I will give you some of my background, although the intense transitions of the last few years have left me feeling like a new person. Hmm, I wrote that sentence two years ago, and it is still true today. I was born in 1967 and was a very sensitive, intellectual and dreamy child. I was always consumed by questions like, “Where did I come from?””Why am I here?” “Where am I going?” so of course, embedded as I was in a culture that sees science and reason as the source of truth, I tried to “figure out” the answers. I graduated from Yale University with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, but my development of reason and intellect brought me no closer to any truth I really cared about.
I didn’t know what I was searching for, but I knew that none of the usual options life presents a Yale graduate attracted me. I went to Taiwan, learned Chinese, and soon found myself working as a translator. I spent most of my 20s there, educating myself broadly (though not at all rigorously – it was more through osmosis) in Eastern spiritual traditions. I also read voraciously: books on health, nutrition, globalization, physics, and biology. Translation led to other business opportunities, and I became familiar with this dimension of the human experience. In Taiwan, I met my dear friend and ex-wife Patsy, with whom I have three children, all boys.
In my late 20s I entered what was to be a long period of intensifying crisis. It started when all my professional work became intolerable. It became excruciating to do work I didn’t care about. Even though a million reasons told me why it was irresponsible, impractical, and foolish to quit, I eventually could not make myself do it anymore. An irrepressible feeling, “I am not here to be doing this!” took control of my life. So I entered a long period of searching. I spent time teaching yoga, learning about herbs, and teaching at Penn State’s department of Science, Technology, and Society. All of these endeavors have contributed to my present and future, but none were really me.
The next five years were much like a birthing process. The old world dissolved, and the contractions birthing me into the new took the form of a collapse of all that I once held onto. Crises in health, marriage, and money forced me to let go of a “life under control.” In my helplessness, I accepted help, discovering a generous universe that has always met my needs, somehow, in unexpected ways. I have never made much money, but I have become rich in connections to other people. Friends and strangers from all over the world write to tell me how my books have affected them; they sustain my faith and nourish my passion for my work.
In addition to writing books and essays, I have been doing a tremendous amount of public speaking. Sometimes, especially when I am tired from traveling, I wonder if the world needs yet another man performing “speaker up in front of an audience.” Why not stay at home and use technology? But I find that something happens in person that is irreplaceable. For one thing, at live events I can see the expressions on people’s faces, and I respond to that in real-time, engaging in a sort of dialog. Secondly, my speaking is not just about conveying ideas. Something else rides the vehicle of the words, even if the topic is something mundane like steady-state economics. I sometimes describe my experience as a speaker as being plugged into a field that is not my creation, but is generated by the audience and by something beyond the audience. Besides, I find that my thinking stagnates and my heart atrophies when I am in front of my computer too much. I need to interact with real people, face to face. That’s why I travel and speak.
On the other hand, I am increasingly drawn to developing the non-verbal, embodied gifts that I’ve neglected. Like many people, I have a feeling that there is a Next Step about to happen, in my work and beyond. I don’t know what it is, but I do know its revelation will come through transforming experiences that reveal and heal things I was blind to. My work, my play, my family, my deep soul connections, my wholeness, my wounds… all of these are bound up together, evolving as one.
I am now remarried as of 2011 and have a baby, my fourth son, Cary, with my wife Stella. Besides mothering, Stella practices Chinese Medicine and other healing modalities. The two teenagers, Jimi and Matthew live with us too; the 9-year-old Philip only sometimes. My favorite moments are watching Jimi and Matthew play “pass the baby” with Cary, who thinks it is the funnest game in the world. Of course we have our challenges and I have occasional moments of seeing my whole life as a father as a collision-course of errors, but overall I feel extremely lucky to have such amazing, sensitive, talented, kind children.
Lately people sometimes treat me like a celebrity, which makes me feel uncomfortable, because I know I am just me. On the other hand, it has become impossible to answer every email and say yes to every offer to interact. I have to turn down most offers to speak, travel, write blurbs for books, and so on. Also the attention focused on me can get overwhelming. I understand why real celebrities need to insulate themselves. Even receiving appreciation can be too much to handle sometimes, although it has sustained me too through periods of setbacks and doubt. I do my best to stay accessible and answer as many contacts as possible.
I can’t really tell you my plans for the future; it all depends on what is revealed to me in the next phase of my personal exploration. Besides, the world is approaching a state of flux that could easily render most plans irrelevant. I will continue writing and speaking for at least another year or two. My main interest now is in exploring the boundaries of what is “possible” according to our received beliefs, received habits, received technologies, and received ways of knowing. For humanity to take that Next Step, we are going to have to violate what is politically practical, socially practical, and even technologically practical. The same holds on the personal and relational level. I have caught glimpses of the impossible in all these realms and I am excited about what lies ahead.
I lived at the Findhorn Foundation from 1977 to 1984 and left there having married and with two young children. It was a wonderful experience. They are doing very excellent work still today.
The Findhorn Foundation is a dynamic experiment where everyday life is guided by the inner voice of spirit, where we work in co-creation with the intelligence of nature and take inspired action towards our vision of a better world. We share our learning and way of life in experiential workshops, conferences and events that take place within a thriving community and ecovillage.
The Foundation has two main sites. The Park, nestled amidst dunes and forest, bay and beach, is an ecovillage that is home to many of our staff and a larger community of people living with shared values. Cluny Hill is a stately Victorian former hotel, five miles away from The Park, which houses staff and welcomes participants in our workshops and events. Our retreat house on the island of Iona, and the satellite community on the neighbouring island of Erraid, also welcome participants for life-changing experiences on the wild, wind-swept west coast of Scotland.
The Findhorn Foundation is an NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information, holder of UN Habitat Best Practice designation and is co-founder of the Global Ecovillage Network and Holistic Centres Network. The Foundation is at the heart of a community of more than 500 people who every day support and live the vision of creating a better world by starting with themselves.
Through more than 50 years of living and exploring together, three key themes have emerged as guiding principles for our work in the world.
Work Is Love In Action
Co-Creation with the Intelligence of Nature
Thomas Hübl is a young German spiritual teacher and is the one I am currently studying with myself. He teaches a lot of online courses which are composed of video talks and meditations at various intervals and in-between his organization helps you come together with “triad” partners to work on the material you are learning together. I enjoy the people that also study with Thomas very much and find over time that I am developing a larger and larger group of people with whom I resonate deeply and LOVE having conversations with. These are not ordinary surface-level conversations. We explore the deepest areas we can reach together and we never have any idea about what is going to happen in our meetings before it happens. We just get curious together and explore new dimensions of what spiritual development is about, what it means to be in relation with each other and so much more. Thomas has a lot of his sangha in Europe and in Israel, but he is getting more well known now in the US.Thomas Hübl was born in Vienna in 1971. As a 26-year-old medical student who was also very interested in bodywork and related therapies, he felt a strong inner calling. He took the radical step of following this inner wish, abandoning his studies and spending the next four years in retreat in the Czech Republic. During this time he did almost nothing except meditate and explore the spaces of inner consciousness. Looking back on this time, Thomas speaks of a fundamental opening that took place.
After returning to Vienna, he started offering one-to-one sessions. His ability to touch people very deeply and encourage them to take a look beyond what they usually see soon led to invitations to lead larger workshops.His popularity then grew further and he became known internationally. Since 2004 Thomas has been active worldwide, organizing talks, workshops, trainings, tonings and larger events such as the popular Celebrate Life Festival or his Healing Events which have brought together thousands of Germans with many Israelis to acknowledge, face, and heal the cultural shadow left by the Holocaust. When he is not traveling, he lives in Berlin and Tel Aviv together with his partner, the Israeli artist Yehudit Sasportas and has one young daughter.
Rick Ulfik is the founder of “We The World” and the WE Campaign at WE.net which includes a lot of resources for collaboration and action in making the world a better place. Rick has a lot of fabulous projects such as the 11 Days of Global Unity Tele-Summit which was in Sept 11-21, 2017.
Check out his websites including “An Urgent Message From Your Children” at WeYourChildren.org and the GlobalUnityCalendar.org where you can see and post social change and cultural events worldwide.
Below is a message from Rick sharing what its all about:
In order to have a peaceful, caring, just, and sustainable planet, my wish is that We, The World has Full Participation Support now from all our friends and allies, including you, so we can expand our strategic collaborative plan for large scale coalition-building, collective action and the promotion of “WE Thinking” that prioritizes the Common Good for people and the whole web of life.
We believe it is essential to end the pervasive fragmentation of transformative grassroots movements that makes progress towards ending poverty, militarism and climate disruption so much slower than it otherwise could be.
With your generous support (and if possible, connecting us with any Visionary Investors you might know) we can implement our comprehensive “WE Strategy” to properly address the systemic obstacles that perpetuate Rising Inequality, Intolerance, War, Pollution and the Mass Extinction of Species. Our goals are:
1) To greatly expand our already substantial coalition-building
accomplishments and establish unprecedented cooperation and
coordination between the world’s transformative grassroots
movements for change, and
2) To spark a cultural and political shift towards “WE
Consciousness” and the Common Good in which the wellbeing of
each member of our society and all forms of life are valued
and prioritized – from personal attitudes to government policy
With deep gratitude, appreciation and love,
Rick also publishes a magazine TRENDS in Global Grassroots Organizing and he has a wonderful “Declaration of Interdependence” on his website at http://we.net/declaration/ which you can sign. Info below.
PREAMBLE to the Declaration of Interdependence
In acknowledgment of the many existing documents and efforts that promote peace, sustainability, global interconnectedness, reverence for life and unity, We, The World hereby offers the following Declaration of Interdependence as a guiding set of principles. It is inspired by the Earth Charter, the essential values of which represent those of the many peoples of the Earth.
We, the people of planet Earth,
In recognition of the interconnectedness of all life
And the importance of the balance of nature,
Hereby acknowledge our interdependence
And affirm our dedication
To life-serving environmental stewardship,
The fulfillment of universal human needs worldwide,
Economic and social well-being,
And a culture of peace and nonviolence,
To ensure a sustainable and harmonious world
For present and future generations