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CategoryMind & Spirit

10 Things That Scare Me

One of my favorite new podcasts is WNYC’s 10 Things That Scare Me, a “tiny podcast about our biggest fears.” The premise is simple: someone (the guests, sometimes famous, often anonymous, are unidentified until the end of the show) shares—directly into the mic—ten things that scare them, each with little bit of narrative.

Sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing, mostly brutally honest…there’s just something beautiful in the simplicity of this direct sharing of fears. To get a taste, here’s a random sample of fears from recent episodes:

  • climate change
  • the marionette in my mom’s bedroom
  • my Google search history being made public
  • becoming irrelevant
  • hospitals
  • breathing tubes
  • being shot by law enforcement.

Also, the relatively lo-fi (but very much intentionally so) format and editing fit the idea perfectly.

Best listened to without looking at the title of the show which, unfortunately, gives away the guest’s identity.

Noah Rasheta: Six Tips for Mindful Communication

Photo by Gradikaa on Unsplash
  1. Listen deeply. Try to understand where the speaker is coming from and why they are saying what they are saying.
  2. Be present. Give the speaker your undivided attention. Put down your phone, turn away from the screen, put away other thoughts. Your attention is a gift.
  3. Make an effort to understand. Communication is bi-directional. Try restating what you heard.
  4. Be non-judgmental (skillful). Dispense with assessing if you or they are right or wrong.
  5. Don’t make it personal. It’s not about you. It’s not about your identity. It’s about what you are each trying to accomplish.
  6. Exercise non-attachment. Recognize neither of you are what you say; there is no permanent self attached.

From Secular Buddhism with Noah Rasheta (#72 – Yanny or Laurel? A Lesson in Mindful Communication)

Gail Sher’s Four Noble Truths for Writers

Gail Sher’s One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers is a quick, insightful read. I recommend it. But the core principles, those four noble truths, are right on the back cover and worth making of (literally) what you will:

  • Writers write
  • Writing is a process
  • You don’t know what your writing will be until the end of the process
  • If writing is your practice, the only way to fail is not to write

Shawn Achor’s Happiness Practices

Gleaned from “happiness researcher” Shawn Achor’s 10% Happier podcast interview with Dan Harris, five practices for being happier, which Achor defines as “the joy you feel moving toward your potential.”

  1. Gratitude (2 minutes) — Write down three new things you are grateful for each day. Be specific and write down not just what, but why. As you instill this practice, your brain will be “building a background app” to scan constantly throughout the day for positive things to note the next day.
  2. The “Doubler” (2 minutes) — Record one positive, meaningful experience from the day (or day before) along with at least three details of the experience.
  3. The “Fun Fifteen” (15 minutes) — 15 minutes of cardio activity, even a brisk walk.
  4. Conscious Act of Kindness (2 minutes) — For example, sending an email or note of praise, writing a charming note, performing a Random Act of Kindness, etc.
  5. Meditation (2-XXX minutes)

Side note: Achor observed that practices of gratitude and mindfulness contribute to creating a healthy “emotional immune system.” Love that.

Worth repeating now and for the foreseeable future: To live with joy and gratitude in the face of wrong is a powerful form of resistance. It’s also the only resistance I am remotely capable of sometimes.

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