Pining for Purpose.

September 15, 2023

Pining for Purpose.

May 29, 2023

Thanks for your patience this week as I’ve made some “asks” of you. I deeply appreciate how many of you have sent me love and support as well as your suggestions for how you ask for help when you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed.

It was tough getting the news that I would be doing radiation up till four days before my next book “Learning to Love Midlife” comes out in January. And, to move from 25 MEA rooms in Baja to 68 between Baja and Santa Fe this coming winter is a bit daunting when I’m facing the energy-zapping hormone suppression therapy (maybe two years of it) which starts less than a week from now. I realize that I don’t have to do this by myself which has been so reassuring.

I’ve spent the past couple days of my European vacation at a contemporary secular monastery, Eremito, in Umbria after enjoying some time at Saturnia Hot Springs. This is my kind of vacation! Ironically, it was in a monastery near the Esalen Hot Springs, the New Camaldoli Hermitage, this week forty years ago that I found my sense of career purpose in life. It was a lovely warm September summer evening and I was walking the Esalen grounds with a Camaldoli monk (who also loved the baths) pining for my sense of purpose as if was some possession that hadn’t been issued to me as I was entering my second year of Stanford’s MBA program. The monk stopped me in my tracks with a question that still resonates four decades later,

“Who do you want to be when you grow up? And, what career path will help you become that person?”


Not “what do you want to do” but instead “who do you want to be?’ Wow, that was quite a reframe.

Having spent the summer wearing suspenders and chomping on cigars at Morgan Stanley in New York, I knew I didn’t want to become the person I was surrounded by in the investment banking world. To be honest, I wanted to be Michael Murphy, a fellow Stanford grad thirty years older than me who’d started the Esalen Institute twenty years earlier. But, how could I craft a career that would allow me to do that?

Forty years later, I can see that the monk’s question had a profound impact on me as it pointed me in the direction of the hospitality business and starting a company called Joie de Vivre as my mission was to create joy which led me to creating wellness-oriented ventures as well. In sum, at Esalen in the late summer of 1983, I made a list of personality traits of who I wanted to be and I’m still growing into many of them, but I know my career trajectory has allowed me to live into them like Morgan Stanley would never have fostered.

With our new MEA website, one of our three new pillars of core curriculum is about “Cultivating Purpose” since it’s one of the primary things we hear about from our midlife students. We have two opportunities this fall for you (and your friends - my ask is that you share this info with others) to connect with your purpose. We have the “Living and Working on Purpose” eight-week online course that starts on September 29 and one of the world’s most respected Purpose teachers, Richard Leider, will join one of my co-founders Jeff Hamaoui teaching “The Power of Purpose” in November in Baja.

I’ll finish with a quote many of you have heard from me before that comes from David Viscott:

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”

Go deeper with a workshop, in person or online.

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Coming Into Your Own: Reconnecting with Who You Are and What You Want with Christine Carter

March 18, 2024
 to 
March 23, 2024
Baja, Mexico
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Cultivating Purpose with Jeff Hamaoui

Mar 25, 2024
 to 
Mar 30, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Mar 25, 2024
 to 
Mar 30, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Cultivating Purpose with Jeff Hamaoui

March 25, 2024
 to 
March 30, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Mar 25, 2024
 to 
Mar 30, 2024
Baja, Mexico
wo-baja-24-014

Cultivating Purpose with Jeff Hamaoui

May 27, 2024
 to 
Jun 1, 2024
Baja, Mexico
May 27, 2024
 to 
Jun 1, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Cultivating Purpose with Jeff Hamaoui

May 27, 2024
 to 
June 1, 2024
Baja, Mexico
May 27, 2024
 to 
Jun 1, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Love's Journey: Transforming Our Relationships with Dené Logan

March 4, 2024
 to 
March 9, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Learning to Love Midlife with Chip Conley

Mar 12, 2024
 to 
Mar 17, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Mar 12, 2024
 to 
Mar 17, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Learning to Love Midlife with Chip Conley

March 12, 2024
 to 
March 17, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Mar 12, 2024
 to 
Mar 17, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Coming Into Your Own: Reconnecting with Who You Are and What You Want with Christine Carter

March 18, 2024
 to 
March 23, 2024
Baja, Mexico