Saturday, March 31, 2012

James Heinritz, Interview #172

Name: James Heinritz

Where you live: Singapore

What is your vocation or avocation: 
Commodities trader by vocation, 
TCM doctor by avocation and training

Your two favorite books: 
     The only book I read on a regular basis is the Bible. After 19 years of dedicated Buddhist practice, I had an epiphany while attending my (now) wife’s church.  In that moment, I realized the Dalai Lama was right when he said in 2001 at a talk in Salt Lake City : “I do not encourage you to become Buddhist. In fact, I suggest against it.  Instead, you should follow the religion you grew up with.  I am Buddhist because that is the religion I grew up with.” I have studied with many great masters in the Far East, and to my amazement, I found my resting place back in the church. 
     For me, there is no conflict switching from one religion to another.  It’s like switching languages in a conversation; or climbing the same spiritual mountian, taking different paths to reach the same summit.  Each path has its own challenges and rewards.  The point is to be on the path that is right for you.

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
My book of the moment, and a great read on the power and value of ensuring the most essential steps are performed in times of danger, confusion and absent-mindedness.  The author is a surgeon who has spent the last 3 decades championing the use of checklists in surgical wards with remarkable results.  I’m studying this for application to rural clinics supported by the non-profit I run in China called Dorje Association.

Your favorite songs: 
Don’t Worry, Be Happy – The Secret of Life.  Spiritual masters the world over say the same thing. 
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – sung by Israel Kamakawiwo’
Amazing Grace

Why are you interested in spirituality: 
How else to make sense of life on planet earth?  We are spiritual beings inside physical bodies.  Accepting this unlocks our minds to understand that we are not of this world, but in this world.  We are not our bodies, we are not our minds, we are not our emotions, we are not our jobs.  We are something far greater.  What you do once you figure this out - that is the true dance of life.

Your favorite quote:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."   -  Mark Twain

Your favorite websites: - Dorje Association’s website

Your hero(es): 
Jesus – the light and the way
Dzogchen Rinpoche – leader of Dzogchen Monastery in eastern Tibet which has grown and thrived under incredibly difficult circumstances

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn:
To let go and let God.  Trust in His provision.

Where in the world do you feel "spiritually connected":
Primeval forest:  Big Sur.  Dzogchen Monastery, eastern Tibet.  The Ojibwa Indian reservation in Shawano, WI, the last significant stand of virgin forest in the United States.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shauna Niequist, Interview #171

Name:  Shauna Niequist

Where you live: outside Chicago

What you do as a vocation or avocation?  Writer & mother

Your two favorite books: Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies & Hemingway's A Moveable Feast

Your two favorite songs:  Brandi Carlisle's The Story, Civil Wars' Poison & Wine

Why you are interested in spirituality?
Because I believe that the divine is apparent all throughout our daily lives--in the faces of people we love, in the broken and beautiful moments that make up our lives.

Your favorite quote:  
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no 'brief candle' for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."  --George Bernard Shaw

Your favorite web sites:  Ordinary Courage

Your hero?  My parents.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?  Rest.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Around the table with people I love, or on the water.

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."--George Bernard Shaw

To read more of Shauna's writing, blog, and books, please visit her site:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ken Goldstein, Interview #170

Name: Ken Goldstein

Where you live: 
The third planet from the sun in a little house in the Hollywood Dell under the "H" of the Hollywood Sign.

What you do as a vocation or avocation? 
I'm in the business of damage controlling.

Your two favorite books: 
Illusions by Richard Bach and anything by John Steinbeck.

Your two favorite songs: 
Beatles I'll Follow the Sun and Train's Drops of Jupiter.

Why you are interested in spirituality?
Because I'm very human.

Your favorite quote: 
"Don't die with your music still in you" - Wayne Dyer

Your favorite web sites: 
I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit this:, Gawker

Your hero? 
I don't put anyone on a pedestal. I find heroes every day in the little and big gestures human beings make towards each other.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? 
I hope to learn all of the lessons I still don't know exist.

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

Wherever I am. 

Editor's Note: Ken is the author of The Way of the Nerd 
For more on Ken, see his site:

Cyndi Streid, Interview #169

Name:   Cyndi Streid

Where you live:  Midwest, USA

What you do as a vocation or avocation?   
Internal consultant to a Fortune 50 company pays the bills and I pursue writing as a published author.  My passions are mentoring, collaboratively sharing with others to strike positive changes in my and their thought processes and actions and continuous learning about human nature.  

Your two favorite books: 
Naked Feet Living:  Finding Your Real Self At Work and In Life, and not because I co-authored it.  Our feedback is right on target with our intent in writing it.  This book is relatable by the masses.  In these busy times, “Naked Feet” is a quick, fun read with probing questions for all so that no matter where you are in life you will find something for yourself in this writing.  
Books of choice then include The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield as it makes me think beyond this world and because I truly enjoy getting to know characters and love a good belly laugh, I read the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.  

Your two favorite songs: 
Music is such a draw for me.  Love most genres and what I play is usually mood dependent.  However, one of my all-time favorites is “Feeling Alright” by Huey Lewis, from the Duets CD.  It is the song I always played first when going out for my initial boat ride of the season – just makes me smile uncontrollably as I drive over the waves (and well, bounce on the balls of my feet!).  
Two songs that resonate deep within me and open my heart and head to the beauty around me are “Father’s Eyes” by Amy Grant and “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe.  These songs stop me in my tracks.  I feel the air fill my lungs as if nothing is an automatic response or a given.  I slow myself down to the point of reflection in an instant and sense enlightenment around me.  

Why you are interested in spirituality? 
Spirituality, to me is connectedness.  It is the connection to those we physically share this world with and to the angels all around us.  Our life’s lessons are forged through these connections, thus spirituality occurs as the alpha, omega and everything in between for me.  I love that regardless of a person’s beliefs and choice of worship, spirituality can experienced individually, in small groups or large gatherings.  Spirituality is spacious in that it really is ‘one size fits all’ and I truly love exploring other ‘spaces’ of this phenomena cherished by others.

Your favorite quote:  

I am very moved by a multitude of quotes.  One I penned for myself that always calls me to step up my game is, “Forgive and Live”.  

Your favorite web sites:
These vary with what is happening in life and right now is a leading favorite!  This has everything to do with currently renovating and decorating my home.  
A second hotspot is which allows me to keep up with friends and colleagues around the globe.  How cool is that!

Your hero?   
It’s really hard to look beyond Jesus Christ, due to his continued faith when he couldn’t predict the future and his ultimate trust in God, the Almighty.  However, I think there are heroes among us and are all around us.  I have a special affinity for people who take the time to examine their lives to understand their strengths and weaknesses and grow from this knowledge.  Those who search to understand their purpose and core values and then align their lives accordingly.  People who forgive themselves (a most difficult task) as well as others and live their life forward, looking at each day anew with wonder vs. bringing their past experiences, feelings, hurts and doubts into whatever they are now dealing with.  These people, regardless of occupation, creed, color, orientation, social status, etc. are my heroes.  

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
The lesson that continually brings butterflies to my stomach is to trust what cannot be seen and to truly enjoy the depth of unconditional love surrounding me.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
I feel fortunate to be able to ‘connect’ in a lot of different places and ways.  My “common” places include a quiet morning on my patio; watching a beautiful sunset; anywhere, anytime near or on the water, ocean or freshwater, doesn’t matter; a quiet night on a mountain top when all there is are the stars to look at and total silence; and any time after the first few hours of a long drive.  These times and spaces quiet my mind and allow for an infusion of energy not experienced in my daily life.  
As for special places in the world where I’ve felt connected, ruins of the world provide the same energy infusion – Ephesus, Olympus, the Parthenon and the Forum, as well as large religious gathering spots such as Notre Dame, Westminster Abbey, St, Peter’s Cathedral and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, to name a few.
I wasn’t surprised to be energized by the ruins of the world as I’ve always felt myself an old soul and drawn to old world ways of learning and living.  However, to experience this in the churches of the world took me by surprise as I have yet to experience this in the churches I attend as a parishioner.  

Check out Naked Feet Living’s website at:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lisa Shasky, Interview #168

Name:  Lisa Shasky

Where you live:  Midwest, USA

What you do as a vocation or avocation?  Author, mentor and corporate leader

Your two favorite books: 
Number one is the book I co-authored, Naked Feet Living:  Finding Your Real Self at Work and in Life.  Aside from my own book, I love You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay and Travels by Michael Crichton.

Your two favorite songs: 
I enjoy any song that touches me in a way that gives me chills from head to toe and connects with me on an emotional level.  These two songs I love for the message they give.  “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield says “Live your life with arms wide open; Today is where your book begins; The rest is still unwritten”.  The message I take is that I am writing my own story by how I live my life and the story is mine to write – I really relate to that concept!  “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent challenges me to think about how I measure my life and others’ (e.g. sunsets, cups of coffee, laughter) and reminds me that what’s truly important is love.

Why are you interested in spirituality?
I’ve always struggled with individual religions, because each seems to think they have the one true version of the truth.  To me, spirituality opens up the possibility of many truths. I believe that our spirituality is like the most beautiful, intricate quilt you can imagine with many different pieces of material, different fabrics, textures, colors, styles, yarn, etc. all meticulously sewn into one magnificent quilt.  The power in the universe (or God, if you prefer) created each piece to help us in our belief.  I am fascinated to continue learning about all the parts that make up the quilt and I believe that every belief system has something unique to add to it.

Your favorite quote:
from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Your favorite web sites: 
These are always changing as I find new things, but my current favorites are:

Your hero?
I certainly admire people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and other great spiritual leaders, but my hero is Pat Summit, women's basketball coach at the University of Tennessee.  Coach Summit has a very special ability to identify the strengths in others and bring those out in them.  In doing this, she has had a tremendous positive impact on so many young women - one person at a time.  She did this in obscurity for many years and then even when she became a famous and successful coach, she continued her efforts to build strong, authentic, others-focused women who are continuing her legacy of strength and compassion.  Even as she announced her battle with early-onset Alzheimer's, she used it as a platform to help others and deflect attention from herself.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
I want to learn to notice who and what is right in front of me and not just focus on what I’m looking for or where I’m going.

A place in the world you feel spiritually connected:
Glen Lake/Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Michigan, USA).  The quiet, slow, lapping of the water on the lakes edge, hundreds of small minnows swimming past your ankles in the clear, shallow water, or standing on top of the golden sand dunes overlooking both Glen Lake and Lake Michigan....I feel and see the power of the universe in each of these images and imagine they were created just for me to experience that connection.  And of course, I have to mention I also feel spiritually connected when looking into a puppy's eyes filled with unconditional love and the joy of playtime!

Shanthi Kiran, Interview #167

Name: Shanthi Kiran

Where you live: Andhra Pradesh, India

What you do as a vocation or avocation? 
Sales Manager in Insurance sector by profession; writing, blogging, reading Bible and other books of interest constitute my hobbies.

Your two favorite books:
The Bible and Wikinomics by Don Tapscott & Anthony D. Williams. I personally believe Mass Collaboration and Open Source are two concepts that are going to change the way the businesses are run for forever.

Your two favorite songs:
That's a tough ask but 'Paradise' by Coldplay and 'The Little Drummer Boy' are two among the favorites.

Why you are interested in spirituality?
I believe there is nothing bigger and better thing in this world than to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Your favorite quote:
"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" - The Bible

Your favorite web sites:
Google, Ted and Wikipedia. Ted is the website I am particularly found of these days. It is amazing to see numerous ideas shared on one single platform, which can inspire you and have the power to change attitudes, lives and the world ultimately.

Your hero?
Jesus is my hero because he led a life that is 'perfect' and taught others about how to live a life of perfection.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
I want to become an Evangelist one day (by God's will) and I want to learn and do what ever it takes to become one.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" In a quiet and lonely room.

Shanthi's blog:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Jon Rojas, Interview #166

Name: Jon Rojas

Where you live: Arlington, Virginia

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
Consultant by day, podcaster by night. The podcast is what I enjoy most. I started the Smart People Podcast with long time friend, Chris Stemp. We created it to give us an excuse to talk to amazing people. It also gave me an excuse to buy some new toys!

Your two favorite books: Linchpin by Seth Godin and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Your two favorite songs:
'A Day in the Life' by The Beatles and 'Johnny B. Goode' by Chuck Berry

Why you are interested in spirituality?
It's cool to think that everyone is connected somehow.

Your favorite quote:
"Stay hungry, stay foolish." - Steve Jobs

Your favorite web sites:
LifeHacker, Gizmodo, and MacRumors. I enjoy reading about new technology.

Your hero?
Steve Jobs, Wolverine, and my dad. All for different reasons. I think Wolverine is the most obvious!

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
How to truly love all people, including myself. I think love is one of the main focuses across all religions, but we still love in a world where people still hate each other for the color of their skin, orientation, or beliefs. I would love to learn how to love unconditionally.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?":
This is going to sound bad, but anytime I have music playing on my iPod. Sometimes I think about all the people that might be listening to the same music at that same exact moment.