Becoming Our Best Selves to Offer Our Gifts to the World with Sonia Jackson


Break Free to Brilliance Ep. 55: Becoming Our Best Selves to Offer Our Gifts to the World with Sonia Jackson

Veteran and award-winning actress and founder of the nonprofit Visions of Possibilities, Sonia Jackson, joins us today for a special episode of Break Free to Brilliance Podcast. In today’s episode, we learn how a shift in perspective can help us push forward with our goals despite setbacks. We also gain valuable insights on how continuously growing as a person is essential in helping us live our purpose. Sonia shares the lessons she’s learned mounting the annual Breastival! as a virtual event, which she hopes will inspire real and open conversations among women about their bodies. Because by sharing stories, we can provide a safe space for deep conversations that provide relief, healing, and hope for one another. Tune into this week’s episode of Break Free to Brilliance for wisdom on the impact of storytelling and how we can grow into our best selves to offer our gifts to the world. Join Seema Giri Host and award-winning actress and non-profit leader Sonia Jackson.

Grounding Meditation

To start the show, as always, Seema leads everyone on a guided grounding meditation. Sonia Jackson expresses her appreciation for Seema’s guidance, sharing that she, too, loves to meditate and that the experience of a guided meditation that calls awareness to our happy moments feels even more special. “Our bodies don’t know the difference between what happened before and what’s happening now, so it’s even sweeter to return and tap into a happy moment. If we feel good, then more good will arrive.”


The Inspiration behind Breastival!

Throughout the episode, Sonia talks about the upcoming virtual event that she’s mounting with Visions of Possibilities. It is called Breastival! An Event about Breasts, Bodies, and Beyond, presents Conversations ‘Bout the Girls, a play about women’s relationships with their breasts, as a star-studded virtual reading benefiting Susan G. Komen.

The idea behind Breastival! Stemmed from Sonia’s experience doing the famous play, The Vagina Monologues. “The performance pieces in that play are really very powerful. But I thought there’s another whole part of the women’s body that is extremely powerful and it’s not necessarily getting the best view, so to speak. So I wanted to change things up a little bit.” 

Writing the play, she not only tapped into her own experience but interviewed other women, to turn Conversations ‘Bout the Girls into a play that covers every possible experience about women’s breasts: “It covers getting them, covers little girls thinking about getting them, getting bras, nursing, cleavages, every item you can think of about a woman’s breasts, including loss.” 

Furthermore, with the play, Sonia asks the questions: “How do we really see each other? How do we see ourselves?” But she’s quick to note that it’s not a play that tells women how things should be done. “It’s just a variety of women’s stories. And I have found that the women’s stories are so empowering. They give us an opportunity to think about what it is that we all walk through. And when women see a collection of their own stories — because these are all our stories — they have a tendency to feel empowered by that and recognize that, “Hey, if she can do this, then I can do this other thing over here as well.” She’s been doing the play for 17 years now, seeing the impact it continues to have on not just women but everyone who watches it, including men


Stumbling Blocks as Feedback, not Setback


Now on its 17th year, Breastival! is going virtual, which comes with its own sets of challenges.

Sonia shares that the most important lesson she’s learned is becoming who she needs to be in order to do the show on the level she wants. She says, through the show, she’s continuing to grow in who she truly is, with a complete understanding of what she has to offer, standing in the power and belief that what she has is significant to give to the world.

Sonia also shares all the practical challenges that go with mounting the play in a different way, and how she has used these challenges as opportunities to pivot.

On these challenges, Seema remarks: “Sometimes, when we stumble, it can be really hard to get back up because you’re putting yourself out there, which is not an easy thing to do. And you expect a certain outcome. And when you don’t get that, it can be quite devastating. 

 One of the things that I have learned from one of my mentors taught me is, “What if you didn’t look at things as good or bad, right or wrong, and just take it as feedback that, okay, you did this?” Perhaps the other person didn’t give good feedback. They felt whatever they felt because everyone has their own feelings. You can’t control that. It’s just feedback.“


Growing Into Your Own Person to Live Your Purpose

Sonia likewise shares how she’s had to evolve with the show, and it’s learning that no matter how long you’ve been doing something, you can’t always assume that you know exactly what to do in every given situation, because not everything can always go according to plan. So instead of getting frustrated, Sonia simply has had to learn to look at herself and ask what she needs to become to create what she wants to create.

She talks further about the need to let go of our old belief systems that govern our fears. If we don’t let go of that fear from the day before, we just keep carrying it with us. And often that fear looks like a variety of things. And we carry that as a belief, but in actuality, it’s just a picture of something that happened years ago, yesterday. We could just as easily take that picture out, tear it up, throw it away, and let it go.


Creating a Safe Space through Storytelling

On the things that viewers will take away from Breastival!:

“Everytime I do (the play), I get great compliments on it and I get people who talk about things that they’ve changed in their lives. Not just women, but men as well. I’ve had women talk about being reminded of being a young girl and just starting to develop and how those things affected us, and that made them decide to talk to their daughters differently about how they can stand strong in who they are, against the world which sometimes is gonna make fun of us just based on our body or our body shape. 

“I’ve had men who’ve seen the show who’ve talked to me and said they now have a better understanding of their wives now that they’ve seen the show. Just a variety of things —people talking to their sons about how they treat women, when it’s something even minor as teasing. Because we hear about ‘oh, it’s just teasing, boys will be boys.” But you know, boys turn into young men that turn into men. And if it doesn’t get checked, somewhere along the way, it becomes a difficulty later on in life.”

Apart from being a fundraiser, Sonia hopes the show will be a conversation starter for friends, families, and loved ones about such sensitive topics about women’s bodies. She also hopes it continues to be a safe space for women who have had breast cancer and are not yet ready to talk about their experience but need a venue that allows them to feel their emotions.

On doing the show to support the fundraiser, Sonia is responding to a calling that was inspired by her own mother. “As a child, I didn’t know what to do for my mother. (Mounting the show) is one of things I can do: to be able to raise funds and raise awareness for somebody else’s mother, or somebody else’s daughter, sister, girlfriend, wife.”


An Invitation to Breastival!

Sonia invites everyone to watch Breastival! virtually on May 14th, 6:00 pm PST. Her suggestion on how to watch it? Buy one ticket for your girlfriends or your family and have a nice night in and then afterwards, she hopes the show will encourage each member of the party to donate to Susan G. Komen. For ticket holders who don’t get to watch the premier, the show will be available to watch online for 30 days so they have plenty of time to plan their girls’ night in to watch the show.


A Prayer to the Divine Power

Sonia ends the interview with a closing prayer: 

“So in this moment, how good it is to know that there is a Divine Power that is greater than all of us. And that this power lives, moves, and has its beingness within each one of us. We are surrounded by it, guided by it, and we call forth that power in this moment, to guide us in whatever it is that we’re doing. How good it is to know that the power within us can carry us, guide us, and reveal to us all everything that we need, anytime that we need it. So I bless each one of us right here, right now, with all that we are calling forth in our lives, anything that we need for support, for our families, friends, for the work that we’re here to do, I bless us all. I give thanks for each one of us. I know that it is all good. I name it good. And in gratitude, I will let it be. And so it is. Amen.”

Connect with Sonia Jackson:

Business: Visions of Possibilities



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