Dan is but one of over 7 billion people doing his best to learn how to live life without a comprehensive instruction manual. He has, however, certainly learned what not to do. Despite having a wonderful family and friends, for many years he sought happiness and meaning through pleasurable experiences and the accumulation of property. As these failed to provide depth and weight to his then unfulfilled life, Dan grew baffled, plagued with stress, anxiety, depression and a general but profound dissatisfaction. Despite having what society promised as the goods for security and happiness--career, house, family, money and toys galore--he turned to medications which gave him a compelling but illusory sense of peace and happiness. In Dan’s case, it turned out that he was just masking deeper issues which were keeping him from finding true happiness and meaning in his career as a nurse and his role as a father and husband.
Dan is a caregiver. He thoroughly enjoys caring for others. But because he did not know how to care for himself, only others, Dan started to deteriorate mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In 2000 he had a climbing accident that led to three surgeries and the use of crutches for almost a year. His use of prescription medications turned to abuse. In consequence, Dan lost his 20 year career as a nurse, his marriage of 23 years, and most of his personal possessions. Newly sober in 2008, abruptly separated from everything he believed to be the source of happiness and meaning and reeling from hurt and loss, Dan was surprised by a new sense of peace and ease. He was forced to re-evaluate his concept of life and of how one finds happiness, purpose, and meaning. It turned out the deeper issues that lead to his self-destruction stemmed from his misunderstanding of the true source of happiness and from failing to act in a manner deserving of self-respect.
Dan returned to school and received double Bachelor's Degrees in Environmental Studies and Environmental Biology. He then earned a Master’s Degree in Applied Environmental Ethics, Food, and Social Justice. During this stint in school, Dan was introduced to meditation and mindfulness. Nourished by the wisdom gained through meditation and mindfulness, what Dan distilled from his 6 year academic adventure is that the external environment is an accurate reflection of our internal environment. The external environmental concerns and atrocities are a result of [collective] personal inner turmoil and conflict. With his new understanding that real change begins from within, Dan now considers himself an Internal Environmentalist.
In 2017, Dan became a certified instructor of the Mindful Life Program’s Mindfulness Foundations Course. Dan believes that as each of us grows in understanding and awareness, as we define for ourselves what a meaningful life is, as we act in accordance with our values, as we work to improve ourselves, the whole environment improves. After all, as John Francis states, “We are the environment.”
In addition to spending time with friends and family, Dan enjoys hiking, riding bikes, spending time at the Oregon coast, being of service, and petting his cat, Lhotse. Dan facilitates a Mindfulness in Recovery meeting and teaches mindfulness courses in Corvallis, Oregon and abroad.