In February of 2020, my dad called me and said, “Sean, I do not know how much longer Poc (my grandfather) is going to make it. You should consider coming home.”
I was standing in my kitchen, alone on a Friday afternoon and realized what I needed to do.
I packed up that evening, and when I woke up on Saturday, drove 15 hours straight home. One stop in Ohio for gas and a bathroom break, and one stop as the sun was setting in West Virginia to run 4 miles because I was getting sleepy.
This was a very interesting month of my life.
For 27 days, I stayed at my dad's house, tried to balance work, exercise, sanity, speaking to my girlfriend, and spending every single one of my afternoons/evenings with my family at the hospice where my grandfather was.
See, Poc was a fighter. Or as some might say a peaceful warrior.
He was always the quiet one in the room. Never one to speak over others. But when it came down to it, he was funny, charismatic, and tough as nails.
With no food and water, we literally dripped water from a sponge into his mouth. He was weak and the doctors came in nightly to say, this might be the last night until it became a joke.
He defied all odds.
3-4 days max, became a month.
This was the biggest gift anyone has ever given me at the time, and it holds true to this day.
For 27 days, I saw my grandmother. Who after Poc passed, was my last living grandparent. That has not happened since.
For 27 days, I saw my dad and lived with him. With my parents being split since I was 4 years old, this was the first time in memory this has ever happened.
For 27 days, I saw my brother, who I haven't lived with since he left for college when I was 16.
For 27 days, I saw my family show up like it was their duty. And it was. Every day with a full heart they prioritized spending time together.
Weirdly, this was one of the most enjoyable months of my entire life. I have never got such consistent quality time with my family, where everyone was in deep thought and in a selfless mindset.
This was a gift from Poc.
One night while we were all eating dinner, my Uncle Fred told me about a book. He spoke about it with passion. It was Dan Millman, “Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”
I loved the title.
So did my brother.
Within a second Jeffrey ordered 2 copies and they arrived the next day.
The impact the book had on me before I even read it was amazing.
It entered my life during a time when my grandfather was being a peaceful warrior himself, my uncle who I admire spoke highly of him, and my selfless brother bought the book.
Talk about a way to make an appearance Dan!
So I read the book. I couldn't put it down. Literally, I read it in like 3 days which is equivalent to 4 hours to someone that reads at a normal speed.
Then, COVD hit.
Everyone stay in your house.
Well, I was like a caged tiger and worked out relentlessly in my house. But, the only thing to calm me down, was reading this book. It gave me peace.
I have now read it over and over.
Every time I read it, I reflect on something new.
I specifically try to take 1 major takeaway from the book every time I read it.
“What is the one reason he wrote this?” I wondered.
First, I thought it was to live in the moment. How “there are no ordinary moments in life” and with presence, we can see and appreciate that.
Then I realized that we should live by life's three laws. “Humor, Paradox and Change” and if we do not take ourselves too seriously, we will certainly be happy.
Ahh, the third time I really got it! “Unconditional Happiness.” Our happiness shall not be tethered to anything! (Hence the title of my podcast, “Happiness, Life’s Ultimate Discipline.”)
Okay… the fourth time I really nailed it. We are interconnected to everyone and everything so be peaceful, respectful, and love even those who are the hardest to love!
I have now read the book 8 times. There are notes everywhere and paper hanging out of it. It looks like it could be a World War II artifact.
The beauty of that book in particular is that every time you read it, you have something else you can learn and embody.
Embodying his words is the most fun. That is where the real value comes from.
Daily, I think of ways I can become a peaceful warrior and live the values and virtues I have learned or agreed with inside his writing.
Sharing this book is fun because it is a gift that keeps on giving! And my friends will talk to me about it and we can go back and forth.
Something about me is that I am definitely “old school.”
I learn by talking to people.
It is the most effective and enjoyable in my eyes.
It is also natural and keeps me on my “low-information diet”
I am on the computer minimally. Definitely never on social media. It literally never occurred to me that he might have written other books. And those might be good.
Well, he is a very accomplished author with almost 20 books. I am about 5 deep because I re-read them over and over!
Dan Millman has made such an impact on my life. So, when I started my podcast, I reached out to him.
Quickly and respectfully, he responded by saying he would love to join the podcast. Here is the episode!
As expected, he is a practitioner of his virtues and I recommend listening to the podcast, others he has been on, and definitely reading his books!
Thank you, Dan.