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The Dandelion Effect

Health & Wellness Podcasts

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.


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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.






Ode To The Feathered Pipe Ranch: Dandelion Effect Podcast Finale

Today’s podcast episode is the final episode of the Dandelion Effect Podcast as we know it. We are tying a beautiful ribbon on a project that began in the fall of 2020 as an avenue for continued positive outreach and community engagement in the heat of the pandemic. This podcast has far exceeded our expectations, and while it’s bittersweet, we are moving onto different creative adventures that we are all so excited for! As a way to wrap this up, we’ve decided to bring it full circle and give you a compilation episode of a handful of voices from within the Feathered Pipe Ranch team, an inside-out approach, so to speak. It’s an ode to the Ranch: the changes we’ve been through over the years, the gratitude for this project, and a chance to hear from staff, board members and family members, why they believe this little retreat center in the forest of Helena, MT is, in fact, a life-changing place. We have six guests on today’s podcast—Howard Levin, Anne Jablonski, Matt Lambie, Amanda Ellefsen, Eric Myers and Crystal Water—all weighing in about what keeps them coming back year after year, and adding their two cents into where this ship is heading as we look toward the future. Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Optimistic Realism with Effie Baldwin

Effie Baldwin is a U.S. Army veteran, Positive Discipline Educator, Associate Member of the U.S. Golf Teachers Federation and the founder of Believing in a Better World LLC. After earning her Kemetic Yoga Certification in Egypt, she became an instructor for Veterans Yoga Project then later a board member for the nonprofit. She’s also an End-of-Life Doula and facilitates Emotional Emancipation Circles to promote healing caused by race-based discrimination within communities of African-descent. Prior to becoming her own boss, Effie spent almost 30 years working in high-level positions with the state and federal government in Senior Policy, Grants Administration, and Program Management—and despite this long list of accolades, she admits that her greatest accomplishment is raising two life-embracing adult children. In this conversation, Effie explains the similarities between Kemetic Yoga and golf as two activities that people can do “from cradle to grave,” and the virtues and ethics that are necessary for both: patience, honesty, mindfulness, focus, discipline—all with the result of self-regulation and self-responsibility. Effie came to yoga through, running, of all things. That is to say, she literally ran herself into the ground and yoga was prescribed by a nurse practitioner as a way to rebuild her immune system and ease her pattern of intensity throughout life. It changed the trajectory of her life, and for the last six years, she’s added that to her repertoire of service-oriented work. She’s a self-proclaimed optimistic realist, a way of viewing the world through practicality and positivity, giving people and situations the benefit of the doubt. She also recalls questioning the “rules of engagement” very early and crafting a life of learning, growing and independently investigating the truth—as she calls it—to decide what made sense for her own happiness, not what was projected onto her from society. We end by highlighting the importance of nurturing the children of our communities and pouring love and energy into youth, whether they are your own kids or not. The next generation need us to show up as positive, responsible and whole-hearted role models just as we need them to carry on the legacy of our families and improve the impact we have on this planet. Believing in a Better World Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


A Yogic Lens on Animal Conservation with Alison Zak

Alison Zak is an author, yoga teacher, environmental educator and anthropologist, and in her self-written bio, she also adds, importantly, that she is an animal. Her new book Wild Asana launches June 27th and is a delightful mix of wildlife science, Hindu mythology, Eastern philosophy, and personal stories that help us draw connections between our bodies, our minds, and the animals that inspire our practices. As if writing and teaching doesn’t keep her busy enough, Alison also founded the Human-Beaver Coexistence Fund, a nonprofit that educates the public about the benefits of coexisting with beavers and provides resources and address human-beaver conflict. Alison has a long history connecting with animals, and when her primate studies took her across the world to Indonesia, she learned firsthand how nuanced the relationship can be between humans and non-human animals, and she began to grasp the importance of deconditioning what we’re taught through society—that humans are superior and that other animals are only worth saving if they provide value to us. Of course, if you take the time to learn about different animals, you realize that each species possesses remarkable traits and skills that are integral to the ecosystems they live in. And if you do want to look through the lens of value-to-humans, it can be argued that every animal provides value because we are all intricately connected within the cycles that create our planet, our food, water, air, and soil. This truth has been known since the beginning of time, and modern research continues to publish findings daily that remind us of our interconnectedness. Alison’s creative outlets and offerings suggest powerful, yet incredibly simple ways that we can begin to connect with our fellow animals, not only to understand our true role in the greater interdependent ecosystem of the planet, but to also experience the often sought-after feelings of awe, wonder, and unity that we go looking for in spiritual practice, travel or relationship. In her new book, Wild Asana, she teaches people how to connect with and embody animals through the yoga poses that are named after them: scorpion, cobra, fish and downward-facing dog, to name a few. She uses the framework of the Three C’s: Curiosity, Compassion, and Connection, suggesting that the last category of connection can be taken even deeper, practicing yoga with a capital Y, meaning union, and that if we can reach that state of union with another animal, there’s no longer a question as to why this other being is important, because he or she is me. There’s no separation. Come with us, into a wild and wonderful interview that will leave you feeling inspired to learn more about the animals you encounter in your everyday life or those you have a secret curiosity about. I guarantee that after listening, you’ll want to go out into the world and experience it for the epic, magical place it is and remember that PLAY is one the most primal animal actions, shared by almost every species, certainly other animals like us in the mammal classification. Alison Zak Website Human-Beaver Coexistence Fund Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Advocating for Youth Mental Health with Susan Reynolds

Susan Reynolds has over 20 years of experience in digital wellbeing, youth leadership and mindfulness. In 2019 she co-founded LookUp to discover, empower, and mobilize youth leaders who are taking action to raise awareness and design a healthier, more inclusive, and responsible digital world. Susan leads workshops and facilitates panels to educate and empower Gen Z to find and implement their own solutions, and she’s spoken globally on the topic at conferences in Copenhagen, London, and most recently in Saudi Arabia. In this conversation, we approach technology with a wide lens, exploring both the promise and the peril of the internet, as well as the ways that different age groups engage with it. Susan poses the idea that part of the teenage mental health crisis could also be viewed as somewhat of a spiritual crisis, the longing for true connection that they try to get from the interconnectedness of the internet, yet these avenues are falling short of helping people to feel deeply connected and fulfilled. And the collective mental health status of our young people proves the power of the digital age—a conglomerate of apps that have captured and run away with their attention, self-awareness, confidence and peace. Honestly, we don’t come to many conclusions here. We simply share perspectives, hers from the professional angle having had a long career in tech and education as well as a personal angle, with a deep spiritual sense that’s continuing to emerge and guide her more strongly in her work. She shares about the new book she’s working on, LookUp Live: The Book, a collection of stories about young advocates she partners with who are making a tangible difference in the lives of their peers and exploring what it means to be human in the 21st Century. Bottom line: Young people are stepping up. Despite, and perhaps because of, the issues they’ve inherited, there has never been a generation with as strong an ethos of purpose and advocacy as Gen Z. They won’t stand for continuing to lose their friends to suicide and shootings. They won’t tolerate ignorance. They won’t accept policies that prioritize corporations over their own well being. They are choosing to speak out, and that’s what Susan gets to witness every day in her role at LookUp, a perspective that allows space for the grief, anger of the situation yet an empowerment that leads to lasting change. LookUp.Live Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Nature as the Antidote with Adam Schumaker

Adam Schumaker is co-founder of Gray Bear Lodge, a rustic retreat center in Hohenwald, TN, 80 miles southwest of Nashville, that hosts experiential workshops to promote growth, fulfillment and the joy of learning. He’s a certified Watsu aquatic bodywork practitioner, lifelong yogi and potentially one of the kindest people on the planet. Gray Bear opened in 1996, and the Feathered Pipe Ranch was a big influence on its beginnings, as Adam considered the Ranch one of the “grandfathers of this movement, one of the holders of the seeds.” When he and his partner Diann visited Helena in 1999, India Supera welcomed them with open arms, sharing everything she had learned about running a retreat center—kitchen and cooking details, employee structure, accounting, lodging and more. Adam recalls her saying, “We need places like Gray Bear and the Feathered Pipe. If you’re the generation bringing this up, all the wisdom and all the experience I have, I want to share it with you. Feel free to call any time.” And, he did. It’s hard to pinpoint themes in this conversation, as we meander gently through many topics. We weave stories with conscious teachings and personal experience with the memories that touch our hearts and open our perspectives. Adam believes stories are integral to learning—he calls it “life teaching life,” the ability to connect with each other outside of the boundaries of any structured tradition or discipline. We talk about the power of nature to remind us what’s important, the necessity of digital detoxing and breaking the modern habit of immediate availability, and how building Gray Bear over the last 30 years has actually built him as the person he is today, a process that has invited in the opportunity for profound personal development, accountability and reflection. There are many gems in this interview, but one that really sticks with me is a quote from one of his teachers: Live life as if one foot is in the presence of the almighty divine god being imaginable, and your right foot is in a fresh cow patty that you’ve accidentally stepped in. All that to say - don’t take life too seriously. Don’t forget to laugh, and find the lightness in the miracle of being alive. Gray Bear Lodge Retreat Center Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Rising from the Segregated South with Dr. Helen Benjamin

Dr. Helen Benjamin is the president of HSV Consulting, a company that provides board and management development, strategic planning, and equity, diversity and inclusion services to community colleges. She’s had a long career in education: With a master’s degree and doctorate from Texas Woman’s University, Helen began as a teacher, and has also held positions as a professor, dean, chancellor and president during her more than 30 years in administration for community colleges in Texas and California. She retired in 2016 and is living in Dallas, TX, though retirement for her looks like sitting on the board of several organizations, serving through HSV Consulting, and writing and editing books. Helen and I met at the Feathered Pipe Ranch in summer 2022, where she attended a retreat hosted by San Diego-based yoga teachers Lanita Varshell and Diane Ambrosini. She signed up hoping to find peace and respite, and as she shares in this conversation, she was able to access it—in the innate beauty and tranquility of the Ranch, the movement classes, and the like-minded people she met. Born in 1950, Helen grew up in Alexandria, Louisiana, in the heart of the segregated South, when African Americans were forbidden by law to attend certain schools, restaurants, churches, shops and other public places. Of course we learn about slavery and racial segregation in history books, but how often do you have the chance to hear from someone whose early life was so directly affected by the fear that upheld these beliefs? This history isn’t as old as we might imagine, and at age 73, Helen speaks of her upbringing, how she found inspiration, community and love despite the bigotry that surrounded her family and friends. She’s a similar age to many in the founding group at the Feathered Pipe Ranch, but her reality during the “hippie era” we speak of so mystically and magically was drastically different than that of our founders—and that’s why we want to highlight this story. I ask her about her inner process of alchemizing the feelings that can stem from injustice, her spiritual path and ability to find peace and freedom within, and the importance of documenting the stories of her community and preserving history in order to move forward. We talk about her recent book, How We Got Over: Growing up in the Segregated South— a memoir of 24 personal accounts from African Americans who graduated from Peabody High School in Alexandria, LA in 1968. This book captures the essence of Black life in the Deep South during Jim Crow laws and was born out of an epiphany Helen had while attending a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workshop. She realized that where she grew up, between the railroad tracks, was systematically set up through redlining, and that her rise to where she sat now—in a leadership role for a college in New York—defied all odds. The stories of her and her classmates, who also went on to live full and accomplished lives, had to be told. Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


The Mystically Untamed Within Us with Stefanie Tovar

Stefanie Tovar is a healing artist, a singer, a yoga teacher, a racial healing facilitator—and so much more. She has over 14 years of facilitating wellness offerings and 20 years of presenting as an international and local performing artist, creating experiences to support healing, awaken awareness, and empower release in Body, Mind, and Heart. Stefanie is also a Recording Artist with Orchard Records and is the founder of a nonprofit called Yena, which is meant to support this work in schools, shelters, and intimate spaces to "honor people in Leading with Purpose, fueled by Heart." Stefanie visited the Feathered Pipe Ranch this past summer and quickly settled into life at the Ranch during Sonia Azaad’s workshop group. She attended Crystal’s going away party and played singing bowls with our Tibetan friend Tsering Lodoe during collective prayers. She was always blowing bubbles on the lawn and was even part of a group of ladies who did a wild woman moonlit dance on the nature deck then cold plunged in the lake after. She became a close friend in a very short period of time, and I’m so excited to bring this conversation to you. In this recording, she tells me about her upbringing in Texas, the deep connection she had with singing and nature at such a young age, and the realization that her voice was a gift that she could share to effect change in the world. We talk about the ways that we humans are always receiving messages—what Stefanie calls “scripts”—about who and how to be. Although these messages can feel limiting at times, one of the beautiful aspects of life is that we can choose which scripts we want to follow. Which role we want to take. Which song we want to sing. And writing our own scripts is an option too! Stefanie’s life experiences have led her to working in wellness, with a mission to lovingly disrupt the status quo of what it’s “supposed to” look like to be a part of this growing industry. As a Latina, she speaks of the importance of diversity in all healing spaces—diversity of race, socioeconomics, religions, belief systems, sexual orientation, abilities and functions. Her work truly highlights the intersection between wellness and social justice, and it’s only growing for here, as she was recently selected as one of 40 cohorts across the nation to be a part of the Culture of Health Leadership Institute for Racial Healing. Stefanie Tovar Website Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Prioritizing Joy with Dr. Edie Resto

Dr. Edie Resto is a distinguished Chiropractor, Naturopathic Doctor and bodyworker. She is a graduate of the Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing, and she got her start as a massage therapist at the Feathered Pipe Ranch before heading off to an additional decade of schooling at Life Chiropractic College West and Bastyr University. She has had her private holistic health practice for 23 years in Ojai, California, though she sees patients all over the world. She is well-known and respected by people from all walks of life for her compassionate heart, wisdom and desire to help others heal. She travels more than anyone I know, and at 70 years young, credits her energizer-bunny buzz to the fact that she prioritizes fun and genuinely enjoys her life. In this conversation, we talk about her early life challenges and the angels who swooped in teach her about service and unconditional love. We discuss her coming out story at age 28, her desire to remain free and detached from labels, the importance of mentoring her nieces and nephews, and the death experience after a motorcycle accident that showed her when all the categories are stripped down—sexual identity, gender, socio economic class, race—we are just light, energy, and pure love. This accident was the first major injury of her life, and with a broken back, she was forced into a long rest and rehab, learning how to listen to her body and be in relationship with her mind, which of course wanted her to bounce back right away. She took three years off work to fully heal, and she reveals how this experience has helped her more deeply relate to patients and to practice what she preaches when it comes to committing to physical health. Edie has been a friend to me for four years now, teaching me about openheartedness and energetic reciprocation. About adventure and fulfillment. About true health and happiness. She’s the OG of abundance mindset, and those who know her can attest that she has full faith in the universe’s ability to provide everything she ever needs—her job is just to keep giving from her heart and the rest will come. Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Reclaiming Indigenous Food Systems with Danielle Antelope

Danielle Antelope is a member of the Blackfeet Nation and Eastern Shoshone (shu-show-nee) Nation. Born and raised in Browning, MT, she graduated from MSU with a bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Food & Bioenergy Systems, where she deeply studied indigenous food systems relating to her own people as well as other communities around the country. While in college, she served on the board of Food Access and Sustainability Team Blackfeet, known as FAST Blackfeet, and at only 26 years old, is now the organization’s Executive Director. FAST Blackfeet provides access to healthy and culturally relevant foods, nutrition education, and gardening/wild harvesting opportunities within the Blackfeet Nation. In this conversation, we dive into Native American history through the lens of the different generations of her family, beginning with her great grandmother, who was the last generation to be born in tipis, live off the land and eat a traditional diet. Her grandmother was the generation of strict reservation boundaries, when ceremonies and gardens were made illegal, and the government introduced commodity rations after killing off their main food source: the buffalo. Her mother’s generation is what she calls the “survival foods” era, when the diet shifts to dishes like fry bread and other recipes made from colonial ingredients like wheat, oil and sugar. And now Danielle's generation, the ones who have inherited food insecurity, chronic disease and generational trauma—but who also have a unique opportunity to heal, to reclaim indigenous knowledge and wisdom, and grow from what’s been done to their communities. FAST Blackfeet programs like the Food Pantry, Food Pharmacy, and Growing Health Program are reclaiming traditional Blackfeet foods like organ meats, wild berries, loose leaf teas, and bone broths, while inviting tribal members to reconnect with their ancestral roots and build back stronger than ever. FAST Blackfeet Website Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Creating Connection in the Workplace with Don Rheem

The landscape of work has shifted dramatically in the last several years. From layoffs and furloughs during the pandemic to record numbers of people quitting jobs in the United States—to the tune of 4 million people per month—people are engaging with employment differently than ever before. And many people have seemed to reach a threshold, saying enough is enough when it comes to low pay, poor treatment and unfair conditions. They’re seeking meaning and purpose, flexibility, mutual respect and safety, and they’re paying attention to how they feel at work, rather than just collecting a paycheck. It’s a new era, and today’s guest Don Rheem sees this shift as an opportunity to bring more love and relationality into the workplace, to teach leaders and managers how to provide safe and secure work environments where employees can thrive, and as a result, business can thrive. After all, most of us in the western world do spend a majority of our waking hours engaging with work in some shape or form. Wouldn’t it be nice if that time was spent feeling valued, appreciated and celebrated? Don draws on research based in attachment theory to understand human behavior, making the case that humans are biologically hardwired to connect with other humans. He explains how our limbic system, the system that detects threat, is always searching for safe and secure attachments, a mechanism built deep within our brains since the days of hunting in groups and helping raise children with the support of small villages. It’s not that we want these connections; we need them in order to function and thrive. Translated to the workplace, employees will never be able to produce at optimal levels if their primal instincts perceive danger, which can happen with inconsistent bosses, unfair treatment, cliquiness, and many other situations common in workplaces around the world. In this conversation, we hear how Don’s company E3 Solutions assesses businesses for “employee engagement” rather than “satisfaction,” we discuss the conditions that support trust, fairness and emotional safety in the workplace, and we ponder the personal awareness process that helps managers provide consistent and predictable environments where our brains can relax and focus. Don is the author of The Neuroscience that Drives High-Performance Cultures, and has done two TedTalks: How Can Work Save Our Relationships? and How to Stay Ahead of the Future of Work. He’s been involved in this engagement process around the world for 20 years, and is passionate about helping more people feel seen, heard and connected. E3 Solutions/ CultureID Website Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


A New Narrative for Healing Autism with Kara Ware

Kara Ware has been on a 17-year journey with her son Zachary, who was diagnosed with Autism just before his third birthday. With this news came the advice from the doctor: “There is no treatment for Autism. Medicate him to help with tantrums, sign him up for speech therapy, take him home and keep him safe.” Suggestions like these are what more and more parents are hearing as Autism diagnoses skyrocket. But, why? This question became a beacon for Kara as she sat with her toddler, who was hitting his development milestones for 14 months then one day began regressing into pain, confusion and chaos that nobody could explain. She traveled the country, seeking out specialists and alternative practitioners, learning about the root causes of inflammation and toxicity that can lead to a person presenting with Autism symptoms. She was not ready to accept the status quo, and the long path she has walked with her son has resulted in not only the remission of Zachary’s Autism symptoms, but a greater sense of health, joy and purpose in her own life as well. Her family is living proof that there is another way to approach this diagnosis–and that there’s a bigger red flag in our lifestyles and environment that is begging to be noticed. Our changing planet is having drastic effects on human health and our species is facing unprecedented challenges. Autism is the canary in the coal mine. An invitation to look deeper into our history, our food, water, air, stress. When it’s in the home, it’s an invitation to explore the entire family ecosystem, rather than view the situation as an isolated issue for one person. Using the functional medicine model that she adopted, Kara outlines the steps to slowly and deliberately remove toxins from the body and home, deepen into family values and spiritual practices to pour energy into thoughts, words and emotions that are creating the environment for healing; and take simple steps with nutrition, supplementation, genetic testing and necessary medical interventions. Personally, Kara is the healthiest and clearest she's ever been—and so is Zach. Professionally, she’s using what she’s learned to help doctors shift their conventional practices into functional medicine models and partner with patients for greater health education and lasting outcomes. She is also a board certified health coach, yoga teacher and host and producer of Good Medicine on the Go Podcast. And her new venture this year brings her full circle to helping families use their time, energy and resources wisely on the long journey of healing and living with autism. The information in this episode is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Please always direct questions about your health to your professional health care provider. Kara Ware Website Hope for Healing Family Pediatrics Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Beyond Bulimia with Lauren Lewis

Lauren Lewis is a CO-based yoga teacher, plant-based chef and culinary educator. She headed west from Pennsylvania in 1999 to attend The University of Colorado, Boulder, and quickly fell in love with the mountains, the community and the lifestyle. After college, Lauren attended the School of Natural Cookery, where she discovered the inherent spirit of food, recipes and skills that she’s used in her own healing journey as well as in her service to others. This conversation is setting the bar high for the third season of the podcast. Lauren and I get very personal, making space for her to tell her story about her 15-year battle with bulimia, an eating disorder characterized by periods of binging and purging. This is the first time she has shared publicly about bulimia and the role it’s played in her life, as well as the first time I share about my relationship to food, body image and a period of undiagnosed anorexia or food controlling. We talk about honoring the journey towards loving the bodies we have, the challenges we face in today’s society with comparison to unattainable ideals, the long and winding path we take to cherish the forms we are in, to respect them, to love them, and above all, to recognize that each and every one of us is sacred. While we are not professionals or experts in this field, we are in fact experts of our own bodies and the stories that these bodies live through. I believe that sharing our experiences helps to de-stigmatize and de-shame topics that are otherwise taboo, and that’s what we’re doing today. None of it is medical advice or recovery advice. We are simply two women swapping stories and imagining into a better world where children and teens are supported on their paths. Lauren Lewis Website Lauren Lewis 2023 Feathered Pipe Retreat Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


"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. Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Self-Healing with Energy Medicine with Donna Eden

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 Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


A Teacher's Guide to Lifelong Learning with Tim Sloffer

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 Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Seeking Balance in the Digital Age with Dave Morin

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. Offline Ventures Sunrise Esalen Institute Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Living Without a Map with VJ Supera

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. Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Taoism for a Sustainable Future with Amory Lovins

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 showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


Healing Trauma in Native Communities with Linda Kinsey

Historical trauma is a new model in public health that suggests that populations historically subjected to long-term, mass trauma—such as slavery, the Holocaust, forced migration, and the violent colonization of Native Americans—exhibit a higher prevalence of disease even several generations after the original trauma occurred. This model is backed by research in the field of epigenetics, which studies how trauma changes our DNA and is thus passed on to future generations, making them more susceptible to certain mental and physical conditions. In understanding how to move forward and break the cycle of historical trauma, we have to ask the question: What does historical healing look like? That’s the topic of today’s conversation with Linda Kinsey, a member of the A'aninin Nation or the “White Clay People”. She is the Native Connections Director for Helena Indian Alliance, helping secure grants for suicide prevention services for Native youth ages 12-24, and she also serves with RISE: Reaching Indian Students Everywhere, to educate people on Native American history and encourage folks to learn who they are by learning where they came from. When it comes to reconciling the history of genocide of Native Americans in this country, the idea of generational trauma is just starting to creep into the vernacular and shed light on the compounding issues they face in modern society—a world in which they’re expected to bounce back from a century of intentional erasure. And Linda believes that many people don’t understand the current statistics of high suicide rates, alcoholism and substance abuse and chronic disease among native communities is because we don’t often learn about the true history of this country. In her former long-standing role as the director of a Tribal Treatment Center in her hometown of Fort Belknap, Montana—and as a Native woman growing up on a reservation in the 1970s—Linda experienced and witnessed the consequences of historical and generational trauma, and she’s dedicated her life to healing herself and integrating her own family’s history and helping others do the same. This conversation is very special for us because Linda’s tribal family caretakes a Feathered Pipe, a relic that has been with their community for thousands of years and is a symbol of resilience, faith and connection. It’s actually because of this relic that she wanted to come visit the Feathered Pipe Ranch in 2021 for the concert with Navajo flutist R. Carlos Nakai. We talk about her feeling when visiting the Ranch and the belief that a place can preserve and protect particular energies just as pipes can hold centuries of prayers and energies, too. Linda teaches us about the importance of balance, growing up in a household of natives and non-natives, democrats and republicans, catholics and protestants. Her whole life, she’s been in the middle, which has proven to be the superpower behind her capacity to hold many experiences and emotions at once. This ability is a necessity in today’s world and perhaps a necessity that has always existed, considering the ancient wisdom teachings of the Eastern traditions and indigenous peoples everywhere. Helena Indian Alliance Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats


The High Cost of Cheap Food with Bob Quinn

Bob Quinn is a scientist, farmer, out-of-the-box thinker and savvy businessman who has dedicated his entire career to regenerating food systems and educating the public on the connection between land and soil preservation, nutritious food, robust rural communities and human health. With a PhD in Plant Biochemistry from University of California Davis, Bob returned to his hometown of Big Sandy, Montana—a population of 600 people—where he took over the family farm and was among the first farmers in Montana to go organic. He served on the National Board of U.S. Department of Ag to create a USDA organic standard, started a grain cleaning plant, flour mill and Montana’s first wind farm. His book, Grain by Grain with Liz Carlisle, lays out the recent history of farming in the United States, how the rise of “Big Ag” has pushed small farms out of business and turned rural communities across the country into ghost towns. In a rush to produce higher yields to keep up with the small margins of the global commodity market, farmers have drowned their soil and crops in synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that have lasting consequences for the land and the people who eat the end products. What Bob has done to organize organic systems and revive ancient grains is incredible. In 1988, he converted his entire 2,400 acre farm to organic and hasn’t looked back. Over five decades, he started several projects and businesses: Kamut International, a company specializing in organic Kamut khorasan wheat; Montana Flour and Grain, which processes his grains into flour for bakeries, pasta makers and distributors; Big Sandy Organics; and The Oil Barn, an operation that presses organically-grown safflower into cooking oil then returns the used oil to his farm to replace diesel fuel. In this conversation, he makes the case for eating ancient wheat varieties versus modern wheat, which has been continuously bred for high yields, at the detriment of nutrition, diversity and flavor. We discuss the research that his team has carried out in Italy among patients with diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and heart disease, and how switching to a diet of Kamut in place of conventionally-grown modern wheat lowered inflammation, cholesterol, cytokines and other markers that lead to chronic illness. Ancient wheat could be part of the answer for the 12-20% of people who experience symptoms of gluten sensitivity or intolerance. This talk scratches the surface of the high cost of cheap food, but my hope is that it will help you rethink our industrial agriculture system, choose organically-grown foods, experiment with ancient wheat varieties like Einkorn, farro and Kamut, and begin to understand why we can’t talk about farming without talking about human health and planetary healthy. The three are inextricably linked, and if we don’t start to make different choices, we’re just continuing the race to the bottom. Support the showConnect with Feathered Pipe Ranch: Facebook Instagram Subscribe to our Newsletter Check out 2023 Retreats