This series is all about libsyn’s podcasters. Its sole purpose is to introduce these awesome podcasts to the world as well as share their podcasting insight to empower the community!
Q & A with Within (U)
When did you start podcasting?
My first episode was published in November of 2014, but I had recognized that podcasting was the medium for me, a necessary medium, the best for me at the end of 2013.
I received a revelation as I came out of seven years of a crisis in meaning, what is often referred to as a Dark Night of the Soul. Beginning around 2006, I moved through years of what I now understand was a deeply spiritual journey.
In 2013 I received the words Love.Being.Human. without words, in a hotel lobby while I was waiting for my oldest son Joshua to come in for a visit from college. It felt like a set of instructions for me to share with others who were moving through the same type of transition and inner transformation so that it wouldn’t be as difficult for them as it had been for me.
But I was full of fear and doubt until April 18, 2014, when I had a near-death experience. A car physically hit me as I was crossing the street. It was an answer to a prayer because I’d refused the call to share the message I had been given. I was too afraid, and I prayed to the Blessed Mother, Our Lady to either find someone else to teach the message or to remove my fear.
It’s difficult to describe in words, but that was the result of my car accident. I was shaken, and as I lost waking consciousness I went to a space where I relived every loving moment I had ever experienced in my entire life. The love created a release like rain of pain and fear that I felt in my cells and then I became a part of everything.
Even though I was in bliss and pure joy, I was without form and recognized the distinction between the two spaces.
When I awoke on the street with people hovering over me I came back with this realization. There’s a quote attributed to Mother Teresa, who is now honored as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, that describes it perfectly, “I am a pencil in the hand of God.”
Because you are alive, you’re meant to create, to express yourself in so many forms. After this experience, I gave myself permission to be fully human and create despite the hesitation that comes from being a human.
It’s been seven years since I started my podcasting journey.
Why did you start podcasting?
I started podcasting because I had to, there was no choice there for me, podcasting was the way that I was meant to share my voice and also understand my own experience.
Talking into a microphone, and then listening to what I was saying is a way for me to personally move through understanding. It’s a way for me to develop my own self-awareness. You may also do this type of exercise when you journal in some form.
In the very beginning, the podcast was called “Turning Inward” because I recognized that this shift in direction and focus was the first step I had taken to move from an outward-focused life where I prioritized achievement and wanting these things from other people like respect and admiration when I hadn’t yet turned towards myself to give myself time to learn my deepest truths.
What’s the name of your show and what is it all about?
As I mentioned previously, my show was formerly named, “Turning Inward.”
I changed the name of the show in August 2019. The Fall season is always one of deep reflection for me and a few years ago I realized that my body of work, my Opus Dei, includes a thread of learning and skill-building within a community of support.
After the initial experience of Turning Inward and turning away from what the outside world expected of me, I drew my attention within me to figure out what was next.
The show is now called Within (U) and it is an audio companion to the online learning community I founded and also host called Within (U)university.
Once we turn inward we focus on asking ourselves who we are, what matters to us, and who we’re becoming. This becoming isn’t a call for chaos and crisis, rather it’s a natural reinvention that becomes a rhythm within our life.
Within (U) is the 6-inch ever-unfolding journey of moving from your head to your heart after you’ve turned inward.
Interestingly enough it’s also the fulfillment of another wish. When I was younger I thought that I wanted to be a professor within a university system. I had an opportunity to experience what that was like and changed my mind.
But the show has allowed me to create a school where I teach the process of reinvention, how to shift into and out of identities we hold dear. Those transitions can be choices we make like divorce, marriage, children, and new careers. Or these shifts in identity that might not be our choices, like empty nest or retirement.
Change offers us possibility and potential. We have the ability to decide who we want to become and what comes next, but we haven’t learned how to change.
Yuval Harari an Israeli Historian describes it like this, “We have built identities like stone houses with deep foundations, but it makes more sense to build identities like tents so that we can pick them up and move them.”
The show’s intention is to help us navigate the liminal spaces when we move through transformational change. Together we explore how we learn and how we navigate change between now and what’s next.
It is my vocation, my divine call.
What’s your podcasting setup?
My current podcasting setup is the Shure SM58 Dynamic Microphone connected to a Zoom H5 Audio Recorder and Audio Technica M30X headphones. One of our pandemic projects was converting a closet into a recording studio. I use that set up and record in my home studio when I’m a host on the microphone.
If I’m conducting an interview that isn’t face to face I’ll use Squadcast as the software interface, but in a pinch, I’ll use Zoom.
If I’m on camera or at my desk, I switch over to my JVC HA-EC10B Inner Ear Headphones and the Rode NT-USB Mini USB Microphone.
My setup is fairly mobile by intention, I love to be prepared to record while traveling or when I’m away from my home studio. I joke about how I carry a library and podcasting studio with me at all times.
My current mobile setup is an iPhone 13 Pro Max, Backpack Studio app, JVC HA-EC10B Inner Ear Headphones, and the Audio-Technica ATR2100X-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
How have you promoted your podcast?
I do not formally promote the podcast. My listeners have either found me organically, by personal invitation or referrals from friends and family.
Promotion has always been an interesting concept for me.
The first four years I invested heavily in learning about marketing but I’ve simply dropped that from my focus.
I wasn’t raised in a culture or family structure that valued self-promotion.
Humility was revered over shining your light for the world to see.
Rather than approaching podcasting as a stage where I put on a show, I choose to show up as grounded and authentic as I can and simply offer a gift to my listeners.
As a midwife, it’s my experience that allows me to walk side-by-side with others on a similar transformational journey.
What has been the biggest challenge in keeping podcasting?
The biggest challenge for me in keeping podcasting is honoring the fact that I’m human, and with that, there comes rhythms, cycles of productivity, and pause.
During those periods of pause, I am challenged to remember that as a human I will do better using carrots over sticks to motivate me. Remembering that and putting that into practice has really been difficult. What I mean by using carrots over sticks is that a stick is using words against myself like a weapon to figuratively beat myself up, shame myself, or talk crap to myself about the narrative I’ve made up.
My show isn’t one that publishes every week without fail. It’s more like a delight or a surprise you forgot you loved.
My show is seasonal and it’s likely that if you pop over for a listen the last episode could have been published months ago.
I encourage you to follow the podcast. I’m currently working on two seasons of amazing episodes, that I can be pretty sure you’d love (since you’re still reading this).
My carrot is a bit sweeter. I imagine my future granddaughters.
Hopefully, potentially, maybe at some stage in their life, they’ll have a chance to get to know their Bibi, their Welita. My shows are an opportunity to have a relationship with them that’s deeper, an opportunity for them to experience me in a way that’s not possible in real-time/space. I imagine that it may even be possible for generations of my children’s children to share my experience.
I want to support their growth, help them build their confidence, and learn about themselves. That’s my carrot.
The biggest challenge in keeping going is knowing that I am more motivated by the carrots than the sticks, but still reverting back to the sticks.
I’m grateful I’ve continued to come back to the microphone and that I’ve learned how to do it with self-compassion and grace.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
What I knew in the beginning, I forgot. I knew when I got started that I couldn’t do this on my own. I knew that it takes a community. I knew that I needed others to become a podcaster.
But I forgot.
I let myself literally drown in learning and do everything on my own until I remembered what I had forgotten. Being able to recognize when I need help, and ask for the support I need is what I hope to remember.
In the very beginning, I recognized this and it’s how I found myself at the original Podcast Movement in 2014.
Another thing I wish I had known when I started is that I must move through my fear. We all move through fear in order for it to dissipate, we verb through it.
For example, if I wanted to learn how to swim, I could watch videos. I could read books, I could stand by a pool and watch other people swim, but I won’t begin to learn how to swim until I actually get in the water.
The practice in the water is what builds confidence as we learn.
What I wish I’d known and want to keep remembering is this beautiful generative cycle of learning and growth that always includes fear and doubt, otherwise, it wouldn’t be called growing.
Sometimes it takes big events in life to help you find your purpose or calling. This was the case with Dr. Vivian Carrasco she answered the call by creating her podcast Within(U), she knew this was the best way to spread her message. Is it yours? But you don’t know where to start?