Toby Dorr
Episode 23

Episode 23

Hi everyone, and welcome to Fierce Conversations with Toby. I’m Toby Dorr, and today I’m so excited to talk to Kimberly Braun. She has an amazing story that you’re going to just be captivated by.

Toby Dorr: welcome, Kimberly.

Kimberly Braun: Thanks for having me, Toby. I’m really excited for our conversation.

Toby Dorr: I am too. I am too. I’m looking forward to it. So that you have such a wild story. I just can’t wait to dig into it. But before we start, can you tell me what your favorite color is and why?

Kimberly Braun: Oh, why do you ask the hardest questions? That’s a philosophy question. I’ll be like, I would, I would say purple.

Toby Dorr: I was gonna guess that.

Kimberly Braun: There’s something about the experience that when I’m wearing purple, I feel my energy bigger.

Toby Dorr: Oh, really?

Kimberly Braun: Totally. And I love, uh, so I love seeing purples and wearing purples. Uh, so it’s, it’s that simple.

Toby Dorr: I love that. You know, and I do think the clothes you wear make you feel a different way. Certain styles or certain outfits or certain colors, I think that’s interesting.

Kimberly Braun: I, I think it’s true. And I’m, I’m beginning to tend to that as I, as I eat.

Kimberly Braun: I, I used to always be in workout shorts and yoga pants. And I’m like,

Toby Dorr: yeah,

Kimberly Braun: do I feel really happy only wearing those clothes? That’s

Toby Dorr: you know, when I was working through for the home from home through the pandemic, I got dressed every day. Like I would if I was going into work because. You know, it just, I just don’t do the same kind of work when I’m wearing my pajamas, for example. So

Kimberly Braun: why.

Toby Dorr: interesting.

Kimberly Braun: Yes.

Toby Dorr: So tell me about the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make.

Kimberly Braun: Hmm.

Kimberly Braun: I think the hardest decision I had to make, and, and I, I have to hold it in context, because when we know something is right,

Toby Dorr: Mm-Hmm.

Kimberly Braun: In a way, it’s not hard because we can’t not do it.

Toby Dorr: right? That’s right.

Kimberly Braun: It’s not hard from our commitment to the answer. But I would say the hardest was when I, when I knew I was meant to join the monastery.

Kimberly Braun: And I stood there with my dad at the Greyhound bus.

Toby Dorr: Oh,

Kimberly Braun: was leaving. It was, it was hard for me to even get to move my feet

Toby Dorr: wow.

Kimberly Braun: and I was a hundred percent clear. I was meant to go

Kimberly Braun: knew what it meant. It was a dramatic lifestyle change that would mean instead of being in each other’s lives, we would only have moments.

Kimberly Braun: of enjoying life together.

Toby Dorr: Right. And how old were you when you did that, when you made that decision?

Kimberly Braun: 24 years old.

Toby Dorr: 24. So that’s still young and you were a nun, is that correct?

Kimberly Braun: Yes.

Toby Dorr: And. I grew up Catholic and I was really familiar with nuns, but, um, some, some nun types of nuns, they really don’t, I guess when you become a nun, you kind of can’t come to all the family events anymore and do all the family stuff because you’ve got all kinds of commitments somewhere else and you never know where you’re going to end up.

Kimberly Braun: Yeah. Many that enter orders that have and yes, and mine was even more strict because I entered a monastery. So I was cloistered, which meant I never left the monastery

Toby Dorr: oh, wow.

Kimberly Braun: doctor’s appointment or something like that. So it was even more dramatic. So sometimes when you’re, when you enter a spirituality community.

Kimberly Braun: and you’re of service, maybe you’re running a retreat center,

Kimberly Braun: but your family can come at any time, or you could find a weekend or something. So even though you’re not in each other’s lives, you could still be in contact a lot.

Kimberly Braun: At the monastery, we didn’t use the phone, and we communicated with letters, and the letters weren’t all the time.

Kimberly Braun: It wasn’t like I had time every week to write. So it was a very dramatic choice, and I remember I felt nauseous.

Toby Dorr: Mm-Hmm.

Kimberly Braun: It took courage and especially because I could feel my dad there not wanting me to go.

Toby Dorr: Yes.

Kimberly Braun: He got it. My parents are so loving and supportive of us in our lives. But, um, but it was, I will always remember the look on his face.

Kimberly Braun: I will always remember how hard it was to lift my foot and put it on the step of the bus.

Toby Dorr: Yes. That has to be hard. And so within the monastery, did you have conversations with other nuns or were you still pretty silent?

Kimberly Braun: Most of it was in silence. We had what’s called recreation once a day. There were moments like you could talk with the leader of the community, like if something came up, you could knock on her door and ask for some time to talk. But generally we were living in silence.

Toby Dorr: Wow.

Kimberly Braun: You know, it was really rich because you’re living in an environment where the sounds you’re involved in are all chant, prayer, and nature.

Toby Dorr: Oh yeah.

Kimberly Braun: Think over time how that worked with your body.

Toby Dorr: I can imagine. Yeah. I think that’s really interesting, and I spent time in prison, so I was removed from my family, but it definitely was not quiet. And I would have liked it to have been much quieter than it was, but I think I may have still felt kind of the same seclusion because you’re by yourself. You’re just alone with your thoughts and you have a very small circle. I found there was a lot of power in that, actually. That’s so interesting.

Kimberly Braun: Yeah, there is, there is. I mean, you discovered so many things about yourself.

Toby Dorr: Yes.

Kimberly Braun: In some spiritual traditions, there is a strong belief that we are meant to have containment that it’s within that could be external. That could be internal with many traditions. It comes through practices, right?

Toby Dorr: Yes.

Kimberly Braun: Patient practice or having certain presence practices that we put in place during the day. And in a way that’s kind of forcing us from being all over the place. To being right here, right now,

Toby Dorr: I think there’s some beauty in that. And, how long were you in the monastery?

Kimberly Braun: 10 and a half years.

Toby Dorr: Ten and a half years. And then there came a point where you decided you needed to leave, and I imagine that was a pretty difficult decision too. Tell me a little bit about that.

Kimberly Braun: You know, well, just so you and your listeners know in my third book, it’s already written, not published.

Kimberly Braun: So this is what came out with GracePoint when I met you, the third book actually tells the story in great depth.  And very simply, I had an inner illumination. I was in my little hermitage. August of the year 2000 and I had this whoosh and there was a non-verbal knowing of something, not of leaving, but of something. And that in that knowing, I know this sounds very amorphous, but in that inner illumination that happened, I was washed of my vows.

Toby Dorr: Oh.

Kimberly Braun: Because when we make commitments like that, I think we feel the energy of the commitment that we make all of a sudden it was gone. I was walking around in my habit. I’m like I’m not in vows anymore

Toby Dorr: Wow.

Kimberly Braun: Describe is that my inner vow which has always been strong since I was little and the external vow the Carmelites. We’re like this for a long long time and I thought that was gonna be for life because I said it was gonna be for life – all of a sudden without me knowing the inner vow was clear as day And the external vow didn’t exist anymore. They weren’t like that anymore. And I believe in reflecting on it was that there were many things happening that were tilling my inner soil around. I wasn’t wrestling with things. I wasn’t going, this isn’t working. And I need to leave many of the normal markers. That are there for us, that are giving us cues that we need to make a change. That wasn’t happening in that way in my mind because when I took vows, I literally was 100% looking at life that way. Even in dissatisfactions, it had nothing to do with my vows. It was me like, what can I do different? How can I change, how can I, so, um, so inside I believe what was happening is that my spirituality that was always universal, that was never hemmed in by one belief system. It was universal. What was happening is it was growing in such a way that I wasn’t gonna be able to fit in my community. My community and I weren’t growing together. And then, that was, I think, one of the main things that happened that prepared me for the insight that took place.

Toby Dorr: And how long after you had that awareness did you actually make the step to leave?

Kimberly Braun: So, first of all, my inner wisdom said, this may be passing, like, you don’t know what just happened, so time will tell you. And the second, the second thing that agape told me to give space is I was still building the monastery. So we hadn’t completed. So I was still in a role that was vital that I needed to complete. So what I did is I waited until February. So we were right at the end of the project. February came, we dedicated the monastery, and then I confided at that point in the leader. And I said, you know, I didn’t tell her what happened, but I said, I’m receiving some guidance that I may be meant to leave. Then I took a retreat, a two-week retreat in March. And on that retreat, oh my gosh, Toby, it was awesome. I had so many, a hawk showed up and all these texts. Everything was synchronized that affirmed what had happened was of spirit.

Toby Dorr: Wow. That’s pretty powerful.

Kimberly Braun: And then I came back from that retreat late March, and I told the leader in the community, I said, I’m clear, I’m clear. And then what had to happen after that, which everybody will find very funny is I actually had to write a letter to the Pope, a letter to leave.

Toby Dorr: Wow. Interesting. That’s so interesting. And how long did it take to get the okay?

Kimberly Braun: So I mean, I decided that instead of asking to be released of my vows, I would ask to leave, which is called excalibration. I would ask to leave for three years. And then I could just take it one step at a time because, I mean, God, I hadn’t been out in the world in a decade. And, um, it took, I wrote the letter in April, I believe. And I got the letter back in, I think it was late May or early June. So, it was within four weeks or so. And it has the Pope’s signature. It has the leader of the Carmelite Order’s signature. People that didn’t know me. It had like ten signatures. It reinforced to me that the power structure didn’t even fit my spirituality. To me, this is a conversation for the community to have, for me and my fellow sisters to talk about and for us to determine. So, you know, that didn’t even match the way I looked at things, but it was, it is kind of fun. And I’ve got the Pope’s signature,

Toby Dorr: That’s interesting. Was it hard to leave? Because I’m sure you made, you know, friendships with people there, and when you leave, you kind of can’t continue those, at least not in the same way.

Kimberly Braun: And I wasn’t welcome because they saw me as losing my way.

Toby Dorr: Wow.

Kimberly Braun: So the belief was that I meant to be Carmelite. I had taken vows. and now I’m right. So they went along with it because they had no choice. But there wasn’t conversation that said, Oh, we could understand why. So with that, I knew it was going to be definitive and I would say that I was so clear of the next step and there were so many signs that gave me joy that the challenge was less challenging than entering the monastery.

Toby Dorr: Oh, wow. That’s interesting. And what was it like to go back and be a part of your family again? Because I found I was in prison for 27 months. I couldn’t just come back and pick up where you left off because life went on and people grew in different ways and it was difficult fitting back in, I found. How about you?

Kimberly Braun: Yeah, it was, you know, in some ways, no. And in some ways, yes, on the no level is my family is very loving. So everyone was really gracious about me visiting, you know, like I stayed with my sister and I did things with my dad and my mom and my brother. And so in ways there was this. I went the extra mile to, you know, come to all the family gatherings and, reach out and initiate. And they were also very welcoming. They welcomed me with open arms, but the way it was hard is life had changed dramatically and we had gone through a big divorce. So our entire family anchoring was completely different. When I had entered, we were one family when we were loving individuals that were family, but everybody operated in different states and in different ways. It was really challenging emotionally because I didn’t know where I fit in. I didn’t know where I belonged. I didn’t even though everyone was loving and so kind to me, I still I didn’t know how to go about things. And Toby, when I entered cell phones and computers weren’t part of the world. So there were all these new ways that people related that I was completely clueless.

Toby Dorr: Yeah.

Kimberly Braun: Yeah, it was a major transition. What anchored me was that I got a scholarship to do my grad work in Washington, D.C.

Toby Dorr: Ah, interesting. That’s where I live now.

Kimberly Braun: Oh, really?

Toby Dorr: I live in the DMV, but I’m in Northern Virginia. There’s a lot going on around here, that’s for sure.

Kimberly Braun: And the university I said yes to was an international university for ministry and it was Roman Catholic, but it was very progressive and it was part of a consortium with American and Howard and Catholic and all the other ones. So I was kind of in the arms of a community where many people were going through transition.

Toby Dorr: Did you find the noise of the world after living in such a quiet place?

Kimberly Braun: It was completely overwhelming.  

Toby Dorr: think it’d be hard to focus because, oh, it’s so distracting out here, really is.

Kimberly Braun: When you’re living in silence in that way, you drop all your selective channeling. So I dropped my conditioning and my selective channeling. And I had to actually have that reformed because to live in the world, you do need to have a certain degree of selectivity. But I had none of it and it was emotionally exhausting, not mentally exhausting, but emotional.

I would fall into bed every night. I was so tired.

Toby Dorr: When I got out of prison, my brother took me to the movies because he thought, you know, it’d be a great weekend. He took me to lunch and then the movies. I had a panic attack in the movie theater because it was so dark. It was never dark in prison and there were people behind me and they were making noise and I didn’t know what they were doing. And, oh, it was amazing to me how difficult it is to readjust when you’re removed from society for a while. It’s pretty difficult.

Kimberly Braun: You can relate so well, every level. And one of the things that my family did, especially my mom and dad. Is they were doing all these loving things of organizing things. My mom took me to like a baseball game in Kentucky and, and you know, all these things were happening that they were doing out of so much love. And I was so overwhelmed. It was like, they’d be like playing the baseball songs and I was like, what are you doing? You know, my lifestyle is such, and especially living in Colorado.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, I can see that. So, do you have a significant event in your life that knocked you down, and how did you pick yourself up?

Kimberly Braun: In my late teens, through some things that we all need healing and through things I need to heal, I developed a real doubt around my self worth and around, even though my life was filled with mystical experiences and loving affirmations from the divine. And, you know, I was within that embrace, I went through a two and a half year period that was very, very, very dark where I doubted, I doubted. My life was good about it. And the crux of that doubt was, um, at heart because I’m very, very, very passionate. I’m very enthusiastic. I have, I’m an Aries. I have a lot of fire. I have a lot of, but I’m very sensitive and loving. So I’m not like a bulldozing kind of person, but I’m very juicy and all areas that was in expression, ideas, learning, relationships, sex, everything. And because it was so powerful in me, there were certain ways that I felt. Uh, like it wasn’t okay, like who I was wasn’t okay.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, I think being a teenager is such a difficult thing. So many, and, and even today. With social media and all the pressures of that, I, boy, I wouldn’t want to be a teenager today. It’s just not a friendly place.

Kimberly Braun: Yeah. There’s not a lot of support systems

Toby Dorr: There really aren’t. There really aren’t and there needs to be. And, the parents are so busy these days because everybody has families where both parents work. And, you know, life is crazy busy and everybody’s going, everybody has their own busy schedule. And I think the kids just kind of don’t have the childhood I had when my mom was home and, we played outside and we had a neighborhood that was, you know, we could go out anytime and it was no problem and the world has just changed.

Kimberly Braun: Neighborhoods. I miss, we had a great neighborhood, both my mom and dad worked, and even, in light of having a loving home and a neighborhood, that kind of reared its head. And part of it was from early childhood loss. and some trauma. It’s just growing and not having the help I needed. And is the collective conscious my family is deeply spiritual. They were all about love and kindness, but I was within structures that looked at spirituality in certain ways.

Spiritual, this isn’t. Loving, this isn’t. And I think that being so empathic, that was all working in me and how it developed, how it played out. Self-blame…

Toby Dorr: Oh yes. Yes. Yes. I can relate to that too. I have a workshop I teach called Slaying Your Shame Dragon because I think women Feel guilty about everything

Kimberly Braun: Oh my gosh, right? Totally. Totally. That’s great.

Toby Dorr: You need to just let go of that and enjoy. So, yeah, it’s pretty powerful, I think. And you know, it wasn’t until I envisioned shame as this dragon that I, then I had something kind of physical I could battle with and, and I needed that image, that force to know what I was, you know, tussling with, and it just seemed to help me.

Kimberly Braun: I know there are, there are great tools like that out there.

Toby Dorr: Who has been your most important mentor?

Kimberly Braun: The reason it’s a difficult question is that my path has been so open to everybody, even my teacher. You know, I can be in a supermarket and be inspired by the person who’s bagging food. In that moment, are a mentor to me. I can listen to somebody that’s got spiritual wisdom and they can be a mentor too. I can witness the courage of my family members or my friends and they can be a mentor. And I would say that, and this is where I count a blessing, is that I truly find that the presence of spirit in life has been my mentor and that I’ve taken that seriously.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, that’s pretty powerful.

Kimberly Braun: And the blessing to take it seriously, the blessing to be willing to say, if that’s so, wow, then what does this mean?

Toby Dorr: You’re putting together a seminar. So tell us a little bit about your seminar and when it’s going to be and what kind of people should be attending and all that.

Kimberly Braun: Absolutely. So yes, I am very excited. And for everyone listening, Toby is one of our contributors, which I’m very excited!

Toby Dorr: Yes, I’m excited about that too.

Kimberly Braun: So this summit runs from January 5th through the 7th. It’s an online summit. Some will be prerecorded. Some will be live. There’ll be breakout groups. There’ll be experiential things.

Kimberly Braun: There’ll be wisdom sharing. And the topic is discovering self. So, in the broadest take on that. This applies to every human being because every human being is called to discover who they are in life. And they’re called to discover even what it means, what is self, what is it, who am I, how do I live it, and all of that. So in the broad sense of that, this is a great seminar. This is a great summit. for everybody. Dialing down in it, I have chosen people that I consider to be very powerful insight contributors who have engaged the process of self-discovery and have found what has been very helpful in their own lives through their experience. through methods, through awakenings, and they specifically come at it from very different angles. We’ve got people that identify as spiritual teachers. We’ve got people who identify as personality development. We’ve got people who identify as inspirational voices. Um, healing of trauma and the awakening process, and they all come from very different backgrounds. So the storytelling and the tools that everyone will gain and the inspiration is going to be very unique and multifaceted.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, I love it. I’m really looking forward to it. I just can’t wait. So I think it’s kind of exciting. And we will put in the show notes a link so that if someone’s interested in registering for your summit, that they’ll be able to do so.

Kimberly Braun: I would love that. I would so much and get your friends together, even choose like maybe on one of the nights to make it a night thing with some girlfriends. I know I’ve got friends in Colorado that are organizing how they get together for parts of the summit and you can do that and then have your own. When we break out in groups and rooms, you can do it right with people right in your own house.

Toby Dorr: That’s interesting. That’ll be a lot of fun. Yeah. I’m really looking forward to it. And what’s the name of your summit? You might’ve said it, but let’s say it again.

Kimberly Braun: Discovering Self.

Toby Dorr: Discovering Self. Yes. That’s going to be exciting.

Kimberly Braun: It’s on my website. You can take a look at Toby’s information there. You can take a look at all the other speakers. Everyone’s bios and pictures are up there and their website links so you can know everybody ahead of

Toby Dorr: And your website, we’re going to put it in the show notes, but it’s just your name, Kimberlybraun. com. Correct?

Toby Dorr: Excellent. So, was there ever a time you really felt imprisoned and what did you do to liberate yourself?

Kimberly Braun: Thank you. And that, I’m sure that’s such a vital question to the work that you do in the world. So there were, there were moments. Uh, when I was in vows, so I made a commitment and I, my belief, was that because I made these commitment through these forms, these vows, that the divine was always working through my order and in my own growth process, there were moments, and I know we can all relate to this because all our structures have limitations, all of them, PTA, social clubs, politics, everything’s got limitations that we can adjust to, and we always have to navigate Where we gave our assent well within vows as a young, zealous, religious.

I didn’t know sometimes how to navigate when I was being asked to accept something that I didn’t believe in. And for many, many years, I was never in that position because no one was asking me to accept anything. I was living in silence. I was living a lifestyle I loved and nobody asked me for my opinion, my thoughts, my assent. So I was graciously out of the conversation, which I really loved, but then as I grew in the order, you know, more responsibility was given to me. I was called into more part of leadership. I was part of our council. I was never the leader, but I was in council, navigate the tradition that the leader in the community is the voice is the decision maker is the this And oftentimes it didn’t matter, but there were moments when it mattered and I didn’t know, well, am I being unfaithful to my vows? I’m not seeing the divine working here. How do I deal with this tension? How do I deal with…

Toby Dorr: kind of have a little tug that tells you, no, this isn’t quite right. And how do you resolve that within yourself?

Kimberly Braun: And how do you not feel that you’re compromising your own, you know, responsibility for yourself. It can always be acting of integrity. But when we give our assent to something where we’re giving our responsibility into the structure, how do you maintain enough personal responsibility so that, you know, you’re always giving your word when you want to give your word, when your actions, when you and we’re always in that every has that. So I know it’s not unique to any of us.

A big tension for me because there were numerous instances when I was like, no, that’s not okay.

Toby Dorr: And you took a vow of obedience and so you kind of got so many things to struggle with there. I could see how that would be. You know, something that took a conscious effort to work through.

Kimberly Braun: It did. And I would say that largely. In the beginning, I erred on the side of making a stand where I could, was unheard, and then accepting what happened. And usually what happened is change didn’t happen, and then I just simply would go along with whatever the decision

Kimberly Braun: was. Um, you know, I’m, and that, that my breakthrough started to happen when I began to separate out that my relationship with the divine isn’t only in these vows I’ve taken, like swallowing the whole thing, like it’s only this, everything is everything. And there’s great beauty in that. There’s great operation for healing in that.

Toby Dorr: There is. You’re right.

Kimberly Braun: But as I grew and I think all of us have this opportunity, I became more subtle where I could recognize the nuances of where things were working and how they were working. And I could work with myself within that. And I could say flat no, nothing ever got to that point because I was building the monastery. So in a way, I was. Consumed with a role that didn’t put this tension front and center for me, but you will see if you read my book, which really plays out some of this growing tension, you will see the evolution of where I was wrestling with things. And by virtue of that, I hope to give encouragement to others because each of us is walking our own path of truth.

Toby Dorr: Yes.

Kimberly Braun: And we deserve a lot of respect for how challenging that is and how vulnerable.

Toby Dorr: Yes. And you know, someone else’s path doesn’t work for you. Everyone has their own path. And so you can’t just model yourself after someone you see that’s doing what you want to do because it’s going to be different for you. Something’s going to be just off a little bit. So yeah, I think that’s really important. So what’s one question you wish I’d asked that I didn’t? Is there something you want to talk about that we haven’t brought up?

Kimberly Braun: You are so sweet. I’d love to shine a light on my book because it’s just so hot. And it’s with Grace Point in their studio and then with all their team, this book is available in print, ebook, and audio coming out the gate. And the audio is my voice, which I’m blessed to read.

Toby Dorr: Yes, I love that too. I read my audio book and I just love it. I just love it when the author reads their own work, especially when it’s, you know, a memoir or a personal story because they’ve lived it. So their voice telling it just seems right. I love that. What’s the name of your book?

Kimberly Braun: It is called Miracles in the Naked Light.

Toby Dorr: Ah, excellent.

Kimberly Braun:The whole premise is that we are walking in a field of that is where miracles are happening all around us all the time and when we become vulnerable, when we, when we really open ourselves to the possibility of that being true, the possibility that everything could be grace. We discover new ways to navigate our life, celebrate our beauty, to have insight when it comes to challenge, to be resourced when we feel discouraged, places of freedom where we feel trapped. And this plays out that story and I use my building the monastery as the framework for that exploration of that possible truth. And that monastery was amazing. I was 29 years old when I heard build the permanent monastery,

Toby Dorr: That’s amazing. Yeah.

Kimberly Braun: No experience. And yet here, if you watch my TED talk on my website, you will see this monastery is so beautiful. It’s so beautiful. It’s 17,000 square feet. It was worth about $ 9 million. We ended debt free and it was all because I gave a really big yes to my life and I was willing to let go and trust the unknown.

Toby Dorr: That’s so hard to do for so many people, but the best things come out of it because you can’t possibly conceive a wonder that you can do. And when you try to fit. What you’re trying to do into this image that you have, it always comes out so much smaller. But when you just let go and follow where you’re led, it just is beautiful.

Kimberly Braun: It’s so beautiful and I know you know that and I think we’re here as friends. We’ll say we can do this. Journey is solitary, but we can walk the solitary path together. Encourage each other with our stories, with our wisdom. Uh, and one of the things I love to do, Toby, is bring out the wisdom. Because every human being has so much wisdom. And they really get the chance to share it and discover it and speak it. And part of this summit, I’ll be bringing out the wisdom of you and everyone. And I will be giving place for the wisdom to come out of all the attendees.

So, but the book is, just such a dramatic story.

Toby Dorr: I can’t wait to read it. I’ll probably listen to it actually, so I’ll get the audio book. But yeah, I think that’s great. Audiobooks work so well for me because I am a multitasker. I’ve got to be doing stuff and, and I can listen to books while I’m doing stuff. So I think it works just perfect for me.

Kimberly Braun: I love that. I, I will admit that when I do an audio book. I don’t want to do anything like – I want to just sit down and just be immersed in it. Yes.

Kimberly Braun: I’m a multitasker too. But when it comes to things like that, it’s really hard for me. So develop your, your skillfulness that you can.

Toby Dorr: So I wish I could let go of doing all the time. That’s something I battle, but I’ve always got a million things going on and, and I need to just slow down a little bit. But, that’s not my style. I think I’m gonna have to just accept that that’s not gonna happen. so interesting. Is there a question that you’d like to ask me?

Kimberly Braun: What is alive within you right now that is giving you new joy, whether it being insight and experience, uh, or some miracle?

Toby Dorr: You know, I, since I had this experience on suicide watch when I was in prison and I really felt the presence of God and I felt him telling me that I was going to survive this because at that particular point, I didn’t think I would and that he was going to use my story to change the lives of women.

Toby Dorr: And so I was like, okay, let’s do it. And to this day, you know, that’s what drives me. And the funny thing is, I never know what door’s going to open, but when it opens, I go, I don’t question. I just go through it because I know I’m being led. And that there’s a purpose and I have this passion for helping women who are struggling, who are in prison or in a battered women’s shelter or struggling with addiction or domestic abuse or whatever, or just the, struggles of living today and being a woman and trying to have a career and raise a family and be everything to everyone and, and never taking time for themselves. And I’m just so passionate about reaching out to those women and giving them a light, you know, showing them a path that they can get through this and they can, and that it’s okay to focus on themselves, that they’re worthy of their own time.

Toby Dorr: And just, the other day somebody said, well, you know, what are you going to do? You know, there’s all these things you’re working on. I said, I’m going to keep working on them. And they said, well, what about this? I said, no, I’m working on these. And you know, I don’t intend to stop and I don’t see a retirement in my future.

Although I’m old enough to be retired and I kind of am, but I’m just still working on all my own stuff and, and I’ll work on it until I can’t possibly physically do it anymore, but. I just feel so called and so purposeful and I’m so aware today and I listen and I’m aware of what’s going on around me.

And I always said when I was in prison, the verse that was the strongest for me out of the Bible was the still small voice. Because I think my whole life I was listening for this big, ta da, here I am, this is what you need to do. And it’s not, at least for me, it’s not that. It’s this little tiny whisper, this little tiny nudge.

And if I’m not aware, I’ll miss it. And so, you know, I’m constantly aware of what’s around me and what it might be telling me and what direction I might be being pushed. And it’s just so beautiful. And I just love life.

Kimberly Braun: Oh, thank you for sharing.

Toby Dorr: Finding purpose and everybody, you know, people spend millions of dollars trying to find their purpose and the purpose is right here. You just have to be still and listen and you’ll see it, hear it. I just think it’s beautiful.

Kimberly Braun: And it brings out how much we can trust ourselves.Truly trust. You know, there’s that great passage in the Hebrew texts of Elijah goes into the cave and the Carmelites who I was a part of consider that their founders are Elijah. And Mary, the mother of Jesus and two people that weren’t physically alive when the Carmelites came about, but they came together and were founded on Mount Carmel because Elijah embodied that Toby, right?

Because Elijah out in the desert, angry. The queen is after him and he did only good work and nobody’s inspired. And he’s like, what is my life about? He’s so upset. He’s in moments like that. We have all been. And then he gets the directive to go to this cave and wait. But he had become so pure inside that he knew the presence of the divine and he knew that God was not in the earthquake

Toby Dorr: Yes. Yes.

Kimberly Braun: and it was at the end, a tiny..

Toby Dorr: Tiny little voice. Yes. I just love it. You know, and I just think it’s so beautiful and so uncharacteristic because you expect it to be banging cymbals and loud drums and, and it’s really not. So I love that. I love that story. Thanks for sharing it. Yeah, I love it. So what’s one word that inspires you?

Kimberly Braun: Why do you ask these wonderful questions? Just so you know, I’m like a shapeshifter, so don’t hold me to it tomorrow.

Toby Dorr: Okay. Yes.

Kimberly Braun: Let me think for just one moment. Caritas. Right now, Caritas. And Caritas, from the Latin, is a word that is the fullness of charity, compassion, and love. In a world Caritas, and it makes me just so happy to say the word Caritas.

Toby Dorr: I like that word too. It sounds like a fun word to say. I love it. Well, Kimberly, thank you so much for joining us today on Fierce Conversations with Toby. And I can’t wait to attend your summit. I’m looking forward to it. So thank you so much for being with us today.

Kimberly Braun: Thank you. Thank you.

Toby Dorr: You’re welcome.

Thank you for joining me on Fierce Conversations with Toby.

Your support and listening means so much to me. And I hope today’s conversation with Kimberly makes a difference in your world. If you would like to support this podcast, there are many ways to do so. I found these ways tend to help the most in getting our message out into the world. Number one, subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify Podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you listen to or watch this podcast.

If you can leave a five star rating or a like on this episode on YouTube, That helps even more. And if you leave a comment or a review, that helps the most. The next way you can support Fierce Conversations with Toby is to join our Patreon at Conversations. All tiers come with a downloadable digital gratitude journal created by me and membership in a private Facebook group that I also lead.

Most importantly, 10 percent of all proceeds from your donation will go directly to donating my workbooks to women in prison. Finally, sharing the link to this show with your friends, family, and anyone who wants to listen is appreciated more than I can say. Thank you again for joining me today and supporting this show by listening to it and in whatever other way you can.

Fierce Conversations is created and hosted by me, Toby Dorr. Production by Number 3 Productions. The theme song that you’re hearing now, Groovin’ was composed and arranged by Lisa Plasse. Lisa also plays the flute for the theme with Carolyn Paradis on piano and Tony Ventura on bass. Find out more at

This is Fierce Conversations with Toby. Escape your prison.

Verified by ExactMetrics