The ’22 Year In Review

December 29, 2022

Wowee!!  What a year 2022 has been!!

We might even agree that the immortal lyrics of the Grateful Dead ring especially true for this year: “What a long, strange trip it’s been.”

Be forewarned, this is a longer and more personal post than the ones in times past.  So if you choose to drop in, you may want to get yourself a cup of tea and prepare to settle in for a good 10 minutes of reading, and hopefully another 10 minutes for reflection.

Let me first start out with offering a prayer, for when our lives are first-and-foremost oriented towards reverence, gratitude, and service, then we can become part of something larger than just our small selves and egoic longings.  One of my heroes, Martin Prechtel, describes this as “Feeding the Holy.” 

~May we each recognize the countless ways our lives are truly blessed.

~May we slow down and truly appreciate the importance of these longer nights, as there can be no light without darkness and no triumph without struggle.

~May compassion and forgiveness be the bedrock of our daily walks and the fuel for the spread of Great Kindness that is so desperately needed in the world right now.

~May we honor that which needs to be healed in each of us and the Collective, and not bypass the deep work simply because it is too hard or too inconvenient.

~May we marry our Inner Wisdom with our Warrior Spirit and fight for Right Living within all our shared relations on this floating water rock we all call home–our shared Mother Earth.

~May we be mindful in our consumptions in order to respect the generations to come, for they will be left with the results of our choices long after we leave.

Personally, I also give gratitude and honor the One Precious Life we all share, which has been birthed from the Source of Creation and will continue indefinitely.  We all come from the same place.

I give gratitude for my partner, Sonya, my incredible teams of work and play, and each of the communities where we are able to share our celebrations of life.

I give gratitude to the Teachers and Wisdom Carriers of all the Sacred Ways and medicine traditions.  May your lineages be honored and your songs be sung for millenia to come.
Thank you for all our healings and wholings. May we do our best to actively honor and participate in the veiled blessings of the Shadow Work that matures us into Servants of Life.

Gracias Medicinas Sagradas for all the ways you grace our lives in order to support us to become more whole and wise, more able and ready to do our sacred work in the world.

Thank you for all these prayers, spoken and unspoken. May we continue to carve out time from our busy lives to regularly return to reflections and prayerful offerings at the inner altars of our most sacred selves.

And now (or upon finishing the reading of this newsletter), when you are guided, please take more time to continue these simple prayers of gratitude for your own lives.  You may choose to find a quiet place, light a candle, and write them down.  As Meister Eckart offers, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

With our time together now anchored in praise and thanksgiving, a summation of this past year in my own “Book of 2022” might go something like this:


True Initiations Always Include a Death.

In the summertime, shortly after moving back to Sedona, I went to Gabon, Africa and was initiated into the Bwiti culture through a two-week ceremony with Iboga. For each of us, in order to fully enter the next phase of life, there must be the letting go of what we are leaving behind. As for me, upon initiation into the Bwiti culture, a part of me died and was left behind. It will take many, many more months to become more intimately aware of what fully occurred, not to mention to be able to honor it justly by putting it into the right words. Tatayo at Ebando was my shepherd through this process, and to him and my Bwiti family, I am forever grateful.


The Guild of Great Men.

This past fall was the third retreat in a year-long program for the men’s group I have been facilitating: The Guild of Great Men. The culmination ceremony of this third week-long retreat happened to fall on the 9th anniversary of my older sister Trudy’s passing. The experience of my magical reconnection with her in that ceremony remains beyond words.  Reuniting with her spirit and having an ongoing experience of her presence in my life will continue to be one of the absolutely most precious gifts of my entire lifestream.


A Return to the Sacred Valley of Peru.

The magical area of the Sacred Valley in the Peruvian Andes is considered the birthplace of the Incan culture, with Cusco being historically experienced as “The Navel of the World.”  The Shift Network invited me to be a part of their facilitation team for a retreat this past October. It was such a deep honor and privilege to be reintroduced to the depth of tradition and scope of beauty that the entire Incan cosmology and Andean ecology play in the world at large.  Spoiler alert: We’re doing more retreats down in the Valley in 2023 and beyond.  😉


Preparing to Launch “Thank You Life” into the World.

There is no stronger single therapeutic agent than psychedelic therapy to instigate the great healing needed in our medical institution as a whole and our culture at large.  Unfortunately, the sizable out-of-pocket expenses for this therapy will price out 95% of the general population, making it the greatest barrier to accessing this life-enhancing and life-saving treatment. Many, like me, don’t  believe price should be a limiting factor for people in need (like my late sister Trudy) to receive these services, and as a result, I co-founded Thank You Life, the first singularly-focused psychedelic therapy fund.  We’ve already gone through our soft launch and are offering subsidized services.  Our formal launch will be this coming Spring 2023.


All Healing is a Wholing.

The journey through the Dark Night is one of the most intense mythical paths a person will walk during embodiment. It is not for the faint of heart and not everyone makes it through. The book Man’s Search for Meaning became my field guide during my first year-long Dark Night. During the integration period afterward, I came to appreciate what Barbara Marx Hubbard was fond of saying, “Crisis precedes transformation each time.”  

Now that I’m in the midst of another soul-stirring, ass-kicking, crazy-making crisis that, from time to time, my ego forgets that my soul signed up for, I find deeper and deeper gratitude for this profound process of purification as this year of 2022 comes to a close. As another one of my heroes, Michael Beckwith, reminded me in one of his services, “The ego doesn’t know the difference between transformation and annihilation.”  Ah yes…I remember now…I get to choose my own attitude.  

As previously mentioned, this is just a summation of my 2022.  It is by no means complete or fully filled in. That would take writing a novel, which I am slowly doing in my own journal hours, and it would also require much more commitment on your part to read it in totality, much less take it all in. 

So as a compromise, I will invite you to take some time during these remaining Holy Days of 2022–or perhaps early in the New Year–to reflect on your own journey through 2022. Honor the experiences.  Write them down. Track and excavate the pearls within. There is always a deeper teaching and meaning available to everything we go through, and as a result there is always something to be grateful for.

With acknowledgement and reverence for the year we are leaving behind, I would next like to continue our theme from the previous two newsletters on death and bring it to a completion, at least for now. It seems fitting to reflect on death at this time, as we are in the darker months of the year and are offered the invitation to more deeply contemplate our own mortality and how we, as a culture, view death as a theme. By taking a deeper look into the dark mirror, we can see that there is a massive area of opportunity to live more fully.

In our type of Western consumerist society, death is perhaps the biggest taboo. Even though death is the “Grand Unifier,” the thing that’s shared among all beings on the planet and that unites every human across borders, becoming more intimate with it is avoided at all costs, both literally and figuratively.

When we look at how much of our healthcare spending is dedicated to prolonging inevitable death, the statistics show that the vast majority of healthcare dollars are allocated to the last 9 months of a person’s life. I find that quite fascinating but, even more, disturbing, particularly when you look at the quality of life during those last months. This is one of those great examples of where we grasp for quantity at the expense of quality.

How is it that we find ourselves in a culture that is absolutely fearful, and actually quite resentful, of death?

Because of how much affluence and privilege there is these days, combined with a medical system that considers death the absolute enemy regardless of circumstance, the general tendency is to drain our family’s bank accounts to maintain a heartbeat. We avoid looking at death until we’re forced to.

To shine a light on another facet of this situation, the most active medical conference each year is the “American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.” As a culture, we’ve even made aging wrong. We spend an incredible amount of money and energy trying to keep our divine bodies from showing any signs of life experience. 

It’s as if signs of aging are contagious and perverse. We don’t even want to see other people age because it triggers an existential fear within us of our own aging. Sadly, we would rather discard our elderly as burdens rather than revere them for their wisdom. This is one area of many where we can learn a great deal from our indigenous brothers and sisters who see the importance of having elders in a thriving community.

I am not aiming to come across as negative or bitter here. It’s simply a vital part of our authentic human process to be willing to look at our individual and collective shadow before we can make an effort to get right with it and then truly alchemize it. 

And the reality is that right now, as a culture, we do not die well. 

So how do we die in a better, healthier, more conscious way?

We can start by engaging with death now, by becoming intimate with it. By inviting death into our thoughts and heart and really meditating on it, we get closer to our humanity. We connect to the sacredness of life as a Universal Method of divine expression by seeing life and death as two poles of the same archetypal human lifestream, two sides of the same coin.

Death offers a gift of perspective that provides an opportunity to live more harmoniously with the natural cycles. Like Alan Watts said, “When death comes, it’s just like winter. We don’t say, ‘There ought not to be winter.’ Winter is part of the natural course of events. No winter, no summer. No cold, no heat.”

Holding the awareness that our death is imminent, we can start to envision how we would like to reorient our lives toward our highest excitements and our greatest priorities, and thus stimulate our own more authentic, unique soul expression. We may even choose to write (or even rewrite) our Life Manifesto: What is most important in life to orient to as a value structure or overarching Law for Living? I shared more about this in my last email. 

Additionally, we may choose to write our own Legacy for Living: How do we choose to be remembered, and what do we choose to leave behind that will outlive our own one precious life?  Recognizing the temporary nature of this life invites us into a deeper connection with our community, our service, and our purpose.

Since we can alchemize our shadow and integrate it in order to become more whole humans, this shadow piece around death is giving us all a massive opportunity. Can we get intimate with the idea of our inevitable death and invite it in for a cup of tea, opening ourselves to its wisdom? Can we slow down and have enough courage to truly listen to what death may teach us, and do that now, while there’s still time to utilize its lessons?

I foresee a big shift in the coming years around how we relate to our own deaths. As we become more present with death as a teacher and way-shower, it will invariably trigger an evolution of how well we live, individually and collectively. We’re on an incredible path to co-creating a completely new paradigm of life, centered around collaboration and service to others. With death as an ally, not as our enemy, we can heal generations of ancestral fear and build a more vibrant and sustainable society for future generations.

As we bring this newsletter to a close, it must be noted that no conversation around death would be complete without a mention of grief. In the teachings of grief from one of my aforementioned heroes, Martin Prechtel, Grief and Praise go hand in hand. They are teammates in our hearts and bedfellows in our souls.  I could say much more about this, but even better than that is for me to offer you a Holy-Day present in the form of an invitation for you to take the time to listen to a direct transmission by Martin Prechtel himself.  

Please take the time to listen to this truly remarkable one-hour discourse on Grief and Praise. Drink it in and let it infuse you with the soul-level remembering of our most sacred longing for a well-lived, fully authentic, radically inspired life.


Martin Prechtel – Grief and Praise – part 1

Martin Prechtel – Grief and Praise – part 2

Martin Prechtel – Grief and Praise – part 3


Many blessings to you and yours for a healthy life, a rich community, and as Martin Prectel says, “honey in the heart.” May each of you be empowered and optimistic as we enter into this new year of 2023.


In gratitude,

Dr. Dan


Get healthy. Stay present. Help out.

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