Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 166 – Rev. Cathy Bristow

For episode 166 of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon speaks with Reverend Cathy Bristow.

For episode 166 of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon speaks with Reverend Cathy Bristow.

Rev. Cathy is an ordained Interfaith Minister and the founder and principal of Bridges, a consulting firm whose mission is to re-language and initiate fresh conversations about race, gender, and diversity. She is deeply involved in social justice work and provides free seminars on Brain Health and the impact of spirituality.

Rev. Cathy and Sharon begin the conversation together, speaking about how New York City is recovering from the effects of COVID-19. Rev. Cathy then shares her history of how she organically found her ongoing prayer life through the practice of “going quiet.” She talks about the power and purpose of storytelling as a healing vessel in her mentorship work and how she is embarking on the research of storytelling as a contemplative practice as connected to brain science for women who identify as black. They discuss the power of love (and self-love) as a force for change and personal resilience. Rev Cathy shares the importance of leadership training in her mentorship programs for black women and the modeling of vertical and horizontal inclusion. They also dive into a few of the topics of Sharon’s yet to be titled new book: the life cycles of expansion and contraction. The episode closes with Rev. Cathy leading a Gratitude Practice to close out the conversation.

Learn more about Rev. Cathy at
NYC & Resilience // Post-Traumatic Growth // Contemplative Practice

Sharon welcomes, ordained Interfaith Minister, Rev. Cathy Bristow to the Metta Hour. They begin the podcast with talk about recovery and resilience in a place very dear to their hearts—NYC. Does resilience mean going back to what was? Or is it an opportunity for ‘Post-Traumatic Growth’ into a ‘New New York?’ From here, Rev. Bristow shares an intense real-world scenario where she was immensely helped by intuitively using the contemplative practices of prayer and inner stillness.

“I found a place inside that took me to present moment awareness—I was breathing, I was safe, I was okay, and I didn’t have to interact with the external for just a little while.” – Rev. Cathy Bristow

Another NYC steeped dharma session explores resilience and contemplation, on Ep. 8 of Walking Each Other Home
Butterfly Dreamz // Storytelling & Spiritual Stamina (8:28)

Sharon invites Rev. Bristow to share about the Butterfly Dreamz project – young Black Women uncovering empowerment using storytelling—both spoken and written—as the foundation for change, growth, and leadership through mentorship, scholarship, and youth-led community action. Relaying how storytelling is related to spirituality and brain science, Rev Bristow explores spiritual resilience, stamina, & self-love through the lens of slavery and African American cultural history.

“Storytelling is remarkably powerful, and it also links us together with what was, and how others who are physically outside of us experience and go through life, and gives us a new opportunity to be future facing about what’s next.” – Rev. Cathy Bristow

Explore the transformational power of female storytelling, on Ep. 6 of Walking Each Other Home
Contraction & Expansion // Fear, Mentorship, & Vulnerability // Bridges (26:26)

Contemplating our fluctuating states of contraction and expansion, Sharon asks Rev. Bristow for tips on working with fear in our daily lives. Sharing how having a strong relationship with mentors—as well as the openness to be vulnerable—help her through the contraction of fear, Rev. Bristow empowers us to transform beyond our perceived limitations and heal our personal and collective traumas.

“I encourage people to start where they are. I live in an apartment building, and we started where I check on my neighbors. Now, that’s not a circle; however, they check on me and I check on them. So maybe use opportunities that may not be traditional or conventional. Start stepping out, because that then gives me the courage to approach someone else.” – Rev. Cathy Bristow

Sharon and Dr. Robert Thurman discuss states of contraction and expansion, on Ep. 164 of the Metta Hour
Guided Meditation: Grief & Gratitude (52:25)

To close the podcast, Rev. Bristow leads a guided meditation practice around grief and gratitude.