It’s customary for an About The Author blurb to be written in the third person, giving the impression it was written by someone other than the author. However, since most authors write these pages themselves, I’ll tell you a bit about myself in first-person voice.
My family moved from the Chicago area to Kansas in early 1974. Kansas was a great place to grow up, and there were plenty of outdoor adventures to partake in within those wide open spaces. After an eventful childhood, I entered the corporate world at age 20, and spent five years doing payroll for about 200 companies at a firm in Kansas City. While that was a great experience, it ultimately wasn’t for me, and I longed to devote my days to something personally fulfilling that enriched the lives of others.
My passion back then was philosophy, and I strongly considered getting a Ph.D. in the subject. I fancied landing a teaching position at an out-of-the-way college and leading a quiet, simple existence. Life, however, had other plans, and just before Thanksgiving in 1990, my back locked up, and I was in intense pain that wouldn’t go away.
Pain has a bad reputation, but its capacity to open your mind to new perspectives is unrivaled. For example, I knew nothing about chiropractic, and was frankly under the impression that chiropractors were second-rate doctors. However, after a day of being hunched over in pain, I consented to have a coworker drive me to their chiropractor’s office, hoping it would lessen my discomfort.
Even though I was skeptical about chiropractic, I was taken aback by how much better I felt. The low back pain dissipated, and my neck and shoulders loosened up, too. And while those were welcome changes, what really got my attention was that I felt more relaxed and less stressed—which was no small feat at the time. I was so impressed that after receiving care for just two weeks, I resigned from my position as head of the payroll department, and began making preparations to attend chiropractic college.
As I walked away from my budding corporate career, I quickly became interested in natural healing, exercise and diet. I moved across the country and spent the next several years attending Sherman College of Chiropractic. I graduated in December 1995, and opened a practice in Prescott, Arizona, in early 1997.
Prescott is a lovely mountain town in Northern Arizona, and I fell in love with its small-town charm, relaxed vibe, and rugged pine-covered mountains that spread out for miles around it. I ran busy practices in Prescott and Sedona, and spent a lot of time exploring the serene forests on two wheels and on foot.
In 2011, I developed a healing art known as Emergence Care www.emergencecare.com Emergence Care draws from ancient and modern Wisdom Traditions, science, psychology, neurology, psychoneuroimmunology and nondual philosophy. It often creates powerful, lasting and reproducible phenomena that are unique in the world today. It’s expansive and opens one up to the depths within.
Recipients from all walks of life describe experiencing profound transformations physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually from receiving this work—transformations they had no idea were possible or even necessary, though once experienced, often become among the most meaningful ones they've known.
Recall that I grew up in Kansas (Kansas wasn't exactly the cradle of alternative medicine) and seriously considered getting a doctorate in philosophy. In other words, I wasn’t someone you’d imagine would be interested in such things. Conversations about non-traditional healing methods can elicit eye rolls, but Emergence Care is powerful and effective, and can positively change your body and mind for the better.
The impetus for Emergence Care stemmed from a near-death experience that occurred when I was hit by a car in 1974. I was severely injured and was in a coma for several days. I vividly recall absorbing into a wholly different dimension as the accident occurred, and I attribute the development of Emergence Care to that experience.
I spent years developing Emergence Care, and had no interest whatsoever in shifting my focus away from it and taking on the utterly all-encompassing project of researching and writing Healthy Past 100. However, necessity is the mother of invention, and when my fiancée, Nicole, was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and given little hope, I found myself immersed in scientific journals in search of anything that might offer help.
As I poured through well-written and well-reasoned scientific studies that explored what causes and prevents disease, I was continuously amazed by the quantity and quality of information that modern science has discovered about health. Concerningly, precious little of this information filters down into the healthcare delivery system. Furthermore, much of it—while entirely sensible, straightforward and easily grasped—is at odds with what the world per se currently believes to be the underpinnings of health and disease.
The studies I poured through contained exactly what I sought: the most accurate information on health and disease available anywhere on earth. As I read through study after study, my concepts of sickness, health and healing began to transform, and a framework developed for what’s involved in avoiding illness and experiencing optimal health. I had no idea that the scientific literature was such a rich repository of healthcare information, and I continue to be duly impressed by what it contains.
Even though I was completely blown away by what I was learning, I recall thinking at the time that I’d quickly end all the research and get back to teaching and providing Emergence Care. But unexpectedly, patients began seeking advice on how to apply what I was learning. As I worked with numerous patients and saw astounding results again and again, the research continued and continued, and it gradually became clear that a book was forthcoming.
To add to an earlier point, pain has a way of showing you what was previously hidden in the depths of your psyche. I’d been deeply interested in spirituality and spiritual practices for about 20 years when Nicole was diagnosed in 2015. For the most part, these practices focus on bringing forth states of inner peace, equanimity and bliss. I was fortunate to have gained some access to these states, but as I was about to find out, peace, calm and spiritual connection can be challenging to come by when things get turned upside down and the life you knew slips through your fingers.
I was Nicole’s primary caregiver for nearly three years, a job that was often so all-encompassing that it left little time for anything else, including seeing patients, researching and writing. Although it wasn’t pleasant, I was learning that navigating through pain, loss, and significant life change was an inroads—perhaps the inroads—to profound, lasting growth—growth that often isn’t gained through spiritual practice alone.
To get deeply in touch with one’s shadow aspects and rest in the true peace that lies beyond it, it’s often necessary to go through painful experiences. As a patient said to me years ago, “Human beings learn at the speed of pain.” The seminal poet Kahlil Gibran captured the transformational capacity of pain in his 1923 sonnet On Pain:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the
daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem
less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always accepted the seasons that
pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the
winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within
you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy
in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by
the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has
been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has
moistened with His own sacred tears.
Gibran eloquently points out that painful experiences aren’t meted out to nullify bad karma, but to shift our perspectives, heal our minds and, ultimately, shake our lives up so much that it acts as a catalyst to set us free. This is only possible, however, when we allow ourselves to fully experience the depths of our pain, and let it guide us from the darkness to the light. The point isn’t to become lost in our pain, but to become more open and integrated beings as a result.
Ahhh pain. The combination of caretaking, Nicole’s eventual passing, the significant life changes that occurred during those years, and the deeply introspective process of writing Healthy Past 100 shifted how I relate to myself and the world. For example, I’m less willing to engage in conflict over any matter, less invested in being right, less interested in convincing anyone to change their perspectives, and far more focused on accepting life as it unfolds, rather than trying to shift and change outcomes to my liking.
I’m commonly asked if I enjoyed the writing process, how it feels to be done, if I’d like to write another book, and so on. In brief, the research and writing process became somewhat of a grind as the years wore on. I thoroughly read countless thousands of science articles, and probably thumbed through about 15,000 articles. Even though I developed a love and respect for science while writing the book, I’m disinclined to rush back in and immerse myself in anything but occasional research for the time being. That being said, I genuinely enjoyed learning information that transforms lives. The real joy, however, is helping people apply it to their lives, and watching them become healthier and more empowered.
From start to finish, it took a little more than eight years to write Healthy Past 100. Completing such an enormous undertaking required pouring through science articles, organizing the material into sections, and presenting it in a user-friendly manner. During the last four years of the project, I commonly devoted 10-14 hours per day, seven days a week, to researching and writing.
A few months after wrapping up the project, it’s still too early to find words for how it feels to be done. I just reviewed a print copy of the book for the first time a few days ago, and I’ll say it was sweet to thumb through it and hold the completed project in my hands. I knew it was a large book, but when I picked it up and flipped through its pages, I thought, “Wow, this thing is like a phonebook from yesteryear.” Even though I knew how many pages it contained, I was nonetheless surprised by its heft and size.
I take my own advice and apply everything I wrote about in Healthy Past 100 to my own life. My interests include hiking, trail running, staying fit, mountains, psychology, nondual spirituality, and leading a simple, quiet life. I don’t own a TV, steer clear of politics and divisive subjects, and do my best to judge not that ye be not judged. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful woman in my life, Erina, which came about quite unexpectedly. We inherited a sweet little dog named Puck, and he’s having a darn good life.