• Kathryn Elliott

Episode Three: Comfort For Lonely Travellers | Sy Castells

This week on Unaffiliated: The Search for Meaning, our host Kathryn Elliott and her guest Sy Castells discuss the civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., suffering and friendship; this episode is a big one! As Kathryn likes to say, every person has something to teach us, so here are some great takeaways from this week’s episode.

First, a quick introduction about this week’s guest, Sy Castells. Sy is a poet and activist from the Cleveland area who loves spirituality, sociology, and nature. In regards to spirituality, Sy was raised Unitarian Universalist but has studied Buddhism, Christianity, and paganism.

Episode Three

Martin Luther King Jr.

Sy 12:02 I was thinking about how [Dr. King] is interweaving his political and social insights into [his sermons, collected in the book Strength to Love], because think of it. At the time, this was a man who was causing a lot of stir everywhere. He went, he was going against the most powerful forces in his world and getting a lot of attention for it, which is a good thing, but also can [...] be very dangerous... The Gift of Being Present

Kathryn Elliott 29:10

To me, one of the blessings of the timing of this global pandemic is that we've had the technology to continue to be there for one another. And I've thought about that before: that if this was going on in a different time, you know, I can't imagine [...] the additional level of isolation that people would be experiencing.


Sy Castells 29:36

Yeah, and that's like, what it really comes down to. I think [...] it's a gift. [...] And I think that like, this is something that I've come to understand, is one of those very very simple lessons that is very hard to really feel deep down, sometimes, so we have to keep relearning it in different circumstances.


And that is the importance of presence. Being able to sit with somebody, or sit alone, or sit in a large group, and just be physically and emotionally and mentally and spiritually present. Yes, and that's. And we have [...] anything that allows us to do that across greater distances, or through greater barriers. It can only be described as a gift.


Suffering and Isolation

Kathryn Elliott 31:02

Right, right. And in terms of what, how is it possible for one human being to help another person in their suffering and presence, you know, that is what we come back to, and for people who don't have that presence, or for whatever reason, struggle to connect, which requires vulnerability and trust and all these things. That is such a debilitating isolation, you know.


Sy Castells 31:35

Yeah. And like, it's something [...] and this is what I got to bring out the second quote from this sermon which I underlined. “The weary traveler by midnight who asks for bread is really seeking the dawn, our eternal message of hope is that dawn will come.”



To purchase your own copy of Dr. King’s powerful sermon, visit Kathryn’s Amazon Store. To learn more about the television shows mentioned in this episode, click the following links: Stargate SG-1, Dr. Who, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation


Listen to the full episode out now and available on Apple iTunes and Spotify.

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