Episode 89: RPE, Recovery, and the Intent to Thrive

In this episode, we revisit the practice of RPE, with particular attention towards what we should do when the experiences of our lives take us beyond the zone of moderation into levels of stress that lead to detriment, an experience many (all?) of us have lived over and over again--if not constantly--over the past year. We've spoken a lot over the past couple of months about thriving in the new world in which we find ourselves, and in this episode we speak very directly about how the practice of RPE will help us to do so, how we recover when we find ourselves beyond the zone of moderation, and how awareness of our experience in the present moment will (or at least should) dictate our responses to that moment and, more broadly, how we live our lives.

We also touch on some of the topics that arose in Benjamin's "Bottom Line" episodes of a few weeks back, and Benjamin takes a moment to speak his feelings on Texas Governor Greg Abbott's decision to end the mask mandate in his state.

Episode 88: COVID Aftereffects, Both Personal and Social

The impending anniversary of the COVID Zero Day, March 12th, got me thinking that it's been a while since I talked about my personal, physical experience as a COVID survivor. That day, when everything changed for all of us together, was also the day that everything began to change for me on a more personal level, as it was the day that the symptoms of what turned out to be COVID began to seriously affect me. It's now been almost a year, COVID still appears to be having ramifications on my health, and I can't help but wonder what the continued repercussions will be.

Jerry and I use my personal experience as the jumping off point for this week's conversation. We dive into the new reality of our world and the ways it affects health, wellness and fitness for all of us. We talk about how the continued unfolding of the pandemic is demanding lifestyle and outlook changes for all of us. Finally, we talk about how that understanding might lead us to treat ourselves and those around us better.

Episode 87 (RFB 21.0225): On Donald Trump’s Acquittal, the Filibuster, and the Belief That Drives Change

In the least surprising political event of 2021 so far, the Senate voted to acquit Donald Trump of the charge of inciting a mob to attack the Capitol Building. My question is this: should I even bother to be angry? Also in this episode, I discuss the horrific institution that is the Senate filibuster, and argue that this hideous holdover from an even more racist time than now should be put to rest. Finally, I talk about the beliefs that hold us stuck in the status quo, and how choosing to believe differently could start to bring change.

The Ezra Klein Show episode that I talk about in this episode can be found here.

Episode 86: A Good Coach Must Be a Good Student

At the beginning of February, Benjamin participated in a ski clinic at Angel Fire, NM. He found the experience so enlivening that it led him to this thesis: that any coach who is not him- or herself actively getting coaching is at the very least a bit suspect. That thesis was the jumping-off point for the conversation you'll hear in this episode. We talk here about (surprise!) the need for coaching, exploring first principles, how to find the right coach, and much more.

Episode 85: The Bottom Line, Revisited

A couple of weeks ago on A Better Story, I spoke of reaching a new bottom line with respect to the podcast: that I would no longer work on the podcast on deadline day. Now that I've had a little time to explore the significance of that bottom line, I want to share what I've learned so far, because that bottom line is proving quite important to the structure of my days and weeks. I believe that what I've learned so far will prove useful to anyone engaging in creative work, as well as to anyone walking the path of growth.

Episode 84: COVID Mutates Rapidly. Still, We Will Thrive

A friend of the show sent me an article that describes the rapidity with which COVID mutates, and it seems now that the best available evidence points to COVID mutating--or, more accurately, evolving--rapidly enough that our vaccines will only ever give imperfect protection. If that is indeed the case, then it follows that the vaccine is not going to lead to the end of COVID. COVID will not be going the way of smallpox. It will be more like the flu: though the pandemic is likely to end, we will continue to see outbreaks. With that in mind, how should we meet this latest information? How do we go forward most skillfully, when so many of us have pinned hopes to the end of coronavirus, rather than, as seems likely, a situation in which it's less all-encompassing but still relevant in our lives?

The NPR story I speak about in the introduction can be found here.

Episode 83: Michael Gurshtein Speaks About the Historical Moment

For the first time on LSH/RFB, we are joined by a guest. Michael Gurshtein is a dear friend of mine and a friend of LSH since the very beginning. On January 6th, as I was still reeling from the events of the day, I contacted Michael and asked if he would like to be a guest on the show. First of all, he has a depth of knowledge about history that gives him the ability to situate important events within the sweep of history. Second of all, back in October he shared with me a monologue he had written that spoke with great feeling about where we found ourselves as a society as the election approached, and I felt LSH/RFB listeners would benefit from hearing it.

This episode starts with Michael performing that monologue. Afterwards, we share conversation about the events of January 6th and the historical moment we find ourselves in. Neither of us believes that the dangers to our society that were exposed so forcefully on that day are going to disappear anytime soon, and Michael shares his historical understanding so that we can more effecitvely situate those events within the broader historical context.

Episode 82: On Vision, Mastery and Beginner’s Mind

In this wide-ranging conversation, Jerry and Benjamin discuss such topics as trusting the vision that drives us forward on the path, what it means to be a master, and the importance of maintaining beginner's mind.

Episode 81: The Bottom Line

On Tuesday night, I set a new bottom line for myself with respect to work on the podcast, and in doing so--and meaning it!--I discovered a surprising and exhilirating feeling of freedom. In this episode, I share the story and discuss why I believe this action offers a useful perspective when it comes to making change in our lives.

Episode 80: The Coming Mental Health Crisis

I was on a long drive, musing about why it is that, notwithstanding the constant stress all of us have been under for the last eleven months, most people seem to be doing ... okay. Most people seem to be doing okay. Why is that, I thought? Given what we've been going through, why aren't more people collapsing? And then I realized that I knew the answer to that: our stress systems are doing exactly what they were meant to do. They keep us alive, and moving forward, during times of stress.

But this level of energy expediture comes with a price. Most of us are operating at a heavy deficit. Ultimately, that debt will need to be repaid.

In this episode, we talk about this understanding, and we discuss what we can do to most skillfully prepare ourselves for the challenges that lie, more or less inevitably, ahead.