A bio is such a brief overview of a life. How do you really measure a life?
Here is more of the story. Well, the evolving story.
I grew up on a rural farm in NW Kansas. We lived 12 miles from town (like a different planet) and 150 miles from the closest town with a population of 10,000. My early years were filled with chores (water the bulls and clean the hog waterer, weed the garden, hoe the wind break) and farm labor (fixing fence, driving tractors, helping with harvest and such).
I did attend a one-room country school for first grade and leaving there for school in town was very traumatic.
Surviving six years of Catholic school, I spent one amazing year in public school where I didn’t get punished for my sense of humor and playfulness. I started to open and blossom.
In high school, I went out for basketball and, looking for some excuse to avoid chores in the spring, joined the track team. Not sure what I could do, I ran the mile and picked up a javelin since no one else was throwing it.
Four years later, I was an All-State football player, finished second in state in the javelin throw. On to college on football scholarship, I made a safe choice of a local community college since I wasn’t eager to leave the safety and comfort of the farm.
Once launched into the outside world, things changed. I quit football, qualified for nationals in the javelin and was offered a scholarship to Western Kentucky University. Bowling Green, Kentucky was a LONG drive from the farm, and, once again, I found myself on a foreign planet. People talked funny, had “dressed” cheeseburgers, used a different language which required translation (“don’t make me no never mind”) and it opened a new world to me. I started realizing how much “WORLD” there was out there and how little I’d seen. I wanted to expand my life and experience everything. And knowing that has made all the difference.
I learned from team mates steeped in the qualities of mental training from coaches in Germany, England, Canada, New Zealand, Turkey, Sweden and such. My performance blossomed and I learned a skill that serves me to this day.
Fast forward, through being Assistant Director of Recreation in Kansas, competing my master’s degree back and WKU and finding myself at the University of Utah to complete my doctorate, I continued to explore the world seeking new places and experiences. Once in Utah, I got involved in mountaineering, backcounry skiing and facilitating wilderness leadership experiences. I’ve facilitated programs in: the Wind Rivers and Teton Canyon areas of Wyoming; Joshua Tree and the Sierra’s in California; Red Mountain Pass near Silverton, Colorado; the Adirondack’s; the Smoky Mountains; and the forest of Southern Indiana.
For three years I taught at the University of Louisville where I became even more fascinated by how to teach students to “learn how to learn”. I studies mind mapping and accelerated learning.
I resigned from there and traveled the US for 15 months camping, cycling, hiking, meeting people and interviewing people I met who had experience helping others. I interview Richard Boles, Roger von Oech, Dean’s of Antioch University, Canadian Outward Bound leaders, visited the Carl Rogers Center for the Studies of the Person and William Glasser Center of Choice Theory; met with people at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas; participated in a Vision Quest with Sun Bear and attended a Sweat Lodge with Grandfather Black Elk; and so much more.
Inspired, I accepted a teaching position at California State University in Northridge. Fried, I realized I did horribly with restrictive political structures and resigned. Once again I traveled, interview, volunteered at Hippocrates Health Institute in Michigan to learn about holistic health, participated in a firewalk seminar and eventually went to work as a logistics coordinator for the firewalk seminars.
In there somewhere, I spent a winter as a caretaker on a ranch in Texas. I did a lot of reading, writing and reflecting there. And shortly after, I packed my backpack and took my first real international trip into Mexico for 2 1/2 months. Boy did I learn on that trip! I took a small book with me titled “Listening” which was about listening to the inner being. Quiet the busy mind, stop trying to think the way to an answer, listen and follow that guidance. What a life changing experience that was!
And then, I heard a voice. I spent over a year on the farm helping mom and dad in Kansas while working on firewalk logistics. I also traveled the US providing in-service professional development programs for school districts on learning and how to develop yourself as a model.
And literally, one day driving those long straight and lonely roads, it felt like I was hearing a voice. And it was telling me in no uncertain terms that I was done here. If I chose to stay, I would stagnate. Soon, magic happened, an opening showed up, I found friends who invited me to stay with them in Colorado and I moved. An entirely new chapter opened up in my life.
My first corporate client was IBM. I traveled to Austin, Texas several times a year facilitating two and three day programs on creativity. My work expanded from there. Having IBM as a client is a pretty good start!
I’ve continued my connection with athletics and fitness. Whether hiking, backpacking, training for a triathlon, swimming, running mountain trails, or practicing Qi Gong, I’ve remained active and committed to maintaining good health all my years.
And fast forward once again. Through the 90’s and 00’s, I’ve evolved as a facilitator and training. My speaking has improved dramatically as I realized I want to be ME, to be authentic and simply relate to people in a manner that is real. I’ve loaded my pack many more times for trips to: Belize and Guatemala; Costa Rica; Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia; rafting the Grand Canyon and hiking Machu Picchu; visiting the oldest rainforest on the planet in Malaysia; trekking in search of wild Orangutan in Sumatra; visiting the little remaining jungle in Northern Borneo; snorkeling in Sulawesi; hiking amongst Komodo Dragons on Komodo; and visiting healers in Bali. Yes, I declared I wanted to have a grand life and I pinch myself realizing all the adventures I’ve had.
And next, the adventure of helping human’s evolve, to become more present and happy, to quiet the mind and become more aware and, most importantly, helping others create and live a meaningful and rich life.