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.
"Best of Season Two" Episode
The Feathered Pipe Ranch is a world-renowned retreat center that hosts weeklong yoga and wellness workshops from June through September, and as of this recording, we are smack in the middle of the season. Every retreat is full of amazing people traveling from all parts of the country and even the world—yesterday I met a woman who traveled all the way from Brazil.
This year feels like a true reunion of humanity. People are open, vulnerable, eager to learn and willing to lean into friendship and healing. At least that’s what I’ve experienced in speaking with guests. A real presence that leaves me optimistic for our collective futures.
To celebrate midseason, we’re airing the "Best of Season Two” episode, a taster to hear pieces of all 12 episodes from our second podcast season, and invite you to go back and visit the ones that you missed over the last six months. Based on the analytics, I’m seeing that many new people are still finding and listening to season two, which is really incredible since most of the conversations really are timeless and worth checking out even while the podcast team takes the summer hiatus.
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 generational healing, veteran’s mental health, the law of attraction, food as a love language, sustainable building, ethical technology and mindfulness, energy medicine, adventure travel, and much more.
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Donna Eden: Self-Healing with Energy Medicine
Donna Eden is a pioneer in the field of Energy Medicine, and she was born with the gift of literally being able to see the body's energies, in the forms of colors and geometrical shapes. After five specialists told her she had 9 months to 2 years to live, she healed herself from multiple sclerosis, allergies, asthma and the effects of a heart attack at age 27. She then honed her skills and learned how to accurately determine the causes of physical and psychological problems based on the state of a person’s energies, and devise highly effective treatments for her clients and students.
She’s co-authored several books with her husband Dr. David Feinstein, including Energy Medicine, Energy Medicine for Women, and The Promise of Energy Psychology. Donna has taught tens of thousands of people all over the world how to engage with the healing and restorative power of their own energies, and her time teaching at the Feathered Pipe Ranch played an instrumental role in catapulting her career.
Her personal story is fascinating and inspiring, and yet, she believes that each one of us is born being able to see energy and that it’s a tool that lies dormant if it’s not used. Throughout her career, she’s seen over and over again that we all have the capacity to tune into energy—what she calls “The Language of the World”—and use it for experiencing mental clarity, physical vitality and joy.
In this conversation, I ask Donna to read my aura—I just couldn’t help myself!—and she shares her opinion on why so many people suffer from modern dis-ease. She also graciously walks us through four incredibly simple tools for alleviating stress and calming the nervous system.
Donna admits that year 79, her age as of this interview, has been her best year yet, and you will hear it in her voice, her laugh, her tone—she is full of energy. You can practically see her smile through your ears.
Donna Eden Website
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Tim Sloffer: A Teacher's Guide to Lifelong Learning
Tim Sloffer happened upon the Ranch last year while he was applying for a Lilly Teacher Creativity Grant from the Lilly Endowment, a program that began in 1987 as a way to help Indiana elementary and secondary educators renew their commitment to teaching. To give you an idea of the scope of this program, the foundation awarded 103 grants, each totaling $12,000 for 2022. And, what’s amazing about this grant is that teachers can apply to be covered for all kinds of experiences that will enhance the their understanding of themselves and the world at large: studying foreign language, natural resources, photography, chess, quilting, zoology—the list is endless. If you can write it up to show that it will expand and improve you as a person and as a teacher, it’s considered.
With zero background in yoga, but a desire to learn how to take better care of himself, Tim Googled “wellness retreats” and found the Feathered Pipe Ranch. After looking through the summer schedule, he realized that he could spend five weeks participating in five totally different workshops covering wellness from many angles—and so the grant was written and awarded.
In this conversation, we explore Tim’s upbringing in the small town of Huntertown, Indiana, the road that led him to following in his mom’s footsteps as a teacher, his journey through college as a teen parent, and the challenges and joys of raising three kids.
He reflects on his time at the Ranch, what he learned from each retreat, the growth moments that invited him out of his comfort zone and the ways that he settled into the rhythm of life as a long-termer. On Tim’s last night, we presented him with a cake and celebrated the time he spent with us on Bear Creek Road, and today we get a window into how the lessons of last summer have trickled into his everyday life.
Lilly Endowment Fund
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Dave Morin: Seeking Balance in the Age of Technology
Dave Morin is an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist, born and raised in Helena, MT. Currently, he is Co-Founder of Offline Ventures, an investing and inventing company focused on the creation of humanist technology and serving founder potential, and is Chairman of Esalen Institute, a leading center for exploring and realizing human potential through experience, education, and research.
Early in his career, Dave was the 29th employee at Facebook and his first job upon moving to San Francisco was at Apple. Needless to say, he’s been on the forefront of tech innovation since the start of the internet in the 90s, and over the last couple decades has co-founded and managed a handful of ventures in this realm: Path, a company dedicated to being a source of happiness, meaning, and connection through simplicity and privacy in social networking technology; Slow Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture fund that champions long term thinking and serves a community of over 300 of the most innovative startups in the world; and Sunrise, a nonprofit focused on bringing together science, spirituality, technology, and design to revolutionize how humans experience depression.
In today’s conversation, we talk about his path from a ski racer in small town Montana to an angel investor and serial entrepreneur smack in the middle of the tech capital of the country, Silicon Valley, California. Recognizing early on that his brain was different than most other kids, Dave describes his childhood as one of looking for belonging, and he found solace and stimulation at his grandfather’s house while playing on one of the earliest computer models ever made. He was also serendipitously introduced to Aikido, a Japanese martial art, through his best friend’s uncle, and that began his lifelong foray into eastern philosophy, self awareness and contemplative practices.
We tackle a big topic today—mental health in the age of technology—and while this interview just scratches the surface of the immensity of this conversation, I hope you walk away with an understanding of the nuance of our current predicament, the good and bad of modern technology, the intent with which it was originally created, and the knowing that there are people like Dave out there, pouring themselves into ideas like Web3, and how to make our interactions with these tools safer, healthier and more human.
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VJ Supera: The Magic of Living Without a Map
In the days of digital nomads, geo-tagging and endless sources of technological communication, it’s sometimes hard to believe how people traveled without knowing anything about the places they were visiting. With no blog posts or reviews to read, and no way to get in touch with friends in real-time (unless you were right there next to one another), people hitched rides, slept in bus terminals and leaned on poor translation and big hearted-strangers for their next moves.
These are details that make up the stories of today’s guest VJ Supera, a wild woman of adventure, laughter and endless curiosity. VJ is the sister of Feathered Pipe Foundation founder, India Supera, and she has been traveling to the most remote corners of the world for nearly 55 years. She rarely—if ever—has taken the comfortable route. Now, at 77 years old, she’s still making her rounds, though trips have taken a different meaning than they did in the days of twenty-something wanderlust.
I got to sit down with VJ in her house in Helena, Montana, where we shared a pot of chai tea in her living room lined with art and travel books. We yuck it up, as she would say, about her upbringing with bohemian parents, the role of creativity and spirituality in her life, experimentation with LSD and other drugs in the hippie era, and stories of her travels to far-off lands, dressing like a man and hitchhiking through Tibet on cargo jeeps, stumbling into a yak drive on a caravan mission to Tajikistan, and living under a tree outside of Guru Sai Baba’s ashram in India.
If you’ve been to the Ranch, you may have had the pleasure of meeting her at one of VJ’s Bizarre Bazaars, where she spreads out on the lawn and sells ancient beads, rugs, fabrics, and other one-of-a-kind items from the Middle East and Central Asia. She’s a summer staple at the Feathered Pipe Ranch, and has become a very important person in my life over the years, always reminding me to take chances, find adventure and have fun. If I have half as much adventure as she has had, I’d consider this a life well-lived.
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Amory Lovins: Taoism and the Art of Creating a Sustainable Future
Physicist Amory Lovins is Cofounder and Chairman Emeritus of Rocky Mountain Institute, an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit organization working to transform the global energy system to secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future.
He has written more than 800 papers and 31 books, including Natural Capitalism, Reinventing Fire, and Winning the Oil Endgame. For the past 45 years, he’s advised major firms and governments in over 70 countries on clean energy—including the US Departments of Energy and Defense and a 7-year stint on the National Petroleum Council—as well as leading integrative design for superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles. Time has named him one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 Top Global Thinkers.
A Harvard and Oxford dropout, he’s taught at 10 universities, and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Scholar of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University. He teaches only topics he’s never formally studied, so as to retain Beginner’s Mind—a concept we’ll get into in today’s conversation.
This is a much different side of Amory Lovins than you'll find in other public interviews.
In this conversation, we talk about early childhood influences and illnesses, the 15 summers he spent guiding trips in the White Mountains of New Hampshire—a place that sparked his life-long interest in landscape photography and utter devotion to the natural world. I ask him what it’s been like to be a pioneer in the clean energy space, facing the almost mythical powers of the fossil fuel industries, the impending threats of climate change, and decades of scrutiny from critics and those with vested interest in the status quo.
We discuss biomimicry, natural capital, and integrative design, and the laws of nature that can help us build and live much more efficiently and harmoniously—concepts he discusses using the example of his own home office in Old Snowmass, Colorado, complete with a 900-square-foot tropical passive-solar banana farm inside. Amory quotes environmentalists, writers, spiritual leaders, sacred texts, and the Taoist outlook that keeps him centered and focused in order to carry out his work in the world.
Support the show (https://featheredpipe.com/gratitude/)
Radical Sanity in the Middle of March Madness
I just spent an hour getting yet again more wowed by Amory Lovins than I expected. The vastness of his vision and its practical implications come through in Andy Vantrease’s masterful interview. This is not just about his radically sane ideas about saving the world through resource efficiency and integrative design but about the worlds that open up to us when we embrace the Zen concept of Beginner’s Mind, the Taoist concept of Non-Doing and Eisenhower’s advice to make a problem bigger. I’ve been a fan of Amory’s since meeting him at the Feathered Pipe Ranch in 1981, but yet again, he amazes me.
Good for the Soul!
Andy Vantrease’s mastery is to draw out the most pertinent parts of every story. She skillfully guides the listener through some of yoga’s most history making moments through the eyes of those that were there. Thank you to The Feathered Pipe Ranch for investing in capturing these story and spreading more seeds.
This podcast has been so healing for me, I can’t thank you enough. Getting to the feathered pipe ranch is now a life goal/priority for me! The idea of being surrounded by the people involved in this podcast and other like minded people warms my heart in a time when the world (and I) need it so much:)