Dan Millman presents The Peaceful Warrior's Way

Spring Quarterly 2004

On Beginnings and Endings

Dear Friends:

Recently, Joy and I made the decision to put our old and ailing dog to sleep. Euthanasia, they call it – the word means "good death."  As death goes, I suppose it was a good one – peaceful and painless, with our dog nibbling on cookies, his favorite thing in the world, as the sedative took effect, then his final sleep.

This ending – a small dog's last breath – is a relatively minor event in the larger scheme of things. But his passing brought to mind my father's passing as well, and my mother's, and mine to come. And as may happen in the mind of a writer, I thought of larger issues, of endings . . . and of new beginnings, since one calls forth the other, like moon and sun, night and day.

I'll not see my parents again, or our dog, or my youth, or other things. Relationships may also pass and change. Children grow, go to college, move away, get married and form families of their own, and in the words of Marcus Aurelius, "… this too, shall pass away."

The end of one thing and the beginning of another.

Once, as a young gymnast, I could tumble swiftly across a lawn then explode skyward, turning a double back somersault before landing on my feet.  Then one day – it was some years past – I performed that movement for the last time.

I didn't know it would be the last time; we seldom do. Endings have a way of sneaking up on us.

So do new beginnings – those "first times" we knew so well as children:  our first steps … first words … the first time we saw a butterfly … our first kiss. 

Youth brings first times, new beginnings. And in our elder years, we learn about last times and endings, and come to appreciate what we once had. But even in old age we can create new beginnings, and we have the blessing of memory, of remembering those first times …  That's why James Barrie, author of Peter Pan, once wrote, "God gave us memories so that we might enjoy roses in December."

Have you recollected the freshness of those first times in your life? Have you come to cherish the last times as well? New beginnings bring a sense of excitement, adventure, and discovery. Endings may bring a sense of poignancy, nostalgia, or bittersweet sorrow. But not always – for some beginnings (such as braces on our teeth) are not so welcome; and some endings may bring relief or satisfaction.

I close these contemplations with the wish that you'll continue to create new beginnings in your life; that you blaze new trails and meet new challenges.  And cherish the endings as well, knowing all the while that they bring new beginnings in their wake.

Even death, the end of his life, may open the way to a new beginning.  But that, my friend, is a mystery whose truth you will one day find out for yourself.

Chloe's Progress Report –  A Letter of Thanks from her Parents

You may recall our email some months ago about a little girl named Chloe who was in need of a bone marrow donor.  My daughter, who knows Chloe and her parents, asked me to spread the word. The response was positive and overwhelming. I thought you'd like to see the following letter that Chloe's dad sent to my daughter:

"Dear Sierra,

I hope you and your family have had a joyful holiday season.  Vicki, Chloe and I certainly did.

We are thankful for every moment we have and we are very hopeful for further progress with Chloe. She is doing well on her medicines, which has meant that her bone marrow transplant has been pushed back for a month or more.

Also, please send our thanks to your dad for spreading the word about Chloe.  We have heard from people as a result of his efforts.  We did a search on Chloe's name on the web and it produced a number of surprising results.

Very best to you,

Gordon and Vicki

Inspiring Photo

[Click Here]

The above photograph, a digital composite formed by merging multiple images from different sources (primarily satellites), depicts the landforms described and the positioning of lighted cities to the right of the day-night terminator line. You can see Europe and Africa when the sun is setting, with half the picture in daylight and half at night, with the darkness dotted by the cities' lights. The top part of Africa is the Sahara Desert.  The lights are already on in Holland, Paris, and Barcelona, but it's still daylight in Dublin, London, Lisbon, and Madrid, as well as the Strait of Gibraltar.  The Mediterranean Sea is already in darkness.

While it doesn't represent an actual Earth view one might see from space, it is so awe-inspiring, we thought you might like to see this unique composite view of a part of our beautiful planet.

May we do our best to care for it.

An Interview with Dan

In case you're interested:


Some Other Interesting Web Links

The following "Sensory Challenges," are tricky little test which take just a few minutes. The first was contributed by Holly D:

A Right-Brain/Left-Brain Color Test :


It may take you three or four tries to get the hang of it (and get 90-100 percent)  If at first you don't succeed . . .

After you take the test click on additional links that follow . . .

Another Sensory Test:


2004 Upcoming Seminars




March 2
7 to 9 p.m.
Discover U
An Evening with Dan Millman
Info/Reg. [click here]
March 5-7

Whidbey Island Writers Conference 
*Thurs., March 4 , Special Writing Workshop with Dan:
"The Spirit of Writing"
Info/Reg. 360-331-6714
For details [click here]
March 20
Evolving Times Expo
Peaceful Heart, Warrior Spirit
Info/Reg. 916-965-8463
April 13
7:00 p.m.
The Learning Annex
Sacred Journey and the Three Selves
Info/Reg. 888-532-6639
For details [click here]
April 14
7:00 p.m.
The Learning Annex
Sacred Journey and the Three Selves
Info/Reg. 888-642-6639
For details [click here]
April 15
7:00 p.m.
The Learning Annex
Sacred Journey and the Three Selves
Info/Reg. 888-592-6639
For details [click here]
April 17
East-West Bookshop
Heart of the Warrior's Way
One-Day Workshop
Info/Reg. 800-909-6161
April 21
Evening Seminar plus Q&A and Booksigning

Info/Reg. 916-929-9200

April 24
New Living Expo
Afternoon Seminar
Sacred Journey and the Three Selves
Info/Reg. 415-382-8300
May 2
Unity Center of Walnut Creek
Sacred Journey and the Three Selves
Info/Reg. 925-937-2191
May 7-9
Mt. Madonna Center
Peaceful Warrior Weekend

Info/Reg. 408-847-0406×6

For details [click here]

May 12
7:00 p.m.
The Learning Annex
Sacred Journey and the Three Selves
Info/Reg. 212-371-0280
For details [click here]
May 14-16
Peaceful Heart, Warrior Spirit
Special Weekend Retreat  
Info/Reg. 413-339-4954
May 19
Circles of Wisdom      
An Evening with Dan               
Info/Reg. 978-474-8010
For details [click here]

A Chinese Fable

A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One pot had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream… "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day while we walk back, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots in our own way. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting. Blessings to all crackpot friends.

Dan's New and Upcoming Books

Published January 1, 2004 – now available!

Chicken Soup to Inspire the Body & Soul

Motivation and Inspiration for Living and Loving a Healthy Lifestyle

Just in time to implement New Year's resolutions and get in shape for spring and summer. Enjoy encouraging, amazing, moving stories about women and men from all walks of life who have overcome adversity, recovered from or made the best of disabilities or injuries or illness, and who have reach great heights against the odds.

It's been fun collaborating with Jack Canfield and the great "Chicken Soup Team."  We've been told that this is one of the best Chicken Soup titles, and we expect it to do a great deal of good. A portion of the proceeds from every book sold goes to The Special Olympics.  To order online, or for more information, click on the title above.

Wild and Wacky Witticisms

A backward poet writes inverse.

A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.

Dijon vu – the same mustard as before.

Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two tired.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.

A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

A lot of money is tainted – It taint yours and it taint mine.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.

Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

Quarterly Quotes and Quips

Have the courage to act instead of react.
-Earlene L. Jenks

Our real values are expressed in our actions,
in what we do and how we do it.
-Robert Rabbin

One day in, retrospect, the years of struggle
will strike you as the most beautiful.
-Sigmund Freud

It's the things in common that make relationships enjoyable,
but it's the little differences that make them interesting.
-Todd Ruthman

A message for all seasons
from Dan's book

Living on Purpose
Straight Answers to Life's Tough Questions

The following is House Rule #5 – one of twenty-four principles presented in the book.

Q: Why do the same problems keep cropping up?

A:  House Rule #5: Lessons reappear until we learn them.

Some of us do the same thing over and over
and expect different results.
Intelligence allows for making new mistakes
and learning from them,
instead of repeating the old ones.
The more we learn,
the more adaptable we become
and the fewer mistakes we repeat.
Learning requires change;
change involves losing face;
losing face means dying to the old;
dying to the old gives birth to the new.
Nothing really changes until we do.

Q.  You once wrote that we “subconsciously train others how to treat us, via messages we send through body language, tone of voice, and other subtle cues and behaviors.” This strikes me as true, yet difficult to grasp. Could you elaborate on these subtle cues and how we sabotage ourselves with repeated failures without noticing how we’re doing it?

A.  Because our attention is often distracted, obscured, or lost in thought, we fail to notice many things. That is why the ability to pay attention to what is arising in any given moment—to our actions and their results—is one of the basic tenets of living on purpose. Failures and unwanted outcomes serve to generate new behavior and different approaches. The only real failure is the failure to learn from our mistakes. As the old saying goes, “Awareness of a problem is half the solution.” Until we become aware of actions, cues, and “messages” that were previously unnoticed, we repeat the old patterns. All of us have experienced this in ways as simple as trying to hit a baseball or as complex as the failure of multiple marriages.

Notice how you move, and the tone and timbre of your voice, in various situations—especially stressful ones where most of us tend to “go unconscious”—like when you have an emotional confrontation, or when you meet new people (and instantly forget their name). For example, I could be unaware that I bit my lip and frowned whenever I met someone for the first time. I might just be concentrating, but others may read my expression as unfriendly. Or, if I ask someone for a date by looking down at the floor and saying, “You wouldn’t want to go out with me sometime, would you?” I would be less likely to receive a “yes” than if I made eye contact, smiled, and changed my words to, “I’d love to take you to dinner Friday night—would eight o’clock work for you?”

Sometimes we don’t know what we did to contribute to an unwanted outcome, but we notice the result—and we vow to do something different next time. But different from what? Again, we return to the vital importance of awareness—paying attention. But suppose it’s not our behavior at all—suppose we ask someone out who doesn’t like the color of our hair or eyes or skin? Whatever the circumstance, if we can get honest feedback, then we learn the lesson—and won’t need to repeat it.

Few of us consciously intend to undermine our relationships or careers. Yet if we remain unaware of our (or others’) subtle cues, such as body language or tone of voice—failures tend to repeat themselves. By paying attention to our words, tone, and actions—and by noticing and learning from other people’s responses to what we say or do—we develop our talent to achieve a rapport. And by making what was subconscious fully conscious, we improve our batting average in life. No longer needing to repeat the same old lessons, we can go on to new ones. We attain more desired outcomes. This is why paying attention— shining the light of awareness into  nooks and crannies that once went unnoticed—is a primary skill in purposeful living.

Q.  I have been divorced twice—and my current relationship is struggling. I recently agreed to reconcile after a year’s separation. I know that you were once divorced but now have a good marriage of more than twenty-five years. Can you tell me what a successful marriage might look like?

A.  Most couples who stay together for more than twenty-five years would probably agree that marriage is a humbling school of self-knowledge, whose lessons reappear until we learn them. We eventually may learn that we enter a marriage carrying the baggage of our eccentricities and expectations. We may learn that if our expectations are idealistic, we’re soon disappointed. We learn that marriage provides the demand to get real and grow up or get out. Some of us choose the latter option, trading one partner’s irritating traits for someone with a new set of irritating traits. We end up repeating the same lesson until we finally commit to a relationship, for better or worse. Since commitment is not the same as masochism, most healthy people draw the line at substance abuse, violence, or other criminal behavior, or infidelity. The rest we work out.

Successful marriages are built with the bricks of friendship, communication, honesty, loyalty, and on occasion, putting our partner’s needs and wishes before our own. But nowhere is perfection a part of the equation. If we try to become one another’s therapists, teachers, or taskmasters—if we create a competition or continuous struggle to improve our partner (“If only s/he would stop doing X or start doing more of Y”) —marriage becomes war.

We can only control our own behavior. To develop a greater talent for relationship, start by admitting to yourself (and your partner) that you can indeed be self-centered and immature at times, and that you don’t always have a clear sense of how to be a good partner. Confess all this without expectations that your partner will reciprocate. Say “thank you” and “I’m sorry” at least once each day (and notice how you have good cause to do both). Think more in terms of “we” instead of “I.” Be prepared to support your partner more and defend yourself less. Be willing to lose an argument now and then. Build a home together by rebuilding your friendship.

Maybe a successful marriage comes down to the capacity to put up with each other Be guided by the words of Anaïs Nin who said, “What I cannot love, I overlook.” Strange as it may seem, by accepting ourselves and our partner as we are—even embracing one another’s peculiarities with affection and humor—we open the way to mutual growth and transformation. For example, my wife and I may have passionate disagreements, passing storms. Yet she is home, hearth, and safe harbor to me. She is my greatest critic and my most loving supporter. All part of the dance . . .

Continuing next month LIVING ON PURPOSE: Straight Answers to Life's Tough Questions – available at your local bookstore, or at amazon.com.

Until then —

With kindest regards,


Errata and Acknowledgements Dept:

In the last, Winter, issue of the PW Quarterly, we included an essay titled "I wish you Enough." After it appeared, Dan learned that it was written by Bob Perks. http://www.bobperks.com. We acknowledge him here, and have included the proper attribution/citation in our back-issue of the Winter Quarterly.