Posted on Leave a comment

Opportunity Mindset = Meaning & Wellness

Q. What is Landscapes for Learning?

A. It’s a mindset—-an opportunity-focused way of looking at the world of personal experience.
You can CHOOSE to see your life any way you decide. Just decide!

Q. Why did I name this blog and my independent education website and business,
Landscapes for Learning?

A. Lots of reasons, but primarily because I discovered that life is a landscape upon which we all travel and all of our experiences–– whether the experiences happen on our ‘inner’ landscape: within our mind and body, deep down within our hearts or our souls, in places nobody but us is privy to where the absolute truth of us lives, or on the ‘outer’ landscape: the social and natural world (that appears to be separate from us but arguably isn’t), which is the public world beyond us––are FOR LEARNING.

Just like Will in Goodwill Hunting,

We are MOST ALIVE & WELL when we are learning. I don’t mean only when we are reading, writing, and doing arithmetic!

Like Will learned, all the knowledge in the world will not help you live well and fully actualize if you don’t know who you are by learning from your direct experience with your suffering, your challenges, i.e. your opportunities.

I became somewhat (okay, very) disillusioned at the end of my career as a high school teacher because my students had been conditioned to believe that “learning” was limited to “schooling” which was a competitive race to achieve. This made me sick because it was making kids sick. It is a terribly limiting way to go through life. Because almost ALL of the attention and energy was given to this type of “learning” in school, students were stunted in their growth as whole, fully-expressed human individuals. AND they were getting more ill (more anxious about grades and their identities more narrowly confined to socially-constructed images) over the years that I had spent time getting to know them as human beings with unique natures.

As a Humanities teacher, I was interested in knowing the people I worked with, relating to and connecting with them, beyond merely interacting with them in a coldly rational, business-like manner, as if they were academic specimen expected to produce and meet various outcomes (e.g. for parents or college admission). I was interested in the process of learning, not the outcomes of schooling. It became a difficult problem for me, for kids, and for parents.

Now, I help people get out of “Safe Spaces!”

I was and still am interested in empowering young people to know themselves (in a deep way through body and mind, not just by acquiring information) and their human nature and uniqueness in order to express themselves from a place of truth and integrity, and to take responsibility for themselves, so that they can unconditionally love and parent themselves, thus live with meaning and optimism and enjoy their lives which will include great challenge, adventure, suffering, fear, and pain.

My job  was and is to en-courage people, that is, teach them how to develop courage by facing problems and their fears, manage vulnerability and stress that comes with it, develop discipline to do what’s challenging, and see these challenges as opportunities to discover more truth about themselves–– more of who they are and who they are becoming, what they are made of, both assets and weaknesses, and to reveal their endless potential to themselves to actualize as a never ending trial and error process!

Trying and failing in school is WAY different than trying and failing in life.

Institutionalized schooling prevented students growth and my own, so I left to teach a wisdom and wellness curriculum (rationale, tools, and practices) that will absolutely meet kids where they are at and to TRULY en-courage them to be LIFE–LONG LEARNERS— in the REAL sense, not in the hypocritical, limiting sense promoted (with perhaps the best intentions) in institutionalized public schooling. It seems to be a gargantuan task and an uphill battle, but I like challenge! It felt incredibly subversive to teach in ways that opposed the system, and it’s incredibly freeing to be able to share my mission now beyond it “in the real world.” I am trying to independently educate young people (and all people, anyone who is interested!) with a wisdom curriculum for their wellness, and since more people can be accessed online, I hope to reach far more people than I could while stuck in a classroom in a building. I’m not sure anyone has read any of my blog posts, but I continue to have faith as Ray did in Field of Dreams, that if I build it they will come. And if not, that’s okay too! I don’t focus on outcomes; I trust the process.

If one person at a time can grow in wisdom and wellness and express their true, unique nature, then that’s good for everyone. The “secondhand smoke” effect of one healthy person can transform the world, one person at a time.

You have no idea how many lives you can change for the better simply by being the best YOU possible!

My curriculum––a self-study for self-realization guide––can help you whether young or old,
highly ‘educated’ or not,
to get started on
traveling the landscapes for learning!



Posted on Leave a comment

Podcast Episode 005: How to Be The Hero of Your Own Life Story

“You ARE the hero of your own journey, and [this course] is the most important course you will ever take. You should be at the center of your own curriculum and let the rest of your schooling experiences supplement this foundational study of yourself…This is a solo mission– a private, individual, one-on-one class where you are both teacher and student. You only have to deal with and answer to yourself! Nobody can tell you what to do but you!”

A Humanities Course: Heroism 101
Lesson 1: How to Be The Hero of Your Own Life Story

If I could create a course especially for young people this podcast would serve as a sample introductory mini-lecture about the importance of knowing thyself within a larger course that I would call The Hero’s Journey or Heroism 101 (credit to Jospeh Campbell, Carl Jung, Jordan Peterson and many many others from antiquity to the present).

Typically, English teachers in public high schools are required to “cover” specific works of literature and teach specific language arts skills to students. We grade the students on their skills performance and progress, and assess their understanding of the literature under study. Coursework usually begins  with reading required stories where students are encouraged to make personal connections– to see themselves in the characters and explore human themes that might resonate with them.  The value of a humanities class, especially today, cannot be overstated! But, I thought, why not reverse this approach and begin a humanities course with students studying their very own lives– their own “selves,” their inner landscapes– the inner world of who they are, and  encourage them to see that they are actually, really, travelling on their own hero’s journey? The essential guiding question for such a course is : Who am I and How do I know? I think this is a valuable and precious piece of education that is needed for young people today, therefore the curriculum I am creating at Landscapes for Learning that will include podcasting, a journaling program, coaching sessions, video and other tutorials, and lots of other learning materials.

So, I would say to kids, why not just examine your own actual life rather than starting with examples and metaphors? I mean, for sure, archetypal stories and archetypal characters can teach you a ton about yourself (think Luke Skywalker, Frodo, Simba, and many more). Definitely, do your schoolwork! But instead of only studying fictional examples in the confines and context of school, I am reversing the approach by starting with YOU and your life– you, as the character of your own story, and encouraging and motivating you to examine the conflicts and themes that are human, relevant, and your real, actual life. Maybe things like your struggle with and hatred of school, or how you feel about yourself– maybe you lack confidence or feel ashamed of your weaknesses, or you lie a lot– or problems with friends & parents, or bullying and social media, anxiety and depression, and many other issues that are part of being a human being. These are the dragons you must slay, this is your road of trials, as the hero of your own life.

This curriculum I am creating is for you and is focused 100% on YOU and YOU becoming an expert on you and your own human nature! I will merely get you started– the rest is really up to you.

You ARE the hero of your own journey, and it is the most important course you will ever take. You should be at the center of your own curriculum and let the rest of your schooling experiences supplement this foundational study of yourself. The more you get to know yourself– the better you will see the world and understand others. All of your subjects in school will have more meaning for you– biology and chemistry and history and literature (I don’t know about math– probably math too!!). You will perform better because you will know your weakness and strengths, and your inner wisdom will help you find the grit, character, commitment, and motivation to do better and to be better all around! So, in this — your hero’s journey “course,” you will read, write and speak about, listen to, and think deeply about you! This is not more tedious slogging through a class or course simply to achieve a good grade. That is schooling. This is real, authentic learning.

This course– you and your life, NOW, is the learning that trumps all other forms of learning, and it’s actually important that you try to do the best you can — be the best student of yourself that you can be, since you will be the one who benefits most (although others will too, by default). And it is none of anyone else’s business what you are doing in this, your own class. This is a solo mission– a private, individual, one-on-one class where you are both teacher and student. You only have to deal with and answer to yourself! Nobody can tell you what to do but you!

You can assess yourself and decide about how much or little homework you do (I call it “soulwork”); and your attendance is totally up to you. You are in charge and you are responsible for you and only you.

So, I challenge you to put yourself at the center of your own attention, learn about what you are like and how you handle yourself– your thoughts, feelings, discomfort, boredom, whatever….and start figuring out who you’d like to be and get going on making it happen.

I hope I can get you to consider committing your time and your energy to self-understanding– spending more time with yourself, learning how to become your own best friend, and making yourself the best YOU you can be because you are full of amazing possibility, and the design of your own life is 100% in your control.

Enjoy this introductory lecture and stay tuned for more to come, more lessons you can use to teach yourself about yourself as you continue in this course– the course about YOU.

If you are interested in becoming the best you possible, subscribe to for email updates on new posts, podcasts, curriculum, and materials for your personal development.


Podcast Intro Music by:

Earthling-Political Lunatics published by DAWN STARS MUSIC 
Creative Commons License

Click HERE to Listen to Podcast 005

Listen on Apple ITunes Podcasts