Today is my 65th birthday. Werner and Birgit Goldbaum of Germany made this cake in my honor and sent it, saying they were ‘pressing our thumbs to your heart.’ A German expression for warmest wishes.

Werner and Birgit's Cake

Werner and Birgit’s Cake


Seeing the cake was nearly as delicious as tasting it would have been. Happily, their message was the first of the day

I’m writing today to share my own birthday wish, or intention. But first I must rewind exactly three months.

Christmas morning I received an email from a TI student named Kirill, originally from Ukraine, currently living in Belgium. Our first exchange was pretty routine. He requested advice about ordering our downloadable Complete Self-Coaching Toolkit. I encouraged him.

Kirill sent regular progress reports. At first they were technical, but before long his writing began to suggest an especially strong personal connection with TI. I expressed my appreciation and encouraged him to practicing in that spirit.

Within a month he revealed he’d begun thinking about becoming a TI coach and included a link to video, asking if I felt he might qualify. That video showed that he’d already become a strikingly graceful swimmer.

I connected Kirill with TI Coach Marjon Huibers in Amsterdam. Not only because she was close by, even more because she’d shown herself to be a great mentor and exemplar for aspiring TI Coaches. Kirill took a workshop with her in Amsterdam. Besides his first formal coaching, Kirill also received Marjon’s enthusiastic recommendation for proceeding to coach training..

After attending a 10-day vipassana meditation retreat, Kirill said he wanted to share some connections he’d made between his meditation and TI. We agreed on a Skype chat, which happened just a week ago.

We spoke relatively little about meditation or the retreat. But Kirill said something that impacted me as much as anything I’ve heard said about TI. Describing his motivation for becoming a coach, he said “I believe Total Immersion can make the world a happier place. I want to be part of that.”

I overflow with happiness while practicing—and for hours after. That feeling has grown stronger year by year; in the past few months, it’s become my #1 practice goal. (Watch for a post soon in which I describe the reasons and ways that happens.)

Even so, Kirill gave voice to words I’d never actually spoken or written, which provided a sense of meaning and purpose greater than any I could have expressed myself.

So here is my birthday intention: During my 66th year I will consciously strive to make the world a happier place. Using the means most available to me.

I will start with those nearest and dearest, then expand the circle to all who are teaching, learning and practicing TI, and finally to those who should be. (i.e. Everyone.)

If you are reading this, I invite you—either in a comment here or on our Facebook group–to complete this sentence:

TI makes me happy by . . .