Contemplify podkast


Paul Swanson | Contemplative Shoveler

The Contemplify podcast kindles the examined life through artful musings with scholars, creatives and master teachers. Contemplify seeks to glean wisdom from master contemplatives across the ages (Thomas Merton, Simone Weil, Lao Tzu, Ralph Waldo Emerson to name a few) by those who know them best—the scholars who have devoted themselves to studying, embracing and teaching the contemplative’s life and work in the world. Interviews with creatives and master teachers shine a light forward on engaging meaning and depth through subtle, artistic means and exploring beyond the current boundaries of thought to make way for a more sustainable frontier. Each episode delivers a subtly intoxicating* exchange on the contemplative lifestyle with practical takeaways to emulate in daily life. Contemplify gladly joins the creatives, thought leaders and scholars ringing the bell in the ivory tower for the pleasure of those robbing a moment of contemplation on the backporch. Ring the bell. Rob the moment. Contemplify. Host, Paul Swanson, is a husband, father and contemplative educator at the Center for Action and Contemplation's Living School**. *Contemplify is best served with a pint in hand. Please listen responsibly. ** All shenanigans, tom foolery and bally-hoo posted on Contemplify are my own. Contemplify is not representative of the Center for Action and Contemplation or Richard Rohr on any matter.

100 odcinki(-ów)

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    Slow Yourself to be Awed with J. Drew Lanham


    J. Drew Lanham is an Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Master Teacher, and Certified Wildlife Biologist at Clemson University . He's the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature and the collection of poetry and meditations, Sparrow Envy: Field Guide to Birds and Lesser Beasts, which is the focus of our conversation today. And I just gotta share this self-descriptive line by Drew, “I am a wondering wander in love with nature and all the sensuality that falls softly in raindrops, rises riotously with each dawn chorus and whispers goodnight with Whip-poor-wills at dusk.” Drew is my favorite type of guest. A multi-hyphenated creature of the wilds; an academic, poet, writer, seer, teacher, prophet, justice seeker, and changemaker in culture. Drew’s generosity of spirit is evident in his pen and in our conversation. You will get a taste of his poetry today, and then purchase yourself a copy of Sparrow Envy. Check J. Drew Lanham’s work at
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    Gary Nabhan (aka Brother Coyote) on Wisdom Gleaned from Fishers & Farmers


    Gary Nabhan (aka Brother Coyote) is an Ecumenical Franciscan Brother, a first generation Lebanese-American, seed saver, agro-ecologist, ethnobotanist, agrarian activist, and author. A former MacArthur Fellow, he has been called the "father of the local food movement" by Time. He currently holds the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Food & Water Security for the Borderlands. Gary has engaged with farmers and refugee farmworkers in Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, and Oman. Nabhan keeps orchards, gardens and greenhouses at his home in Patagonia, Arizona, then fishes and forages from an old adobe house on the shores of the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. The focus of our conversation today is Gary’s book, Jesus for Farmers and Fishers: Justice for All Those Marginalized by Our Food System. Check out Gary Nabhan’s work at Visit Contemplify at
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    Season Two Trailer


    On the cusp of season 2, I was ruminating on how I might introduce the tonality of this series of conversations. The September musing jumped to mind. In this musing, I reflected one some words to live by according to Ralph Waldo Emerson  And there was one Emerson line that stuck to my ribs. No matter how hard I scraped, it would not leave me alone.  "Nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm." Not cheerleader or car salesman enthusiasm. But enthusiasm as the fire within, the fire blazing the passions of being and becoming. In the resonance of this enthusiasm I learned that The greek roots of Enthusiasm mean being inspired by a god or as an incarnate possession. The muse of enthusiasm sings and inspires this season of Contemplify. Each guest this season tends a contemplative fire, offering kinship and perspective. I raise glass around the fire to each of these resplendent souls. Over the course of our conversations we highlight the overrated and underrated notes of contemplative life, and ask questions that pierce our fears in the face of turmoil, and let go into the wildness of being fully alive. Join me in kindling the examined life for all of us contemplatives in the world Season Two of Contemplify starts next week. New episodes drop every other week for the rest of the year. Subscribe to Contemplify to ensure I can digitally hand deliver each new episode to you directly. I raise my glass to you, dear listener, as we journey together as contemplatives in the world kindling the examined life with enthusiasm.
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    Your Work Should Be the Praise of What You Love (September Musing)


    September 2021 Musing on Ralph Waldo Emerson's philosophy of life. Season 2 of Contemplify is getting warmed up on the stove. I'll let you know when it is ready to be served. Visit
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    Like People or Dogs


    This marks the 100th episode of Contemplify. We celebrate the triple digit with a musing and an announcement.
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    Charlie Chaplin in the Gears of Modern Times


    A contemplative musing on machines, lifeblood, and facing the facts of life.  Visit for more shenanigans  
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    Scott Ballew on Talking to Mountains & the Sublimity of Sad Songs


    Scott Ballew is songwriter from Austin, Texas. He earns his keep as the Head of Films and Commercials at YETI, producing and directing films that inspire a life well-lived. During the pandemic, Scott dusted off his guitar and got to writing songs, polishing them, and then to his own surprise, releasing an album out into the wild. Scott Ballew’s first album is called Talking to Mountains. In our conversation we talk about the genesis of his album, the relationship between sobriety and creativity, the entanglement of humor and sadness, how legendary Texan songwriter Terry Allen helped form Scott’s artistic backbone, the perennial life questions that have been peppering him throughout his entire life and a good deal more. You can listen to Scott Ballew’s album Talking to Mountains on all the streaming services or head over to to get your mitts on a cassette or an LP. And you read that right, that’s
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    Tending to the Spiritual Interior of Language with Lia Purpura


    There is so much I can say about the poet and essayist Leah Purpura. I’ll give this brief introduction, Lia was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the writer in residence at the University of Maryland, and has been published in all the notable places. I read her two most recent works, It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful, a book of poems, and All the Fierce Tethers, a book of essays, and was graced by her mastery of language and reverence for the awe and wonder in the details. Our conversation does not disappoint, Lia is wise, poetic, and enjoys the same teeter totter I do; playful with serious matters and serious about playful matters, balanced on the fulcrum of loving presence.
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    Deadstock in the Storm with Jeffrey Foucault


    Jeffrey Foucault is a top shelf songwriter. Foucault has a slew of albums worth your collection and his latest album, Deadstock, should be the first one you pick up. Deadstock has been a real good friend to me in the ups and downs of this season. Foucault’s music makes a grown man like me swoon, sway, and slyly sing his lyrics to myself. This is the type of music that keeps me sane and holds my heart in communion with the whole heartbreaking human family.  Our conversation holds the tenor of two respectful Midwesterners holding court while a storm blows in. A storm was coming to blanket Jeffrey’s place with feet of snow while I was sitting easy in the desert with pints of coffee peppering him with questions about literary influences like Jim Harrison and Barry Lopez, crafting an album, humor, Greg Brown, Chris Dombrowksi, fishing, and why poetry belongs in bars. These themes and much more built a trellis of conversation to cover us from the winter storm and desert heat. Doesn’t get much better than this for me folks, a real banquet of stories told with a lot of humor, humility, and generosity.  Check out Jeffrey Foucault’s music and newsletter at Buy Deadstock, thank me now. Sign up for his newsletter, my favorite monthly missive (and that includes my own offering).
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    Being is Action with Andrew Krivak


    Andrew Krivak is the author of three novels: The Signal Flame (2017), a Chautauqua Prize finalist, and The Sojourn (2011), a National Book Award finalist and winner of both the Chautauqua Prize and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction, and his latest novel, The Bear. In our conversation you hear of Andrew’s formation as a Jesuit, our dwelling in the depth dimension of now, how his novel The Bear relates to that dimension and is also a manifesto against interiority, and so much more. Friends, I read The Bear and found it to be an incredibly moving novel about place, presence, courage and strength in uncertain times. And let’s face it, all times are uncertain. I have bought, loaned, recommended The Bear to countless people. After this conversation you will understand why. Visit to learn more.

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