Prison Purpose Project
Proposal from Purpose Guides Institute
Purpose discovery must be included in prison rehabilitation curricula.
Recidivism rates in California are dropping, yet we still have high rates of prisoners returning after release. Why?
Current rehabilitation programs include: education (GED, B.A), counselling for mental health issues, substance abuse treatment, religious education, multi-disciplinary arts, and more. Though these are vital components to a comprehensive rehabilitation program, there is a missing piece.
The missing piece is purpose work. Purpose is the indispensable concept that informs us about the way something fits into the world. Purpose, at the level of the human soul, is simply the reason that an individual exists to serve life. Without knowing this, individuals likely default to the same old narratives and conditioning that might have led them into prisons in the first place.
We believe that without addressing prisoners default purpose, California will continue to see high rates of recidivism.
Default vs True Purpose
A person’s default purpose springs from the story or narrative they carry with them, whether conscious or unconscious, ultimately shaping their future. It is combination of bequeathed values from our upbringing and the defensive psychological positions we learn during childhood. Put another way: exterior conditioning + interior defenses = default purpose.
For a prisoner, their default purpose likely directs his or her life upon release. Purpose work begins by addressing the flaws in a prisoner's default purpose, by asking, "What values am I living by that were bequeathed to me as a child?”, or “What defensive postures arose as a result of my childhood?”
When the default purpose is: “I want my happiness: safety, security, comfort, success, esteem”, and there is strong social support to take pathological shortcuts (i.e. theft, drugs, violence), we believe there is an elevated risk of relapse.
In contrast, true purpose, or unique life purpose, points to our intended design, the place to which we belong and our primary reason for being. Once we realize what this is, we no longer feel alienated from ourselves. We understand our contribution to the world at large and we know where we fit in it.
Purpose Discovery Process
The Purpose Guides Institute (PGI) Purpose Discovery Process applies an “inside-out” strategy in a multi-faceted process to identify innate skills, powers, and passions. Clients develop a purpose driven vision, mission, and “delivery system” that are aligned with their passion and the needs of the public marketplace.
In PGI’s view, there are eight facets of purpose:
Vision: What is my deepest aspiration for an ideal or evolved world?
Values: What are the core ideals and beliefs that I hold?
Powers: What are my inherent strengths and talents?
Essence: What is the heart of who I am without doing anything?
Giveaway: What is my process for transforming people?
Task: What is my calling, assignment, or mission?
Message: What is my single, fundamental truth?
Delivery System: What job or vocation allows me to share my giveaway?
To live our unique purpose fully, we must engage all eight dimensions.
Jonathan Gustin, the founder of PGI, brings over 20 years of clinical experience as a psychotherapist to his purpose work. He worked as a supervisor at counseling centers, and taught with human potential pioneers like George Leonard, Joanna Macy, and Bill Plotkin, to name a few. Inspired, he founded PGI, formerly the Integral Awakening Center, 16 years ago for the specific training of Purpose Guides. PGI has continued to refine and guide hundreds of students through the journey to purpose. The Appendix (Purpose Discovery Process) describes the twelve (12) modules that clients go through, as part of their purpose discovery. What follows is a brief summary of each module:
Module One: Care of the Soul - To live a purpose-driven life, creating a purpose-friendly environment is essential. This session explores ways to prepare for crossing the threshold into a purpose-driven life.
Module Two: Preparing for the Journey - To live a purpose-driven life, understanding the layout of the journey is essential. In this session, we will lay out a road map.
Module Three: Default Purpose - The purpose that moves our lives forward, when not living from soul, is our default purpose: a combination of bequeathed values from our upbringing and the defensive mechanisms we learned during childhood. A default purpose leads us away from our authentic purpose. In this session, we will explore our default purpose and become intimately acquainted with the ways it impedes our ability to live our authentic purpose.
Module Four: Discern Your Purpose - When seeking our purpose, there are two approaches: direct vs. indirect, or inductive vs. deductive. The indirect path to purpose engages our mind's intelligence to detect or infer what our true purpose is. In session four, we will employ multiple deductive (indirect) methods for discerning our purpose.
Module Five: Encountering Resistance - There are parts of ourselves that have resistance to living your deepest purpose, including the Critic, Skeptic, Controller, Rebel, Achiever, Protector, and Image Consultant. When one of these parts exhibits resistance during our attempts to embrace our soul’s purpose, we may experience tension, anxiety, paralysis, fear, or find ourselves in a state of constant distraction. This session explores the messages these parts of ourselves have and how we can address the resistance without giving up on our purpose.
Module Six: Evolutionary Spirituality - Evolutionary Spirituality is the journey of co-creating the future through embodying our Soul's unique purpose. We have been creating from the past and present, but not from the future. In this session, we will explore what the wisdom of the future, specifically 10 years from now, has to share with us.
Module Seven: Soulquest Preparation - The SoulQuest is a daylong solitary ceremony typically in nature, where we will fast and pray for a Vision of our purpose. Humans have always gone to nature to find their calling: the Buddha awakened under a tree; Jesus went to the desert; Mohammad was fasting and praying in a cave when the Koran came to him; and Moses went to the top of a mountain to bring a vision for his people. This sessions focuses on the preparation our individual soulquests.
Module Eight: Receiving Soul - Aristotle coined the term “entelechy” to describe the full actualization of a life form. He said that the entelechy of an acorn is an oak tree. It is the entelechy of the acorn that guides its development. This theory is sometimes called the “acorn theory of soul”. It proposes that we already possess the full potential and potency of our Soul, and that the task is to fully actualize your Soul. This session will use this theory as a means to understand our purpose.
Module Nine: High-Definition Purpose (The Giveaway) - Our objective is to embody our soul's gifts, so we can freely share them with the world. Native peoples named this gift “the Giveaway.” The Giveaway is a contribution that adds to the development of another person and performing our Giveaway is deeply fulfilling and at the same time an impassioned response to the world's needs. The theologian Frederick Buechner put this eloquently: "...our calling is where our deepest gladness and the world's hunger meet." This session dives deeply into our Giveaways.
Module Ten: Acting Purposefully - The path is made by walking it. So far, the sessions have approached purpose as something that is discovered or uncovered. Yet there is another dimension to purpose which is summed up by the proverb, the path is made by walking it. What undermines a life on purpose?“ Building on Module Five: Encountering Resistance, this session looks at competing commitments. That is, the choices we make, including our own actions and that of others in our lives that may not fully support our purpose.
Module Eleven: SoulQuest Incorporation - Upon completing the Soulquest, the incorporation phase supports us in our new life. The return from a SoulQuest is often a time of great energy and delight, honoring the wholeness that we have found. In this session, questers will share their stories in council while the guides honor and mirror back the insights and gifts recovered from the Soulquest.
Module Twelve: Embodiment - Discovering our purpose is a momentous event. As Mark Twain noted, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” The challenge before us is to live a life in accordance with the deepest truths we have been graced to know at the core of our being. This session focuses on the point where we switch our focus from discovering our purpose to living our purpose with wild abandon as a demonstration of love and service to Life.
PGI’s mission is to offer one of the most comprehensive purpose guiding self-discovery courses anywhere. We do this through distilling and utilizing ALL the cutting edge modalities available today.
PGI proposes to conduct a Pilot of the Purpose Discovery program at San Quentin. The Pilot will allow PGI to test the Purpose Discovery Process methodology, monitor outcomes and make adjustments.
Participants: Prior to release, approximately 50 incarcerated clients will be guided through the Purpose Discovery Process (PDP).
Large Group: With each primary module, PGI’s founder (Jonathan Gustin) will lead the large group through the material. In addition to sessions covering the twelve primary modules, there will also be 4 preparatory sessions.
Small Groups: As supplemental support, smaller groups will be formed to enable participants to go more deeply into the practices. Small groups will be led by mentors trained as purpose guides through PGI’s rigorous process.
Outcome Monitoring: Ultimately, the most important outcome is purpose awakening, defined by each graduate feeling in there bones what their true place is in society and the gift they are meant to contribute. With San Quentin’s approval and support, specific metrics associated with recidivism may be monitored. Additional outcomes and metrics important to San Quentin may also be defined and monitored.
Assuming the pilot is well received and meets the stated outcomes, PGI would intend to continue conducting a purpose discovery class once per year.
Key features of the Purpose Discovery Process specific to San Quentin:
Introduces the notion of a triple purpose of life: to wake up (spirituality or mindfulness), grow up (emotional adulthood), and show up (their life purpose). Note: This purpose work focuses primarily on “showing up” (life purpose).
Helps prisoners identify and address the flaws in their default purpose.
Teaches purpose “encounter” technologies that reveal the person’s deeper purpose. The Purpose Discovery Process supports inmates in transitioning from a primarily (pathological) self-centered expression of purpose, to a society enhancing purpose-beyond-self.
Offers tools and experiential work to address the fears, concerns and resistances that arise when engaging in purpose work.
Note: The contents of this proposal do not address the societal piece - the environment into which returned citizens are released. Obviously, there is much work to be done in helping ex-offenders reintegrate into society. This proposal does address the narrative/story that drives returning citizens’ lives once on the outside. Eventually, a Purpose Embodiment course could be run both inside and outside the prison to enable participants to LIVE what then discover in the Purpose Discovery process.
Results of Introduction to Life Purpose Workshop at San Quentin
During a visit to San Quentin State Penitentiary on May 30th 2017, Gustin taught a two hour “Introduction to Life Purpose” workshop. He asked, “Why would you want to discover and embody your life purpose?” Here are some of the answers received:
I want to know what I can bring to the table, to help and serve.
I want to know my purpose, not my family's purpose.
I want to confirm that my purpose is teaching.
I am called to the global conservation movement. I want to know what part I play in that movement.
I want to know my purpose because, so far, I’ve failed at every other choice I’ve made.
I believe knowing and living my purpose would help me heal.
I want to know my purpose because it will restore some self-respect and dignity in myself. I believe even a knucklehead like me must have a purpose.
I want to learn my purpose so I can live more authentically.
I think purpose would open up a whole new level of meaning.
I want to learn my purpose so I don’t run around like a chicken with its head cut off. There will be many divergent pathways open to me when I get out, and they are not all good.
I feel purpose would make my life more meaningful and enjoyable as I shared my purpose with my people.
Though there are no studies on the rate of recidivism for prisoners who discovered and embodied their life purpose, there are some studies that suggest a high probability of purpose being a main key in recidivism reduction.
The Last Mile Program
According to the EfficientGov website: “This program is based out of San Quentin State Prison in California. The Last Mile teaches prisoners about technology, digital commutation and business. The Last Mile offers a program called Code.7370 where students are taught how to write computer code. In 2015, the inmates were offered actual entry-level, front-end coding positions from companies outside the prison walls. Programs like the ones San Quentin prison leads have as low as a 7.1 percent recidivism rate.”
We hypothesize that one reason this program is so effective is that the inmates have self-selected for the career of coding which is inline with their life purpose. Not everybody (inmates or otherwise) is designed for a life of coding. If inmates discovered their life purpose, they would be able to hone in on meaningful employment that is inline with their deepest sense of calling and destiny.
The potential for reducing recidivism is seeded in the generative skills a prisoner can cultivate and practice while incarcerated, as well as those that can be applied during the most vulnerable time—during their transition back into society.
Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP)
The Texas based Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) founded by Catherine Rohr in May of 2004, is an excellent example of an “inside-out” strategy that starts by working with participants while they are still incarcerated, and continues by providing mentoring and support services to participants after their release. The program focuses on “unlocking their god-given potential through entrepreneurial passion...”
Similar to the Purpose Discovery Process, PEP is a values-based program with an emphasis on character development, spiritual discipline, integrity, as well as traits that are hallmarks of successful business entrepreneurs. At the heart of the PEP program is a “mini-MBA” program and business plan competition. Each person in the rigorous program completes a heavy course load and writes a business plan prior to being released from prison.
According to research conducted by Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion/Baylor University (http://www.pep.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/2013BaylorStudy.pdf, page 28), compared to other programs, PEP has an impressive recidivism rate. A non-PEP control group in Texas exhibits a three-year recidivism rate of 24% versus a 6.9% rate among PEP graduates. The program has served close to 1,000 inmates, 840 of whom have been released from prison in good standing.
The recidivism rate of PEP graduates has steadily declined, to the point that fewer than five percent of the PEP graduates released in good standing in 2008 recidivated within three years, and fewer than seven percent of those released in 2009 recidivated within three years.
PEP gave me a sense of direction and purpose; they led me down the path to where I am today. — PEP Participant
I had spent over 14 years of my life in prison by the time I came to PEP. The program helped me to take a closer look at myself and make a lot of the internal changes within me that needed to happen for me to be ready to face the reality of life out here in the free world. Within four years, I am now managing not one but two companies. — PEP Participant
The Safer Foundation
The Safer Foundation is one of the largest not-for-profits servicing people with criminal records. One of its main focuses is to help people achieve steady employment.
Safer Foundation has a long history of helping reduce recidivism in Illinois. According to an 3 year independent study conducted by Loyola University, the recidivism rate for Safer clients is significantly lower than the Illinois Department of Corrections rate of 47 percent. The recidivism rate for Safer clients who achieve employment is 24.3 percent. For those achieving 30-day employment retention, the rate is 17.5 percent.
“When our clients find employment, they are no longer a drain on the economy. They become valuable contributors.”
Likewise, the Purpose Discovery Process has the potential to reduce recidivism through employment retention. The likelihood of obtaining and sustaining steady employment increases when an individual knows, understands, and believes in his or her contributions to the world. Employment becomes the vehicle through which they share their gifts with society.
While it’s important to look at larger scale, well-researched recidivism programs, there are also countless anecdotal success stories to be found in smaller prison-to-work programs around the country.
A prevailing theme throughout our recidivism research shows that former prisoners who live from an authentic sense of purpose are driven by a deep desire to serve others, particularly individuals who are still incarcerated or integrating back into society.
Bean’s Café, Anchorage, AK
One such example can be found at Beans Cafe in Anchorage, AK. After their release, two former federal and state prison inmates, Mickey Richardson and Aaron Dollison, discovered their purpose through running a community kitchen that serves over 900 meals per day. They are trusted employees and earning a steady income while living life in service to others.
"This job is more important to me, because I can give back," he said. "I did wrong for so many years that knowing now that I can work hard for what I want and to have the support that I have here - it means everything to me."
According to Cathleen McLaughlin of the Partners Reentry Program, who helped place Dollison and Richardson at Beans Cafe, “the people that are most successful are the people who decided to find a purpose and to be committed to that purpose.”
The virtuous purpose cycle continues as Aaron Dollison visits prisons to give talks about his journey and to encourage inmates. "That's the biggest thing for me. You know, if I can save one person - that's what's up,"
Reducing Recidivism: Carlos Cervantes
Carlos Cervantes’ story is another small, but poignant example of how a life infused with purpose is helping to reduce recidivism in California. Carlos is a former prisoner and part of the “Ride Home” program founded by the Stanford Three Strikes Project and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition.
Carlos often travels 3-4 hours in the middle of the night to pick up men released from life sentences after California reformed its 3 strikes law. His job is to create a bridge across the disorienting chasm of incarcerated life and new found freedom.
The first hours and days are critical for newly released prisoners. “If you don't have the support necessary, or the belief in yourself, in those first 24 hours, that's necessary to continue on, then you are going to struggle,” says Carlos.
Carlos often shares his transition story as he drives newly released prisoners to reentry organizations. “Being able to help someone makes me grateful, it's like a privilege.” He continues, “I think it's therapeutic for me releasing some of the information and teaching them how it's going to be. How do you want this to end up? How do you want to continue living your life?”
Purpose-Fueled Redemption: Shaka Senghor
We also discovered some extraordinary stories of purpose-fueled redemption, like that of Shaka Senghor, a former prisoner who served 19 years for second-degree murder, 7 in solitary confinement.
“I sat in my cold cell, I felt helpless, unloved and abandoned. I felt like nobody cared, and I reacted with hostility to my confinement. And I found myself getting deeper and deeper into trouble. I ran black market stores, I loan sharked, and I sold drugs that were illegally smuggled into the prison. I had in fact become what the warden of the Michigan Reformatory called "the worst of the worst."
In his darkest hours he discovered a passion for literature and a purpose for his writing. He journaled his way to a memoir, redemption, and a new life as an inspiring speaker and prison reform activist. From Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday to the global stage of Ted talks, Shaka’s journey is a living example of a redemptive purpose-on-fire life.
“My story has become an inspiration to many because I dared to dream beyond those prison bars; because I did not allow my past or what others thought of me to define me or deter me; and because I have the courage to share my story, unfiltered.”
While there are no studies directly linking Purpose Discovery to recidivism, our aggregated research clearly shows that our model mirrors many of the success factors we’ve seen in the preceding examples. These include an “inner and outer” approach to cultivating character and values, learning from default narratives that cause harm to self and others and limit one’s potential, discovering innate god-given talents and passions, finding an authentic vision and mission, and then identifying a means to live one’s calling out in the world.
An entrepreneur, a coder, a community kitchen leader, a transition guide, an author, a public speaker, an advocate—these are more than just vocations. They call us to a long journey home, toward a life of meaning and purpose.
The collected anecdotal stories point to the absolute necessity and power for aligning our truest inner compass with the needs and opportunities of society and the marketplace.
We are motivated and inspired, not only by the reduction in recidivism, but also by the increase in social good that returning citizens offer back to their peers in prison, or at various stages of reintegration into society.
Our studies suggest that people who are supported to discover and embody their purpose-beyond-self go on to lead happier and more productive lives, with decreased rates of recidivism.
The Purpose Discovery Program doesn’t only seek to help participants survive their current circumstances. Our ultimate goal is for them to thrive in every future circumstance they find themselves in, empowered with a sense of purpose, direction, and calling.
PGI FOUNDER CV: JONATHAN GUSTIN, M.A, MFT
San Rafael Office
1330 Lincoln Ave.
San Rafael, CA 94901
2002 – present Founder: Purpose Guides Institute, San Francisco, CA
Created PGI (formly Integral Awakening Center) for the training of purpose guides. Guest Faculty include: Adyashanti, Jean Houston, Michael Meade, Bill Plotkin, Joanna Macy and Tim Kelley. Lead teacher for the 8 month program: Associate Purpose Guides Training.
2002 - 2015 Founder: Integral Awakening Group, San Francisco, CA
Founder of the San Francisco Integral Awakening class. This year-long class combines group process with meditation, exercise, awareness based self-inquiry and affirmations practice. Guest faculty included: Adyashanti, Joseph Goldstein, Thomas Hubel, Bill Plotkin, Rick Hansen, Susan Cook-Greuter and Don Beck.
2001 - present Founder: Soul Quest, San Rafael, CA
Leading one-day continuing education workshops in ecopsychology and vision quest ceremonies for psychotherapists, social workers and laypersons.
2000 - present Founder: Green Sangha, Fairfax, Sebastopol, San Francisco and Berkeley, CA
Founder of four groups in the Bay Area that perform environmental activist works as a form of spiritual practice.
2017 – present Author: Purpose Rising, Bright Alliance Press
Wrote a chapter for the anthology Purpose Rising: A Global Movement of Transformation and Meaning, edited by Emanuel Kuntzelman and Dustin Diperna
2017 Keynote Address. Purpose Summit, San Francisco, CA
Delivered a keynote speech called, “The Triple Purpose Of Life” to 312 attendees at the Purpose Summit in November 2017.
2015 - present Adjunct Faculty. John F. Kennedy University, Pleasant Hill, CA
Adjunct faculty in the Consciousness and Transformative Studies department, teaching the Professional Identity course to Master’s level students.
2015 – present Lead Instructor. Associate Purpose Guides Training, San Francisco, CA
Lead Trainer for the Purpose Guides Institute 8-month Associate Purpose Guides Certification Program.
2015 Presenter, Life Purpose, THE HUB, Oakland, CA
Presented a 2.5 hour lecture and experiential workshop on Life Purpose.
2014 Presenter, Living a Life of Purpose RUDRAMARDIR, Berkeley, CA
Presented a 2.5 hour lecture and experiential workshop on Life Purpose.
2013 Presenter. Bay Area Integral, Berkeley, CA
Lectured on the “Soulcentric Developmental Wheel.”
2011 Teacher, Meditation 101, San Francisco CA.
Taught a 4-session course on the basics of meditation.
2010 Developer and Presenter, Integral Evolutionary Palooza, San Francisco CA.
Developed a multidisciplinary conference and presented on the topic: “Three Worlds, One Life.” Invited speakers include Terry Patten, Michael Dowd, Duane Elgin, Alan Combs, Anodea Judith, Craig Hamilton and Sally Kempton
2009 Teacher. Vajrapani Meditation Retreat, Boulder Creek, CA
Led three-day meditation weekend in a residential retreat setting. Included the Integral Awakening Process, The Work, Self-Inquiry and guided meditation.
2009 Presenter, Non-Dual Wisdom & Mental Health Conference, San Francisco, CA
Presented my original work, the Integral Awakening Process, based on Voice Dialogue at the California Institute Of Integral Studies.
2009 Presenter, The Underworld Journey, San Francisco, CA
Co-taught with Bill Plotkin, PhD. on the Soulcentric Developmental Wheel.
2008 Teacher, Finding Your Life’s Purpose, San Rafael, CA
Taught 8-week class on finding and embodying one’s life purpose.
2008 Presenter, Dark Adjusted Eyes, San Francisco, CA
Co-taught with Joanna Macy a workshop on finding one’s place in the Great Turning.
2008 Presenter, The Three Worlds Model Of Awakening, San Rafael, CA
Taught a course on the Three Worlds Model for the Non-dual and Mental Health group.
2007 Presenter. One Taste Urban Retreat Center, San Francisco, CA
Lectured on: Transcending and Descending Paths: Two Dimensions of Spiritual Practice.
2007 Retreat Leader. Saratoga Springs Retreat Center, Upper Lake, CA
Led three-day meditation weekend in a residential retreat setting. Included the Integral Awakening Process, The Work, Self-Inquiry and guided meditation.
2004 - 2006 Supervisor. Marina Counseling Center, San Francisco, CA
Supervised two psychotherapy interns.
2006 Presenter. Bay Area Integral, San Francisco CA
Lectured on: The Great Bloom Kata: An Experiential Journey Into Integral Philosophy.
2006 Presenter. Integral Life Practice, Berkeley, CA
Lectured on: “Spirit and Soul: an integral approach to evolutionary spirituality.”.
2006 Presenter. Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre CA
Lectured on: The Integral Awakening Process.
2005 Teacher. California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA
Co-taught with George Leonard, one of the founders of the Human Potential Movement, a one-day workshop on Integral Transformative Practice.
2005 Teacher. Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, Muir Beach, CA
Led a one-day meditation retreat for students in the Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hahn.
2005 Presenter. Marina Counseling Center, San Francisco, CA
Presented a workshop on: Transpersonal Dimensions of Psychotherapy to a group of trainees and interns.
2004 Presenter, Berkeley Permaculture Center, Berkeley, CA
Presented on The Soulcentric Developmental Wheel.
2004 Panel, Transpersonal Approaches in Psychotherapy, Orinda, CA
Part of a panel at John F. Kennedy Graduate School.
2003 Presenter, Integral Awakening Center, Berkeley, CA
Taught a 2-session workshop on Finding Your Life Purpose.
2003 Presenter, East Bay Open Circle, Richmond, CA
Presented on my original work: the Integral Awakening Process.
2003 Presenter, Bank Of Marin, Novato, CA
Presented a stress reduction workshop for 30 senior bankers.
2003 Presenter. Healthy Woman – Healthy Lives, San Francisco, CA
Presented a workshop on the use of Awareness Based Self Inquiry for Stress Reduction, at a Woman’s Health Conference.
2002 - 2013 Teacher. Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco, CA
Taught classes on Overcoming Depression, Mind-Body Medicine, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Integral Life Practice, Couples Communication and Stress Reduction Day Long in the Health Education Department.
2001-2014 CEU Provider. Board of Behavioral Sciences, Sacramento, CA
Certified by Board to offer Continuing Education Units for MFT and LCSW licenure requirements in California. Continuing Education Provider number - PCE #2345.
2000 Teacher. The Work Foundation, Oakland, CA
Co-taught a two-day workshop for CEU’s to psychotherapists and social workers on the application of using the transpersonal cognitive inquiry technique known as The Work.
1999 Presenter. Pacific Institute for Psychotherapy, San Francisco, CA
Lectured on existential and transpersonal psychotherapies and how the two modalities can work together effectively in clinical practice.
1998 Presenter. The Center for Attitudinal Healing, Sausalito, CA
Lectured on the use of music as a therapeutic intervention in the counseling of clients with a life threatening illness.
1994 – 1995 Teacher. San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, CA
Taught Zen meditation for Stress Reduction for doctors, nurses and staff in a hospital setting.
1994 Facilitator. Men’s Groups, San Francisco, CA
Lead two men’s groups at Church Street Counseling Center.
1998 - present Psychotherapist. Private Practice, San Rafael, CA and San Francisco, CA
Conducting individual adult psychotherapy and couples counseling. Therapeutic issues include: depression, crisis intervention, parenting, marriage problems, financial concerns, career and life transition. Specializations include transpersonal psychotherapy and couples work.
12/01 Continuing Education Provider, Board of Behavioral Sciences, PCE #2345
7/98 Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, California State License #34919
6/95 MA in Counseling Psychology, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA
6/91 BA University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Purpose Discovery Process
Module One: Care of the Soul
To live a purpose-driven life, creating a purpose-friendly environment is essential. In this opening session, we explore ways to prepare for crossing the threshold between the life you live now, and the life that is calling you.
How to cultivate a morning ritual that prepares you for living a life that harmonizes with your Soul.
How to clear space in your life, so that something utterly new, mysterious and generative may appear.
How to recognize your own soul right now and begin to let it animate your being.
What it means to practice “soul-embodiment” right now and how this differs from ongoing preparation for purpose awakening.
How to identify the most frequent traps and detours that occur on the road to a purpose-driven life.
Module Two: Preparing for the Journey
To live a purpose-driven life, understanding the layout of the journey is essential. In this session, we will lay out a road map for you to see where you are headed.
The 8 facets of your Soul’s Purpose: Vision, Values, Powers, Essence, Giveaway, Task, Message and Delivery System.
The 3 worlds of consciousness, which correspond to the triple purpose of life: to “Wake Up, Grow Up, and Show Up.”
Why we get so disturbed by life’s vicissitudes, and how to transform everyday disappointments into spiritual turnarounds.
Module Three: Default Purpose
The purpose that moves your life forward, when you are not living from soul, is your default purpose: a combination of bequeathed values from your upbringing and the defensive mechanisms we learned during childhood. A default purpose leads you away from your authentic purpose, whereas the Soul's purpose draws you forward into living your destiny. As long as your strongest driving desire comes from a default purpose, your ability to fulfill your destiny is thwarted.
To distinguish between the two types of Purpose which propel you: Default vs. True, Defensive vs. Evolutionary, Inherited vs. Revealed, Socially Conditioned vs. Soul Conditioned, Unconscious vs. Intentional, Scarcity Based vs. Love Based, etc.
How to identify your specific default purpose that veils your True Purpose.
How to practice moment-to-moment attention in order to recognize the interactions, self-talk and behaviors that are rooted in your default purpose.
How to practice Purpose-Inquiry effectively: "What would Soul do?"
Module Four: Discern Your Purpose
When seeking your purpose, there are two approaches: direct vs. indirect, or inductive vs. deductive. The indirect path to purpose engages your mind's intelligence to detect or infer what your true purpose is. In Module Four you will employ multiple deductive (indirect) methods for discerning your purpose.
To discover “soulprint hints” from your history.
How your emotions, especially your passions, devotions and fervors, provide clues to your destiny.
To find the hidden evidence pointing towards your deepest purpose in your fantasies, aspirations, daydreams and the ways you wish to be remembered.
To look for soul clues in your readings, movies, hobbies and even the heroes you’ve been choosing.
Module Five: Encountering Resistance
There are parts of yourself that have resistance to living your deepest purpose, including the Critic, Skeptic, Controller, Rebel, Achiever, Protector, and Image Consultant. When one of these parts exhibits resistance during your attempts to embrace your soul’s purpose, you may experience tension, anxiety, paralysis, fear, or find yourself in a state of constant distraction.
That resistance to your Soul’s deepest purpose is natural.
Both the real and imagined risks of living your true purpose from the perspective of the voices of resistance.
How to uncover the authentic concerns of these parts of yourself.
How to work with your voices of resistance so that you can live your life’s destiny.
Module Six: Evolutionary Spirituality
Evolutionary Spirituality is the journey of co-creating the future through embodying your Soul's unique purpose. You have been creating from the past and present, but not from the future. Let’s see what the wisdom of the future, specifically 10 years from now, has to share with you.
How the purpose of evolution and the purpose of soul are identical: to midwife more goodness, truth and beauty.
How Soul is the place where the future is arising out of the present.
How life is an evolving process and as such, our soul-work is part of that never ending development.
How relinquishing attachment to the ego's agenda is key in both - the spirituality of being and the spirituality of becoming.
A guided meditation that takes you to the place where the present meets the future.
Module Seven: Soulquest Preparation
The SoulQuest is a daylong solitary ceremony in nature, where you will fast and pray for a Vision of your purpose. You might ask, “Why would I want to leave the comfort and security of my home to go into wild nature to explore my soul’s purpose?” Humans have always gone to nature to find their calling: the Buddha awakened under a tree; Jesus went to the desert; Mohammad was fasting and praying in a cave when the Koran came to him; and Moses went to the top of a mountain to bring a vision for his people.
An ancient nature-based ceremony that has been practiced throughout the ages.
How to allow wild nature to mirror your wild soul to you, revealing undiscovered layers of depth in your being.
The 3 universal elements of the SoulQuest, including: immersion in nature, fasting from food and company, and transformational practices.
How to prepare for SoulQuest, what to bring, how to stay safe.
How to become an open vessel capable of being filled with your Soul’s sacred calling.
Module Eight: Receiving Soul
Aristotle coined the term “entelechy” to describe the full actualization of a life form. He said that the entelechy of an acorn is an oak tree. It is the entelechy of the acorn that guides its development. This theory is sometimes called the “acorn theory of soul”. It proposes that you already possess the full potential and potency of your Soul, and that the task is to fully actualize your Soul..
How the dictum, “You can be anything you want to be” is dead wrong.
How your calling is inborn, and that your mission is to obey the imperatives of your Soul.
How to use the Entelechy Process for listening to the “oak tree of yourself.”
To use the “Ocean Cave Meditation” to awaken hidden dimensions of your Soul.
Module Nine: High-Definition Purpose - Your Giveaway
Your objective is to embody your soul's gifts, so you can freely share them with the world. Native peoples named this gift the Giveaway. The Giveaway is a contribution that adds to the development of another person, and is sometimes referred to as your unique transformational process. Performing your Giveaway is both a deeply fulfilling and at the same time an impassioned response to the world's needs. The theologian Frederick Buechner put this eloquently: "...our calling is where our deepest gladness and the world's hunger meet."
What your High-Definition giveaway is, specifically:
Who are the people for whom my Giveaway is meant?
What circumstances are my people in when they come to me?
When is the optimum time to meet my people and perform my Giveaway?
Where will my Giveaway happen?
Why does performing my Giveaway have personal and evolutionary significance?
How do I perform the Giveaway? What are the progressive steps of the ladder of my Giveaway?
Module Ten: Acting Purposefully
The path is made by walking it. So far we’ve approached purpose as something that we discover or uncover. Yet there is another dimension to purpose which is summed up by the proverb, the path is made by walking it. What undermines a life on purpose? “...the time you kill, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along the path, the people around you who don't support and love your efforts.” (James Altucher)
A powerful method for making purposeful choices.
A practice for rooting out what is not purposeful for your evolution.
A technique for living purposefully immediately.
The wisdom of authentic failures.
Module Eleven: SoulQuest Incorporation
Upon completing your daylong ceremony on the land, the incorporation phase of the SoulQuest welcomes you back into your soul-infused community of fellow questers and into your new life. The return from a SoulQuest is often a time of great energy and delight, honoring the wholeness that you have found. You will have the privilege of sharing your story in council while the guides honor and mirror back the insights and gifts you have recovered from your journey.
How to re-enter your former life, bringing your unique gifts to your people.
How to keep the flame of your Vision alive in the midst of an often indifferent world.
Practices for protecting your Vision from fading into a memory.
Practices for deepening and embodying your purpose in your relationships, work and ordinary life.
Module Twelve: Embodiment
Discovering your purpose is a momentous event. As Mark Twain noted, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” The challenge before you is to live a life in accordance with the deepest truths you have been graced to know at the core of your being. As the poet David Whyte wrote, “Hold to your own truth at the center of the image you were born with.” Module twelve is the point where you switch your focus from discovering your purpose to living your purpose with wild abandon as a demonstration of love and service to Life.
How to honor the Mystery with a propitiatory offering to initiate you into the embodiment process.
How to perform the assessment: discerning whether you have received sufficient information about your life purpose.
To perform the Immersion Walk: absorbing what has been revealed to you during your soul-encounters.
To construct a purpose statement that accurately distills the essence of your purpose.