Gary van Warmerdam combines the wisdom spiritual traditions have in eliminating suffering with common sense in a way that is both practical and effective. Gary has studied with best selling author of The Four Agreements, Dr. Miguel Ruiz since 1994. His experiences include spiritual journeys worldwide and many trips exploring the teachings of ancient Mexico. He co-developed and taught the Four Agreements Facilitators training at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY and the Crossings in Austin Texas. His teachings are based in universal principles of common sense and unconditional love found in all spiritual traditions. Gary teaches workshops throughout the country, leads spiritual retreats to Mexico, and coaches individual clients. His book, MindWorks, is available in print and in digital formats in numerous places.
Gary has previous professional experience in sales and management in both small and large businesses. He served as a nuclear trained officer in the US Navy and as officer of the deck of an aircraft carrier. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
If you are interested in individual coaching sessions by phone. You can contact Gary at
I don't come at this approach to happiness from a naive background. I don't have a Pollyanna perspective about emotional suffering and pain that people experience. I hit my tolerance for emotions of fear, self judgment, insecurity, and frustration when the woman I was involved with got so angry that she picked up a fire poker and came at me. In her previous fits of anger she had thrown things, scratched me, or taken a swing at me but this was different, somehow surreal. On the off chance that it wasn’t a dream, I grabbed hold of the fire poker until she relaxed and put it down. I realized I was exhausted from trying to fix the relationship. I didn’t have the tools to change the dynamics of emotional drama we were both doing. Even if I did, I didn’t want to work on it in an angry environment. I packed up my things and left the relationship.
I had just left a career where I was burned out from being at work 80-100 hours a week. And now this. Somehow the two major areas of career and relationship that were supposed to be my source of fulfillment and happiness in life were failures for me. Fortunately it all happened at the same time. I say fortunately because I didn’t have a place to hide my attention and avoid dealing with how I created my unhappiness and chaos.
It took me a few days to stop finding fault with everyone else and acknowledge my half in all of it. I resisted swallowing responsibility for my choices but as I reviewed my half I couldn’t escape the truth. I was the one responsible for getting myself into the career and relationships I was in. I was responsible for choosing to stay when things were miserable. My girlfriend talked me into believing I was at fault for her anger, but I was the one who believed it. I resisted acknowledging until I couldn’t deny the truth. I finally accepted that I had a responsibility for the events and what I was feeling in my life. What surprised me was that it came with a great deal of power.
I realized that if I had the power to create my misery, then I also had the power to create joy and happiness as well. I just had to figure out how. I vowed that I would figure out what was in my unconscious decision making process that had gotten me into unhappy situations, and what had kept me there. I made a deep commitment to change this unconscious decision process so I didn’t end up there again. I committed to being happy no matter what. I would no longer live in the fear and miserable emotions that were filling my life.
Two weeks later I was sitting and listening to a gentle man by the name of don Miguel Ruiz. Nothing profound happened that evening, but his common sense, kind insights, and perspective were a breath of fresh air to my own incessant thinking. As I left that evening I knew that I could learn a lot from this man. At the time I was too unaware to realize the profound impact his simple wisdom and intent would have on my life over the coming months and years.
Since that day in April 1994 Don Miguel went on to write best selling books such as The Four Agreements, The Mastery of Love, and The Voice of Knowledge.
I worked with don Miguel personally to change all my beliefs and completely change my perspective on everything in life. I learned how to be happy had have a quiet and peaceful mind in the face of life’s chaos and conflicts. . Much of his teachings were filled with understanding of Spiritual knowledge from around the world. In his genius he would strip down esoteric teachings and explain them in common sense language. However his words were just the wrapping around the true gift of his unconditional love and acceptance.
Gary lives in Santa Barbara California with his wife Lisa. They have been together for 10 years.
If you are interested in individual coaching sessions by phone, you can contact Gary at