The life of radio show host and meditation dance teacher Michael Stone is a full one.
Following his natural path of learning and being of service, the host and producer of the award-winning KVMR radio show, “Conversations,” is moving part time to 40 acres on the Feather River to help establish and teach at the University of Earth.
“I’m always in the middle of a some exciting change. My life is always changing,” Stone said, speaking in the radio studio where he broadcasts his show 1-2 p.m. every Tuesday.
For eight years, Stone’s on-air conversations with leading thinkers, authors and activists have revolved around three central themes: environmental restoration, social justice and spiritual fulfillment.
These subjects easily drift into all aspects of Stone’s working life and direction.
For 25 years, Stone worked for the corporate world “bringing heart and meaning into the workplace” for giant companies like AT&T, Humana and Microsoft through his consulting business, Master of Management International.
Stone realized early on, that he wasn’t a 9-to-5 kind of person.
“People stop breathing when they’re in that type of situation,” he said.
He left the corporate world behind eight years ago to teach a form of meditative dance called the 5Rhythms Moving Meditation, created by the late Gabrielle Roth who died in October.
Many locals know Stone as the meditative dance instructor of the popular class, “Sweat Your Prayers” held from 9:30 to noon every Sunday at the South Yuba Club in Nevada City.
“It’s my church alternative,” Stone said of the class that has moved thousands of local participants over the past 12 years. The classes are designed to help individuals discover their own unique inner dance as a means of creative self-expression while letting go of stress and tension.
“It is my spiritual practice. The fastest way to still the mind is to move the body,” he said.
Stone, who has lived in Nevada County more than 30 years will continue to keep a presence here, hosting his radio show Tuesdays and leading dance classes Sundays, while settling into his position at the University of Earth. Deliberately non-accredited, the nature based school is a departure from the mainstream education system. It is designed as a learning center for the times — “an education for a new society” — a place where people can reinvent themselves and live in balance with the earth while learning skills for sustainable careers.
“What we need is connection with each other, the earth and the systems that feed us,” Stone said.
Many of the teachers being recruited are past guests of his radio show. Similar to the concept of a one-room schoolhouse, students become mentors to other students in a classroom that is often outdoors. Students can earn a living as they learn.
“Our current education system is bankrupt. Traditional education leaves students with heavy debt and being indentured servants to the cultural machine of consumption and obedience,” Stone said.
Stone believes the modern technological age is having negative effects on society.
“People are really suffering from nature deficit disorder,” Stone said.
At the University of Earth, students can attain bachelors and masters level degrees in eco-psychology and human development or a doctorate in an earth ministries program. Classes include: Shamanic studies, permaculture and aquaculture as well as everything from fly fishing on the Feather River to equine therapy and more.
His work doesn’t stop there.
Stone is a shamanic teacher and practitioner who teaches others how to do journey work. Shamanism is considered one of the oldest religions on the planet. It is based on people’s spiritual relationships with the earth.
“You couldn’t pay a therapist for the information that you get from inside journey work,” Stone said.
Stone will hold a workshop called, “Birthing a New Earth Relationship” with shamanic teacher and practitioner Girvani Leerer from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, 401 Church St. in Grass Valley on Saturday, Feb. 9.
He is involved with the Pachamama Alliance, called one of the earth’s most important nongovernmental organizations on the planet by environmental author Paul Hawken.
Stone’s interest in social justice issues has also led him to gender reconciliation work with Satyana, a group working internationally to heal wounds between men and women.
Stone reads a book a week to prepare for the guests he interviews on “Conversations.” His in-depth interviews strike a nerve with people all around the world. He has received emails from listeners as far away as China and Australia.
Among his influences he counts former teachers Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller, Joseph Campbell and Werner Erhard.
“If I’m learning something, I’m happy,” he said.
Stone is the author of “The Well of Light”blog and free newsletter with a following 7,000 strong.
Stone, like a growing number of contemporary writers, believes the planet, increasingly interdependent and fragile is at a critical juncture, where the future holds both great promise and peril.
“We’re either going to have a great crash or a great turning,” said Stone.
This week, in preparation for Nevada County’s Sustainable Food and Farm Conference, Stone’s guest is Will Allen, the urban farmer from Milwaukee whose ideas about national food policies, feeding the poor and creating jobs by establishing farms on vacant city lots is gathering international attention.
“There are so many amazing people I get to interview. :… I think radio and the work that I do is what I’m called to do,” he said.
Stone is well aware of the doom and gloom environmental decay and social injustice realities facing the human race, but he usually doesn’t let this knowledge get him down. Instead, he views now as an exciting time to be alive.
Stone sees everyday as an opportunity to make a difference, to get to know his neighbors, dissolve barriers and let his strong will to serve people guide everything he does.
“Hopefully I’m bringing some good into the world. … I’m just content if I make a difference in one persons life,” he smiled warmly.
To sign up for Michael Stone’s newsletter, “The Well of Light ,”or to learn more about his KVMR radio station, “Conversations,” go to: www.AreWeListening.net.
Contact freelance writer Laura Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 401-4877.