Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Randy Komisar, Interview #50

Name: Randy Komisar

Where you live: San Francisco Bay Area

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Cycling, Reading, and Reflection

Your two favorite books: Come on, two?

Moon in a Dew Drop: Writings by Zen Master Dogen by Eihei Dogen and
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano

Your two favorite songs: Too many, but at the moment I hear Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and the Dead's "Ripple"
Why you are interested in spirituality? To be the best person I can be and find some peace of mind.
Your favorite quote: "Chance favors the prepared mind"
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero? Mohammed Ali, for one
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Kindness
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Here, Now
(Editor's note: Listen to Randy's great "This I Believe" segment from October 26, 2008 entitled "Engaging Mind and Heart" http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4538138

Monday, October 27, 2008

Michael Shermer, Interview #49

Name: Michael Shermer
Where you live: Altadena, California
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Vocation: writer, researcher, editor, lecturer
Avocation: cyclist
Your two favorite books:
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
Your two favorite songs:
Stairway to Heaven
Why you are interested in spirituality?Because I'm a spiritual person. Because spirituality is transcending the here and now and thinking about and doing something bigger than ourselves, and this can make one a more well-rounded person.
Your favorite quote:
“I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.”
—Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Politicus (The Political Treatise), 1677
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero? Carl Sagan
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
To better understand how and why we are spiritual.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Mt. Wilson Observatory

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Joanne Gallant-Chilton, Interview #48

Name: Joanne Gallant-Chilton, Acadian
Where you live: a small restful picturesque community Glen Margaret, NovaScotia, Canada. What you do as a vocation or avocation? I have many passions. To name a few... Fine Art photographer and a gardener. I have been passionate about photography all my life and have been working in this medium for about 12 years now. Photography feeds me spiritually, the whole act brings me into the present moment and appreciation of the world around me. I am also co-author of my first book titled, Wings to Fly a collection of black andwhite images set to inspirational poems by friend and writer Jeanne Ripley. My other passion is gardening and landscaping. It brings me joy connecting with insects, deer, pheasants, hummingbirds, moving stones and digging dirt. Creating sacred spaces for people to feel nurtured and inspired is rewarding. It is my dream to one day offer a healing space for workshops around creativity and spirituality on my property.
Your two favorite books: I have many, at the moment I am reading EckhartTolle A New Earth. Your two favorite songs: 1 Prayer by Karl Anthony. Pretty much anything by Leonard Cohen I love listening to, although it's hard to name only two. I have a wide collection of music that I listen to depending on my mood.
Why you are interested in spirituality? When I was a young child there was an inner knowing that something bigger existed. I lived in the country and felt a deep connection with nature and myself. The way the leaves moved on the trees spoke to me, I knew that no matter what happened I would never be alone. It is also my responsibility to understand myself, my existence, my mind and to make changes in my life.
Your favorite quote: "you must be the change you want to see in the world"--Gandhi,
"My favorite thing is to go where I've never been", Diane Arbus
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero? Gandhi
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Forgiveness.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" at home...my garden, getting my hands dirty in the soil and being with nature. Curling up on a rock and being near the ocean.
To find out more about my book Wings to Fly and photography please visit www.mindfulcreations.com or www.omstudio.ca/

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Alexander Zelitchenko, Interview #47

Name: Alexander Zelitchenko
Where you live: Cyprus
What you do as a vocation or avocation? I have no vocations
Your two favorite books:
Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse (Oxford World's Classics) by Alexander Pushkin and James E. Falen
Your two favorite songs: Impossible to say
Why you are interested in spirituality? This is human work - to cognize world as a whole and its part - spiritual world
Your favorite quote: "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
Your favorite web sites: http://www.russkiysvet.narod.ru/
Your hero? Too many
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Any spiritual lesson you HOPE to learn, you learned already
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Too many. Pyramids of Gaza or Jerusalem among many others

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mark Townsend, Interview #46

Name: Mark Townsend

Where you live: In a quaint little Market Town situated near the English/Welsh Border

What you do as a vocation or avocation? I served as an Anglican (Episcopal) Priest for ten years, but now work in a free-lance capacity as a Writer, Magician and Retreat Leader

Your two favorite books: His Dark Materials (trilogy) by Philip Pulman and The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Your two favorite songs: Word on a Wing by David Bowie and The Man with the Child in His Eyes by Kate Bush

Why you are interested in spirituality? I was about ten when I first started asking spiritual questions. I'm 41 now. Those initial questions triggered the start of a journey that continues to this day. The questions are still not fully answered - hence the adventure never ceases. I have passed through many traditions, both inside and outside the realms of the Church. As a natural questioner I usually find myself squeezed out of groups and communities that have closed, set answers. As a natural mystic I also get quickly bored by over-intellectualized and literalistic belief systems. In June 2007 I left the world of intuitional religion. It was the most frightening and bruising experience of my life yet, as I discover time and time again, it is through the cracks we often discover pure gold. A few weeks after my decision I sent the following email to a close friend:

"Life is still really tough Caroline. Every day flies by with so much to do and still hardly any cash coming in to pay the mortgage, rent and bills etc. But I'm free - OH GOD I'M FREE - freer than I've felt in thirty years. I can't express how frightening and at the same time how liberating all this feels. Caroline, something's happening to me. It's as if I've entered a new stage in my magical journey, and it's rapidly moving me out of institutional / organized religion altogether and into something totally different... and yes Jesus is coming with me (because he's not the property of the Church alone). I am feeling my dried up wells of the last few years of life within the dear old C of E (which I still love so much) beginning to be re-filled with living water, and it tastes fresh and magical. I'm not sure where all this is leading but I know I need to let go and trust in the path - the Path of The Blue Raven."

Your favorite quote: "...no one can teach you anything about being human. Your essence itself knows already what there is to know. It understands, and already is, more than anyone can speak of. Already, in your potential, you surpass the wise sayings of any guru, enlightened one, or prophet. These people can startle, provoke or point you towards your essence, but they must then back away, and shade their eyes - for your essence outshines them." Simon Parke

Your favorite web sites: Again, there are so many but here are a few:

Your hero? There are so many. and one of them has to be Jesus because he left us with so many shell shocking and spine tingling stories that I still find quite breathtaking. However I no longer see him as the founder of a new religion - rather, a universal hero whose message is a beautiful gift that can be unwrapped and embraced by all. The Inner-Christ is the divine spark within all from every religious tradition, or none. It is there in Christian America, Buddhist Tibet, and Magical Avalon, but simply called by different names. For a Tibetan it is the 'Buddha Nature' - for a follower of Merlin, the 'Wizard Within'.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To be truly myself, without fear of rejection.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" The Forest! It is my natural cathedral. I wrote my second book there - The Wizard's Gift. I find it to be the place that most connects me to mother earth and to my true inner Self.

For further information on my books and my work please visit his website http://www.magicofsoul.com/ and

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dan Morehead, Interview #45

Name: Dan Morehead
Where you live: (currently) Durham, NC, USA
What you do as a vocation or avocation? I study Christian theology and philosophy and am currently finishing a Ph.D. dissertation for the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
Your three favorite books:
Pnin by Vladamir Nabokov
Dogmatics in Outline by Karl Barth
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Your two favorite songs:"July, July" by The Decemberists
"Shelter From The Storm" by Bob Dylan
Why you are interested in spirituality? I'm not, or at least not as such. Generally, when people in Western cultures (and especially within the US insofar as the narrative about the Americas being a blank slate, or so-called New World, further accentuate a false sense of rootlessness) talk about spirituality, this talk ends up naming a scattered yearning or desire to transcend a felt emptiness or incoherence. The assumption that, let's say, someone doing yoga in his or her Manhattan studio apartment is connected to a spiritual practice connected to India's cultural forms of life seems to be more the legacy of American Romanticism's emphasis on heroic simplicity and the exotic rather than organically connecting to these disciplines. In this sort of context, then, I find talk about spirituality without a qualifier to be deeply problematic, ambiguous and too easily co-opted by nationalistic politics. In short, I'm never clear what spirituality means other than saying something such as life, yet the question "why are you interested in life?" seems absurd.

Your favorite quote:

For given Man, by birth, by education,
Imago Dei who forgot his station,
The self-made creature who himself unmakes,
The only creature ever made who fakes,
With no more nature in his loving smile
Than in his theories of a natural style,
What but tall tales,the luck of verbal playing,
Can trick his lying nature into saying
That love, or truth in any serious sense,
Like orthodoxy, is a reticence?--W.H. Auden,
From "The Truest Poetry is the Most Feigning"

Your favorite web sites:

Your hero?: Those who attend to the needs located on the shadow side of our experiment in democracy.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Humility.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" If I can change the thrust of the question from where to amongst whom, then I'd answer on a walk or in a conversation with Reno, Lucy, Dave, Abby, or Jillaine, my dear friends.
Dan blogs about theology, poetry, music, and politics at: http://americasyoungtheologian.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gretchen Rubin, Interview #43

Name: Gretchen Rubin

Where you live: New York City -- U.S.A.

What you do as a vocation or avocation? After several years as a lawyer, I had an epiphany that I really wanted to be a writer. Zoikes, now that I think about it, I made the switch ten years ago!

Your two favorite books: I couldn't possibly pick my two favorites. Reading is absolutely my favorite activity, and my list of favorites would be pages long. But to name one of my favorites -- I just finished re-reading Carl Jung's memoir, MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS for the third time.

Your two favorite songs: Under the Bridge, by the Red Hot Chili Peppers; and The Holly and the Ivy, by anyone who is singing it.

Why you are interested in spirituality? I am interested in vast and timeless subjects. Spirituality is the most vast and timeless.

Your favorite quote: Well, just as I have millions of favorite books, I have trillions of favorite quotations. But the last question reminded me of one of my favorites:
"Contemplate the extent and stability of the heavens, and then at last cease to admire worthless things." Boethius

Your favorite web sites: I have so many friends who have blogs, I don't want to answer that!Your hero? I wrote a biography of two of my heroes: Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy. I would add St. Therese of Lisieux, as well.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Self-control.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" In any library, in my office, or snuggled up on the couch with my children.
(Editor's note: To see Gretchen's cool happiness project, go to http://www.happiness-project.com/ and you can sign up for her e-newsletter)