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Everything Happens with Kate Bowler
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Everything Happens with Kate Bowler

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Are you living your best life now? Not always? This is a podcast for you. Duke Professor Kate Bowler is an expert in the stories we tell about success and failure, suffering and happiness. She had Stage IV cancer. Then she didn’t. And since then, all she wants to do is talk to funny and wise people about how to live with the knowledge that, well, everything happens.  Find her online at @katecbowler.

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180 Episodes
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When a group of young moms died around the same time, clinicians Dr. Justin Yopp and Dr. Don Rosenstein wanted to refer their widowed spouses to a grief support group… but none existed. So they started their own.  In this conversation, Kate, Justin, and Don discuss: The grief of imagined futures  The particular needs of parents with cancer and those of widowed parents How to talk to kids about cancer  How to parent while you have cancer Together, they uncover the magic of we. This summer, we are re-sharing our all-time favorite episodes. While this conversation originally aired in 2020, Kate caught up with Don and Justin to get an update on what they are working on lately. You won’t want to miss their important (and practical!) update.   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here or visiting katebowler.com/podcasts. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler. Links to social pages and more available at linktr.ee/katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
How do we navigate life within these beautiful, terrible days? In this special live episode of the Everything Happens podcast, Kate sits down with American broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff at the historic Sixth & I Synagogue in Washington, DC to discuss Kate’s latest book, Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day! Together, they explore what it means to live through the best of days, the worst of days, and all the in-betweens. Together, they discuss: The apology Kate wishes she would have gotten (and the moving story about when she did) How fragility unites us How can we be more empathetic towards people we disagree with   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here or visiting katebowler.com/podcasts. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler. Links to social pages and more available at linktr.ee/katecbowler.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We become the sum of so many people throughout our lives. Kate speaks with one of the funniest people on the entire planet, comedian Samantha Bee, about the people who made her, her. What virtues did they create? What absurdity ensued? How does she think about how she impacts her own kids?  In this conversation, Kate and Samantha discuss: Samantha's hand of God moment that changed the trajectory of her life How the people who love us shape us into who we become What siblings or friends or partners teach us about intimacy   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here or visiting katebowler.com/podcasts. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler. Links to social pages and more available at linktr.ee/katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Here on the Everything Happens Podcast we don’t shy away from difficult subjects, and today’s episode tackles a topic we’ve been wanting to discuss for awhile—suicide among teens and young adults. My guest today, Dr. Pamela Morris-Perez is someone who approaches this subject with the heart of a grieving mom and the mind of a professor and practitioner who wants to make change possible and wants to teach us how we can help. This is such an important conversation on how communities can help prevent adolescent suicide. In this conversation, Kate and Pamela discuss: Poignant reflections on being a suicide loss survivor from a parent who is grieving the loss of her child—a topic so rarely discussed Why we say “died by suicide” How we can prevent teen suicide—including what signs to look for, what to ask, and next steps to take when you’re concerned In a very important way, this episode won’t create nearly as much anxiety as you think. Talking about suicide is one of the most important ways of making it less likely. So let’s find better language together, shall we? If you need to talk to someone, call or text 988. If you are worried about someone, you too can call or text 988 to get resources. Remember: you matter. Please listen with care.   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here or visiting katebowler.com/podcasts. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler. Links to social pages and more available at linktr.ee/katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Chantal Kreviazuk is a Canadian singer, songwriter, composer, and pianist—her voice is the soundtrack of all Kate’s Canadian’s teenage angst. She has had an incredible career with a passion for helping others. Among many things, she’s a powerful advocate for destigmatizing mental illness—a cause near and dear to her heart after her brother struggled to get adequate care for nearly 20 years. She’s said, “When a family member is sick, the whole family is sick.” She offers such wisdom for people who struggle with a hurting family member, or their own mental health, or for their marriages that are sometimes not as easy as we had hoped.  In this conversation, Kate and Chantal discuss: Setting necessary boundaries in complicated families The ups and downs of a marriage and the unexpected gifts that only reveal themselves when you commit to staying in it for the long haul A trick to starting a hard day   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here or visiting katebowler.com/podcasts. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler. Links to social pages and more available at linktr.ee/katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sometimes we can fix our lives and sometimes can’t. So when self-help and self-care fall short, what do we need to turn instead? Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute of NBC’s The Office) says that what we need is a spiritual revolution. This conversation is rich and challenging and invites us all to think about the virtues we need to sustain a life and how we might cultivate these virtues not just for our own wellbeing but for that of the people around us. Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with bubble baths or the latest cold plunge trend. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?   In this conversation, Kate and Rainn discuss: How self-care is often a form of toxic individualism The current mental health crisis and the need for spiritual tools that provide vision, mission, and purpose How making oneself useful can be an antidote to despair A big thank you to our friends at The Fetzer Institute for making today’s conversation possible.    Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here or visiting katebowler.com/podcasts. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler. Links to social pages and more available at linktr.ee/katecbowler.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Our lives are rarely predictable or at all in our control. Sometimes what happens to us or around us can reshape our entire trajectory. Nicky Gumbel is someone whose life was dramatically changed. He thought he was going to be a very fancy lawyer… just like everyone else in his family, but that’s not what happened. Nicky became one of the pioneers of the Alpha Course where 30 million people have been introduced to Christian faith around the world. In this conversation, Kate and Nicky discuss: Nicky’s reluctant conversion to Christianity How to stay open to the things we didn’t expect to happen. How age isn’t necessarily the limiter we might assume—perhaps there are opportunities or new ventures that can open up in our later third of life Why the church should be more like a hospital than a museum   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here or visiting katebowler.com/podcasts. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler. Links to social pages and more available at linktr.ee/katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
So much of modern culture emphasizes success, hard work, and ambition. But what if we don’t conquer every problem or reach every mountaintop? How do you live with the hunger for more while letting yourself have limits and be tired and say no and shut it down too? In this conversation, Kate and Emma Gannon discuss: Why ambition isn’t necessarily a bad thing How Emma reacted to a season of severe burnout and what wisdom she has for all of us How bucket lists can inadvertently place us in a game we are never going to win (Psst… It’s okay to simmer down a bit)    Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here or visiting katebowler.com/podcasts. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler. Links to social pages and more available at linktr.ee/katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
These are uncertain times for so many of us.  But, according to writer Maggie Jackson, perhaps there is deep wisdom to be uncovered too—surprising gifts of curiosity, creative thinking, open-mindedness, and ways forward through the (often) unpredictabilities of life.  In this conversation, Kate and Maggie Discuss: How uncertainty might foster creativity, resilience, and mutual understanding Why we avoid ambiguity and a few small steps to help us become more comfortable with not knowing How the practices of imagination and perspective-taking can help us see the potential in others Why focusing on outcomes can close you off from picking up new information, nuance, or other peoples' perspectives Why experiences contrary to our beliefs take longer, sometimes even weeks, to process   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here or visiting katebowler.com/podcasts. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler. Links to social pages and more available at linktr.ee/katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Alan Alda: Stay Curious

Alan Alda: Stay Curious

2024-03-0501:01:00

We don’t usually have repeat guests on this podcast… except we’re making an exception for the wonderful and wise Alan Alda. Alan Alda, of course, is an award-winning actor, writer, director, and podcast host. You probably know and love him as Hawkeye on M*A*S*H or Senator Arnie Vinick on The West Wing. He is endlessly curious on just about every topic—which makes him the perfect person to talk to about empathy, learning across differences (and disagreement), and how we might age into new hobbies and careers.  In this conversation, Alan and Kate discuss:   Tricks for staying curious as we age How to talk to someone you disagree with How Alan hopes to destigmatize Parkinson’s Disease The difference between empathy and compassion and how to practice these important skills   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When we are in deep grief, we can anticipate some of the horrible parts—the sleeplessness, the denial, the loneliness. But what about the moments of surprising lightness and joy? Moments that don’t erase the pain, but make it a bit more bearable. Academy Award-nominated actor Richard E. Grant practices finding these pockets of happiness while grieving his beloved wife.  In this conversation, Kate and Richard talk about:  the gritty side of caregiving how to support people in grief (even when it makes you uncomfortable) the importance of knowing and being known   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
How do you have faith that can hold all of reality—the beautiful, the terrible, and everything in-between? The TODAY Show’s Savannah Guthrie thinks carefully about this question, especially given that her job is reporting the news every morning.  In this conversation, Kate and Savannah discuss: Savannah’s trick for handling difficult news every day How to adjust the dial on fear and hope when there is so much to be afraid of Making sense of the wisdom we can learn in the midst of difficult times—without saying ‘everything happens for a reason’ (because we would never do that to you) How we hope to be transformed by God’s love Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Do you ever look back at your childhood and go… certainly that didn’t happen like that? Where were the adults? Academy Award-winning director and childhood actress Sarah Polley describes what it was like to not be believed when she was afraid or when she wanted to stop or when she was in pain or when she was in danger. And how, as adults, we can all better protect those around us and learn to look back on our younger selves with compassion. How hard it can be to believe our own memories or pain When kids aren’t protected by the adults in their life and how they make sense of that as adults Managing invisible illnesses How we can better support those going through chronic illness with compassion   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today, we’re talking about tragicomedy. And isn’t that all of life? The absurdity. The horror. The laughter that somehow cuts through the most difficult of moments. Our guest today, Stephanie Wittles Wachs wrote a beautiful memoir called Everything is Horrible and Wonderful about the death of her brother to an accidental heroin overdose when he was 30 years old. In this conversation, Kate and Stephanie discuss: Loving someone with addiction Grieving a person in public Why it’s okay (and maybe necessary) to laugh in the midst of the worst moments The 6th stage of grief—the manic-investigative stage CW: mention of suicide, drug overdose, death of a sibling   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today, we have a little bonus episode to kick off your weekend. Vivek Murthy, the current U.S. Surgeon General, had so much wisdom to offer us in this week's conversation on combatting loneliness and building better relationships. In this bonus clip, he offers us a little pep talk for connection. It may be just what you need to hear. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
A basketball coach, a doctor, and a history professor walk into a bar…. This might be the start of a great joke OR the start of an episode of Everything Happens.  In this conversation, Kate Bowler speaks with Duke Men’s Basketball Coach, Jon Scheyer and the current US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy. Together they discuss: What is ailing Americans (especially young people)—loneliness (and why it can be so embarrassing to admit) Practical tips to connecting with others The usefulness and pitfalls of social media use This conversation was taped live at Duke University as part of the Surgeon General’s We Are Made to Connect Tour. A huge thank you to Chris Simmons, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Office of the US Surgeon General for making this possible. Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We are kicking off Season 12 of the Everything Happens Podcast (!!) with a little bonus situation because we’re having a little bonus moment. Kate’s new book HAVE A BEAUTIFUL, TERRIBLE DAY! Is available everywhere books are sold today.  It is a book of daily meditations meant to ground whatever day you’re having—all of the ups and downs and inbetweens. And who better to talk about that with than my friend, Bob Crawford. Bob is the bass player for the wildly popular band The Avett Brothers, and someone who knows too well how terrible and beautiful life can be.  In this conversation, Kate and Bob discuss: How there can be a strange comfort in our worst moments How they continued despite the ongoingness of their kinds of tragedies  Why they both long for more spiritual language around living like this Everything Happens is brought to you by Cologuard®. Are you 45 or older? Start screening for colon cancer with Cologuard, an effective and noninvasive screening option for adults 45 and older at average risk for colon cancer. Rx only. Learn more at Cologuard.com/everything Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Listen Again: Beth Moore

Listen Again: Beth Moore

2023-12-2601:01:531

Today, we are re-airing one of our favorite episodes.   Beth Moore has been in the limelight for almost thirty years, but during that time, she revealed very little about her formative family history. Now, this world-famous Bible teacher is ready to tell her story for the first time.  In this episode, Kate and Beth discuss:  How Beth’s faith offered stability during a very unpredictable and unstable childhood  The complicated grief that occurs when family members cause deep, unforgivable harm What it means to be fully known (and why that feels better than anything else)  Beth’s long-faithfulness despite experiencing rejection, pain, and hurt from her faith community This was Beth’s first interview about her new memoir, and Kate felt so honored to get to ask this wise soul about the role of faith in lives that haven’t worked out like we thought they should.  CW: sexual abuse, mental illness.  Looking for the transcript or show notes? Click here. Find Kate on Instagram or Facebook or X.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today, we are re-airing one of our favorite episodes.     Bryan Stevenson (founder of the Equal Justice Initiative) is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable among us. In this episode, Kate and Bryan discuss:  The hope that motivates Bryan in this slow, sometimes frustrating work of justice What it means to be a ‘stonecatcher’ (and why it serves both the one being condemned and the one doing the condemning) The power of forgiveness, maybe especially toward those who don’t deserve it  CW: discussion of slavery, lynching, and other racist violence, death row Looking for the transcript or show notes? Click here. Find Kate on Instagram or Facebook or X. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Living in uncertainty can lead to a sense of languishing. How do we wake up from this feeling? Katherine May has written gorgeous books like Wintering and Enchantment that help us better understand how to live wide-awake to the world around us.  In this conversation, Kate and Katherine discuss:  How we move from languishing to enchantment Why we need community more now than maybe ever Why we both hate gratitude journals   Everything Happens is brought to you by Cologuard®. Are you 45 or older? Start screening for colon cancer with Cologuard, an effective and noninvasive screening option for adults 45 and older at average risk for colon cancer. Rx only. Learn more at Cologuard.com/everything   Watch clips from this conversation, read the full transcript, and access discussion questions by clicking here. Follow Kate on Instagram, Facebook, or X (formerly known as Twitter)—@katecbowler.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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Comments (25)

Ramsey Morgan

Aston Jackets https://astonjackets.com/ is a leading online retailer of high-quality, stylish outerwear for men and women.

May 10th
Reply

Jenny Mickle

I can't imagine losing a young child, but man, to compare it to someone losing a beloved parent you've had your entire life - might be one reason people dont want to listen to your grief. It's a lot more nuanced than the age of the deceased. Comparison doesn't heal anything. We're all hurting for many reasons

Dec 14th
Reply (1)

Peta Lessick Chait

Thank you for such uplifting, meaningful, deep conversations. I feel so good inside, gain so much perspective on life. Take care x

Sep 7th
Reply

John McCroan

wonderfully delightful!

Dec 28th
Reply

JaCo

Worth a second listen... hard-won wisdom.

Nov 9th
Reply

John McCroan

love this! so delightful

Nov 4th
Reply

Fabs

What an excellent podcast on caring for others truly. Thank you for educating me.

Feb 3rd
Reply

Deb Haken

I love your podcasts but for some reason I can't get any of them more recent than November 30th! Help!

Jan 27th
Reply

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
Reply

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
Reply

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
Reply

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
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