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Rainn Wilson: Standing for a Spiritual Revolution

How do we reimagine society and build it anew upon a foundation of love, unity, and compassion? This is the central question Rainn Wilson explores in his new book, Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution. In this podcast, Tami Simon sits down with the actor and comedian to learn, in Rainn’s words, “Why the hell is the actor who played Dwight in The Office writing a book about spirituality?”

Enjoy this inspiring conversation that is at once funny, clever, and sincere, as Tami and Rainn discuss the cultural critique of people on a spiritual path; connecting with others from both our brokenness and wholeness; God, higher powers, and belief in a great mystery; the radiant word “devotion”; finding your authentic voice; the need for a spiritual revolution in our times; creating a new mythology; the potential pitfall in being “spiritual but not religious”; the Latin word “religio”—to bind together; the Baha’i faith; Rainn’s advice to don’t just protest—build something; the maturation of humanity; keeping hope alive and fighting for joy; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com

Mark Nepo: The Half-Life of Angels

How do we know our own authenticity? How can we return to our hearts when we find we’ve left them? As we evolve and change along our journey, how do we relate to the “former selves” in our past? In this podcast, Tami Simon and poet-philosopher Mark Nepo address these questions and more, as they discuss his creative process; his new book, The Half-Life of Angels; and how we can each touch the ever-present and wholly miraculous “spark of becoming” waiting to guide our lives. 

Tune in as Tami and Mark talk about the introspective nature of the creative process; the metaphor of the soul as an inlet; congruency; how the heart shatters but inevitably heals; becoming a student to the mystery of life; the meaning of the word “admit,” and the practice of return; seeing through the lens of the miraculous; the intersection of meditation and creativity; the art of re-visioning; how a commitment to truthfulness grows in concentric circles; living from the deep versus diving and coming back up; the shift from being driven to being drawn; impermanence and perseverance; how the life of expression is one of discovery, relationship, and inquiry; why “there’s always a teacher next to you”; “becoming the poem”; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Forest Bath Right Down This Path

Dear Readers, I’m excited that my new picture book  Forest Bath Right Down this Path is part of the Sounds True Kids collection. It’s a book of my heart as it portrays a fog forest—Barred Island Preserve—that my family and I hike every year on our summer vacation in Maine. I’m thrilled that you can enjoy this forest through the window of Khoa Le’s gorgeous illustrations.

As we wander the forest’s moss-lined paths, we smell pines and firs, touch bark and berries, and listen to birds and chipmunks. The hike ends at a rocky beach where we swim and explore tidepools. When we leave, we feel peaceful and calm. The name for this kind of soothing experience is forest bathing.

There’s evidence that smelling chemicals from trees called phytoncides and microbes from soil called mycobacterium vaccae may reduce stress and boost immune function.

I work as a child psychiatrist to help children, teens, and adults, and I’m always looking for ways to help people manage stress and anxiety. Some of the recommendations I make for doing this include exercise, taking time away from screens, meditating, and connecting with family and friends. I try to do these things myself, too! Every morning I take a half hour walk through the woods near my home.

I’m also a parent of two children (now young adults), and I’ve been concerned about the ways phones and screens are interfering with paying attention to the natural world as well as one another. It’s known that spending a lot of time on social media is contributing to the worsening of teens’ mental health. Adults need to take time away from their phones, too. That’s why the main character of my book, Kayla, encourages her father to put away his phone and fully engage in their walk through their forest. Children want their parents’ undivided attention; often they’re the ones encouraging adults to turn off their phones and be present.

I hope this book inspires you to spend time with your loved ones outdoors and soak in all its beauty and mental health benefits. Happy forest bathing!

Wishing you fresh air and sunshine,

Lisa Robinson

P.S. I invite you to download the free story time kit with five activities for children to learn more about forest bathing—from heading out on a sensory expedition to exploring their senses to making art in nature.


Lisa Robinson is a therapist, picture book writer, and nature enthusiast. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts. Every summer her family travels to coastal Maine for two weeks. The highlight of the trip is a walk through Barred Island Preserve on Deer Isle. The animals and plants mentioned in her new children’s book, Forest Bath Right Down This Path, are all found there. Learn more about Lisa and her work at author-lisa-robinson.com.

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