The Missing Conversation Podcast

The Missing Conversation - Cover ArtOn this podcast, we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking as we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view. Your host Robert Strock has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist author, and humanitarian, and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation, and inquiry born from working on his own challenges.

Visit our Podcast Archive page for a concise listing of all episodes.

How can de-idealizing our teachers make them more beneficial to us? (STR) – Episode 34

If you think about it, we’re all drawn to people most like us. Call it in-group bias or being “hard-wired” for like-minded people—the fact remains that we can connect best with those we think are similar to us. That’s why, when a celebrity, superstar, or sports person comes forward with a challenge they’ve been facing, we begin seeing them in a different light. Their candor and the fact that they’re also dealing with something you or someone you love have made them more human and relatable.

What is premature transcending, and how can psychology help? (STR) – Episode 33

No matter who you are, you will have to confront some challenging concepts like death, disease, and suffering at some point in life. To understand and get through these difficult moments, many of us will turn to religious or spiritual teachings, hoping for (spiritual ) help or support. Others will turn towards psychology and science, hoping to regain their awareness through medicine or counseling. Some will even do both.

How can religious and spiritual leaders connect with their congregation on a human level? (STR) – Episode 32

When we look up to someone, often, we tend to place them on a pedestal. We may do this unknowingly, or we may do it because that person behaves in a way that is far from us. Today, as spiritual teachers embody and share tenets of the original teachings, there’s a need for them to go beyond simply listening and responding to their followers. Whether it’s medication, meditation, or anything else, we all depend on more than divinity and enlightenment to take care of ourselves.

How Do We Unite Psychology and Religion? (STR) – Episode 31

Some folks think attending a religious service (like confessing your sins and burdens to a priest) is similar to therapy. After all, they both are designed to help you come to terms with what is most essential in life. But while these two activities might sound similar in theory, what they offer people is very different. There is a unique nexus between religion and psychology because both help you expand your quality of life, one way or another. Therapy encourages you to explore your feelings and, at its best, helps guide you to your core needs.

It’s Okay To Be A Doubting Thomas And Stay True To Your Beliefs (STR) – Episode 30

One of the core tenets across most religions and spiritual practices around the globe is being a more generous person. We unlock our greatest potential when our attitudes, thoughts, actions, and beliefs contribute positively to society. To do that, we also need to work through personal challenges, which requires awareness, humility and faith. That way, we can share what we’ve learned and help others in their difficulties.

Why Religious Leaders Need To Share Their Personal Challenges (STR) – Episode 29

A problem shared is a problem halved. Isn’t that why most of us choose to share our troubles and difficulties with our loved ones? We value their advice, their insight, and their support. In this episode of The Missing Conversation, Robert and Dave share how religious and spiritual leaders can extrapolate this idea by sharing their own challenging issues to help their community better. We tend to place teachers of formal religion or leaders in spirituality on a pedestal. While believers and practitioners may take advice from them, rarely do we see help flow the other way around.

Importance of Humanitarian Principles in Religion & Spirituality (STR) – Episode 28

What’s common between religious folks, spiritual people, and those that do not formally identify as anything but try their best to better life in our world? Robert and Dave explore the united goal among the three — caring for our planet and for humanity. Core universal values like compassion, kindness, and authenticity are embodied in original religious and spiritual teachings. These values are how religious teachers like Jesus, Buddha, Muhammed, Moses lived their lives.

Why Should We Redefine Our Relationship With Money? (PP) – Episode 27

Whether we acknowledge it or not, our relationship with money impacts several avenues of our life and the world at large. So often, many people confuse self-worth with net worth — money equals security and an esteemed life. Robert Strock explores how a few people have obtained excessive riches, which requires being born in an environment that offers unique opportunities. In contrast, this has been simply impossible for others. Now, as the world teeters on a dangerous precipice, those that have excesses have a chance to give back a greater percentage of what they’ve earned for the wellbeing of the planet, to increase the chances of humanity surviving and thriving in the coming generations.

Thinking & Acting with Solutions for the Global Good (PP) – Episode 25

Host Robert Strock dives into the complexities of the homelessness crisis in the state of California and other urban areas. He focuses on solutions that provide a sense of belonging and community, where people can be nourished and feel at home instead of temporary housing. If we start talking about these solutions as a community and society, we can rebuild our infrastructure to support people at all income levels. As we begin to explore options that help those in the most need, we can contemplate and redefine our relationship with money recognizing that we are at a time like no other in human history where the needs of the planet are blatant and vital.

Reevaluating The Way We View Our Place In The World (PP) – Episode 24

Host Robert Strock discusses the need for a change in how we view and respond to our relationship with ourselves and the rest of the world. Our world is at a breaking point. Socioeconomic divisions, racial divisions, and many other dividing factors can be overcome if we can see that we can be the witness and responder to our conditioning, rather than be controlled by it, and contemplate individually how we view our place in the world. We can start by asking “What are the small or large gifts that will allow us to respond in a way that is grounded and inspired and have the best chance to be as fulfilling as possible.

We Can All Contribute Regardless of Our Wealth PP – Episode 23

Host Robert Strock helps identify small ways we can each begin today to discover how we individually can make a difference in the bigger world. There’s a need to contemplate the norms of how we raise children facing the new challenges of the world, view our roles within the community, adjust our relationships to step up and support our nation, and change how we respond to our place in the world. We can learn to face and care for our own difficult emotions and use them to help us make more meaningful contributions to others and by extension, the world.

Caring for Ourselves while Protecting The Earth PP – Episode 22

Robert Strock encourages looking into and beyond the self to save the planet. Previous podcasts explored facing our most challenging feelings, but the next step is to continue to work toward our best self and develop the person who cares for self, family, community, and the world. Without developing an outward focus, we run the risk of standing by while the planet dies. Strock encourages the kind of introspection that sees how to better the life of the individual and use what we have as individuals to benefit the world.

Building a Healthy World One Step at a Time PP – Episode 21

Host Robert Strock asks the question, what can you do today in the smallest of ways to help you or others survive and thrive, especially in a way that is evolving?  This intention can generate a sense of purpose in each of our lives as much as we pay attention to the little and big things in our environment. Awareness and self-inquiry combined with the search for how to care for others and the world in small ways can build a global and national contagion of health. A contagion of health is one where we care for the psychological, emotional, and physical health of the individual, group, society, nation, and global communities, including the Earth itself.

Healing Ourselves to Heal the World PP – Episode 20

Host Robert Strock continues to explore how we can see ourselves as part of an interconnected global community through internal inquiry that looks for and develops the best self. Using self-inquiry and the free Introspective Guides on AwarenessthatHeals.org, listeners can learn to guide themselves to a place where they can use their time, energy, and resources for the survival and betterment of self, others, and the world.  Listen to this episode . . .

Balancing Love For Family And The World PP – Episode 19

Host Robert Strock highlights the need for continual questioning to reexamine our relationships with ourselves, our family, and responding to the world situation as a whole. This ongoing questioning of our personal and societal relationship and our conditioning can open doors to greater insight,  empathy, and connection with the world around us. It helps us live more in the moment and see where we can become more sensitive and grow.  Listen to this episode . . .

It’s Important to Question the Balance in Our Lives – Episode 18 PP

Host Robert Strock focuses on the third set of questions surrounding a needed change in psycho politics—Am I doing enough? Am I using my resources in a way that benefits the world? There’s a dire need to change the psycho-political climate in the United States and in the world. It’s not enough to love and use our resources only for family and friends. Consistently questioning how and why we’re using our resources can help develop a community–and world-centered focus rather than a self-centered one.  Listen to this episode . . .

Changing for the Good of Humanity – Episode 17 PP

Host Robert Strock and guest discuss the current psycho-political environment. We’re currently in a time where COVID-19 and natural disasters have highlighted individual and societal vulnerability. Before COVID-19, there was a great amount of disconnection between those with the financial means and power and those struggling to survive day to day. There’s now a profound sense of equal vulnerability to disease and natural disasters. We need a growing understanding of the disparity— yet connection— between the poor, rich, and everyone in between.  Listen to this episode . . .

Finding Balance to Help the Homeless and Save the Planet – Episode 16 PP

Host Robert Strock and guest ask the question—are we balanced in how we view ourselves and use our resources? To address the growing issues of global warming, homelessness, immigration reform, and other world and societal problems, there’s an overwhelming need for each individual to broaden their view. As we learn to see beyond our immediate needs and question ourselves and society, we better use the resources at our disposal as individuals and as a society. Currently, the planet is headed toward rock bottom. Consequently, building awareness is crucial to healing. Healing those in need, healing ourselves, and healing the planet.  Listen to this episode . . .

Immigration Reform – Episode 14

Host Robert Strock introduces an immigration reform framework that unites government agencies, the private sector, and the philanthropic world to provide a viable, safe, legal way for immigrants to enter the United States’ southern border. The plan proposes the creation of fully functional immigrant communities composed of enough tiny homes to house approximately 10,000 people.  Listen to this episode . . .

Trash Prophets with Mark Spiro – Episode 13

Mark Spiro, award-winning songwriter, producer, recording artist, and founder of Trash Prophets, joins host Robert Strock to discuss Spiro’s work with the unsheltered. Trash Prophets is a mobile recycling organization that helps train the unsheltered in collecting recyclables for a profit. In Spiro’s work with the homeless, he’s learned that many factors come into play, keeping people homeless. If they make too much money, they can lose the few benefits they get.  Listen to this episode . . .

Discovering the Meaning of Home with Alan Graham – Episode 12

Join host Robert Strock in an interview with guest Alan Graham, founder of Community First! Village and Mobile Loaves and Fishes (MLF) of Austin, Texas. Graham organized and runs a permanent community that offers permanent housing to the unsheltered. However, 20 percent of residents are there voluntarily, coming from a wide range of successful backgrounds. The key to the community’s success is the acceptance of everyone for where and who they are in their journey.  Listen to this episode . . .

Homelessness and Agriculture with Perry Goldberg – Episode 11

The President of E Pluribus University and founder of thrivela.org, Perry Goldberg, joins host Robert Strock to discuss current efforts to identify solutions and barriers to the growing homelessness problem in California. Current solutions involve building affordable housing where land runs at a premium and laws, regulations, and objections of neighbors add to the expense and time it takes to develop the properties.  Listen to this episode . . .

Housing Options for the Unsheltered with Brian Greenberg – Episode 9

Brian Greenberg, PhD, manager of Life Moves, joins host Robert Strock to discuss the current and growing needs among the unsheltered population. Life Moves is the largest comprehensive homelessness program in Northern California. It focuses on providing amenities like private/public showers and toilets along with connecting participants with job opportunities, housing support, and health services. When less expensive housing options have basic privacy, it provides incentives that bring people off of the streets. Organizations like Life Moves work to provide a maximum amount of services at a minimal cost. Listen to this episode . . .

Bonus Episode: Psycho-Politics

It’s really vital that we each look at the state of the world today because it’s quite evident that global warming is a real risk, along with terrorism, cyber-attacks, and too many other dangers to mention. The essence of Psycho-Politics informs us that it’s natural to care for our family and friends—but it’s not natural during this time of global warming and the unprecedented gap between the wealthy and the poor, and the fact that we aren’t contributing more to those who struggle to survive and are struggling for the survival of the planet. This unprecedented time requires us to think for ourselves in an entirely new way. ​Listen to this episode . . .

Peer Support Can Solve Homelessness with Brian Ulf – Episode 8

Brian Ulf’s background in real estate and addiction recovery contributes to his involvement in many organizations, but notably his work with Shares Self-Help and the Recovery Exchange and Share Collaborative Housing programs. The unique approach to both housing and recovery needs connects the unsheltered with single-family homes for housing, along with needed services and peer support groups led by specialized peer bridgers. Peer bridgers help residents resolve conflicts, set long and short-term goals, and work toward the next step in their life. Listen to this episode . . .

Ecosystem Restoration Camps with John D Liu – Episode 7

Guest John D. Liu, ecosystem ambassador for the Common Land Foundation, joins host Robert Strock in a discussion about restoring the planet’s biodiversity and biomass through regenerative agriculture and ecosystem restoration. These two practices and concepts recognize and incorporate the symbiosis of all living things in order to restore and reclaim land. Restorative agriculture programs, including Liu’s Ecosystem Restoration Camps, are now found on six continents, including a massively successful pilot program on China’s Loess Plateau that covered 35,000 square kilometers. Listen to this episode . . .

Reconnecting Homeless to Family with Ron Hooks – Episode 6

Pastor Ron Hook’s 26 years of working with the unsheltered gives him a unique perspective on those experiencing homelessness. He talks with host Robert Strock and guest host Shelley Pearce about some of his personal turning points that led him to devoting his life to helping the unsheltered. His organization, West Coast Care, often fills a gap between what other organizations offer and what the unsheltered need to reconnect with family, find meaningful employment, or move forward in their recovery journey. Listen to this episode . . .

Funding Alternative Housing Solutions with Elizabeth Funk – Episode 5

Guest Elizabeth Funk, innovator and Board Member of Life Moves, talks with host Robert Strock about her work in the microfinance industry abroad and current focus and efforts to eliminate homelessness in the United States. Together, they shed new light on the complexity of the growing housing crisis, from the needs of interim housing to potential solutions that involve portable, permanent housing units. The COVID pandemic has left more people unsheltered, but it’s also been a catalyst for changing attitudes and forces that have acted as barriers to permanent housing solutions. Listen to this episode . . .

Caring for the Homeless and Hungry with Ken Craft – Episode 4

Los Angeles faces a growing humanitarian crisis as the number of unsheltered persons continues to grow. An interview with Ken Craft, founder of Hope of the Valley, reveals his organization’s work to develop temporary small tiny homes throughout the San Fernando Valley, and now, in LA. A safe place to sleep with an array of healing services can be a turning point for many who come to Hope of the Valley shelters. However, challenges to establishing these communities and permanent housing options range from zoning laws to attitudes about unsheltered persons. Listen to this episode . . .

Permanent Affordable Housing with Charlie Ligety – Episode 3

An interview with Charlie Ligety, Director of The Housing Innovative Collaborative, explores the successes and failures of supplying affordable housing in a growing homelessness crisis. Today we have a diverse (and quick) range of housing options that aren’t currently being tapped to their full potential. A combination of changes in government policies, cultural and socioeconomic stereotypes, and perceptions around personal responsibility can come together to create solutions that transition people out of homelessness and into affordable permanent housing options that support dignity and community. Listen to this episode . . .

Regenerative Agriculture with Gabe Brown – Episode 2

An interview with Gabe Brown, founder of Understanding Ag, explains and explores the principles behind and potential of regenerative agriculture for the future of farmers and consumers. A different approach to farming where nature serves as the example and farmers integrate animals, insects, and soil into a happy, symbiotic growing relationship which leads to practical benefits like access to more nutrient dense food and growing in diverse climates. It also sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. There are opportunities to learn regenerative agriculture at any scale, from a backyard garden to a large scale profit-producing operation. Listen to this episode . . .

Welcome to The Missing Conversation – Episode 1

The Missing Conversation Podcast with host Robert Strock explores an array of complex issues inherent to modern life. From immigration and homelessness to how we as a society find ourselves polarized and facing crises on a global level, this podcast faces challenges head-on with the goal of bringing understanding, healing, and tangible solutions to the forefront of every conversation. A look at Robert’s personal journey sets the tone for podcasts designed to face, question, and envision concrete steps to address difficult topics, issues, and emotions.  Listen to this episode . . .

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