Favorite Podcasts : August

1. The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships, by On Being

I'll admit it, without shame, that this podcast was by far my favorite from this past week. It's fantastically convicting and encouraging, and it's also deeply human. 

Here's the summary as written by On Being:

What if the first question we asked on a date were, "How are you crazy? I'm crazy like this"? Philosopher and writer Alain de Botton's essay "Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person" was one of the most-read articles in The New York Times in recent years. As people and as a culture, he says, we would be much saner and happier if we reexamined our very view of love. Nowhere do we realistically teach ourselves and our children how love deepens and stumbles, survives and evolves over time, and how that process has much more to do with ourselves than with what is right or wrong about our partner. The real work of love is not in the falling, but in what comes after

Whether you're married, dating, single, or a combination of them all, check this podcast out. It's a keeper. 


2. Life, Interrupted, by Hidden Brain

- This one came to me from my sister, thanks Jenna! - 

"The human brain has become one of the main capitol resources in our economy", yet our understanding of attention and multitasking - of the impacts of text messages and emails - is extremely limited (Did you know it takes your brain, roughly, 20 minutes to switch from task to task? I didn't).

After listening to this podcast, I have a lot of simple (yet profound) changes to make. And not just for productivity sake, but for life and happiness and for cultivating deep relationships (coincided with The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships, the practicality of this podcast increases significantly). 

: Habits of Systematic Mindfulness :

  1. No social media

  2. Organize time

    1. Set strict hours of work

    2. Plan out day

    3. Don't let mood dictate how the day will go

  3. Get comfortable with annoying people

    1. Set expectations of availability

    2. No quick answers

  4. Tally hours of "deep work"

    1. Block out "deep work hours" well in advance

  5. Create a Shutting Down ritual 

    1. Leave nothing hanging

    2. Say a mantra out loud, something like, "Schedule shutdown complete."


3. Declutter, by The Minimalists

They don't like advertisements. But really, they don't need them, because they do enough of it themselves.

To get to the sauce of this podcast, you'll have to endure more then enough self-promotions, casual links to their books, essays, and ways you can support them, but in the end, it's all worth it. And by end I mean the first 20 minutes or so because that's where they wrestle with and answer some pretty great questions. Questions like:

  • What is one thing you always thought you wanted, but then, once you got it, you no longer wanted it? 
  • How do you gradually declutter your home?
  • How do you explain greed in our society?

You can stop listening after these, if you're stretched for time, it does get a bit too preachy. But there's still good stuff in there.


4. Has Lance Finally Come Clean, by Freakonomics

I've never been a huge Lance or Tour de France fan, but I am a fan of this podcast mainly because it wrestles with the process of reconciliation, personally, relationally, and (for those unfortunate few) publicly. 

At the time I listened to this I was dealing with a difficult relationship, still am actually, but at that particular time it was a very broken relationship (no, I won't tell you who it is) and Lance's journey, his thought process and his full circle of understanding hit home. 

Here's an excerpt from my favorite section, where Lance is describing why he finally took ownership of what he did and stopped trying to convince everyone (and himself) why he was being seen and treated unfairly.

Look, “betrayal” is a terrible word. It’s a word that nobody wants, a child to their parent or friend to another friend, a spouse to a spouse, a C.E.O. to — whatever. It’s a very heavy word. Complicit is 100x. For me, I had already started to get my mind and my heart around the fact that people had suffered this tremendous amount of betrayal, and then I was hit with complicit. And it just — it rocked me to the core. But it was, I tell you, it was the greatest — her name is Melissa — it was the greatest gift that anybody has given me the last six years.

And the story he tells after this, the one where a guy is standing on a bar balcony yelling, "F*** you!" is just beautiful.

5. Grass is Greener, by the Moth 

Okay, I'll be honest. I listened to this podcast over a year ago, but I've thought about it a lot recently, and many times in-between. Not only is she a great storyteller, but her conclusion of happiness (for her it's marriage but really, it can be anything - job, community, kids, whatever) is spot-on. 

"The grass isn't greener on the other side, the grass is greener where you water it." 

Sheesh, that's good. And so, so right.


I hope you enjoy!  If you have any favorites, send em along! I'm sure I'll listen to them at one point or another. 

If you want more, check out these top five favorites or peruse over here to your heart's content.


Thanks for reading!

Marriage. And Race Shouldn't Matter.

Wrong caste
Wrong culture
Wrong religion
Wrong everything.

This American Life posted an episode today, 20 Acts in 60 minutes, which told 20 different stories in 60 minutes. This was a huge deviation from their regular 3-4 stories in an episode and at first, I didn't like it. But then I got used to it, and by the third or forth story, I was laughing out loud with David Sedaris and crying with the teenage girls from a detention center who performed a song of apology for their parents. It was fantastic.

Just like the short clips from the interracial couples. We don't see them long, but it doesn't matter. In their short moments, both together and separate, they all just humans. Which seems so obvious, but the fact that short clips are being made about them points to the reality that it isn't. There aren't any videos of white couples or two Indian couples talking about their marriages. Because that's just marriage.

Not so with interracial marriages.

Why do we have to put the tag on it, as interracial marriage. Shouldn't it just be marriage?

Yes it should. Because it's just marriage. Between two people. And race shouldn't matter.


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Fall in Love in 36 questions  :  Choosing more than a Heineken



Why we argue, and how we heal.


We got into a fight Saturday morning, a good one, but not really a real one. It started off simply, over something that could have easily been batted away, like that pestering fly that lands on your knee. But instead, I chose to pounce, to dig in, and then to not let it go. More than once Josey tried to calm things over, to move on, but I refused. 

So we argued about the dumb shit that doesn't really mean anything but in the moment, for whatever reason, means everything. 

Later that morning, I found myself sitting on the edge of our bed, alone, and thinking, "What the hell am I doing? Why am I choosing this fight?"

It didn't take long for the answer to surface, but because I'm bullheaded it did take a decent amount of time for me to head down the stairs and seek forgiveness. 

A few hours later, the van was packed and we were headed to the Badlands.

I don't know if other couples argue and find themselves divided over the dumbest things couples can bicker about, I just know we do. Sometimes it's because the stress and excitement of finally spending Thanksgiving with family suddenly crashes, minutes before takeoff. Other times its because there's been some miscommunication and I was supposed to be home by 5:15, not 6:30. 

I also know that, for us, sitting in a van with fresh coffee wafting from cupped hands, an atlas on the dash, kids in the back, and hours and hours of road ahead, we heal.

We talk about the past few weeks, then sit in silence and watch the miles blur by. We talk about our hopes and dreams, or fears of failure, and of future trips. We talk about what's been on our hearts and eating our minds. Then Josey sits in the back with the girls and they laugh and whisper and sleep. Judah sits up front and talks like a young man and scours the atlas for shortcuts and upcoming cities. He quizzes me on capitals and I tell him of the time my family drove west and my dad lost his wallet on the camper. 

Soon Josey returns and we discuss and sit and be some more. Because the laundry's at home, because lesson plans can be done later Sunday night, and because our cellphones are down and we're just there, together. 

And I love that.

A Marriage, by Michael Blumenthal

Sometimes, marriage isn't easy. Sometimes, it's work. Most often, it's a choice.


For Margie Smigel and Jon Dopkeen

You are holding up a ceiling
with both arms. It is very heavy,
but you must hold it up, or else
it will fall down on you. Your arms
are tired, terribly tired,
and, as the day goes on, it feels
as if either your arms or the ceiling
will soon collapse.

But then,
something wonderful happens:
a man or a woman,
walks into the room
and holds their arms up
to the ceiling beside you.

So you finally get
to take down your arms.
You feel the relief of respite,
the blood flowing back
to your fingers and arms.
And when your partner's arms tire,
you hold up your own
to relieve him again.

And it can go on like this
for many years
without the house falling.



For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Poetry  :  Inspiration