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Everything Happens with Kate Bowler
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Everything Happens with Kate Bowler

Author: Duke University

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Life isn't always bright and shiny, as Kate Bowler knows. Kate is a young mother, writer and professor who, at age 35, was suddenly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. In, warm, insightful, often funny conversations, Kate talks with people about what they've learned in dark times. Kate teaches at Duke Divinity School and is author of "Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I've Loved)." Find her online at @katecbowler.

85 Episodes
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What kind of food tastes like love to you? Food has a beautiful way of making us feel less lonely in our pain or in our isolation or in our grief. Star of Netflix’s Queer Eye, Antoni Porowski understands the power of a delicious meal to bring us together and remake us with love.  In this episode, Kate and Antoni discuss: How food transcends time and distance and can remind you of who you are Antoni’s biggest cooking mistake (and how it might give us all a little permission to fail and try again) How food can help us to grieve What NOT to do when you deliver food to people who are going through a tough time *** Find me on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly email for bits of wisdom, prayers, free downloads, and more. Oh! And I have a brand-new book coming out on September 28th called No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). Pre-order your copy today and receive a FREE 18" navy blue pennant. Learn how by clicking here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Is it possible to be happier? Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin wondered if she could discipline herself to take tiny steps in order to be more content with her actual life. But what about those of us facing something daunting or insurmountable or tragic? Is it possible for us to be happier? In this conversation, Kate and Gretchen discuss: When we’re forced to reevaluate our life and what might happen if we just try a little harder How our senses anchor us to the present The difference between happiness and joy If happiness is a selfish endeavor  The definition of limited agency (and why we should try to find a place between EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE and NOTHING IS POSSIBLE) Kate ends with A Blessing For Permission to Try. *** Find me on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly email for bits of wisdom, prayers, free downloads, and more. Oh! And I have a brand-new book coming out on September 28th called No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). Pre-order your copy today and receive a FREE 18" navy blue pennant. Learn how by clicking here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Can trauma you experienced as a kid still affect you now? What about the traumatic experiences of our parents and grandparents? Is there a way to undo what California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris calls the “toxic stress response”?   In this conversation, Kate and Nadine discuss: Why “picking yourself up by your bootstraps” is an incomplete (and unhelpful) story A better way to define resilience How your zip code might determine your health How fostering nurturing relationships help heal our bodies  What baby rats can teach us about learning to change  Kate ends with a Blessing for if You had a Painful Childhood. And whew, will this episode crack you open and heal the tender parts of you you didn’t know needed it. *** Find me on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly email for bits of wisdom, prayers, free downloads, and more. Oh! And I have a brand-new book coming out on September 28th called No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). Pre-order your copy today and receive a FREE 18" navy blue pennant. Learn how by clicking here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Can hilarity and sorrow co-exist? Comedian and actress Cecily Strong (of Saturday Night Live fame) is professionally funny. But after a series of losses, she was forced to discover how devastation and love sometimes exist at the same time—both in great measure.  In this conversation, Kate and Cecily discuss: Why we need to practice changing How much of our lives is determined by almostness  Moving past the “winning” and “losing” paradigm for illness When we can stop being afraid (and how maybe fearlessness is for psychopaths) Loving people’s uniqueness Why allowing yourself to feel big emotions can be daunting, and how love, beauty, and maybe even magic can be present simultaneously Kate ends with a Blessing for the Both/And. This deep conversation about the cost of love will surprise you with its tenderness and offers us all a little room to grieve the things we’ve lost. CW: glioblastoma *** Find me on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly email for bits of wisdom, prayers, free downloads, and more. Oh! And I have a brand-new book coming out on September 28th called No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). Pre-order your copy today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The Self-Help Industry would like to convince us that everyone is capable of change. Just drink this! Read this book! Pick up this daily habit! Follow these 5 Steps! But how much change are we really capable of?  It’s such a tender question that is best reserved for a brilliant and agile mind, so who better to pose this to than the spectacular brain of Malcolm Gladwell?  In this conversation, Kate and Malcolm discuss: Why living in the future is a kind of pernicious myth and why the past is inherently better… (ignore the fact that these are two historians. No bias to see here).  How difficult it is to not just interpret a stranger but to love one. The case for humility and forgiveness Why we should be willing to rethink our certainties Kate ends with a Blessing When You Are Forced to Change. It may be one we all need during these strange times. CW: they briefly discuss the abduction, sexual assault, and murder of a child *** Find me on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly email for bits of wisdom, prayers, free downloads, and more. Oh! And I have a brand-new book coming out on September 28th called No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). Pre-order your copy today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
We all wish we could fix our lives. And it works! Until it doesn't. Until we lose someone we love. Or an addiction ruins the family vacation. Or our parents die. Or we never get that baby. Or we lose our financial security. Or, I don't know, a global pandemic takes away all of our plans.  Until we realize that we are Fragile. Finite. Prone to hangryness. And just... human, again today. And maybe that isn't such a bad thing. My name is Kate Bowler. I'm a professor at Duke University. A wife. A mom. and... at age 35 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, which was not exactly something I would have picked either.  How do we live alongside the things we didn't choose? The things we can't get back? How do we learn to live when our lives can't be so easily fixed ... like the wellness and self-help culture would like to convince us? Join me for this season of the Everything Happens Podcast where I will speak to thinkers, authors, experts, comedians, and actors about what they’ve learned in difficult times. Together, we will break down common formulas for how to live… mine them for their truths, and, hopefully, discover something thicker, richer for how to live, beautifully in our actual, fragile lives and broken bodies and delicate relationships.  Because there’s no cure for being human. But we are all good medicine.  New episodes begin on August 17th. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, so you don’t miss an episode. In the meantime, Find me on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly email for bits of wisdom, prayers, free downloads, and more. Oh! And I have a brand-new book coming out on September 28th called No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). Pre-order your copy today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
How Far We’ve Come

How Far We’ve Come

2021-06-0833:201

In our season six finale, Kate takes us back to the very beginning. In this episode, you’ll hear the unlikely beginning of the Everything Happens podcast, the most terrified Kate’s ever been (for fun reasons), and how love and beauty can surprise us in some of the most unlikely of spaces.  Our team needs a little rest and vitamin D then we’ll be back with new episodes in August (don’t worry!). In the meantime, listen to some of our all time favorite episodes: with M*A*S*H* actor Alan Alda on the power of empathy with The Fault In Our Stars author John Green on living with chronic illness with palliative care physician Dr. Sunita Puri on living with uncertainty with humorist Samantha Irby on the power of the absurd In the meantime, visit nocurebook.com to learn more about Kate’s NEW BOOK coming out at the end of September. Find Kate online @KateCbowler and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter at katebowler.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Chaotic childhoods can leave us feeling stuck. Stuck in the roles and relationships and chaos that once felt familiar. Actress Julianna Margulies (best known for her roles in ER and The Good Wife) found incredible success, but nothing seemed to free her from living into past, traumatic dynamics. In this conversation, Kate and Julianna discuss the roles we get trapped inside (I’m the cheerful one! I’m the dutiful one! I'll keep it together!) and how love can surprise us through unlikely strangers and new relationships. Kate ends with a blessing for a permission to change.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
There is a strange tension when we want so badly for the people we love to support us, but want to shield them from the pain at the same time. This is a beautiful, terrible kind of love. In Part Two of our conversation with bestselling author Suleika Jaouad, Kate and Suleika discuss what it is like to be the one suffering—all the guilt and shame and rage and mercy and grace and how we can create better economies of love around those who need it. Kate ends with a blessing for those who feel like their problem is too much to handle—a blessing if you feel like "the bad thing." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
There are two different worlds people inhabit. In one world, people feel infinite bounce. They can see every silver lining and believe in their bones things will always get better and that any set back is probably temporary. But then, there’s the other world. These people know what it feels like to live scan-to-scan and hold their breath when the doctor’s number shows up on their phone. Bestselling author of Between Two Kingdoms, Suleika Jaouad knows what it means to carry this dual citizenship between the kingdom of the well and the kingdom of the sick. In this conversation, Kate and Suleika discuss what it was like to have a terrible diagnosis as a young person and how to keep living when you can’t go back to the way things were. Kate ends with a blessing for those who have lost too much, too quickly. CW: cancer as a young person, incurable illnesses, fertility treatments Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Everything is in flux. Nothing is the same anymore. How do we live amid all of this uncertainty? Well, psychologist and bestselling author Adam Grant believes we may have to do some re-thinking. In this episode, Kate and Adam speak about the courage it takes to think again about things that we once felt so certain about, how “imposter syndrome” might be a good instinct, and how we all need friends who challenge us (even if it makes us wildly uncomfortable… thanks a lot, Adam!). Oh! And if you listen through to the end, you'll hear a special announcement. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
How do we find “enough” in a life that keeps getting…. harder? Our lives are shrinking. We are shrunk by the pandemic or by illness or by age or by any number of losses. And it can be difficult to feel satisfaction and enjoyment again, especially in the midst of a self-help culture that tries to tell you “EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.” In this episode, Kate speaks with writer and advice columnist Heather Havrilesky about finding contentment in our bodies, in our parenting, in our relationships, while living a life we didn’t choose. Sometimes we need a smoking appliance day (…that will make more sense when you listen). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
How do we navigate the life in-between? In-between relationships and jobs and friends. In-between independence and dependence. In-between the life we have and the life we’ve always wanted. In this episode, Kate and artist Mari Andrew discuss these liminal spaces, what to do when we’re stuck with the B-side versions of ourselves, and how to make a little more space to explore all the colors of this place in-between. CW: Guillain-Barre Syndrome, loss of a parent Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
When something truly awful happens, we can’t forget. That memory isn’t just stored in our brains. Our bodies keep the score too. Researcher and psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk has spent his life studying the affects of trauma on adults and children. In this eye-opening conversation, Kate and Bessel address the nature of trauma, how helplessness and agency affect our experiences, and ways to get unstuck. CW: trauma, PTSD Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Comedian Jamie Lee is now Netflix’s The Wedding Coach where she’s on a mission to help couples survive the craziness of planning a wedding. A wedding is an event, but a marriage is not an event. During the filming of the show, Jamie’s own relationship began to unravel. In this episode, Kate and Jamie exchange hilarious wedding stories (including what 22-year-old bride Kate did on her wedding day) and discuss the micro-griefs of a divorce, and share ways to show love to people experiencing this particular kind of loss. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Our culture’s obsession with hyper-instrumentalization has meant everything has to be FOR something. But when you are facing unfixable or chronic problems, maybe it’s better to do something for no reason whatsoever. Depression, anxiety, and a grab bag of auto-immune diseases have made humorist Jenny Lawson an expert in the art of the absurd. In this conversation, Kate and Jenny share their tips to getting through horrible days, the evils of insurance bureaucracy, the delight of taxidermy, and discovering joy that you don’t have to “choose.”  CW: depression, suicidal ideation, chronic illnesses, vampires Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
We don’t always know how to move through this strange, distended season. The season before the cure or the vaccine or the answer. Before the money comes through or the job opens up or the heartbreak is over. The season where there is hope for someday, but someday is not now. Perhaps here, we need to learn how to pray. In this episode, Kate and Jesuit priest Father James Martin discuss how prayer is for everyone — believer, doubter, or no-thank you-er.  You may be wondering, but Kate. I know you don’t know me but… prayer? Really? This seems a bit sanctimonious. What if I don’t believe in God? Or at least don’t believe that prayer works? What if I’m not the kind of person who prays? Why are you being so bossy about this? Full disclosure: I’m not an amazing pray-er. But I do love people who love to pray. And today I thought we could talk to a wonderful person who can help give us a little more spiritual language to be here, a little scared. A little disappointed. A little hopeful. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Our bodies tell a story, and we find ourselves having to live inside it. At home. At work. At church. At school. But what happens when the places we love don’t always love us back? In this episode, Kate speaks with theologian Dr. Willie Jennings about the way institutions don’t always value our embodiment and how instead we might create spaces of belonging and love. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What if the story you’ve been given about your family isn’t the whole truth? Writer Nicole Chung had been told a story like so many adoptees. Your parents wanted a better life for you. God chose you to be part of our family. But then, she found out the truth was far more complicated. In this episode, Kate and Nicole talk about how she learned to look beyond the simple answers and live in the grey space, where stories can’t be neatly summed up in villains and heroes, tragedy and miracles. This conversation will help you live amid uncertainty with a bit more courage. CW: adoption story Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sometimes there are stories about ourselves that just need to be true, even if they aren't. Stories about our ancestors or younger selves that help to explain who we are and offer us a little purpose. When it comes to telling a good story, no one does it better than our guest today: Academy Award winner and author Matthew McConaughey. In this episode, Kate and Matthew talk about the stories we tell about ourselves, the mottos that animate our lives, and the half-truths that are true enough. For discussion questions, transcript, and show notes: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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Comments (14)

majopareja

Lovely conversation <3

Aug 16th
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Jenny Widner

The book is great--if you haven't read it you should. The show is wonderful.

May 27th
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Shannon Compton

you guys have cute rituals for when you are tired of your husband's. I usually just shout divorce and leave for a while. then, we don't ever talk about it again. you guys are so healthy.

May 5th
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Shannon Compton

I wish more of us did the "absurd" thing to do. Although I wonder if life in the western world is actually absurd and taking delight in an abstract interest is actually not absurd at all?

Apr 20th
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Mandell Degerness

This is the first episode I've listened to. It won't be the last. Great show. Lots to think about. Thank you.

Apr 16th
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Shannon Compton

this was such a lovely episode. I think for me, it will help most with the guilt and shame I currently feel. im a stay at home mom and I know that at this point, this vocation has a shelf life. im 4 years away from sending my youngest off to kindergarten. I would love to go to school or find a new career but no desire is there yet to even steer toward a direction. I feel like I am not listening hard enough or im being punished or I am just not good enough. but I will console myself that maybe God has not revealed that direction yet. I will wait to respond. I will continue to have conversation in prayer.

Apr 4th
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Shannon Compton

loved this episode. the discussion on being carried versus self made has really resonated with me. I have tried not to depend on anyone my whole life and I have been taught to do so. I also constantly feel socially awkward so I avoid people as much as I can just to escape my own awkward feelings. With a cross country move, unemployment and a surprise baby, I find myself unable to rely on myself. I feel like a failure, I feel like I don't want anyone to do me a kindness because I could never pay it back, but this episode reminds me that maybe I am being carried. maybe I am just discovering community. thank you.

Oct 16th
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Dorothy Enns Klassen

A month ago my best friend lost her brother to cancer, leaving behind his wife and 3 young children. And while I'm not her, nor can I even begin to relate, I grieve for her. I've appreciated this podcast and this episode particularly as someone who just wants to love on someone who is going thru something shitty. It's okay to not be okay but I'm grateful for where it brings a person and friendship to also. 💕

Oct 3rd
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Mark Pearson

What a great conversation between two great thinkers who are great friends. As a flawed human with chronic depression I found what you had to say refreshing and a different view of manynideas that I have heard but not fully absorbed before. Thank you Kate and greetings from Brisbane, Australia 🌻😊

Jun 5th
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Mary K. Pershall

Just listened to your segment with Emily McDowell ... there's no good card for that. I think you don't want to hear any more free associations but I'll just say something terrible happened in our family and I could totally relate to your advice, just be there.

Mar 4th
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Rupert Lissaman

I'm not sure if this is useful to you, but I found your podcast after reading this article today: Hope Isn’t Just About the Future https://nyti.ms/2GHHfjG Strength to you!

Dec 28th
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Tomoyo Atkins

v3VBHがgbv次

Dec 12th
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Tomoyo Atkins

、o,

Dec 12th
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Saif Khan

My very first episode I heard was with Ray barfield. As a son to a father with a 10 year long battle with Neuro-Diseases and an aspiring Medicial Physician, this was flawless. Beautifully Handled by the host, Smooth flow and a Very insightful guest (Ray). Definite Subscriber, Thank you for this.

Feb 14th
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