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  • Writer's pictureWendy

Invisibilia Podcast

I Love this one.

It takes you on a personal journey – whether making you reflect on yourself or getting a glimpse into someone else’s experience that somehow makes you take a deeper look at yourself.

When thinking about this podcast, and as I listened to it yesterday and decided to write this about it, I wondered if Invisibilia was actually a word, or if the creators of the show had made it up. It fits the show’s content so well. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made up.

I know our dictionary is an ever evolving, living piece of work we all rely on to guide us through this ever-changing world, but the name seems such a perfect fit for the Podcast that I decided to do a little research. One quick Google search and here is the background of the word Invisibilia and what the podcast explores directly from their site:

Invisibilia is Latin for “the invisible things.” We explore the invisible forces that shape human behavior — things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. The show is co-hosted by two of NPR’s award-winning journalists — Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin — who have roots at This American Life and The Atlantic. In past seasons, the show was also hosted by Lulu Miller, who has roots in Radiolab.Listen.Feel different.

The Invisible Things. I love that. The episode I listened to as I was running around Atlanta doing my errands, was about the “in-between”. People making shifts in their life whether it was on purpose, or if it was thrust upon them. This particular podcast reminded me of “The Moth Podcast” where people get up and tell stories they know to be true, about a personal experience they want to share. The people who run “the show” give them a loose topic and then let the people run with their story, and it is LIVE! The shows for the podcasts are usually 3 sections of a night’s performances, essentially 3 people and their stories.

This episode of Invisibila reminded me of this as there was a topic (the in-between), and it was their first taping of a LIVE event. Most of their other episodes go on an exploration of some sort, but it isn’t usually set up this way. But I really enjoyed it and Hana Rosin’s story especially touched me. She starts out talking about a car, then there was an accident that gave her this sense of invincibility (PUN INTENED HERE) and how it has changed her perspective that moves into later in her life where a fear of heights developed – and she doesn’t like not being the fearless person she knows herself to be.

I, too, can relate to this as I NEVER have had issues with heights, or being reluctant to trying things. This fear of heights has come upon me in my adult life. I noticed it first when I went to view a condo that we were maybe going to purchase, and it was floor to ceiling glass. I was up on the 24th floor and I found that I could not walk down one of the hallways! I was almost paralyzed with fear, but it was a physical fear. A pit in my stomach. A dizziness. All at once and uncontrollable.

Hana talks about these physical feelings too in her story and as I listened to her try to overcome this fear, I felt her pain! I knew, due to experience, that this is not something to overcome. It just is. My head is not afraid of heights. Not at all, but my physiological response to heights is very real and it is NOT going away. I get that same sick feeling when I see my husband working on a ladder cleaning windows at our Mountain House… the windows are about 40 feet up in the air and it would be catastrophic if he fell. I can’t even look when he is doing it because it might just make me throw up. So, I have hired some people to do the window cleaning for us and if I have any say about it, we won’t be there when they do it!

But this fear of heights never seems to get any better, and I don’t believe it ever will. Hana ends up going sky diving with her 76 year-old Mother; the Mom loved it and Hana hated it. She is now afraid of heights AND airplanes! Like I said, this is not something to overcome. It is something to work around.

But there is good news here! As we age, we get to know ourselves a little better with each passing day. I have been in this body a long time and I am quite aware of what it likes and what it doesn’t. Even if it is an evolving and moving target, I get to know it and I learn to live with it. So, I look at this “being afraid of heights” as more of a badge of honor than a fear of something. Like I said earlier, my head is not afraid, my head wants to plow forward to the edge of the cliff, but my body tells me something different. And I listen. I am getting better at listening as I get older, and I know it is also one of the best things you can do for personal relationships – is to just listen. Turns out it is the best thing you can do for your body too. It will tell you all sorts of things if you give it the time and attention it calls for.

What is your body telling you? Have you listened to “The Invisible Things”?

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