For the longest time, I resisted listening to podcasts. The kind of work I do requires me to deal with a lot of words every day. Many of these words are energizing–words I encounter in the reading I do for classes, research, and daily enrichment. Some words are discouraging–reading the news, scrolling social media, hard conversations. Some words are simply abundant–meetings, emails, meetings, and meetings.
I am fortunate not to have a very long commute. It usually takes me just under a half hour to get from home to school because I’m often driving the opposite direction of traffic. (My commute takes twice as long on the days I have meetings.) So to get a break from words, or to simply let the good ones seep in a bit deeper, I have tended to reserve time in my car for music alone. Then about a year ago, I finally just decided to go ahead and give podcasts a try. And I’m so glad I did. Here are five of my favorite podcasts for spiritual and personal growth.
Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson
Being Well features Rick Hanson and his son Forrest Hanson as they share research into how to increase everyday happiness, build inner strengths, and develop greater resiliency.
Spark My Muse
A podcast by Lisa Delay, Spark My Muse explores spirituality through her “Soul School Lessons.” She also reflects on creativity, healing, prayer, poetry, and the interior life.
Irenicast–A Progressive Christian Podcast
Among the multiple hosts of Irenicast are my former student Rajeev Rambob (from whom I learned a lot!) and his partner Bonnie Rambob, who is also an alum of another member school of the Graduate Theological Union. All of the hosts identify as post-evangelical (the Rambobs are former Adventists) and offer commentary on theology, art, politics, race, and religion often with a sense of (occasionally irreverent) humor.
Hosted by contemplative educator Paul Swanson, the Contemplify podcast seeks to “kindle the examined life for contemplatives in the world.” With broad ranging topics, Contemplify encourages those new to the contemplative journey and those of us who have been living a contemplative life for a long time. Paul includes a lovely listening guide to the podcast on the website.
The Brendon Show and HPX Podcast
After participating in a ten-day, free course offered in January by Commune, I declared 2019 my year of Brendon Burchard. On his podcast The Brendon Show, Brendon gives practical coaching advice based on years of research studying “high performers”–those who achieve high success and also report a high level of personal and relational well-being. This spring, Brendon launched a new brand and accompanying podcast with his wife Denise Burchard, called the HPX Life. (HPX stands for High Performance Experience.) Brendon may be too self-helpy for some, but I really appreciate his approach. For me, he does a good job of blending language of success with humility, purpose, meaningfulness, relationship, and well-being.