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“Of Mice and Me” — The Journey From Being Loved To Giving Love

By September 14, 2014May 24th, 201920 Comments

Safe to say I am mildly obsessed with Ganesh, the famous Hindu elephant boy god.

Even if you don’t know anything about this odd creature or what he represents, you likely know who I’m talking about. The iconic youngster’s unmistakeable visage is ubiquitous these days — adorning yoga studios, hanging around people’s homes, emblazoned on t-shirts and even splayed across brick wall street art in hipster neighborhoods across America.

But how does this have anything to do with this week’s guest?

Patience. I’ll bring it around. I always do.

The thumbnail fable of Ganesh goes something like this: young boy warrior fiercely devoted to his beloved mother Parvati meets his match in Parvati’s abusive husband Shiva. Defending Parvati from Shiva’s angry rage late one night while Parvati bathed, Shiva up and just decapitates the young boy. Cut his head straight off!

Inconsolable and furious, Parvati is determined to bring her boy back to life. Towards this end, she strikes a deal with Shiva that (inexplicably) involves replacing Ganesh’s missing head with that of a young elephant (again, don’t ask me how this works, it just does). Rejoice! It works. Not only does Ganesh return to life, he ascends the covetous deity pecking order, becoming one of the most worshipped of ancient Hindu devas.

Ganesh the remover of obstacles. Ganesh the patron of arts. Ganesh the deity of intellect and wisdom. Ganesh the Lord of success.

The elephant head represents the displacement of individual ego with Universal ego – the idea that before we leave this life we must no longer identify with the limited individual self, but rather with the large universal Self. In this way, our spiritual life is renewed, maturing into one that can truly benefit Creation.

Associated with mental agility, Ganesh’s single broken tusk represents the “pen” he creates to transcribe epic poetry — the vast learnings he has experienced. What I’m saying is that Ganesh was a writer.

Ganesh was also a god of astounding appetites. And – most importantly for today’s discourse — a god that befriended a tiny mouse, often depicted under his foot as his ever present companion. The mouse is commonly interpreted as a symbol for those seeking to overcome powerful low vibrating desires and become less selfish — the quest to find greater meaning and purpose in life.

Here’s where things get weird. The life arc of todays guest  Mishka Shubaly  (in his fifth appearance on the podcast – more co-host than guest at this point) bears more than passing similarity to our little Hindu friend.

Sorry Mishka, but I would go so far as to call you guys doppelgängers. Metaphorically at least.

Like Ganesh, Mishka is a man devoted to the arts and greater self-wisdom. A man devoted to his mother and scarred by a troubled relationship with his father. A man who has made his mark on the world by transcribing his broken past and attraction to destructive appetites as a primer for greater self-knowledge with a fearlessness that evokes Ganesh’s broken tusk. A man now ascending to become foremost among literary talents.

Mishka’s words serve up someone toiling with identity, his place in the world, and the conflict that breathes between ego and Universal Self. A man grappling with his own obstacles on a path towards maturing into one who can truly benefit Creation. An appealing yet reluctant determination for greater self-wisdom I think we can all — on some level — relate to our own personal challenges and life experiences.

And yet quite ironically, Mishka is also man who just just weeks ago knew little to nothing about this Ganesh character. This despite the huge elephant tattoo covering the better part of his left arm. The elephant t-shirts that bear his name. And his pet mouse.

You heard me right.

Mishkalito the tiny mouse that just as Ganesh, Mishka befriended that became his constant companion. A mouse that broke his heart wide open. A symbol for his gut wrenching wrangling laid bare. And a mouse that became the central subject in this writer’s latest confessional — the #1 bestselling Kindle Single Of Mice and Me*. A novella that pits Mishka’s low vibrating desires against his persistent, yet almost diffident yearning for greater meaning, connection and purpose.

Mishka, the modern day Ganesh. I like the ring of that.

Told you I’d bring it around. I always do.

If you are a long-time listener of the podcast, then you’ve treated yourself to several of our conversations. You know this guy at this point. He doesn’t need much formal introduction.

If you care about things like resumés, his goes something like this:

After receiving an expensive MFA from Columbia University, Mishka promptly quit writing to play music. He lived out of a Toyota minivan for a year, touring nonstop, and has shared the stage with artists like The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Decemberists.

His Kindle Singles – short non fiction novellas — have all been bestsellers. He writes true stories about drinking, drugs, disasters, desire, deception and their aftermath. His work has been praised for its grit, humor, fearlessness and heart. The Long Run*his mini-memoir detailing his transformation from alcoholic drug abuser to sober ultra-runner is one of the best-selling Kindle Singles in Amazon history.

I urge all of you to check out his canon (links below). And no, you do not need a Kindle! You can read these offerings on basically any computer device; there are even free Kindle apps for both iOS and Android.

If you dig the Mishka vibe and want to hear more, check out RRP episodes 27, 3165 & 95. That’s about 7 hours of Mishka for your earbuds.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoy this peek into the complicated, curious, fascinating and always entertaining mind of Mishka Shubaly. Pretty sure this is our best conversation to date. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Peace + Plants,


P.S. – Literally moments (and by that I mean 2-3 minutes maximum) after I published this episode, the New York Times published a piece in the business section on the feud between Amazon and Hachette, featuring Mishka. Who would have thought Mishka’s picture would ever be on the front page the NY Times business section? That is the miracle of sobriety at work right there. Read the article HERE.


Connect with Mishka:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

If you like very good writing and quick easy reads, check out Mishka’s array of Kindle Singles.  Then thank me later.

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Other cool stuff from Mishka:

Mishka on The Moth: “Shipwrecked”

Mishka’s CNN iReport: “A Marathon for Boston”


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  • Cara says:

    Hi Mishka,
    Will “Of Mice and Me” be available as an audiobook? I have downloaded all five of your singles from Audible. Love the writing, love the narration!!!

  • Angelique says:

    Hi Rich,
    Who sings the song at the end of this episode? Absolutely love it!

  • richroll66 says:

    That’s Mishka! Track off his new album…

  • richroll66 says:

    Likely at some point but not sure when – reach out to Mishka on Facebook and he can let you know details on this.

  • Mishka Shubaly says:

    Hey Cara, the audiobook should be up any day now. Thanks for listening! If you like, you can hear some free music here:

  • Mishka Shubaly says:

    Thanks for the love, Angelique. You can hear more at my website, and you can buy CDs here:

  • lucy says:

    phew that interview made me cry, not tears of sadness, tears of emotion leaking out of me. Touching, honest, vulnerable, beautiful. Thanks guys. I gotta get that book now

  • Pete Johnston says:

    Hi Rich, I started following your Podcast from the beginning after my
    deep spiritual awakening nearly two years ago. I would like to see you
    talk with Dr Steven Greer. He has a deep understanding of meditation
    which is always overlooked when Dr Greer talks about his subject extra
    terrestrial civilisation. I feel this would be a great interviewee as
    you all could go deep into the depths of meditation and the powers of

    All the Best Rich & co.


  • Craig says:

    Hey Rich! Thanks for having Mishka on again – he’s a great voice. Here’s an idea for a future guest – Clara Hughes. Not only is she a six time Olympic medalist in cycling AND speed skating, but she’s been very open abut her struggles with depression and breaking down the stigma associated with mental health. She recently finished an annual 11,000K Km ride across Canada to raise awareness for mental health issues, she is a supporter of Right To Play and uses her voice to motivate and inspire those in need.

  • Monique says:

    I cannot tell you how much this convo punched me in the gut (at the 1h 05 mark exactly). I have always pondered these questions – why do I struggle with forming emotional bonds with kids and why I never wanted any. My dad never verbalised that he never wanted us (or not that I can recall) but we certainly felt his deep resentment and jealousy for stealing our Mom’s attention away from him, which ultimately drove my parents apart. Perhaps this is why I’ve had the same reservations about children. Anyway, that was my light bulb moment so thanks to you both!

  • Mishka, love your story, it resonates and inspires me. I look forward to the next installment of your evolution. Thanks for sharing and as ever great work Rich

  • Yeah Mishka – dude you’ve been an awesome guest, or shall I say co-host. But didn’t realize the amazing music! Thanks, Rich for playing at the end. Great tunes!

  • Mishka Shubaly says:

    Thanks, Jamie! I’m usually not this brave or candid but it’s easy when it’s just me and Rich.

  • Excellent podcast. Loved every bit if it 🙂

  • Hey Mishka – Every time you are on Rich’s show, I learn more and more about your talents and amazing things you are doing. I thought you were a musician “on the side”… Both of those songs played after the last interviews were awesome! I usually would have fast forwarded through the end, but really dig your sound! My question for you is, which one of your books do you suggest I read first? Thanks, Miska!

  • ilhan says:

    hey man. I’m from Malaysia, and just would like to say I dig what you have done in a big way. I started with Born to Run as well and from Jonathan Fields I found you and have read your Running Ultra. I wish there wont’t be anymore advertisement of your product inside the book, but it’s yours man. you can do anything. so to illustrate how big your influence, is we formed a running group where we got together and just have a long run. the other guys don’t really bother when I put Rich Roll as the group name. Anyway, pls continue doing the podcast. sometimes it is too lengthy from your incessant monologue, but again it’s your podcast do everyway you want. thanks for introducing Mishka, InQ and Preston Smiles to us!!!

  • richroll66 says:

    Hey there thanks for the kind words and feedback. As for the “ads” in my book, please read this post I wrote in response to that observation about my book

    Very cool about naming your running group – I am very flattered. Didnt realize my monolog was “incessant” but hey that’s your opinion and I’m fine with that.

    Appreciate the comment and thanks for saying hello!

    Peace + Plants,

  • Ilhan says:

    Realized ‘incessant’ wasn’t really a good word to describe it and screwed up your book title which should be ‘Finding Ultra’ instead, sorry!! Have read the link given and now fully understand the relationships with the products mentioned in your book. Pardon the lack of prior awareness to that post and thanks for taking the time to clarify. Above all, I’m a fan. Keep doing the good works and hope you would ever make it to Malaysia!

  • Jo says:

    I love Mishka so much! I could listen to his voice over&over again! Great podcast Rich!

  • anna says:

    Beautiful. I’ve had moments of spontaneous laughter and awe listening to this pod cast but this episode had an immense impact and re familiarized me with my recovery. Thank you for promoting a message of authenticity and sharing faith with your audience

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