The Urban Monk Podcast (general)

Our world has ended five times: it has been broiled, frozen, poison-gassed, smothered, and pelted by asteroids. What else could possibly happen? Journalist Peter Brannen has taken a close look at the five mass extinctions our planet has gone through. What exactly happened to cause extinction on such a massive, planet-wide level? How did any life make it past these events? Do these past extinction level events provide any clues to how it could happen again? If life was able to continue after these past events, does that provide any hope for humans should something catastrophic happen?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk129PeterBrannen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

We all feel fear. Yet we are often taught to ignore it, overcome it, push past it. But to what benefit? Once recognized as the best extreme skier in the world, Kristen Ulmer knows fear well. Rebuilding our understanding of fear from the ground up, Ulmer starts by exploring why we’ve come to view it as a negative. From here, she unpacks fear and shows it to be just one of 10,000 voices that make up our reality, here to help us come alive alongside joy, love, and gratitude. How can we harness our fear to overpower what we are fearful of in the first place?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk128KristenUlmer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Life has a way of getting us into a very comfortable, yet repetitive grind. We wake up, we shower, we go to work, we get home, we eat dinner, we sleep, we repeat the pattern day after day. Some of us used to do stuff. Some of that stuff might have been considered fun. What happened? Matt Walker wonders that too, but actually wants to help infuse some adventure back into your life. He founded and directs "Matt Walker Adventures" which leads small groups on mountain adventures with a focus on individual development. Why is it important to travel outside of our small town borders and see what else is out there? What irrational fears might some people have regarding international travel? What concerns are actually well founded? And what can be gained by experiencing something firsthand? Adventure is out there!

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Direct download: UrbanMonk127MattWalker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Politics overwhelm the national conversation. They've always dominated the conversation and they're especially at the forefront now. But for a lot of people, politics seem far removed for any realm of citizen control. Sure there's voting, but between elections, how can citizens hold politicians accountable? David Willett of the League of Conservation Voters joins The Urban Monk to discuss the tricky issue of politics. Especially regarding the environment, some politicians seem to have that so far off their radar as to seem entirely invisible to them. How do we give voice to our opinions in a way that will create legislative action?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk126DavidWillett.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:02pm EDT

Sometimes we have trouble, but we want to operate at 100%. Whether it's getting a presentation together at work, pushing ourselves harder at the gym, or just being present with our family, we have moments where we want to operate at full capacity. What keeps us from operating fully at times hard as we might try? In their new book, Peak Performance, Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness explore various practices that can get people to reach their optimal output. How much rest does one need before we put 100% of ourselves into a project? Are there physiological differences between rest and work? How can we align our bodies to do what we need it to do? And how can this be effective across a wide range of activities?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk125BradStulbergSteveMagness.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

If you're listening to Urban Monk, chances are you care about the environment. But with so many things seemingly going wrong, what are are some easy to take steps one can make to help? Lisa Archer of Friends of the Earth suggests something as simple as pushing retailers to increase organic options for groceries. It's something we all do, and retailers will always follow where the money is. At the end of the day for businesses, it's still a business. What kind of impact could the single consumer have if we change our spending habits? How will retailers have to react? How will that change where our food comes from? How does that help the environment at large?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk124LisaArcher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Most of us have heard of gluten — a protein found in wheat that causes widespread inflammation in the body. Americans spend billions of dollars on gluten-free diets in an effort to protect their health. But what if we’ve been missing the root of the problem? Pedram invites renowned cardiologist Dr. Steven Gundry who reveals that gluten is just one variety of a common, and highly toxic, plant-based protein called lectin. Lectins are found not only in grains like wheat but also in the “gluten-free” foods most of us commonly regard as healthy, including many fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and conventional dairy products. These proteins, which are found in the seeds, grains, skins, rinds, and leaves of plants, are designed by nature to protect them from predators (including humans). Once ingested, they incite a kind of chemical warfare in our bodies, causing inflammatory reactions that can lead to weight gain and serious health conditions. What steps do we have to take to avoid the lectins and what sort of swaps are available so that we might still have a full diet while avoiding the many things lectins are in?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk122StevenGundry.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

It’s no secret that women today are juggling a lot. They now make up more than half the workforce in the United States and are busier than ever with partners, children, family and friends, often putting the needs of others ahead of their own. And if they feel overwhelmed by it all or fall short of perfection, many have learned to be their own worst critic rather than their own best friend. To try to get women back on their own sides HeatherAsh Amara provides an antidote against the thinking that you are not enough. How can you be present here and now with work, your partner, your children, whatever is present in front of you right now? How can you reclaim your energy to focus on what you need to instead of worrying what happened in the past or worrying what might happen in the future? How can you get yourself unstuck from the everyday grind of life?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk121HeatherashAmara.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

For decades, we’ve been told the key to prosperity is to look out for number one. But recent science shows that to achieve durable success, we need to be more than just achievers; we need to be compassionate achievers. Compassion seems to be a big missing ingredient in a lot of human interactions. How can one be a better compassionate person and understand and connect with other people? Pedram Shojai welcomes author Chris Kukk to The Urban Monk to discuss why compassion can create more productive workplaces along with healthier, less violent communities.

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Direct download: UrbanMonk120ChrisKukk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Fear has a tendency to give us tunnel vision—we fill the unknown with our worst imaginings and cling to what’s familiar. But when confronted with new challenges, we need to think more broadly and adapt. When Isaac Lidsky learned that he was beginning to go blind at age thirteen, eventually losing his sight entirely by the time he was twenty-five, he initially thought that blindness would mean an end to his early success and his hopes for the future. After such a major setback, he didn't let being blind keep him down. He took responsibility over his reality and thrived. Pedram Shojai talks with him about the challenges he faced, what life was like before, during, and after he went blind, and how he is now able to run a business and raise children which in and of itself is difficult enough!

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Direct download: UrbanMonk119IsaacLidsky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT