I originally wrote the blog below with some good intentions. I wanted to share with you my very favorite, humorous and inspiring podcasts. However, after having lunch with my husband and talking it through, I definitely did not convey the right message.
In a time when we are so over-stimulated, over-committed and over-burdened, adding more distraction to an already distracted day is not what I intended to suggest. It is so much better for our minds, our souls and our relationships to be present in each moment, to be mindful of what is going on around us, to slow down and simply observe. If we’re just distracting ourselves to simply “get through” that walk, that grocery trip or that plane ride we’re missing opportunities to calm our minds, to recharge our selves, to be present.
Is it easier to distract ourselves rather than really be aware, especially when we’re frazzled? YES! But, after a few times it gets easier and more enjoyable. Instead of rushing through the grocery store you might notice some new items or meet a new friend. Instead of rushing to get the dogs walked or the laundry folded, use that time to recharge and calm your mind.
Please do read below and definitely add these podcasts to your list, but listen as a means of entertainment and not mere distraction!
(Update: Since I wrote this blog, I have not listened to a podcast while walking my dogs….it has been HEAVEN! I saw at least 1,000 birds swarming a tree near the Merrimack River, I listened to water trickling through a brook under a cover of crusty snow and I heard the wonderful sound of children laughing and throwing snowballs at each other. I would have missed all of this had I been focused on other things. It was a truly magical walk!)
I have two dogs. Two adorable, wonderful, sweet dogs. However, they require one really long walk a day in order to keep the sock-shredding, library book-chewing, slipper-destroying behavior at bay. I’ve found that listening to podcasts on our walks makes all three of us very happy. I lose track of the time and they get to do what dogs do on long walks: sniff the ground, pee, lung at squirrels, poop, repeat.
Listening to podcasts doesn’t have to be limited to daily (dog) walks. Popping in your earbuds and pressing play on a podcast is a fantastic way to pass the time during the following (sometimes hellish) situations:
a long commute
going grocery shopping a few days before a holiday, before a snow storm or the morning of the Superbowl
sitting in the waiting room of your doctor’s office
a plane ride when you’re seated near a cranky toddler and the frazzled parents
traveling during the holidays (by train, plane or automobile)
waiting in line at the DMV
However, it seems like just about any one can create a podcast on just about any topic. With so many options, it’s hard to know which ones are actually worth downloading. If you’re new to podcasts, here’s a list of my all-time favorites that are worthy of your cell phone storage :
This American Life (hands-down my favorite)
Description from their website: “Each week we choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme. Mostly we do journalism, but an entertaining kind of journalism that's built around plot. In other words, stories!”
This show is endearing, inspirational, hilarious, and sometimes confusing…just like families.
Crimetown, Season 1 (the drama, the intrigue, the mafia!)
Description from Wikipedia: “Crimetown focuses on organized crime and corruption in Providence, Rhode Island.”
It is SO much more than this, but I don’t want to give anything away. You won’t believe it’s actually true, it sounds like a movie!
Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc. (shocking, heartbreaking, thought-provoking)
Description from their website: “Football star Aaron Hernandez went from the bright lights of the Super Bowl to a convicted murderer in a few years. The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team takes a hard look at the crisis facing football through the lens of Aaron Hernandez’s life and terrible crimes.”
I havent’ been able to watch an NFL game the same since.
The Rich Roll Podcast (each week I am inspired, amazed, motivated, educated…)
Description from website: “Each week Rich delves deep into all things wellness with some of the brightest and most forward thinking, paradigm busting minds in health, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship & spirituality. Intimate, deep and often intense, these are not interviews. They are conversations. A weekly aural dance designed to provoke, educate, inspire and empower you to discover, uncover, unlock and unleash your best, most authentic self.”
Listening to Rich and his guests have been some of my favorite walks. He never disappoints!
S-Town (C-R-A-Z-Y good!)
Description from website: “John despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.”
This podcast is so weird, so well produced, so crazy. I was devastated when it was over.
Hopefully, next time you’re stuck in traffic because a hay truck flipped over (actually happened in my town) or there are 5 patients ahead of you at your doctor’s office you won’t skip a beat. I have been known to pick the longest line at the supermarket just to finish a podcast!
I’d love to know what your favorite podcasts are and when you love to listen to them!