What daily practices do you have now?

I’m pretty inconsistent. I try and have the first words out of my mouth everyday be "thank you." I sometimes forget, but I know that gratitude is the highest form of praise. So I try and keep myself in this state of gratitude all the time. I meditate, not consistently but always before a performance, and always when I’m not traveling or in a situation where I can’t. I pray.

What do you pray to?

I can visualize it in different ways. I always pray to Spirit, but sometimes it’s to the Goddess. Sometimes it’s to Jesus. For me, Jesus is my guru. I think he’s a magnificent teacher. And he’s always available to me when I want him. If I close my eyes, he’s there.

Sometimes I pray to Ganesha if I need an obstacle removed. Quan Yin is one of my favorite manifestations of the divine, the embodiment of compassion. If we forget our compassion, we slide into blame and judgment and criticism too easily. So I have Quan Yin with me all the time.

What kind of prayers do you say?

Favorite prayers to say
Sometimes I just make up my own prayers. I say what I’m feeling at the time and I pray from my heart. There’s a Sufi prayer I say very often. “Oh Thou, the sustainer of our bodies, hearts, and souls, bless all that we receive in gratitude.”

Are you drawn to Persian poets like Rumi and Hafiz?

Hafiz, just love Hafiz. I read Rumi, too, of course, and I love Rumi. But, Hafiz brings me to my knees. I love Daniel Ladinsky’s translations.

Do you have a favorite Hafiz poem or line?

Oh God, so many. The one that just popped into my mind is: "Cast all your votes for dancing." I love that. And the other poet I love is Rabia.

What do you love about these poets?

Why she loves Sufi poets
The immediacy of their apprehension of God. Their direct relationship with God. I grew up in the Catholic Church, and the church had always taught that there was an intermediary, that you spoke to the priest and the priest would convey your message. I love [these poets'] direct address to God and the direct receiving, of finding the divine spark within; I love the feeling of God being alive in me and me being alive in God.

How do you take care of your health?

I try and eat organic food whenever possible. I try not to combine food in an unhealthy way--I eat fruit separately from other food, and I try and keep the carbohydrates separate from the fats and proteins. I try not to overeat, which is my weakness. I don’t drink anymore.

I exercise, except while I’m doing a book tour. I work out with a trainer. I work in the gym. I walk. I ride a stationary bicycle. Exercise is the big key, I think. If I can possibly help it, I don’t take prescription drugs or non prescription drugs. I do homeopathy whenever possible. And I take vitamins. And herbs. I work with herbs a lot. I recently had two acupuncture treatments on my hand because I’ve had arthritis in my thumb. I wrote the book longhand, and I had to wear this thumb guard on it, which I’ve been wearing for 10 years now. But I had two acupuncture treatments and it practically removed all the pain from my hand.

How do you feel about aging?

I feel, first of all, very, very blessed that I’m healthy. I was talking to a doctor recently who said, “Your age is not how long you’ve been on the planet, your age is how healthy you are.” So, I am 73, but I would say, if I go by my health, that I’m 50. I’ve had two knee replacements, which was very helpful. If I had lived 100 years ago I probably would be in a wheelchair by now, but the knee replacements really helped a lot because I wasn’t walking so well. But other than that, I feel really healthy.

Now, I look at myself and I go, “That’s not me, that’s my mother.” Other people tell me I look good but, it’s hard for me to see that.

[But] I wouldn’t want to be 20 again. I wouldn’t want to be 30 again. It was just too hard. I just didn’t have enough information on how to get get by with understanding. I really like this period of my life. I’m enjoying a wonderful relationship. I feel good. I feel productive.

I’m just hoping that I can continue this all the way to the end and have a positive attitude when it’s time to release. I think the Buddhist practice of non grasping, of being able to let go, it’s a really healthy and important thing to learn, especially as you get older and realize that there’s going to come a time when you’re going to have to really let go.

Are you planning on doing more writing?

Yes, I am. I don’t know what I’m going to write, but I know I want to keep it up.

What are you most grateful for?

Living in gratitude
Every day. Every single day. I’m grateful for my whole life. It’s been enormously joyous. As difficult as it’s been, it’s also been a huge learning experience, and I’m just grateful to be given the privilege of experiencing all that I’ve been able to be exposed to and receive it in gratitude.