A native of Massachusetts, Michael quest for his place in the world took him through Boston College (BA) and Duke University (MPP) - followed by forays into an international dialogue on peace and recovery in Central America, grassroots philanthropy, a long-shot presidential campaign and early attempts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
In 1996, a sense of inner neglect prompted Michael to leave his work for a new conversation with his heart - which revealed a desire to know the deepest potential of love, followed by a few strange coincidences, a wrenching ordeal and a startling new vision in which the devastated core of his heart was inseparable from everything in the visual field.
With nothing left to lose, Michael's desire to express this raw, sacred intimacy led to exciting work with several groundbreaking nonprofit ventures until his devotion to the unseen led to an experimental leadership gathering (1998)- where he was drawn into an unmanifest state (aka samadhi) and gave an ecstatic talk about the "space beyond words" .
While holding this inconceivable breakthrough close to the vest, Michael gave up his apartment in Washington, DC and drove an old pickup truck across country until the engine seized outside a temple of all places, so he rented a small adobe cottage and allowed his mind to decompress with no idea how the next phase would play out.
To Michael's ears, encountering the contemporary psycho-spiritual arena felt like walking onto a new planet that is difficult to comprehend due to gaps between the words that practitioners/guides often use and the actual energy behind them, so he held this new situation in an open and provisional way until able to discern what was genuine or not.
As the revelations continued, a sage arrived in a dream to offer advice for working with people, so Michael launched a series of small, informal dialogues on awakening that turned into eclectic, week-long gatherings and annual river adventures, with an emphasis on converting one's deepest Self into an actual embodied reality – that is the Work.
"Painting is definitely my path to God, but insights that come from that creative process were not translating into my life. Michael's work bridged that gap and more." - B.K., workshop leader.
"I have been in spiritual circles for most of my life, but never talked this way to my heart before." - E.M., frreelance writer
"There is not a word to describe what you are". - V.B., pioneer in bioenergy/life restoration
"People often misunderstand our work - it's not that Michael tells me what to do, he guides me to hear the deepest part of my Self." - D.S., spiritual guide/parent
"At first, I was surprised that the Work did not offer meditation, but then in the middle of a conversation, a deep silence would break out and draw everyone in." ~ C.E. hospice nurse
“When I tell my husband that I have a session with Michael, I laugh and say that I am going to the hangman’s noose.” ~ K.H., tree climber/forest advocate
“I tried to get Michael to sympathize with the hurt that I felt with my former master, but he gave my story no room to maneuver.” - J.S., recovering non dualist/yoga teacher
"It is tempting to say that I am learning to be more honest, but the more difficult truth may be that I am learning what honesty means for the very first time." - S.C., retired therapist
"People keep asking how Michael has changed since high school so I told them not much - there are just a few more people listening these days." - P.S. pilot
"I found the experience amazing and transformative. I was not used to so much love ... to be so openly expressed." ~ D.W., feminist scholar/poet
"I can't help noticing that those storm clouds above the rim are strangely responsive to our work here (laughter)." - B.S., cosmic priest
"After watching for a few years, it seems to me that this work places you in a place of constant confrontation with our view of reality." - J.I., physicist
"You sure do have a gift for bringing out the shadow in spiritual groups,." - S.B,. philanthropist
“Before witnessing that exchange, I never imagined that caring and fierceness could be combined as one and need to bring that blend into my work too." ~ J.S., meditation teacher
"What you are describing is found in the Vedas, even if you have not read them yet." - L.K., yoga teacher
"Tell Michael that everything that he warned us about turned out to be true." - R.Y., chicano activist
"It's like you came and went without a care in the world and left total chaos in your wake (laughter)." - J.O., leadership/change consultant
“We don't even know what to call Michael, but when anything new happens here, he is right in the middle of it.” ~ D.S., entrepreneur/philanthropist
"You don't have any credentials to do this work, so how can it be happening just like that?" R.S., science writer