What led you to write this book?

When I first started walking a spiritual path, I was excited about what I was learning and wanted to share this wisdom with others. I figured that inspiring stories from well-known people would be more likely to be read and have a greater impact than just me writing about abstract principles.

Frankly, I also wanted to connect with the authors and speakers I admired. Interviewing them and working with them to edit their stories was very enjoyable. Beginning in 2001, I wrote up their stories for Edge Life, a Minneapolis-based spiritual magazine. Before I knew it, I had built up an impressive collection of wonderfully uplifting stories.

How did you select the people you wanted to interview?

I began with my favorite authors and speakers in the spirituality arena. I then branched out into entertainment, sports, business, science, music, and every other field I could think of. I started by doing a lot of brainstorming, trying to think of people I’d like to talk to who would have something meaningful to say. And I kept my antennae up. When I read an insightful article by or about a prominent person in magazines or online, or heard someone interesting on a radio or TV show, I added their name to my wish list. I also sent an e-mail to friends and asked them to recommend people who they considered visionaries and thought leaders.

How did you manage to arrange all of these interviews?

I started with the people whom I had previously established some sort of relationship with. For instance, I had interviewed Wayne Dyer for a magazine article, had met Larry Dossey at a seminar, and had had a song lyric published in one of Bernie Siegel's books.

Once I had written up their stories, I attached them as samples to the introductory e-mails I sent to people whom I had no previous connection with. Those initial stories gave me the credibility I needed to open more doors. And the more doors I opened, the more opportunities I had to open even more doors.

How accessible and cooperative were the people you wanted to interview?

Everybody whose story made it into the book was very accessible and wonderful to work with. After interviewing each person, I wrote up their story and e-mailed it to them for revisions. We then went back and forth until the storyteller was happy with every word. It was a very satisfying and rewarding process.

Did you interview all of the storytellers by phone?

Yes, except for Malidoma Patrice Some, Jean Houston, and Joseph Costa, who I interviewed in person during their visits to Minneapolis, and Rachel Naomi Remen, who I communicated with via e-mail.

Did everyone have a story that came quickly to mind?

Yes, most of the storytellers had a specific story in mind, a story that was very meaningful to them that represented a turning point in their life. Many shared two or three stories and let me pick the one I liked best.

I had a particular story in mind for a few interviewees and, much to my delight, that was the story they wanted to share. For instance, I thought Joan Borysenko’s account of her mother’s death was one of the most profound things I had ever read. I was also touched by Dean Ornish’s initial encounter with Swami Satchidananda. And Frank Deford’s description of his daughter Alex’s final surgical procedure for cystic fibrosis never failed to reduce me to tears. In cases like this where I was already familiar with a story, I asked many new questions so I could add new details that allowed me to rewrite the story with even greater depth.

How much editing did the stories require?

Andrew Harvey was so well prepared for our interview that I only needed to change a word here or there. Many other storytellers were so thoughtful and articulate on the phone that only minimal editing was required. Some, like Caroline Myss, Jim MacLaren, and Billy Vera signed off with no changes whatsoever. People like Dean Ornish, Dan Millman and Francis Collins made the editing process a joy. Without fail, they responded humbly, respectfully, and professionally. And their revisions, while minor, added great clarity and precision to their stories.

Which stories are your favorites?

It’s difficult to just pick a few. Joan Borysenko’s account of her deathbed vigil for her mother took my breath away. Gregg Braden’s story gave me wonderful insights into the mechanics of prayer, which I immediately applied to my own life. Frank Deford’s story about his daughter’s battle with cystic fibrosis touches me like no other. Stephen Simon’s tale of how his movie, What Dreams May Come, brought peace to a dying teenage girl is extraordinarily touching. And Mike Veeck’s story of his daughter’s valiant struggle with impending blindness is incredibly inspirational.

Which stories impressed you the most?

I was astonished by Echo Bodine’s courage and can’t even imagine the emotional pain she endured by giving up her child. I loved the stories by Caroline Myss, Joseph Costa, and Wayne Dyer because I enjoy hearing about cool metaphysical miracles. The way Jim MacLaren deals with his paralysis blows me away. And I wish everybody could read Dean Ornish’s recommendations on how to improve the quality of daily life.

Was every storyteller comfortable with sharing such a personal story?

Yes, I believe they all saw the value in how their experiences might help others in a variety of ways. Echo Bodine went out of her way to say that she hoped her story would give readers the strength to listen to their own intuition so that they can take the right path during difficult times.

Is there a common theme to all the stories?

Only in the sense that they are without exception deeply personal and profound. Some stories are subtle and insightful while others are knock-your-socks-off amazing. Some of them may challenge readers to rethink perceptions about the way the world works. Others may inspire them to make better life choices. Cumulatively, they may motivate readers to live in a way that increases their awareness of the sacred moments that currently lie just beyond their vision.

What do you hope readers will take away from these stories?

A greater appreciation of the sacredness of life, a renewed commitment to become kinder and more compassionate, and a dedication to continual self-improvement.