"Each day is valuable...Do not compare it with a dragon's bright pearl. A dragon's pearl may be found. But this one day out of a hundred years cannot be retrieved once it is lost." - Zen Master Dogen
This quote easily tripped off the lips of author, editor, illustrator and brush painter Toinette Lippe. An artist of many pursuits, Lippe had a distinguished publishing career at Simon and Schuster (under Robert Gottlieb, who later became editor of The New Yorker), Knopf and then as the editorial director of Bell Tower where she published 72 books from such luminaries as Ram Dass, Frederick Franck, Thomas Berry, Mirabai Starr, Stephen Levine, Rabbi Rami Shapiro and many others. Lippe has authored two of her own books, Nothing Left Over: A Plain and Simple Life (2002) and Caught in the Act: Reflections on Being, Knowing and Doing (reissued 2016) and an illustrator of the upcoming book On the Wing: Lyrical Moments (to be published December 2016). In this conversation, Toinette and I dive into the themes of harmonizing work and play (and if it is actually possible), ease of being a teacher and difficulty of being a student, lessons learned along the twists of life, and most beautifully, Toinette's life philosophy that came to her unexpectedly and under book deadline.
Morgan Atkinson has documented the life of Thomas Merton over two films. The poetic contemplative Thomas Merton lived an ever expanding and continual openness to God's love and Atkinson beautifully captures this on film. In this episode discover Thomas Merton as the rescuer of the contemplative tradition in Christianity, the middle-aged monk who fell ass over heels in love with a student nurse, and open dialogues with other religious traditions through the depth of each's contemplative stream. Atkinson has produced multiple documentaries on Thomas Merton, John Howard Griffin, Anna and Harlan Hubbard among many others. In our conversation we focus on what life lessons from Thomas Merton, his life as an artist and monk, what his students thought of him, and his ongoing legacy in the contemplative communities. Merton is a hero of mine, for his humor, humility, deep sense of wonder and of course for the quote that begins episode one of Contemplify, "I drink beer whenever I can lay my hands on any. I love beer, and by that very fact, the world."