In the most recent episode of the Holistic Wealth podcast, I had an opportunity to interview CNN Political Analyst Kirsten Powers. Kirsten Powers is a New York Times bestselling author, USA Today columnist, and senior political analyst for CNN, where she appears regularly on Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, and The Lead with Jake Tapper. Her writing has been published in The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Elle, The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, The New York Observer, Salon, the New York Post and The American Prospect online. On the Holistic Wealth podcast we discussed her new book Saving Grace, and the role that grace plays in a deeply polarized world, and a world deep in the trenches of collective despair. Given that my book Holistic Wealth covers spiritual self-renewal as a critical pillar of Holistic Wealth, the theme of grace is so relevant to how we relate to others in our personal relationships, as well as how we cope with difficult times, including life-altering setbacks. Even more importantly, how we give ourselves the grace we need when we experience failure, grief or setbacks.
For Kirsten, its evident in her book that she needed a new toolbox to cope with various experiences in her personal and professional life. For years, Kirsten has been center stage for many of America’s most searing political and cultural battles as a columnist, CNN Senior Political TV Analyst and Author. On the Holistic Wealth podcast, we discussed Kirsten’s story on grief and adversity, after losing her father and grandmother, and being diagnosed with health issues such as lime disease, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. We also discussed Kirsten’s thoughts on the “weaponization of grace”, and how it’s used as a tool to force marginalized communities into submission, as well as the deep polarization in America and the globe, and how grace can be used as a tool for reconciliation and healing, drawing inspiration from legendary civil rights icons. Kirsten shared her thoughts on coping with mental health struggles including depression and suicide ideation and how she coped with it and came through it successfully.
In Saving Grace, Kirsten writes authentically about America’s political discourse, chronicling the efforts she’s made to stay grounded and preserve her sanity in a post-truth era that has driven many people to the edge. Similar to Holistic Wealth, in Saving Grace, Kirsten draws on lessons offered by faith leaders, therapists, theologians, social scientists, and activists working for change today including iconic civil rights activists like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr, John Lewis and Ruby Sales. She argues against the widespread misconception that “grace means being nice, letting people get away with harmful behavior, or choosing neutrality in the name of peace. Grace, she argues, is anything but an act of surrender; instead, it is a kinetic and transformative force”.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Saving Grace by Kirsten Powers.
“Grace is what makes human coexistence possible“.
“Embracing grace as my lodestar ended up being a life-transforming experience, bringing emotional and physical healing to myself and relationships that I had almost written off as lost causes”.
“True grace is otherworldly. It goes against every instinct we have to seek revenge for wrongs or to shame and humiliate people who have acted immorally or unethically. It is what the theologian Dorothee Sölle, who grew up in Nazi Germany, called “borrow[ing] the eyes of God.”
“Grace is amazing. It’s the sweet sound that cracks open a hardened heart. It smooths the edges of rough regret about the things we did and the things we failed to do. It gives us permission to accept that we were doing the best we could with the information we had—or as Maya Angelou said, “You did . . . what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.”
“Reduced to its absolute essence, grace is “unmerited favor. In the Christian tradition, it’s what God gives us free of charge”.
“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him,” Booker T. Washington once warned. Well, I went that low. And then some. On good days, I could limit my negative feelings about those who I felt were causing so much harm to mere disdain. On the worst days, I hated their guts. But feeling hate, like being unforgiving, is tantamount to drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It only deepened my misery”.
“Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche warned that if you are going to fight the monster, you need to make sure that in the process you don’t become the monster. Grace creates a buffer zone between you and the people who are driving you to the edge and even causing serious harm”.
Listen to the full episode of the Holistic Wealth Podcast with special guest, CNN Senior Political Analyst, and NYT Times Bestselling Author, Kirsten Powers.
Resources Used In This Podcast Episode: