“The thing about Alana [Levandoski] is that she’s gifted. She's not just gifted as a musician, which she is, but she’s gifted as a lyricist...she teased these words, kind of like mantras, highly evocative mantras. She strung them together in a developmental expansion. So it was really a stroke of creative insight. It was really lovely how she brought it together."
- James Finley (via interview with Ordinary Mystic)
After Alana Levandoski attended and graduated from the Living School for Action and Contemplation, Alana experienced a rebirth as an artist, finally opening to a way of integrating her spirituality, her craftsmanship and her lifestyle. Abiding by a monastic rule inspired by her time living with the Benedictines, Alana and her husband Ian have committed to a life of minimalism and sacred simplicity.
Alana released a new album in September 2016. The album is a series of chants and compositions with spoken word in collaboration with contemplative teacher and clinical psychologist James Finley (author of Merton’s Palace of Nowhere). It is called Sanctuary ~ Exploring the Healing Path with Alana Levandoski and James Finley. (adapted from alanalevandoski.com)
Stephen Blackmer is founding executive director of Kairos Earth and chaplain of Church of the Woods. Steve comes to this with 30 years of conservation experience, having founded and built conservation organizations including the Five Rivers Conservation Trust, Northern Forest Alliance and Northern Forest Center. A midlife shift led him to Yale Divinity School and ordination as a priest in the Episcopal Church, carrying the question in his heart and mind: “How can being a priest deepen my work to conserve the Earth? What does the Christian tradition have to offer to this work? How can the Christian tradition be re-understood and re-imagined in a time of need? How can the conservation movement recover its understanding of the Earth as holy ground?” (adapted from kairosearth.org)
�Rev. Dr. Peter Traben Haas is the author of several books, including Centering Prayers: A One Year Daily Companion for Going Deeper into the Love of God. Peter is steeped in the Christian contemplative tradition, passionate about bringing the contemplative mind into church communities and the sheer number of books mentioned in this episode could chart the course for your next year (or two) of reading.
“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”
- Henry David Thoreau
Kevin Dann is a historian, naturalist, and troubadour, and author of ten books, including Expect Great Things: The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau; Bright Colors Falsely Seen: Synaesthesia and the Search for Transcendental Knowledge; Across the Great Border Fault: The Naturalist Myth in America; and Lewis Creek Lost and Found. Dann has taught at Rutgers University, University of Vermont, and the State University of New York. In the spring of 2009, Dann walked from Montreal to Manhattan to commemorate the 400th anniversaries of Hudson’s and Champlain’s voyages, and, having crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, decided to stay here. (adapted from drdann.com)
In this episode, Kevin shares his journey with Thoreau with us, the importance of careful attention to reality, and the two questions he would ask Thoreau if he had the chance. You can learn more about Kevin's work at drdann.com.
“[Charlie] Parr may have been born during the Nixon era, but you can taste the grit of the Dust Bowl in his music.”- Dusted Magazine
In this episode, Charlie shares a reflection on Harlan and Anna Hubbard as they sought a simple life on the river and in the woods. You can learn more about Charlie and his music at charlieparr.com.
Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned multimedia creative via channels as a speaker, writer, designer and consultant. She spent a decade in academia, during which time she was awarded prestigious fellowships from the National Institutes of Health to fund her Ph.D. research at Queen’s University and joint-appointment postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts Institutes of Technology. Christine was about to become a professor when she decided to hang up her academic spurs in favor of more flexible and independent ventures.
Since leaving academia in 2006, Christine has forged a new career as a lifestyle expert and influencer. The threads that run through her work are quality and simplicity and common descriptors of Christine and her work are "smart, streamlined, and stylish." Christine is the co-author of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less. Christine lives in the Boston area with her husband Jonathan and daughters Laurel and Violet. (from ChristineKoh.com)
In this episode, we explore the importance of families' naming their values, creating ample time for boredom and the significance of self-care being built into your parenting style.
Christy Wampole is an assistant professor in the department of French and Italian at Princeton, and the author of “Rootedness: The Ramifications of a Metaphor” and “The Other Serious: Essays for the New American Generation.” She has also written for the New York Times and the New Yorker.
“I have a crazy, crazy love of things.” - Pablo Neruda
Brie Stoner is a student, musician, and writer at becomingultrahuman.com. Besides contributing to the Center for Spiritual Resources and Contemplative Wisdom blogs, she contributed to the book Personal Transformation and a New Creation: The Spiritual Revolution of Beatrice Bruteau (edited by Ilia Delio). Brie is also my go-to for all things concerning Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
In this episode, Brie shares a reflection on a poet that has made a deep impact on her contemplative journey, and offers a little insight on how Pablo Neruda might improve my own.
“We would rather be ruined than changed
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.” - W.H. Auden
Interview with James Hollis, Ph.D. on the key elements of a reflective life.