In Memory of Stan Dale
-HAI Global Newsletter June 8, 2012
Five years ago, on June 8, 2007, Dr. Stan Dale, founder of the Human Awareness Institute (HAI) passed away. Stan left a rich legacy behind: beloved by thousands of workshop participants; mourned by his surviving wife Janet and his six children and 10 grandchildren; author of two books – “My Child, My Self” and “Fantasies Can Set You Free”; and, of course, The Human Awareness Institute and HAI Global.
In the years since his passing HAI has not just survived but thrived, expanding into new markets, reinventing the business structure to be successful today and on into the future, touching more and more participants with our message of love.
It all began with Stan, the self-proclaimed “kid from the Bronx,” who passionately and tirelessly championed a vision of a world where people live together in dignity, respect, understanding, trust, kindness, compassion, reverence, honesty and love.
In honor of this anniversary here are thirteen remembrances, tributes, appreciations to Stan from some who knew him well – his wife Janet, the seven current facilitators, and five surviving former facilitators. For those who knew him, a chance to remember, for those whose paths never crossed his, a chance to meet him through our eyes.
Stan Dale: December 20, 1929 – June 8, 2007
Stan the Man
By: Janet Dale
To me Stan Dale was the most unique man who ever lived. He lived “out on the skinny branches” of life. Many times in his radio career, as an announcer and as a newscaster, Stan’s perseverance in standing up against injustice got him fired, but he never gave up pursuing the truth. That strength had him create HAI, which has touched so many lives. Thank you Stan!
He had the wisdom and generosity to open the space for others to continue the work of HAI after he was gone. The spirit in which this work was created is being continued with our new staff and the spirit has deepened over time. I know Stan is shining down on us with a big smile and saying thank you guys for taking care of his “baby”.
Stan touched many lives even when he wasn’t leading a HAI workshop. We would be in a restaurant, on an airplane or on a cruise and he would strike up conversations with strangers that would become life-changing dialogs. (It used to drive his kids crazy.) Many women would say to me that they wanted what I had with Stan. I would gently smile, and…I don’t believe there is another man quite like him.
Stan loved being a romantic and loved to visit the locations of our favorite romance movies and recreate the love scenes. We recreated scenes from “Pretty Woman”, “The Thornbirds”, “Same Time Next Year”, and many more – in Venice, Rome, Paris, Hawaii. Perhaps my favorite memory of these was the time we spent at the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island, setting for the movie “Somewhere in Time”. I know we’ll meet again, like the lovers in that movie did, on the day I leave my body. Stan will be standing there with his arms out to me. We went many times to Giverny to visit Claude Monet’s home and gardens. I’m sure Claude Monet was as gentle and loving as Stan. There were so many more places and I won’t regale you with more, just know there are tons more. I spread his ashes at our favorite romantic places. Someday I will get to all of them.
There was a profound part of his life that many didn’t know. I loved seeing him with his six kids and how loving they were as a family. I smile remembering the sweet neck biting and his famous stretching-his-arm-so-it-looks-like-it-keeps-growing trick. It was a delight to see him cooing with the new grandbabies and blowing on their belly as they laugh. Our family has many rich heartfelt memories and deep belly laughs.
The energy Stan had was endless. He was fueled by his love and verve for life. To see him dancing in Disneyland and joyously singing, being the happiest man alive, smiling and saying hi to all the kids. I had the privilege to see the youth in him and we played well together.
There were so many nuances to Stan. He cared so much for people and wanted them to be loved and happy in life. He was a teacher in colleges and gave countless talks for free. He went on television and shared his loves and his love of HAI and got a lot of flak.
Stan was an amazing husband, soul mate and partner for both Helen and me. The home we all shared had many holiday, birthday celebrations and love. Stan was right, it IS a wonderful world. When that song played he would cry from being touched by it.
Janet, Stan and Helen Dale
I consider myself the luckiest person on this planet to be loved and adored by Stan Dale. The depth of our connection is immeasurable. Stan the man was my man and he basked in that. To love and adore him is the best part of life I could ever have.
I still love and adore Stan and feel him in my heart. Out of all that Stan Dale did, he was the best husband, lover, soul mate and partner in HAI.
His deep blue eyes beamed with warm love and looking into them could get you lost in a deep warm cavern of love.
Darling Stan, you are the beat in my heart and always with me!
My Spiritual Brother
by Peter Rengel
Stan was leading my first Level One in 1988. In the Sunday morning Buddy-up, he guided us to have one buddy stand while the other bowed and kissed their feet. In my travels to India, I had had the honor of kissing the feet of several gurus, so I joyfully bowed and kissed my buddy’s feet. I loved the feelings of surrender and reverence for my buddy that were elicited in me. Then, when we switched and my buddy kissed my feet, something ripped open in my heart. I had never even had a thought about someone honoring me in that way. Who was I to have someone bow to me? I wept and wept as I allowed myself to be revered by my buddy.
I went up front in the next Large Group Share. As I spoke to everyone, with their support, I tenderly felt further into my Beauty. Then Stan spontaneously came out of his chair and bowed and kissed my feet. His tenderness and reverence took my tears to another level. Then, as he finished and stood up, I bowed and kissed his feet as well. When I stood up, his tears were flowing too. As we looked into each other’s eyes, we met as spiritual brothers.
Visiting “Stan’s” Geisha House
by Anne Watts
One of my favorite memories of Stan is having the honor to be with him in Japan in 1992 and experiencing his return to the geisha house that had such a profound effect on him.
At the beginning of every Level 1, Stan would tell the story of his conscription into the army and being sent to serve in Japan. While there, he was invited to a cast party at the magnificent geisha house named Hakunkaku where Joe Butterfly, a Keenan Winn movie, had been filmed. Stan struck up a friendship with the owner, and was invited to live there. While living there, he had two major experiences that influenced his life and work.
The first was in watching the geishas treat everyone with the utmost dignity, respect and even reverence. Stan thought, “Why don’t we all do that all the time?”
The second was when the head geisha taught him that he could see the magnificence of the universe in a single stone. He realized that this awareness radiated out to everything and everyone.
These experiences made the foundation of who Stan chose to be.
Our producer in Japan, Erina Tate, graciously arranged for Stan to return to the geisha house, now a wedding palace. I accompanied him along with Janet, my partner Mark and a small group of HAI Interns from the US and Australia. Seeing Stan’s ecstasy was a joy to behold and share. Hakunkaku was every bit as stunning as he remembered it, with its lush gardens, waterfalls and graceful architecture. With the help of Erina’s translation, he was able to share memories of the previous owner with a man there who remembered him. Stan was especially excited to discover the room that he had lived in, as well as a painting in the hallway exactly where it had been 36 years before.
Of course, he and Janet took the opportunity to romantically renew their vows in the golden wedding chapel, witnessed by the rest of us.
Janet, Stan, Anne, Mark, Betty, Wendy & Sinan
Because of who he was and because of his experiences at Hakunkaku, Stan went on to profoundly touch the lives of tens of thousands of people around the world, and continues to do so through his legacy. I, personally, am deeply grateful for the amazing gifts that he has given me, and for the extraordinarily rich life made possible by those gifts.
A Role Model for Loving
by Peter Sandhill
Stan was an amazing man and presence, in all phases of his life. Being close to him during the time of his illness and death was an amazing honor. On several occasions, Sarah and I visited him in the hospital, with Janet holding vigil day and night. I was struck by how much light there appeared to be in the room. Whenever anyone came in, Stan’s face would light up as he welcomed them.
Impressively, he knew every nurse, assistant and doctor by first name and never failed to ask them something personal about their life. He was always so inclusive.
Stan saw everyone. He always looked for the goodness in people. At workshops, he would often find the gold in people’s hearts, especially those who had lost touch with that part of themselves. He was amazing at being fully present with each person, no matter how busy his life appeared, even when he was ailing. What a role model for loving.
Getting Stan on the Phone
by Donna Spitzer Rengel
My story of Stan Dale dates back to 1988. Like many in the HAI community have experienced, a friend of Peter and me had just come back from her Level One, saying “I just did this amazing workshop this weekend…you have to go!” I’d heard of Stan Dale, and was a bit skeptical from what I’d heard. But this was early on in my relationship with Peter and we needed some help with relationship issues. So, we found Stan’s phone number, and decided to call him in the hopes of setting up some private sessions with him.
We phoned. Stan picked up the phone to greet us, perfect strangers, with a warm hello. This busy man had just gotten back from leading a citizen’s diplomacy trip to Russia that very day. Yet he listened and spoke to us heart-fully as we answered his question “tell me what’s going on with you two” for nearly an hour, before informing us that he no longer did private counseling(!). I recall him saying something like, “you sound like two good, well-meaning people; there’s a workshop next weekend, why don’t you just come join us, see what happens?” We did, of course, and have been coming back to the Room of Love for 24 years.
There are many times I can hear the echo of Stan’s voice in that room, and am gratefully for the fullness of the life that has evolved for me from that very first phone call, and on.
Entertaining With Stan
by Sarah Sandhill
Stan had so many amazing qualities that it is very hard to pick just one. He has left his legacy in the continued teaching of his heart’s work and in the hearts and minds of so many people who have had the good fortune of knowing him.
Along with Stan’s intelligent mind and open heart, he had an outrageous sense of humor. He was very willing to be silly or look funny in entertainment exercises and I took full advantage of that. I have a long history of doing playful and creative entertainment. Stan loved it when I would call on him to come up and join me in some skit I had dreamed up. He would ask me at dinner, before entertainment, if I was going to ‘pick on’ him that evening and I would always say, “I haven’t decided yet”. He was always hoping that I would.
I had him growling like a bear on cue with a song, singing opera with me, doing a ballet dance after I dressed him in a little pink tutu, barking like a dog in the song, “How much is that doggie in the window? Woof Woof”, singing a duet in German (when neither one of us knew how to speak German), wrapping him up in kitchen wrap from head to toe, putting a condom over his foot all the way up to his ankle, and so many more. I could always see Janet and Helen, out of the corner of my eye, laughing hysterically at what he was willing to subject himself to.
I miss laughing and crying together and being so touched by the depth of his caring and the unconditional love he had for everyone.
At the Door of Opportunity
by Dr. Felicia Williams Cosey
Stan Dale was a mentor and catalyst in my life. Like this picture, Stan always stood at the door of opportunity, new worlds, challenging possibilities. When I first met Stan, he pushed me to look through a pain and shame about my body I’d carried all my life to see the beautiful, confident goddess that waited “on the other side of the door”.
I watched Stan do this with everyone, across the UK, Eastern Europe, Australia and the US. He seemed to always see the beauty in everyone, and somehow magically managed to reveal it to each person in a way that was undeniable. I watched people transform in his presence, learning to believe in themselves as never before. And I always appreciated his sense of humor, and inimitable way of saying “Thanks, Ralph!”
Thank You Stan, Thank You Ted
by Jason Weston
As I sit to write about Stan, who died almost five years ago, it is just two weeks since my brother Ted was killed. I still miss Stan a lot. And I am still raw and aching about the murder of my brother.
It would be hard to find two men more outwardly dissimilar. Yet I know that each had a heart of gold. I knew Stan for 27 years, just half the time I knew Ted, since my birth 51 years ago. And I learned so much from each of them. The biggest lesson I got from both of them was to love unconditionally. Stan did this in his big, public way, through HAI and by his living example. Ted showed his unconditional love through his unqualified dedication and commitment to those he loved.
Another big lesson both men taught me was to live life fully. Ted did it by standing solidly in himself, and approaching nearly everything with unbridled gusto. His energy was a tribute to his unique blend of testosterone and enthusiasm. Stan’s own passion for life was palpable. I remember going to his house early in my friendship with him to find Stan cutting branches from a tree with a handsaw. Seeing Stan working hard and dripping with sweat in the Santa Rosa sun was completely outside my image of him. I asked him about it and he said enthusiastically “I love physical labor.”
Stan used to say, “Fear is the dirtiest four letter word. What do I have to be afraid of? What’s the worst they can do to me? If you’re afraid to live fully, you’re already dead.” Both Stan and Ted were unafraid to live their lives as they saw fit. Each of them was, in his own way, bigger than life. And each was also so very human.
These two men will live on in my heart as long as I live, their lessons gently and not so gently inspiring me to live fearlessly and lovingly. Especially when I forget.
Thank you Stan. Thank you Ted, I love you.
by Barbara Musser
My nickname for Stan was “Wild Thing”, taken from the old song by the Troggs . The first lines are : “Wild Thing, You make my heart sing, You make everything groovy…”
Stan was truly a Wild Thing when it came to love, intimacy and sexuality. And to facilitate with him was a wild ride, because I never knew what he would say or do next. He had no qualms about following what was happening in the moment, and not what was supposed to happen next according to our script. This resulted in some very interesting workshops, always-great gifts to all present.
Stan was also a Wild Thing when it came to traveling. I don’t know how he did it, but we were always upgraded on our flights and in hotels, and often received the gift of a bottle of champagne or special snacks. Everyone around us was showered with love and appreciation from Stan, Janet, Helen and me, and I have kept up that practice whenever I travel. Stan always said that love is a choice, and to me, it’s always the best choice.
Thanks, Wild Thing!
Finding the Good in Everyone
by Dr. Tedde Rinker
When I think about Stan, the lingering feeling about him is love and appreciation for his willingness to find good in everyone. He was so committed to the enjoyment of our humanity, loving others even when we weren’t loving ourselves. He was ever forgiving and didn’t carry resentments. He always strove to be the person he encouraged others to aspire to. Sure, he didn’t always meet his goals, but he certainly strove to be ever in the room of love.
I will never forget him, and will always love him.
Love That Transforms
by Sonika Tinker, MSW
Stan was a master at seeing the gold in each person’s heart and soul. To him, everyone deserved love and adoration just for “being”. And it was this love, this ability to see God in the eyes of everyone he met, that became the foundation of HAI.
It was this love that transformed thousands. And it was this love that touched me deeply and transformed my life.
I was privileged to be the first female HAI facilitator. He handpicked me in my 20′s, after I complained about Helen falling asleep on the floor by his side in front of the room when he led. I told him he needed to get a powerful woman leader in front of the room that would sit on a chair as his equal and, at the very least, stay awake. He said, “Great. You. Next workshop.” I tried to talk him out of it, explaining that was not what I meant, as I felt completely ill prepared and terrified at the prospect of facilitating. But after my first workshop, where I must have done something good, he declared that I would be co-facilitating with him from then on. Thus began my on the job training – in front of God and everyone.
I used to be so terrified sitting in front of the room, that I couldn’t remember my name, how long I had been at HAI, nothing of import to share in my introductions. I came across the Michelangelo angel story, and it perfectly described the beautiful revealing of the angel inside a piece of marble that mirrored Stan’s ability to see gold. I began to share this story at the start of every workshop in my introduction – this story was so powerful, that it called me to loving presence in front of these 100 pairs of eyes staring at me and I noticed my fear disappeared. The “angel” story soon became a hallmark of the HAI workshops.
To me, this story is still a perfect depiction of Stan’s gift. He was a master artist at chipping away all the bits and pieces that weren’t the angel. Every exercise he designed (which I was lucky enough in those early days to ask him “Why? Why this exercise? What is the purpose of this exercise?”) was intended to return people to knowing the truth about their inner and outer beauty – regardless of gender, size or color, restoring the innocent naturalness of sexuality and pleasure, and bringing people back to the state of pure love.
It was Stan’s big-hearted vision that sparked the beginning of these miraculous workshops. Many a heart has been healed and many a lasting transformation evoked from his ability to see through fear, sexual repression and judgment, to love, pleasure and possibility.
It was this same vision that allowed Stan to see past my immaturity and unseasoned leadership 35 years ago. He was able to see my “gold” and cultivate the transformational leader I would later become, so effectively, that I would eventually leave him to pursue my own life’s work. Now, as I lead with great mastery my own relationship courses, where I train couples to see the pure loving potential of their partners, I hear Stan in my words. He taught me, not only how to design and lead powerfully transformational courses, but how to see the gold in each person that I work with and meet. I am now passing on to others what he so generously and freely gave to me.
Stan’s message of love lives on in and through so many of us. I am sure that none of us will ever truly know the far-reaching effects of his ability to chip away all the bits and pieces that aren’t the angel. What I AM sure of, is that there is a lot more love, joy, pleasure and connection on the planet because he lived. I imagine, when he looks from above at all the bliss and love he unearthed in us, that he is having a good belly laugh to know we got what he came here to give.
by Dinyah Rein
I have so many cherished memories of Stan that make me smile, or bring a tear to my eyes. Inspirations I strive to live up to. Perhaps you do as well? Here are just a few:
- Stan sitting at one of his favorite restaurants, my infant son in his lap, pulling his beard and calling him “Santa”. ”Yep,” I think, “He’s definitely my Santa!”
- He sitting in front of the workshop, and love literally seems to pour from him as the music starts, and he invites us all to gently begin to stroke our partners’ face.
- Stan in the former Soviet Union, easily making friends with just about everyone, seeing no dividing lines, seeing no one as unapproachable, and thoroughly enjoying it all.
- Stan at an early meeting of the HAI Board of Directors, hearing everyone’s point of view, shedding a few tears as his baby, his workshops, moved from his sole guidance and he began to let go of the reins a bit. Watching him let others step up and trust us to take care of his baby, and realizing how big it must have been for him to share.
- My first time at a workshop without Stan, realizing that he had created something so solid, and trained us so well, that it could fly without him.
For me, Stan was an amazing father figure, a role model of how to love, how to hold space, how to reserve judgment, how to reach out and connect with others. Rarely a day goes by without me putting into practice something I learned from his modeling.
Thank you Stan, for all you did for me, and for so many of us. And thank you, really, for just being you, so very, very thoroughly you.
I love you,
Healing My Father-Wound
by Chas “Chip” August
Stan Dale was my friend, my teacher, my mentor and my role model. I met Stan in 1988, when I attended a HAI Workshop at Harbin Hot Springs called “What is Sex? What is Love? What is Intimacy?” (now known as “Level 1: Love is a Miracle”). Like many men, deep within me I carried a “father-wound”: a pain in my heart from a tortured relationship with my alcoholic father. I didn’t trust or like most men, especially that guy sitting in the front of the room leading the workshop. It took me several workshops to begin to trust Stan, and years to risk letting him into my heart. And yet, letting him into my heart was one of the greatest gifts I ever gave me.
In a way, I was like a dog you might find at a rescue shelter. I was wild and angry and afraid. Stan was loving and honest. Over time, I began to trust Stan’s love, wisdom, and generosity. For a while I let him be a sort of surrogate father for me. I came to trust his coaching and believe in his love for me. Stan frequently shared appreciations with me, frequently complimented me, sought my advice and valued my contributions. Stan treated me as I longed to be treated and, in doing so, helped me find, embrace and inhabit a life filled with love. As the wild-child in me was fed a steady diet of love, kindness and respect, I began to grow up, to step more fully into my manhood. I began to heal that father-wound. I began to love myself, the me I saw reflected in Stan’s eyes.
Early in my time as a HAI facilitator my parents came to visit my wife and I here in California (from their home in NY). Stan asked me to arrange a dinner to meet my folks. Not really knowing what to expect, I set it up. At some point in the meal Stan began to tell my Dad all of what he (Stan) appreciated about working with me and being my friend. I have no idea how long Stan went on; to me it seemed like hours. I kept waiting for my Dad to stop Stan and tell him what a loser I was, what a disappointment I was to him, but Dad kept agreeing with Stan, saying “I know, I know” as Stan acknowledged me. It was the closest my Dad ever came to saying he was proud of me.
I miss Stan every day. I hear his voice, coaching me, laughing with me, gently teasing me, encouraging me. And every day I feel gratitude for the gift of having had Stan Dale in my life.