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After giving birth to twins, playwright Sarah Ruhl was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a paralysis of the seventh cranial nerve that severely limits facial expression, even—and especially—one’s ability to smile. Though most suffering from this condition get better within a year, for Ruhl, the road to recovery has been much slower. In her new memoir, Smile: The Story of a Face, Ruhl reflects on her journey of reoccupying her body and reclaiming her capacity for joy.

In today’s episode of Tricycle Talks, Tricycle editor-in-chief James Shaheen sits down with Ruhl to discuss Zen koans, the overlooked beauty of asymmetry and imperfection, and how Tibetan Buddhism brought her back to her Catholic roots.

Tricycle Talks is a podcast series featuring leading voices in the contemporary Buddhist world. You can listen to more Tricycle Talks on Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio.

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