Thursday, December 23, 2010

David Sokal, Interview #110

Name:  David Sokal     
 
Where you live:  Seattle, Washington, USA 
 
What you do as a vocation or avocation?  Sell Palestinian Olive Oil (see www.peaceoil.net)
 
Your two favorite books: One of the most important books I read in my youth was Last of the Just about the holocaust.   
 
Your two favorite songs:  I still know all the lyrics to Neil Young's "After the Goldrush" by heart, so I guess I must like that one a lot. 
 
Why you are interested in spirituality?  I'm not really. I find the term is over-used and abused. What I'm interested in is life and death. I do belong to a Jewish Renewal Congregation which many might label as "spiritual". My wife and a good friend of mine refer to my congregation (Eitz Or -- Tree of Light) as being too "woo woo" for them. I can certainly understand their sentiment, but I've been involved for so many years that it has become my home, "woo woo" or not. We also have a wonderful rabbi, unique and warm membership, and we sing and pray from the heart. See www.eitzor.org 
 
Your favorite quote:  "Must be de ja vu all over again." (Yogi Berra - NY Yankees) I also like, "I don't a believe in a Sanity Clause" (Chico Marx in the Marx Brothers film, Horse Feathers). 
 
Your favorite web sites:  I use Google Checkout and Ad Words a lot. Part of my effort to sell Palestinian Olive Oil. 
 
Your hero? Frank Robinson, Baltimore Orioles in the 60s. Also, I've always admired Abraham Lincoln since reading about him as a kid. I think Obama is doing a pretty good job. I guess I'm not much into heros. There are literally millions of people living and dead that I can find admirable qualities in. 
 
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?  To accept death. 
 
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"  See Congregation Eitz Or above. 


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Salomeh Dastyari, Interview #109

Name: Salomeh Dastyari

Where you live: Sydney, Australia

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
Founder of Salomeh Co. (Transforming leadership presence and performance for sustainable outcomes).

A curious learner and lover of life, my work consist of two main avenues:
A) Helping individuals explore, experience and expand through coaching, mentoring, consulting and facilitating, I work globally with senior executives, emerging and existing leaders & leadership teams in organisations and communities (ie. corporations, education, government, non-profit, health) across a variety of industries. Specialities are organisational culture, leadership and communication development which includes areas of authentic leadership, visioning and strategy, high stakes and powerful communication, conscious business, crucial conversations, peak performance and embodiment.

B) Improvised movement education and tapping into the deep source of bodily wisdom through creative art expression, movement and dance.

Passionate about the concept, process & experience of authentic shift and change, both aspects of my working life share the common thread of harnessing human potential through ‘unlocking body and somatic wisdom’; leading to our highest authentic expression, compassion and flow. In addition I am actively involved and sit on the board of a couple of non-profit organisations.

My inspiration & personal transformation body of work includes meditation, yoga, improvised movement education and embodied creativity, shamanic wisdom, chakra dance & education, mindfulness based psychotherapy, spiritual intelligence, neuro-leadership, intuitive healing & Presence based coaching

Your two favorite books:

I have many. They include:

Presence; Human purpose and the field of the future (P.Senge, c. Otto Scharmer, J. Jaworski, B.Flower

Sacred Contracts (Caroline Myss) + Anything by Eckhard Tolle and more of Caroline Myss


Your two favorite songs:

As a mover, I love both music and silence. Couple of my favourites are:

"Spirit Wind" by Bill Miller & "Shaman’s vision journey" by David and Steve Gordon

"The richest man in Babylon," by Thievery corporation

Instruments that instantly connect me to multiple dimensions include the Japanese Shakuhachi flute and indigenous drums.

Why you are interested in spirituality?
In this incredible time of the great turning, based on my own on-going personal journey and learning from so many incredible souls on this path, I believe that it is both our personal and moral obligation to reflect deeply on how we are contributing and WHO we are being with ourselves, each other and our world, whilst experiencing the re-birthing of our ways of doing.

Through embodying our spirituality no matter where we live (from a remote village to a sacred town to a bustling city), this is our time to activate ‘soulutions’ that are self-sustaining and reflect our highest potential, whilst we embrace various roles with fellow human beings such as partner, mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, friend and colleague.

Highlights include: Shadow integration, celebrating success stories, taping into heart wisdom, being vulnerable, connecting with nature and sacred rituals, regular practice and last but not least managing the art of living and balancing the parallel experience of earth practicality/reality and spirituality. The last one is continuously fun, challenging and top of the mind!

Your favorite quote:

One of them is:

“We are spritual beings having a human experience.” Teilhard de Chardin

Your favorite web sites: anything creative, out of the box, simple and to the point that works for the betterment of humanity and raising consciousness.

Your hero? Anyone breaking through pain and experiencing shift.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Patience with the unfolding details/‘HOW’ of the manifestation.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Byrong Bay & Uluru Australia, Sedona USA, Pacific west coast of USA, Big Island Hawaii.

My work websites:
http://www.salomehco.com/ (coming soon)

http://www.bethechange.org.au/

Friday, October 22, 2010

Brenda Shoshanna, Interview #108

Name: Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.d.

Where you live: Manhattan, NY

What you do as a vocation or avocation? I'm a psychologist and speaker. Founder of Compassionate Care During Illness and Loss (Psychological, Emotional and Spiritual Guidance). As an avocation- playwright.

Your two favorite books: The Stranger, by Camus. Teachings of Huang Po

Your two favorite songs: What I did for love...

Why you are interested in spirituality? I've been a Zen practitioner for over thirty years. It's my very life itself, and allows me to see no difference between spirituality and each moment or person I meet.

Your favorite quote: "There is no wisdom or holiness that is ever an excuse for the failure to love in ourselves or others."

Your favorite web sites:
http://www.becomefearless.org/
http://oneorchard.net/

Your hero? My brother, Daniel who live and loves unconditionally.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To become a true woman of no rank, and to know that "wherever I go is my home, in the universe."

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" The zendo

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Enuma Okoro, Interview #107

 Name: Enuma Okoro


Where you live: Raleigh/Durham, NC

What you do as a vocation or avocation? I am a writer, retreat / workshop leader.

Your two favorite books: The Road to Daybreak by Henri Nouwen, and the other book is constantly changing depending on what I am reading at the time!

Your two favorite songs: "A Little Sugar in My Bowl" by Nina Simone and most anything by Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, or Ben Harper.

Why you are interested in spirituality?- Because it is the very fabric of which I am made. I believe we were all created in the image of God. So by nature are very beings hunger to embrace the spiritual life.


Your favorite quote: "I believe the world is beautiful and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone." (from a poem, "Like You" by Roque Dalton

Your favorite web sites: hmmm, I have to think about that one.

Your hero? -Anyone who does something for the greater good of others.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? -How to trust God more readily with the desires of my heart, while also learning that our desires might differ.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" - I always strive to make that place where ever I happen to find myself....

Websites about Enuma's work:

Recent NPR interview: http://wunc.org/tsot/archive/Reluctant_Pilgrim.mp3/view

http://www.enumaokoro.com/

http://reluctantpilgrim.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cathy Rosewell Jonas, Interview #106

Name: Cathy Rosewell Jonas

Where you live: Eugene, Oregon

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Besides my relatively new path as an author, I’ve been a counselor and social worker for the past twenty years. I likely get as much out of these interactions as those I serve, as I get to view life from a variety of perspectives and witness a colorful array of human emotions—tender, serious, sad, humorous, and inspirational. When clients connect to the strengths they already have, or are motivated to make positive changes I am reminded of why I do this work. I also offer some spiritual exploration/meditation groups, and especially enjoy helping serious seekers individually.

Your two favorite books: I will choose one that inspired me on my spiritual path, and one that simply touched my elephant-loving heart: Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now,” and Ralph Helfer’s “Modoc: The true story of the greatest elephant that ever lived.”

Your two favorite songs: Hard question. I listen to a lot of new age and chanting inspired by India’s classical music. But, if I had to choose two of my favorites, I’ll go with “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd, and “Drifting” and “Water Shows the Hidden Heart” by Enya.

Why you are interested in spirituality? Spirituality is an area that I both struggled with and eventually found peace of mind through its mysterious practices. It is my highest desire to be of service and help others find their way home to their own hearts, otherwise known as the Heart of Awareness. I love that spirituality is so diverse. One does not need to follow a certain path, or even call themselves “spiritual” in order to reap the benefits of living life with greater mindfulness and compassion. Because of my own struggles and eventual path to clarity I was inspired to write my book, “Bringing Home the Mountain-Finding the Teacher Within.” I share from the heart what helped me, and the specific teachings and insights that finally ended my intense journey of seeking. At the peak of my seeking one of my teachers told me, “Cathy, its just not that serious!” It’s true. I now try to help others lighten up on their path, as what we are looking for is ever present and is never separate from us. In fact, I’m now sure that God (Consciousness) has a sense of humor!

Your favorite quote: (Oh, I will need to choose two). “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~Helen Keller.

And,

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual being having a human experience.” ~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Your favorite web sites:
http://www.centerforsacredsciences.org/
http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/
http://www.bestspirituality.com/quotes.htm

Your hero? Mother Teresa, but there are so many others who likely will never be recognized. A hero to me is someone who follows their dreams with unwavering devotion, follows the mysterious calling of the heart, and/or soars to a higher purpose to be of service.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? 
Okay I’ve got to admit this one. A little more patience with the divine movement of the Universe. An energetic fire burns within me when a new life adventure is beginning. I used to get this feeling only once a year, but now it is happening more often. So far this fire has led me to write, publish my book, travel to India three times, and even a new job opportunity. I know we are all guided to the experiences we have and to the people we are to meet, but I must admit to some impatience creeping in now and again as I sit in the fire of unknowing waiting for the specific details to manifest.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
 I would change the question to “especially” connected as I always feel spiritually connected to life when I am in nature. My top two heart-opening places of all time are the sacred water fountains in Muktinath, Nepal, and the holy mountain Arunachala in Tiruvannamalai, India.

For more about Cathy:
http://www.cathyrosewelljonas.com/

http://www.freeheartpress.com/

http://bringinghomethemountain.blogspot.com/

http://www.mytb.org/Elephant-Dreamer

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jessica Maxwell, Interview #105

Name: Jessica Maxwell

Where you live: Western Oregon

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
Adventure writer, Author, Spiritual FedEx Girl lecturer!

Your two favorite books:
Peace Like a River Leif Enger


Autobiography of a Yogi Paramahsana Yogananda
Why the Dalai Lama Matters Robert Thurman

Hidden Messages in Water Dr. Masaru Emoto

West with the Night Beryl Markham

The Longest Silence Thomas McGuane

Your two favorite songs:
"The Ganesh Mantra" ("God Music" in Roll Around Heaven...I can sing it in Sanskrit!)

"Open my Eyes That I May See" Clara H. Scott

"Cast Your Fate to the Wind" Vince Gauraldi

"Mozart's Clarinet Concerto"

"How Lovely Are the Messengers" Felix Mendelssohn

"Cajun Waltz" Taj Mahal


"Balm in Gilead" Sweet Honey in the Rock


Why you are interested in spirituality?
After nearly 20 years on The Path, a journey that was not my idea!, spirituality is not an interest; it is a consuming passion.

Once you experience it yourself, and understand that everything you love is born of Spirit, then you can't help but fall in love with the source of it all. And once you really do put Spirit first, as every master in history has urged us to do, then everything changes including your very frequency. This attracts and creates like-frequency people, things and events. In my memoir, Roll Around Heaven, we have a tsunami of on-the-ground evidence that this is so, and that the fundamental glue of the universe is, in fact, love...or a force for whose magnificence we have no word full enough. Glimpses of this fundamental truth are also embedded in the inner-crystals of every geode we call a religion. Even the Dalai Lama says you don't have to become a Buddhist -- "you can reach enlightenment in any religion." If you want to radiate Light...and peace, love, happiness, then put Spirit first, choose purposeful, service-oriented work, honor your body with clean light foods and pure water, take the stairs not the elevator, purify your thoughts and send only uplifting language out of your mouth, and watch your own life begin to tilt strongly toward goodness, support, comfort, and joy...and even waffle recipes that work! Choosing to live this way even helps the everyday snafus that do arise resolve themselves in the most ingenious way. Which says volumes about our culture's current misguided worship of exploding car chase scenes, don't you think?

Your favorite quotes:

"Everyone is our neighbor, no matter what race, creed or colour" Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

"You are here to bless the world." The Holy Pig Farmer

"A church is like a finger pointing to God. After a while, people begin worshipping the finger." Thomas Merton (followed by)

"Humans often use that finger to gouge other people's eyes out" Jean Guiton (French writer)

Your favorite web sites:

http://www.karunamayi.org/

http://ncreview.com/ncrblog/

http://www.spiritualmediablog.com/

http://www.mariagefreres.com/ (I love tea)

Your heroes?

Amma Karunamayi

Yogananda

Robert Thurman

The Holy Pig Farmer

Mr. Rogers

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
The Final Understanding

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Bhutan...and sitting on our bed in my Mornings Are Mine daily meditation

(You know: "Chop onions, carry tea water...")

http://www.rollaroundheaven.com/

http://books.simonandschuster.com/Roll-Around-Heaven/Jessica-Maxwell/9781582702360


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Graeme Taylor, Interview #104

Name: Graeme Taylor

Where you live: I'm a Canadian, currently living in Brisbane, Australia with Ferie, my Persian-Aussie wife.

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
I used to be an ambulance paramedic, but in 2001 I retired to focus on my life's work, which is supporting the evolution of a just, peaceful and sustainable planetary civilization. The problem with ambulance work is that you can't keep up with spreading mental and physical illness. If we want to make a difference--if we want our children to have lives worth living--then we have to heal the world.

Your two favorite books:
Right now I'm reading two spiritual classics: The Bhagavad Gita and a book of Rumi's poems Delicious Laughter.

Your two favorite songs:
I like a lot of different styles from folk to world music. Bob Marley and Leonard Cohen are two of my favorite singer/songwriters; Amazing Grace is one of my favorite songs.

Why you are interested in spirituality?
I couldn't survive if I didn't believe that the universe was animated by a higher consiousness. My sadness comes from the cruelty I see everywhere: my happiness comes from directly experiencing the divine energy and delighting in the beauty and magic that surrounds us.

Your favorite quote:
Buckminster Fuller said: "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Your favorite web sites:
Every day I skim ten news sites plus another dozen websites dealing with everything from technology to spirituality. While there are many excellent websites, I still think that one of the best is our own BEST Futures website (http://www.bestfutures.org/) for original content. Of course, I may be a bit biased...

Your hero?
Mother Amma (Mata Amtrianadamayi). I have never met anyone else capable of such constant, selfless giving and self-sacrifice--quite apart from her utterly amazing, transformational spiritual power. She is a living expression of divine love.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
Surrender--living in the present and accepting and loving the gifts of the moment.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
I love being by the ocean, where the sky and the land and the sea all meet. However, my strongest spiritual experiences have occurred in the presence of fully enlightened masters.

I'm happy to say that my book Evolution's Edge: The Coming Collapse and Transformation of Our World, won the 2009 IPPY Gold Medal for the book "most likely to save the planet". You can read more about my book and my work on our website at http://www.bestfutures.org/

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beth Nonte Russell, Interview #103

Name: Beth Nonte Russell

Where you live:  McLean, Virginia and Kiawah Island, SC

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
I am a writer, author of  Forever Lilyfounder of GoodTrueBeautiful, Inc, and founder of The Golden Phoenix Foundation.

Your two favorite books:
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse: Illuminates the deep challenges in the process of evolving spiritually. The language is poetic, lyrical and hypnotic, and takes you to a place of experiencing his journey.

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy: contains all the human failings, spiritual longings and the sweep of history in one story. Tolstoy's language and depth of mind is awe-inspiring.

Your two favorite songs:
"Let It Be" by the Beatles: The simplicity and beauty of this song, and the spiritual truth it conveys, always leads me to a place of humility and acceptance. Piano Concerto No. 2 by Rachmaninoff: Transportive and uplifting; after listening to this piece I always feel as if something has happened internally.

Why you are interested in spirituality?
At one point it sunk in to me that we are spiritual beings. The substrate of all that is, is spirituality…so in that sense, spirituality is the only thing to be interested in.

Your favorite quote:
“There are only two ways to live your life: one is as if nothing is a miracle; the other, as if everything is.”
-Albert Einstein

Your favorite web sites:
http://www.mygtblife.com/
amazon.com

Your hero?
Helen Keller; with great courage, she broke through all limitations, imposed from within and without.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
The one I most need to learn…and I’m sure I’ll be surprised by what that is!

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Kiawah Island, SC; a gorgeous barrier island that is a paradise of natural beauty. I wrote my book there. When I arrive on the island I always feel is if I've come 'home' to myself.

Editor's Note: See more about Beth's book and work at:
http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Beth-Nonte-Russell/36818921
and http://www.goodtruebeautifulinc.com/

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Massimo Pigliucci, Interview #102

Name: Massimo Pigliucci

Where you live: New York City, USA.

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
I am a philosopher, interested in promoting critical thinking among both my students and the general public. While I do not think that reason is the beginning and end of human wisdom, I maintain that there is far too little use of it in human affairs, so a bit more cannot but help.

Your two favorite books:
Only two? Ouch. I guess I will have to go with Bertrand Russell's autobiography, which is an incredibly human account of the personal journey of one of the most interesting people of the 20th century. The second book might be David Hume's Enquiry Into Human Understanding; though written in the 18th century, it is still one of the most compelling pieces of writing about how much of human knowledge rests on fairly shaky foundations.

Your two favorite songs:
John Lennon's Imagine, just listen to the words very carefully. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, particularly the Ode to Joy; it is one of the most transcendental pieces of music I've ever heard (Does the latter count as a "song"? Well, it does in my book.)

Why you are interested in spirituality?
I am not. I don't think the word picks a meaningful or coherent concept. People mean very different things when they use the word "spirituality," and I don't find talk of spirituality to be particularly useful to improve the human condition. I try to be a decent person, to act ethically, to take care of my loved ones and to contribute as much as I can to make all of us at least slightly better off. I am in awe of nature and of the possibilities of humanity. If you call that "spiritual," then I am spiritual, but I wouldn't use that term.

Your favorite quote:
"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." (Groucho Marx)

Your favorite web sites:
The electronic portal of the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/). It certainly isn't "all the news that's fit to print," but it's a fascinating entry into everyday human affairs.

Your hero?
I don't believe in heroes. If we are talking about role models, then the above mentioned David Hume and Bertrand Russell would fit the bill nicely. They were both decent, ethical human beings who tried their best to live a fulfilling life. They used their brains as well as their hearts, and they succeeded and failed just like most of us do - except they were paying attention.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
If you mean a lesson about life, it is that reason and emotion need to be balanced in order to achieve what the ancient Greeks called eudaimonia (loosely translated as "happiness"). But it is a much trickier task than most people think, and as Aristotle said, it really represents a life-long project.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Whenever I go to downtown Brooklyn to look across the East River. I see the stunning Manhattan skyline, and I am immediately reminded of the great things (and the great horrors) that humanity can do.

Editor's Note: Massimo's blog: http://www.rationallyspeaking.org/
Massimo's web site  http://www.platofootnote.org/ and his new book is: Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mark Greiner, Interview #101


Name: Mark Greiner

Where you live: Takoma Park, Maryland (next to Washington, DC)

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
Vocation: contemplative Christian, husband, father, and Presbyterian pastor.

Avocation: playful potter, hiking

Your two favorite books:
Only two?
“Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander” by Thomas Merton
“An Interrupted Life” by Etty Hillesum

Your two favorite songs:
“Berliner Messe” by Arvö Part
“Endless Chain” by Metamora

Why you are interested in spirituality?
Jesus' intimacy with his Abba ( in John 17, the Message version) when he prays:
“I'm saying these things in the world's hearing
So my people can experience my joy completed in them…
I'm praying not only for my disciples today
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.”

Your favorite quote:
     "Give over thine own willing; give over thine own running; give over thine own desiring to know, or to be any thing, and sink down to the seed which God sows in the heart; and let that grow in thee, and be in thee, and breathe in thee, and act in thee, and thou shalt find by sweet experience, that the Lord knows that, and loves and owns that, and will lead it to the inheritance of life, which is his portion. And as thou takest up the cross to thyself, and sufferest that to overspread and become a yoke over thee, thou shalt become renewed, and enjoy life, and everlasting inheritance in that." --Isaac Pennington (1745-1817, a Quaker)

Your favorite web sites:
Eloquence on sustainability, ecology, culture and agriculture.
Essential reading for our day:
http://www.orionmagazine.org/
http://www.landinstitute.org/


News and opinion, leaning left, voicing sanity in the maelstrom:
http://www.democracynow.org/
http://www.commondreams.org/

Biblical Commentary and liturgy: 
http://www.textweek.com/

Contemplative Church extraordinaire:
http://www.consciousharmony.org/

“He who laughs, lasts.” - Mary Pettibone Poole :
http://www.funnytimes.com/

Your hero?
Any human being who freely and fully embraces his or her own life (and community) with its limitations and possibilities.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
Suffering = Pain + Resistance

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Within the creek, near my home, boulders invite me to sit, breathe, smell, listen, and look through the changing seasons. The creek has many moods. The creek connects with everything.

Church website: http://www.takomaparkpc.org/

"Be astonished! Be astounded! For I am doing things
among you that you would not believe if you were told." Habakkuk 1:5

Friday, August 20, 2010

Paul Rademacher, Interview #100

Name: Paul Rademacher

Where you live: Charlottesville, VA and Fernandina Beach, FL

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Writer and Executive Director of The Monroe Institute

Your two favorite books: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon and Communion by Whitley Strieber

Your two favorite songs: “Embryonic Journey” Jefferson Airplane and “Amelia” by Joni Mitchel + about a hundred others.

Why you are interested in spirituality?
     In my young adult life I had two mystical experiences that opened up new worlds for me – once when I was hitchhiking across the USA and once when I fell off of a roof and fractured my hip. After entering into these realms of wonder there is no turning back and no way to let it go. I came to The Monroe Institute and was able to touch the metaphysical world in ways that were far beyond my imagination or ability to convey through words.

Your favorite quote: I couldn’t limit it to one. These are all from Woody Allen. If only I could be so witty:

“More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”

“I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.”

“I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy next to me.”

Your favorite web sites: http://www.monroeinstitute.org/ (Come on! I’ve got to say this. We put a lot of money into it!)

Your hero(ine): Tina Fey, then Jesus

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
To be content and joyous in all circumstances. Failing that, to have wisdom enough to discern who I can blame.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Walking on the beach, Amelia Island, FL

You can read more about Paul's work at:
http://www.monroeinstitute.org/
and
http://www.spiritualhitchhiker.com/

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Christopher Smith, Interview #99

Name: Christopher Smith

Where you live: The Englewood neighborhood on the near-eastside of Indianapolis

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
Vocationally, I am a writer, editor and bookseller. Although I do some freelance writing and editing, most of my energy goes into editing a free, print/online publication called THE ENGLEWOOD REVIEW OF BOOKS ( http://englewoodreview.org/ ). We review new books along the themes of community, mission and justice for a socially-engaged Christian audience.
     In my spare time, my kids and I fancy ourselves as urban naturalists, exploring the wonders of our urban neighborhood and getting to know the abundance of plant and animal life that surrounds us. I occasionally blog about our explorations at: http://urbannaturalism.com/

Your two favorite books:
Only two?!?!? This question is an impossible one for a book review editor!
However, two of the most influential books in my life have probably been John Howard Yoder's BODY POLITICS and THE COMPLETE POEMS OF THOMAS MERTON.

Your two favorite songs:
"You Give it All Your Heart" - Bill Mallonee
"Latter Days" - Over the Rhine

Why you are interested in spirituality?
I am a part of a church community that confesses that through the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, God is (patiently) reconciling all creation, and as followers in this way of reconciliation, we seek to embody the peace of Christ holistically in our relations with each other, with our neighbors and with the land on which we live.

Your favorite quote:
"If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!" 2 Cor 5:17 NRSV

Your favorite web sites:

http://bookforum.com/

http://ekklesiaproject.org/

Your hero?
The Early Anabaptists who were oppressed by both Church and State for their radical commitment to the love and reconciliation of Jesus.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
I have a host of lessons to learn about sabbath and learning to rest, celebrate and trust God in healthy ways.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
I am convinced that God is always present throughout all corners of Creation, if we would only slow down enough and cultivate the lost arts of paying attention. I am more interested in seeking out and connecting with God in whatever place I am than in going to certain places to do so. Spiritual connection is also very closely related for me with people and story.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dan Guerrera, Interview #98


Name: Dan Guerrera


Where you live: Manhattan

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Cookie Baker

Your two favorite books: Ha! Any self help book that gives me a homework assignment that helps me understand my life a little more.

Your two favorite songs: I’m all over the place with music, but I can always turn to classical music to relax, and I enjoy George Winston

Why you are interested in spirituality? Spirituality helps me to connect with something bigger than me.

Your favorite quote: “You can continue doing the same things and get the same results or you can take a fresh new approach and see different results.” – Albert Einstein

Your favorite web sites: I Google everything!

Your hero? In general, I admire people who truly enjoy life, live passionately and honestly. My parents continue to teach me this and as I get older my admiration for them continues to grow.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To forgive, and move on…

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" This can happen in many ways for me. Sometimes when I’m experiencing nature or listening to music or if  I’m with someone that I’m really connected to. It can even happen on an early morning bike ride in Amagansett with my best friend.

(Editor's Note: Check out the cookies at http://www.downtowncookieco.com/ Try the "Jane Street Jam" cookies, they're fabulous, and we know/love cookies!)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dawn McIntyre, Interview #97

Name: Dawn McIntyre

Where you live: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Best-selling Author and Spiritual Mentor

Your two favorite books: The Alchemist and A Return to Love

Your two favorite songs: Love Can Move Mountains and My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion

Why you are interested in spirituality? It has been the only path to growth as a soul and as a person that has worked for me.

Your favorite quote:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  --Marianne Williamson

Your favorite web siteshttp://www.12listen.com/

Your hero? Myself

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To be in a state of peace and grace at all times.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?": Italy, Florence and The Amalfi Coast in particular.

Dawn's websites are: http://www.boldlybeautiful.com/ and http://www.thenew10.com/

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Michael Largo, Interview #96


Name: Michael Largo

Where you live: Dominican Republic/U.S.

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Writer

Your two favorite books: Origin of Species; Brief History of Time

Your two favorite songs: Blinded by the Light; Miserere mei, Deus

Why you are interested in spirituality? In how it affects laws and government.

Your favorite quote: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.”

Your favorite web sites:
http://www.michaellargo.com/

http://www.religioustolerance.org/

Your hero? People who are open minded and kind

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To understand what happened before the Big Bang

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" In silence

Michael is the author of God's Lunatics and other books which you can see at his site:
http://www.michaellargo.com/ 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Trebbe Johnson, Interview #95



Name: Trebbe Johnson

Where you live: Thompson, (rural northeastern) PA)

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
Founder and Director of Radical Joy for Hard Times, a non-profit organization devoted to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Author of The World is a Waiting Lover and other works that explore the connections between myth, nature, and spirit.

Your two favorite books: The Myth of Sisyphus and The Divine Comedy.

Your two favorite songs: 'She Loves You' and the 'Ode to Joy' from Beethoven's 9th Symphony

Why you are interested in spirituality? How dull life would be if there were no immense Mystery enticing us to be a part of it, while never allowing us to understand it!

Your favorite quote: 'There is some kiss we want with our whole lives....' (Rumi)

Your favorite web sites: radicaljoyforhardtimes.org and Google.

Your hero? Nelson Mandela

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? How to be a more fluent translator between the Earth and her people.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually 'connected? When I'm open to the invitations of the world, I feel beauty and connectedness in all kinds of surprising places.

Trebbe's Web Sites: radicaljoyforhardtimes.org




Saturday, April 3, 2010

D. Michael Lindsay, Interview #94


Name: D. Michael Lindsay

Where you live: Houston, Texas

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
I am a sociology faculty member at Rice University with particular interest in leadership, religion, and culture

Your two favorite books:
The Bible
The Cup of Wrath by Mary Glazener

Your two favorite songs:
“We Can” by LeAnn Rimes
“Song of Hope by Robbie Seay Band

Why you are interested in spirituality?
My Christian faith is the central driving force of my life. In it, all parts of my life cohere.

Your favorite quote:
“To be great is to be misunderstood.” (Emerson)

Your favorite web sites:
whitehousefellowsproject.org

Culture-making.com
flyertalk.com/forum

Your hero?
My wife, who is about to give birth to our newest family additions, twin daughters

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
How to be a generous and self-giving leader

A place in the world where you feel spiritually 'connected?'
The community of faith my family and I attend, West University Baptist Church"

For more about D. Michael Lindsay's work, go to: www.rice.edu/mlindsay

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dawn Baumann Brunke, Interview #93


Name: Dawn Baumann Brunke

Where you live: Wasilla, Alaska

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
Writer & editor. Animal communicator & dreamer.
I'm the author of three books: Animal Voices; Animal Voices, Animal Guides; and Shapeshifting with Our Animal Companions. All three are about talking with animals. Really? Can we talk with animals? Yes, that's the hook, but deeper still the books are about connecting in a heartfelt way with nature and our planet, with others -- especially those who think differently than we do -- and, perhaps most challenging, with ourselves.
I'm also the editor of a health & wellness magazine here in Alaska. I love to help new writers find their voice.
And I dream. A lot. I'm fascinated by the stories that come to us in our dreams. A theme throughout my writing -- and my life -- is how we might make better use of all that untapped wisdom.

Your two favorite books:
Only two? The favorites I'm reading right now are The Holy Man/Woman trilogy by Susan Trott, The Secret Teachings of Plants by Stephen Harrod Buhner and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

Your two favorite songs:
Today my two favorites are k. d. lang's version of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' and 'Peace Train', both the original by Cat Stevens and his newer version as Yusuf Islam.

Why you are interested in spirituality?
I've always been curious why people believe what they believe, and how different cultures use myth/stories to speak about the divine. I think some of the juiciest questions of life arise out of this thing we call spirituality. For me, spirituality holds our greatest fears (death, the unknown) and our greatest longings (love, discovery of self, connection with god/all that is). It shows us where we are, within ourselves and within the world.

Your favorite quote:

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there." --Rumi

Your favorite web sites:

ted great talks and "ideas worth spreading"

lumosity fun place to recharge the old brain batteries

betterworldbooks good for readers; good for the earth

amazon helpful place to check out book excerpts

netflix because I can easily watch a film a night

craigslist cool place to sell & buy locally

Your hero:

I think we're all heroes; I think we all have amazing abilities and unique qualities that we have to share with the world. It's inspiring that certain people are willing to take on these projections--the greatest, the fastest, the highest--and reflect that outward, encouraging us to find our own hero within. Right now my heroes are the polar bears. These highly adaptive, intelligent survivors who spend long, dark winters alone on the arctic ice are the ones who shine bright within my dreams.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?

Trust, trust, and more trust.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"

Near or on water. There is something about water that speaks to me deep inside.

To read more about my books and/or contact me: http://www.animalvoices.net/

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sherre Zwelling Hirsch, Interview #92


Name: Sherre Zwelling Hirsch

Where you live: Los Angeles. CA

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Rabbi, writer, mom

Your two favorite books: The Places you will Go by Dr. Seuss: The Lonely Man of Faith, Soloveitchik

Your two favorite songs: I hope you Dance Leanne Womack; Lucky by Jason Mraz

Why you are interested in spirituality? Pursuing something greater than myself is in my blood. Coming from a long line of spiritual seekers and rabbis, I knew from an early age that I was asking questions of meaning and purpose long before most people.

Your favorite quote: Luck is the residue of design.

Your hero? My mom. She has lived her life with courage, bravery, humility, compassion and humor.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To stay in the present even when it feels intolerable. All feelings pass. They are not facts.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually 'connected?' so many places. God is everywhere I let God in. Sometimes even the market."
You can see more of Rabbi Hirsch's work at http://www.sherrehirsch.com/

David Ensign, Interview #91


Name: David Ensign

Where you live: Arlington, VA

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Pastor, Clarendon Presbyterian Church; peacemaker with Christian Peace Witness; seeker of justice with People of Faith for Equality Virginia

Your two favorite books: Taylor Branch's trilogy, America in the King Years and David Duncan's The Brothers K

Your two favorite songs: Suite Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby, Stills and Nash and the entirety of Rutter's Requiem

Why you are interested in spirituality? I am always interested in what I cannot quite grasp that has, nonetheless, grasped me

Your favorite quote: 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.'

Your favorite web sites: espn.com, si.com and cbssportsline.com because, as some president observed, I prefer to start the day with the sports page because it contains stories of human triumph rather than the front page which is filled with human failure; textweek.com because it is such a useful site for preachers; dailykos.com for its progressive politics; facebook because it helps me stay connected with far-flung friends

Your hero? Martin Luther King, Jr.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? patience

A place in the world where you feel spiritually 'connected?' Camp Hanover outside of Richmond, VA

You can find me virtually at http://faithfulagitation.blogspot.com/ and http://clarendonpresbyterian.org/

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Benyamin Cohen, Interview #90


Name: Benyamin Cohen

Where you live: Atlanta, GA

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Content director for the Mother Nature Network (http://www.mnn.com/)

Your two favorite books: Thinking for a Living by Joey Reiman and Driving Mr. Albert by Michael Paterniti

Your two favorite songs: "Ode to Joy" by Beethoven and "Adon Olam" by Joshua Nelson

Why you are interested in spirituality? Because my family is full of rabbis

Your favorite quote: "Don't get caught watching the paint dry." - Gene Hackman in "Hoosiers"

Your favorite web sites: slate.com, msnbc.com, mnn.com, thedailybeast.com, facebook.com

Your hero? Michael J. Fox for having optimism in the face of adversity

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Being content with life

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Small synagogues and big churches