The Power and Utility of a Podcast

BY JORDAN MCAULEY・ In June, I was a wreck. Granted I was certainly a wreck prior to June, but the barrier of “I’m fine’s” finally gave way and I admitted to being completely submerged.

Being as prideful as I was, this honesty was incredibly difficult. I felt an intense sense of shame because I wore my enlightenment on my sleeve. I had spent the past 4 months pouring over books like A New Earth and articles regarding mediation and mindful listening from 10 Percent Happier. I knew and preached about the venomous nature of negative self-talk and the importance of presence but, personally, could not seem to uncloak the layers of annoyance, selfishness and greed that radiated from the local restaurant I served for. I brought these layers home with me; I found myself wildly short-tempered, painfully frugal and grossly self-centered. More so, while attempting to describe my state, I found myself at a loss for words. I simply could not identify my emotions. Fatigue collided into annoyance, which bumped frustration who had been running a muck in sadness’s territory. Despite having a partner and two glorious best friends, for the longest I chose silence and solitude.

It wasn’t until coming  across the Brown Sister’s podcast, “How to Survive the End of the World,” that I came to realize that “we have all this exposure [to trauma] but no tools with which to process this exposure. A lot of us are an open door to the worst things that are happening in the world to come walking through to sit on our couch and we don’t have any way of setting those boundaries or closing the door.” This idea illuminated upon the collective internal apocalypse so many of us are grappling with today but rarely profess aloud. It led me to realize it wasn’t my workplace’s fault per say, but rather everyone else was suffering too. More importantly, however, it suggested that vulnerability led to clarity.

Thus, I beam with gratitude regarding the writers who so willingly share their own, inte

rnal destruction. Cheryl Strayed’s initial struggle to live according to the ideals she set for herself tasted like my own. Eckhart Tolle’s disgust with his current environment reflected my own disdain and Gabrielle Bernstein’s fervent attempts to control everything, and everyone, around her burned with unfortunate relevance. Despite such downfalls, however, each character rose to the occasion thereby foreshadowing the sunrise of my own triumph and the possibility of triumph for others. Oprah Winfrey’s “SuperSoul Conversations,” where these authors are featured, has allowed me to connect to their work in a way I have never connected to readings before. Through this medium, I listen to their stories. I heard the fluctuation in their voices and felt the authenticity singe throughout my being. For me, there is a nuanced power in spoken words that written work simply cannot imitate so I am grateful for this introduction to so many books that I deeply cherish.

 

The podcasts brought me to a point of essential self-reflection. I now admit to operating within my own perception of reality which enticed a tremendous amount of stress because reality failed to align with my vision of it. But I do not despise this realization, rather I surrender to it. As Misha suggested, “we have control over our essential truths, and we can hold onto them and taste their goodness.” For me, this means I must surrender so I may connect with the balance, peace and radiance within. It is not to say that I do not have my share of bad days, because I surely do, but that I notice my false sense of control more readily. I surrender to feel the internal evolution that deconstructs the desires and labels that have held me hostage for too long. I now bask in the enjoyment my journey has laid out to me, rather than being restless for results.

I believe that we are reflections of one another and the internal apocalypse we all battle is a projection from within; it is merely a mirror. So I ask, what truths have you been denying and what tools can you call upon to close the door to the world’s worst gifts?