Listen to this: On Being

One of the most unexpected luxuries I’ve discovered in adulthood is inexplicably waking up on a Sunday morning before 8 am, feeling completely rested, the room bathed in early-morning light.

I can’t explain it – it’s one of the best feelings, to know I’m up at such an hour, the entire day ahead of me and to spend exactly as I like. In those quiet moments back when I was in Indianapolis, I’d turn on the radio next to my bed and catch some of On Being, a radio show hosted by Krista Tippett, a woman with the most soothing, reassuring and pleasant voice perhaps ever to grace the radio waves.

The show could be called a religious one (and was at one time called Speaking of Faith), but that’d be a quick way to disregard something that’s much more than that. In reality, the show – or the podcast version that I’ve taken to listening to regularly – welcomes a new guest each week with whom Tippett converses about some of the most stirring, deceptively complex and thoughtful topics one might have the pleasure of listening to.

By focusing on a single guest for the duration of the hour-long show, it’s almost as if you’re eavesdropping on Tippett and her companion from the next table over at a cafe, listening in to their relaxed and contemplative interview over a cappuccino that’s long since gone cold, only you’re too engrossed to notice.

A recent episode featured a conversation all about the importance of play:

…if you allow those innate talents to build upon themselves and the environment is favorable enough so that it supports that, then the sense of empowerment and freedom such as a premier musician or a prime athlete that’s joyful in their athleticism or, you know, the writer who’s imaginative  — J. K. Rowling, you know  — I think that then you see that there is a union between self and talent.

And that this is nature’s way of sort of saying this is who you are and what you are. And I’m sure if you go back and think about both of your children or yourself and go back to your earliest emotion-laden, visual and visceral memories of what really gave you joy, you’ll have some sense of what was natural for you and where your talents lie. So that’s why I write that. I think it’s pretty important.

Other favorite conversations to eavesdrop on include Bobby McFerrin (sprinkled with impromptu melodies), Desmond Tutu (a rebroadcast, but dang if that laugh isn’t infectious), Dave Isay (the founder of StoryCorps), and Jennifer Michael Hecht (a conversation about suicide turned hopeful and mysterious).

You can listen to the show online, via the podcast, a mobile app or, you know, on those early weekend mornings you wake up refreshed and ready for some reflection in your life. If you’ve got about an hour, there are worse ways you could spend it.