Episodes
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...
Published 11/30/21
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...
Published 11/23/21
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...
Published 11/16/21
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...
Published 11/09/21
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...
Published 11/02/21
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...
Published 10/26/21
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...
Published 10/19/21
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...
Published 10/12/21
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...
Published 10/05/21
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...
Published 09/28/21
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...
Published 09/21/21
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...
Published 09/14/21
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...
Published 09/07/21
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...
Published 08/31/21
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...
Published 08/24/21
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...
Published 08/17/21
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...
Published 08/10/21
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...
Published 06/22/21
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...
Published 06/08/21
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...
Published 06/01/21
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...
Published 05/25/21
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...
Published 05/18/21
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...
Published 05/11/21
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,...
Published 05/04/21