Cathy and Todd discuss how women are socialized to become smaller and more restricted, and then begin to unwind and unfold this process once they become aware of what’s happening. Cathy provides an overview of this in her Substack titled ‘Women Unfolding,’ explaining why this is the image she sees in her mind when she works with women. Todd shares his version of men unfolding, and they discuss songs that have parentheses in the title and debate whether or not those parentheses are necessary.

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Time Stamps

(00:13:33) Todd’s perception of cheese sauce on nachos *

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(00:17:27) Women Unfolding- Sign up for Cathy’s Substack

(00:20:29) Folds in regards to on our kids report cards *

(00:29:40) Folding in as if we’re still children *

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If You’ve Come this Far Podcast



Blog Post

The Evolution of Self: Women Unfolding

In this podcast episode, Todd and Cathy explore a significant concept called “Women Unfolding,” which delves into the journey of self-discovery and self-awareness for women. Let’s dive into the key aspects of this enlightening conversation.

Todd and Cathy discuss Cathy’s newly published Substack article titled “Women Unfolding.” This thought-provoking piece has garnered significant attention and positive feedback within their community.

Unpacking Team Zen: A Community for Growth

Before diving into the core topic, Todd elaborates on Team Zen, a community designed for Zen Parenting Podcast listeners. For $25 a month, members gain access to live Q&A sessions with Todd and Cathy, a women’s group, a Zen money micro-community, and exclusive content. Not to mention, you also get some Zen Parenting swag like socks or a t-shirt!

The Concept of Women Unfolding

The main segment of this episode focuses on Cathy’s insightful Substack article, “Women Unfolding.” Cathy has a unique way of visualizing concepts through pictures in her mind, which she describes eloquently in this piece.

The Journey of Folding and Unfolding

Cathy begins by explaining how women, much like an open piece of paper, start their lives with endless possibilities and potential. However, as societal expectations, family norms, and personal traumas begin to shape their experiences, they start to “fold” inward, losing some of their openness and freedom.

Real-Life Examples

Todd and Cathy provide relatable examples to illustrate this concept:

  • Family Expectations: Todd shares an anecdote about being teased for his “froggy legs” as a child, a minor slight that still impacted him.
  • Women’s Experiences: Cathy discusses how societal pressures to “tone down” or fit into specific roles lead to emotional folding. Simple, everyday decisions like choosing what to eat or voicing discomfort in a conversation become complex due to years of conditioned behavior.

The Path to Unfolding

The journey to unfolding involves recognizing these ingrained behaviors and reclaiming one’s autonomy. This process starts with small steps, such as:

  • Choosing what you genuinely want for dinner.
  • Asking for physical comfort without feeling guilty.
  • Embracing your preferences and expressing them openly.

Over time, these small choices lead to significant changes in how you perceive yourself and your worth.

Emotional Impact and Societal Expectations

The Male Perspective

Todd introduces the “man box,” a concept that parallels women unfolding. The man box confines men into restrictive roles where the only acceptable emotions are anger and stoicism. To break free, men must embark on a journey of emotional literacy and vulnerability.

Societal Implications

The duo touches on broader societal issues, such as the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in women due to internalized stress and unexpressed anger. They also discuss mental health struggles among men, including higher rates of suicide due to cultural expectations of strength and stoicism.

The Beauty of Experience

Cathy concludes by reminding listeners that the goal isn’t to remain uncreased but to embrace the wisdom that comes with experience. The creases are a testament to the challenges you’ve overcome and the lessons you’ve learned.

The Role of Older Women

Cathy emphasizes the importance of positive role models for young girls—women who embrace their age and experiences with grace and joy. This concept challenges societal norms that often celebrate youth over wisdom and promotes a more inclusive understanding of beauty and fulfillment.

Final Thoughts

Women unfolding and men breaking free from the man box are ongoing processes that require self-awareness, emotional literacy, and support from like-minded communities. Todd and Cathy encourage all listeners to take the first steps toward their unfolding journey and join the Zen Parenting community for continued growth and support.



Todd: Here we go. My name’s Todd. This is Cathy. Welcome back to another episode of Zen Parenting Radio. This is podcast number 768. Why listen to Zen Parenting Radio because you’ll feel outstanding. Always remember our motto, which is the, the best predictor of a child’s wellbeing is a parent’s self understanding.

Todd: Uh, on today’s show. Uh, we’re going to discuss, um, a blog, is that what I call it? A blog? It’s not a blog, honey. It’s a sub stack. It’s a sub stack. Uh, my sweetie has a sub stack and you come out with it every Friday. And I thought it was really good. Thanks! And there’s a lot of people. Who, I just looked at Circle, and there’s a bunch of people that commented on it.

Todd: Yeah, 

Cathy: I’ve gotten a lot of emails today. Hey, do you think you could turn on my earphones a little bit, because I can’t really hear you in my earphones. [00:01:00] Hello? Hello? Okay. Thank you. Much better. 

Todd: Um, yeah. So what is Team Zen, you may ask. Uh, if you listen to the show, you know what it is. But if you’re new, uh, it’s a community that Cathy and I have created.

Todd: It’s kind of a VIP, I guess, for Zen Parenting Podcast listeners. It’s 25 bucks a month. And it’s on an app. It’s It’s on an app and it’s, and it’s, you can cancel at any time. Easy to use. It’s Zoom with Cathy and I, live Q& A, it’s a community, it’s a women’s group. We have a Zen money, micro community. I’ll send you a pair of warm fuzzy Zen parenting socks or a t shirt.

Todd: So just check it out. And if you don’t like it, you cancel 25 bucks. They’re going to like 

Cathy: it though, because it’s a, it’s an app. I love it. 

Todd: I’m 

Cathy: on it all the time. 

Todd: Um, so this is going to be a short one, at least we think, even though Cathy is, um, shaking her head. 

Cathy: Todd and I talk about that we have to do a show because he’s traveling, so we have to fit in a show.

Todd: Yeah, we’re recording on a Friday afternoon. He’ll 

Cathy: say, let’s just do a thirty minute one. And [00:02:00] it’s not the, time that we need to focus on. It’s the, it’s us just getting downstairs to our studio and doing it. That’s what’s the heart. It’s kind of like getting up and going to a yoga class or going to the gym.

Cathy: You don’t need to figure out how long you’re going to stay. You just need to get there. 

Todd: I’m figuring it out. 

Cathy: I know, but you always say that you’re like, we’ll do it for 30 minutes. 

Todd: It’ll be a 30 minute show. Have we ever 

Cathy: done a 30 minute show in our lifetime? Today is the day. All right. 

Todd: Um, but first, you and I were, um, having some drinks last night, watching YouTube.

Todd: And let me see if I can find the one that spurred us on. Get close to here. Oh, sorry. Thanks, babe. Um, let’s just go ahead and I don’t know if there’s a beginning to this song. 

Cathy: Sure there is. It’s like a, it’s so good.

Todd: Sounds like Billie 

Cathy: Jean. But then it’s got this little special thing where it goes, 

Cathy: Billie.[00:03:00] 

Cathy: Just takes a little bit. It sure does. 

Cathy: Can I fast 

Cathy: forward to the good part? You can, but I want to say something because you’re saying that we started talking about this last night, but this is not true. Oh. Skylar and I were driving in the car, and Skylar and I listened to a lot of Yacht Rock. It’s just something we do.

Cathy: And this song came on, and Skylar said, I’m just, I’m gonna blow the whole topic here. She said, what’s the deal with all these 80 songs and parentheses? 

Todd: What’s the deal with this long intro? Finally. So what’s the name of the song, sweetie? 

Cathy: This is, I can’t go for that. And then in parentheses, no can do.

Cathy: You’re not a bit close to the verse yet. [00:04:00] Well, you’re close.

Cathy: So we should stop playing it because Hall and Oates are in a fight and they’re very litigious with each other and they might sue us for playing that song. We don’t want that. Yeah. Yeah. Actually, Hall 

Todd: is suing 

Cathy: Oates. 

Todd: Does anybody even know the difference? 

Cathy: Daryl Hall is suing John Oates. Of course we know the difference.

Cathy: Daryl Hall That’s what 

Todd: Oates is saying to Hall. 

Cathy: Yeah, Oates is coming out hot. Let me just say that. But 

Todd: Wasn’t there, was there a restraining order? 

Cathy: Yes! There’s a restraining order. So Hall, do we call by their first names or their last names? Go last. [00:05:00] Okay, so Hall went on Bill Maher a little bit ago, and Bill said something about Oates being his partner.

Cathy: He’s like, he’s not my partner. 

Todd: He’s my business partner. 

Cathy: He’s my business partner, but he’s not my partner. He’s not my 

Todd: partner. And then Oates said that Daryl Hall is his brother, but they don’t get along, something like that. 

Cathy: But then Oates tried to sell His half of the music. Yeah. 

Todd: And I don’t know how you sell half of a song.

Todd: And he 

Cathy: was kind of being a little passive aggressive by about it. He’s like, you know, I thought I’d sell it because, you know, Daryl wants to be a solo artist anyway. So I thought, what’s the point? They’re, they’re kind of like having a fight in front of all of us. Not just kind of they are. And but that’s beside the point because this doesn’t answer the question why they put a parentheses in the title of their song.

Todd: So this podcast is being brought to you by songs with parentheses. You ready for the second one? I am. 

Todd: You are pretty much reporter Trump. Look at that.[00:06:00] 

Todd: Set yourself, set yourself low, don’t need to send it your heart, don’t need to resurrect the remnants of right, right. You can take a picture, you can slam five, right, you can see this pretty sight. It’s the end of the world as we know it. It’s the end of the world as we know it. It’s the end of the world as we know it.

Todd: I feel fine. 

Todd: It’s the, I feel fine. You’re playing a lot of the song. Well, I’m trying to get to where they put the parentheses. We’re only supposed to play cuts. Yeah, it’s, that’s a cut that nobody’s going to replicate our version of us talking over 45 seconds of an hour. 

Cathy: Well, you know, I just, I’m trying to be protective of, of our show.

Todd: So I don’t know why that. Song needs an I feel fine parenthesis. Well, 

Cathy: in a way, I think in that case, even though I still don’t agree with songs with parentheses, I’m just going to go on the record as saying that I don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t know who decided to do it. But in that case, [00:07:00] I think they’re kind of being ironic because it’s like, the title is It’s the End of the World.

Cathy: As, and then they’re like, but I feel fine. Yeah. So, but that’s a very, so the ones that are really dumb play one that’s really dumb where it’s like, do the, the, I think it’s Otis Redding song. I 

Todd: don’t have that one. 

Cathy: Okay. What about this one? Okay. 

Cathy: This is perfect.

Cathy: Cowbell Cowbell. 

Cathy: More cowbell. I can hear it in the background. So you guys, this song, so everybody’s like, oh, I know that’s Blue, blue Oyster Cult, right? Mm-Hmm. . And we just call it Don’t Fear the Reaper. That’s not the title. The title is. The reaper. Yeah. And in parentheses, it’s don’t fear. Why? Just call it don’t fear the reaper.

Cathy: Like who, what business person or person in the studio is like, you know [00:08:00] what, let’s put these first two words in parentheses. What about this? 

Cathy: This last one was even better than the first. Well, it’s just that I find Gene’s cowbell playing, distracted. I don’t know if I’m the only one. I’ll shut up. No, it’s pretty rough.

Cathy: You know, I can pull it back a little if you like. Not too much though. I’m telling you, fellas, you’re gonna want that cowbell

Cathy: that, that it doesn’t work for me. I gotta have more cowbell. Don’t you blow this for us, Gene! 

Todd: Jimmy, uh, Jimmy. Jimmy just laughed through the whole thing. 

Cathy: So anyway, that one is an example of, um, you know, why, why are we, why, why are we doing this? Yeah. Just 

Todd: why, why are we, do you have 

Cathy: any others? Queued up. 

Todd: I got one more queued up.

Cathy: Okay. 

Todd: Uh, and you’re probably not gonna like it even though it was on your list. Okay. Let’s hear it. Uh, let’s go here. 

Todd: Almost[00:09:00] 

Todd: Hello! Hello! I’m gonna beat it. I’m gonna beat it up. It’s going over there.

Cathy: 500 more. So I obviously had to do like a tiny bit of research about why people put parentheses in songs, what they say. They’re so frustrating to me because a lot of times they wanna make sure the hooky part of the song, the part that’s the hook. is in the title somewhere so people don’t misunderstand what the name or what the song is.

Cathy: So that one is called, it’s actually not on my list, but we know this song by the Proclaimers. Oh. It’s called, um. I’m Gonna Be. I’m Gonna Be. And then in parentheses, 500 Miles. 

Cathy: Yeah. 

Cathy: So it just reminds people, like, um, I think Beyonce’s song, uh, Single Ladies. Yeah. In parentheses, it’s put a ring [00:10:00] on it. Yeah, so it’s the hook, you know Even I think single ladies 

Todd: is the hook 

Cathy: me too.

Cathy: All the single ladies all the single ladies If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it. Single Ladies is the hook. I know, but like maybe there’s different hooks in the song, but that is usually their reason is they want to make sure that people understand, um, the song. But like another dumb one, I put this here, but you didn’t play it.

Cathy: Um, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, the Abba, Abba song. Do you say Abba or Abba? 

Todd: Uh, if you want to say it right, I’m sure you say Abba, but I say Abba. 

Cathy: I know. It’s frustrating. I’ve liked them since I was little. I’ve always struggled to say. 

Todd: I struggle when people say Aunt Ruth instead of Aunt Ruth. Yeah, I say Aunt. Yeah.

Todd: And I think it’s a Midwest thing. It is. I think a lot of people say Aunt Ruth. On Edna. Yes. Who’s on Edna. On 

Cathy: Edna. She’s on vacation. She sure is. They put her on the roof of the car. Um, but anyway, in that song, Gimme Gimme Gimme, in parentheses is A Man After Midnight. [00:11:00] So you’re just basically giving us the whole chorus, like, and, and does putting parentheses A Man After Midnight make us want to listen to the song more?

Cathy: Or didn’t we know because they’re already saying Gimme Gimme Gimme? So much in the song. I just don’t get it. Good 

Todd: question. 

Cathy: It’s sweet. This is what we referred to as a hot take Yes, this is your hot. I told Todd not to steal this hot take from me because it was mine Um, what about A& M? See 

Cathy: you again. You remember Clark, don’t you?

Cathy: You were the ones that sent me the fruitcake for Christmas. It made me so sick. Oh, I’m sorry. We thought you enjoyed fruitcake. You enjoy throwing up every five minutes, Claude? 

Cathy: Clark. 

Cathy: I thought so. I thought so. 

Cathy: Good ol Aunt Ginny. Okay, total, that’s a, Todd, that’s like a deep cut pop culture reference. That’s 

Todd: right, and I appreciate whoever got my Aunt Ginny reference.

Todd: Do we need to explain? Uh, no. Let’s let them just sit on it. Okay. 

Cathy: So, oh, there’s another one. See, this is, [00:12:00] these are, these, we’re not spoon feeding you these things. Okay. So in my hot take of not understanding, I am going to offer one song where it makes sense to me why they did parentheses. Let’s hear it.

Cathy: Are you ready? I’m ready. I put it on your list. Okay. I didn’t know which one was important. It was the very last one. Okay. Okay. The song is by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Okay. Okay. And the song title. is December 1963. Yeah. In parentheses is Oh What a Night. So that is the hook of the song. 

Todd: Yeah. 

Cathy: And that makes sense.

Cathy: Yeah. Like, but I still am like, why don’t you just call it Oh What a Night? But maybe somebody had their heart on calling it, you know, December. 

Todd: There’s got to be a story there. Don’t you going to play it? I’m going to play it, but I want to find the 

Cathy: The chorus. 

Todd: Where is it? Oh, it’s not playing. Oh, you know what?

Todd: I’m playing it on YouTube. Oh no, there it is. 

Cathy: No, it’s not playing. 

Todd: I don’t know. 

Cathy: So maybe Frankie Valli’s mad at us that we’re ripping on the [00:13:00] parentheses 

Speaker 5: songs. Here we go.

Speaker 5: So what do you think? 

Cathy: So basically they say, you know, late December back in 63. So they don’t even really say December 1963. 

Todd: They’re just getting cute. They’re getting cute. 

Cathy: So, but anyway, I just, um, I just thought I would share something that, you know. 

Todd: I appreciate that, babe. Can I 

Cathy: just give you a few more that you don’t have to play?

Cathy: Sure. Whitney Houston. I want to dance with somebody in parentheses who loves me. Yeah. Unnecessary. No. Um. Otis Redding, love this song, The Dock of the Bay, in parentheses, Sittin On. Sittin on the dock of the bay. We don’t need it. We don’t need it, Otis. We didn’t need it. And then, um, a song I love by Janet Jackson, Love Will Never Do, in parentheses.

Cathy: Without you. That’s right. And [00:14:00] then we got to end with meatloaf. Yeah. I’ll do everything for love, but I won’t do that. No way, man. And you know what, Todd, we still don’t know what that thing is that meatloaf won’t do. And didn’t he die? So we don’t know. He did die. He had to have told somebody and maybe he’s being kind of like, you know, everybody gets to decide for themselves.

Cathy: A lot of writers and directors and everything like to, you know, Keep things a little more. It’s the word obscure. 

Cathy: Yeah, 

Cathy: so people can decide for themselves. So[00:15:00] 

Cathy: He won’t do it. 

Todd: No way. 

Cathy: Sweetie, what won’t 

Todd: you do? I won’t eat cheese fries from Portillo’s cause it’s like the, it’s the, it’s not real cheese. It’s a cheese sauce. I won’t do 

Cathy: you talking about? You eat cheese sauce all the time on things. No I don’t. Give me an example. If we go to like, one of those Chicago places, like your Nick’s Heroes or I 

Todd: like the Merck’s cheese that they actually use like a knife to spread it on.

Todd: I don’t like the 

Todd: dipping 

Cathy: cheese sauce. You’re telling me you don’t ever eat dipping cheese sauce? We have nachos with dipping cheese sauce? 

Todd: Have I had it in my life? Yes. Do I have a serious aversion to it? Yes. 

Cathy: Okay, and that’s the thing you won’t do for love? 

Todd: That’s right. What’s your thing? 

Cathy: I was going to go a little deeper than that.

Cathy: Possibly be any deeper than this, guys? I don’t know. Um, I don’t know. I need time to think about my 

Todd: answer. See, sweetie, that’s why I’m creative, because I come up with something dandy like cheese [00:16:00] fries. 

Cathy: Dandy. That is dandy. Okay, so my last hot take, and then we’ll move on to women unfolding, is that Todd sneezes so loud.

Cathy: Have we talked about this before on the show? Uh, I don’t think we have. Todd, I’ve known Todd for 20 years and he used to sneeze like a normal human being and in the last three or four years he sneezes so loud that I get mad at him. 

Todd: Yeah, she does and there’s nothing I could do about 

Cathy: it. I know, but I, I don’t understand what’s changed in your body that you need to like scream a sneeze.

Cathy: The 

Todd: older I get, the louder my sneezes are. I 

Cathy: know, so let’s, let’s talk about why this is. 

Todd: I’m sure. When I was a little kid, little boy, I’m sure my sneezes were just super, um, here, here’s, here’s a tennis player. There’s a YouTube clip of a loud sneeze. Let’s look at, it’s Nick Curios.

Todd: Oh, what’s that? [00:17:00] See he was trying to be loud there. 

Cathy: Yeah. You just sneeze. And the decibel level. 

Todd: Is it as decibel, is it as loud as the, uh, cicadas tweeting? Like, 

Cathy: no. The cicadas, okay, just, you know, little sidestep here into the cicadas. I know that people are probably tired of hearing about them, or maybe they’re not.

Cathy: Because we were in Evanston today and there were no cicadas there. And in Elmhurst, they’re everywhere. In Park Ridge, they’re everywhere. I could hear them when we drove through Park Ridge. There are so many cicadas in our yard that they’re like bumping into each other. Yeah, they like fly into each other.

Cathy: So we’ve had the zombie cicadas that came out of the ground and were so gross and were like slimy and gross and then became flying cicadas. So their shells are everywhere. So this has happened over the last couple weeks. Now they’re flying everywhere. And they’re running into our heads. They’re getting in our hair.

Cathy: It’s literally like you look outside and you can, it’s, it’s Like the apocalypse. Yeah, they’re everywhere and they’re so sorry cicadas. I [00:18:00] don’t call people dumb usually but they’re just dumb and then they pretend that they’re dead on their back and they’re not dead because if they could get right side up, they could fly 

Todd: and they do.

Cathy: So anyway, don’t 

Todd: count this kid out just because it’s laying on its back. 

Cathy: Yeah, don’t don’t count it out. Don’t think it’s dead because it’s just it doesn’t know how to get back up. Yeah. So That’s a whole issue, but then Todd sneezes. I’m just gonna leave that there cuz I just needed to to vent about that.

Todd: There we go. Let’s talk about women unfolding. Okay, 

Cathy: maybe my women unfolding is me being more outspoken about your sneezing. 

Todd: Yeah, there you go. Let’s let’s go with that. 

Cathy: Okay, but don’t Even though it annoys me, don’t repress your sneezes because I know that’s not good for you. 

Todd: Yeah, I’ll implode. Right, you could explode.

Todd: Yeah, well I do explode every time I sneeze, but if I hold it in, I’ll implode. Oh, okay. You with me on that? 

Cathy: Neither are great. Desirable. Desirable, but we’ll take one. You’d rather explode than implode. I would just rather neither of those things happen. Right, but if 

Todd: you had to choose. Yeah. Yeah. [00:19:00] Yeah. Makes sense.

Cathy: Yeah. Okay. So. Um, I wrote a, uh, sub stack for, uh, last week and it was called Women Unfolding. And I, I have this thing where when I’m with people, I get visions in my head. Like I see things or see things in pictures. I think a lot of people do. It’s sometimes we see in, we see with words, sometimes we see in pictures.

Cathy: And so something that I had been. Thinking about is how when I’m with women, it’s like they’re unfolding. And then I was in the shower on Monday and I could kind of see the whole thing written. I was like, I know exactly how to say this. Because sometimes when you’re using an analogy, um, It doesn’t fit. It, like, it sounds good in theory, but it, not all the pieces quite come together.

Cathy: Sure. 

Cathy: Um, and this one did. And basically, it’s just the fact that, as women, we are like an open piece of paper when we’re born and when we’re little. Clean slate. Blank canvas. Clean slate. Yeah. Open to anything, [00:20:00] you know, kind of like a way, you know, just what could go on this piece of paper, right? And then, um, Something happens where we start to realize maybe like cultural norms or societal norms start to kind of tell us who we are.

Todd: Family expectations. 

Cathy: Yeah, like we start to recognize that maybe we need to quiet down a bit or maybe we need to like tone it down or be a little different or adhere to a norm and we start to just fold in a little bit so we’re not quite as wide open and then like Todd said then we start to realize in our family that maybe there’s some expectations there and so we start to fold a little more maybe even fold pretty significantly like with a big crease like this is my new role and then you know we fold because something traumatic happens to us and you know i i wrote something like um then we’re like we blame ourselves for not being more folded in the first place like something happens to us and we like not only deal with Folding in more and being more tight, but we also blame [00:21:00] ourselves.

Cathy: So we allowed ourselves to be open. Um, and then little things happen. Like, Todd, can you think of anything that’s happened in your life where it really hurt your feelings, but it was worth it? It seemed to others to be like a minor slight, like, didn’t you tell me that your dad used to tell you you had skinny legs or something like that?

Todd: Frog 

Cathy: legs. Froggy. 

Todd: And did 

Cathy: that hurt 

Todd: you? Ribbit, ribbit. Uh, I remember having quite a reaction to it and then it became funny. So then my dad would say it to get my brother to laugh at my reactivity to it. So there’s a part of me that’d be like, eh, it was kind of silly and fun and I kind of enjoyed playing the role of being mad.

Todd: Was it like a deep wound? No, but it was probably a micro cut or something like that. Okay. Yeah. 

Cathy: Well, and I think with, with women, sometimes it’s something about the way they look, or I know a lot of women, especially one of my good friends. She always tells me that people told her she was too loud. She talked too loud.

Cathy: Um, and so. She’d get that feedback all the time, or that, you know, women are told they need to dress differently, or they need to tone [00:22:00] down something about themselves, or they’re told they’re not funny, or they’re told they’re not smart, or they’re told you’re not a good friend. And we have all these kind of slights that, you know, Then kind of fold you in more.

Cathy: Well, 

Todd: what about this real quick? The whole idea if you’re not smart, of course that’s a cut, but I can see the opposite of being true. Like, oh, you’re so smart. You got all A’s on your report card when you’re in fifth grade and then you bring home a report card when you’re in sixth grade and you got two C’s, two B’s and two A’s and all of a sudden like, oh no, no, I’m supposed to be the smart one and I’m getting B’s and C’s.

Todd: So that’s another fold. It’s almost like it doesn’t necessarily have to be cuts. It could be compliments. It 

Cathy: can be, it can be, if it’s a compliment that is keeping you contained, because why I like the visual and in the, if you go to the sub stack, you can see the pictures with it. So you can kind of see the visual as you read through it, but it, it, it’s anything that limits you, right?

Cathy: Because limiting 

Todd: belief, 

Cathy: any limit and belief that like the fold in it’s, it’s less about the actual fold and more about what’s happening to you, which you’re becoming [00:23:00] tighter and And more restricted and more restrained. And the, you know, the last picture that I use in the sub stack is like the tight, think about when you fold up a piece of paper and it’s so tight.

Cathy: That it can like, it, it has no purpose anymore. Like it can barely move. Yeah. There’s nowhere else to fold it. And I talk about the whole reason I did this is a lot of times when I’m talking to women, this is sometimes where they are. Yeah. You know, they’re so tight and restricted and they’re so hyper vigilant and they’re so you know, intent on never being hurt and never being wrong and never having someone tell them that they’re not good enough, that they’ve completely restrained themselves so nobody could ever say that about them.

Cathy: And then the whole work of our lives, once we decide that we recognize this tightness, you know, we’ve folded in so much, is to start unfolding. I mean, it really is kind of like a lovely. You know, metaphor [00:24:00] because the unfolding and I put really small things like one of the unfoldings is what do you want for dinner tonight?

Cathy: Because especially as a woman and a mom, we’re, we’re, we may have something we want for dinner, but we’ll be like, whatever you want, whatever restaurant you want to go to, whatever the kids want. And we don’t even really anymore know what we want for dinner. Right. Um. One of the things that Don and I used to talk about a long time ago, when the kids were little, I was telling him on the show, um, I said, you know, I never eat.

Cathy: Yeah. Um, and you know, I, cause I help the kids get their food and by the time they’re done eating, my food is there, but I don’t eat. There maybe need to be taken out of the restaurant or, you know, they need to go to bed or they spill something and I’m never eating with the family. And Todd said, well, um, he’s like, well, I eat because if I don’t eat then, then my food will get cold.

Cathy: And 

Todd: I was 

Cathy: like, 

Todd: dude, I think that’s from podcast number one or two. It really is. Cause I was [00:25:00] like, Todd, my food’s cold all the time. Right. I was trying to explain to you why I didn’t want to. Cut the food up for the kids because I like my food hot and I think my and this is a terrible argument by the way, right?

Todd: but I was like The value of food for me if something is supposed to be hot and it becomes warm or if something is warm and it’s turns Like lukewarm. Uh huh The utility of my meal plummets in a way and this isn’t right, but I feel like I’m more sensitive to To cold food than you are, which is totally a made up story.

Cathy: Well, it’s so contrived because like, yeah, it’s very convenient. You’re kind of like, this is harder for me. So you cut up all the kids. You 

Todd: don’t understand. Like, I really like my food 

Cathy: because I would just like. my food warm. I mean, as much as, the reason I don’t need my food the perfect way like you do is I don’t have that as an option.

Cathy: Here’s my 

Todd: example. Okay. This is me trying to win this silly, stupid argument. When we have pizza and you know, if you’re eating for about 10 or 15 minutes and you’re [00:26:00] conversing and you’re having a drink and all of a sudden you’re 15 minutes in and you realize the pizza was hot, uh, but now you’re on your fourth piece and it’s starting to get cool.

Todd: Uh huh. I will. Put it in the microwave for 15 seconds, whereas you won’t. 

Cathy: So I could also call you high maintenance. 

Todd: For sure. I 

Cathy: am definitely high 

Todd: maintenance 

Cathy: when it comes to 

Todd: hot food. 

Cathy: And sometimes I, when I get a burrito, I put it in the microwave. True. So sometimes, but I mean, pizza, I like cold pizza, whatever.

Cathy: That was a side note, um, about, you know, the food. What was I talking about? Oh, so anyway, women don’t know what they want to eat sometimes. Um, and then I, I say, you know, like, are you sitting in a chair that’s comfortable to you? Sometimes women aren’t even aware of what their body feels like. They’re so used to being, like, for example, When my girls would come into our bed and sleep at night, um, if I could get them to fall asleep with my arm around them, I would allow my arm to go numb because I did [00:27:00] not want to move them.

Cathy: Or if I was nursing them, I would allow me to be in the most uncomfortable position because them falling asleep was more important. And you just allow this discomfort. Because it’s better, because you’re in a caretaking mode, and it’s better to like have everybody quiet and calm than it is to be comfortable.

Cathy: It, it’s understandable, and it’s not something that we can necessarily change when we’re nursing or sleeping with our kids or whatever. But we start to just make that our kind of modus operandi, where we don’t notice we’re uncomfortable. You expect to be uncomfortable. Correct. And so sometimes, you know, people will be like, cold in my office, or.

Cathy: uncomfortable in a chair when we’re talking or whatever and I’ll and I can tell and so I’ll ask them are you uncomfortable and They’ll be like, yeah, but I didn’t want to bother you I’m like, I have three blankets right here and there’s also another chair Like it’s okay to be comfortable and it’s okay to ask to be comfortable.

Cathy: And I And, [00:28:00] and I know these are things that we need to practice, right? And not all, this is not an all women thing. This is just these little things I’ve noticed. And, and I notice it in myself. This is not other women. This is myself too. And also, you know, driving and instead of listening to another, podcast to make us so great.

Cathy: You can keep listening to this right now, but turn it off and listen to a song you like and like stop at the lemonade stand. You know, we think we’re in a hurry all the time. Like we have places we need to go. We’re not always in a hurry, right? We just think we’re always in a hurry 

Todd: because we’re so used to it.

Cathy: Exactly. And we’re like, no matter what we’re doing, I have to pick up the food quick. I have to drop my kid off quick. I have to go to Target quick. You don’t actually have to be in a hurry all the time, but we don’t consider it. And then the bigger thing, saying no to somebody, growing your hair, cutting your hair, um, you know, doing something new, stop doing something, um, that you don’t want to do anymore.

Cathy: Like these things where we can, I [00:29:00] always like to write, choose our choices. 

Cathy: Yeah. 

Cathy: Um, these are practices of unfolding. And then all of a sudden. You end up like an open piece of paper, but you got a lot of creases. Right, because you’ve been folded up. 

Cathy: Yep. 

Cathy: But the creases are your experiences. They’re not something, and it’s not about how you look, it’s not about wrinkles, it’s about that the creases are the experiences you have that are ingrained in you.

Todd: Yeah, I was gonna say it’s like experience like, and the, the goal is not to have creases. You should have creases. You should. Yeah. We should all have creases. Yeah. Because that’s how we learn. If we start with a blank piece of paper that And we stay a blank piece of paper. And we stay a blank piece of paper, as fun as it sounds, because there’s no whatever.

Todd: Experiences that are uncomfortable? 

Cathy: I mean, it’s Dory. If nothing happens to you, then nothing happens to you. 

Todd: Is that from part one or part two? It’s 

Cathy: from the first movie. I think Dory actually says, if nothing happens to him, meaning Nemo, then nothing will happen to him. Like, [00:30:00] things happen and, and I say in the last paragraph, our folding in was absolutely necessary to survive.

Cathy: And we don’t need to feel guilty about folding in. We, we made it here. A lot of the folding in was done as children when people were hurting us or there was trauma or experiences we had to get through. And so we needed to fold in, but now we can give ourselves permission to unfold. 

Todd: Well, and that’s, I’ll try to go deep here for a second.

Todd: That’s, uh, Where I am sometimes at, these traumas that happen to us when we’re younger, I still sometimes act as if I’m still in that place. And the goal is to realize that is no longer happening to me right now. And I can use a different strategy, but to your point, those parts of us, you know, Folding in.

Todd: Yeah. Were an important piece for us to survive. Right. The problem is that part still is believing that we’re 7 years old or 17 [00:31:00] years old when in fact, if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re probably a lot older than 7 or 17. Yeah. So then you got to talk to that part saying, we’re not there anymore.

Todd: We’re here. Yeah. Um, you know, like when, sometimes whenever my dad comes over, I sometimes regret, I regress, and I talk to a lot of the guys that I coach about this, like, when our parents come over, even though we’re middle aged moms and dads, we still regress back to our childhood in that moment when our parents are there, and it’s so interesting that we do that.

Cathy: It’s interesting and it’s not all about us. When you go back into a family dynamic, the other person also expects you to be the way you were. 

Todd: Yeah, there’s a reason. 

Cathy: There’s a reason. So a lot of times when people have done a lot of inner work, you know, they’ve done a lot of personal work, maybe gone through a lot of therapy, understood their childhood better and then they’re ready to go home for the first time and they’re like, I’m gonna crush it.

Cathy: I’m gonna. do this so much better, be so much more empowered, but they go back into a system where that system necessitates that you act in a certain way. [00:32:00] There’s a dynamic at play. There’s a dance that everybody already knows how to do. So it’s very hard to completely be completely different. Now we can still practice making different choices.

Cathy: It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but we get so angry at ourselves. 

Todd: In the words of Ram Dass, if you think you’re enlightened, go home and live with your family for two weeks. 

Cathy: Correct. There’s a dynamic that is very hard to break because unless everybody else has been working on it, which most of the time they haven’t.

Todd: Wouldn’t it be great if everybody was working on themselves? 

Cathy: Yeah, it would be nice. And 

Todd: most of the time, I think, I 

Cathy: think everybody is naturally because we are, I think we’re hardwired to continue evolving, but we’re not always working on ourselves at the same time. 

Todd: True. And we are all working on ourselves at a different pace.

Cathy: Yeah, exactly. 

Todd: Uh, so for instance, let’s say something happens to me and I get reactive and I get into victim or villain and all that. That [00:33:00] happens to me on a daily basis. It’s just how quickly do I, can I catch myself like, Oh, I’m in this really restricted place, and I’m not looking at this through any lens of curiosity.

Todd: I’m really not being conscious around it. I’m defensive. I’m scared. And I, I like that there’s that poem called The Hole. Do you remember that poem? We’re going to keep like tripping up. Yeah. It’s just how quickly can we catch ourselves that we just tripped up. Some people live a lifetime in that victim and villain and all that consciousness.

Todd: Um, I try to catch myself maybe the same day if I’m lucky, uh, but sometimes I’m, I’m in that whole thing. 

Cathy: And without going through every step of the whole, basically it’s just saying, you know, first time you fall into a hole and you’re down in the hole for a long time, takes you a long time to get out.

Cathy: And then over time, you may still fall into the hole, but you get out faster, and then you figure out to go around the hole, and then you eventually figure out to go down a different street. And 

Todd: in the beginning, sometimes you don’t even know you’re in the hole. You 

Cathy: don’t, because it’s your norm. And that’s kind of what I mean about Team Zen.

Cathy: Family dynamics sometimes is you can get into a system where you’re like, this is [00:34:00] just what we do. I don’t see this, you know, we can’t see clearly. Um, but you know, the whole thing, you know, that I wrote ended with, we get to, we’re all creased up, but that’s wisdom. 

Todd: That’s beauty. It’s kind of like the older person who’s wrinkly and has been on this earth for 90 years.

Todd: Like they got like, sometimes I think like my uncle Bill who passed away years ago, like his hands, you know, my hands are starting to look like old man hands. Not, not like they will 20 years from now. But I think there’s such beauty. in the weathering of our bodies. Because it’s a representation, like we’ve been on this earth a long time and a lot has happened.

Todd: And when, when I look at my hands, like think about what my, what our hands look like when we were four years old, right? Beautiful skin and all that. Like I got the, I showed you my little thumbnail thing where I Yeah. Accidentally stapled my thumb. It’s an old 

Cathy: man thing to do and I 

Todd: got like this little purple.

Todd: You got like a circle of purple, this little purple circle in the middle of my thumbnail. It’s like a little [00:35:00] blood blister underneath my thumbnail. And I just remember like that would happen to like my grandkids, my 

Cathy: grandpa. I do too. That’s why when you showed me, I was like, that is so funny. And, and I agree with you.

Cathy: Like spiritually, I agree with you. I think though, that there is this thing with. Yes, being weathered is something to, you know, um, admire in that it demonstrates a lot of experience. I think it’s easier for men to say that than women. 

Todd: Oh, so say more about that. 

Cathy: Well, I think that a woman can never look weathered.

Cathy: Oh, got it. 

Todd: Men can go Harrison Ford looks sexy when he’s 65, but 

Cathy: Look at George Clooney. 

Todd: Look at The female version of George Clooney. Harrison Ford looks like an older woman. 

Cathy: The expectation of women is to never look weathered. And now, do all women follow that? No. Some women age gracefully and it’s beautiful and it’s admired.

Cathy: It’s not, you know, again, this is a Yeah. 

Todd: No, I get it. There is a double standard there. Because 

Cathy: do you really find a weathered woman attractive? 

Todd: I think there’s [00:36:00] some really beautiful older women. 

Cathy: I do too. 

Todd: For sure. 

Cathy: We were just, we, Todd and I just started watching Hacks. 

Todd: Yeah. 

Cathy: And which is so good, by the way.

Cathy: I, I love it. I think Todd really likes it. I love it. Um, but Jean Smart is beautiful. Yeah, she’s gorgeous woman and it’s an, it’s a great, Um, main role because lead role. 

Todd: Another, uh, woman who’s not old but she’s older is the woman from Ted Lasso, whatever her name is. 

Cathy: Hannah Wadding. 

Todd: Is that what her name is?

Cathy: The, like, the woman who owns the team? Yes. She’s actually not that old. Oh, she’s 

Todd: not? 

Cathy: No. She, because of her confidence and everything, she seems older but she’s really not. Is she R aged? But she is also beautiful. Is she R aged? I don’t know. But she’s not as old as you think she is. Yeah. 

Todd: Okay. All right. Um, or, um, what’s, who’s the English actress that’s so, uh, it’s frustrating.

Todd: Oh, give me a 

Cathy: movie. 

Todd: I can’t do it. I’m not going to be able to do it. Um. Not like Kate Winslet. No, no. She’s older. She’s like 65 or 75 years old now. She’s [00:37:00] a British actress. 

Cathy: Oh, Helen Mirren? Yes. Yes. Yeah. Beautiful woman. Beautiful. Yes. Yeah. Meryl Streep. Um, you know, and again, we could just, we could roll off all these actresses.

Cathy: It’s not just about being a celebrity. Um, and a lot of times it’s not about the pictures that you take, but when you know somebody who is older and they’re so attractive because of the way they talk and the way they live and the, their, their, uh, life energy that they put out that you’re like, Ooh, I love this person.

Cathy: Um, not everything is about that. Right. Like, you know, and 

Todd: I guess one more step about beauty being in the eye. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Um, we watch, um, 

Cathy: Love on the Spectrum. Love on the 

Todd: Spectrum. And there is that, uh, woman with Downs. Kate, is that her name? 

Cathy: Todd loves Kate. 

Todd: Uh, she’s in season two.

Todd: Is that right? She’s 

Cathy: in season two cause she’s Tanner 

Todd: State. She’s probably in her twenties or something like that. And I just think she’s, uh, uh, beautiful. beautiful, beautiful woman, beautiful spirit, [00:38:00] beautiful everything. And it’s, it’s because of her spirit. I think she’s a beautiful woman. Right. Yeah. So, um, there’s all these different versions of beauty and you have this really narrow, uh, thing, can I, I, I, I, Go ahead, you finish and then I want to like just talk a little bit about the male perspective on the folding pieces of paper.

Cathy: Sure. Oh, I would love to hear that. Well, I was just going to end by saying I agree with you and I think most people who are aware enough realize that about beauty. I think that most people who have done even just a little bit of self work, they understand that beauty is bigger. I think very cynical people Believe that, you know, saying that, oh, that’s what ugly people say.

Cathy: Yeah. You know what I mean? Like very cynical people can only adhere to that model of like physical beauty. But um, I, I actually, the, I’m working on my book and the, something that I just wrote today was about how women, young girls need role models of women. Who are older and enjoying their lives, not about [00:39:00] women who are 45 and look 30 and have no wrinkles.

Cathy: Not that that’s a problem per se, but that’s not what young girls need. Young girls need to look up to older women and know that there’s Things to look forward to not just because they’ve had 10 surgeries, but because they enjoy their lives And that’s the kind of role modeling that girls are like, okay maybe being 40 is not that big of a deal because this person seems pretty damn happy and You know, these are the kind of things is you 

Todd: know as far as beauty goes didn’t Oprah and other famous women say their 60s Were their favorite decade?

Cathy: Absolutely. I mean, Maya Angelou said her eighties were her favorite. Like

Cathy: we used to talk about Oprah all the time. We haven’t talked about it. I’m telling you guys, if you go back five or seven years, she was always being talked about. So Todd, tell me about men unfolding. So 

Todd: I, I wanted to make sure I saved this for [00:40:00] last because I think it’s your women unfolding thing. And then I think that’ll be the.

Todd: The title of the podcast, but our version of that is the man box. 

Speaker 4: Okay. 

Todd: So what is the man box? The man box says men are only allowed to be angry. It’s the only emotion they’re allowed to express. Uh, their values based upon how many trophies they have and their, um, To be an athlete or how much money they have or how many partners they have sex with.

Todd: And it’s so limiting of what it means to be a man. It, it, it boxes us, boxes us in. And just, I just want to double down on the idea of the emotional piece. Like I think if there is one thing that limits us guys more than anything is our cultural conditioning that we can’t be, We can’t be vulnerable. We can’t be soft.

Todd: We can’t be scared. We can’t be sad. We can only be angry. And so I think that’s my version of that as, as guys. 

Cathy: You know, I was just doing a lot of research on, um, autoimmune disorders because you know [00:41:00] that 80 percent of the people who get autoimmune disease are women. Yeah. Um, so that, I mean, that’s crazy.

Cathy: And there’s a lot of reasons. There’s some science behind it of, you know, genetics and our X chromosomes, there’s, there’s There’s some science, but there’s also this other piece that it’s about what women keep inside and that they’re the stress that they feel and the amount of caregiving they have to do.

Cathy: And then one of the biggest pieces is the anger they don’t share. So it’s so interesting that women are like, you talk about imploding, feel all that anger inside. And men are. All they can share is anger. It’s such an interesting. 

Todd: Well, and it’s funny. Maybe the autoimmune is over here for the women and the, and I, I know women struggle with drugs and alcohol and addiction and all that and suicide, but I’m guessing that, that the, the despair is is more lands on the side of the male because they are 

Cathy: hopelessness, 

Todd: hopelessness, 

Cathy: loneliness, 

Todd: suicide [00:42:00] happens more for men.

Cathy: But 

Todd: I think I heard somewhere that, that there’s not as much of a disparity between suicide, between men and women. The, the, The thing that weighs it more towards the men is men are more successful. Because 

Cathy: of what 

Todd: they use. Because of what their means. They use guns. Yeah. Whereas I think women are more about pills and things like that.

Todd: And they are unsuccessful in their attempts. 

Cathy: And I think that there’s also the age, the, when you break it out in the age group and one of the most successful, and I’m saying, I’m using the word successful to mean that, you know, More complex. 

Todd: Yeah. Yeah. They accomplish their goal. 

Cathy: Um, is in that age group of like 45 to 65 or something like that.

Cathy: And a lot of that’s because about retirement, divorce, value, like children leave. 

Todd: As soon as guys get, uh, as soon as guys retire, they base their value on a paycheck. And when that paycheck stops and they stop going into work, they get lost. And like, what’s life about it? 

Cathy: And they lose their partner a lot of times too.

Cathy: Divorce is a huge thing. Yeah. Cause [00:43:00] once you’re, and again, a lot of men get remarried, but again, this is just, so, so what, so with the man box, what is your unfolding then? Like because for women, if we’re the open piece of paper, and again, this is just my analogy. I don’t know that everybody, anybody else will use it, but for men, you guys are trapped in the man box.

Cathy: So how do you get out of it? 

Todd: Um, it’s, I just led a men living meeting today and it’s about emotional literacy. Which means a lot of these guys that come to Men Living, they’re like, okay, what are you feeling right now? They’re like, I have no idea what you’re talking about. It’s like, well, I’m sad. You’re sad.

Todd: What are you sad about? Where do you feel that? Have you been able to express that sadness? No. So it’s about emotional literacy, like knowing, naming these emotions, because we were not taught this stuff in school. And then being able to feel it and express it. You Um, so it’s just basic emotional intelligence 101.

Todd: That’s where we start. 

Cathy: And I feel like I want to give like a visual, like a [00:44:00] box opening. So you know, it’s just, I guess it doesn’t need to be exactly the same. It’s like freedom from the box. 

Todd: Yeah. You know, how do we disassemble this man body? Yeah. How do we disassemble it? It’s through vulnerability. 

Cathy: Mm hmm.

Todd: Which is not something that we are. Most men are ready to do. 

Cathy: Yeah, I know. We got some work. So what I will say about the Women Unfolding is like I said, if you already have Substack, like you follow other people, go follow Zen Parenting Moment. It’s actually Cathy Kasani Adams. And subscribe, and then it will come to your inbox every Friday morning.

Cathy: I only do one, so you’re not going to get inundated. One a week. Short read. And, and get the Substack app on your phone. That’s helped me be able to follow the people that I follow much more easily. Because sometimes I try and like someone’s Substack through the email and then it’ll be like, go to the app.

Cathy: You know, like, so the app is really nice. And all you gotta do 

Todd: is click on the link below. Yeah, 

Cathy: so click on the link below and you can go and, um, follow [00:45:00] my Substack. 

Todd: And you can also click on the link below and join Team Zen. And you get a free pair of socks or something cool like that. That’d be great.

Todd: And then don’t forget about Jeremy Craft. He’s a bald headed beauty painting and remodeling throughout the Chicagoland area. 6 3 0 9 5 6 1800. Thank you so much for listening. Keep trucking everybody.