“If you think there’s something missing in your life, it’s probably you,” quotes Jere Friedman from one of his teachers, Dr. Robert Holden. Many of us focus on getting from point A to point B — landing that amazing job or checking off that bucket list item — to achieve happiness and success. Why though, oftentimes, do we get to the arrival point and instead of lasting fulfillment, still feel something is missing?
Friedman, a soul-centered coach, breathwork healer, gongmaster, ordained minister and attorney, describes how in spiritual psychology, which he holds a masters in, he learned to use the goal-line of life (I want to be better at, more of, less of, etc.) to look at the soul-line of life (Who am I? Why am I here? How can I really make a meaningful difference in this world?)
“You already have the answers that you’re looking for. Sometimes, what you need is just the right questions,” says Friedman who practices out of Grand Junction.
He recently launched The Authentic Man Project, a men’s group in which he guides himself and other men to explore who they really are when they lean into expressing their masculinity from a place of love and their authentic self. The very first exercise involves taking five minutes with a partner to tell them who they are without talking about work or family. “It’s a tough exercise,” he shares. “Those men get to know each other, but not as a software developer, a tree trimmer or whatever, because that’s not who they are.”
When people find out that Friedman plays gongs and is an attorney they are surprised. But his response is always, “What I do is not who I am.” He found when he started sharing this sound healing side of himself with his attorney clients, they saw how he lit up and would say, “Tell me more!” He realized he was giving them permission to get out of the box and follow their own heart in some way.
Friedman expressed that he sees himself as a teacher only to the extent that he has learned from his own experiences. “I definitely do not have all the answers, and I may only be half a step ahead of you in my understanding and experience, but if I can help you take that next half step for yourself, that would be wonderful,” he shares.
Friedman coaches both individuals and organizations. He uses a client’s experience of structuring, say, a move into retirement from her law practice to deepen her spiritual inner-awareness and integrate those skills into surrender, acceptance and self-forgiveness. He says, “Then, no matter what is happening, like the you-know-what hitting the fan on a regular basis, we have tools to find inner peace and actually leverage those into personal growth and share that with others.”
“It’s about finding the love that is always there within us and the divine essence that we already are,” Friedman adds. That’s what the gongs and breathwork help with, as well. “It gets us out of our heads and into our hearts, where growth and healing happens. Those 18 inches are the longest and best journey you can ever take.”
He believes learning and growth can only happen when we step out of our comfort zone, and adds that “if I’m not learning and growing, I’m dying.” One of the scariest leaps out of his comfort zone was leaving behind his established communities and businesses in Phoenix to move to Grand Junction in 2020. What pulled him there was, “the strongest force in the universe — grandchildren,” he says.
When they first moved here, it didn’t outwardly appear that a spiritual community existed. But, Friedman insisted on feeling that they’re just hiding, and that if a safe space is created for them, they’ll show themselves.
After some time, towns such as Rifle started reaching out to him and he realized all these small communities throughout Western Colorado are thirsty for what he has to offer. He says now, “It is very clear to me that Spirit sent me to Grand Junction and my ministry is to serve Western Colorado as a coach and with sound medicine, meditation and mindfulness in whatever way, shape or form I can be of service.”
He founded the Spiral Light Sound & Meditation Center in Grand Junction in 2021. “It’s not about a building or a place; it is about community and bringing people together,” he says. “People have come from all over, and they’re thanking us for creating a space, saying ‘I didn’t know that these like-minded people are here.’ It’s wonderful and thriving!”
Originally published in Summer + Fall 2023 issue of Colorado YOGA + life.