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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.
13 Episodes
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 (
Allison Radecki is a food writer, culinary tour guide, a member of the first graduating class of Italy’s University of Gastronomic Sciences, and dear friend of the Feathered Pipe. Able to converse and share recipes in a range of languages, she has spent her career traveling the world, learning about culture, tradition and people through the lens of food--where it comes from, how it’s grown and by whom it’s prepared.From the secrets of the perfect udon noodles in Japan to Frankies’ meatballs in Brooklyn, Allison is most interested in how food brings people together and opens us up to connection, generosity and joy. How breaking bread with those different from yourself can lead to lasting social change. How asking questions about what’s on your plate sparks an important conversation about history, diversity and sustainability.Allison reminisces about her favorite childhood dishes, introduces us to the foremost voices in the international Slow Food movement, and tells stories that will leave you saving for a one-way ticket to Italy to embark on your own Eat, Pray, Love adventure--or make you run straight back to your mother’s kitchen. We discuss simple and creative ways to vote for good, clean and fair food systems and support every step in the supply chain from farmers and growers to restaurateurs and small business owners.Disclaimer: Do not listen to this episode on an empty stomach.Resources:Slow Food Movement: of Gastronomic Sciences: Fire Farm: Bombe: Mother's Farm: the show (
Sarah Bergakker is a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) and the founder of Mooxli, a company dedicated to providing self-care resources and continuing education for healthcare workers. Mooxli is an acronym for 'MOve your mindset, OXygenate your soul, and LIve life differently'. It was born out of Sarah’s personal experience in the healthcare industry for the last quarter century, navigating through emotional, mental and physical challenges that her professional training didn’t at all prepare her for.We talk about the prevalence of burnout, substance abuse and suicide among nurses and physicians and uncover the hidden feelings that many in this field keep bottled up for fear of going against the industry’s “There’s no crying in the ER” culture.Inspired by her personal and professional contemplation, Sarah has created a safe and supportive community where healthcare professionals can learn how to care for themselves first, because it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup--even when running on empty has been historically rewarded.Her team helps people process emotions, release the stories that they carry and navigate the moral dilemma of being asked to constantly choose the wellbeing of others over your own. Mooxli provides the tools of yoga, purpose practices and true resilience training through its online community, book clubs, retreats and continuing education workshops. Website: www.mooxli.comInstagram: @mooxli_Youtube: Mooxli * This program is brought you by the Feathered Pipe Foundation and its kind supporting community.Support the show (
Dan Libby is a licensed clinical psychologist, yoga teacher and the Executive Director of Veterans Yoga Project, a national nonprofit based out of Northern California.Dan specializes in the integration of evidence-based psychotherapies and complementary and alternative medicine practices for the treatment of PTS(D) and other psychological and emotional distress in active-duty military and veterans. As a Postdoctoral Fellow with Yale University’s Department of Psychiatry and the VA’s Mental Illness Research and Education Clinical Center, Dan conducted research investigating the physiological effects of mindfulness meditation as well as the first epidemiological investigation of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in VA PTSD treatment programs.  He is also former Director of Clinical Services for the Starlight Military Rehabilitation Program and has taught mindfulness and yoga to hundreds of veterans and active-duty service members.All that said, Dan claims to have learned everything he ever needed to know at the Feathered Pipe Ranch, the renowned nonprofit educational foundation and yoga retreat center. In this episode, we discuss the clinical conditions of stress: lack of safety, predictability and control; how to create S.P.A.C.E. for healing to occur; the importance of evidence-informed yoga; and the five pillars of VYP's Mindful Resilience programs: breath, meditation, movement, rest and gratitude. Dan shares his excitement for VYP's new Mindful Resilience for Compassion Fatigue program, created to equip healthcare, frontline workers and caregivers with tools to prevent the effects of burnout, fatigue and vicarious trauma. We also spread awareness for the organization's largest annual fundraiser—Veterans Gratitude Week, November 6-16th—which culminates in a weekend online series featuring a dozen of today's most prolific health and wellness professionals.Dan's background in yoga, massage and spirituality married with his extensive training in psychology provide a unique window into holistic healing, and this conversation is a worthwhile listen for veterans, their loved ones and anyone interested in reaching deeper levels of mental, emotional and physical resilience.For more information visit:* This program is brought you by the Feathered Pipe Foundation and its kind supporting community.Support the show ( Pipe Foundation Since 1975, Feathered Pipe Foundation has been focused on inspiring positive change in the world.
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