When I was in my late thirties, I started to think more deeply about my life and the kind of person I had become. I knew I had a good life, yet I felt as if I were riding on an emotional roller coaster. Some days, I felt happy, creative, and optimistic. On other days, I fell into self-doubt, self-criticism, and sometimes the darkness of despair. Often, I swung between feeling down and upbeat during a single day. I began to wonder if there was a way to put a stop to this roller coaster way of living. Seeking answers, I read various self-help books, dug deeply into the works of Carl G. Jung, and studied the wisdom traditions of the great religions. I was looking for ideas to try. I found some useful ones, but they didn't stay with me for long, so I drifted back into my old pattern of mood swings. Some days, I gave up hope of ever achieving the states of happiness and inner peace that I had learned were possible. I longed to change, because I knew there had to be a better way to live. We all have moments like this when we're ripe for change. Our inner struggles and emotional pain may have reached a point where necessity requires it or, even when life is going well, we may feel a compelling urge to create something better. Sometimes, circumstances present opportunities for change that are so compelling, we can't pass them up. For example, we may meet someone by accident who, with ease and gentleness, shows us that there is a better way to live, then reveals how to do it. Part fact and part fiction, this is a story of such a time, when, in my early forties, fate led me to an old man, a gardener, who became my teacher and friend. In the short time of three months, he taught me about the sources of my personal suffering and how to cultivate change in myself to eventually bloom as a person. He told me, "We were born to bloom."