For nine years, Alternative Currents was broadcast on WERU-FM radio and through live streaming on the web. Each show was 1 hour in length and guests ranged from the famous to the lesser known. All spoke to the heart of their subject matter. For your listening enjoyment, I have included a link to each program’s audio file below the PODCAST in green. I’ve also provided links to the subjects’ websites, where possible.
Some of these programs remain, to this day, unedited – but I post them for their valuable content. Enjoy the voices of these wonderful wisdom keepers!
All programs are copyrighted, and none may be used for broadcast without my express prior consent.
ARJUNA ARDAGH – THE TRANSLUCENT REVOLUTION (August 2005)
Many people in the movement toward awakening global consciousness were interviewed by Arjuna and culminated in this book. Excellent food for thought, fun to read, very hopeful and inspiring, great overview.
EZRA BAYDA – BEING ZEN: BRINGING ATTENTION TO LIFE (June 2002)
A longtime student of Charlotte Joko Beck, Bayda invites us into a deeper appreciation for everyday life. Although I, myself sound tight as a drum in this interview for reasons I cannot now recall (!), I remember Bayda being a genuine pleasure to speak with. Simple practices are not always easy in everyday life, but they are always available to us. His practical wisdom is reminscent of Pema Chodron, coincidentally also one of his teachers.
BRADFORD KEENEY – BUSHMAN SHAMAN: AWAKENING THE SPIRIT THROUGH ECSTATIC DANCE (November 2005)
I first read about Keeney in Utne Reader, and was thrilled he granted me an interview. Read about him on the link, below. Suffice it to say, when a PhD Psychologist meets a bushman tribe in Africa, his life is forever changed. Fascinating reading, great interview subject.
REV. MARY MURRAY SHELTON – GUIDANCE FROM THE DARKNESS (October 2000)
This interview was conducted back in my very early days of radio. It remains one of my favorites, and one most requested by listeners. From her blog: “I love exploring ideas that change the way we understand who we are and what we are capable of being and doing. Speaking, writing, traveling, and facilitating retreats, workshops, ceremonies and rituals are my special delights. I was a drama major in college, and trained as an actor at ACT in San Francisco. I’ve been a Center for Spiritual Living minister since 1986, and have pastored large churches, been Dean of one of our school of ministry campuses, and am an instructor for them. I wrote a book published by Tarcher/Putnam, GUIDANCE FROM THE DARKNESS, that explores how to weather change with grace.”
Through years of working with congregants in pastoral-care situations, Mary Murray Shelton, a popular leader with the United Church of Religious Science, has observed that difficult experiences in our lives are opportunities for us to move forward in profound ways. In Guidance from the Darkness, she offers an alternative interpretation of what happens in times of darkness, that provides hope and that steers the sufferer into new realms of power, love, beauty, strength, and success.
Guidance from the Darkness is for anyone who wants to grow through pain rather than be shut down by it. Going beyond symptom relief to the deeper causes of pain, Shelton shows how our inner divine wisdom can custom-make a permanent healing that involves changing both behavior and thought.
CLAUDE ANSHIN THOMAS – AT HELL’S GATE (April 2005)
Interview with former decorated Vietnam vet, now Zen monk. At Hell’s Gate is a memoir of Thomas’ service in Vietnam, subsequent emotional collapse, and healing journey through an encounter with Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh, to his ultimate path of service in the Soto Zen tradition. Moving story opening our eyes to the lasting damage incurred by soldiers of war.
DANIEL ELLSBERG – SECRETS: A MEMOIR OF VIETNAM AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS (September 2005)
Though there is slight background noise to this interview in places, it’s still amazing to hear Ellsberg the wise elder, 30 plus years after his publishing of the Pentagon Papers caused Nixon’s downfall, still passionate about democracy in the true sense of the word. Hear what he has to say about the Bush administration’s war in Iraq, as well.
SUSAN MILLER – PLANETS AND POSSIBILITIES (September 2001)
An hour long conversation with one of my favorite astrologers, Susan is amazingly approachable, full of heart and always right-on with her wisdom and guidance from the stars. This book gives anyone a basic starting point in understanding how astrology can affect our daily lives, from Susan’s unique perspective.
Susan also founded Astrology Zone, a website I visit monthly to get a handle on what the universe is tossing my way. She gives in-depth advice that is helpful and astonishingly accurate, informing us not only on one or two aspects of our lives, but in-depth patterns that are affecting us collectively.
MARC FELIX – MEDICINE BEAR SHAMAN/PSYCHOTHERAPIST (June 1998)
A psychotherapist who utilizes Apache shaman practices with his clients, having apprenticed under Snow Leopard, an Apache medicine chief, in the mid-1970’s. From his bio: “I believe that ‘diagnosis and treatment’ is too narrow a model to understand the depth and richness of our human experience, heal the wounds of our past history, and allow us to embody our joy and our fullness.
I invite you to not only remove existing symptoms and change unhealthy behavior patterns, but to create a life of love, authenticity, and celebration.”
DAVID RICHO – HOW TO BE AN ADULT IN RELATIONSHIPS (Nov. 2002)
“Love is not so much a feeling as a way of being present. Love is presence with unconditional attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing others to be as they are.” Learn how to integrate these 5 A’s into your relationships, and you will be a better person for it. Great interview.
DAVID RICHO – THE FIVE THINGS WE CANNOT CHANGE AND THE HAPPINESS WE FIND BY EMBRACING THEM (January 2005)
I loved the first interview so much, I asked Dave back when this book came out in print. I love the way he puts things into simple form in all his works. In this interview, hear about the “certain facts of life that we cannot change, unavoidable ‘givens’ of human life and especially of relationships:
1) Everything changes and ends
2) Things do not always go according to plan
3) Life is not always fair
4) Pain is part of life
5) People are not loving and loyal all the time
How can we learn to accept these givens and transform our lives for the better?
MARY CARROLL NELSON – BEYOND FEAR: A TOLTEC GUIDE TO FREEDOM & JOY: THE TEACHINGS OF DON MIGUEL RUIZ (May 2001)
“Fear is the source of all of the negative agreements we’ve made with life. It can alienate us from the joy that is our birthright. When we are able to look at our lives without fear or judgments, we realize that reality can be whatever we want it to be. Beyond Fear leads seekers of the Toltec way of freedom and joy on their spiritual journey into a state of empowerment. More expansive and in-depth than The Four Agreements, [this work] contains information on life after death, prophecies about the evolution of humanity, and exercises and ceremonies to walk readers through the process of shedding fear and becoming spiritually and emotionally alive.” (From Amazon.com)
A fascinating conversation about Ruiz’ teachings with this artistic, thoughtful woman.
LARRY DOSSEY – HEALING BEYOND THE BODY: MEDICINE AND THE INFINITE REACH OF THE MIND (December 2001)
Highly respected by physicians and spiritual seekers alike, Dr. Dossey uses scientific backup for his theories and research on prayer, healing and complementary medicine. In this broadast from December of 2001, we explore 9/11 and the implications of war on our collective consciousness.
From his website, “I used to believe that we must choose between science and reason on one hand, and spirituality on the other, in how we lead our lives. Now I consider this a false choice. We can recover the sense of sacredness, not just in science, but in perhaps every area of life.”
Forgive the sound quality of this old taped show, recovered as best I could in our lovely Hawai’i climate.
EDWARD ESPE BROWN – NOT ALWAYS SO: PRACTICING THE TRUE SPIRIT OF ZEN (August 2004)
Edward is the best-selling author of a number of popular cookbooks and past president of the San Francisco Zen Center. He helped found and run the internationally acclaimed Greens Restaurant in San Francisco with the renowned chef Deborah Madison. Alternative Currents caught up with him when he was in town presenting at a local zen retreat center. Humorous and insightful guidance.
fmi: https://www.alibris.com/ will get you to his fascinating and varied works. Search by name (Edward Espe Brown).
PODCAST – PART I
PODCAST PART II
EVAN PRITCHARD – NO WORD FOR TIME: THE WAY OF THE ALGONQUIN PEOPLE (January 2002)
In this extraordinary paperback, Evan T. Pritchard has come up with an astonishingly lyrical and spiritually deep summation of the the myths, history, and philosophy of the Algonquin people and particularly his own Wabanaki people, the northeasternmost of all Native Americans. The author, who taught a course on sacred poetry at Columbia University, was tutored by his Micmac elders and also studied their language extensively. The Micmac have a phrase, “Things fall together,” which means don’t worry about how anything will turn out since the Great Spirit controls everything.
Pritchard shares his experiences of fasting, his first sweat lodge, going on a vision quest, and receiving his spiritual name. He writes eloquently about Algonquin purification rituals, the art of giving things away, dance as sacred poetry in action, singing, cherishing diversity, respecting elders, honoring children, and reverencing the earth.
Pritchard adds texture to No Word for Time by comparing Algonquin ideals and practices to other religions. As he notes, “The universe is big enough for all truth. We don’t have to destroy someone else’s to make room for our own.” In a soulful new afterword, Pritchard shares with us seven suggestions on finding a balance between Native timelessness and our “clock-crazy” world. This is one of the best books on Native American spirituality for many a moon.
FRANK OSTASESKI – The founder of Zen Hospice, San Francisco
(May 2004 – unedited) came to town for a workshop on sacred dying, and we had this hour-long conversation. His workshop forever changed my views of grief and the way our culture views death and dying. Powerful, amazing man with a huge heart, doing great work in our world.
This unedited interview is in three parts:
PODCAST – PART I
PODCAST – PART II
PODCAST – PART III
MEGORY ANDERSON – SACRED DYING (November 2001)
Megory Anderson founded the Sacred Dying Foundation in 1996. She is a theologian, educator, liturgist, and author. Megory has a rich personal history in religion and theology, formerly as an Anglican monastic in New York and then as a comparative religion scholar. She is well known internationally for her writings and extensive work in death and dying, especially at bedside vigil during the last hours.
ROBERT KAREN – THE FORGIVING SELF: THE ROAD FROM RESENTMENT TO CONNECTION (October 2001 – unedited)
Can we be forgiven our insensitivities and betrayals? Should we always forgive those who hurt us? What enables us to reopen our hearts when we do? Can we repair our relationships without the tendency to see ourselves as victims who need revenge? From his Oprah Life Class more recently than this interview, link below: “All sustained relationships depend to some extent on forgiveness. People hurt each other no matter how much love they share, and it’s a truism that the greatest hurts are meted out by the closest of intimates. No friendship, no marriage, no family connections of any kind would last if the silent reparative force of forgiveness were not working almost constantly to counteract the corrosive effects of resentment and bitterness. Without forgiveness there could be no allowance for human frailty. We would keep moving on, searching for perfect connections with mythical partners who would never hurt or disappoint. The wish to repair a wounded relationship, whether it takes the form of forgiveness, apology, or some other bridging gesture, is a basic human impulse. The need to forgive may be as strong as the need to be forgiven.”
GARY EBERLE – SACRED TIME AND THE SEARCH FOR MEANING (October 2003)
We can’t ignore that time seems sped up, these days – how do we who must live in the world rather than meditating on a mountaintop recover a sense of the sacred when it comes to time?
GREENFIRE WOMEN – GREENFIRE RETREAT (April 2004)
This group of gifted elders ran a retreat facility, now closed, on the coast of Maine. Supporting women (and some men) in spiritual emergence, facilitation based on the ancient system of the Enneagram helped empower the individual. This conversation with three of the key women running the retreat provides thoughtful insights.
JAMES HOLLIS – THE EDEN PROJECT: IN SEARCH OF THE MAGICAL OTHER (April 2003)
Has the search for love in another human being replaced our search for God? How is it nearly impossible to reflect on early psychic programming until the middle of our lives? Why is it not possible to achieve a higher or better relationship with the divine than we have with ourselves? These questions and more with a longtime Jungian analyst.
JOHN DAVID EBERT – TWILIGHT OF THE CLOCKWORK GOD (April 2001)
Another Utne Reader find, this interview was recorded live with listener questions in the second 1/2 hour. Ebert believes we are shifting out of a mechanical model of time, backed by his interviews with fascinating people like Rupert Sheldrake whose work in the sciences leads to a more organic living vision of the cosmos. Some background static noise as it was an old taped program, but quality content and great interview subject.
fmi: http://www.utne.com/pub/2000_103/features/1682-1.html / https://www.youtube.com/user/johndavidebert
JULIA CAMERON – WALKING IN THIS WORLD (November 2002)
Although perhaps best known for her book The Artists Way, here Julia speaks to how we can discover the artist within through active contact with nature. Great guest whose work has helped millions get in touch with their creative spirit.
KEVIN GRIFFIN – ONE BREATH AT A TIME (November 2004)
Kevin does a fabulous job integrating Buddhist spiritual principles with the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. A gentle approach to freeing yourself of addictive patterns in your life.
LAURINE MORRISON MEYER – SACRED HOME (March 2005)
Feng shui for westerners, from western sacred traditions. Meyer is a longtime interior designer who equates home with the womb – a richly symbolic approach to clearing and creating a spiritual living space.
MANUEL SCHOCH – HEALING WITH QUALITIES: THE ESSENCE OF TIME THERAPY (July 2005)
An interesting way of going beyond western psychotherapy, utilizing a more holistic method of transforming habitual patterns. Very interesting man, sadly no longer with us. Very intriguing interview with some things you’ve likely not heard before.
LOPON KARMA WANGCHUK – MARATIKA LAMA (August 2003)
Visiting Dzogchen monk from Nepal –An interesting conversation with a Buddhist monk from the east – the energy in the studio was definitely enhanced by his presence therein, and though his English was not fabulous, you should have no trouble understanding him.
MARION WOODMAN – CONSCIOUS FEMININITY (October 2002)
I truly do not know where to begin with Marion – she was one of the wisest elders in her time, and has written extensively on the need for conscious feminine energy, no matter our gender. This conversation covers many basic precepts, as well as getting a feel for her wonderful presence as a guiding light in the realm of deep self transformation.
MICHAEL CARROLL – AWAKE AT WORK (June 2005 – unedited)
Good for when you dread going into the office because you’d rather be anywhere else. A former student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, this Tibetan Buddhist teaches us how to bring harmony and meaning into the workplace. Michael has over 20 years of business experience holding executive positions with such firms as Bankers Trust, Paine Webber, Simon & Schuster and Walt Disney.
MICHAEL NEWTON – DESTINY OF SOULS; LIFE BETWEEN LIVES (September 2004)
Interesting interview with a doctoral psychologist who has regressed hundreds of people beyond “past lives” to a place in between lifetimes where they can derive greater meaning from the soul’s journey.
ORIAH MOUNTAIN DREAMER: THE CALL; THE INVITATION; THE DANCE (November 2003)
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream for the adventure of being alive.” ~ OMD Two separate interviews, one year apart, below.
PODCAST – PROGRAM I
PODCAST – PROGRAM II
PAUL LOEB – SOUL OF A CITIZEN (December 2000 & February 2004)
Another Utne Reader discovery! Paul is a first-class advocate for the common citizen, and this book has become required reading in some college classrooms. This show was so popular, we aired it twice.
PAUL LOEB – THE IMPOSSIBLE WILL TAKE A LITTLE WHILE
Paul came out with another book, this time a series of stories about everyday people like Rosa Parks, whose dedication and persistence have made a huge difference in our democratic way of life. Good speaker, good work.
ROBERT ROMANYSHYN – TECHNOLOGY AS SYMPTOM AND DREAM (February 2005)
One of my all-time favorite books and favorite interviews. Robert speaks to the advent of linear perspective in art and the anatomical perspective in science as contributing to a sort of cultural soul loss. He has also written some powerful essays on grief and our need to unforget– he is an amazing human being whose work is well worth checking out.
RON GROSS – SOCRATES’ WAY (May 2003)
Another of my favorite interviews! Gross is so engaging – this is a man who dresses up as Socrates and shows up in the middle of cities to get ordinary citizens involved in asking questions rather than taking another’s truth as one’s own. Using Socratic questioning techniques, Gross will get you thinking better for and of yourself.
RONALD SIEGEL – INTOXICATION (October 2005)
Longtime psychopharmacologist Siegel (UCLA Medical School faculty) puts forth some very interesting information backed by years of research with various addictive substances. He believes that “the desire for intoxication is actually a fourth drive, as unstoppable as hunger, thirst, and sex.”
SAVITRI BESS – THE PATH OF THE MOTHER (December 2004)
A devotee of Ammachi whom many consider the Divine Mother incarnate, Savitri speaks about her experiences with “Amma” both in the book and on the air, interspersing her personal experiences with Hindu myth and interesting historical details. Live studio interview. For link to Amma’s website, see below.
SAVITRI BESS – TSUNAMI INDONESIA 2005 (February 2005)
Interesting story of Bess’ personal experience of being in India with Ammachi when the tsunami hit. She speaks of Ammachi’s rescue efforts and enormous humanitarianism during this tragic time. Live studio interview with listener questions second half of the program.
STEPHANIE KAZA – HOOKED! (May 2005)
Stephanie has given us a beautiful collection of Buddhist essays on consumerism in her newly released book. Authors such as Thubten Chodron, Judith Simmer-Brown and Kaza herself, along with many others, speak to untangling the greed that dominates our culture and keeps us from experiencing more authentic lives. Uplifting.
SUSAN MURPHY – IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN (authored by PAT HEIM & SUSAN MURPHY – interviewed Susan 9/03, rebroadcast 12/05)
When you see a show aired twice, you know it’s good. Actually I interviewed Susan along with my then-19 year-old daughter Amanda, in order that we could get two generational perspectives on dealing with women in our lives and in the workplace. Women relate differently than men, and learning about these differences can lead to better communication and understanding. Excellent.
TERRY COLE WHITTAKER – EVERY SAINT HAS A PAST, EVERY SINNER A FUTURE (June 2001)
Having grown up in Southern California, I remember Dr. Terry and her unique ministry from my youth. She’s still a great inspirational speaker, backing up her guidance with wisdom from both the West and the East. Check out her bio. Live phone interview with small listener feedback in second half of the show.
TERRY TEMPEST WILLIAMS – THE OPEN SPACE OF DEMOCRACY (August 2004)
Not only a brilliant and engaging writer, Williams is passionate about bringing back the heart of democratic principles through allowing differences to coexist. Not that she has left her environmental concerns behind – her body of work speaks to an undying love for the land we live in, from all perspectives. Live studio interview with listener questions the second half.
WILLIAM FIX – LAKE OF MEMORY RISING (August 2001)
Scholarly yet very approachable work on reincarnation. “Few authors have the background and ability to delve into the many fields of often neglected knowledge that William Fix does. [In this book] he has produced a readable, exciting and compelling case for the spiritual nature of men and women, and he challenges his readers to continue to seek mankind’s ultimate goal of oneness with God.” (Edgar Evans Cayce, author of Edgar Cayce On Atlantis.)
DR. KENNETH SILVESTRO – SEXUALITY AND NARCISSISM (July 1998)
I first encountered Ken Silvestro while a student at Vermont College, and thought we could have a fascinating conversation, on-air. Turns out I was right.
Ken earned his PhD at the University of Connecticut in the field of Artificial Intelligence. He then spent seven years studying depth psychology at the C. G. Jung Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to his practice, Ken has been involved in research projects at Yale University and the Department of the Navy, and has extensive university teaching experience. He held faculty positions at Bowdoin College, the University of Montana, Vermont College and Providence College, among others. Ultimately, he chose to establish his psychoanalytic practice in the beauty of western Montana; it is there that his life and work are centered.
IRINI ROCKWELL – THE FIVE WISDOM ENERGIES (May 2002)
Her book’s subtitle, “A Buddhist Way of Understanding Personalities, Emotions and Relationships,” sums it up.
From her website: “Our sanity and neurosis are complementary aspects of our energetic style. By practicing mindfulness we integrate body and mind, cultivating the ability to be receptive, fresh and spontaneous. By practicing the postures of the five qualities, we recognize our patterns and learn to embrace all aspects of ourselves. With more personal awareness, relaxation and friendliness (maitri) towards ourselves, we move away from rejecting our neurosis to seeing our intrinsic sanity. We can become a highly-tuned psychophysical being relating to the energy in ourselves and our surroundings.”
Irini Rockwell, MA, – principal trainer, is director of the Five Wisdoms Institute and founder of Five Wisdoms @ Work, a professional development training for health caregivers, educators, organizational leaders, and individuals. She has an MA in Contemplative Psychotherapy, a Certificate in Authentic Leadership, and has been long time faculty at Naropa University. Her first career was as a dance performer, choreographer and teacher … She is a long time student of Trungpa Rinpoche, a senior teacher in the Shambhala International community, and a founding member of Maitri Council International.
RONALD K. SIEGEL – INTOXICATION (OCTOBER 2005)
Psychopharmacologist Ronald K. Siegel, PhD has spent decades researching the intoxication urge in humans and animals. Presenting his conclusions on the biological and cultural reasons for the pursuit of intoxication, Siegel offers recommendations for curbing the negative effects of drug use in Western culture by designing safe intoxicants. Siegel was an associate research professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles and is the author of several noted studies and books on Psychopharmacology. He has studied, lectured, and conducted research at Brandeis University, Harvard Medical School, Dalhousie University, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He has been a consultant to several government commissions on drug use.