When I was 14, my grandmother died. She had a stroke and in was in the hospital. She was paralyzed on one side and could not speak. There was a deep love between my grandmother and me - spoken and unspoken. Here, on her bed, preparing for death, she gave me a gift. A gift more precious than anything I had received from her previously. As I held her ‘good’ hand, and our eyes met, and she gave me a half smile, she silently told me she was not dying. Whispered it to me with her eyes. I had heard her eyes speak before many times. But never so profoundly. Yes her body would be gone before weeks end, but somehow she, her Being, would not cease to be, but continue.
I received the silent message with no doubt of its truth. Not understanding the real meaning of it, I began to question deeply, to ponder. Life. Death. Meaning. Purpose. The Universe. Love. Relationship. Big questions. And I am still receiving responses to those questions that began in that hospital room on that cold December afternoon.
My life has been a search for meaning and purpose.
What is life for? What is my life for? Can I find out? How will I know?
Raised in the Lutheran Church I learned the Christian Story. In college I explored Eastern Religions. Taoism. Hinduism. Buddhism. In Graduate School studying Philosophy, I realized that any amount of “study” was not going to bring me what I was looking for... Knowing with the head was never going to be enough. It was at the time of Graduate School that I found the practical teaching I was looking for. This teaching did not require going to a monastery or a Guru or to stand on my head or chant all day. It provided tools to become Present in the midst of everyday life. Practices of self-observation, self-remembering, considering others, as well as inner exercises of attention were the daily means by which I worked to awaken. My occupation as a professional carpenter provided good conditions for this Work. The inner, personal, work, the work in community with others, and the work in the world at large continued for over four decades.
Education and Training
The forty years of practice referred to above is the most significant training of my life and has profoundly influenced all subsequent training in various disciplines. What I call “Living Presence” is the result. In an effort to share this work in a wider circle, I obtained my certification as a Spiritual Director in 2001. Further training brought certification in Supervision of Spiritual Directors in 2003. I have been seeing people in Spiritual Direction for almost two decades. Feeling the need for a larger context than “spiritual” - I learned Focusing and earned certification as a Focusing Trainer from the International Focusing Institute in 2016. This, for me, was the missing piece in order to truly embody the teachings previously received. Focusing served to balance and integrate the functions of body, feeling, and intellect for wholeness of Being.