Podcasts – Take-Away Messages on Life from Recent Episodes


“Taking in the good, whenever and wherever we find it, gives us new eyes for seeing and living.” ~ Krista Tippett, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living

Remembering 9/11

It is not too often that I can say I remember the details of a certain day from many years ago, unless it is tied to a special event. Today marks one of those days for many of us where we are able to remember exactly where we were, what we were doing and how we felt 15 years ago.

I was getting ready to leave for work at a clinic in Calgary when I saw the images on TV of the twin towers crumbling, surrounded by chaos and fear. Colin had already left for work and I had to drop our nearly 2 year old son off at his dayhome. Leaving him to go across town left me so uneasy, as I felt as though at any moment, we could be attacked in our corner of the world.

The message was terror and that is certainly what we felt. Despite the devastation, the people of New York City demonstrated tremendous strength, resilience, and fearlessness as they rose from the ruins. To this day, it remains one of my family’s favorite cities to visit.

Take-away messages on life from 4 recent podcast episodes

Last week, I shared my enjoyment of podcasts along with some of my favorite ones. I often learn, relate or feel inspired by the episodes I listen to. As with any discussion, two people can hear the same thing and take away two completely different messages, but I wanted to share a few from some recent podcast episodes and maybe you will take a listen and hear even more.

You will notice two On Being episodes. Given the podcast explores “What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live?”, it is hard to not come away with something from every episode.

#1 – On Being with Krista Tippett

Podcast episode with Mirabai Bush Search Inside Yourself – Contemplation in Life and Work

When I listened to Mirabai Bush, I was so drawn to her energy and thought what a delight it would be to have a conversation with her. Through her work bringing contemplative practices into industry, she helped create Google’s popular employee program Search Inside Yourself with Chade Meng-Tan. She works with The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, and spoke about The Tree of Contemplative Practices that I came across awhile back and was so drawn to. It takes what it means to meditate and be still out of a box and opens our minds to different ways to practice and reflect.

My take-away messages from this episode:

  • Daydreaming is good for the brain – I always believed this but find myself doing less and will consciously put down my phone and do more.
  • The benefits of mindful e-mailing – devised at Google, Mirabai describes it as taking 3 deep breaths after drafting an e-mail and then read it from the perspective of the person who is going to receive it. What might their emotional response be? Should it be revised or sent?

#2 – On Being with Krista Tippett 

Podcast episode with Jimmy Wales The Sum of All Human Knowledge

We all know Wikipedia, but if you want to know more about this global, non-profit, project, it is worth listening to this episode. Jimmy Wales is the co-founder of Wikipedia that began in 2001 with the mission statement “the sum of all human knowledge available to every person in the world.” This free access source invites a community to navigate facts and truths in a meaningful way.

My take-away message from this episode:

  • Wikipedia, a well-known and used information resource, is based on thoughtfulness, kindness and mentoring – important values to support and emulate.

#3 – The Doctor Paradox with Paddy Barrett

Podcast episode with Dr. Anthony Montgomery The Inevitability of Physician Burnout

Physician burnout is a topic that I am passionate about from both a learning and helping perspective. I appreciated the viewpoint and discussion with Anthony Montgomery who is an organizational psychologist and recognized expert on burnout. He describes burnout as a social phenomenon driven by organizational factors and defines it based on Christina Maslach’s work, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, which is displayed through exhaustion, cynicism and decreased efficacy.

Having been a physician in training many years ago, I really appreciated their discussion on the “hidden curriculum” of medical training. Montgomery explains this in comparison to the formal culture which values professionalism, whereas the hidden curriculum values performance and competiveness. In turn, trainees are used to working individually and not asking for help.

He also accurately defines the “long gestation period” of medical training and how physicians end up identifying themselves “as a physician”. The difficulty can then be seen in retirement or disability where a physician’s sense of self and purpose is wrapped up in their role as a physician.

My main take-away messages from this episode:

  • Presenteeism is just as problematic as absenteeism. Physicians want to be seen as never sick and competent so they will work even when they are not well (I certainly know this from experience but I really like the term “presenteeism”).
  • Strategies to address burnout can be found in the areas of the “work-life survey” which include workload, control, community, fairness, values, and reward. In keeping with what I have observed, lack of control and conflicts in values weigh more heavily than workload alone.

#4 – 10% Happier with Dan Harris

Podcast episode Guided Meditation – ‘The Training Ground’ featuring Sharon Salzberg

This brief episode involved a guided mediation with Sharon Salzberg. She exudes both loving-kindness and self-compassion through her guidance and encourages us to “begin again” when our mind wanders, just as we need to “start over” in many areas of life.

My take-away message from this episode:

  • The moment you realize you have been distracted is the moment the magic happens – the opportunity to be different and not judge ourselves.

Do you have a favorite podcast that you listen to regularly? If so, do you have any take-away messages on life that have touched you in some way?


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