I have been interested in the depth and breadth of what is possible for human beings for as long as I can remember. As a child my curiosity led me away from home so much Mom pinned a note on my shirt with my name and our phone number. I spent my senior year of high school studying in Switzerland. My interest in the natural world led me to guiding wilderness trips—which paid for college. Interested in the deeper layers of human experience and creativity I studied psychology, counseling and dance.
Exploring the breadth of human experience, I traveled in Central and South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa. I rode freight trains, climbed mountains and did famine relief work in the Sahara.
Expanding creativity I worked with children and made a living as a storyteller. I danced and choreographed semi-professionally on the low-flying trapeze. Articles about my hospice experiences and traveling and teaching with Matthew Fox were published in national journals. A fiction piece was published in a literary journal.
In hopes of understanding the spiritual dimension of life I gained a Masters of Spirituality degree. What I learned motivated me to reach out more toward others. I trained and served as a chaplain.
Hungry to completely immerse myself in spirituality I lived in Asia for 9 years, studying eastern philosophy and practicing meditation. Meditation is hard work. I thought being a monk would help. I ordained for 6 years, 5 years longer than I expected. While a monk, I experienced profound fulfillment and elated but serene states of freedom. I knew directly time didn’t exist. I clearly understood the transience of things. I realized pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. I clearly felt our tremendous human potential for positive change.
My father was dying. I returned to the States. Being a happy hermit monk was no longer a challenge. Being a happy, peaceful layman and contributing to society are more challenging.
What I experienced as a monk is valuable. I want others to benefit from it, too. My work now is to help others learn what I did. This is one form of contributing.
I’ve been consulting regularly at one of the hottest ad agencies in the world. Stress and pressure are extreme there. Though employees don’t have the benefit of a cave, they are learning what I learned about how to work with, not against, their minds and bodies. They cultivate mindfulness, concentration, patience, perseverance, appreciation, the power of intention and the vigor of happiness. They look better, smile more and manage stress effectively. They are happier and everyone around them is better off.
After all, we’re all in this together.