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The Dandelion Effect

Author: Feathered Pipe Foundation - Andy Vantrease

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The Dandelion Effect podcast is a space for organic conversation about the magic of living a connected life. Just like the natural world around us, we are all linked through an intricate web, a never-ending ripple that spans across the globe. Here, we explore the ideas that our guests carry through the world, remember who and what inspired them along the way, and uncover the seeds that helped them blossom into their unique version of this human experience.
23 Episodes
This is the "Best Of Season One” episode, a taster to hear pieces of all 22 episodes and invite you to go back and visit the ones that you missed over the last year. The Dandelion Effect Podcast is a gentle reminder that inspiring and extraordinary people are out there doing good in the world. These conversations explore a range of topics including post traumatic growth and healing, music therapy, food systems and soil, refugee resettlement, mental health and suicide prevention, nonviolent communication, transgender healthcare, cultural preservation and so much more.Please enjoy the different voices you hear and the stories that are told. Many of the people interviewed hold workshops and retreats during the summer at the Feathered Pipe Ranch and you can find links to their respective websites in their episode show notes for continued engagement with these teachers, healers, shamans, therapists and otherwise amazing humans.Support the show (
Today’s episode is brought to life from the archives, the last interview ever conducted with India Supera, the Feathered Pipe Ranch founder and visionary, who passed away in October 2019 at 73 years old. India was a force of nature and her life holds within in it some of the most exciting stories of adventure, courage, devotion and faith. India left home as a teenager for the adventure of foreign travel. After nearly dying in Pakistan, she began a spiritual quest in India and eventually found Satya Sai Baba, who is considered an avatar by millions of people. After living at Sai Baba’s ashram for two and a half years, she was brought back to the U.S. to care for her friend, Jerri Duncan. Within a year, Jerri died of cancer and left India 110 acres of land outside of Helena, MT—and a dying wish that she would help turn it into a healing center.Owning land and living in America was far from India's plan. For a year, she gave away furniture, thought about selling the land, meditated on the purpose of this inheritance, and held sweat lodge ceremonies to pray and connect with spirits, asking for guidance for the way forward. She even returned to India to call on Sai Baba’s wisdom. “Teach what you know,” he said. “Make it a place for leaders.”After making the difficult transition from penniless sadhu to administrator, India established the Feathered Pipe Ranch as a nationally known center for seminars in the field of yoga, holistic health and personal transformation.For 44 years, India Supera floated around the property at the Feathered Pipe Ranch, welcoming new guests like old family, sharing meals on the lawn, and stories in front of the stone fireplace. Stories that included tales of her travels in the 1960s and the extraordinary circumstances that led to her vision for America’s first healing center of its kind.The 2019 season, however, was different. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given two weeks to two months to live. Leaving her in full preparation mode for the ultimate adventure into the unknown—the transition of her body and transcendence of her soul.Support the show (
Wilmot Collins is the Mayor of Helena, Montana, and in 2017, he made headlines as the first black elected official in Montana’s state history. Born in Liberia, West Africa, he and his wife fled the country when a dangerous civil war erupted, killing 250,000 people—including two of his brothers—and displacing over a million more. After navigating immigration programs for nearly three years and a string of divinely-orchestrated events, Wilmot finally settled in the small town of Helena in 1994, where he raised his two children and has held positions with Intermountain Children’s Home, Alternative Youth Adventures, Montana Department of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs Montana and more. Wilmot has also served in the Army National Guard and Navy Reserves and is active on the boards of United Way, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance.I sat down with Mayor Collins at the Feathered Pipe Ranch to talk about his early life, growing up in Firestone, Liberia, working on his parents' chicken farm, riding motorcycles with his brothers and the story of how he met his wife at a bus stop of the local college. We shared many, many tears as he walked me through the unbelievable circumstances that he has survived, a barrage of hurdles, one after the next, that nearly defeated him on his path to freedom and reconnection with his family.I feel so lucky to have Wilmot Collins in a leadership position in Helena, the town that our Feathered Pipe Ranch community has called home for the last 46 years. Someone who sits down for an interview and says, “Ask me anything. I’m an open book.” Someone who isn’t afraid to show his heart, his emotions, his journey. That’s who I want mediating and making decisions. Because he brings his whole self and that inherently gives people permission to do the same.Support the show (
Nat Kendall is a San Francisco-based Bhakti yoga teacher and musician who hosts weekly classes in the Bay Area, annual retreats and has produced numerous albums with different collaborators, most recently an acoustic collection called “My Friend."Raised in Bozeman, Montana, Nat learned guitar, keys and percussion instruments early on and attended the Musicians Institute of Los Angeles followed by the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He then moved to San Francisco at the age of 30, working as an audio producer and creative director for Pandora Internet Radio before he discovered the path of yoga and began his teaching journey with Rusty Wells and Janet Stone.This is a deeply personal conversation about truth, vulnerability, commitment to self love, and life as the ultimate practice of yogic philosophy. We talk about seeing our teachers as humans, not people who are perfected beings or enlightened masters.He openly shares insight into how his yoga practice helps him remain humble in partnership, the incredible gift of parents who always told him to 'Keep Going' no matter what project or hobby he was pursuing, and the long and winding path of how he navigated a 'Dark Night of the Soul' period in his twenties. We get plenty of laughs, though, as he recounts his time playing in punk and hip hop bands, a path that ultimately led him to using music as an expression of devotion rather than ego.You can hear the buzz of the fans in the heat of the evening, the clink of people setting down mugs of tea between sips. This audio brings you right into the main lodge of the Feathered Pipe Ranch—a place that perhaps you’ve been before or want to venture to in the future.Nat Kendall WebsiteSupport the show (
Howard Binkow is an old friend of India Supera and a former Feathered Pipe Foundation Board Member. At 88 years old, his life is dedicated to the subject of listening, and he has been a listener in training for 28 years.Howard has had several careers in his lifetime: a home builder, radio host, sales person, author, publisher and currently CEO of the We Do Listen Foundation, a 501c3 that empowers children to become better listeners through a series of books, animations and songs based on the adventures of the Howard B. Wigglebottom and Wonder Kitty characters. With the help of Reverend Ana Volinski, Howard has co-created 17 children's books, which have been translated into Chinese, Korean and French and have sold over 2.5 million print copies. In today’s conversation, we focus on the two pillars of listening that he learned from author Steven Covey: “Seek first to understand before being understood” and “be present.” He walks us through his journey of chasing money to chasing meaning, a midlife crisis that led him into the woods of Michigan for a two-year isolated retreat, and eventually to the work that he does today: visiting schools, reading his books to 4-7 year olds and introducing them to the concepts of listening that he believes will help them grow into receptive, caring and balanced adults.Howard speaks from his own experience of awakening as a 60-year-old man, recognizing that his entire life, he equated listening with obedience and doing as he was told in order to escape punishment, whether at home, school or work. Now, as an apprentice to the art of listening, he says the practice has improved his relationships, finances, free time and fulfillment.We Do Listen FoundationSupport the show (
Jim Barngrover has over four decades of experience in organic gardening, farming and marketing local and fairtrade products. In 1987, he co-founded Timeless Natural Foods, a company dedicated to alternative agriculture through annual legumes like peas and lentils. What began as a venture between four friends has put Montana on the map as America’s largest producer of lentils—and to this day Timeless is the only producer of heirloom organic lentils and specialty grains in the country.As a part time lobbyist for AERO, Alternative Energy Resources Organization, Jim was instrumental in the passage of the Montana Organic Definition Act in 1991, and was awarded AERO’s 40th Anniversary Leadership in Sustainability Award in 2014. Now as a founding board member of Helena Community Gardens, Jim focuses on the organization’s mission of developing gardens within walking distance of every neighborhood in Helena MT. In this conversation, Jim walks us through his journey from farmer’s son to ROTC student, activist, gardener, prison horticulture director, and back to farmer. In his young adult life, he moved from Wyoming to Montana in search of a more progressive existence and serendipitously stumbled into the Feathered Pipe Ranch after meeting India Supera in Missoula. Here, he felt more connected to the Earth and the land than he ever had before, and it sparked the inspiration for a life of service both for human health and environmental health. Jim speaks to the chemically-dependent industrial farming complex in America, the reasons why he farms with organic and regenerative practices and encourages others to do the same, the lessons that he’s learned from working in harmony with the land, and how lentils work to reduce erosion, build organic matter, and provide natural nitrogen fertilizer for other crops. He’s hopeful about how many young farmers are making the shift to more sustainable practices and emphasizes how much power consumers have in the fight to change our food systems.Timeless Natural Foods WebsiteSupport the show (
Dr. Sidhbh Gallagher is double-board certified in general and plastic surgery, and is a leader in the field of gender affirmation surgery. She serves the transgender community through her private practice in Miami, where she performs up to 60 surgeries per month as treatment for gender dysphoria. Originally from Ireland, Sidhbh earned her medical degree from University College in Dublin then came to the United States to complete eight more years of intensive surgical training. She served as an assistant professor at Indiana University from 2015 to 2020 where she researched and developed new techniques such as Masculoplasty and was the founding surgical director of the Indiana University Gender Affirmation Surgery Program.Today, Sidhbh joins us for an inspiring conversation about her path to becoming a surgeon and how she works to support people on their journeys to feeling comfortable and complete in their own bodies. She lets us in on the biggest lessons she’s learned from her patients:  Humans are complex and it’s time we stop pretending that we all like the same things. Sidhbh debunks incorrect ideas about the transgender population that circulate in the media and shares stories about her most memorable patients that will blow you away and restore your faith in humanity.Gallagher Plastic Surgery WebsiteSupport the show (
Of Navajo-Ute heritage, R. Carlos is the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute. He began playing the traditional Native American flute in the early 1980s and has released more than 50 albums in his career, earning Platinum status with his album Canyon Trilogy, the first ever for a Native American artist performing traditional solo flute music. R. Carlos has received eleven GRAMMY nominations in four different categories and has traveled the world, making sound sculptures, he calls them-- collaborations with artists from other countries and cultures, hearing stories similar and different to his own and transcending the common stereotypes presented in mass media.On the personal side of things, R. Carlos is wise, gentle, inspiring, a man that values listening, mentoring younger folks and simply BE-ing in this world and enjoying the journey of becoming more of himself every day. In this conversation, we walk through his lifelong musical process--beginning with clarinet and trumpet then discovering the Native American flute when a car accident left him with injuries to the muscles in his mouth that prevented him from playing brass instruments.He speaks of the flute as a vehicle for telling your authentic story, the self expression that allows you to put yourself in the center of your life, to realize that the gifts and tools you were born with are exactly what you need to be who you are meant to be in this world. He opens up about a near death experience that guided him even more towards service through teaching and mentoring young people, and he leaves us with the question: Who Are You and How Do You Belong?R. Carlos Nakai WebsiteSupport the show (
Lauren Walker is the founder of Energy Medicine Yoga, a highly intuitive, simple healing method that marries her extensive studies in yoga with the transformative power of energy work. She is the author of two books: Energy Medicine Yoga: Amplify the Healing Power of Your Yoga Practice and The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription, and she also has a new book on the way: The Energy to Heal. Lauren has been teaching yoga and meditation since 1997, and now teaches EMYoga across the United States and internationally, both general courses and training teachers on her method.Today, she tunes in from her home in Northwest Montana, and we cover a topic so relevant to what we’re facing on a collective and an individual scale: trauma. This conversation aims to be a safe and open container where we unpack and give context to the word that’s become so common in mainstream vernacular. We explore trauma, not from an intellectual stance, but from the lens of how our bodies relate to and process experiences that are deemed “traumatic.” It’s incredibly subjective what constitutes a trauma, and Lauren walks us through the physiological cascade that occurs when one does experience an event that changes their lives.Most importantly, we talk about how to get out of what she calls the trauma field—the phenomenon when you or someone you know continues to attract chaos, pain, heartbreak, unhealthy relationships and drama—a feat she only began to understand once she met Donna Eden and added energy medicine into her yoga practice. Lauren’s brilliance is apparent as we weave through complex subject matter, but her gift for simplifying and translating is just as impressive—thank goodness! She graciously leads us through 15 minutes of practical ways to touch, massage and hold points on your own body to help you release pain, move through challenging events and process emotions. Things that you can begin doing today with no prior experience. It simply works because we are all energy. Remember E=MC²? Don’t worry, we break that down too.Energy Medicine Yoga WebsiteSupport the show (
Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and an internationally known author and speaker who has deep ties with the Feathered Pipe Ranch, hosting women’s workshops in Montana since the 1980s. She is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and is the author of thirteen books in over one hundred foreign editions, including Goddesses in Every Woman and Like A Tree: How Trees, Women and Tree People Can Save the Planet.Jean has been an outspoken feminist activist for decades and is an NGO Permanent Representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women from the Women’s World Summit Foundation  in Geneva. She also represents Pathways To Peace, The Millionth Circle, Earthchild Institute, Women’s Perspective, and the International Public Policy Institute.In today’s conversation, we float through topics as if riding a leaf down a stream—beginning with her upbringing as a Japanese American during World War II, her first memories of recognizing injustices and privilege, moments of divine connection and humility, the Age of Aquarius and so much more. We discuss the possibility of transformation during this liminal space of global pandemic--a topic she covered in a recent TedTalk titled: Crisis as a Turning Point: The Gifts of Liminal Time.Perhaps most synchronistic is the thread that weaves itself through our entire conversation: The Dandelion Effect. It was Jean who coined the phrase and gave us permission to use it to name this podcast, so its extra special to share this time with her on the show and hear her interpretation of the phrase.Jean's WebsiteSupport the show (
Gary Lemons is a poet, yogi, activist and long-time member of the Feathered Pipe Ranch Community, venturing to Helena, MT for 20 summers in a row to study with renowned yoga and dharma teacher Erich Schiffmann. An author of eight books of poetry, Gary’s latest book Original Grace is the final book of a series he’s titled the Snake Quartet, a visceral and insightful journey that follows the end of our world as we know it—and what Mother Earth decides to do with us humans in order to prepare to create a more sustainable existence.Gary tunes in today from his home in Washington state and we allow our exploration to take on a life of its own: discussing what it was like being “born into a house of women with no mother,” his early involvement in the counterculture movements of the 1960s in DC., his courtship with poetry, the laws of nature, genderlessness in infinity and much more.We recognize here, together, that poetry was a form of meditative awareness for Gary long before he even knew what meditation was, and he reflects on the evolution of his craft over the decades--studying and perfecting the formal structure first so that he knew exactly how to break free of it.Now, in his more recent works, he sees his role as a listening post or a channel for the ideas that want to move through him, a force that’s not coming from the structural side, but rather a deeper connection with his quartet’s character, Snake, that allows the words to flow when the boundaries are released.Gary shares, tearfully, the incredible story of he and his father’s reconciliation after 35 years without communication or contact, and we get to sit back as Gary reads two poems: “The Elephant in the Room” from his newest book Original Grace (available in May) and “Freedom” from his book Fresh Horses.Gary's WebsiteRed Hen Press: Buy Original GraceSupport the show (
Brant Secunda is an internationally acclaimed shaman, healer, and ceremonial leader in the indigenous Huichol tradition of Mexico. During an intensive 12 year apprenticeship, Brant became the adopted grandson and close companion of Don José Matsuwa, the renowned shaman who passed away in 1990 at the age of 110. Brant’s initiation into the Huichol tradition began when he was 19 years old, and rights of passage during his apprenticeship included completing a five-day vision quest without food and water in the sacred Cave of Grandmother Growth, capturing and releasing a wild rattlesnake with his bare hands, enduring a 14-month fruit fast to enhance his sensitivity to the natural world, and surviving an extended nine-day vision quest to learn the language of the gods.For nearly 40 years, he has led conferences, workshops, and retreats around the globe, has been a lecturer at the Mayo Clinic, the American Holistic Medical Association Conferences and a faculty member of the Five Branches Institute of Chinese Medicine. He co-authored the award-winning book Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You, and he is a co-founder of the American Herbalist Guild, the Peace University in Berlin, Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies and the Huichol Foundation.Brant tunes into today’s conversation from his home in Santa Cruz, CA. He introduces us to the practice of Huichol Shamanism, and shares stories of the ways that he learned from Don José—slowly, methodically and almost by osmosis of simply spending time together, completing daily tasks of growing corn, listening to rivers, gathering around the fire and each day deepening his understanding of the earth cycle’s and the language of the plants, animals and natural elements.A humble man of gentleness and humor, Brant reflects on his friendship with India Supera, founder of the Feathered Pipe Ranch, and Pat Kennedy, a late Cree elder that included Brant in Montana-based Peace Encampments that brought together leaders from various indigenous traditions in the U.S. and Canada. We talk about the importance of laughter medicine, connecting to nature and what it means to “find your life,” a saying in Huichol Shamanism that Brant shares in his workshops.This conversation flows much like one big prayer or ritual. I invite you to slow down and take this in, not just filtering the words through your mind, but seeing if you can tune into this episode with your entire body, your heart and your spirit. The beauty is in the simplicity, and you may be surprised what transmits.Shamanism.comSupport the show (
Dr. Joseph Lamb is the owner of the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Clinic by Metagenics in Gig Harbor, Washington. He works in partnership with his patients to create optimal health and well-being by using Functional Medicine approaches including lifestyle modification, herbal and nutritional supplementation, cognitive therapy and care that considers the soul as part of the whole picture of health.Dr. Lamb has an impressive resume: He’s double board-certified in Internal Medicine and Holistic /Integrative Medicine and is a Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner. He has lectured internationally, co-authored a text book on vascular biology and published numerous academic papers outlining his work as the principal investigator in over 75 clinical trials. Dr. Lamb spent 4 years in Tennessee at the Hypertension Institute and 17 years of private practice at the Integrative Medicine Works in Virginia. He’s also the Principal Investigator of LIFEHOUSE, a Lifestyle Intervention and Functional Evaluation Health Outcomes Survey.   Needless to say, this man knows a thing or two about the human body. However, it’s his consideration of the spiritual component of life that sets him apart from others in his field. Dr. Lamb’s work in medicine and his upbringing in the Catholic Church have continued to guide him towards a vocation of service, helping people uncover their unique purpose, motivation and mission, which as a result, propels them towards greater health, longevity and quality of life.In this conversation, he helps us redefine what it means to be ‘healthy’ or ‘live well’—a standard much higher than the absence of disease and one that takes into account cognitive, emotional, physical, metabolic and behavioral aspects. The latter being what he describes as the outer expression of the other four categories.Plus, we suss out a statement that had me lying on the floor for hours afterwards contemplating my life path. Dr. Lamb says, “One of the biggest obstacles on the journey of achieving full wellness is the brokenness of our dreams." The role that our unrealized childhood dreams or goals for our lives plays into our ability to reach our full potential of energy, joy, service and health.Dr. Joseph Lamb's WebsiteSupport the show (
Chris Cappy founded Pilot Consulting in 1994, a firm specializing in leadership development, action learning, executive coaching and change/ transition management for companies throughout the world. He has over thirty years of consulting, teaching and speaking experience, and has helped develop and implement systems that create greater cohesion, clearer vision and sustainable growth for global brands like General Electric, Disney, IBM and more. He is the lead author of Driving Leaders, a book that demonstrates how the principles of top-level automobile racing—vision, planning, training, and exquisite execution over a long period of time—can teach us a great deal not only about leadership, but also about life.Chris brilliantly marries the spiritual with the practical, using his own healing journey in the first 30 years of his life to build the foundation for what he offers now to his clients. His approach to executive coaching is rooted in an intimate understanding of human’s search for meaning, a driving force behind why we live our particular lives, and a critical component in how we begin to build a life of fulfillment, freedom and financial health.In this conversation, Chris walks us through the adolescent trials and tribulations that set him on the path of seeking at a young age, leading him through martial arts, meditation, yoga, philosophy and landing him at the Feathered Pipe Ranch in Helena, Montana in the 1970s, drinking wine with Joseph Campbell in the Lake Cabin! We talk about his transition from wandering and looking for answers to life’s big questions to how he built a thriving consulting business that allows him to carry out his personal life mission--and help others do the same.We discuss the building blocks on the path to finding your purpose, explore the experiential learning model he uses to bring companies together and help them relate as humans--outside of their titles, roles and identities--and reflect on the different phases of life, focusing in on what one researcher calls "The Second Mountain," a time when many people move from career, accumulation and providing for family to putting effort and energy into nurturing community, relationships and giving.Chris has worked with some of the greatest spiritual leaders and the most focused business minds in the world, and his life story is one of exploration, constant learning and service, wrapped up in an organized reflection--as any fellow Virgo will appreciate.Pilot Consulting'Driving Leaders' bookSupport the show (
Cho Cho is the co-founder and chairlady of Studer Trust, an organization dedicated to building educational facilities and providing proper equipment to schools in Southeast Asia, specifically in the remote regions of Myanmar. As the former Country Manager for Studer Trust, Cho Cho spent over a decade traveling back and forth from the United States to Myanmar every three months to oversee the school projects, a passion for education that stems from overcoming the cultural and societal obstacles in her own childhood in Mandalay, Myanmar.Cho Cho has always been a revolutionary soul. Having grown up in a male-dominated culture and lived through several military government regimes, she rebelled against the traditional systems early on and paved her own life path—running away and marrying her high-school sweetheart, getting an education and growing a career in the travel industry then moving to the United States in 2006 to provide her daughters with the freedoms she desired and knew she deserved her entire life.Her ties to the Feathered Pipe Ranch and to Montana happened serendipitously, as so many of ours do: Cho Cho was working as a travel agent in Myanmar when she met VJ Supera, India Supera’s sister, and John P. Anderson, a long-time friend of the Ranch and a resident of Missoula, MT. Meeting these two travelers rerouted her entire immigration plan, and instead of moving to New York City like she originally intended, VJ and John P. helped her move her family to Missoula with a warm welcome from the community and plenty of friends upon arrival.Cho Cho’s life story is one of sass and stubbornness, courage and strength, mixed in with an endearing sense of humor that carries her through the hard times. We talk about her childhood heroes, the women who showed her it’s possible to rise above the stifling sexist rules, and taught her the importance of speaking up for herself and speaking out for what she believed will lead to a better world. We also touch on the current situation in Myanmar following the military coup a few weeks ago, an ongoing battle for power that Cho Cho is all too familiar with. StuderTrust.orgSupport the show (
Aimee Ryan is a Lead Facilitator at Ag Innovations, a California-based organization that helps mediate large-scale projects to build healthier farms, communities and ecosystems. Utilizing what she calls her essential trifecta—Nonviolent Communication, Internal Family Systems and Yoga—Aimee specializes in conflict transformation, group process facilitation and collaborative communication.She’s worked with a broad range of clients, including non-profits, businesses, government agencies, schools, prisons, social and climate justice movements, and intentional communities. Regardless of the setting, Aimee is passionate about creating spaces that hold the complexities of the human experience and make room for “both/and” thinking. Spaces where people of diverse backgrounds and interests, partisan views, and political divides can resolve conflict and strengthen collaboration.We focus on how the tools from her professional and life training can serve on a intrapersonal, interpersonal and systemic level. She walks us through an interactive exercise using nonviolent communication: the steps of observing, feeling, uncovering the need and making a request. Here’s a hint—it begins with slowing way down to tune into yourself. We hear how Aimee's love of collaboration and community building started with her upbringing at the Feathered Pipe Ranch—literally right up the hill from this world-renowned conscious living center in Helena, MT.  From the Hindu, Buddhist and Indigenous traditions that informed most of the offerings at the center, to her trips to India, Nepal, Peru, and beyond with the Ranch family, she recalls taking in a profound sense of responsibility to care for both planet and people. Today, this care continues to inspire Aimee and is pretty much built into her DNA.Center for Nonviolent CommunicationAg InnovationsSupport the show (
Karma Tensum was born in Tibet and escaped to India with his family at a very young age, fleeing the violent Chinese Occupation of Tibet in 1959. Thanks to the educational sponsorship program setup by The Dalai Lama, and the kindness of individuals who participated in this program, Karma was able to attend Wynberg-Allen School, Mussoorie—one of the top schools in India—which set him on a track to pursue higher education and teaching.In 1994, he won a Fulbright Scholarship and got his Master’s from Harvard Graduate School with a concentration in International Education. As a leading Tibetan educationalist, Karma was a member of the first Tibetan National Education Policy Committee that helped to draft the inaugural policy document for Tibetan education in exile.Karma has dedicated his life to Tibetan children in various capacities—as a teacher, administrator, planner and fundraiser in both Dharamsala and Clement Town, India. It was here that he met India Supera, founder of the Feathered Pipe Ranch, and developed a lifelong friendship that led to many good works, including the founding of the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation.For 18 years, Karma has lived in Montana and worked as the executive director of TCEF, a nonprofit that runs scholarships programs similar to the one that put him through school and funds projects to preserve Tibetan culture and arts.This is a nostalgic conversation filled with the miracles of his life. He reflects on how he’s been able to stay grounded in his Tibetan spirituality and heritage despite having lived outside of his native country for all but the first three years of his life.We explore the meaning of the word home; discuss the ways that indigenous wisdom and ancient traditions like Buddhism can teach us about healing, the arts, and the importance of strengthening the muscle of the heart; and how it’s possible to hold pain and gratitude in the palm of the same hand--the heartache of being forced out of his homeland yet staying open to receive the blessings that have touched his life.Tibetan Children's Education FoundationSupport the show (
Born into a family of musicians and artists, Matthew Marsolek has been at the forefront of the North American hand drumming movement since the 1990s. He’s the band leader of the Drum Brothers world percussion group, and has facilitated hundreds of events and workshops around the Northwest and Canada, sharing music and rhythm with a variety of groups including corporate teams, at-risk youth, bereaved children, cancer survivors, and students of all ages. He’s also been a featured speaker at TEDx UMontana, teaching his audience from the stage what he means when he says, “Music is your birthright.”Matthew has studied West African and East Indian music for over two decades and is an accomplished guitarist, vocalist, and composer. Along with two solo projects, he’s released albums with Drum Brothers and Mandir and has produced original music for several films. In this episode, we let the melody of conversation run wild. We explore the ancient roots of music making, the proven physiological effects of drumming, the power of music to unite and build connection--a scientific study called entrainment--and we take a deep dive into the multitude of music’s functions in culture and society--how to use drumming and other community-based musical practices to help us grieve, release tension, perform ritual and ceremony, celebrate, find joy, communicate healthy emotions and much more.One of Matthew’s teaching mantras is “If you have a heartbeat, you have rhythm," and his goals as a music educator are to spark joy, to create a safe space for people to reconnect with their inner child’s longing to play, to move past the fear of judgment and perfectionism and to express authentically, their unique song. DrumBrothers.comMatthew's TEDx TalkSupport the show (
Matt Kuntz is the Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness in Montana, the nation’s largest grassroots organization, supporting, educating and advocating for people with mental illnesses and their families. He is also an Army veteran, graduate of West Point Military Academy, former corporate lawyer and a father of three in Helena, MT.Recognized by President Obama as one of 18 “Ordinary Americans Who’ve Made An Extraordinary Difference,” Matt’s legislative work in the mental health field has undoubtedly helped improve the lives of many people. He was recently appointed to serve on the Department of Veterans Affairs National Research Advisory Council, helping to sustain a national research program focused on the high-priority health care needs of veterans, and he also helped institute the Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery at Montana State University, where he leads studies on Montana Youth and Veterans.In this episode, Matt shares openly about his own struggles with suicidality and what helped him through the darkest periods of his life. We discuss the mental health research he’s involved in, the murky, but hopeful, waters of diagnosis and treatment in our current healthcare system, and the strategy he used to move from a random guy in Montana to someone who helps to pass laws through Congress.Most importantly, we break through the stigma that’s typically associated with mental illness and talk candidly about the biological susceptibility and environmental factors that lead the human brain to function differently for each and every person. This is a raw and open conversation, a new perspective on the complexity of the human brain and the diversity of the human experience.National Alliance on Mental Illness: namimt.orgMSU Center for Research and Recovery: @mattkuntzMatt's Book: An Illustrated Journey Through BipolarSupport the show (
Baxter Bell, MD, is a certified Yoga Therapist, medical acupuncturist, co-author of the book Yoga for Healthy Aging, and former family doctor of 14 years. He teaches public yoga classes, is on the faculty for several teacher trainings around the country, and hosts virtual workshops and retreats specific to the benefits of yoga for healthy aging, back care, digestive health, brain function, sleep and more.Melina Meza is a pioneer in the field of yoga, nutrition, and Ayurvedic Health, sharing her knowledge around the world for more than 20 years. She is also a photographer and the creator of Seasonal Vinyasa Yoga, a holistic practice that features lifestyle, diet, and yoga practices tailored to the rhythms of the four seasons. Melina’s books Seasonal Health and Wellness and The Art of Sequencing series combine her passion for nature, the five elements, movement and beauty to help people stay vibrant and creative in their minds and bodies.Today, they join us from their home in Oakland, California to talk about the power of routine, the physiological effects of being in community, the roles that sleep (by 10pm!), local foods and 20 minutes of daily exercise play in your overall health, and how setting boundaries can be the ticket to finding more space—and creativity—in your day.We dip our toes into the rich wellspring of wisdom that the ancient health sciences of Ayurveda can offer our busy, modern lifestyles. Plus, Baxter walks us through breathing techniques to strengthen the respiratory system for focused prevention against COVID-19 and other seasonal colds and flus.www.baxterbell.comwww.melinameza.comSupport the show (
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