One hundred-fifty years ago Henry David Thoreau said, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation.” I used to be one of them. I was withdrawn, quiet, afraid of conflict, and reluctant to voice my opinions and desires. Conditioned by years of child abuse, I struggled with fears of rejection and spent too much time trying to please people — parents, friends, employers, lovers — always hoping someone’s love or approval would make up for core wounds to my self-worth.
Living my dreams and coming into my own couldn’t happen until the wounds of childhood were healed. Until I addressed and dealt with them, my soul wouldn’t flower and flourish, and I couldn’t move forward. This work was important and necessary. I spent many years on this task, including counseling, men’s groups, inner child work, the Twelve Steps, and extensive time in the wilderness.
But Thoreau’s statement about “quiet desperation” isn’t just about people with painful childhoods. Pain doesn’t just come from experiences in our past. Anyone disconnected from his or her sense of purpose, who doesn’t feel intimately involved in an endeavor or story much larger than him/herself, will experience an emptiness and diminishment of life. It’s like having size-ten feet but wearing a pair of size-six shoes… You’ll be tired or in pain at the end of the day, and this is often a chronic condition of our spirits.
I believe we all have ‘size-ten’ souls. Hundreds of millions of years have gone into the making of this magnificent, life-sustaining planet, as well as the eyes, ears, muscles, flesh, and human nervous system that allows us to think, perceive, and imagine beyond anything we know about. We need a matching and worthy dream — a dream filled with passion and purpose — that can express and bring forth that potential within us.
Yet we’re so often confined within a size-six life. We suffer through meaningless work, superficial relationships, and inherited beliefs and attitudes that cut us off from deep connections with our senses, emotions, imaginations, and the beautiful, living Earth. No wonder we are in pain — psychic pain — and, lost and bereft of a joyful calling, we numb, distract, or deaden ourselves to make it through.
Direction, passion, purpose, calling… For centuries, in cultures all over the world, the route to finding and claiming one’s authentic gift, or “medicine,” involved undertaking a vision quest. I was introduced to this path in the summer of 1980. It changed my life forever. Since then I have led over 150 small-group vision quests and continue to do them — each year — for myself. One of my core beliefs is that we will not discover and claim our truth and inner nature without realizing our intimate connection to that great outer Nature which created us.
The quests and workshops on this website reflect my personal journey and what I hold important. My mission (and joy) is sharing them with you. They “join earth and sky” through affirming and addressing what’s universal, archetypal, transcendent, and eternal; while applying these techniques and wisdom teachings to the distress, difficulties, and dilemmas of our personal histories and the lives we’re living now.
My journey has been long, rich, and fruitful. That frightened kid I once was is now considered an authority, and I experience a deep, abiding peace and joy. I want the same for you. Please explore the site and the programs offered here, and if you feel they could help you find or travel your path with heart, I’d be honored to help you.