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.
Everybody Now: Climate Emergency and Sacred Duty
Today’s episode is first. It is one voice among many podcasters from around the globe releasing the same episode, a collective call for awareness, grief, and loving action in our climate emergency and our sacred duty to participate whole-heartedly-bodily-mindfully in the healing of our home in the cosmos.
Oct 19
1 hr 46 min
Moth & Mother / New Foundations
Ruminations on divine union and the contemplative uprisings available in each moment. Visit to sign up for the Contemplify NonRequired Reading List
Sep 26
13 min
Writing an Intentional Life with David Faro
A conversation decades in the making. It all started with a letter 20 years ago... Visit for the shownotes and to sign up for the Contemplify NonRequired Reading List.
Sep 14
1 hr 23 min
Subtle Sacraments & The Quiet Mind
Exploring the subtle sacraments that animate our lives and the process of quieting the mind in words and silence. Visit to sign up for the Contemplify NonRequired Reading List
Aug 4
18 min
Poetic Nature of Walking with Jonathon Stalls
“The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours …but it is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.” - Henry David Thoreau
Jul 11
51 min
Kitchen Music Society of Sorrow and Delight
A plucked musical movement, hairpin poetic turns, mythical stories in rough harmonics. Baptize me into this Kitchen Music Society of Delights and Sorrows. No time like a pandemic to establish a new society. Perhaps by the end of this, you’ll join the membership. To learn more about Contemplify, head over to
Apr 14
18 min
Building Character that Bends Towards Mystery with Christian Miller
"Christian Miller teaches us that the road to virtue lies in humility about our own virtue and an acceptance that others are struggling with their flaws. This is a very valuable book at a moment when our society could use a dose of openness and a sense of forgiveness." - E.J. Dionne Jr., Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution and University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture, Georgetown University visit for drink pairing and other goodies
Nov 12, 2019
58 min
Manifesto Contemplatio
"Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection." - Wendell Berry, Manifesto: Mad Farmer Liberation Front In this episode, we’ll explore the God of tree trimmers and the souvenir of deep breathing.
Oct 15, 2019
7 min
Birthday Questions (39 Laps Around the Sun)
Birthdays are akin to over-excited neighbors. You either appreciate their intrusions or avoid them like Homer Simpson does Ned Flanders. I treat birthdays like Flanders. I love a good party, cake, and sing-song version of ‘Happy Birthday’, but I am slow to allow the spotlight to turn squarely onto my face. A strange confession for a guy with a podcast. But I do love the birthday questions...
Oct 2, 2019
10 min
Absorbing this World Fully with Todd Davis (Of the Invisible #5)
"Many poets feel that they know the natural world, Todd Davis has absorbed this world fully into his heart and mind. He is a fine, rare poet." - Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall
Sep 12, 2019
53 min
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