Season Seven: Spirituality & Religion

Welcome back to The Listen Blog: a space where you can find highlights and insights from The Listen Podcast, hosted by Kate Jetmore. This post focuses on Season Seven, a series of interviews featuring Spirituality & Religion.

Here, we ask ourselves questions such as: How do we communicate with one another? How do our background and our culture define our ways of communication? What is the significance of dreams and visions? Continue reading to find out!

Sarah Ronan: Converting to Islam

Even though Sarah grew up in a Christian household, she drifted away from religion when she was 17 years old. After years of partying and doing her thing, she started looking for a deeper meaning at age 28. She researched multiple religions and, just when she was looking into Islam, she met the man who would become her husband. He came from Egypt and was a non-practicing Muslim.

It soon became clear to Sarah that she would convert to Islam. She found a sense of peace and dignity, as well as a loving community that changed her life. She started wearing the hijab and went to University. She used her degrees to work as a teacher at Islamic schools. She found everything she was ever looking for.                  

“I think we all find our path to God, and Islam happens to
be my path to God, and the path that has worked for me.”

(Sarah, 38:56)

However, being a Muslim in America wasn’t always easy, especially after September 11th. Even though Sarah never felt seriously threatened, she decided to stay at home for a few days after the attacks. If you want to find out more about her experiences, her insights and her decision to wear the hijab, feel free to check out the full interview here.

Arun Deva: Finding Stillness

Arun’s interview is full of insights on the world we live in. As a yoga therapist and an Ayurvedic practitioner, he sees his craft as a path to discovering oneself and to understanding life. At a time when we are enduring a global pandemic that is changing the world, Arun shares his vision of the international response we are witnessing. According to him, it is up to us, the people of the world, to use our power to change course and build a better future for the generations to come.

“The power of the people of the world uniting for peace is more than any force that may try and oppose it.”

(Arun, 47:57)

Arun sees the global pandemic as another way that nature is fighting back. Humanity is out of alignment and we have been deaf to her call to come back to ourselves and find stillness. Stillness is our essence. We can abandon it, but it can never abandon us. We just need to slow down, listen, learn and heal. We cannot align with fear.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Arun’s teachings. You can learn more by listening to the full interview here,  or visit his website, where you will find information on upcoming workshops, including Healing the Heart, Healing the Mind.

Rachael Hayes: Committing to the Moment

When we invited Rachael to join us on The Listen Podcast, we had no idea that her interview would be recorded against the backdrop of powerful protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As a self-described social justice minister, Rachael had much to share about first becoming politically aware while at seminary, examining what it means to be a white woman, and taking to the streets and raising her voice in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I found myself pulled out into the street by my heart.”

(Rachael, 47:57)

Like most others, Rachael’s path has not been a straight one. She was raised in a Catholic home in Louisville, KY, left home to study theatre, sold cheese in a NYC farmer’s market, and spent time on a remote monastery where she ultimately decided to apply to seminary. Now a Unitarian Universalist minister with her own congregation in Amherst, MA, Rachael sees herself leaning in to her work in social justice. And it’s fair to say we’re all a little richer for it.

Do yourself a favor, and listen to Rachael’s full interview here .

What did you think of Season Seven? Can you relate to the paths taken by our various guests? Were you inspired to think differently about what a spiritual life looks like? We hope you’ll tell us all about it.

If you have an experience you’d like to share, or if you have an idea for a future season, please reach out to us on social media. We’d love to hear from you!

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For more insightful interviews, tune in to The Listen Podcast on your favorite podcasting platform.

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