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Live Well: These podcasts will save your soul

May 22, 2018 Updated: May 22, 2018 at 7:37 am
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Jennifer Mulson staff mug Thursday, June 12, 2014. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

Anyone who's read Julia Cameron's classic self-help book, "The Artist's Way," knows she's a strong believer in "filling the well."

To deepen your creativity, you must find what inspires and nourishes you mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and partake in it often.

For me, listening to podcasts devoted to topics I'm passionate about rejuvenates me. Here are 10 of my favorites. Drop me a line with your go-tos. I'm always in the market for a new one: jen.mulson@gazette.com.

- "Let's Play: The Create Podcast" - The joy that co-hosts Kristin Hanggi and Natalie Roy seem to have in each other's presence and riffing on whatever theme they've come up with is addictive. They love to discourse on spirituality, yoga, theater, music and relationships. Sometimes they have uplifting guests, and their cup of bliss runneth over. Recent episode topics include the joy of the delay, the art of emptiness and having faith.

- "Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert" - One of my favorite writers is also a delightful podcaster. She's got the gift of gab in addition to the gift of the written word. In each episode, over the course of two seasons, Gilbert calls an artistically frustrated writer and talks them off the ledge, so to speak. She assigns them homework and gets one of her cohorts on the phone for further advice. Those cohorts make the show even more magical: Martha Beck, Brené Brown, Michael Ian Black, Neil Gaiman, Cheryl Strayed and Ann Patchett, to name a few.

- "On Being" - I've listened to Krista Tippett, a journalist and former diplomat with a theology background, since her podcast began in 2010. Her interviews feature philosophers, researchers, theologists and writers who aren't afraid to go deep and explore the complexities of life and the world. A few of my favorite episodes are "The Poetry of Ordinary Time" with poet Marie Howe, "The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships" with Alain de Botton and "The Alchemy of Pilgrimage" with Paulo Coelho.

- "The Life Coach School" - Brooke Castillo is your very own free life coach. She doesn't mince words, and she'll tell you the hard truth nobody else dares speak aloud. Truths about being more decisive, cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, urges, organizing your mind and how to have a better life. Sold!

- "Light Work with Danielle LaPorte" - This is a relatively new one, so you can get caught up in a matter of days. I've liked LaPorte for a number of years. She has several books, but I particularly like listening to her speak. She's passionate, grounded, warm, wise, funny - all necessary qualities for a successful podcast. Her past episodes have explored making deeper connections, the lessons we learn from suffering and how to live in joy.

- Tara Brach - One listen to Brach's podcast and you'll be soothed. The psychologist not only frequently guides listeners through Buddhist meditations, but does so in a tranquil voice. Try the episodes "Radical Self Honesty: The Joy of Getting Real" and "Meditation: Mind Like a Vast Sky."

- "The RobCast" - Rob Bell is an author, speaker and former pastor who touches on all sorts of spiritual topics. He doesn't get so heavy into religious texts that you're turned off, but he finds a way to make his sense of the world approachable to all. Try these episodes: "The One About Boundaries," "Everyone is Your Teacher" and "The Importance of Boredom"; robbell.podbean.com.

- "Oprah's Super Soul Conversations" - Goodness, Oprah Winfrey certainly attracts some high-falutin' guests to her show. Thich Nhat Hanh, Marianne Williamson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel, Ram Dass, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Arianna Huffington and many more. That rich variety of viewpoints will keep you chewing on your own thoughts and living an examined life, the best kind.

- "Superhero Life with Andrea Scher" - I've followed Scher's blog for at least a decade, following the artist through meeting her husband, infertility, the birth of two boys, subsequent divorce and retackling the dating scene. I love the way she finds lessons along the way and her ability to carve out a little light even on the darkest of days. And then she started a podcast, and it's as good as her blog posts. Some of my favorite episodes include "The Wild Edge of Sorrow" with Francis Weller, "The Five Invitations" with Frank Ostaseski and "Love Styles and Radical Authenticity" with Shanda Catrice; superherolife.com.

- "Dear Sugars" - You might be familiar with the name Cheryl Strayed. She's the woman behind the ultra popular memoir "Wild," which was turned into a film starring Reese Witherspoon. You might not be as familiar with the name Steve Almond, who also makes his living as a writer. The two together are the Sugars, a he-said, she-said advice show. Folks write in with questions, and the Sugars answer as genuinely as anybody I've ever heard giving advice. They've tackled infidelity with Esther Perel, a popular Belgian psychotherapist, how pornography can affect relationships and the lowdown on male-female friendships, and even had Hillary Clinton on to answer a question about female ambition; wbur.org/dearsugar.

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