Michael was born into a tradition that his Celtic ancestors brought from the west of Ireland to the outskirts of Boston that included the raising of children, a love for Nature, and the encouragement to be oneself no matter what. This idea captured his imagination at a young age, and was reinforced by spontaneous mystical experiences that he had no words for yet.
With a sense that U.S. policy towards Central America represented the moral test of his generation, Michael went to graduate school at Duke University and talked his way onto the staff of an international dialogue on more equitable and sustainable development in Central America. During that period, he wrote a master's thesis on a backlash to an innovative, risk taking approach to providing grassroots philanthropic assistance at the InterAmerican Foundation.
A mischievous Nicaraguan economist walked Michael's resume over to the Research Triangle Institute, where he researched and co-wrote a guidebook for the US Environmental Protection Agency on strategies for involving the public in siting new waste management facilities, and for communicating more effectively with the public about various environmental and health risks.
After a three month stint as a fellow at Duke University, Michael's sense that the country was in trouble prompted him to drive north on a bitter cold winter day to work in the policy shop of an insurgent presidential campaign, followed by a move to Washington, DC, where he found work during a recession as a policy analyst and consultant on projects related to climate change.
At the peak of his managerial career, Michael left that position to explore the felt sense of a deeper potential of some kind, followed by an overdue conversation with his heart, a few strange coincidences, and a wrenching ordeal that stripped away the armor that most of us carry to protect ourselves from the harshness of the world and revealed the heart's sacred core as a gateway to the inside of everything that we see around us.
This state of raw, naked intimacy or Oneness came with a deep sense of humility, as if every shred of intellectual pride was stripped away, gratitude for existence, and relief in being just like everyone else. When Michael asked within for what these qualities added up to, he heard "real human being", and realized that the taste of realness in the heart was so precious that he would not have traded it for anything in the world - like a dark gift.
As the creative magic of life returned, doors started to open where they did not exist and Michael began working as a consultant and advisor to several nonprofit ventures, including a bilingual multicultural learning center in the neighborhood (now CentroNia), a national fellowship program for nonprofit leaders (Eureka Communities), and a new foundation to support educational projects for children around the world (The Global Fund for Children).
While co-writing a children's book on cultural diversity in youth sports around the world, Michael heard about an experimental leadership gathering where a group of seventy scholars, leaders, scientists, artists, activists and guides were exploring whether new possibilities exist on the frontiers of human consciousness and what groups can do to help bring a new world into being.
On the first night, Michael was sending a raft of love to help his grandmother to make her way to the other side of what we see. In response, her earthy wisdom to "be yourself" came to his ears, so Michael resolved to be ruthlessly authentic, with minimal concern for social convention, and a deep respect for the work of the group - to see what they could bring into being for a world in crisis.
Over the course of several days, the group entered into chaos about differing expectations that participants had of the gathering. This chaos was familiar in Michael's work with leaders and activists, so he dove within for a solution and received a series of inner prompts about a purpose that was deeper beyond his leadership work.
On the final evening, Michael was exploring his creative niche in a breakout session with twenty consultants and guides when an invisible, sacred force drew him beyond the senses into a vast eternal awareness without reference to a body. That realm then collapsed into a primordial void where a self-radiant divine light revealed itself as the Source of creation, whether recognized or not.
For the next several hours, a massive influx of love roared through Michael's nerves like a freight train and formed into an ecstatic, pulsating talk about stumbling into "the space beyond words" and a few other discoveries about the creative work of groups.
With his body pinned to the floor of that breakout session, the intensity of the energetic vibration decreased just enough for a link to reform with his mind, which began straining to comprehend the impacts of the breakthrough on his companions in the room, including altered states of consciousness and deep somatic healings that looked like something that might have taken place next to a well in the biblical era.
After a lovely closing ceremony, the grapevine revealed that several of the elders who worked as leadership and organizational consultants mistook the radical breakthrough into divine love for a demonic possession of some kind, which revealed where the leadership field was at the time. As a private person, Michael held the revelations close to the vest and returned home to explore the implications for his life and creative work.
In response to a prompt from within to "live each day as if you have one year to live", Michael drove a pickup truck across country until the engine seized outside a temple in the Rockies. With his bank account in ruin, he improvised by renting a cottage in a village in New Mexico and tended to an influx of dreams with waves crashing into homes as he held onto the rafters for dear life.
During this transition period, a realtor showed up to hold an open house that had not been scheduled in advance, and took a phone call about a grant for a foundation that provided support to people who lived with HIV/AIDS. In this way, Michael was hired on to conduct an experimental strategic planning process, followed by support for a peer learning roundtable for the directors of urban and rural empowerment zones around the country.
After returning from an improvisational theater workshop at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe, the spontaneous revelations of an intrinsic, divine order continued until a radical sage arrived in a dream to offer advice for "working with people", said that it would be embarrassing, and that it is best to keep the teaching simple.
In response, Michael launched a series dialogues on awakening without a master in small informal groups in Santa Fe, Taos, Dallas, Austin, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York, Cape Cod, Camden, Boston,. Denver, Aspen, Calgary, and Asheville, among other locales.
When the time came to work with people in a more intensive way, Michael took small groups of practitioners and guides into the canyons of southeastern Utah, where they got to engage in inquiry around the campfire at night, and to experiment with how to move together during the day as unique expressions of the One.
For the next twenty years, Michael held workshops with a small, vibrant group at a cabin on the upper Rio Grande and at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe, where his work with silence, deep listening, inquiry and dream work was complemented by gifts that participants bring, including painting, music, writing and more.
In 2022, Michael returned to the Boston-area neighborhood where he was born and raised to be close to family, and to explore what the next phase of the work would look like. That creative process includes conducting private consultations and talks, and putting the finishing touches on a book about where leadership and innovation meets the deepest potential of love (forthcoming).
Michael's vision of the divine emerged outside of the traditional teacher-student paradigm, so he does not know much about that traditional model. Nor does he reject it. Instead, he shares the Way that he was shown, in which the real master is woven into everything around us.
Participants are invited to drop out of the mind stream into a simple, reverential silence, to breathe the sacred depths of the heart into the surrounding field, and to listen for the one thing that we need to hear - for oneself or a world in crisis. And we never know what that will be.
Religion tends to be more concerned with dogma and belief, and the rules of social morality, than with contemplative states that radical mystics and sages point us to. Religion can be useful to a point, but a radical nun once proposed that the Church was not needed anymore.
In dream language, Nature represents the deepest part of the soul, where we are free from the massive influence of society on who we take ourselves to be, and what we came here to do and to be in the world. So working in Nature can support our alignment with the deepest within.
Early on, Michael started to work with dreams to get people out of the tendency for spiritual talk, and as a source of wisdom about entrenched habits of mind that govern how we live as well as any adjustments that represent a deeper alignment with the core.
From the perspective of quantum science, what Western culture calls a miracle is the invisible impact of a sacred, high vibrational energy field on the world of form, including the minds and bodies of others in the surrounding energy field.
The gatherings create space for people from diverse backgrounds who are sincere about deeper levels of the spiritual quest and the way of love. It also helps to have a very good sense of humor and collaborate well with friends and strangers alike. So let us know if you fit the bill.
Michael does not work with couples on their relationship per se, but he does invite couples who are committed to the spiritual quest to attend gatherings together, or to be present during a session so that they can see - and have compassion for - the challenges that their partners are moving through on the inner plane.
Michael has spoken at venues around the country ranging from Naropa University in Boulder, CO, One Spirit Learning Alliance in NYC, Peace on Cape Cod, Boulder Satsang, the East Bay Open Circle, and the Center for Creative Exploration in San Francisco, among others.
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