Everything Happens with Kate Bowler

Duke University

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.

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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

Nov 30

46 min 38 sec

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

Nov 23

40 min 23 sec

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

Nov 16

37 min 17 sec

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

Nov 9

38 min 32 sec

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

Nov 2

43 min 10 sec

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

Oct 26

39 min 10 sec

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

Oct 19

36 min 45 sec

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

Oct 12

39 min 18 sec

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

Oct 5

38 min 54 sec

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

Sep 28

21 min 28 sec

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

Sep 21

44 min 11 sec

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

Sep 14

42 min 22 sec

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

Sep 7

36 min 30 sec

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

Aug 31

43 min 33 sec

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

Aug 24

36 min 16 sec

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

Aug 17

39 min 26 sec

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

Aug 10

2 min 38 sec

The Everything Happens team is still on a bit of a summer break, but don't worry! We'll be back in August with all new episodes. We thought it might be fun to surprise you with this bonus episode. Kate spoke with her friend, the brilliant and hilarious bestselling writer Kelly Corrigan on Kelly's Podcast: Kelly Corrigan Wonders. Together, the two debunk conventional wisdom like the notion that "Everything Happens for a Reason." Kate Bowler has trouble nodding along when people say things like “Don’t put that into the universe!” and “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” But what she simply CANNOT endure is when someone assures her that “everything happens for a reason.” Her point of view is tied to two absurd truths of her life: she’s a divinity professor at Duke, and she had Stage 4 cancer. She split her time between studying how religion works and getting surgeries that move her belly button around and then recovering from them with her husband who she’s been with since she was in braces and her son, who at six, doesn’t really get why sometimes she can’t do dance parties with him. This conversation will fill you up. Guaranteed. Listen to more episodes from Kelly Corrigan Wonders. Are you following Kate on social media? Find Kate on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Sign up for Kate's weekly email newsletters and receive free printable downloads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jun 22

44 min 2 sec

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

Jun 8

33 min 20 sec

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

Jun 1

40 min 57 sec

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

May 25

33 min 10 sec

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

E

May 18

36 min 39 sec

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

May 11

34 min 26 sec

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

May 4

41 min

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

Apr 27

36 min 22 sec

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

Apr 21

38 min 29 sec

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

Apr 14

40 min 23 sec

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

Apr 6

41 min 11 sec

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

Mar 30

37 min 11 sec

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

Mar 23

39 min 46 sec

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

Mar 16

39 min 2 sec

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

Mar 9

41 min 16 sec

What do you do with a world that is full of things to fear? People we won’t please. Kids who die. Parents who don’t change. Writer Anne Lamott doesn’t sugar-coat a single, terrible thing, but knows the kinds of truths we can stand on. In this conversation, Kate and Anne talk about the good, strong hopes we can reach for. That we are loved and chosen. And friendships and snacks hold us together when we're feeling lost. For discussion questions, transcript, and show notes: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/anne-lamott-loved-and-chosen/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Mar 2

42 min 38 sec

Who are we when we can't answer where we're from? Who are we when we can't locate ourselves on family trees or on familiar religious traditions or among genetic traits? How do we live after we thought what was true about our identity is totally upended? In this conversation, Kate speaks with writer Dani Shapiro about uncovering life-altering and long-hidden family secrets, what it means to belong, and what to do when the truth is… complicated. For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/ Sign up for our free daily Lenten reflections at https://katebowler.com/lent Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Feb 23

40 min 54 sec

There are some people who see need and, rather than feeling stuck by the magnitude of the world's pain, they move toward it. Today's guest is one of those kinds of people. Father Greg Boyle has worked with former gang members in Los Angeles for over thirty years with Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former gang members and offers free services to facilitate healing. In this conversation, Kate and Father Boyle discuss how living at the margins turns us inside out, how crucial hope is to healing, and why we should all embrace his understanding of kinship. For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/greg-boyle-the-case-for-hope/ Sign up for our free daily Lenten reflections at https://katebowler.com/lent Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Feb 16

40 min 48 sec

Today’s episode is all about love—the loves that constitute us, the loves that break our hearts, and the loves that keep us going. Actress, producer, and entertainer Priyanka Chopra Jonas is one of the most recognizable people in the world. In this episode, Kate and Priyanka discuss the places and people, loves and losses that make us who we are. Love that is big enough to break our hearts is the only kind worth having. CW: cancer, death of a parent For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/ Sign up for our free daily Lenten reflections at https://katebowler.com/lent Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Feb 9

36 min

People love to pretend that there are simple formulas for living your best life. Now eat this and you won't get sick. Find that love and you'll never be lonely. Get that promotion and you won't feel like a failure to have that kid and you'll be fulfilled forever. Our culture tells us that we are the masters of our destiny until we aren't. Until a diagnosis or loss or global pandemic or divorce or transition sweeps over our lives and changes everything, then we realize there are some things you can choose and some things you can't. And it's OK that life isn't always getting better. We can have beauty and meaning, community and love, but we will need to face the truth. Life is a chronic condition and there's no cure for being human. This season of the Everything Happens Podcast, I will have conversations with some wonderful and kind and hilarious people who've given up on the idea of best life, now I'll talk to actors about their loves and losses, researchers on how our bodies remember our stories, writers who've discovered their families were full of secrets, and spiritual teachers who remind us to look for the light. This podcast is a place for us to see life as it really is beautiful, terrible, full of hope and despair and everything in between. So let's be human on that journey. Let's be human together. A new season of the Everything Happens Podcast launches on Tuesday, February 9th. New episodes will release every week. Visit katebowler.com to sign up for regular notifications and find show notes, transcriptions, and more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Feb 9

2 min 58 sec

How do you get through a terrible day? What should you not say to someone with cancer? What keeps you believing in God? We thought it might be fun to have you, dear listener, interview Kate for today’s episode. She offers gentle ideas for how to be a good friend to struggling loved ones, how she has found pockets of productivity in this dumpster fire of a year, and what she is hoping for in the New Year. Plus, she ends with a benediction for a year that didn’t turn out like we thought it should. For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/ask-kate-anything-season-five-finale/ Download a free Advent Devotional at https://katebowler.com/advent Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Dec 2020

34 min 24 sec

The pandemic introduced many to living with uncertainty. But for some, uncertainty has always been their norm. Actress Nikki Deloach has starred in several Hallmark Christmas movies, but her life hasn’t matched the happily-ever-after plot-lines of her characters. Nikki’s dad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of dementia and her son was diagnosed with congenital heart defects in utero… all in the same week. In this conversation, Kate and Nikki discuss how to live with constant uncertainty, how to stay open to both the terror and the beauty of living close to the edge, and how to make Christmas meaningful when hope is hard to come by.  CW: suicidal ideation, postpartum depression, a parent grappling with a child’s fragile diagnosis, dementia  For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/nikki-deloach-a-not-so-hallmark-christmas/ Download a free Advent Devotional at https://katebowler.com/advent Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Dec 2020

38 min 42 sec

Emergency Rooms are the theater of life itself. For ER Dr. Michele Harper, work has become a calling—to bear witness to people’s problems both large and small, to advocate for better care, to catch those who fall through society’s cracks, to stand up against discrimination, to remind patients that the pain they have endured is not fair… it was never supposed to be this way. In this episode, Kate and Michele talk about the importance of radical honesty when it comes to advocacy as well as the racial and socio-economic disparities that keep people disproportionately affected by the pandemic… and the anxiety and stress that follows. And still, even after all she has seen and all she has walked through, Michele finds great hope in being broken. Yes, we are shattered, but yes, we will be made into something new. CW: domestic violence, a doctor discusses a patient’s experience of sexual assault and a patient’s suicidal ideation, racial discrimination For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/michele-harper-beauty-in-the-breaking/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 2020

36 min 18 sec

At the core of nursing is the ability to love a stranger, to care indiscriminately. Christie Watson was a nurse in the UK for 20 years before she began teaching nurses. But when COVID-19 hit, she knew she needed to stand with her colleagues. So she put on her scrubs once again. In this moving conversation, Kate and Christie discuss the cost of COVID on healthcare workers, chaplains, and those who can’t be by their loved ones’ side when they need it most. If you are a nurse, know a nurse, or have been cared by one before, this one is for you. CW: COVID-19, dying alone For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/christie-watson-bless-the-nurses/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 2020

40 min 56 sec

Though magazines and movie stars try to convince us otherwise, we aren’t all living our BEST LIFE NOW. When humor writer Samantha Irby lost both of her parents at 18, she developed the perfect coping mechanism: finding the absurd in everything. Kate and Samantha have a wide-ranging conversation about topics like grieving their Sweet Valley High life dreams, and how losing your parents as a child is the worst form of lost agency, and how important it is to speak honestly about our fragile, imperfect bodies and love them still. CW: Chronic illness, death of parents, MS For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/samantha-irby-im-doing-my-best-life-now/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

E

Nov 2020

41 min 46 sec

What does it mean to be blessed? If you were to scroll through social media, you'd assume that "blessed" are the ones with gorgeous, matching families living in open style floor plans. But Jesus had other things in mind. When the Reverend Jan Richardson lost her husband, she continued to write counterintuitive blessings like “A Blessing for the Brokenhearted." In this episode, Kate and Jan talk about the ways grief cracks us open and the ways blessing invites us to stubborn hope. CW: Death of a spouse For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/jan-richardson-stubborn-hope/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2020

38 min 11 sec

Are some people more empathetic than others? By studying those on the opposite end of the compassion spectrum—those with psychopathy—researcher Dr. Abigail Marsh discovered something quite surprising. In this episode, Kate and Abigail talk about the purpose of fear, what it really means to be brave, and how we can all learn to better belong to one another. For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/abigail-marsh-extraordinary-empathy/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2020

35 min 38 sec

Sometimes it feels like the world is irreparably broken. A climate crisis leading to more hurricanes, fires, and melting glaciers. A political season that has ripped families and friends apart. A pandemic that has left us more isolated than ever and even more delicate than before. Even the strongest among us may wonder, "What hope is there? Is love enough to save us?" My guest today is someone who believes in the kind of love that can change everything. In this episode, Kate and Bishop Michael Curry talk about the power of ordinary and extraordinary love to remake ourselves and our communities along with us. For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/bishop-michael-curry-the-power-of-ordinary-love/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2020

37 min 4 sec

There are some secrets we'd rather not tell, but that eat us alive anyway. Writer Susan Burton was trapped in an eating disorder with no good name. Today's conversation is not a victory story. Issues with our bodies are not ones we overcome because our bodies are, you know, living things. Kate and Susan discuss how we struggle against shame and learn to have compassion for ourselves and our fragile, beautiful bodies. CW: Disordered eating For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/susan-burton-bless-this-body/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2020

29 min 17 sec

How do doctors, nurses, and other caring professionals keep their hearts soft when there are forces that make it hard to stay that way? With her radically compassionate approach to medicine, Dr. Victoria Sweet calls us to slow down in a world that loves quick fixes. In today's conversation, Kate and Victoria give us more language about what helps us all stay connected to the people we serve. CW: Describes father's seizures and medical mistreatment, doctor describing patient care For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/victoria-sweet-medicine-with-a-soul/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sep 2020

32 min 37 sec

What does it mean to be called to something? What if that job wears you thin? What if you think you've aged out of your vocation? In this episode, Kate and the Reverend Dr. Will Willimon talk about what to do when the roles we play cost us more than we're willing to pay and how aging invites us to take a new look at our purpose. (Also, you'll hear about the time Kate offered Will a bit of necessary... perspective.) For show notes, transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/will-willimon-your-work-is-a-calling/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sep 2020

34 min 9 sec

What do you do when hope feels lost? Abstract artist Lanecia Rouse Tinsley is no stranger to the hopelessness that comes with grief. In extended isolation because of the pandemic, a nationwide reckoning with race, and our own personal losses, we could all use a bit of what Lanecia calls holy seeing. In this episode, Kate and Lanecia discuss how creativity can be an act of resistance and the hope she discovered on a blank canvas. CW: Miscarriage, death of a child, racism For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/lanecia-rouse-tinsely-when-hope-seems-lost/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sep 2020

35 min 29 sec

Who are we as we age? Our culture has such poor language for the who-we-are-ness across time. The ways we grow and the things that threaten to diminish us. Clinical psychologist and bestselling author, Mary Pipher knows a lot about the opportunities and costs embedded in aging. In this episode, Kate and Mary offer us a non self-helpy roadmap for how to age beautifully. For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/mary-pipher-the-art-of-aging/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sep 2020

32 min 20 sec