy that's uniquely me. That being said, so much of how I carry myself in this world is about how I mirror myself based on who's in front of me. And the fact that I have so many different roles and I have to change the way that I carry myself based on where I am and who I speak with. And so yes, I have a true soft and I have to try to find that true self and elevate it as much as possible, but it's a life long journey! The way that I try to think of our personalities is that it's an approximation of our souls. We get a little bit closer every day and it takes a lifetime. And similarly, religion does the same thing about, you know, the thing that's a greater than all of us, right? Than God, or the universe or what have you. Religion, kind of like personality traits to get a little bit, a little bit closer to what it means about the greatest energy of all. And so there's never really a right answer of: who am I really? But we try to get a little bit closer and more honest to that sparkle that we had from the very beginning.

Anabelle: 14:24 I love that. I think what you said.. you make a really good point in terms of being in front of different people at different times and how you have to act, you know, if you're talking to investors versus talking to your family, you may act differently. And I was actually reading my horoscope or my astrological chart today Because I was curious about my moon and rising signs. Turns out I'm a pisces across the board. I'm super empathetic and a really take on the feelings of others. So I totally can relate to that and trying to keep my own spark alive by still being empathetic, but also not necessarily taking on the thoughts and feelings of all of those people around me.

Anabelle: 15:17 So I know that, um, we can have just sort of spit balling here and playing around, but I feel like we had a really nice conversation talking a little bit more about spirituality, community, how to connect to our higher selves. And these are just lessons that we all need reminding of from time to time. It's important to remember that you're not going through this alone. All of us struggle with these issues and it's great to just put it out there and have a reminder that we're all going through.. through this and we're always questioning everything around us.

Anabelle: 15:53 So I hope this episode gave you some food for thought. I know we have lots of more juicy episodes coming out and I'm so excited to share this journey with you all. If you'd like, if you'd like, give us a five star rating and review on iTunes. It truly helps us and supports the show and we will choose our favorite review to give a little shout-out on the next episode. Thanks so much!

Misha: 16:24 Alright, everyone so that concludes this first bonus track to "Raising Holy Sparks". I hope you enjoyed it, and as Anabelle said, if you liked it, give us a five star review. Wishing you a great week ahead. Take care. Bye.


One point that we raised was about seeking out alternatives to gatherings that are always centered around alcohol.

Do you have a favorite activity with your friends outside of the bar scene?

Please share in the comment section below.

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Communal Resilience