I had a whole post ready to go on podcasts that just vanished into thin air.  What?  So maybe I’m supposed to re-write it anyway, gosh dang it!  I don’t have a whole lot of time so bear with me, but let’s just talk about podcasts for a sec., because seriously, they are gems that I am just discovering.

I talked about “brain inspiration” a little while back (back HERE…added some pics to that post too) and the post that vanished was supposed to be “part two” on the “brain inspiration” dealio because that’s what they are.  They say that human beings only use a tiny fraction of their brains, and I like to think that the inspiration we find in daily life helps open up the closed-down parts.

I’m not the best at listening to things because if I do get time folding laundry or running errands I generally pick up the phone and call someone.  With so many people in our families I always feel out of touch with someone or another.  But I’m trying to figure out how to fit in more podcast listening because oh boy, I can almost feel these things opening channels in my brain.

Last summer my sister-in-law, in trying to console me after our tough BBS conference, told me to listen to this great podcast called “The Myth of Closure” all about “ambiguous loss.”

It intrigued me (thank you, dear Anita!…the link it HERE if you want to listen in) and led me to another one that hit me so powerfully I don’t think I will ever get sick of listening to it.  
You know how sometimes things just speak to you like never before?  It is called “Life is a Poem” and it’s an interview with the poet Naomi Shihab Nye.  
I was first intrigued by the title because my Dad thinks poetry rules the world and I figured I’d listen and pass it on (which I did) but little did I know how much it would affect me.  Maybe I’m becoming my dad in more ways that I realize.
She has the most beautiful, calming voice and her perspective was like a salve to me.  She was raised by a refugee Palestinian journalist father and a mother from Missouri and writes the most beautiful things about how we can use language and words to experience this beautiful world we’re surrounded by.  
I had to go and look up a few of her poems after I listened, ones she recited in the interview as well as some others.  Please google her and find some of her things because they are amazingly beautiful, but I like this one best:  
By Naomi Shihab Nye
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
t is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
Did those words just wash over you like they did me?
Since I don’t have time to re-write so many of my thoughts on this, I’m pasting in some of the comments of listeners from the web:  
Thank you for this conversation. I’ve been waking my daughters up with poetry. Writing three sentences every morning. And picking a word to row me to shore. All manageable tasks. All enriching my life, growing me. Thank you Krista and Naiomi.

Ms. Nye made a comment about using a word as an oar. As an English teacher and gumshoe poet, I frequently tout the potential of words to empower and inspire, but I had never thought of them as oars. The idea of using them as an engine for movement, a pure, self-powered engine, is one that I will share and carry with me for some time. Thank you for the connections and the current you generate with your paddles.
Just gives you a little taste as to what she talks about.  

I challenged my sisters to join me in writing three lines a day like she talks about and I LOVE it.
The link to listen to this thing that will change your life (really!) is HERE.
My friend showed me the podcast app on my phone that I didn’t even know about:
So I’ve listened to a few more “On Being” episodes that I love.
I listened to this fascinating one on a trip to Costco last week and is a good listen especially today with the election going on:
It’s with E.J. Dionne and David Brooks talking about the lack of religion in modern politics.
(I LOVED it, link HERE)
And I’m excited to listen to this one:

Elie Wiesel came and did a lecture in one of my classes at Boston University and what he said took up a huge piece of my heart.

There’s one with Elizabeth Gilbert that talks about curiosity and how she feels like ideas can be a physical entity that can be passed on and grown and cultivated, so fascinating.
That link is HERE.
I just found that there are some “on being” articles as well.  This one is pretty interesting:

Some excerpts:

How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?

I want my kids to be dirty, messy, even bored — learning to become human. I want us to have a kind of existence where we can pause, look each other in the eye, touch one another, and inquire together: Here is how my heart is doing? I am taking the time to reflect on my own existence; I am in touch enough with my own heart and soul to know how I fare, and I know how to express the state of my heart.
How is the state of your heart today?

Let us insist on a type of human-to-human connection where when one of us responds by saying, “I am just so busy,” we can follow up by saying, “I know, love. We all are. But I want to know how your heart is doing.” 

There is so much to think about in this world.  So much to open our brain to.  
This article hit it home to me though, that although we get hit with a wave of information from every corner we turn in this age of speedy technology, and it is so good to infuse ourselves with all that goodness and knowledge, and thought-provoking wisdom, we also need to remember that we are are human “beings” and that we have other human beings surrounding us that may need us to check on the states of their hearts.  
I love that podcasts have helped me think of that this week.
In the long run we must remember that the heart is more important than the brain.  And we need to knit ours together and let that “kindness” from Naomi’s poem infuse into every part of our beings.  
I know there are so many amazing podcasts out there…I’m kind of stuck on the “On Being” ones and could stay here for a long time.  But please share if you have discovered other great avenues to open our minds and hearts in the way that these ones have done to me.

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  1. I'm so glad I read this post today! I went and explored the On Being podcasts. I listed to one called The Anatomy of Gratitude. It has been fantastic!! Thanks for sharing today.

  2. I love that you included some of Omid Safi's work in your post. I had the pleasure of studying abroad in Turkey during college on a program led by Omid. He is such a kind and intentional person. Always love reading your posts, thoughts, ideas, and reflections. I have tucked away so many tidbits for when I have my own kids, thanks to your blog 🙂

  3. I love listening to podcasts! I enjoy the freakonomics podcast, and my current favorite to listen to is the happiness podcast with Gretchin Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft. So fun to listen to those two and I always come away with new ideas of how to foster more happiness in my life and how to form good habits. Cannot wait to check out On Being!

  4. Thanks for the recommendations! I am a huge podcast fan and often listen while I work or on long car drives. My must listens are Stuff You Missed In History Class, Vinyl Cafe with Stuart MacLean and Grown Ups Read Stuff They Wrote As Kids. I also love Bringing Up Betty: True Tales of Special Needs Parenting, but it hasn't been updated lately.

  5. I love TED Radio hour. Each episode focuses on a topic and highlights portions of 2-3 TED talks on that subject, as well as discussions and interviews with TED talk presenters or other "experts".
    In the LDS realm, there is a lot to explore on the Mormon Channel app. I highly recommend the "Conversations" series and "Gospel Solutions for Families" (neither of those are adding new episodes, but I love what is there!).
    Podcasts are a little addictive once you get going! Thank you for recommending On Being. I am excited to explore that one!

  6. The Power of Moms podcast was actually my gateway into podcasts. I'm enjoying The Mom Hour right now. Also, Brains On! Science is a good one for kids. My 9 year-old loves to listen to it in the car.

  7. Thank you for recommending this podcast! I have been looking for one to add. My current favorite one to listen to is The Lifebeats Project. She interviews people each week and shows the extradinary in them and by so doing the extradinary in each of us. It's very inspiring. I second the ones mentioned on the Mormon Channel. I have listened to all of the Conversations while I was training for a half marathon. I was so sad when they were done.

  8. I love listening to podcasts and listen to so many! Based on the few you listed, I'm recommending a few that I think you'll also enjoy.

    The first is Episode 34 from The Liturgists Podcast. It's all about Racism in America, and it's such an important listen, no matter what your current opinions are. I've listened to it three times now.

    Next is a few episodes from Sorta Awesome podcast. Most recently the host did a four parter on her trip to Lebanon and about the refugees from Syria that are in Lebanon. It starts with Episode 73 and then continues with Part 1, 2, and 3. Episode 55 is another great one where they talk about being content and enjoying the place you live in right now. Episode 36 is a wonderful discussion on Advent. Great for this time of year! Lastly is Episode 39 where the discussion is about the Sabbath. I got so much out of this episode! I hope you give these a try and enjoy!

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