Susan Hagen, MA, MEd
A highly sought after inspirational humorist, Susan delivers motivating and inspiring messages to audiences with charismatic energy and wit.ﾠ She infuses the content of her presentations with a rare combination of humor, genius and common sense.ﾠ Her willingness to be candid about inner vulnerabilities transports listeners from their heads to their hearts.ﾠ While crafting her presentations to accommodate all audiences she lifts each one closer to a new understanding of living from the heart.ﾠ Her charisma sparks audiences to look at relationships, work and all of life from a new perspective by exciting us to behold something new.
Susan originates from farm-country in Northern Minnesota.ﾠ It was there she was inspired to become a stand-up comedian while standing in a field of sunflowers.ﾠ This young dream did not pan out but clearly propelled her early career choices:ﾠ paper delivery “boy,” car hop, lifelong college student, pretzel vendor at the Boston Garden.ﾠ After re-locating to Madrid, Spain Susan graduated from college and began her teaching career until the Spanish government rejected her 5th visa extension request and she returned to the US.ﾠ Back in the US she moved to Boston to begin a holding pattern of public school teaching in which her lack of skills in classroom management surfaced.ﾠ She was relieved to leave the classroom and pursue a 2nd master’s degree in the field of Psychotherapy.ﾠﾠ Her skills flourished and today has her own successful private practice in Cambridge, MA. ﾠSusan’s profession as an inspirational humorist originated in the sunflower fields of Minnesota, refined and matured through happenstance, calamity and divine interruption over the years and has swelled into an amazingly successful career.
April 20, 2013
Boston, you're my home.
The first time I was going to attempt to write a blog the Newtown tragedy happened and I didn’t want to write anything. Like a lot of us, I felt silenced by it and didn’t feel that I had anything I could say that might shed light. Today is the day after last night’s end of the “Great Boston Manhunt” and I don’t want to stay silent at all. In fact, stuff is just pouring out of me like I got caught in a wave passing through. Lock-downs can cause this.
We were put in a “Code Red” state yesterday morning at 6 A.M. I live in Cambridge, in the shadow of Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It was the first time I’ve ever been put in a city-wide lockdown or “shelter-in-place.” At first it creeped me out. I looked out the sliding glass doors of my living room and thought about how the suspect who was still on the loose and who lived two blocks from me since 2001 could break through the glass and take me hostage. I didn’t like that feeling. Then I imagined making him a sandwich (was sure he’d be hungry) and filling it with my Mother-in-law’s Trazedone, some kick-ass sleeping pills, then I would call the Cambridge Police and have them take him away. I would be a hero and nobody else would have to die. For sure I didn’t want him to die. I didn’t want anyone else to die, not even someone who was responsible for the Marathon bombing. This, partly because I just couldn’t imagine feeling good about another death, there has been so much death in the past six months in New England, and secondly, I wanted to know how such a great kid, a good-souled kid, someone about whom nobody had a bad word to say, could have made such a horrible mistake.
Now, I’ve been living in the Boston area for twenty years so I’m familiar with the way Bostonians roll. They love their sports and they never move to any other part of the country if they don’t have to because they love their town. My husband, “Billy,” (Bostonians retain their childhood names all the way through adulthood!) born in Cambridge, says about living anywhere else: “It’s not necessary.” Being from Minnesota, I have always felt that this attitude is arrogant and mis-guided….until this week. Tuesday, after the bombing, life changed drastically. I was so moved by what happened here I couldn't imagine wanting to be from anywhere else.
It is as if I had been invited in to be a part of a group of over a million people who were moved, in two loud blasts, from their heads to their hearts. Seriously, everyone became the embodiment of the Apostle Paul’s description in Corinthians of what love looks like: Patient, kind, not jealous, doesn’t brag (which is huge for a Bostonian!), not seeking his/her own way, is not provoked, rejoices in truth, endures all things, hopes all things, believes all things, never fails. It was amazing and beautiful, something had shifted and we all looked at each other, right in the eyes and acknowledged each other. Over and over. I got to be a part of a community of people thinking of others first, oblivious to differences, their own needs secondary, reacting to the needs of a community in shock and grief….not to mention stressed by not knowing who did it and if it would happen again.
After all the rallies for peace and all the marching on Washington for civil rights and racial equality that I’ve participated in this one act brought us to the place I’d always dreamed of, marched for and hoped. Go figure.
April 21, 2013
Sweet Caroline; The role of sports in our healing.
By now most of you have seen the amazing video of Boston fans singing the national anthem at the Bruins game on Wednesday night. Chills. Maybe you’ve seen the YouTube videos of the Yankees or Fenway Park or San Francisco’s Candlestick Park belting out Sweet Caroline. “So good, so good, so good!” I love that feeling. I always have.
This is a healing task we have ahead of us. Singing together with shared feelings of comradery and connectedness is a huge part of it. Within a community, sports gives us that opportunity to sing out, loud and strong and out of tune with tears and eye contact and such heavy sighs. Together. Where else can we show such organic support and love for ourselves and to other communities? The New York Yankees sing Sweet Caroline at the bottom of the 7th Inning at Yankee Stadium? Does the message of love and tribute get any clearer than that?
So don’t feel embarrassed you NPR listeners that you are drawn to this stuff! All of you liberals who believe that sports are the devil’s business because of the salaries, politics, brutality, bla bla bla. And I know a lot of people who secretly have two radio stations set on their car radio dial: NPR (National Public Radio) and WEEI (Boston’s sports radio station) Come on! Open your hearts and come out of the closet! Connect in this togetherness and healing. Sports is the gift we have right now. Sing! “So good, so good, so good!”
April 22, 2013
2:50 P.M. Silence.
April 27, 2013
Gathered quotes from these past two weeks:
Father of Boston Marathon bombing victim 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, through a Chinese translator, quoted this Chinese proverb:
"Every child is actually a little Buddha that helps their parents mature and grow-up."
Jeff Bauman, Boston Marathon victim whose legs were blown off in the attack: “I’m pissed…..but he's dead, and I'm still here.”
Public Defense Attorney Professor Tamara Birckhead: “We are each more than the worst thing we have done.”
David Henneberry, an avid boater and member of the Watertown Yacht Club: “I walked outside to smoke a cigarette just after they lifted the lock-down curfew and saw the strap on my boat had been cut.”
Big Pappi David Ortiz, Red Sox Game Tribute: “This is our Fu***g city. Nobody gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”
Uncle of Tsarnaev brothers, about the older brother, “He’s a loser.”
Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick: “Suspect #2 is on the run. Lock your doors and do not open the door for anyone who is not properly identified.”
Me, in Cambridge, to my Mother-in-law, Mercine during Friday’s lock-down: “No Mercine, no one is EVER going to be crazy enough to take YOU hostage!”
April 28, 2013 Life’s a cult, start drinking the Kool-Aid!
Inspired living begins with the buy-in. We’ve got to buy-in to life! That includes getting off the side lines and into the game. And sometimes it feels like a big, ridiculous game. But we’ve got to participate anyway. How do you buy-in? You move from your head to your heart. And you can only do that through being vulnerable. Being in your heart means you become vulnerable, open. Living from our heart opens us to behold something new. If we’re not in our heart we see nothing new. So, we’ve got no choice, buy-in to life or be doomed to see the same, think the same and therefore live the same day over and over again.
And it isn’t difficult. You don’t need a bombing at the Boston Marathon for you to start seeing things differently. It comes with being open and experiencing things through vulnerability, rather than through a heightened sense of caution. Let your guard down and look for the interruption. Life interrupts us on a daily basis to show us something, teach us something, crack us open. That’s why life is transgressive: it disrupts our path in order to reach us, for its clues to guide us, rejuvenate us, show us something new. Being vulnerable, saying “yes,” being the first to extend your hand, an apology, a smile, “hello,” forgiveness, saying something real, these acts free us, these acts open us to an awakening of the heart.
Life is a cult. It is the major brain-washing event that we are all experiencing and it moves us, disrupts our path to behold something totally unexpected if we have the capacity to become vulnerable to it. From then on, it is all inspired.
May 2, 2013 A Tribute to my parents, Monroe and Jeanette
You have to believe what you really believe, at the time that you believe it. No matter what the belief is, believe in it whole-heartedly! That’s really the only thing that can happen with beliefs or we get stuck on them, identify with them too strongly and fail to move through them. We have to grow out of them. You see, I know beliefs have a shelf life.
The belief I’m in now, the belief I ascribe to at this moment seems true but I’ll grow out of it and it will no longer be true to me but something I believed in the past. I don’t know why but that’s how it goes with human beings. The only catch is that if we decide to stay stuck on our beliefs, that is, if we decide to live from a head-centered place rather than a place within the heart, we may miss the greatest opportunity of our lives to grow. The goal, it seems to me, is to try to live from the heart so that when it’s time to give up the belief, we can.
I didn’t have children but my parents did and I know that each of their children challenged their beliefs so that eventually they had to let go of them (their beliefs!). Luckily, my parents loved us more than their beliefs so that they were able to let go of them and grow.
And I was my parents’ personal iconoclast! Growing up on a farm in a conservative, very religious community, my parents were troopers! I threw test after test, defying, smashing every principle, conviction, creed or idea of theirs. Here’s the short list: In 10th grade I decided I was against the US government, in 12th, I loved Jesus. Then I went to college and I came out as a lesbian, I declared that marriage was a capitalistic conspiracy, I became a vegetarian, I declared that bras were a conspiracy, I declared that god didn’t exist and became an atheist, I went to Greece instead of graduation, then I came out straight after they had joined PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)! They rolled with it all. My parents taught me that this is what children are for; challenging parents’ beliefs so they can grow-up and learn to choose love over a belief system.
Whatever you believe or whatever I believe at the moment is exactly where we are. The key is to be able to wear our beliefs loosely so we don’t identify with them, so that when someone is brought into our life to challenge our beliefs we are able to choose love over our beliefs and therefore grow and even, if we’re lucky, grow-up.