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Melissa Bernstein on Lifelines: Bringing Radiant Light to Profound Darkness

Thirty-two years ago, Melissa Bernstein and her husband Doug, both from families of educators, decided to create toys for children that were open-ended and encouraged kids to use their imagination rather than being overwhelmed by bells, whistles, and technology. She’s incredibly grateful for the smiles they’ve been able to bring millions of children every year at Melissa & Doug.

As a creative introvert Melissa rarely speaks in public, but a few years ago she decided to reveal her story on a favorite podcast. She was humbled to receive hundreds of messages from listeners who shared similar feelings, wanting to understand the journey she took to self-acceptance and how she channeled profound darkness into radiant light. She realized others could perhaps benefit from her journey, which became the centerpiece of our LifeLines ecosystem.

Having traveled this winding and arduous journey of her own, her greatest goal is to help others find their path toward self-awareness, meaning, and light. At LifeLines, they don’t claim to have all the answers, but they can promise you one thing: they will work tirelessly to ensure you are not alone.

In this episode, we chat about:

:: her journey from toy-making to realizing she suffered from existential depression

:: what was lacking in her venture with Melissa and Doug and why she felt purpose in creating Lifelines

:: what types of support were helpful, and others harmful, on her journey

:: her vision for Lifelines as a book, community, and movement

You can learn more at

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