What are the keys to living a meaningful life and having healthy relationships?

Interested in having a meaningful life and healthier relationships? What can I say? I could talk about the importance of developing excellent communication skills and knowing how to express your emotions maturely. Or, I could listen to you talk about your problems, and we could explore the deeper meanings. But, I find myself saying less and less these days. I haven’t given up speaking, but I can imagine becoming monosyllabic. What would that one syllable be? Stop—Stop.

Stop what?

Stop trying so hard. Stop trying to find the right answer, as if there is a right answer. Thinking there is a right answer is one of the causes of conflict and suffering. Stop searching for more, as if there is more. Well, actually, there is always more—more stories, drama, excuses, desires. But doesn’t searching for more reinforce the idea that we don’t have enough?

Do you not have enough? What is it that you’re lacking? Before you answer that, read the next two paragraphs, which are from a new novel I’m reading:

“Up in the private residence, I open one of the dresser drawers, which contains only a single item: a picture of Rachel. I have plenty of those around here, photos of her vibrant and happy, mugging for the camera or hugging or laughing. This one is for me only. It was taken less than a week before she died. Her face is blotchy from the treatments; she has only wisps of hair on her head. Her face is almost skeletal. To most people, this would be hard to look at—Rachel Carson Duncan at her absolute worst, finally succumbing to a ravaging disease. But to me, it’s Rachel at her best, her strongest, her most beautiful—the smile in her eyes, her peace and resolve.

“The fight was over at that point. It was just a matter of time, they told us—could be months, but more likely weeks. It turned out to be six days. It was six days I wouldn’t trade for any others in my life. All that mattered was us, our love. We talked about our fears. We talked about Lilly. We talked about God. We read from the Bible and prayed and laughed and cried until our wells of tears had run dry. I’d never known intimacy so raw and cathartic. I’d never felt so inseparable from another human being.” *

Appreciate. Presence. Along with “stop,” these are a couple of other words I imagine muttering as I grow older and continue working with people. People travel far to find answers, some visiting our land in Hawaii in hopes of finding the solution. And this particular piece of land is remarkable —taking away not only my breath, but my thoughts. Being on this land is more healing than any words I can offer. Yet, people wait patiently for their appointment with me. They walk into my office. I’m staring out at the ocean. They sit and start telling me their stories . . . what’s wrong, what’s not enough, how things should be.

I mumble, “Stop.”

“Stop, what do you mean? I really can’t help myself. When I was a child my mother ignored me and made me feel like a . . . “


“Well, what do you mean? I’m just trying to explain why . . . “


“Okay, I’ll stop. I mean I flew all this way to get some help. So I guess if you want me to stop, I could do that. Maybe you’re getting ready to tell me something and that’s why you wanted me to stop. Okay, yeah, I get it. I’m listening.”


“A . . . appreciate?”


“Okay, what do I appreciate?”


“Appreciate presence. Appreciate presence. Do you mean like mindfulness? I’ve done some mindfulness training and what I learned is that my mind tends to wander because I’ve got a compulsive need to . . .


“I’m not sure we’re getting anywhere. I think . . . “


“Hmm. Is there more to this therapy than . . . “

“Presence. No.”

“Well, I was expecting . . . “


“Okay. Now what?”

“Go sit on the land.”

“Great, an assignment. What do I do?”


If you don’t get the point of this article, I can’t explain it. I mean, I could, but if I did, then I would be contributing to something I don’t want to contribute to.

If you do get the point of this article, you might be interested in joining my next Thrilled To Be Alive group. The purpose of these groups—this will be the fourth one I’ve conducted—is to introduce people to a new level of consciousness in which we stop working so hard on ourselves, stop endlessly processing our feelings, break free of our stories and appreciate being alive.

If you’re interested, fill out the form below. And if you do join the group, you can expect to hear me say a little more than “stop,” “appreciate,” and “presence.”

* Excerpt from: The President Is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

I Want To Be Thrilled

  • This course has a limit as to how many students can join. And it's necessary that we end up with an even number because everyone is paired up with a "buddy."
    So if any person doesn't show up, it messes up the experience for their buddy. That's why I ask you to make a 100% commitment if you're going to join this 22-day course.
    The commitment includes a weekly Zoom video conference, a brief daily email with your buddy, and a short daily meditation. Can you do that?
    You're welcome to join with a friend, your own "buddy," as long as that person is not your romantic partner. But if you don't come with a "buddy," you'll be able to select your "buddy" during the first session.
    Are you able to make a 100% commitment?
  • If someone referred you to this course, please let me know who that was. If not, how did you find out about this course?
  • If you participate in the course, you can go through the entire thing without paying any money upfront.
    At the end of the course, if you found it was valuable, I ask you to make a donation. I'm setting it up this way because I want this to feel like a heartfelt invitation. That's what this course is mostly about, learning to live with an open heart.
    At the same time, given the amount of time I spend on each course, I need to make some money. In the past, some people have felt uneasy not knowing how much to donate, so now I offer the following guidelines:
    $199 for most people.
    $299 for those who have a fatter wallet.
    $99 for students, or those who can't afford more.
    Given that the course includes four 90-minute sessions, along with personalized attention for three weeks—these amounts feel fair to me.
    Are you comfortable with this arrangement?


If you're considering attending one of our retreats, click the link below to fill out the Personal Information Form. After we review it we'll get back to you with any additional questions or comments we may have.

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2 Responses to What are the keys to living a meaningful life and having healthy relationships?

  1. Sara Cooper June 24, 2018 at 5:16 pm #

    Hi, is there a link to the price of the course? The one for only ten people?

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle June 24, 2018 at 5:38 pm #

      The course is presently donation based. People go through the 21-day program and at the end, they can make a donation if they feel so inclined. I am trying to make it affordable to as many people as possible. As long as the donation system works well, I will continue doing it this way.

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