In this episode of the Wisdom podcast, we hear from Barbara Bonner, author of Inspiring Generosity and Inspiring Courage, both published by Wisdom. Barbara has dedicated her career to nonprofit management, fundraising and philanthropy. You’ll hear the ways her professional life has been deeply informed by experiences as a Buddhist practitioner, and likewise, how exposure to philanthropy has given way to new insights on the virtues of generosity. Barbara describes how a serendipitous trip to India paved the way for a discovery of Theravada Buddhism later in life, when she unexpectedly found herself studying with such great teachers as Jack Kornfield, Robert Thurman and Edward Espe Brown. Most profoundly, Barbara shares insights on the value of reimagining generosity as something beyond material exchange, and instead, as a personally transformational experience through an overcoming of the self. Additionally, you’ll hear Barbara and Daniel discuss courage as the engine that fuels all other virtues, as well as the inextricable link between courage and fear and courage and humility. Barbara also shares illuminating passages from both her books.
Through a broad scope of quotations, poems, and true-life stories, Inspiring Courage offers inspiration to help us authentically live life to the fullest, even against all odds.
How can we manage to move forward in the face of hardship, when the odds aren’t in our favor? Inspiring Courage offers us a beautiful companion to the challenges of daily life—it is a book of inspiration and a resource for finding strength when the very notion of courage seems unfathomable. This collection of quotations, poetry, and uplifting accounts of ordinary acts of life-changing courage—often in the face of fear—are carefully selected to open us up to living life fully, from a place of strength and love.
In this book we are inspired to all kinds of courage: courage to live a human life, courage to face disaster, and courage to help an ailing world. Included are stories of ordinary people who have faced illness, loss, and discrimination, and taken on political challenges and the environmental crisis. Selected poems and quotations include figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mark Twain, the Buddha, Maya Angelou, Rainer Maria Rilke, Pema Chodron, Rumi, Wendell Berry, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many more.
“Inspiring Courage touches the heart and fills you with spirit.”—Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart
“Barbara Bonner brings together stories, poems, and quotes about courage in a wonderful way that reveals the power, coherence and variety in our collective, indeed global, voices of courage. Inspiring Courage is an inspiration!”—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness
“Courage is a timeless strength, and particularly relevant in these turbulent times. Barbara Bonner, once again, weaves together inspiring stories, poems and words of wisdom from a wide range of courageous beings. This wonderful book uplifts the heart and helps us engage more passionately with our lives and the world.”—Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
“In this beautifully presented book, you will find illustrations of courage that enliven your own capacity to live, serve, savor and love without holding back.”—Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
Barbara Bonner began her professional life as an art historian before ultimately dedicating her career to nonprofit management, fundraising and philanthropy. In New York she held leadership positions in three of the city’s distinguished museums. She then served as Vice President of Bennington College and of the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Since 2009 she has had her own consulting company that helps nonprofit organizations transform their board leadership and philanthropic support. In addition, Barbara has served on ten nonprofit boards, most recently as Board Chair of The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Several years ago she started a major fund for helping women with cancer in her region. After 30 years in New York City, Barbara now lives in a converted barn in the Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts.
Her first book, Inspiring Generosity, was published in 2014, and her second, Inspiring Courage, in 2017. Barbara has spoken widely on the subjects of generosity and leadership and is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post.
You can find out more about Barbara and her books by visiting these additional websites: