Can you imagine, one day looking back on your life of over seventy-five years, and realizing you have walked a parallel path with extensive history? It is so important for every human being to realize that with life comes the constant ebb and flow of change, and if you are the type to resist it….maybe find a Life Coach and do some work around your resistance, if you’d like to experience more ease! Said in jest, but this week’s graduate has a compelling story of change, dreams, and blessings that created a lifetime of memories and experiences. This is the epitome of “living life”.
Llewellyn D. Howell grew up on a farm in western New York where hard work was the only mode of life he and his family knew. His father always worked a minimum of two jobs, which required him to work days and nights, so sometimes he wouldn’t even see his father. Although Llew developed many life skills as a farm boy, by the time he was seventeen, he was ready to move to something else.
His first dream was fulfilled when he earned two college scholarships, including one from Bakery Confectionery Workers Union of America, one of the few union scholarships given in the country at that time. This allowed him to escape to the University of Michigan! While he was there, he realized his next two goals. One was to teach abroad and the other was to find the small town of Bavaria. He shared a memory of keeping a photograph in the back of a boring German book, and he would often come to that page and hold the photo and think, “Someday, I’m going to go there.” At the beginning of his junior year, he transferred to the State University of New York at Brockport. He developed another dream: “I wanted to be a teacher. I loved being in the classroom, being with children all day, helping to shape their lives. I finally developed some steam in my academic work.”
“Now I had two dreams. I began trying to put them together. My high school social studies teacher had stirred an interest in the world of global politics. I was hoping that I would be able to become a teacher in another country and travel to see the wondrous sites of the world.”
In his travels, he began to really understand the impact of religion and different peoples. Read what Llew has to say about the next phase of his life:
I spent long hours debating with myself and asking the advice of others about what to do next. Graduate school? Work in the Peace Corps administration? Work elsewhere in the US government (e.g. State Department)? Go back to my home town? I narrowed this choice to graduate school, then debated whether I would go into philosophy or political science. These choices weren’t so much about choosing between dreams but were, rather, about finding a fit that I would be comfortable with, where I would wake up every day looking forward to it, where I could end every day with some sense of accomplishment.
In 1962, I applied to be a volunteer in the newly formed Peace Corps. Years later, on my way home from Malaysia, I stopped in Germany to spend four months studying German and to search for the town pictured in my German book. I lived in one, Grafin, near Munich. I found Bavaria, and traveled around it and other places around it. One significant dream had been fulfilled, the one that started it all, the one that settled the course of the rest of my life.
In my academic life, I chose Political Science with a specialization in International Relations. I was accepted at the Florida State University with a teaching fellowship. I completed an internship at the Department of State and then was employed by the Peace Corps to train outgoing Malaysia Volunteers in Hawaii in cross-cultural relations. I interrupted this piece of my academic dream to insert two others. First, a story in itself: I married my Florida sweetheart, Suzy. Then, second, I took her to Paris to in the heart of the city for a romantic year, learning French at the Sorbonne and traveling widely in Europe. These are the things that other people dream of. I lived this dream. Suzy and I have now been married for 48 years.
Llew went on to do is NDEA Fellowship at Syracuse University, researched five southeast Asian countries, lived in Manila and Singapore, worked at the University of Hawaii, then the American University of Washington, DC and eventually made it to Arizona where he was hired at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. To say the least, Llew was a world traveler and seasoned researcher. He says, however, “There comes a time when your body tells your head to slow down.” Looking to massage for support, as he had been for years, he realized his interest in massage was shifting. “I was passively studying writing at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA when I happened across some students who were studying massage and the Esalen technique. Although I had been a consumer of massage for many years, I hadn’t before thought much about the varying techniques for giving massage, what their objectives were, nor even what their names were (Lomi Lomi?). I hadn’t had massages frequently enough to even compare what one therapist did with respect to another. Massage was massage. I decided it was time to learn.
I began combining writing courses with massage courses at Esalen. I found almost immediately, that giving a good massage was as rewarding as receiving one. On the basis of advice I received from two massage therapists I knew in Phoenix, I enrolled at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) in Tempe, Arizona as a part-time student in massage therapy. The more courses I took there, the more invested I became. I loved it! There was something in it that balanced out all of the conflict that I had dealt with in my studies and writing, including stints with the U.S Department of Defense and as a contractor for the Saudi Ministry of Defense My dreams have all been fulfilled. More than anyone deserves or could likely expect.”
At 75, Dr. Howell feels he has lived a full life, and says his plans for retirement (smirks and said, “If you can call it that.”) fall into three categories: writing books, drawing, and massage. “I want my massage to be part therapy for me and part contribution.” He doesn’t think he’s done yet at SWIHA, as he will probably take some continuing education courses. Age should not be a factor in the process of learning or even career. There is a misconception that once you hit a certain age, changing careers is impossible. This great graduate story is one to inspire and encourage. It is never too late!
SWIHA has so much more than just massage. From hypnotherapy to yoga teacher training to natural aesthetics, we have a program for you! Explore your greatest potentials for a fuller, happier life. Join our SWIHA commUNITY and meet people like Llew, who will expand your current state of believing, of what is possible!