"What's the F***ing Point?" — ep 31 — Travis Cooper on the power of authentic movement

Travis Cooper is one of those people you can tell is a dancer just be seeing him walk down the street.

He carries himself with such presence, grace, and fierceness — and as I mention on the intro, has a truly magnetic (except LOL I said infectious because I couldn't think of the right word, ehhh #getvaccinated and use “magnetic” instead 😜) personality to match.

I was delighted to get to know Travis in this interview, and I know you'll feel the same way! We talk about his spiritual path from Christianity to atheism to seeking out what a more authentic spirituality, and how his emotional and spiritual growth have impacted the way he views his dharma as a dancer and choreographer.

To listen to the episode, stream from the player below, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your fave podcast app.

And remember that taking 30 seconds to leave a review right from your phone gives you major karma points :D

About Travis Cooper

Travis Cooper is a choreographer, dance educator, and lover of movement based in Nashville, TN. Dance is often the medium he uses to connect and empower the people around him. He believes that one of the best ways you can honor yourself and the world around you is by living authentically!

Additional Resources + Stuff Mentioned on This Episode:


Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin, LMSW, is a Primary Therapist at The Ranch residential treatment center, where she works with eating disorders, addiction, trauma, and co-occurring mental health issues. Valerie focuses on a holistic treatment approach of mind + body integration, using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), somatic and bioenergetic therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), psychodrama, 12-step, and shame resilience. She is also a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist (CSAT) Candidate. Valerie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Master of Science degree in Clinical Social Work at the University of Texas in Austin. She is an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Nashville, and emphasizes spiritual exploration in her work with clients.

why I want to hide but am sharing this instead

why I want to hide but am sharing this instead

I’m writing this post with a queasy stomach, because I’ve told myself all kinds of stories about “what people will think” (quotes because I can see how that’s a ridiculous construct, though unfortunately that doesn’t make it vanish): that I’m lazy, can’t make a decision, can’t follow through, cowardly, not “trusting the universe,” etc. I won’t bore you with the rest— y’all know these stories. 

Here’s why: I’ve decided not to do (or at the very least, to significantly delay) the doctoral program I was enrolling in for the fall.

Even writing this right now is an exercise in decision-making and trusting my intuition as I notice how it feels to write those words. Though I can look back at the long pros-and-cons list in my journal and still acknowledge plenty of pro’s of forging ahead with it, my gut is telling me that the cons are more significant right now, and writing these words feels true and right. 

I realize at one level that I don’t have to explain or justify this choice to anyone— this is my decision. 

“But you told the whole internet!” 
“But the people who wrote your letters of recommendation will be upset with you for wasting their time!” 
“But your friends were proud of you and excited for you!”

Blah, blah, blah. 

I am not writing this post for those reasons. I am writing it because a big part of my life’s work so far involves helping others learn how to share their truth and their stories as a way of practicing authenticity and not allowing shame to breed in the darkness of isolation. It’s nice to share when the truth is shiny and exciting— but what about when it’s kind of embarrassing and makes you want to hide? 

Don’t hide. That’s the most important time not to hide. 

I’m also freshly inspired by the bold truth-telling of Glennon Doyle, whose first memoir I finally read on a long drive over the past few days. I have followed Glennon some on Instagram and heard her interviewed on a few podcasts, so knew a little about her, but hadn’t gotten around to reading either of her books (or many of her blog posts) until now. 

Carry On, Warrior is about Glennon’s journey through recovery from alcoholism, bulimia, drug abuse, and unhealthy relationships, into a life of radical authenticity. She learned that one of the greatest gifts she has to offer the world is sharing all parts of her story— especially the messy ones. After finishing the book, I was curious about what she shared publicly about her divorce, since she and her husband were still married at the time the first book was published in 2014, but I know she is now married to former US soccer player Abby Wambach

What I found was a post Glennon shared in August 2016 on her blog, Momastery (which is the platform that led to her first book deal) about the separation. She wrote about how, with her second book Love Warrior so close to its release date, pretty much everyone in her life was telling her to wait until after its publication to share the news.

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why i'm happy i'm not a gardener

why i'm happy i'm not a gardener

The funny thing about the title of this post is that a couple of my closest Nashville friends are not just gardeners, but professional gardeners. (And for a woman-owned, almost entirely female-staffed gardening biz with a badass Rosie-the-Riveter-inspired logo, no less). If I were them, I'd see this headline and be all "whaaaa why is Val throwing shade?" — to which my response is, "girl, I thought you'd want all the shade you can get, it's getting pretty damn hot out there." #horriblepunintended

I digress.

As my hard-working hubby Chris is outside at this very moment pulling weeds and planting herbs, I'm in here in the air-conditioned living room on the couch, typing away in my little computer world. Do I feel guilty? Well, a tiny bit, since I will totes enjoy those herbs — but he knows gardening is NOT my thing, and that when I do it, I get really pissy after about ten minutes, so it's really no fun to be around me anyway. Left to my own devices, I'd plant and kill herbs for a month or two (spare me the lecture on how to care for herbs kthx) until resigning myself to paying for the exorbitantly overpriced grocery store variety.  

A couple of years ago, inspired by my badass aforementioned gardener friends, I said I wanted to learn how to garden. Oh boy! I couldn't wait to get some tips and lessons from them, get my hands on some gardening books, and dig in. But it never happened.

For a long while, I felt guilty about it. "What's wrong with me? Why am I not taking action on this? I keep saying I want to do it, and doing nothing." Chris would convince me, literally maybe once/season, to get out in the yard with him. (For him, it's not even so much as having the help as it is the company — sweet, and misguided, as he eventually learned re: the quality of the company.) 

I don't remember at what point I swallowed my pride and admitted it to myself, but sometime in the last year or so, I finally said it: I really don't like gardening. In fact, I kind of actually HATE gardening. 

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