The Commune Blog

Free Hugs

podcast Jan 01, 2019

Ken Nwadike Jr. (aka “The Free Hugs Guy”) is known for his work in de-escalating violence during protests, riots, and political rallies. His life story is one of a determined, tender heart—reminding us that we can accomplish incredible things if we remain motivated by love. We talk with Ken about how he went from sharing a room with four siblings and his mother in a homeless shelter to inspiring millions of people around the world.


Jeff: Can you take us a little bit through your story? You grew up here, right?

Ken: Yes. Grew up here in South Central Los Angeles. Before then, my family, we were living in Seattle, Washington at the time. Five kids in our family and one day we came home from school to our house being raided and my father was arrested and my mom decided at that time she was going to just take all five kids in our family and moved us here to Los Angeles. We got here 1991, so shortly after our arrival, we're watching on the...

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Jesus Was An Activist

podcast Dec 25, 2018

What would Jesus do? Civil disobedience. Public demonstrations. Resisting authority. For this special Christmas episode, we take a look at Jesus Christ through the lens of activism… and there’s a lot to see. Listen to this soulful, biblical interview with Pastor Ron Buford, who is the founder of Racist Anonymous, and Pastor at the Congregational Church of Sunnyvale.


Jeff: Pastor Ron Buford, you're back.

Ron:  Well, it's good to be here. Great to see you again.

Jeff: Great to see you. Thank you for coming back. We just loved that first episode. We couldn't get enough of you. So, it's Christmas.

Ron: Yeah.

Jeff: Yes, it's the fabulous time of year. I think it's a time of year that hopefully inspires us to step back, to take a breath, and to appreciate life and be grateful for what we have, and examine some of the bigger issues.

Ron: Yes.

Jeff: Today, I'd ask you to start with, in your mind was Jesus a political...

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How We Gather

podcast Dec 18, 2018

The fastest growing religion in America, is no religion at all! Religious disassociation is a trend being led by Millennials - the most plugged-in, racially diverse, and (apparently) least religiously affiliated generation in American history. So if they aren’t showing up in churches, then where are they gathering? To answer these questions, we talk to Angie Thurston, the Director of Formation at the On Being Impact Lab about “How We Gather,” a groundbreaking report she co-authored profiling new forms of social and spiritual connection.


Angie: I guess have been spiritual from the youngest age I can remember, and I've always been guided by these questions of what does it look like to become closer to the sacred or to that experience of connectedness to all and what does it mean to become more useful to other beings along the way. So, those have been some of the guiding questions throughout in terms of who I am. I don't know that I have answers...

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F'd Up Food System

podcast Dec 11, 2018

The American food system is broken. It’s literally killing us. Equally upsetting is learning how taxpayers (that’s you!) are funding this toxic feedback loop. In this episode, we talk with Congressman Tim Ryan about the inner workings of what went wrong while envisioning a healthier, more sustainable future.


Jeff: So, in some ways it seems like we're getting a really great deal, but there's hidden costs. Like essentially we're paying tax dollars to subsidize the growth of cash crops, but then we're also paying on the other side to fund Medicare and Medicaid, and then we're probably also paying for our own personal health insurance. So, it feels like the taxpayer, the citizen is really losing out, but it's kind of hidden in a way.

Tim: Yeah, that's exactly it. These are hidden costs to the current food system, and it's money that could otherwise be spent on maybe a healthier food system, paying farmers to grow healthier crops, fresh produce. You can...

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The Nature of Reality

podcast Dec 04, 2018

Is reality real? Deepak Chopra has dedicated his life to the scientific and spiritual exploration of what is. In this episode, Jeff and Deepak talk about how everything we consider real—from your next thought to the most distant star—is simply a modified form of yourself. When you understand that you are the universe, you begin to access the infinite possibilities within.


Jeff: We'll dive in and try to unpack the nature of reality in 20 minutes.

Deepak: Okay, okay.

Jeff: It'll be an interesting challenge. So, I always start with asking who you are and what do you do.

Deepak: I actually still don't know who I am, I think I'm a dimensionless being in non-local reality. I'm trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

Jeff: That's a unique answer, so I'm going to start with an assertion and you're welcome to discredit it.

Deepak: Okay.

Jeff: As we unpack the nature of reality and understanding how that can impact our lives, and make...

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The Modern Elder

podcast Nov 28, 2018

By 2020, a quarter of all working people in the US will be 55 or older, but our youth-oriented culture leaves many of them feeling invisible, undervalued, and threatened by younger folks in the workplace.

Chip Conley is an American hospitality entrepreneur, author, and speaker out to change all that. He’s ushering in a new way of thinking—embracing the value age brings to one’s life, career, and the workplace.


Chip: I have spent my life being predominantly a social alchemist in the form of hospitality, whether it was a boutique hotelier or for almost six years now as a senior person at Airbnb mentoring the founders and leading part of the company.

Now I am the founder of something called the Modern Elder Academy down here in Baja, which helps people in midlife navigate through transitions. But I think in terms of who I am, like underneath all of that I called my first company Joie De Vivre, which means joy of life.

Jeff: For someone that's done as...

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Hacking Your Healthcare

podcast Nov 20, 2018

Are you ready to take ownership of your own healthcare? Our current system is broken; we’re focused on treatments and pills rather than positive outcomes. Meanwhile, the rates for nearly every modern disease are increasing, even as the U.S. spends 20% of its GDP on medical care. Functional medicine seeks to change all that! Meet Dr. Mark Hyman, a Functional Medicine physician on the frontlines of a healthcare revolution. He’s an author, Founder and Director of the UltraWellness Center, and Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.


Mark: I'm Dr. Mark Hyman and I'm a doctor. Hopefully, a good one, and I practice functional medicine, family medicine by training, and I'm the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, which is the only academic functional medicine center in the world. I also founded the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, where we have been open for almost 15 years with extraordinary...

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On Soil

podcast Nov 14, 2018

What if we’re standing right on top of the answer to global warming? Unsustainable agricultural practices have a massive effect on the health of our planet, with land degradation now undermining the well-being of 3.2 billion people. But by repairing the soil through regenerative farming, we can not only improve the quality of our food, but also sequester carbon. Tune in for an educational, motivational conversation with Ryland Engelhart, vegan restaurant owner and co-founder of Kiss The Ground, a non-profit that advocates for the connection between soil, human, and planetary health.


Jeff: First, help us frame the problem. We have global warming, why? What's going on?

Ryland: Yeah, what's going on? For just easy understanding, human beings have put too much carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that is creating a warming effect. when things start to heat up, you start to have these more frequent storms, fires, the poles melting, oceans...

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Healing a Warrior

podcast Nov 06, 2018

Dan Nevin’s life forever changed when he lost both his legs during combat in Iraq. Dan was forced to look inward, finding a path to healing and redefining his life’s purpose through mindfulness, meditation, and helping other wounded warriors. This episode offers a heavy dose of heart and perspective.

Taped LIVE at Wanderlust Wellspring in Palm Springs, CA.


Jeff: Dan is an American hero. You're an Iraqi War vet, a professional speaker, meditation and yoga teacher, spokesperson for the Wounded Warrior project. First I just want to thank you for your service.

Dan: Thanks, Jeff. I wouldn't trade a single day.

Jeff: I want to ask you about that.

Dan: Yeah, exactly.

Jeff: Tell us a little bit about your story. I know you grew up in Baltimore.

Dan: I did. I enlisted because I didn't have a great home life and where I'm from most people that I grew up with are products of broken homes. But for me, it was my mom that left when I was a...

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podcast Nov 01, 2018

Are you addicted? Nomophobia is the fear of being without or unable to use your mobile phone, and it affects nearly 2/3rds of all adults. How does this behavior affect our personal relationships? Our mental health? In this episode we speak to Jess Davis, a formerly plugged-in digital strategist turned tech ethicist and mindfulness leader, and Dr. Brian Primack, a Clinician, Professor, and Researcher at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.


Brian: I am Brian Primack and I have two major roles here at the University of Pittsburgh. The first is that I am dean of the Honors College. Then my other role is that I'm director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health and I look at both the potential positives that media and technology may have for health as well as some of the problems or drawbacks.

Jeff: Well I'll start with this question. I believe you also have a teenager, and I can't seem as hard as I tried to read to her and cook...

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