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Creating Our Own Lives

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We’re called to create a better world, but what about the more immediate task of creating our own lives? Inspired by a quote of Thomas Merton, host Lily Percy asks people to think through how they shape their lives. And hopefully by listening, we learn how to create our own. Season 2: Humor as a Tool for Survival launches June 8th. On Being Studios is the producer of On Being, Becoming Wise, This Movie Changed Me, Creating Our Own Lives, and more to come. Cover art by © 2016 Julian Opie / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London.

We’re called to create a better world, but what about the more immediate task of creating our own lives? Inspired by a quote of Thomas Merton, host Lily Percy asks people to think through how they shape their lives. And hopefully by listening, we learn how to create our own. Season 2: Humor as a Tool for Survival launches June 8th. On Being Studios is the producer of On Being, Becoming Wise, This Movie Changed Me, Creating Our Own Lives, and more to come. Cover art by © 2016 Julian Opie / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London.
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Location:

United States

Description:

We’re called to create a better world, but what about the more immediate task of creating our own lives? Inspired by a quote of Thomas Merton, host Lily Percy asks people to think through how they shape their lives. And hopefully by listening, we learn how to create our own. Season 2: Humor as a Tool for Survival launches June 8th. On Being Studios is the producer of On Being, Becoming Wise, This Movie Changed Me, Creating Our Own Lives, and more to come. Cover art by © 2016 Julian Opie / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London.

Language:

English


Episodes

[S2] Amichai Lau-Lavie: Deep Laughter in the Place of the Deepest Pain

6/8/2017
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“Humor is always about ‘as if.’ And it just relaxes everybody. We're going to laugh.” Transparent creator Jill Soloway describes Amichai Lau-Lavie as “a God-optional, patriarchy-toppling, Jewish modern mind.” He uses humor to connect — to himself and others, his family, his sexual identity, and his spiritual life. The rabbi says the Jewish people have endured because of their ability to laugh at themselves and, in this way, laugh at the world.

Duration:00:13:47

[S2] Heidi N. Moore: When It Comes to Finance and Comedy, It’s All About Patterns

6/8/2017
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“What makes humor is pattern recognition. Finance is very helpful on that front because there are a lot of patterns that keep repeating themselves.” Heidi N. Moore uses humor as a tool for understanding the world of finance. She tells stories about the people behind the money — why they do what they do and how they do it, and has done so for many years as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Marketplace. By humanizing something as intimidating as finance, she helps...

Duration:00:15:39

[S2] Daniel José Older: How We Love Is by Roasting Each Other

6/8/2017
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“Humor reminds me a lot of magic, in that there's no way to quite replicate it. There’s a power to that” The humor in Daniel José Older’s writing makes his characters come alive. Whether in the playful banter of books like Shadowshaper, in his spiritual practice of Lucumí, or alchemizing tragedy into comedy as a paramedic in New York City, he sees humor as key to finding a storytelling voice.

Duration:00:21:37

[S2] Alexis Wilkinson: Disarming People with Laughter

6/8/2017
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“Humor gives me release. Sometimes there's just too much tension and you have to let it go. Laughter is such a great natural physical response to do that.” Humor has been a tool for success for Alexis Wilkinson, and not just a tool for survival. She writes for Brooklyn Nine-Nine and previously wrote for VEEP, a job that she got right out of college, at the age of 22. And, before that, she made headlines as the first African-American woman to be president of Harvard Lampoon magazine.

Duration:00:18:58

[S2] Maureen Craig: This Strange, Peculiar Family I Call Mine

6/8/2017
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“Humor establishes new ground for parents and kids to relate on that isn't just parent-kid.” For Maureen Craig, humor is central to how she understands and relates to her family. As a parent, a wife, a daughter, and a brand strategy executive, she believes that there’s always something you can make a joke about.

Duration:00:16:19

[S2] Lalo Alcaraz: We Have Entered the Satire Dimension

6/8/2017
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“I use humor as a way to let our community know that we're not invisible, at least not to us.” Chicano cartoonist and writer Lalo Alcaraz explores his dual identity by creating characters and places where he can be seen. He’s known as a writer for the Fox sitcom Bordertown and for La Cucaracha, the first nationally syndicated, politically themed, Latino daily comic strip. Humor as a tool for survival is embodied in his very being.

Duration:00:16:57

[S2] Emily Nagoski: Laughter Is Like Orgasm

6/8/2017
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“When you are helpless with true laughter, it's like orgasm. Your body gets taken over. If it didn't feel so good, you'd think there was something wrong.” Sex scientist, researcher, and romance novelist Emily Nagoski sees humor as a way to understand and appreciate sex and our bodies. She says that belly laughs and rough housing play completely shift our physiology. This is what makes her romance characters so relatable — there’s laughter in their foreplay and sex.

Duration:00:15:51

[S2] Lindy West: Comedy Helps Us Love Our Bodies

6/8/2017
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“When everything feels horrible, what tiny detail can we seize on and laugh about.” Writer Lindy West talks about being fat and being a feminist with an honesty and vulnerability infused with humor. Titles of her essays and books — “My wedding was perfect — and I was fat as hell the whole time” or Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman — get at both the laughter and pain of her journey to body positivity, with poignant insights into the destructive power of comedy.

Duration:00:20:20

[S2] Margaret Cho: The Deep Connection Between Anger and Humor

6/8/2017
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“The best expression of humor is something that comes out of suffering and comes out of a sense of alienation.” Margaret Cho opens difficult conversations about rape, abuse, addiction, failure, and anger through her work as a comedian and writer. Anger and humor, she says, are deeply connected. And she sees talking and joking about her pain as a way to help people heal.

Duration:00:14:55

[S2] Jonny Sun: Jokes Make the World a Little Less Lonely

6/8/2017
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“Humor is a tool for inclusion and for making everyone realize: we're all together on this.” Jonny Sun has formed a devoted community of almost half a million followers on Twitter — tweeting through his alter ego, a lonely alien who views the world as an outsider, with curiosity and wonder. His tweets alternate between silly jokes and insightful, almost Zen-like, poetry. Through his words, he makes the world feel a little less lonely.

Duration:00:14:20

[S2] Hari Kondabolu: Comedy Is Therapeutic but Not Therapy

6/8/2017
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“My mom has a very dark sense of humor. I think that's how I learned how to recycle pain.” Hari Kondabolu is not your average stand-up comedian. He has a Masters in Human Rights and worked as an immigrants rights organizer — all of which you hear in his writing. His jokes simultaneously bring about discomfort and a nod of the head, without sounding preachy. He uses comedy as a coping mechanism for addressing complex issues of race, identity, and ethnicity post 9/11.

Duration:00:16:32

[S2] Sam Sanders: If I Can Laugh With You, I Can See You

6/8/2017
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“I cannot tell you how many times laughter has connected me with all different kinds of people throughout the country, of all kinds of political persuasions.” When politics and comedy mix they can become mean, sarcastic, and divisive. Reporter and NPR Politics Podcast co-host Sam Sanders thoughtfully avoids this. As an African American and Pentecostal growing up near a military base in San Antonio, he was surrounded by people from different class, political, and cultural backgrounds. This...

Duration:00:17:25

[S2] Terry McMillan: Humor Is a Form of Hope

6/8/2017
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“I don't think that humor is evasive at all. It’s how we protect our hearts from just bleeding to death.” Bestselling author Terry McMillan knows how to write funny yet complex female characters: Savannah in Waiting to Exhale, Stella in Stella’s Got Her Groove Back, and Georgia in her latest novel, I Almost Forgot About You. Whether they’re wrestling with heartbreak, grief, or loneliness, these women use humor to face whatever life throws at them. But these characters are simply taking the...

Duration:00:14:44

Season 2 Preview — Humor as a Tool for Survival

5/18/2017
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Humor as a tool for survival. That's the theme of our second season of Creating Our Own Lives. Host Lily Percy speaks with 15 different voices on the surprising ways humor shapes them and brings meaning to their lives. Including insights from writers, comedians, political and financial reporters, a sex educator and a rabbi — and starring voices like Margaret Cho, Hari Kondabolu, Terry McMillan, Sam Sanders, and Lindy West.

Duration:00:02:12

[S1] Mike Stavlund: Running is an Inherent Good

7/29/2016
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“When I'm running, I'm in my body, with all of its limitations but with all of its capabilities at the same time.” Mike Stavlund is the author of "A Force of Will" a memoir about the death of his 4-month-old son.

Duration:00:05:29

[S1] Justin Whitaker: ChiRunning: A Sitting Meditation

7/22/2016
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“If you watched me run, you wouldn’t think I was sitting or thinking about sitting.” Justin Whitaker is a writer, a ChiRunner and a Buddhist. For Justin, running is a part of his spiritual practice.

Duration:00:04:07

[S1] Sarah Khasawinah: Active Freedom

7/15/2016
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“When I'm running, I feel like I’m actively expressing gratitude.” Sarah Khasawinah works in the Senate to improve policies for older Americans. Her work requires focus and discipline, something that she also finds in her spiritual practice of running.

Duration:00:05:16

[S1] Roger Joslin: Preparing for Both the Run and the Prayer

7/8/2016
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“I began to notice that my running life and my meditating life were beginning to merge.” Roger Joslin is an Episcopal priest and the author of "Running the Spiritual Path," a how-to guide on running as meditation and prayer.

Duration:00:07:04

[S1] Mallary Tenore: I Always Think of My Mom When I'm Running

7/1/2016
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“My love for running started with me running towards my mom.” Mallary Tenore’s mother, Robin Jo, introduced her to one of the defining practices in her life: running — which has been equal parts destructive, spiritual, and healing.

Duration:00:06:55

[S1] Simran Jeet Singh: A Simple Way to Shatter Stereotypes

6/24/2016
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“Running challenges people to see me from a different perspective.” In Sikhism there is a duty to “hone the spiritual body in the same way that we hone our spiritual selves.” Simran Jeet Singh holds that in his practice as a runner.

Duration:00:05:25