Dan Piquette is but one of over 7 billion people doing his best to learn how to live, without a comprehensive instruction manual. He has, however, certainly learned what not to do. For many years he sought happiness and meaning through pleasurable experiences and the accumulation of property and wealth. As these failed to provide depth and weight to a then unfulfilled life, baffled, he became plagued with stress, anxiety, depression and a general dissatisfaction for life. Despite having what society promised as the goods for security and happiness; career, house, family, money and toys galore, he turned to medications which gave him an illusory sense of peace, ease, happiness, purpose, and meaning. In Dan’s case, it turned out that he was just masking deeper issues that were keeping him from finding true happiness and meaning in his career as a nurse and his role as a father and husband.
Dan is a caregiver. He thoroughly enjoys caring for others. But because he did not know how to care for himself, only others, Dan started to deteriorate mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually in 2000 following a climbing accident resulting in three surgeries and the use of crutches for almost a year. His use of prescription medications turned to abuse. Dan lost his 20 year career as a nurse, his wife of 23 years divorced him, and most of his personal possessions were stripped away. Now sober in 2008, removed from everything he believed to be the source of happiness and meaning, he could not reconcile his new sense of peace and freedom. He was forced to evaluate his conception of life and how one finds happiness, purpose, and meaning. It turned out the deeper issues leading to his self-destruction stemmed from his misunderstanding of the true source of happiness and not acting in a manner deserving of self-respect.
Dan returned to school and received double Bachelor Degrees in Environmental Studies and Environmental Biology. He then pursued and earned a Master’s Degree in Environmental Philosophy, Food, and Social Justice. During this stint in school, Dan was introduced to meditation and mindfulness. Assisted by the wisdom gained through this meditation and mindfulness, what Dan discovered from his 6 year academic adventure is that the external environment is a reflection of our internal environment. The external environmental concerns and atrocities are a result of [collective] personal inner turmoil and conflict. With his new understanding that real change begins from within, Dan now considers himself as an internal environmentalist.
In 2017, Dan became a certified instructor of the Mindful Life Program’s Mindfulness Foundations Course. He has also recently started his own business, the Turning Leaf Foundation. Its mission is dedicated to improving environmental well-being through inner growth and development. Dan believes that as each of us grow in understanding and awareness, as we define what a meaningful life is for ourselves, as we act in accordance with our values, as we improve ourselves, the environment improves. After all, as John Francis states, “We are the environment.”
Besides being with friends and family, Dan enjoys hiking, riding bikes, spending time on the Oregon coast, being of service, and petting his cat, Lhotse.