I am currently writing a book that integrates my shamanic practices with three decades of Organizational Development work. Organizational Shamanism (OS) is the practice and application of ancient shamanic techniques to solve contemporary organizational and community challenges. It is a whole systems approach to gathering information that can help us to revitalize and energize the spirit of our organizations and tap into new levels of creativity, intuition and wisdom not available with contemporary perception. OS focuses on transforming inner states of consciousness to bring about outer change, and taps into a creative potential beyond limiting beliefs and assumptions.

I am currently looking for companies that are interested in trying these new approaches to solving organizational issues. If you and your organization or any one you know are open to applying this pioneering work in your company to bring about organizational change please give me a call. Or email 530.277.0937 or michael@WellofLight.com



Artist Intuition: From Inner Access 101
In February I will be attending an inspiring adventure into the heart of creativity with Lori Wilson and Kelly Woodruff. I have worked with Lori Wilson, Social worker, author, weekly radio show, host, trainer and intuitive and want to recommend this powerful journey into the heart of creativity and intuition. This program will be held in Sacramento February 27th – March 1. For Flyer and more information click here (PDF).




In Original Mind, neuroscience and learning pioneer Dee Joy Coulter takes us on an odyssey back to our “beginner’s mind,” and into our many undeveloped potentials. Through fascinating research, insights, stories, and engaging practices largely overlooked by other “brain science” books, she challenges us to question the conventional definitions and limitations of our minds, and then to move beyond them into a state of unlimited presence.

What would it feel like to experience the world again like a child-deeply engaged with our senses and filled with wonder and creativity?

Original Mind takes us on an odyssey back to our “beginner’s mind,” and into our many undeveloped potentials. Through fascinating research, insights, stories, and engaging practices largely overlooked by other “brain science” books, neuroscience and learning pioneer Dee Joy Coulter challenges us to question the conventional definitions and limitations of our minds, and then to move beyond them. This delight-driven odyssey explores a vast landscape of untapped dimensions of consciousness, including:

  • How to see again with the fresh wonder of an infant
  • Calming, Enriching, Magnetizing, and Self-Regulating-four keys to character development and emotional resilience
  • How reading profoundly changes our brains, and how to develop the remarkable capacities of the “pre-literate” mind
  • Engaging the body to enrich the art of thinking
  • Boredom, Complexity, Ambiguity, Permeability, and Novelty-five “tolerances” to liberate creativity and joy
  • Protecting-and expanding-our cognitive faculties as we age
  • Blending newfound intuitive skills and “school-learned” abilities to navigate the complex demands of the modern world, and much more




Dee Joy Coulter, EdD, is a nationally recognized neuroscience educator with a master’s degree in special education and a doctorate in neurological studies and holistic education. In addition to 14 years as a special education teacher and program director, she served on the faculty of Naropa University for 20 years. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.


journey into now

I hope you will listen to last week’s interview with author Leonard Jacobson, who teaches us how to become fundamentally present and arisein mastery of the mind and ego, so that we are no longer involuntarily pulled out of Presence. His book the Journey to Now

is one you will want to keep by the bedside. Open up to any page and contemplate the wisdom of this master of presence.  Leonard provides the inspiration, challenge, and direction needed to become a “fully awakened Being.”
With perfect precision, the author guides the reader along a path of awakening which leads to liberation from the pain and limitations of the past into the joyful and unlimited world of Now. This book reveals, in the simplest way, how to still the mind and become fully present and awake in the truth of life. Perhaps the most important aspect of this book is the author’s unique insight into the nature of the mind and ego. He describes in detail how the ego’s resistance to Presence is the primary obstacle to awakening and how we can overcome that resistance in a simple and effective way. Each page of this book reveals a part of the mystery. There are hidden keys to awakening on every page. It is like a road map home.





Leonard Jacobson is deeply committed to helping others break through to the joyous experience of living in the NOW. He teaches how to become fundamentally present and how to arise in mastery of your mind and ego, so that you are no longer involuntarily pulled out of Presence. He has been teaching people how to be present for over 30 years. Leonard has the unique ability to support others in entering directly into the experience of the awakened state.


All elsewhere being World,

how many times have I stood

in the bright shadows of a wood,

no track or trail leading in, out-

as though ground coverrenewed as I went through?

I sometimes own the moments where I stand

alone. Everything else is air

and arbitrary firings of neurons

we call memory if they happened,

fantasy if they didn’t- same pictures.

Call it prayer, then,

the moments where I’m not aware

even of how lovely the moment is-

not liking, not disliking-

not aware there is a moment

until I’m back in the world

and remember it- construct it

in my mind as having been beautiful.


I’m too often bitten by silence.

My mother called it dawdling,

the ex, brooding. My students call it

absent-minded professor.

The kindest students bring me back gently.

But I live most when silence,

shade, and light like this harvest me,

a kind of prayer I’m gathered to,

not the prayer I clutter with will or words.


- Paul Allen


Awaken to the mystery of being here

and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.


Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.


May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven

around the heart of wonder.


 – John O’Donohue

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The Well of Light Newsletter: Holiday Edition 2014

We are lost in the mind, which is a world of the remembered past and the imagined future.
– Leonard Jacobson

I have always been a person who liked ideas, to think about how things worked, to figure our why things are the way they are and to imagine a future different than the one in which we are currently living. I have great respect for the power of the thinking mind and yet as I look back at my life I can see that the times of trouble, suffering, conflict and unhappiness had one common element. I was not living in the present moment. I was lost in the world of mind and distracted from the awe and splendor of just being here. Even my quest for spiritual awakening has been a journey of the mind. Recently, I recognized that I could never think my way into an awakened state of being. Cultivating presence is a path of moment-to-moment awareness of what is present within and without, right now.


For years I have tried to stop the chatter of my mind through meditation, movement and by attending countless classes, workshops and spiritual events. I was trying to stop the mind with the mind, instead of just being a witness to all that was unfolding in front of me. I have been living in a world of illusion and separation, which has become the predominant condition of humanity at this time of pre-awakening as a species. What if we discovered that waking up was no more difficult than waking from a dream and realizing that we have been dreaming? That we had just forgotten that we are the dreamer and all we had to do was shift our attention to the now to break our habitual way of seeing and being in the world.

The only true thing is what’s in front of you right now.
– Ramona Ausubel

We suffer when we are caught up in the endless chatter of the thinking mind. The more we feel separate from the people and world around us, separate from the truth and reality of what is present within and around us the greater the suffering. Mostly we think we have an ego, like a hat we can take off and put on. What we don’t realize is, that for the most part we are our ego and this false sense of self is controlling our life and experience of the world. We are living in an egoic world of illusion and we get along with those who share the same dream and disagree or have conflict with those whose illusion is in opposition to our own. When we leave our separate worlds behind and come into the one world, the world of the senses, we experience each sacred moment without separation.

How did we manage to get into this somnambulant state of non-presence? One of the primary ways is that we were born into it, with parents and ancestors who themselves were not present. As a baby, with an almost magical sense of wonder and presence, we needed love, attention, and connection from people around us who were distracted by their own past issues and imagined futures. So we developed patterns, compulsive ways of being, roles and beliefs about ourselves in an attempt to get the love that we needed and wanted; the same thing that our parents did and their parents before them. These ways of being arose from a growing sense that we were separate, unloved, not enough, flawed or just unworthy… The more we tried to think our way out of this dilemma the deeper we went into our imagined self. We could spend a lifetime trying to heal our imagined wounds and solve our problems, which belong to the past and have nothing to do with this moment. The good news is that this is learned behavior and therefore we can unlearn it.

We must set aside all we know in order to experience
the world with the freshness a baby does. When we look
at the world we tend to see what we expect to see.
– Dee Joy Coulter

article_listen_pinkflowerOne of the biggest challenges to becoming present is in the naming of things. With all the benefits of language, this naming has become a major obstacle to living in the present. When we name things we no longer see them with the fresh eyes of an infant. We close down our senses to the energy and essence of what is before us. We think in language and this thinking keeps us captive to the world of separation. When we relax into the stillness of the present moment we can transcend the thinking mind to sense and see the energy, light, color, motion and form of what is truly present. When the mind kicks in we can also maintain a witness perspective to the thinking qualities without becoming our thoughts. We can notice if it is a thought born of the past or imagined future. Just notice! Don’t get on board the thought train. Presence takes practice. What the thoughts can reveal to us is the story of who we have become.

 When we deny who we have become as personalities or egos functioning in a world of separation we are blocked from recognizing the beauty, magnificence and power of who we really are in the eternal present. When we refuse to see our controlling, manipulative, greedy, fearful, jealous, blaming and angry judgments of others and ourselves we mold and shape the world around us. Our outer world becomes a reflection of our inner world of mind. If we can hold these thoughts and beliefs like a tender baby in relaxed and vulnerable awareness we become liberated from the tyranny of the mind and the suffering that comes with it. We can recognize these thoughts as mental constructs derived from unmet expectations and longings from the past. We can step into the eternal bliss of the now.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness.
If you are attentive, you will see it.
– Thích Nhất Hạnh

article_power-berriesI invite you to give yourself and your family the gift of presence in this holiday season. Ram Dass once said, “if you think you are enlightened go spend a week with your family.” Bring a sense of wonder and new eyes to your closest relationships. They may unconsciously see you as the way you were, not the way you are in this moment. But, presence is contagious! Open all your senses to who they are as light, form, energy and motion. See with new eyes the very presence of them and miracles can happen. Blissful joy and infinite happiness can erupt when your presence meets the presence of the sacred other and all separation dissolves into oneness. It is my sincere prayer that this holiday season be one of magic, bliss and the deep and abiding love of the present moment.

Thank you for the inspiration you are to me. Your reading my letters keeps me on the path of truth, authenticity and presence. I am filled with gratitude!

With love and blessings,

As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.
– Marianne Williamson

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The Well of Light Newsletter: Thanksgiving Edition 2014

In daily life, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.
– Brother David Steindl-Rast

It has been some time since my last newsletter. Life has been rich and full and I am so grateful for the life I have been given and the many friends, students, readers and listeners who make my life worth living and give me a sense of meaning and purpose. I would like to share some of my thoughts and favorite quotations about gratitude in this newsletter. I am learning that gratitude is not just a feeling you occasionally have when something good happens to you. It is a practice that leads to greater happiness and deeper fulfillment in our lives!


One could say that the foundation of shamanism, the world’s oldest spiritual healing tradition, is gratitude. Shamans are continually expressing their gratitude for life, for the elements, the seasons, the cycles, the directions, the universe and the spirit that lives in all things. Shamans believe that they draw their power from their gratitude for and communion with the natural world. Native Americans have a saying, “may you walk in beauty”, which to me means to recognize and be grateful for all the beauty that surrounds you. When we walk in gratitude we bring a sense of wonder and curiosity to everything around us. We realize the enormous bounty that is already present in our lives. When we deepen our appreciation for all we see, we get a sense of our interconnectedness the web of life. 

What we appreciate, appreciates!
– Lynn Twist

It is easy to be affected by all the negative things that are happening in our world today. Our attention is often on what’s wrong, rather than all the goodness that surrounds us. The media thrives on death, doom and destruction. Indeed there are real issues that we must face, such as climate change, economic instability, habitat destruction, war and poverty. But our primary focus has been on what’s wrong or not working and it has pervaded our language, thinking and ways of acting in the world. This weakens us and makes it more difficult to deal with the enormous issues that humankind is facing at this time. If we want to change the outer world, we must first learn to transform our inner landscape. To live a happier, more fulfilled and healthier life, there is no better place to start than with the practice of gratitude.  It is easy to blame the media, the corporatocracy and external events, but real change starts within and gives us the strength and fortitude to change the external world. It is well known that what we focus our attention and intention on grows. What do you want to grow in the garden of your life?

img2In their book The Grateful Life, authors Lesowitz and Sammons say that we are in the middle of a “gratitude revolution”. They present overwhelming evidence for this cultural shift from the growing ranks of scientists who are studying how feelings of gratitude improve physical health and emotional well-being, to a proliferation of smart phone gratitude apps, and people peppering their conversations and Tweets with gratitude or gratefulness. The scientific studies are clear that people who consciously express gratitude feel better about their lives as a whole, are more energetic, exercise more, have fewer illnesses, get more sleep, have higher self-esteem, and are more likely to give back to others. Expressing appreciation also helps to combat depression, improve relationships, and boost academic and professional performance!

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for
taking things for granted.
– Aldous Huxley

As a result of our focus on what’s wrong and fixing problems, we miss the abundance of beauty that surrounds us. Many people think that the expression of gratitude makes us appear weak, naïve to the world’s problems, or falsely positive about the state of the world and the real and painful difficulties in one’s life. But, in reality the expression of gratitude, even in the most horrible and difficult of times, can teach us to be resilient and courageous. As Auschwitz survivor, Victor Frankl has said, “The last of our human freedoms is the ability to chose our attitude in any given set of circumstances.” It was gratitude that kept him alive in the most horrible of times.

When we become more present to what is happening within and around us, and look for the beauty in life, we can choose an attitude of gratefulness. Stories of gratitude from people learning their most important life lessons in the midst of life changing events like cancer, loss and tragedy are well documented. The way we face our adversities in life not only impacts the quality of our experience, but according to the science of epigenetics, we alter the expression of our genes. Engaging in a practice of gratitude can actually stimulate the growth of new synapses in our brain, change our genetic structure, and impact evolutionary heredity. In this way, it could be said that gratitude positively impacts the future descendants who will inhabit the earth.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
– Albert Einstein

img3The practice of gratitude is intentional mindfulness. It is about waking up and being present to the gift of life itself. It is a stepping out of the tranquilized obviousness of every day life and seeing with fresh new eyes the wonder and beauty that surrounds us. To honor the elements means to recognize the clay that dances in us is born of the earth. The 70% of us that is water, that runs through our veins and nourishes every cell in our body connects us to the water world from which we came. The breath we breathe is a gift from the very spirit of air and the sun that warms us also brings light to our heart and lives. Being here is truly a miracle. If we really knew this in every cell of our body we would drop to our knees in tears of gratitude and kiss the earth. Gratitude opens our heart to the radiant beauty that surrounds us. I invite you in this Thanksgiving week to take on the practice of gratitude.

To practice gratitude you might start the day with keeping a gratitude journal and writing down at the beginning and ending of the day all the miraculous beauty that you have encountered in this precious and unique day. Taking a walk in nature and receiving the astounding beauty of the natural world is another way to practice gratitude. If you have a question and ask a nature spirit, you will find illuminating responses that will open your heart to the wondrous splendor that is your own life unfolding. There are even apps that you can purchase (see article on Sandra Ingerman’s) that can remind you on a frequent basis to take a break from your terminal busyness and ask your self, “What am I grateful for in this moment”? Just think of three people each day that you are grateful for and tell them.  These small seeds can grow into a beautiful garden of abundant joy and profound connection.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our
hearts are conscious of our treasures.
– Thornton Wilder

Maintaining an attitude of gratefulness positively impacts our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. People who practice gratitude are more optimistic than those who don’t and this positively affects our immune system, bringing us greater health and vitality. Gratitude brings us alive. Its expression creates a vibrant field of connection with life and living. Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Gratitude is shown in action.

It has been a year with many challenges for me and for people in our community. I am so grateful for all the love and support so many of you have expressed to me and demonstrated within our community. Something miraculous is happening in this time of great change and transformation. The expression of gratitude is evidence that we are waking up to the magnificence of this precious life we have been given. Thank You! I am so thank full for the gift you are in my life and to the world…

With Love and Blessings,



If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,”
that would suffice.

– Meister Eckhart