#38 – An Artist’s Journey of Transformation

In 1979, when he was 29 years old, Jerry Wennstrom was an artist living in New York City and he had already produded a large body of work. At that point in his life, he felt an overwhelming spiritual urging to discover the rock-bottom truth of his life. For years he questioned the limits of his creative life as a studio painter. In his quest, he ended up destroying all of his art and giving away everything he owned. In an extraordinary leap of faith, Jerry began a life of unconditional trust, allowing life to provide all that was needed. He lived this way for 15 years. In 1998 he moved to Washington State, where he eventually married Marilyn Strong and produced a large new body of art. Marilyn and Jerry’s charming Whidbey Island home on Puget Sound is now filled with his unique interactive sculptures and paintings. Jerry also built a 40-foot meditation tower on his property. His art and this tower can both be seen in in the Parabola Magazine documentary film called In the Hands of Alchemy: The Art and Life of Jerry Wennstrom. Jerry’s story is told in his book, The Inspired Heart: An Artist’s Journey of Transformation which has a foreword by Thomas Moore. The show ends with a piece of Podsafe music by Ola Onabule titled “Soul Town.”



  1. Rick V.
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    I don’t think you have ever had a guest I agreed with 100% until I listened to this show. What a great human being, it is rare that you ever encounter anyone who has possibly realized their full potential. You should re-interview this guy Dave, especially since you have got your audio problems from the old days handled. I think many of your newer listeners would never go back that far in the archive and what a shame it would be for them to miss Jerry.

  2. Richard Powell
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Jerry’s archetypal story reminds me of St. Francis, the desert fathers and mothers, the Buddha, and all the other mystics and mendicants who have walked away from the material life for the spiritual life. Such a challenging and encouraging interview.

    Favorite quotes from the interview:

    “It wasn’t about coming up with a good defence, it was about inhabiting the emptiness and letting the emptiness speak for itself.”

    “The biggest thing to learn is that we are all in the best seat in the house, and my journey is my journey, and no-one has to do it the way I did it. In fact if they did it would be pretty silly. What we have to do is give ourselves to our own immediate process. And inevitably, and here’s where we all come together in our humility, inevitably we will have to walk into something that looks and feels like the death of our idea of ourself. To think we can avoid it is folly. The simple advice has most to do with trusting our own lives exactly where they are completely.”

    Dave, I also appreciated your reading from Sallie Nichols book, Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey. That passage about the fool was so clear and relevant.

    Agree with Rick V above, would be great to hear an update with Jerry. I understand there is a feature film being made of his life that is due out soon. I’d like to hear more details about how he is integrating, or has integrated, the lessons from his “walk about” into his life and relationships, especially how to live this way “with others.”

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