I’m an American spiritual seeker/teacher, author and artist. Born in 1948 in the segregated, white suburbs of middle-class St. Louis, Missouri.
Growing up, I was empathic, kind, and insecure; a born leader raised in a home where father backing was lacking. I attended the University of Kansas in 1966 and was expelled in 1969 for leading a peaceful, antiwar demonstration.
It was Kansas, after all, in the American Bible Belt where many people missed the irony of punishing someone for not wanting to kill others. An age-old blind spot, it seems.
Drafted by the U.S. military after being expelled from University, I hitchhiked to and then found my home in Toronto, Canada, rather than Vietnam or prison. I stayed involved in anti-war activities, founding Red, White, and Black, an organization assisting other US war resisters to feel more at home in Canada. As the saying goes, ‘If you can’t be in the country you love, love the country you’re in’.
I had my first heart-awakening experience, in 1970, when I suddenly and quite unexpectantly saw that all of life is connected in Oneness and grounded in Love. To further embody this, I began studying Kundalini Yoga after meeting Yogi Bhajan; an Indian born, deeply charismatic, guru-charlatan. In 1972, I became the Canadian Director of Yogi Bhajan’s world-wide 3HO Foundation.
I had an arranged marriage in 1973, can you believe it. But that happened in cults back then: arranged marriages. The marriage wasn’t much fun but the two children from the marriage were magnificent and wonderful. I left 3HO in 1987 after finding out that Yogi Bhajan was leading a secret life as a sexual predator. I was a slow learner and a little naïve, obviously.
This was the second time I had to leave everything behind and start over.
In 1988, still in Toronto, I began studying group dynamics with Dr. Ross Laing, a pioneer teacher whose medical practice was primarily getting his clients to sit in circle together and be present with whatever happened to arise emotionally.
I moved back to the U.S. in 1990. America had forgotten about Vietnam by then and had moved on to other trillion-dollar wars.
While living in Detroit, Michigan, I founded ‘Men in Circle’, facilitating men’s circles with mostly white men who also had angry/absent fathers and were thus looking to get back into their bodies.
I moved to Ashland, Oregon, in 2000. My now ex-wife had stayed in 3HO with Yogi Bhajan, clearly defining an ‘irreconcilable difference’.
In Ashland, a ‘Oneness-Friendly’, idyllic town, I created the Heart Circle model after facilitating thousands of circles in many different parts of the world. I took six years to write Waking Up with Everyone Around Us, a ground-breaking book on the relationship between personal awareness and transformational group dynamics that will probably be a classic someday, but currently isn’t yet.
Most recently, I published A Dangerous Work of Art and other Poems. I really like these poems! BTW, you can get both books through Amazon.
Heart Circles are popping up everywhere around the world because people are hungry for connection and community.
Today, I’m still teaching, writing, coaching, facilitating Heart Circles, and consulting businesses and organizations in group dynamics, all with an understanding that the dramatic personal and collective issues we face today require greater individual awareness and stronger co-operative communities: that our survival depends on this.
Oh, I also love to dance; freeform and Contact Improv. It’s the dance part of the Dance of Life and the one of the most direct doorways into joy.