The 7 best podcasts and books I've been listening to lately

What I love about reading most is getting lost in either a story, or someone else’s perception of the world for a while. It’s a nice break from your own mind and sometimes it can even change your mind, (or your life if you’re lucky).

Reading is so enhancing for our lives, but in saying that there’s also invaluable knowledge to be gained simply by listening to ourselves. In a world where the default is to consume over 20,000+ words a day, our minds need idle time to process. Nowadays I try to listen to myself instead of follow a reading routine. When I am reading or listening to podcasts however, this is what you’ll find in my library:

The Expanded Podcast with Lacey Phillips 

Like any other self-realizing pursuit (yoga, meditation, working out, neuroplasticity), manifestation is also a practice that takes repetition.

Lacy Phillips is the founder of Free and Native, an online portal teaching manifestation using her own personally developed method. Steeped in psychology, neuroscience and her energetic gifts, her disillusionment with the ‘think positive’ and superstitious style of manifestation is what compelled her to develop her own modality. The Expanded Podcast was designed to do just that; expand the perception of what’s possible through weekly interviews that delve into the emotional and spiritual side of each interviewee’s journey to get to a more aligned and successful life. She has a knack for asking the hard questions and getting people to open up more than they might in another context.

Rich Roll Podcast

“Pursue what’s in your heart, and the universe will conspire to support you.” 

This is my go-to when I feel like being inspired. Rich was once an out-of-shape corporate type who turned it around in his 40’s, opting for a vegan diet and running ultra-marathons. He now hosts his highly successful podcast and interviews people in the wellness or personal development sphere that are at the top of the game. From meditation teachers, vegan body builders, to ex punk rockers turned hare krishna’s — it’s informative, funny at times and always inspiring.

Braiding Sweetgrass — Robin Wall Kimmerer

“In some Native languages the term for plants translates to “those who take care of us.” 

I joined the book club of my dreams recently organised by Jasmine Christie of Anamundi Studios and this was the first book off the rank. All about indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants, it’s poetically written with anecdotes about her life as a botanist, mother and member of the indigenous Potawatomi nation of Oklahoma. My perception about life and the natural world has been affected from her insights, one of the most impactful being the way language shapes our relationship to the world. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s ancestor’s Algonquian language use verbs instead of nouns to describe nature, positioning nature as a place full of ‘someone’s,’ not ‘things’ and ultimately giving their nation a greater respect for all living things.

Tara Brach’s Podcast and Meditation 

“Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance. If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness. Radical Acceptance directly dismantles the very foundations of this trance.” 

I use an app called Insight Timer to time and track my morning meditation and spiritual author and psychologist Tara Brach’s meditations are available free of charge there. A gong sounds you in and out of the meditation and Tara’s calming voice guides you throughout. Her Podcast is ideal listening when feeling stuck in your thoughts and needing to ground back into your body. She takes life back to the fundamentals of what’s most important, and very gently brings you back to the present and your higher self. She’s the real deal, someone you can tell put years of work in to become the awakened soul that she is — there’s no ego, or preachy/guru vibes — she just lives, breathes and shares.

What a time to be alone — Chidera Eggerue

“Your purpose transcends desirability. You are here to lead a full life.” 

I feel like this woman is a modern superhero here to slap the archaic beauty standards right out of society. I first found her on Instagram and was struck by her fiercely articulate messages on female empowerment and body acceptance, like “there’s more than one way to be beautiful, it’s not about how perky your boobs are. Impressing men isn’t even a goal worth making. There is literally no wrong way to be a woman… nature doesn’t recognise beauty standards.” It was this that made me curious enough to do a cheeky kindle download and skim through her new-paradigm view of the world.

The Celestine Prophecy — James Redfield

“We must assume every event has significance and contains a message that pertains to our questions...this especially applies to what we used to call bad things...the challenge is to find the silver lining in every event, no matter how negative.” 

As someone that experiences a silly amount of coincidences, I was recommended this book by a friend and didn’t emerge from its pages until I finished it a few days later. It’s a great little fictional read with themes like synchronicity, energy work and intuition woven throughout an Indiana Jones style narrative. This definitely served to colour my perception of life a little differently and give me a better understanding of my own intuition.

The Mind Gut Connection: How hidden conversations within our bodies impacts our mood, our choices, and our overall health — Emeran Mayer

What we sense in our gut will ultimately affect not only the decisions we make about what to eat and drink, but also the people we choose to spend time with and the way we assess critical information as workers, jury members, and leaders.

I haven’t read the whole book yet, but so far it has blown my mind. It becomes apparent when reading that there’s still so much we don’t understand about the intelligence of our bodies. Sharing the latest scientific findings on the relationship between our gut and mind, Emeran Mayer manages to distill all this in a compelling way for a book about human anatomy. My favourite takeaway from this book so far is how the role of our intuition has been completely validated through these findings and have shown that intuition is often a more reliable source than our minds for making decisions.