As many of you know, I had a near-fatal heart attack a few years ago. I also was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer in 2008. Diane, my wife and partner in all things, likes to say that I have used up my nine lives, given how many times I’ve been on death’s doorstep.
Now, a couple of months after my 71st birthday, and staying on Maui until late March, I’m still writing and still doing my psychospiritual work, offering about 15 groups a year: five-day men’s groups, five-day women’s groups, weeklong professional trainings, and two-year mentorship programs, along with a smattering of couples’ intensives.
This work, which I’ve developed over the last 41 years, keeps evolving, keeps stretching me.
Some of the new directions I’m leaning into are longer trainings (up to two weeks) in which I’ll teach practices like full-spectrum Gestalt and the bilateral eye-integrating work I’ve developed over the past decade. And I’ll be offering a new online course this Fall with Iyeshka Farmer (senior trainer for our center), based on my latest book, Bringing Your Shadow Out of the Dark.
But in the midst of all this, I’ve been getting increasingly tired and run-down, with high blood pressure. We’ve been more than a bit concerned; however, I’m happy to say, this has gotten much better since I’ve been on Maui these last two months.
I don’t sense retirement lurking on any horizon, but rather more deepening and seasoning, more intimacy with all that is, including death.
This, of course, depends on my staying healthy as long as possible, to which I am deeply committed. My passion, my fuel for living longer, is to be of as much service as I can in helping others to heal and live a deeper life, and to pass on what I know to those who will be able to do the same.
The majority of my life energy is devoted to this.
There is plenty of ongoing adaptation called for here, more resilience and skillful softening, more attunement to the not-always-smooth flow of aging and eldering. More ripening, more sharing of the harvest, more opening to the Mystery, more gratitude — and living in an environment which is optimal for my health. Like Maui.
Diane and I have been in Maui since early January, not only for three groups I’ve led but also for rest and rejuvenation. Our pull to live here has become very strong, drawing forth from us a compelling vision which we’re starting to flesh out. It’s becoming clear that Maui is a Godsend for our overall well-being. We thrive here in ways we just don’t on the Mainland.
We see ourselves moving here not just for our health but also for work, imagining a home not only for ourselves, but also being able to offer those who want to work with me a residential format, meaning that they would be able to stay on the envisioned property in individual rooms, with all meals included. We found that the residential groups we held here allowed a wonderful continuity of connection and feeling of support throughout each group. Participants commented how much they strongly preferred residential to staying separately and only coming together during the workshop hours.
We could clearly see and feel the difference, which marked the beginning of our new vision!
What we are envisioning is that the place we’d have here would serve as a retreat center as well as our home, spacious and private and conducive to the deepest kind of work. We’d keep such groups small, no more than six or eight participants at a time, since we have found that this is the optimal number for my way of working.
It doesn’t matter to us that we don’t have the funding right now to make this all happen; it’s enough for now to clarify and ground our vision, to feel more and more deeply into what it can offer.
Living and working like this on Maui feels like the most life-giving step we could take, providing optimal conditions for our health and longevity and the well-being of those who work with me.
For now, we continue to open to our vision with prayers of being guided toward and supported in our next steps.