By Martha Beck and Rowan Mangan

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Category: Self-Improvement

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A podcast for people who are trying to figure it out. Join Martha Beck and Rowan Mangan for help figuring out everyday conundrums. If you’re bewildered, join us!

Episode Date
Brainwashed into Happy
Have you ever found yourself answering “I’m fine” when the exact opposite was true? Toxic positivity, or what Martha and Ro call “happy-washing,” is the cultural pressure to force ourselves into a state of performative happiness. In this episode of Bewildered, Martha and Ro explore what really happens when we stop happy-washing, let go of culture, and come back to our true nature to express the bad and the ugly as well as the good. So listen in and get in touch with your inner complainer. It’s liberating!
May 18, 2022
Are You a Messy?
A gracious German author once asked Martha if she was “a messy” after seeing the disorderly state of her hotel room. (She’d been frantically searching through her luggage moments before.) But is being "a messy" a permanent label that defines us? On this episode of Bewildered, Martha and Rowan delve into the dichotomy of mess vs. order and the beauty to be found in chaos. Tune in for insights on how to step away from culture and tap into nature to find a more fluid relationship with both mess and order.
May 04, 2022
The Vanishing Horizon of “Enough”
Is enough ever truly enough? In this episode of Bewildered, Martha and Rowan examine our culture's pursuit of "enough"—a pursuit that never satisfies because it never ends.  Drawing on Asian philosophy, their own helpful (and often hilarious) stories, and the occasional anecdote from the animal kingdom, Martha and Ro argue that "enough" may not even exist—and reveal what we're all starving for instead.  Tune in for their refreshing reframe of "enough" and how we can bring this concept back into our lives.
Apr 20, 2022
Outfoxing Anxiety
Did you know anxiety disorders have risen 400% since the pandemic? (And that's just the diagnosed cases.) The cultural idea is that we're victims of our chemistry. But when it comes to anxiety, we have a lot more choices than we might think. In this episode of Bewildered, Martha and Ro talk about anxiety and its tendency to hack around any cultural solutions we throw at it. They also share the answers to be found in nature and the right side of the brain. It's a fascinating episode you won't want to miss!
Apr 06, 2022
The Time-Bound Mind
Is the culture trying to pull the wool over our eyes about time? (Spoiler alert: YES.) In this episode of Bewildered, Martha and Rowan explore the concept of time and our complex relationship with it. From the “rubber time” of non-Western cultures, to the experience of “premembering” events that haven’t happened yet, to Einstein's theory that time is just an illusion, Martha and Ro cover it all. It's a time-bending episode you won't want to miss—it may even blow your mind!
Mar 23, 2022
Letting Yourself Off the Hook
Every culture has what Martha and Ro refer to as “hooks”—powerful influences that compel us to behave a certain way and that even shape our identity. How much we buy into the culture determines the extent to which we become stuck on these hooks. Martha and Ro dive deep to explore the cultural hooks that often pull us away from our true purpose. They also offer insights on how we can free ourselves to seek a more authentic way of being. It's an enlightening conversation you won't want to miss!
Mar 09, 2022
Toothpicks, Dinosaurs, and Snakebites
They’re back! Martha and Ro are bringing you another installment of The BeWild Files where they talk about the things that YOU, their listeners, are trying to figure out. In this episode, Martha and Ro answer questions about how to make money with integrity when you're in a hurry, how to become more creative and less critical when leading teams, and how nature helps us take intentional rest when we truly need it. It's a liberating episode about abandoning culture for creativity - you won't want to miss it!
Mar 02, 2022
Perfection Paralysis
Do you strive for perfection? Or does the need to be perfect prevent you from striving? We all have some kind of beauty or wisdom inside of us, but “perfection paralysis” often stops us from sharing it. In this episode of Bewildered, Marty & Ro offer different perspectives on perfectionism & talk about its antagonistic relationship with creativity. Tune in for insights on how to get past perfection paralysis, what the opposite of perfection is, & why sharing your work with the world is a selfless act!
Feb 09, 2022
Creative Contrarians
Back by popular demand! In this episode, Marty and Ro deliver another installment of The BeWild Files where they talk about the things that you, their listeners, are trying to figure out. Marty & Ro discuss the importance of contrarians and counterculture to the culture as a whole (and also to our own inner culture), the concept of sin as a tool of control, and how joy is key to accessing our creativity—and solving big problems. It's another episode full of insights (and absurdity) you won't want to miss!
Dec 15, 2021
Shame. It’s a powerful tool for socialization and the strategy culture uses to keep us in its little box. In this episode of Bewildered, Marty and Ro dissect the ways we can be shamed and how we can move away from that into what feels true for ourselves. We all have those areas in life where we’re vulnerable to shame, but we also have areas where we can never be shamed. Tune in to this illuminating episode for insights to help you stand up to the culture, return to your own wild truth, & become unshamable.
Dec 01, 2021
Rings, Ducks and Earbuds
You spoke, and Marty & Ro listened: they’re pioneering a new type of episode featuring things that YOU, their listeners, are trying to figure out. Introducing…The BeWild Files. In this episode (which contains more factoids than you probably care to know about the private anatomy of various animals) they discuss different modes of viewing our life choices and the importance of rituals around change. They even come up with a few ceremony ideas. Don't miss this off-the-cuff, unfiltered conversation—it's WILD!
Nov 17, 2021
Ten Thousand Spoons
Some of us have plenty of energy to meet every cultural demand, but most of us have less. Enter Spoon Theory, Christine Miserandino’s brilliant analogy in which every action we take costs us a unit of energy represented by a spoon. Our culture is invested in what Ro and Martha call “Spoon Privilege,” whereby people who naturally have a lot of energy (or “spoons”) tend to set the standard that comes to be considered normal.
Nov 03, 2021
Sleep For Your Life
Sleep: it’s not just for wimps and sissies. Until Martha and Ro dug into the topic of this podcast—the innocent little universal need for SLEEP—they didn't realize how much of a cultural minefield sleep is. There is SO MUCH sleep-shaming going on. They discuss the science of sleep and all the ways that the culture is WHACK on this topic. Sleep makes us learn, makes us smarter, makes us heal, makes us competent humans. And yet, the story that “sleep is for the weak” endures. We have to come to our senses!
Oct 20, 2021
As Good As It Gets?
Why is it that sometimes when life looks most amazing, it often feels so…meh? Martha and Ro dig into the difference between a life that’s prescribed by culture, and one that we invent from our inner wild selves. Ro offers us the concept of a Wild INventure—an adventure we dream up from within, something thrilling and bold that is also uniquely our own. Instead of embarking on “adventures” that are really nothing but cultural consensus, we come to our senses and end up with the best possible experiences.
Sep 22, 2021
Ghosting the Argument (Empty Boats)
In this episode Martha and Ro talk about the “ultimate spiritual lifehack” for dealing with other human beings. Conflict is everywhere, and you can’t win enough arguments to ever escape the culture of argument itself. So Martha and Ro suggest a process of “ghosting” this part of the culture. The solution? It’s all about empty boats! Listen for insight, giggles, and a guest appearance by Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s stake!
Aug 25, 2021
When They Don’t Get You
In this episode, Ro and Martha talk about a disheartening phenomenon that can happen when you bring your truest truth into the world. Instead of positive or negative feedback, some people just won’t get you. This non-response is weirdly hard, but we can still come to our senses. Also covered in this fun-filled ep: Martha’s love-hate relationship with Siri, and for the first time Ro and Martha answer questions from bewildered listeners!
Aug 04, 2021
More Than Five Senses
Martha and Ro reveal that they’ve both had “coming out” moments as mystics: people who seek to commune with, unite with, and understand “the mystery.” Both have had many inexplicable experiences, and they sustain a willing suspension of disbelief about all things magical. Ro urges listeners to remember that we don't have to reject science or reject magic, but we DO have to reject the idea that those things are mutually exclusive.
Jul 05, 2021
Brave Enough to be Weird
When a listener reports that this podcast allows her to “be more eccentrically myself," Martha and Ro dive into the topic of individual nonconformity. Going out into the world as your full and genuine self, how can you be brave enough to be weird? When you break the rules of the culture, you may experience tribal shaming or social betrayal. Martha suggests behavior tweaks and mindset shifts that can fortify your bravery when you want to be your weirdest self but fear the repercussions.
Apr 26, 2021
Getting Back on the Horse
Returning to activities that we’ve temporarily abandoned—due to, say, a global pandemic—brings a whole slew of challenges. Do we do things how we used to, even though we’ve changed fundamentally as people? If not, how can we approach our old work, habits, or hobbies in new ways? In this conversation, Martha and Ro unpack “the tyranny of how it's done” and offer advice on checking in with your senses before getting back on the horse and riding off in the wrong direction.
Apr 21, 2021
On Top of Things?
Has anyone ever told you that a particular life-changing app or journaling technique will help you get a handle on everything in your life? If so, Martha and Ro would like to inform you that they were LYING! Life is overwhelming, and no calendar or tool will change that. We can no more “stay on top of everything” than we can control the universe. Tune in as our hosts use examples from Confucianism, body surfing, and landscape architecture to show us the value of letting go, heeding nature, and being fluid.
Apr 06, 2020
Comparing Lives
Adulting is hard. So why is everyone on social media doing it SO MUCH BETTER than we are? In this funny and heartfelt episode, Martha and Ro unpack the comparison trap and remind us to define ourselves by ourselves. Martha points out that comparison sets us up to feel shame and misery and that it’s a force unique to certain Western cultures. Ro suggests realigning our points of reference and offers a remarkably effective exercise to help us recalibrate around our true selves.
Mar 10, 2020
An Over-Cluttered Life
Stuff, things, objects, physical belongings. We need them to live our lives, but they can feel like SUCH a burden! Martha and Ro examine our collective desire to accumulate stuff, which conflicts with our instinct to feel wild, unfettered, and free. Our hosts explain how nonstop shopping is a cultural trap and offer some simple tips to escape it. Many of us feel a bewildering need to buy, have, and keep, but when we reconnect with our beWILDered selves, we remember the beauty of the open space.
Mar 06, 2020
Bewildered Trailer
A podcast for people who are trying to figure it out. Join Martha Beck and Rowan Mangan for help figuring out everyday conundrums. If you’re bewildered, join us!
Feb 11, 2020
The Courage to Rest
How do we justify resting in a world that wants us in constant motion? Martha and Ro address this question with compassion and irreverence, digging into the cultural context of human exhaustion. They explain that we work our fingers to the bone because we think productivity makes us good people. But rest isn’t a luxury, it’s an imperative! And when we learn to be WILD—embracing unscheduled time, the power of choice, and naps—we find balance. Martha urges us to chase joy with abandon and rest without guilt.
Jan 24, 2020
Self-Doubt and Creativity
In this episode, Martha and Ro dive into an eternal creative conundrum: how to manage inner criticism. They explore ways to quiet the voice of your destructive inner critic, making way for the discerning inner critic who can improve your work. You’ll learn how Martha and Ro each navigate constructive self-criticism and get some insightful guidance from Martha about how to quel fear (which is the source of self-doubt).
Jan 24, 2020
The Productivity Addict
Productivity addicts! You don't have to burn your to-do list ... but in this episode of BEWILDERED, Martha and Ro explore the manic edge of productivity fever and how we can all come back to our senses—without having to ignore what needs to get done. Find out about "mixed pleasures," learn an exercise to release physical anxiety, and hear all the reasons why you need more oxytocin in your life.
Jan 24, 2020
The Happiness Imperative
In the very first episode of the BEWILDERED podcast, Martha and Ro unpack the importance of embracing our WILDNESS. Now, running naked through the woods has its charms, but wildness takes many forms, including mindful rebellion against conformity. Our hosts share their circuitous journeys from the bewilderment of culture’s consensus to the beWILDerment of their natural senses. Ro challenges our notions of happiness, and Martha shares an exercise to help us find our way back to our true selves.
Jan 24, 2020