June 29, 2008

Education of a Wannabe Talk Show Host.

Over the last six years, I’ve been interviewing folks for elephant—Dr. Deepak Chopra, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Paul Hawken, Ken Wilber, Alice Walker… The first time I interviewed someone, I felt great…until I pressed ‘record.’ Then, suddenly…though I was surrounded by kind folks…I could barely breathe. It was hard to be present, I was so nervous. Over the years, I got used to that.

Then, three years back, I took elephant’s interviews into the public sphere—enough folks were asking if they could come hear whatever amazing person I was lucky enough to have sitting in my living room for an interview. And one year ago, we started a regular weekly talk show, that’s since moved to the historic Boulder Theater.

But, in public, the interviews changed in tone. Less intimate, more fun…and because, at first, we had small crowds, it was helpful if I could be fun, and funny. Which, as evidenced by the comments at some of the early shows, I failed miserably at. Still, our crowds grew, as did the stature of our guests…so something was going right.

Still, there’s nothing like putting yerself on the chopping block, again and again, for folks to either appreciate (rare) or complain about (rare steak). My parent’s teacher, Chögyam Trungpa, always loved it when we were put on the spot, when we were awkward and naked and vulnerable and unsure and our egos went >pop<. For that reason—and so that we might someday get a mainstream talk show that can get the good word out to the millions of folks for whom the notion of ‘the mindful life’ is little more than visions of hemp, granola and birkenstocks…I’ll continue to do my best, and/or worst. 

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