What the World Needs Now


We recently held an event at our flagship store, The Shopkeepers in Santa Barbara,
welcoming acclaimed authors Bridget Fonger (Superhero of Love) and Jen Pastiloff (On Being Human) into conversation. Our goal was to help us all explore the gifts we – and the world -- receive when we authentically tell our stories and fiercely listen to the stories of others.

In the heart of the Funk Zone of Santa Barbara: a Shopkeepers welcome

Special event packages donated to support Together Rising

It is by now common knowledge that we don’t need permission to move in closer to others and ourselves, or to relegate our own limiting beliefs to a smaller box, or to overcome heartache and become our own superhero. Add to the list: to write the book we have always wanted to write, to share our fierce, broken, brave hearts with each other, to be vulnerable, to be and give love freely, and become more of whom we really are.

Tall order, hell yes. But if our access to real living, listening and loving is something we know is close by, why is it so difficult to make that first step? What can we do to break through? And how can we “do love” better than we ever have?

Friends new and old gathered for the intimate readings and talk

We found proof of our own ability to transform in the doing, in the exchange of authentic dialogue, and it was like witnessing some sort of phenomenon.  The wisdom these authors shared from their own lives really opened people’s hearts up. I’ll never forget that moment when I looked over at my husband from the stage, seeing how he was moved to tears, feeling his knowing inside. We are all a little broken, we all felt seen, and everyone was authentically engaged in the conversation, whether they spoke or not.

Jen read from her inspirational memoir On Being Human, sharing some of the touchstone stories she tells in her popular workshops, of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning. How years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how hearing loss taught her to listen fiercely, how being vulnerable allowed her to find love, and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness.

Jen Pastiloff on real mother#*king life from her book On Being Human

Books signed, Beauty hunted, Bonds made

Bridget shared her own personal experience of going through a painful breakup with tender excerpts from Superhero of Love, inspiring us to rediscover our deep connection to our own hearts - the ultimate source of love in one’s life.  She shared how she regained her emotional resilience and how she broke free from old patterns that kept her stuck, laying her heart on the line for us so that we might see our own and recognize our ability to use it to fly.

Author Bridget Fonger on our hidden Superpowers, from her book Superhero of Love

As the authors read their lives passionately, there was that feeling in the air. We talked about the messy and heartbreaking moments that gave way to real living. The collective synchronicities which arose to show us our own part in making this world a more loving place. And the even more deeply challenging, desperate times that were conquered.  These were the ones that became stories, that led way to each of their books.  They shared, with humor and grace, and we got them, deeply, in the place where one should be “got.”

What fierce listening and loving look like: the authors sharing stories

Here’s how fierce listening and loving can go down: Be real with yourself. Love your Inner Asshole and then gently tell her to simmer down. Seek the divine. Get real about the light you were given to shine. Focus on doing good for others and you won’t possibly be let down.



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