2. There are signs… We are like Native American trackers in life, observing and following, the signs and symbols, on the roads we travel.
3. The heart speaks… We have within us a center of stillness surrounded by silence (Dag Hammarskjöld). That soft, powerful voice you hear between the silence is your heart speaking. What does your heart say? What will it have you do?
4. There is a way… No matter how challenging life my seem, there is a way. My friend, there is always a way.
These Four Rules for the Discernment of Spirit are from my dear professor Father John Dunne. He passed away on November 11th with the love and admiration — in his midst — of thousands of students, colleagues, clergy, friends and family members.
Father Dunne was so prolific he taught more students theology at Notre Dame than any other professor. Ever. Think about that for a moment. That’s a lot of Divine teaching at a place known for its Divine teaching. Father Dunne was truly a living legend at Notre Dame, and now, the word ‘legend’ seems too small of a way to describe a man of such gentle brilliance, wisdom and love. He is now a beloved Christian mystic, who I would like to think knew exactly what he was doing when he shuffled off the mortal coil on Veterans Day. Things are meant and there are signs.
And so I continue on a path to put into action what I learned from him.
Last year I sent an email about my hospice volunteering at the VA with an organization called the Twilight Brigade. I am happy to report the state of the Brigade is strong. In Denver alone, the Twilight Brigade recruited and trained nearly 50 new hospice volunteers to be a compassionate presence at the bedside of the dying. To those of you who have supported the Twilight Brigade on its mission to ensure No Veteran Dies Alone, I say thank you!
During the last year, I have heard some of the most incredible stories of courage, honor and heroism at the bedside of veterans. These experiences have inspired me to take everything I’ve learned the last four years and start writing a book to chronicle my investigative study into the nature of Death, and what it means to truly live, from the perspective of America’s greatest heroes.
A friend recently asked me… is this going to be another book about a famous near death experience or someone’s journey into the Afterlife? Nay Nay, I said.. it may contain such topics, but it will be an inspirational self help book about living, not dying! Through a series of articles I will share with you everything I’ve observed at the bedside, and the “system for living well” I discovered from those who served our country. What I’m doing with this book is ”reverse engineering life,” where I apply the secrets of Death, to help you and your loved ones LIVE better, healthier lives.
I am told by some of you a good book title is short and snappy, and if it rhymes, even better. I listened! and am considering the title: Articles For God Particles. I’m curious, what do you think of it? Does it sound astro-quantumly interesting or cosmically cheesy? Does it sound like something you would pass over on Amazon, or something that strokes your curiosity? Every person on this email is someone I consider a part of my close network of family, friends and/or a trusted investor or entrepreneurial advisor, so please, I’d appreciate to hear what you think.
I know, I know, I haven’t connected with some of you in quite awhile, but lo!, I’ve managed to keep your email for this magical yule tide moment. If we haven’t spoken in some time, know I would love to catch up in 2014. I deeply value you; your opinion, perspective, insight and advice.
[Note: Regarding the book title, I did at one point consider Jesus Rides a Seven Headed Seraph, but thought that might come off a little, well, you know, weird.]
In doing preliminary research for my book, I learned around 10,000 people turn 65 every day. Think about that for a moment. That’s a lot of Baby Boomers — just shy of seven “crossing the threshold” every minute. With an average life expectancy of 76 years for men, and 81 years for women, (in the United States) palliative and end of life care must be something we face — now more than ever — with great knowledge, love, courage, dignity and compassion.
That’s why I’m writing this book. It will be for the sons, daughters and grandchildren of the Baby Boomer generation. We all need (and deserve) a good caregiver when it comes to facing life’s definitive journey, and this book will help you and yours be that caregiver — from a unique, spiritual perspective — when it matters most. [Note: Don't get too excited, I'm still slogging through — gulp — the first chapter. But a great literary journey begins with a first, mighty step!]
After studying theology and philosophy at Notre Dame, co-founding and exiting two technology companies, becoming a hospice volunteer, and learning there is so much magic and wonder to life, I can officially say… my heart spoke just as Father Dunne said it would. I’ve been inspired by many of you on this email to go into what I call the miracle makin’ business. Yes, you read that correctly. I want to create a new entrepreneurial vertical…miracle makin’.
I’m happy to report things are moving forward with my fledgling venture/impact fund, Miracle Ventures. I truly believe we all have the ability to perform modern day miracles by feeding the hungry (agriculture), healing the sick (healthcare) and transforming the consciousness of the planet (technology and media).
Miracle Ventures is my bold endeavor to unite a cohort of conscious investors and philanthro-capitalists to make early stage investments into companies founded by the world’s best entrepreneurs, who are solving the world’s biggest challenges. I’m looking for partners, advisors and a few good souls to join my miracle makin’ posse with your time, talent and investment treasure. Perhaps, you are one of them.
And then suddenly, I found the first miracle venture.
Not long ago I discovered a company in Denver called Divine Mercy Supportive Care. They are a start-up hospice with a mission to apply a unique standard of care for palliative and end of life services. For those of you in Denver, please watch your inbox for a Save the Date invitation the next couple of days. Come join us for Wine and Tapas on February 15th in Cherry Hills. I look forward to sharing with you our grand vision of “Intensive Caring.”
And to everyone else, I say thank you. You read this entire email — and for that I am most grateful, and very impressed! I’ve sent an end of year update like this the last few years and am humbled and honored to keep you posted on what I’m up to. I’ve had such a good response sharing anecdotes and tidbits with close family and friends – like the one from Father Dunne above – I am going to try to send an occasional inspirational story every quarter (or so, hopefully) going forward.
If these sort of inspirational updates aren’t for you, no worries; you can simply let me know you are a soulless atheist curmudgeon by leaving my VIP personal email list down below . I’ll be depressed for a few moments, but will quickly rebound, smile, and remember the wise words of the mystical Padre Dunne. Things are meant; there are signs; the heart speaks; and there is a way. I hope these pearls of wisdom can offer you insight and courage in some way this holiday season.
Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,
PS: To learn more about the life of Rev. John Dunne, C.S.C., there are two great articles from Notre Dame Magazine here and here. The Four Rules for the Discernment of Spirit were inspired by Father Dunne’s love of Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings. If you would like to read some Dunnian theology, his final book, Eternal Consciousness, is for you.
PPS: If you would like to support the Twilight Brigade with a tax deductible gift… shooow them the moneyyy. You can make like Jerry McGuire or Santa Clause and leave a gift to the Twilight Brigade on PayPal.
PPPS: Over the last 29 years, I’ve learned I’m one of hundreds, maybe thousands, of people on the planet with the name ‘Sean Murphy.’ Yes, it’s a jolly good name for a giant Irish leprechaun such as myself, but some well to do author types have provoked me to consider going by a nickname/pseudonym for the book. For my new name and miracle ventures unseen, sit tight for a wonderful 2014!