Through In the Footprints of Rumi courses and offerings, I share my privileges as someone familiar with the language, culture, and religious/spiritual background of Rumi to support individuals in understanding what Rumi said and taught which has been ignored, erased, or misinterpreted through translations and renditions in the West. I trust and believe in the brilliancy of each individual and their spiritual paths to then take Rumi's perennial teachings and marinate in and implement them in their lives.
In the Name of the One Who Gifted Me The Most Beautiful Tulip Grower of my Life.
I am a very fortunate man to have been raised with Sufi/Persian poetry. My mother and I would read Rumi together (we still do), and I remember how its music to my soul would ignite my heart from a tender age.
As early as the early 2000s, when I was in film school and when Rumi was becoming popular very fast due to Coleman Bark's The Essential Rumi, individuals, colleges, and institutions would invite me to speak about him and his poetry. I learned immediately that I couldn't even talk about Rumi's poetry most of the time, for there was so much context (religious, spiritual, cultural, geographical, etc.) missing. I spent quality time covering what words like wine, tavern, Beloved, and the fire of love and longing represented in Sufi and Persian poetry— a sacred art filled with metaphors and imagery and spilled over the brim with Quranic verses and Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad). I also had to tackle misconceptions and misunderstandings around Islam, Sufism, and that area of the world that is geopolitically called the middle east. In the midst of all of this, I wrote, directed, and shot Shams & Rumi: The Fragrance of Axis Mundi—a personal and poetic account of the pivotal transformation in the life of Rumi, which won many international film awards.
Demands for me to speak about Rumi continued. Grounded in my values, I was hesitant to jump on what I could see as the Rumi wagon—everyone talking, teaching, and writing about Rumi. But not about the Rumi I knew. I did not want to join the "spiritual circuits", nor did I ever want to be labeled by others as a scholar or spiritual teacher. Grounded in my ethics, I continued with life.
In the mid-2010s, while deep into the dark night of my soul, a light was kindled in my heart. A ladder descending toward that light was a deep realization that I did not have to freeze in fear of being labeled a "spiritual this or that", for I could encounter such claims with what is called in Tibetan Buddhism, The Vajra Sword. And it's been successful thus far. I wasn't interested in becoming "someone" shadowing Rumi's brilliant Sun. The voice behind my change of mind and heart informed me that I was to share my privileges with the non-Persian-speaking Westerners, and that's that. That was safe and inviting for me. I knew I could do this without getting in the way or making a "name" for myself, heeding the prayer of that beautiful saint, Francis of Assisi (Lord, make me an 'instrument' of your peace...).
In the middle of that darkness, and during my short stay in Taos, New Mexico, the entire curriculum and direction of the first 8-week course, which later became Level I, unfolded and revealed itself to me.
Since then, I have had the honor to gift my heart through conferences, workshops, retreats, 8-week-long Rumi courses, and writings. My lack of interest in wanting to become "someone" coupled with my deep ethics in refraining from tainting Rumi's pure teachings, which I have been gifted so freely, with capitalism, and abiding by and following the centuries-long tradition of the authentic paths, all proceeds are either obtained by the hosting body or donated to a charity in need.
I make my living as a spiritual, life, and executive coach and an organizational health and renewal consultant. I love nature and have a love affair with aspen trees, and can always be found on one of my contemplative sauntering in the mountains with scraps of poetry in my pocket in my home state of Colorado. If you see me, stop me and recite a poem from your heart, for my heart longs for that language that is beyond words.
To learn more about the menu of my offerings or for invitations, email me.
To book an online coaching session with me, visit HERE.
The Importance of a Native Persian-Speaking Guide
Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Balkhī Rumi is greatly appreciated in the West, but few understand the depth of his spiritual and cultural context and of the Persian language or know the many layers of meaning that have been lost in translations. It will be difficult to grasp Rumi's poetry without understanding his mystical language and background.
Rumi's poetry is an invaluable map of the heart and the spiritual realm.
Through these teachings and by providing key translations and contexts I support you in embodying and tasting the transformative depth and beauty of these practices and language inside of your own heart. The course aspires to be an informative and transformative experience.