I met Elizabeth in the spring of 2001, at a sustainability conference, in Southwest Florida. I fell in love with her the moment she walked through the door. That week, we trained, dined, and took walks along the ocean learning more about each other. It didn’t take long to realize that we were destined to meet, to come together, and bring something vital into the world. By summer of 2001, we began a rich conversation that has continued with us and into the current incarnation of our business and lives together.
Our conversation was focused on what, of the world’s most pressing issues, did we feel most inspired to contribute to? What did we believe was the most debilitating of trends and how could we address it utilizing our combined life wisdom, skills and education?
After months of debate and deep discussion, we agreed that stress is a bane of modern society, and more, it’s how we’re dealing with stress that’s the real problem. It’s a precursor to all disease, robs us of happiness, destroys relationships, and disconnects us from Source, God, something larger than ourselves. Moreover, the problem of stress does not lie outside of ourselves; the key to resolving the stress epidemic lies within each one of us – no matter what’s going on in the world! And that’s exactly opposite of what we’ve been taught to believe.
Spiritual traditions have long pointed us in this direction, showing that true transformation occurs from within. But what does that mean? How do we go within when we’ve been taught, programmed and reinforced to give all our attention to an externalized world and version of reality?
In the months and years to follow, I realized that all my choices led me to this point. My background as a young spiritual seeker; a long tutelage with my mentor, and special operations and intelligence legend, General Sam Wilson, my studies of International Affairs, U.S. Special Operations and low-intensity conflict, my involvement in martial arts, tennis, fitness and coaching – all this came to roost with me as Elizabeth and I honed in on our vision.
I spent my career focused on high-stress, high-performance scenarios, no matter if my subject was a tactical athlete, a sports athlete, or a spiritual warrior. I was fascinated with how people override basic human instinct to move toward danger, threat, or distress to save, improve or defend. Today, I’m more engrossed with how human beings can recover from stress and trauma, change their own programming, and live a life of resilience.
Elizabeth came to the conversation from another perspective. From the time she was young, she was a contemplative and deeply curious about being connected to something bigger and better spiritually and as a human being. Elizabeth became an outstanding writer and transformational teacher; I attended many of her writing workshops when we first met, marveled by the way she can weave an audience together and take them on a journey of self-discovery. I love that her toughest lessons became direct pathways to solutions. Elizabeth has studied various spiritual traditions for four decades, and this has influenced the foundational pieces of the work we do today.
So with our varied backgrounds - in short, me focused on performance and Elizabeth focused on recovery - we set out to design a training to help people gain mastery over their stress response, negative patterns, and general overwhelm by getting in the driver’s seat of their own reaction and response to life. The next question we delved into is, how do we create a method that is a meaningful yet systematic approach to becoming more self-aware, self-regulated and ultimately, self-masterful?
Greater yet, we had to figure out how to create such a model while resonating with the western, super-performance mindset. With years of development and exploring various iterations, we developed the BASE-R Method® as the skills-based approach in our education and training model. Part of the genius is that BASE-R is already happening within you, whether you’re aware of it or not. The training shows you ways of moving from default to deliberate using functions that are already occurring.
During our developmental years, we were fortunate to meet some of the most forward-thinking experts in the field of traumatic stress and recovery. Dr. Robert Scaer, Neurologist, Traumatologist and author of The Body Bears The Burden, The Trauma Spectrum and 8 Keys to Brain and Body Health, became our mentor and trainer for the better part of a decade. Dr. Scaer helped us to decode the 101-basics of the brain and offer a simplified way of teaching the neurophysiology of stress in ways that made it accessible and relevant to a lay audience.
I’ll never forget the fist time Elizabeth and I listened to Dr. Scaer to speak to a group of Marine Corps care providers we were working with in South Carolina. We sat in the back of the room with our jaws slack, realizing that the stress and trauma response that he was describing, is happening inside of each one of us – no matter what uniform we wear, no matter what walk of life we come from. Dr. Scaer and Dr. Peter Levine’s work, helped us to understand the primitive nature of our behaviors as well as the cortical drive to evolve, and the we each have the potential to advance beyond the primitive forces and into much higher human potential. The missing link – is within.
We also studied and worked with Dr. David Berceli, founder of Trauma Release Exercises (TREs) and author of The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process. Dr. Berceli worked to help us develop the recovery part of our training model, ensuring that participants have a physical pathway for releasing held tension in the body. Quite naturally, clearing the physical channels helps to clear and release other channels- mental, emotional, and even spiritual. Dr. Berceli’s work really helped to further ground our model in human physiology and offer a great tool for riding the waves of stress and anxiety.
In 2003, we launched our company as MAGIS Group LLC and delivered variations of our training Optimal Performance under Stress™ (OPS) to markets including healthcare, corporate and sports. In 2004, we began customizing the training for U.S. military personnel with the goal of impacting the effects of post-traumatic stress, performance and recovery from constant high-intensity deployments. In 2006, we founded the non-profit ONE Freedom to offer the training to returning veterans, wounded veterans, and military families. We raised over $1M and maintained an 80%+ program percentage of funds going directly to provide events for veterans and families. In 2009, MAGIS Group was awarded a contract to train over 6,000 U.S. Army personnel on the front and back end of a 15-month deployment to Afghanistan and another unit redeploying from Iraq. The contract also funded a 3-year $3M research study of the OPS program and its impact on those troops. For more information, visit the Science page.
To date, Elizabeth and I, with the help of an amazing team of trainers, advisors and champions have trained over 20,000 people nationally and abroad, and we feel like we’ve just begun growing toward our true potential. It has been it’s own story of stress and trauma along the way, but more than anything we have sustained ourselves by practicing what we preach, staying true to our vision, and expanding into what we believe is possible.
In March of 2017, we are thrilled to announce the rebranding of MAGIS Group as EvenPulse®: The Science of Human Resilience. This website, and our online presence, allows us to reach more people than ever before. It lowers the threshold for individuals to have access to the training, while continuing our custom services for onsite and one-on-one coaching.
It is our honor to have served humanity in this way - and it is our intention to continue to grow and empower individuals to be more freedom-seeking in all they do. We hope you find what you’re looking for – and that YOU take your rank among the masterful – in life, and love, and mission.