Mar. 18 Global Wisdom Circle

Mar. 18 OWL Global Wisdom Circle:
Richard Whittaker

Sharing wisdom, experience and support
among global citizens everywhere.

Art as a Gift of the Spirit

Richard Whittaker is the founding editor of works and conversations, an arts magazine published in Berkeley, CA that features interviews with artists from all walks of life.

It all started in the early 1990s, when Richard set out to explore artists’ experiences and reflections about their own art making. What came from that was a series of deeply thoughtful interviews with a wide range of artists. And a magazine.

Although modest in its subscription base, the magazine has attracted a growing number of readers touched by a quality of content missing in other artworld publications. Institutional subscribers, ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, SFMOMA and the Kandinsky Library at the Pompidou Center in Paris to Harvard, Stanford and Columbia Universities and RISD, The Art Institute of Chicago, CCA, SVA and SFAI, subscribe and have archived all of the back issues in their libraries.

In early 2007, Richard met with two friends at a local Taqueria for a conversation that resulted in a radical change, turning a 15-year-old subscription model into a gift-economy experiment. Now the magazine is offered as a gift; in turn, the subscribers are invited to pay-forward a subscription to another reader. It’s an experiment in generosity, and to this day, the magazine costs are covered entirely by unsolicited donations from grateful readers and supporters.

Richard opens doors to the inner worlds of artists, and the mystery of how the spirit becomes art, through his conversations with them. In a 2006 interview with Robin Henderson, he said,

It’s not unusual when I talk with an artist and ask probing, possibly “stupid” questions, the artist tells me “no one ever asks me things like that! My artist friends and I never talk about these things!” There’s something paradoxical about that. I think that in order to have a real exchange people actually have to cross a line, even a little bit, into sincerity.

When Richard was asked for the best bio of himself for people who want to learn more about him, he said, characteristically, “Use this interview.”

Richard Whittaker is also West Coast editor of Parabola magazine.

Part 1 — Opening check-ins

Part 2 — Initial interview: Richard Whittaker

Part 3 — Group interview: Richard Whittaker

Part 4 — Circle of reflection: Libby Traubman, Len Traubman, James Offuh, Rabbi Diane Elliot, Wendy Berk, Sophie Wu, Usman Inuwa, Julie Durkheimer

Part 5 — Closing reflections from Richard

Dec. 10 Spiritual Travelers Circle

Dec. 10 Spiritual Travelers Circle:
Rev. Charles Gibbs

Spiritual travelers
from all backgrounds and traditions,
sharing experience — seeking wisdom.

Spirit and Action in the World Today

The Rev. Canon Charles Gibbs is an Episcopal priest, a visionary and a poet who has dedicated his life to serving the sacred in the world, especially through interreligious and intercultural engagement. His new volume of poetry – Light Reading: Selected Poems from a Pilgrim Journey – is available at

Charles recently became Senior Partner and Poet-in-Residence for the Catalyst for Peace Foundation, providing leadership and support for CFP’s organizational evolution. Building on its eight-year transformational partnership with Fambul Tok in Sierra Leone, CFP is exploring a new phase of regional and global engagement focused on community-based peacebuilding, healthy whole systems partnerships and leadership development.

From 1996 until his retirement in 2013, he served as the founding executive director of the United Religions Initiative ( As executive director, he worked with thousands of colleagues around the world to guide URI’s growth from a vision to becoming the world’s largest grassroots interfaith network.

We invited Charles to initiate a conversation about a recipe for spiritual well-being — and actions that can bring light, love and healing — in today’s troubled world.

Part 1 — Opening check-ins

Part 2 — Group interview: Rev. Charles Gibbs

Part 3 — Circle of reflection: Charles, Len Traubman, Bob Whitehair, Libby Traubman, Teri Whitehair, James Offuh, Wendy Berk, Rev. Susan Strouse, Aryae, Bonita Banducci, Rabbi Victor Gross

Part 4 — Further reflections by Charles, and closing check-ins

October 15 Interfaith Spiritual Travelers Circle

Oct. 15 Interfaith Spiritual Travelers Circle:
Anuj Kumar Pandey

Spiritual travelers
from all backgrounds and traditions,
sharing experience — seeking wisdom.

A Pilgrim’s Interfaith Journey

Anuj Kumar Pandey has been a monk, a protestant Christian brother, a martial artist, a musician, story teller, Silicon Valley tech worker, ServiceSpace volunteer working behind the scenes with the technology that carries voices of the community, devoted spiritual traveler on the Sufi path, and humble spiritual friend to many.

We’re inviting Anuj to share the story of his pilgrimage from his village town in India to the Awakin Circles in the Bay Area and anchor an inquiry in the circle for each of us to reflect on our own. Here’s some guidance he received and shared at the beginning of a recent journey to India with his wife Kara:

Beauty is everywhere – try to hold that in perspective whether traveling to a holy site or in a bustling metro train ride.

Do less, be more – the balance of doing what naturally flows within the cycle of a day out of the necessity to serve, connect and relate in small ways.

Surrender – this may be one of the most common ones that people traveling to India think about doing but has been one of the hardest ones for people like us. We are so used to the life in Silicon Valley that reflects to a certain degree order and an organized pattern (in comparison India is considered chaos)….

Clean your heart every day…as you will your body! 🙂 This one I guess sets the bar for me to practice kindness every wakeful moment to the extent I can…Not successful yet but learning to catch the arrival of negative thoughts a little quicker than I used to.
An additional reflection: Life turning its gaze inward.

Part 1 — Opening check-ins

Part 2 — Anuj Pandey: A Pilgrim’s Interfaith Journey

Part 3 — Group interview

Part 4 — Anuj: Traditional Indian song

Part 5 — Circle of reflection: Adam Coopersmith, Bradley Stoll, Thu NGuyen, Aryae, Rabbi Diane Elliot, Libby Traubman, Dinesh Chandra, Wendy Berk, Len Traubman, James Offuh, James Waite, Adam

Part 6 — Further questions and reflections

Part 7 — Closing check-ins

May 21 Interfaith Spiritual Travelers Circle

May 21 Interfaith Spiritual Travelers Circle:
Kaylynn Sullivan Two Trees

Spiritual travelers
from all backgrounds and traditions,
sharing experience — seeking wisdom.

Guidance from Ancestors
At a time when so much of civilization as we’ve known it seems on the brink of crisis and transformation, what can we learn from listening to the voices of our indigenous ancestors who lived close to the earth? How can we tune in to their wisdom for guidance through perilous times?

Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees has spent a life “at the crossroads where species, cultures, beliefs and the unknown collide and find both dissonance and resonance. I am most comfortable with those explorers and cartographers whose passion and life is the crossroads. There, at any given moment, what is magic and what is real shifts places depending on where I stand.”

Two Trees focuses her work, as an artist/catalyst, on re-orienting to indigenous mind and regenerating an essential relationship with Earth wisdom. She is past recipient of the Lila Wallace International Artist Award and her work has been exhibited and is in collections in the US, Europe and New Zealand. She continues to find passion, renewal and nourishment from all of the Earth’s expressions.

She is currently Artist in Residence at the University of Vermont, and a member of the Leadership Team in the Sustainability Masters Program as well as a current Whistenon Public Scholar at the Kettering Foundation.

Part 1 — Opening check-ins

Part 2 — Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees: Guidance from Ancestors

Part 3 — Seed Question

Part 4 — Circle of reflection: Debra Roberts, Libby Traubman, Jerry Green, Len Traubman, Jed Davis, Xiaojuan Shu, Wendy Berk, Aryae

Part 5 — Additional reflections: TwoTrees, Jeb, Debra, Wendy, Aryae

Part 6 — Closing check-ins

Being American Now
Apr. 30

Being American Now
Conversations at a time of darkness
about engaging and supporting
the emergence of light.

At this time of endless Trump administration drama in the U.S. with consequences around the world, friends in the OWL community, in the U.S. & globally, are connecting each month to share how and what we’re doing. What is most concerning to you? What actions have you been taking and what are you learning as a result? What are your personal practices for staying spiritually grounded? What opportunities are you seeing for linking up with others to make a positive difference going forward?

Please join us for a conversation about responding to a challenging time by engaging and supporting the emergence of light!

Sunday, April 30, 2017, 5:00 – 6:30 PM Pacific Time.
You can find your corresponding local time at Time and Date.
To join us for the videoconference, please RSVP now!
We’ll get back to you with the details.