Books are a totally different medium from television shows, movies, and podcasts. They’re unique in the way that they require us to truly be immersed in the worlds they contain. We can’t multitask while reading and opening books . As a result, the ideas on every page infiltrate our DNA in a profound manner. So if you have any kind of question, there is probably a book out there that can provide the answers.
In this episode, Uli Beutter Cohen joins us to talk about books, and how they shape ourselves and allow us to peer into others’ realities. We also talk about how the universe finds ways to converse with us amid the loss of a loved one. She discusses her book, Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground, which was inspired by hundreds of subway conversations. Uli also highlights the importance of empathy in a world of othering.
If you want to know more about the power of opening books in finding answers, tune in to this episode!
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Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
- Learn the power of just being and letting miracles come our way.
- Discover how we are meant to equally receive all the love and radical acceptance available in the world.
- Understand the profoundness of reading and opening books.
- Uli shared her recent heartbreak of bidding farewell to her 18-year-old cat, Ray. Despite preparing a lot of things for her cat, it was still an unpleasant experience.
- Knowing beforehand that her cat would soon pass away didn’t make it easier. She shares that you can’t escape losing someone, and so you just have to surrender.
- A few days after Ray’s passing, Uli found a blue parakeet on the ground. She believes that he gave the bird as a gift.
- This experience taught Uli that we must be ready for miracles that come our way.
- Despite our loved ones passing, their love for us never disappears. Their love is alive. Tune in to the full episode to hear what other gifts Ray has been leaving Uli!
Subway Book Review
- Uli started Subway Book Review seven years ago when she had just moved to New York City. She thought this space could help her understand why the city is so magical.
- She chose the subway because the underground movements are the birthplace of so many human rights and artistic movements.
- In addition, Uli finds the subway phenomenal for only moving forward. It’s also very democratic—everyone takes the subway.
- What stood out to her was how many people were reading books on the subway.
Books and Accessing Others’ Minds
- A lot of people read and start opening books mostly to escape into another world.
- But for Uli, she used her book as a way to begin conversations with strangers on the subway and to know their thoughts.
- Her interviews point out one thing: we are meant to equally receive all the love and radical acceptance available in the world.
- The book contains conversations from people who are reinventing the status quo and dreaming up what can be. She believes these are the people we must listen to.
- Listen to the full episode to hear more stories about these conversations!
Empathy and Othering
- Othering refers to the separation of oneself from others. This concept is deeply interrelated with empathy.
- You must start accepting and empathizing with yourself first so that othering can be a foreign concept to you.
- Only after you start figuring out your relationship with yourself can you work out your place in the world.
- People are meant to be a wonder for you. They should not be seen as separate entities.
Separating from Oneself
- Most people live their lives preparing themselves for whatever the world brings their way.
- In fact, productivity and self-help tools can sometimes get in the way of being still.
- But because we don’t have an unstructured time where we can just be still and be present, we miss out on what the world has to offer.
- Sometimes, divergence from our set paths is not coincidental but actually comes at the perfect time.
Books and Multitasking
- There’s a lot of connection in social media.
- But opening books and reading them is one of the few things you cannot multitask. It requires your entire being to be present.
- Books infiltrate and shape you profoundly in a way that other forms of media can’t.
- And if you have any kind of questions, there are books out there meant to give answers.
- Thus, reading is for people who really seek answers to their questions.
Our Shared Realities
- There are as many realities as there are people. Throughout the years, it is through books that we’re able to share these realities.
- Uli wants to create a space for healing, opening our hearts, and exploring the mind.
- Her book is a book of answers and possibilities.
How Uli Feels Radically Loved
- Uli feels radically loved when, despite the chaos and a lack of control, she still shows up for herself and remains honest with herself.
- She welcomes all emotions and difficulties, and she’ll take one day, one step at a time.
5 Powerful Quotes
[4:18] “When you know [death is] coming, it does not make it easier. It makes it crazier because you see it approaching, and there's no escape. There's no control in it, right? You have to just surrender. It's the ultimate surrender of all surrenders”
[10:18] “There is no end to the love … Human loss, pet loss, the love is still very much alive. Focus on that, as opposed to the grief of losing something because the love is not lost, the love is there.”
[11:14] “The entire universe wants to converse with us… And I think that it's very easy for humans to feel and actually to forget that we're part of nature and that we are part of the eternal universe.”
[18:16] “It starts with the relationship with yourself first. And then from there, you can figure out what your place in the world is.”
[22:15] “A book is one of the last things if not the only thing that you cannot multitask… Therefore, [it] infiltrates your DNA in a profound way. That is why books stay with us totally differently than… anything else we consume that is media.”
About the Guest
Uli Beutter Cohen is an artist and documentarian, and the creator of Subway Book Review. Her interviews and stories involving human connection and belonging have been published in numerous journals and magazines, such as The Washington Post, Here Magazine, The Creative Independent, and HuffPost.
If she’s not looking for people to talk to in the subway, she creates creative content for companies like Nike and Warby Parker. She now resides in New York with her husband and Poppy Pete the Parakeet.
Check out her book Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground, and connect with her via Instagram or her website!
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