The Thoughtful Life and Local Community Groups

Daniel’s vision for The Thoughtful Life includes presenting a series of free and low cost classes. His present vision for these classes is peer-led sessions that will emerge in the following three forms:

Community Forums

Daniel had been working with his friend Dave Gould on The Green Room, a version of what Daniel had been hoping to do with his early attempts at creating the Center for Humanist Inquiries. Dave presented Daniel with the logo and idea of “Coffee with Dan,” initially intended as a community analogue of the student groups that met around the themes and ideas of The Green Room project.

Although the timing did not work out for that idea, Daniel used “Coffee with Dan’ as a way to generate community forums and workshops. Beginning with a forum held for candidates for city council that focused on core values and decision-making processes, and often in conjunction with other community partners and events, Daniel provided a way for local experts to have time to make thoughtful opinions on what they had learned about living well.

As a branch of “Coffee with Dan,” Daniel co-founded a “Read Me Weird Things” book group with Vero Rose Smith of the UI Stanley Museum of Art. These free events featured texts (fiction and philosophy) that introduced ways of thinking differently for participants. Daniel and Vero also co-presented the “Going Home” series as part of the UI’s theme semester in 2019. Although “Coffee with Dan’ will be used to refer to Daniel’s individual consultations as spiritual director and philosophical life coach moving forward, Daniel’s commitment to continuing to program and serve as moderator for community forums will continue.

Identity Recovery Groups (Currently finding professional partners)


As a theologian, Daniel has spent time researching addiction and the way that twelve-step groups provide a form of recovery that echoes traditional theological structures. As an agnostic theologian, Daniel is interested in creating recovery groups that move away from a focus on what is in control and an identity formed by history to forming groups dedicated to recovering identities toward the creation of a positive future. Rather than focusing on what is anonymous (while nonetheless remaining committed to confidentiality), these groups will emphasize how to know who you are. At present, Daniel’s vision for his identity recovery groups will take the following forms:

1: Recovering identity from substances (alcohol, narcotics, food)

2: Recovering identity from behaviors (co-dependency, gambling, compulsions)

3: Recovering identity from ideologies (religious/economic/nationalist/racist)

4: Recovering identity from trauma

He is hoping to find experts in the fields of recovery from a variety of different fields who will assist in creating, forming, and leading this approach to healing and toward living more thoughtfully.

Living The Thoughtful Life

Understanding the loneliness that arises in contemporary digital culture, Daniel also hopes to form groups for adults interested in living with more thoughtfulness and intentionality. These groups will likely initially be formed around an exploration of the different spaces introduced in Making Space for Yourself, but Daniel hopes that these peer-led groups will begin to form their own identities, values, and supportive ways of promoting a thoughtful life of wonder, joy, openness, and delight.