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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) and No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). Find her online at @katecbowler.

96 Episodes
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How do we reach for wisdom instead of self-help solutions? Much to their embarrassment, New York Times columnist David Brooks and Kate Bowler often find their books in the “Self-Help section.” David sat down with Kate at the historic Sixth & I Synagogue in Washington, D.C. to talk about her book, No Cure For Being Human, and the twisty-turny journey of living without easy answers.  In this live, funny and poignant conversation, David and Kate discuss: If a life is ever complete How to define hope if it isn’t just a type of optimism The limits of stoicism What I wish healthcare professionals would do instead And you cannot miss David’s unplanned pun at the beginning. It was so bad and so funny and nothing can be better.  *** 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. No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) is now available wherever books are sold. Order your copy, today. Need a little something to walk with you toward Christmas? Receive our FREE Advent Devotional, here. Introducing, GOOD ENOUGH: 40ish Devotions for a Life of Imperfection. Pre-order your copy, here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
We're often given a story of birds and bees where two people fall in love and out of their love blooms a perfect little creature. But far too often and for far too many, that isn’t the case.  Writer Sarah Sentilles always knew she wanted to be a mom, so she entered into the foster system with the hope of adopting. But the process was not as simple as she had anticipated.  In this conversation, Kate and Sarah discuss, How every child we welcome into our lives are strangers to be discovered The personal cost of impersonal (and often cruel) bureaucracy  How we must choose love, even if it costs us everything Perhaps family is bigger, wider than we've been told. It is a story of belonging and loss and courageous love. And perhaps it involves learning to love a stranger. *** 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. No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) is now available wherever books are sold. Order your copy, today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What does courage look like in the face of the impossible? Cindy McCain had a front row seat to history, as wife of Arizona Senator and presidential candidate John McCain. In this conversation, Kate and Cindy discuss: The two-for-one careers that cost both spouses John McCain the Stand-Up-Comedian (and how humor is the best medicine...but also real medicine is probably better) What it was like to grieve on a public stage and her best advice for those experiencing loss Together, we will discover how courage comes in many forms. The big and bold. The small and steady. Those who look pain and fear directly in the eye. Kate ends with a Blessing for the Brave. Perhaps, we can all gain a bit more courage after listening to this one. CW: glioblastoma, death of a spouse, addiction *** 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. No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) is now available wherever books are sold. Order your copy, today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Life is painful. Period. But are there some aspects of our faith or our posture toward the world that can change how we experience it?  Father Richard Rohr is everyone’s favorite preacher of love. Love for each other. Love from God.  In this conversation, Kate and Richard talk about: How great love and great suffering can move us into a new stage of life  The spirituality of subtraction Making room for mystery of joy and suffering His secret to staying present to God Together, might we all learn when to hold on and when to let go. *** 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. No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) is now available wherever books are sold. Order your copy, today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
When she was a child, Alexi Pappas lost her mother to suicide. So when Alexi faced a season of deep depression she knew had to find a different way forward. That’s when her training as an Olympic runner became invaluable.  In this conversation, Kate and Alexi discuss, The difference between stress and trauma The discipline—and joy—of sheer effort Good pain vs. bad pain and how to stay inside the uncomfortable for a bit longer  The highs and lows of realizing your dreams How viewing mental illness as an injury not only destigmatizes depression, but offers tangible next steps toward healing Too often professional athletes fall into the pure motivational speaker category. But this conversation with Alexi gently threads the needle about what is possible if you stay a little longer in uncomfortable situations when even getting out of bed feels like a win.  There is so much wisdom we can glean from Alexi’s discipline and willpower. CW: suicide, depression, mental illness *** 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. No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) is now available wherever books are sold. Order your copy today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
How do you move forward after an incalculable loss?  Jerry Sittser lost his wife, young daughter, and his mom in one horrific accident. But even as his world stopped, the world kept spinning. He had to learn how to parent his three surviving children in the wake of such grief.  Now, thirty years after the accident that upended his life, Kate and Jerry discuss: Finding honesty about the pain you can never unknow  Why it isn’t possible to protect our kids from the tragedies of life How to stop counting or comparing people’s grief Why we cannot explain our suffering with simple formulas and shallow theology Whether miracles can solve our pain This conversation is an Everything Happens Masterclass on learning to live alongside the reality of lives that come apart for no reason we can explain.  CW: deaths of family members *** 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. No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) is now available wherever books are sold. Order your copy today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Do you ever feel a pressure to be positive? Harvard psychologist and bestselling author of Emotional Agility, Dr. Susan David studies the psychological skills critical to thriving in times of complexity and change. Spoiler alert: we don’t need to force ourselves to think happy thoughts. Perhaps there is a better way. In this conversation, Kate and Susan discuss:  The relationship between prescriptive happiness and religion What it means to bottle or brood your feelings Better strategies to handle difficult emotions How to get unstuck from our feelings This is the permission you were looking for to feel the full range of your human experience—the good and the bad, the beautiful and the terrible.  *** 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. No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) is now available wherever books are sold. Order your copy today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Stanley Tucci is a total foodie—of course, he starred in Julie and Julia and brought us the mouth-watering CNN special, Searching for Italy. But when he was diagnosed with oral cancer, his ability to enjoy food might be ruined permanently.  In this conversation, Kate and Stanley discuss, How familiar recipes remind us of home—even if we’re far away Why it’s okay to be picky about what we eat (Especially bread. He has a lot of homicidal opinions about how bread should be eaten.)  The practical difficulties with eating that often accompanies an illness and treatment The anger that comes with great loss And the joy of bringing people together around the table When life gets small, so often our pleasures dry up. But perhaps it is in that smallness that we might compress our attention, to discover the small joys and simple pleasures that make a life well-lived.  CW: cancer, death of a spouse  *** 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. No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) is now available wherever books are sold. Order your copy today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Philip Yancey is well-known for his bestselling books like What's So Amazing About Grace and Disappointment with God. But behind all of that spiritual wisdom was a family secret: his sick father left the hospital against the doctor's advice, trusting in God to heal him. He wasn’t healed. Out of this experience, Philip has wrestled with deep questions of faith, doubt, and suffering.  In today's conversation, Philip and I discuss:  What it was like growing up in Christian fundamentalism  Being wounded by the church The cost of unforgiveness The mystery and hunger of grace This conversation forced me to wonder about how grace works. Perhaps grace, as Philip would say, is a scandal. Because it forces us to think about a love that is unearned, undeserved, and unmerited. All we know sometimes, is that WE need it.  So, blessed are we who live here. In this mystery—this scandal—of grace. CW: polio, abuse *** 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. No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) is now available wherever books are sold. Order your copy today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The bestselling author of Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved) asks, how do you move forward with a life you didn’t choose? In this episode, Kate reads an excerpt of No Cure for Being Human (and Other Truths I Need to Hear) — her new memoir that releases TODAY! We all wish we could boil our life down to simple formulas. Easy-to-grab mantras that tell us how to live. Things like: You only live once! or What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! or just Think Positively! I guess I'll just have to make lemonade out of all those lemons I've been given. But what about when you realize life isn't a series of choices? More often than we'd like to imagine, things come apart, and what we thought was in our control just isn't anymore. We have to learn to live here. Outside of formulas, outside of cliches, outside of easy steps. We all have to learn to be human, again today. No Cure for Being Human mines these formulas to find something that is truer, gentler, and maybe a little bit more honest. Like how all the modern-day-stoics tell you to BE PRESENT! It seems so simple, right? In response to all that is out of control, we should zero in on what is in our control. But the consequences of only living in the present is that we might ignore the past or put a wall around the future. And there is so much wisdom there. Until, of course, it forces us to put too much of our lives on hold in the suspended animation of now, so that's what I thought I might talk to you about today.  *** No Cure for Being Human is now available anywhere books are sold. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What if we never fit in? Or always miss the script that everyone else seems to so easily understand? From Arrested Development’s Buster Bluth to Veep’s Gary Walsh or Toy Story 4’s Forky, Emmy Award Winning actor Tony Hale is an expert in awkward.  In this episode, Kate and Tony talk about: How acting is an act of empathy What it feels like to feel outside of the Acceptable People Having grace for our most awkward moments This conversation will offer you a little gentleness for our awkward selves, our in-pain selves, our out-of-step selves, our misunderstood selves. Bonus: it will also make you laugh. *** 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
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
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Comments (16)

Shannon Compton

the only extra thing I wish were discussed was how to deal with the sometimes hurtful comments that come from the world around when you start to let go.

Nov 11th
Reply

Lauren Byma

Oh, I loved this episode.

Oct 19th
Reply

majopareja

Lovely conversation <3

Aug 16th
Reply

Jenny Widner

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

May 27th
Reply

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
Reply

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
Reply

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
Reply

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
Reply

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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