Grateful Goddesses: Discovering The Path To Finding Your Inner Goddess With Alyssa, Dena, And Rachel


We all have busy lives to live, that when the COVID-19 pandemic came, we are suddenly thrust into a world where quarantine and social distancing have become norms. If there is any consolation, this situation has provided us an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and discover the inner goddess that has been inside of us all along. Welcoming you to the Grateful Goddesses podcast, meet host and Grateful Goddess Founder, Karen Pulver, and her featured Goddesses—Alyssa, a recovering attorney; Dena, an early childhood teacher; and Rachel, a community activist and builder—in this episode as they get to know each other better and discover why they are embarking on this journey together. Follow along to their personal development journey, their search for joy and meaning of who they are and what they want to be and get inspired and empowered to go through your own path towards self-discovery and unleashing your inner goddess. Join Karen, Alyssa, Dena, and Rachel as they courageously bare their hearts to us in this wonderful conversation.

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Grateful Goddesses: Discovering The Path To Finding Your Inner Goddess With Alyssa, Dena, And Rachel

“You Had The Power All Along My Dear” – Glinda The Good Witch

I’m glad that you’re all here and said yes to being here. What is a Grateful Goddess? Why are you here? Why did you choose to join us? Who are we? I am here because I decided years ago, I was in a place in my life, where I wanted to learn more personal growth development and step out of my box a little bit. I started this group back in 2009, where we would go and gather at different venues throughout the city and we would get to learn about each other and about different topics of interest. Years later, while we are in quarantine and settled in place, isn’t this the perfect opportunity where we can reflect on who we are, what are our priorities, what makes us whole? Stepping inside of ourselves to find that inner goddess is what we all have the opportunity to do. I’m excited to share this with all of you. I’m joined by featured goddesses and we’re all going to get a chance to say who we are, what defines us, and why are we part of this grateful goddess journey. I would like to first start with featured goddess, Alyssa, who is going to join us. Welcome, Alyssa.

Hi, Karen.

Tell me more about who you are.

I grew up in the suburbs of New York and I went to college in Philadelphia. I first came to Chicago for law school where I met my husband and we ultimately decided to raise our family. Now I’ve been in Chicago for many years and I feel like a Midwesterner at heart. Professionally, I practiced law for many years at a big firm here in Chicago. My practice focused on corporate transactions and my clients were mostly private equity funds. I did that until I found that the grueling pace, the personal sacrifices, and the missed family time made it too hard for me to stay at my firm. I also had my own business for a time in the world of real estate. I’ve served as a board member and volunteer for several organizations in my community, for some nonprofit organizations and for my kids’ school, which is work that I have truly loved doing.

First and foremost, I see myself as a wife and as a mother, even though my sons are now grown and live very independent lives. Though I’m no longer coordinating their schedules and handling the day-to-day parenting tasks that come with having everyone living under the same roof, I know I will always see that as the most important role that I play. I wrote a note to my son who’s graduating from college, which I find so hard to believe. I said, “Being his and his brother’s mom has been the greatest job I could ever have.” I was very weepy as I wrote that. I’m not needed and all of the same ways that young kids need their moms. That frees up a lot of time. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking when I became an empty nester, about my purpose, about new ways to find joy in my life, and how to keep learning, growing and evolving.

Though I miss my kids terribly when they’re living somewhere else and I’m not seeing them all the time, this also brings freedom to spend more time focused on doing the things I love to do and finding new things to love doing. I consider myself to be a very analytical thinker. I approach most challenges and experiences with this desire to understand and explore all aspects of things. I am not the kind of person that’s free spirited who dives right in and waits to see what happens. As I entered this new stage in my life, I find myself feeling the freedom to go with the flow a bit more. It’s having fewer demands on my time and fewer responsibilities for my kids. As I get a bit older, I realized it’s okay not to have all the answers and not to have all the roads mapped out for the journey.

I think of myself as a type-A person, which is also true for many lawyers. I am starting to explore my B side a little bit more. Karen, when you came to me with this idea for Grateful Goddesses, my first thought was, “That sounds terrifying.” My next thought was if I’m going to be true to myself and do all the things I’ve been talking about of growing, evolving, and expanding my horizons, then this is a great, challenging, and unconventional way for me to start doing that. One of my favorite quotes I’ve shared with you all is from Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “Do something every day that scares you.” This is that thing for me. Thank you for bringing me along on this journey. I have no idea where it’s going to take us, but I’m excited and also terrified to be here.

Thank you, Alyssa. The whole point of being a grateful goddess is taking that step, but we’re going to support each other and you’re going to be okay. You’re going to learn a lot through this process, I promise.

It’s okay not to have all the answers and all the roads mapped out for the journey. Click To Tweet

I’m looking forward to it.

I’m excited for you to join us on this. Thank you, Alyssa. I would like to now call on our featured goddess Dena. Interestingly enough, Dena and I knew each other from years ago because she was my son’s preschool teacher and we came upon each other serendipitously again. We coincidentally met and talked about some things about grateful goddesses. I’m so glad that you’re saying yes to this. Dena, can you tell us a little bit about you?  

I define myself with being a widow. I never would have thought that would have been how I would start to define myself or introduce myself to people. That certainly has shaped who I am now and how I see the world and go about most of my days. I am a mother of three teenagers and they keep me very busy. However, I find that they are soon not going to need me as much as they have in the past and that keeps me busy and focused. When we ran into each other a few times over the course of six months, I was looking to you as a friend of, what can I do next?

What can I do to feel important, empowered, and challenged? I’m not a risk taker. That’s not in my nature. I would love to be. My late husband skydived, loved to travel and to be away. It was far from my existence. When I look to challenge myself and be all of that to my kids, one thing is to show them that you could take risks, be afraid, make mistakes, and grow from them. All of that brought me here. I have no idea how this is going to go. I’m excited to be along for the ride, be a part of it, and have something to contribute to. Hopefully, be a voice of change and make changes for myself.

I appreciate, and I’m sure the audience do as well, you sharing about your loss and I know it will help a lot of people out there that are dealing with loss. Your wisdom and your resilience is tremendous. I thank you too for saying yes for being here on this journey that we’re going to go on together. We will support each other and help each other through this. Maybe you’ll skydive too, you never know. Thank you, Dena.

Thank you, Karen. 

I would now like to welcome our featured goddess Rachel. Welcome, Rachel.

How are you?

GG1 | Grateful Goddesses
Grateful Goddesses: Stepping inside of ourselves to find that inner goddess is what we all have the opportunity to do during this quarantine period.

I’m good. Tell me about you.

It’s a big question and it’s something you’re trying to synthesize for these kinds of forks in the road to have brought us to where we are now in the purpose that we are. I have three teenage boys and I have been in a good marriage for many years. I feel like I have a good grounding now that my kids are older. I have a little bit more space to think about things, to do some spiritual investigation and learn more. I’m still figuring out who I want to be when I grow up. I’m still trying to do that. Part of my identity is I grew up as 1 of 5 Jews in a small town in central Illinois. I very much felt an outsider there. Many times, I felt invisible and I didn’t belong. Luckily, I had my loving family and my supportive parents that shaped the person I am and the confidence I have. All of that inspired me to always want to be inclusive and build community around me. From that experience, I’ve always tried to build community around me and it’s so important to me. I started off in technical writing, I was an internet consultant, I broke computer manuals, and I was incredibly technical.

I had the opportunity to help my children’s public school. Over the course of ten years, most of which I was the PTA president, I built community. We built parent engagement. We got parents not only to volunteer but to donate to the school, which at that time was a novel concept. We worked with the principal, teachers, community, politicians, and we got the Blackhawks to give us $200,000 for health and wellness. Everyone was in it together. We were all working together. It’s been a few years since I’ve stepped down from that role and I have been trying to figure out my place in the world. When I heard about this opportunity from Alyssa, I meditated, I thought about it, and I tried to make sure that this is my next venture. I feel that the community that you’re trying to build and grow, the vulnerability, authenticity and honesty of this group of women is an experience I didn’t want to miss. Thank you so much.

That was so lovely. I appreciate all the work you’ve done in the world so far. You’ve got so much to give. When you say, “I’m waiting to see when I grow up, what am I going to be,” that’s part of it. Thank you so much, Rachel. I wanted to tell all our audience out there that that’s why we’re here. We’re here to embrace who we are, what we’re doing, how we’re growing, and what are we going to be when we grow up. Even though we are all human beings, we have feelings and emotions, we’re all the same. We all have an inner goddess inside of us. I’d love all my goddesses to come back. I want you to close your eyes and put your hands on your heart. This is something new and different perhaps or something you’ve been practicing.

I want you to take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth, and just be in this moment with us to feel who you are, what you are, what you want to give, what you want to learn, and how we can find that inner goddess within us. I want to thank you. Namaste. That was a very short meditation. You can continue this on your own longer but I want to thank you for joining us and for sharing why you’re here. I’m excited to share all the different upcoming episodes we’re going to be having. We’re going to learn many things about self-care, self-esteem, nutrition, fitness, spirituality, anything you can think of. I would love people to join us on that journey and enjoy your day. Thank you so much, goddesses. I’m so grateful to you.

I would like to close by explaining who I am. I would define myself, in no particular order, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a teacher. I studied psychology. I am a grateful goddess Founder. I’m also a model, actress, and a cancer survivor. I want to keep adding to that list of who I am because I love the opportunity of self-growth, development and learning new things. I am a doer. I love to jump in head first. I’m the type of person that when my kids were little and I would get something like a toy, I would not read the instructions. I would make the toy, jumping in to make it and I’d end up with a piece missing at the end but it still worked. At times I need to hold back the reins but at times, I love to dive in. I’m hoping you’ll all dive in with me with support. I wanted to read this quote from Glinda, the good witch from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. She’s always said, “You had the power all along, my dear.” I believe that with support from each other, we too can see that we all have the power all along to be that grateful goddess. Thank you for joining us.

Part of being a grateful goddess is finding rituals, things, objects, people, places, anything that inspires you and that makes you feel good. Dena, I’d like to know from you, what is something that has inspired you perhaps lately or something that makes you happy and makes you feel joy?

For Mother’s Day, I received a mug designed by my children with all kinds of photos. I only have mugs that match my dishes. I don’t have any silly mugs that have clever sayings or symbolizes anything. I’m looking forward. I do drink a cup of coffee a day and I’m looking forward to having something meaningful to start my day with.

Try to live life to the fullest each and every day. Click To Tweet

It’s so meaningful. Whenever you get up in the morning and you use that mug, you’ll always be reminded of how grateful you are for your amazing family.

As long as they have behaved, then it’s a good thing.

Thank you for sharing. I love that. Rachel, can you share with us anything that inspires you and makes you feel joyful and happy?

I have discovered the color pink. I’m not sure how this pink is showing up but I call it my power color. I love the color pink and vintage. This is a vintage blouse from my favorite vintage store, Tilly in Andersonville. This is a rose quartz necklace that my mom made and it’s a healing stone. During quarantine, I wear it almost every day to keep me healthy.

That blouse does look beautiful and I do feel the energy from it. Colors are so important to have around us, especially ones that we love to see and love to feel and feel good in. Thank you for sharing that. Alyssa, can you share with us something that makes you feel good?

This is a photo of my dad and me. It was taken many years ago. I realized a few years ago that I don’t have a lot of photos of my dad and me as an adult. I haven’t lived in the same city as my parents and siblings for many years. When we’d get together, it seemed like all the photos we took were groups with my parents, my kids or my extended family. This is one of very few that exists of my dad and me My dad passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s. The years leading up to his death were the hardest in my life, without question. This picture sits on my desk. It’s the first thing that I see every morning when I sit down. It reminds me of a time when my dad was okay. It inspires me to try to live life to the fullest each and every day and it’s special to me.

That’s so powerful, everyone. I appreciate you sharing that vision, brings back memories, and then helps you with feelings for the day. It sounds like he was a very inspiring, joyful, and positive man for you.

He was the best.

GG1 | Grateful Goddesses
Grateful Goddesses: With support from each other, we can see that we all have the power all along to be a grateful goddess.


Goddesses, I want to show you mine. This is one of many. I love my mugs. This is a wise woman who once said, “Fuck this shit.” She lived happily ever after. There are days where I really get frustrated, I get anxious, I’m afraid, I lack confidence. I need to remind myself, “Seriously, fuck this shit.” It’s just an illusion. It’s what I can go through, I can deal with it, I have to breathe, get through it, push myself past it, feel all those tremendous feelings of lack of confidence, etc. and then I drink my coffee. Now, this is what I chose because I am nervous about starting this new venture. This is fearful for me. I don’t like to say it but I will admit I am technically challenged. I’ve had a lot of glitches as my featured goddesses can relate, understand, and attest to. This is a new venture and I’m going to fuck this shit and we’re going to get real. I’m going to deal with this anxiety and this fear, and I’m going to come out better for it. Goddesses, I’d love to see you again. Join back on if you can. Thank you so much. Let’s fuck this shit. Let’s be real and thank you for sharing.

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