Interview with Fredric Fierstein: An Outrageous Act The story leading up to this interview includes the influence of my having read Peter Kingsley's A Story Waiting to Pierce You. In his book, Kingsley hypothesizes that a mysterious figure, Abaris, traveled from Mongolia to Greece to meet Pythagoras. Abaris is mentioned in several ancient texts, usually carrying an arrow, a symbol of shamanic power.       A few years before having read Kingsley's book, I'd been bicycling around the Berkeley marina one day, when I was surprised to come upon a warrior archer astride a mythical beast that looked ... Feb 23, 2011, 53533 reads


Interview with Photographer Elaine Ling: Remote Wonders Elaine Ling was born in Hong Kong in 1946. At the age of nine, her family moved to Canada. She came to my attention when I got a note inviting me to a lecture she giving in San Francisco. Two of her  photos were attached and caught my attention immediately. A quick google search led me to her website where I was able to look at many more of her photos. No question, a portfolio would be perfect for the upcoming issue of the magazine I put together, works & conversations. Often, the pieces fall together more from serendipity, than design. Discovering Elaine Ling's photography ... Jun 27, 2011, 22911 reads


A Conversation with Zoshi: Spirit Carver My introduction to Zoshi came via Ron Nakasone, a professor at Stanford and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. It happened one evening at Kallan Nishimoto’s Flytrap Studios in Oakland, California. As Nishimoto says, “Zoshi is one of the few artists who lives and breathes his spirituality into his work seamlessly and completely.” Ron had confided to me that besides being an artist, Zoshi is also a Buddhist priest. I felt I was entering into another world.      That evening at Flytrap Studios I felt something ... Mar 2, 2013, 36565 reads


What Is God?: A Conversation with Jacob Needleman I met with Jacob Needleman at his home in Oakland, California. The day before, one of the Bay Area's infrequent thunderstorms had passed through. In its wake, the day was sunny and warm. On the back deck of Needleman's home where we talked, among the many planters of flowers, herbs and vegetables, hummingbirds and squirrels were a constant presence, along with the frequent sound of the leaf blowers of neighborhood gardeners at work.  I wanted to ask him about his latest book What Is God?   Richard Whittaker:  I wonder how you see this book in the context of the ... Dec 19, 2009, 89594 reads


A Weaver's Reflections: A Conversation with Pam Hiller I met with Pam Hiller during a break on a day when she was leading a team of women who had designed and were weaving a knotted rug in the traditional Turkish manner. Their work on this project also included a study of dyeing wool using natural vegetable dyes from sources such as redwood bark, madder root, weld, indigo and cochineal. Coincidentally, their weaving workshop is situated on property just down the hill from Marguerite Wildenhain's Pond Farm and in fact housed Wildenhain's students when she was teaching during the late 1950s through the 70s and into the 80s.-Rue ... Aug 5, 2010, 10973 reads


Peace Chain-Reaction: A Conversation With Joe Peace (Joe Murphy) There was a little bag on the table. "Okay, everyone reach in and take one," said Nipun, clearly relishing the moment. There were fifteen or sixteen of us at a CharityFocus retreat and Nipun Mehta had come up with a new surprise. Each of us pulled out a little ceramic medallion with the word "peace" in bas relief and a cord for wearing it around the neck. Each one was in a different language. Then Nipun began the story, "These are peace chains. There's this guy...."  It was the first time I'd heard about Joe Peace. Here's his story. He's ... Nov 21, 2010, 15979 reads


A Conversation with Reverend Heng Sure: Cultivation and Practice Beginning in the summer of 1977, two American monks in the Chinese Mahayana Buddhist tradition committed to taking three steps and one bow for 800 miles along California’s Highway 1. A pilgrimage to bring peace within and without, their journey took them through some of the most beautiful and also some of the most dangerous parts of California. Two and a half years later, they completed their pilgrimage at the steps of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, in Ukiah, Californi One of these monks was bestowed the name Rev. Heng Sure, or “Constantly Real.” Born into a ... Sep 16, 2014, 23743 reads


John Malloy Interview: We Are All In This Together I met John Malloy at one of ServiceSpace’s weekly events, an Awakin Circle. It was typical in that there were 60 or 70 people there. And, as usual, there were many I hadn’t met. At one point in the evening, each person has a chance to speak and it’s always fascinating to glimpse the different worlds that come into view this way. There are always some who make deeper impressions. John Malloy was one of those. His presence is palpable and his speaking reminds me of the few Native American elders I've heard.      In the last few years, as ... Nov 9, 2014, 6609 reads


Vaidyagrama and the Punarnava Ayurveda Trust: In Search of Authentic Ayurveda My first trip to India happened for an Ayurvedic panchakarma, a cleanse. How it came about is a long story and now, afterwards—grateful for the good that came to me—I want to share one of the unexpected high points of my three weeks at Vaidyagrama. My relationship with Ayurveda had barely begun and had not taken hold in any serious way, when circumstances lined up in such a way that suddenly India lay ahead of me. This alone was a great surprise. And not only that, but this trip was connected with a word I’d never heard before, panchakarma.      I can ... Feb 13, 2016, 11046 reads


A Conversation with Shin-Ichiro Terayama: A Radical Healing Story This conversation took place as an Awakin Call on May 19, 2018. Rahul Brown: host Richard Whittaker: moderator Rahul:  The purpose of our weekly Awakin Calls is to share stories from change-makers from around the globe. Our hope is that these conversations will plant seeds for a more compassionate and service-oriented society while catalyzing our own inner transformation. Behind each of these calls is an entire team of ServiceSpace volunteers whose invisible work allows us to hold this beautiful space. We're grateful to them and to all of you, our worldwide listeners, for ... Nov 3, 2018, 3882 reads


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The Dumpster      “We can’t use these. They look like ... Read More 141234 views

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Say Grace I am deeply delighted to live on a planet that is so big and varied that I can ... Read More 5569 views

A Conversation with Silas Hagerty I met Silas, a young man in his twenties from New England, at a ... Read More 61400 views


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Interview with Bill Douglass—Jimbo's Bop City and Other Tales At the time I'd first gotten to know the widely respected jazz musician Bill ... Read More 363680 views

Greeting the Light It was thanks to artist Walter Gabrielson that I was able to get in touch with ... Read More 294026 views

Interview: Gail Needleman Gail Needleman teaches music at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. ... Read More 189020 views

Interview: Stephen De Staebler John Toki encouraged me to interview his old friend and mentor, sculptor Stephen ... Read More 150429 views