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UnBoxing “God”
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UnBoxing “God”

Author: McCall

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A search through theology, history, philosophy, science, religion and personal experiences to discover Spiritual Realities.

Drop your preconceived notions of god and explore “out of the box” concepts of a higher power in order to more deeply connect with the divine, others, and ourselves. ...let’s try and discover some Universal Truths and how we might apply them to live healthier, happier -or at least more content- and “better” lives!

Join McCall (+ friends/listeners) every other week, with BONUS episodes in-between.

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31 Episodes
Regardless of whether you want to complete your basketball season, get from point A to point B, or deliver a healthy baby... the safest place to be is cushioned in the middle of a protective “bubble”.     This week's episode really packs a punch - and a few kicks - as McCall has three conversations with different martial arts practitioners who offer their insights into the importance of finding an equilibrium... where one is not teetering at either end of two extremes, but instead expands that line to an encompassing sphere - at the center of which, lies safety and security.   Beth W. practices a Kabbalah connected martial art in NYC.  Rich H. is learning Jeet Kun Do, created by Bruce Lee.  Masters Tanya and Wally Bagot, who run Sunset San Soo in LA, explain to McCall that this style of Kung Fu is not for sport, but self-protection.  And what do they all have in common...? Balance, training, mindful awareness, and flow.  Also, featuring the wise words of Bruce Lee and Joseph Campbell, on dangerous dichotomies, following your bliss & finding the safe balance of the center.  Quotes  “One of the basic Kabalistic concepts is that God creates the universe anew - every day. The world is in a constant state of creation.” -- Beth Wilensky  “Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless -- like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend." --Bruce Lee  “Whenever one moves out of the transcendent, one comes into a field of opposites. These two pairs of opposites come forth, as male and female, from the two sides. What has eaten of the tree of the knowledge -- not only of good and evil, but of male and female, of right and wrong, of this and that, and light and dark. Everything in the field of time is dual - past and future, dead and alive. All this. Being and non-being. Is/isn't. They always come in pairs and put your mind in the middle. Most of us put our minds on the side of the good, against what we think of as evil. It was Heraclites, I think, who said: ‘For God, all things are good, and right, and just. But for man, some things are 'right' and others are 'Not'.’ You're in the field of time when you're man. And one of the problems of life is to live in the realization of both terms. That is to say, ‘I know the center. And I know that good and evil are simply temporal apparitions.’” -- Joseph Campbell  “Follow your bliss. …with a deep sense of being informed. And … then going where your body and soul want to go. When you have that feeling, then stay with it! And don't let anyone throw you off.” -- Joseph Campbell  “Martial arts means honestly expressing yourself.” -- Bruce Lee  “Humility is a willingness to learn.” -- Wally Bagot  “Running water never grows stale.” -- Bruce Lee  --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. Support this podcast:
PLEASE... check out UBG Trailer 2.0  - A LOT has happened since March 20, 2020 - when McCall first recorded this one!!! (What IS that music?!?!) We are UnBoxing "God" - Because sometimes tackling an "un"manageable life requires the help of an "un"orthodox higher power. Each week we will publish an episode. First, we will begin to dig into a topic, often inspired by McCall's practice of 12-Step Recovery. [No topic is too taboo, sacred, scary, dangerous, or in any other way Off-Limits to unbox.] Plus, in between FULL episodes -we will go even DEEPER into literature, scripture + other sacred texts, psychology, philosophy, theology and... every science journal, video, audiobook and Wikipedia entry we can absorb! It's like a game, to follow every rabbit (or worm) hole that happens to present itself. Won't you join us on this Hero's Journey?!?! "If you try to keep an open mind... you WILL find help." Besides, you can always "take what you like... and leave the rest." Contact: --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. Support this podcast:
Because sometimes tackling an unmanageable life requires the help of an unorthodox higher power.  Each week we will dig into a topic that challenges us... from the "God" in 12 Step Recovery, to Social Justice issues like Gender, Race and Arranged Marriage...  using less than traditional tools and ideas.  Take what you like... and leave the rest.   Contact: --- Support this podcast:
Today has been known as Columbus Day for over a century but federally recognized since 1934. In more recent years, however, October 12th (or the second Monday of October) has come to be known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  Today we celebrate, honor, and uplift indigenous people.  Also, our friend and guest, Laura, stops by to tell us a little about Canadian Thanksgiving, which they call “Gratitude Day”, instead of honoring the violence of colonialism. “We’ve never been grateful for genocide.” - Laura McCall explains her attraction to the Native Americans idea of two-spirit people - combining characteristics of both genders. In many tribes, two-spirit people filled special religious roles, such as healers, ceremonial leaders, and shamans. In some tribes, these people were considered especially blessed in the areas of love and attraction, with the ability to bless others with that gift. Indigenous Americans view disease and death as the natural result of an imbalance in an individual. The Native American Church (NAC) uses peyote as a holy, sacred sacrament. “What better pharmacist than the Great Spirit itself, who purposefully created peyote for medicinal, spiritual, and healing purposes.” - McCall McCall breaks down the role of peyote in Native American Church and the amazing man, Quanah Parker, who began it. Is it a monotheistic religion, based on faith in One Supreme Spirit? The concept of that universal spiritual energy is called The Great Spirit, and it is interpreted as the power that resides in all. “All matter is animated and alive, emanating and receptive to some spirit force.” – McCall For most Native cultures, there is no distinction between the spiritual world and the material world. However, colonial European missionaries exploited the similarities between their concept of God and The Great Spirit to encourage conversion to Christianity. Worship of the land also created conflict with colonial Christians, which is explained in this episode with some beautiful spoken words from Professor Joseph Campbell that illuminate the dangers of dualism and the battle of Good vs Evil, Right vs Wrong, Man vs Nature. Conflict between colonial Europeans and Native Americans is addressed, noting a distinct connection to, and worshipping of, the land on which we reside. Today, there is a disconnect with Earth which we must mend. A ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ of sorts. Climate change is real, and McCall has some wise words regarding what we can to do make peace with our planet. “It is undeniable that we as humans are out of balance with the planet.” – McCall Perhaps we should adopt a way of thinking that is more aligned with the Native American culture, one where we strive for balance. Mother Earth needs us to take her into account when we act, celebrate, and create legacies. --- Support this podcast:
What do the sworn virgins of Albania, Caitlyn Jenner, Elagabalus, and Caster Semenya all have in common?   They’re transgender -- or, perhaps, third gender.   How long have we known about transgender?  Is gender just biological sex like some say or is there something more to learn from other cultures’ and countries’ histories of gender which is not binary?  Pink or blue only gender reveal parties, get ready to meet your match!  [1:00] International Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, and Intersex Association - Trans Legal Mapping Report 2019 / Criminalization of trans people globally [03:51] Erratum!  Our first but probably not our last... [06:13] Trans around the world / Muxes in Mexico [07:08] The Sworn Virgins of Albania [08:20] Elagabalus, perhaps the first trans Roman Emperor from 200 CE [12:18] Trans in the military / Christine Jorgensen post-WWII [13:51] Ryan -M2F- on Australian school uniforms [16:16] Ryan on transitioning genders and a first Al-Anon meeting [18:46] Trans in history / Hijras in India [20:13] Celia Daniels on Hijras [26:51] Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Hijra from India [28:13] Indian Trans Olympic Games / Trans in Sports [29:42] Caster Semenya [35:24] Caitlyn Jenner [36:31] Gender spectrum / Evolution to Third Gender ? [37:58] 5 Genders? The Bissu of the Bugis people [40:24] What’s to come... Recommended Resources ILGA Trans Legal Mapping Report 2019 Five Genders? | National Geographic video Muxes in Mexico Sworn Virgins | National Geographic Muslim-Trans in Indonesia India’s Third Gender Changing Gender Dynamics in Current Structure of India | Laxmi Narayan Tripathi | TEDxSIUHinjewadi Roman Scandal 22: Elagabalus and the Problem of Teen Rule Find Celia Daniels on Facebook or on LinkedIn or Instagram Support Celia Daniels’ work at Join the conversation on Facebook! --- Support this podcast:
Arranged marriage - what reaction does that incite in you?     This week, we’re delving into Indian marriage: who has arranged ones and can people be happy in them?  McCall and Cass have conversations with Celia Daniels, an Indian trans woman in a heterosexual arranged marriage; Monique, an Indian Australian woman who opted to have a non-arranged marriage; and Manpreet, a Punjabi woman who opted to marry a fellow Sikh. Summary [02:22] Reminder: Who is Celia Daniels? [03:02] Celia Daniels on Indian, Christian, Arranged Marriage [07:04] Celia on her duality as womxn and husband/father [08:35] McCall + Cass on arranged marriage [09:11] Who participates in arranged marriages? Where did this idea come from? [12:01] Types of arranged marriages     SPONSOR AD [15:23-16:30] [16:30] "Moonies'" Unification mass-ceremony arranged marriages [20:40] Love is Blind…? [22:13] Divorce + statistics, in the U.S. [24:00] The caste system - in the U.S, too….? [24:47] Is arranged marriage like the show “Married at First Sight”? [27:20] Introduction to Manpreet in Punjab [27:47] Manpreet on arranged marriage [28:21] Monique's happy marriage [30:29] Monique on gender roles in India [34:52] What’s to come, Cass? Quotes [19:27] “The mirror of love is blind. It makes zucchini into okra.” --Arabic saying [29:04] "I don't think it's the things that keep you together... It's when things go bad, and they're not enough to break you apart... that's when you know that it's a good relationship." --Monique Kalmar Recommended Resources Find Celia Daniels on Facebook or on LinkedIn or Instagram Support Celia Daniels’ work at Email Monique Kalmar at Join the conversation on Facebook! Support UnBoxing “God” here --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. Support this podcast:
Indian born and raised, a loving arranged marriage, a deep abiding Faith in God, and a sense that HE was a SHE from a very early age. This week, McCall delves into conversation with Celia Sandhya Daniels, who opens up about their life: Growing up a Christian boy in India; loving God, but hating the "girl inside"; an arranged marriage, to an incredible woman; coming out as transgender; and her struggles through depression and suicidality, in coming to terms with who God designed her to be - for the world, and who God created HIM to be - for his treasured wife & daughter. *Trigger warning: This story talks about molestation, sexual assault, and suicide ideation and behavior. --- Support this podcast:
Are women the downfall of humanity? The Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) would have you believe so. Did monotheism's misogyny intentionally kill the Feminine Divine? Are there other interpretations of Eve, Adam, and the Creation Story? Are we positive that Adam was actually male? Who was 'Lilith'? Might females really be the chosen ones, to redeem all of 'man'kind? Is Androgyny the goal of human evolution?      From Eunuchs to Elvis. Ruby Rose to Virginia Woolfe. We use every resource we can, to face the hard questions we have, in an attempt to recover from the biased judgments we've developed.     Starting with the concept of Women's Intuition, breaking down preconceptions of androgyny, and exploring God's possible intention with Adam & Eve, McCall & Cass use history, literature, interviews, and conversation..., to "UnBox" Gender and Religion. --- Support this podcast:
Since it's Labor Day in the States, and well over 100 degrees in Los Angeles (where McCall lives)... okay and also cuz we are still hard at work on a PACKED Episode 11 - Cass and McCall (and Kyle) are taking the week “off” and will offer up, instead of your regularly planned programming: some exciting info and a few teaser clips from interviews that will be featured over the last four weeks of Season One! PLUS: A Call for "Listener Shares"! Brother Matthew Paul re-joins us for some biblical enlightenment, as well as Alison WhiteAcre, the brilliant musician turned transition coach.  Plus, there are a few new guests - Michelle, a trans woman exploring her faith and sobriety, and Monique, who shares her experience navigating different faiths through Indian culture, in her native Australia. Come here more from these guests and others... Next week! Join the conversation on Facebook! Support UnBoxing “God” here Email Waldo (McCall and the team) at if there’s anything you’d like to unbox with us! --- Support this podcast:
Spoiler: We’re all basically androgynous.  McCall’s ex talks masculinity and femininity during gender transition and Cassidy helps McCall unbox toxic femininity, through the lens of Jung’s theory of Anima (the feminine aspect in a male) and Animus (the masculine aspect in a female) and the toxicity that occurs when those characteristics become too extreme.  This week, Alison Whiteacre, a transfemme transition coach (a perfectly suited career, we think!) and an old lover of McCall’s, joins the show to speak candidly on how she feels about femininity and masculinity, and what transitioning has taught her so far. Also, we introduce our new UBG Team member:  Cassidy, whose work in rape crisis gives her an interesting, albeit biased, perspective on terminology she unboxes with us. What is animus? What’s anima then? Alison Whiteacre and transition coaching Alison’s 4 Phases of Change (like playing your hand) Girls have more fun! Gender fluidity and Non-Binary Billy Gender Dysphoria Alison’s 3-Step Life Hack Cass’s reaction to toxic femininity Toxic gender roles: a phone call Devon Price: “Toxic Femininity Holds All of us Back” Call to Action John Mellencamp “Little Ditty” outtake --- Support this podcast:
In Episode 10, McCall is unloading the box of all things woowoo! Most of us are familiar with archetypes, but Jung’s collective unconscious theory leads us to the fringe of what we know as mainstream and into the dreamworld, tarot card reading, and intuition. This week she’s asked several guests to fill in the gaps of “woowoo” that she proclaims she is “both drawn to and repelled by”. Jenny Sieck gives us a crash course on Jung’s archetypes, intuition, and dream analysis. Haleigh gives us a practical tool to tap into our own archetypes: tarot! Plus, Cassidy and Ryan are back again -- this time breaking down a few archetypes and helping us float through the concept of the collective unconscious. This week McCall is asking listeners, “What can the woowoo do for you?” (NOTE: You do NOT need to like Patchouli, and may absolutely gag at the smell of Nag Champa, and you will still dig this episode.) --- Support this podcast:
In this week’s bonus episode, McCall examines the shadow, or the dark side of Self, and the mask, or what is projected to the world. Through the exploration of an Al-Anon reading, Pinocchio, and Pandora’s Box, McCall guides us through these Jungian archetypes and how she handles her own mask these days. For this episode, she also enlists the help of Kyle, her husband, to unpack these concepts in a more relevant way: through rock and roll. Then singer-songwriter Kaciny has something to say, er, sing about it. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. Support this podcast:
This week, McCall begins the process of unboxing the “fractured self”, childhood and intergenerational trauma, and Epigenetics. The exploration includes three guests: Cherish Asha Bolton (from Episode 8, where she also discussed the psyche, self, and soul) guides us through the “fractured self”; Margot Schrader briefs us on the Internal Family Systems model and intergenerational trauma; and Jessica Ferretti introduces us to somatic healing. This dialogue challenges listeners to ponder, “What traumas am I carrying that I may not be aware of and how can I start to heal?” • Cherish Asha Bolton, is an intercountry, transracial adoptee from India raised in America.  She is completing her Ph.D. in History and serves as the President of People for Ethical Adoption Reform (PEAR). • Margot Schrader, is an artist,  licensed clinical mental health counselor and only child of a Holocaust survivor.  She is also  Mom to her 22 year old daughter and pretty much any kiddo that needs love. She strives to BE who she needed when she was younger.   She and her Partner of 5 years Live in NH where she works to improve access to mental health services for the Medicaid population.. Margot has been on a healing journey for more than half of her life. Trying to make sense of her own childhood trauma so that she can help others do the same. Margot is passionate about trauma research,Trauma therapy, neuroscience and Epigenetics. Margot's current area of interest is equality issues around poverty, class and race and how these issues intersect with Trauma and Epigenetics. • Jessica Ferretti, a holistic health & life coach + owner of - a Trauma-informed Massage and Healing sanctuary in Los Angeles. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. Support this podcast:
The Links in the Chain that led to A.A. - From one conversation in Zurich, between Carl Jung and his 'hopeless' patient... through the Oxford Group and on... to a trip to Vermont in 1935... then Ebby's line: 'I don't need a drink; I got religion"... to Bill Wilson and next, in Akron, came Dr. Bob Smith... and the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)... and then, on to every other 12-Step program there is, including those for "General Neurotics", like me. Carl Jung and Bill Wilson admired, and were inspired by, one another; their correspondence (dated Jan. 1961 - March 1961) prove this to be a fact. But, the letters between these epic pen-pals also illuminate a series of serendipitous links in an almost contagious chain that gives one pause. --- Support this podcast:
In this week's episode, McCall unboxes the psyche, the self, and the soul. What are they, and how do they differ, if at all? McCall discusses these topics with two guests, William Ragan, PhD - professor of psychology, and Cherish Bolton - The Other(ed) Woman and (P.E.A.R.) People for Ethical Adoption Reform. They each shed light on aspects of 'self' through the lens of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung - with an overview of Freud's concept of id, ego, and super ego versus Jung's archetypes. McCall shares her own research and thoughts (on Self, Soul and Mind) as she challenges listeners to ask the unanswerable question: "Who the hell am I?" --- Support this podcast:
If you liked this Bonus Episode, check out: Applying the writings and philosophies of William James to addiction and Alcoholics Anonymous, by Edward Mendelowitz, Ph.D. (from Society for Humanistic Psychology Newsletter - Oct. 2017) Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, by William James (a series of 20 lectures on 'natural theology' that psychologist/philosopher William James, from Harvard, conducted at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, from 1901-1902) Spiritual, Not Religious Experience BIG BOOK THEOLOGY: “WE AGNOSTICS” and William James, by James R. Cravings for Deliverance: How William James, the Father of American Psychology, Inspired Alcoholics Anonymous, by Paul Schulte --- Support this podcast:
While researching the UBG episodes on Mysticism, I stumbled upon this book called Empath to Mystic: The Art of Mastering Your Intuition and Fearlessly Being Yourself, by Aaran Solh, and although it didn't quite make its way into a full episode, I thought it was special enough to share it with you here, in a BONUS Bonus episode. Enjoy! --- Support this podcast:
Have you ever wondered how taking psychedelics (or, "tripping" as it’s typically called) leads to experiences with the unknown?  Or how some people have trips that completely transform them? This week we’re unboxing what “ego death” means and how humans have long sought to lose their egos, to transcend themselves, through a variety of pre-mortem death and rebirth rituals (such as baptism ) including… psychedelics.  Yep, drugs! Complete Show Notes for all UBG episodes can be found on the website: (with full summary, quotes, and links to external resources) --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. Support this podcast:
For this Bonus Episode, I will continue my exploration of Mysticism by introducing you to a mystic named Meister Eckhart (1260–1328), who heavily influenced my own personal pursuit of 'detachment' (which he called "dis-interest"). I will also talk a bit about Perennial Philosophy (aka Perennial Wisdom),  a perspective in spirituality that views all of the world's religious traditions as sharing a single, metaphysical truth or origin from which all esoteric and exoteric knowledge and doctrine have grown. Finally, I will tease you with a little bit from the British writer and novelist Aldous Huxley who wrote the dystopian novel Brave New World as well as the 1945 non-fiction book The Perennial Philosophy. (FYI: In the Spring of ‘53, Huxley had his first mescaline induced mystical experience, which he details in The Doors of Perception - the book that inspired Jim Morrison to name his band 'The Doors'. I will tell you much more in next week's Full episode!) NOTE: I briefly touch on The Upanishads, which are a series of Hindu sacred treatises, one of Hindu's sacred texts, written in Sanskrit c. 800–200 BC, expounding the Vedas in predominantly mystical terms. The texts are written in a passionate poetic verse describing mystical states and spiritual concepts as well as descriptive short stories and dialogues between historical figures. They discuss things such as meditation, philosophy, Karma, higher states of being, and the nature of our maker... and even though the teachings are now thousands of years old, they are just as relevant today as they were back then. I encourage you to explore them further. --- Support this podcast:
What, exactly, is mysticism?  This episode takes the plunge into the history of what we know about mysticism. What defines a "mystical experience" and how can we all be modern-day mystics?  My dear, Floridian, friend (Iris) gives us a taste of how she connects mysticism to her daily life, and then, Brother Matthew Paul Grote OP gives us a master lesson in Christian Mysticism. Summary Mysticism = the practice of religious ecstasies, together with whatever ideologies, ethics, rites, myths, legends, and magic may be related to them; experiencing the divine personally, to become intimate with God Mysticism embodies four qualities: 1. Awakening - a realization of something greater than yourself 2. Divine Experience - a state of being that feels fully enveloped by God 3. Ineffability - the idea that mystical experience defies expression 4. Transformation - a change of heart Mysticism in Ancient Greece was Christian and had three dimensions: 1. Biblical - hidden interpretations of Scriptures 2. Liturgical - ceremonial mystery of the Eucharist 3. Spiritual/Contemplative - experiential knowledge of God Every organized religious or spiritual practice has a mystical offshoot Current definition of mysticism: 'union with the Absolute, the Infinite, or God' Walter Terence Stace distinguishes two types of mysticism: Extrovertive (“all as one”), an experience of the unity with the external world + Introvertive (“none as all”), an experience of unity devoid of perceptual objects (an experience of ‘no-thing-ness’) RC Zaehner defines three fundamental types of mysticism: (1) Theistic: includes most forms of Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and occasional Hindu examples of mysticism (2) Monistic (based on “an experience of the unity of one’s soul”): includes Buddhism and certain Hindu schools of thought (3) Panenhenic (“natural mysticism”): all other types of mysticism Christian Mysticism: What is God? - Originally Exodus 3:14: “I Am Who Am”, Tetragrammaton - Plotinus: the idea of God represented as not being something but as existence itself - St. Augustine: Finding God/Being/Unity with goodness itself through internal contemplation - St. Thomas Aquinas: the Divine is intelligible even if it is infinite; we’re meant to know it... He is infinitely knowable, not infinitely unknowable How to have a mystical life: - We are made to do two things...        1. To know (God, ourselves, our neighbor)        2. To love (God, ourselves, our neighbor) - We live a practical life of four Cardinal virtues: kindness, love, justice, and humility - Christianity gives us infused mystical virtues of faith, hope, and love - We cannot facilitate a mystical experience on our own but instead must open ourselves to a God that loves us Quotables “Although mystical states are similar to states of feeling, they also seem to those who experience them to be states of knowledge, too. They are experienced as states that allow direct insight into depths of truth that are unplumbed by our mere intellects.” --William James “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” --Augustine of Hippo, Confessions “Truth is truth no matter where it’s found, and every seed of truth should be watered and allowed to flourish.” --Brother Matthew Paul Grote --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. Support this podcast:
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