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We Don’t Have to Do It Alone: Toni Temporiti on Empowering Women Through Trust and Community

Sr. Toni Temporiti, PhD is the founder of Microfinancing Partners in Africa, an organization that provides loans to empower women who struggle with poverty. In this episode, Sr. Toni reflects on the power of listening, community, and courage for creating a more beautiful and sustainable world – one person, one community, one small loan at a time.


Donate to support this podcast: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/donate/

Earth & Spirit Center: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/

Microfinancing Partners in Africa: https://microfinancingafrica.org/


Kentucky General Assembly to Learn Strategies for Stress Resilience

The Earth & Spirit Center is being introduced to the Kentucky General Assembly as a “Gem of the 41st District,” and representatives from the Center will provide a presentation of basic skills designed to promote personal stress resilience using mindfulness techniques. Presentations will be Friday, March 10, 2023, before convening of the General Assembly, from 8:00 to 8:45am and from 11:00am to noon in room 316 at the Kentucky State Capital, 700 Capital Avenue in Frankfort, KY. All members of the Kentucky General Assembly and members of the press are invited to attend.

The Earth & Spirit Center is honored to be recognized by the Kentucky General Assembly as a resource important to the well-being of the citizens of 41st district and beyond. The opportunity to share basic stress resilience skills and the importance of practicing them in these challenging times is well aligned with our work for the flourishing of individuals and communities. Providing these skills to our statewide leadership, knowing the difficult decisions and challenges they face and that relief from these stresses is possible, is an endeavor the Earth & Spirit Center embraces enthusiastically.

An overview of the Earth and Spirit Center: A Gem of the 41st District will be presented by Kyle Kramer, CEO of the Center. A Taste of Mindfulness Practice – two guided practices with compelling rationale for stress resilience – will be presented by Karen Newton, MPH, RDN, senior meditation faculty member of Earth and Spirit Center.

The purpose of these presentations is to provide basic stress resilience skills for the improvement of the wellbeing of attendees. The Earth and Spirit Center hopes to spark curiosity about the value of practicing these skills, as we are all challenged in our daily lives. This is important to foster the wellbeing of the entire Commonwealth. Our young people are struggling, their families are struggling, their teachers are struggling… we are all struggling as we do our best to ensure our own self-care and our care for those around us. Relief from stress is possible, and we will share skills and practices that provide a healthier approach to difficulties.

The Earth and Spirit Center is a nonprofit, interfaith spirituality center. We cultivate transformative learning and service opportunities dedicated to mindful awakening, compassionate justice, and care for the Earth. We are dedicated to a single, sacred Earth community in which all members flourish. We are located on a beautiful 27-acre wooded campus in the heart of the Highlands neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. Learn more about the Earth and Spirit Center at earthandspiritcenter.org.

Assuming nothing fatal befalls me, this year I will hit the half-century mark. To honor that milestone and lean fully into the richness of my second half of life, I made a resolution to visit an old-growth forest this year. I got my chance a few weeks ago, when I traveled to the Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee to lead a retreat. After it concluded, I hiked about seven miles through Albright Grove, one of the finest stands of old-growth cove hardwood forest in the Eastern US.
As a rural person, I’ve always loved trees and forests, but Albright Grove felt like another world entirely, and I am struggling to find words for how powerfully moved I was to be among such massive, ancient creatures. At one point I took a break in the shelter of a tulip poplar that was at least seven feet thick and I would guess to be older than the founding of our country (that’s it in the photo).
Albright Grove made real for me a quote from Lao Tzu that I keep taped to my computer monitor: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” These trees and this forest had patience on a scale that I aspire to fathom, much less emulate. Whether as a tree or a person (take note, busy-busy self!), there is such immense power in standing still and waiting. And waiting. And waiting some more.
But when you stand still over a long period of time, $h!@ happens. “Virgin” old-growth forest might mean untouched by human destructiveness, but Mother Nature deals plenty of disaster in her own right, and almost all of the oldest trees have blown-out limbs, lightning scars, and other signs of damage and decay. They are beautiful, but theirs is a beauty that includes much brokenness. What a reassuring example for those of us fortunate enough to have many decades on our odometer.
There is less than 5% of the original old-growth forest still standing in this country – and less than 2 or 3% in the Eastern US.  We humans are, at this adolescent stage of our evolution, a terrifyingly ravenous species. And yet despite the carnage we have inflicted on this land, the trees of Albright Grove gave me hope that they, and their other sylvan relations, will be able to wait us out. When we finally learn to live peaceably among our non-human kin, or when we finally extinguish ourselves because we fail in that learning, the trees will flourish. In time, cut-over lands will become old-growth forest once again, and the broken and damaged webs of life will reweave themselves. They will not hurry, yet they will accomplish everything.
Take care,
Kyle Kramer, CEO
Dr. Tony Zipple on Positive Psychology, Mindfulness, and Flourishing for Individuals and Organizations

Dr. Tony Zipple is an expert in behavioral health and rehabilitation counseling, in both clinical and academic settings, with extensive background in executive leadership of large organizations. In this episode, we reflect on Tony’s experience with positive psychology, mindful self-awareness, and how individuals and organizations can flourish, especially amidst change.


Donate to support this podcast: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/donate/

Earth & Spirit Center homepage: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/

Tony Zipple’s website: https://tonyzipple.com/

Incite Consulting Solutions: https://inciteconsultingsolutions.com/

Phil Lloyd-Sidle on Mindfulness and the Marginalized

Phil Lloyd-Sidle is an Earth and Spirit Center instructor who sees the linkage between mindfulness and social justice, including issues of incarceration, race, gender identity and sexual orientation, and the patriarchy.  In this episode, Phil shares how mindfulness can help those on the margins – and all people – to embrace their own worth and value, navigate suffering, and cultivate compassion for themselves and others in our deeply interdependent world. 


Donate to support this podcast: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/donate/

Earth and Spirit Center homepage: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/

Louisville Vipassana Community: http://www.louisville-vipassana-community.org/

Dharma Seed: https://dharmaseed.org/

Insight Meditation Society: https://www.dharma.org/

Plum Village: https://plumvillage.org/

Day Schildkret on Ritual and Radical Amazement

Day Schildkret uses found natural materials in outdoor settings to create Earth-based art whose beauty is utterly impermanent. He’s also the author, most recently, of Hello, Goodbye: 75 Rituals for Times of Loss, Celebration, and Change. In this episode, Day and I reflect on how nature, creativity, and ritual help us navigate change, make meaning, and remember our true wholeness and belonging.


Please support this podcast at https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/donate/

Earth & Spirit Center website: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/

Day’s new book, Hello, Goodbye: 75 Rituals for Times of Loss, Celebration, and Change: https://www.dayschildkret.com/books

Day’s websites:



Day on Instagram: http://instagram.com/morningaltars

Day on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/morningaltars


Future-Driven or Future-Drawn?
At the Earth and Spirit Center, our staff and board just concluded a new strategic planning process that provides an exciting, actionable vision for growing our programs in meditation, compassionate social justice, and Earth care, our retreats and summer camps, and our emerging mindful leadership work with non-profit and for-profit organizations.
Being a driven, type-A personality, I have a tendency to get pretty fanatical about strategic plans – just ask the rest of the ESC staff! Plans and goals are certainly essential for a multi-faceted, impactful organization like the Earth & Spirit Center: they help keep us focused, effective, and accountable. But of course there are at least two problems with being plan-driven. Sometimes your plans run roughshod over reality – such as ignoring the people and needs that present themselves but that don’t fit neatly into the plan. And sometimes reality runs roughshod over your plans – as we learned when COVID-19 disrupted pretty much everything. Either way, holding onto the plans too tightly causes some sort of damage.
I’m starting to play with a new approach to making and following plans, which is informed by my reading in evolutionary cosmology and spirituality: What if we went from being future-driven to being future-drawn? In other words, what if – instead of treating the future as something we charge toward by making a battering ram out of our goals and plans – we imagine that the future is actually drawing us toward something bigger and more wonderful than we even have capacity to imagine? That’s certainly how folks like Thomas Berry and the paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin saw it: the journey of the Universe is one in which we’re all being pulled toward greater, more beautiful diversity and a deeper, more interconnected communion, in which all creatures – animal, vegetable, mineral creatures – have intrinsic value. For me, the name of both that drawing power and that relational communion is simple: Love, writ large and writ long.
We need our plans, just as a ship needs charts, a compass, and a rudder. But we also need to bracket our goal- and plan-driven egos (Self, I’m talking to you!) enough that we can be responsive to the more beautiful world that keeps calling to us from the future. And staying open to that future, ironically, can help us keep our hearts open to the gifts and needs of the present.
As always, the Earth & Spirit Center provides both the tools and the communal support to help you be drawn by the future and mindfully present in the present. We hope you’ll make some plans to get involved this Spring!
Take care,
Kyle Kramer, CEO
Dr. Broderick Sawyer on Using Mindfulness to Overcome Duality and Division

Dr. Broderick Sawyer is a clinical psychologist who integrates mindfulness and compassion practices into his work with organizations and individual clients. This episode explores how mindfulness can inform psychological wholeness, promote healing from racial stress and trauma, and help overcome mind-states that perpetuate division.


Donate to support this podcast: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/donate/

Earth & Spirit Center website: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/

Broderick Sawyer’s website: https://www.brodericksawyer.com/

Broderick’s bio on the Earth & Spirit Center faculty page: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/about-us/our-team/broderick-sawyer/