Chris Grosso – Ep. 10 – Mark Matousek


mark-matousekMark Matousek is the author of two award-winning memoirs, Sex Death, Enlightenment, an international bestseller, and The Boy He Left Behind, as well as When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living and Ethical Wisdom. His work has appeared in numerous publications including the New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine, Tricycle, and Details, and he is on the faculty of the New York Open Center, Esalen, The Omega Institute, Hollyhock, and others in Europe and the U.S. Since 2008, Mark has been the Creative Director of V-Men, with Eve Ensler, an organization devoted to ending violence against women and girls.


Episode Outline:

  • Mortality As A Catalyst – Mark talks about growing up in a house filled with confusion, trauma, abandonment, loss, all the good things that “give a memoirist their material” as Mark says. He also talks about the practice of writing and how it helped him begin to make sense of his life, moving to New York and working for Andy Warhol, and how in his late twenties he faced a spiritual crisis, which resulted in a trip to India.


  • Inside Out – Mark talks about being agnostic and spiritual, how there’s nothing that isn’t spiritual, his lack of interest in theological religion, his belief in human’s awakening and faith.


  • True Experience – Mark talks about the importance of being authentic, spiritual bypassing, honoring the darkness that is part of awakening and not pretending to be more awake or saintly than we actually are.


  • Trial By Fire – Mark and I talk a bit about one of his workshops, When You’re Falling, Dive, which is based on his book by the same name. Marks shares about the importance of learning to become comfortable with discomfort and using adversity as a catalyst for growth. We also talk about “Beginners Mind,” what that is and why it’s important.


  • V-Men – Some years ago, Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler created the V-Men organization that Mark is the Creative Director for. Mark elaborates on the following expert from the V-Men website that he wrote: “Last summer, when Eve Ensler asked me to write something about violence against women — from a male perspective — I went to my desk feeling skeptical, and not at all sure that I had anything significant to say on the subject. Although I had grown up in a house where female molestations of various kinds happened on a regular basis, and had spent a good deal of my adult life (and therapist’s time) sorting through the emotional rubble left behind after witnessing so much misogynist violence, I felt doubtful that my experience mattered — for the simple reason that I was a man — compared to the traumas I had witnessed in the lives of my mother and sisters.” And later in the piece you wrote, “It became clear to me (as it already was to Eve) that violence against women was not merely a female issue; it was a human dilemma twisting the lives and consciences of men as well; men whose voices needed to be heard in order for the dialogue that began ten years ago with the founding of V-Day to be complete.”


  • Cracking Open The Spiritual Window – In Mark’s book, Sex, Death, Enlightenment he writes, “Whatever it takes to break your heart and wake you up is grace,” which he elaborates on, noting how for many people, the first moment of heartbreak is also the first moment of opening to the wisdom path.


  • Twist Of Fate – Mark and I discuss how he recently found his half-brother Jim for the first time and the incredible story of how that happened (no spoilers).


  • Forgiveness – Mark discusses what true forgiveness is, the occasional selfishness of forgiveness, forgiving our own pasts and no longer feeding into the minds stories and more.


  • Feeling Your Feelings – Mark outlines how we can stop being afraid of feeling our feelings, recognizing the difference between our feelings and who we truly are and more.


  • A Helping Hand – Mark talks about his work on the spiritual classic, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. He also discusses working with Ram Das on his book Still Here and how it was both an incredible experience and at the same time, a bit difficult in certain ways.





Mark’s Website


The Seekers Forum


V-Day / V-Men Website


Mark’s Books: Sex Death Enlightenment, The Boy He Left Behind, When You’re Falling, Dive, and Ethical Wisdom.


Other Books: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, Still Here by Ram Dass

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