Hi, I’m Matthew. Welcome to my site and work!
My life’s mission and passions are focused on how we can create more personal and social resilience on our planet-especially on issues relating to empathy, justice, health, wellness, and peace. My writings have appeared on CNN, HuffPost, Medium and other outlets.
I’m involved in a variety of activities. I am a social/political/ecological activist and educator. I also focus on nutrition & wellness education, advocacy and coaching. How healthy we are both individually and as a society, I believe, are deeply interconnected.
I’ve worked for years as a peacebuilding advocate, through my efforts at The Peace Alliance, an organization I was formerly Executive Director of and have helped run for the past 15+ years. We advocate for policies and approaches that help cultivate more peaceful responses to the challenges we face, both personally and collectively.
I have also spent the last few years particularly focused on health and wellness, especially nutrition. I advocate and educate around best practices.
On the surface, the connection between my passions and work efforts may not seem obvious. But I see the issues of personal and collective health as deeply intertwined. In myriad ways, cultivating health from the personal to the global is essential if we are not only to survive, but also thrive.
For those interested, I share more about all of my efforts below.
Health and Wellness
One of my greatest passions in life has always been health and wellness.
For the past 25 years, I’ve been an ardent student of various personal growth, self improvement and spiritual modalities. I know first hand the power of changing both your mind, and your nutrition. They work hand-in-hand to help stabilize, and then transform lives, and ultimately are an important though woefully underutilized component of social change.
Part of what inspired me in this area is that I’ve suffered through some challenging health issues, mostly relating to my gut, for over three decades before I learned about and started focusing on nutritional and lifestyle protocols that have helped immensely. This intestinal autoimmune disease I have led to not only a lot of pain and discomfort in my gut, but also messed with my energy, left me feeling tired and run down, I was getting intense “brain fog,” suffering from joint and back pain, had mood swings, among other physical challenges. I was progressively feeling sicker and more rundown in my life as the years progressed – with devolving overall health. It was really messing with my activism work, as I felt like I had half my brain tied behind my back.
I’d been looking for help for so many years – working with countless doctors, alternative healers, etc. I was so deflated that I could not find anyone to help me. It was a true game-changer in my life, and such a relief, when I discovered how to shift many of my challenges; primarily through nutritional intervention and Functional Medicine. In ways I had no idea were even possible. Issues I didn’t even imagine were related, like my mood, shifted dramatically for the better. I even lost 20 pounds I didn’t think I’d be able to lose.
It was a pretty remarkable and encouraging shift. I honestly couldn’t believe it. After all the years of looking for help, how had I not heard of this path and these tools to health? It set me on a course to help others who needed support for better health as I had, but didn’t know where to turn, what would really make a difference. And it made me realize how much these issue were probably underlying many other challenges we all face collectively.
This is all what inspired me to write my book, Nourish Your Self Whole: A Guide to Core Nutritional Pillars, with Achievable Steps for Vibrant Health. Plus, Meaningful Lifestyle Tips to Enrich your Whole Self.
My Background in Social Change Advocacy
Social change activism has been my main professional adult focus. I’ve been particularly focused on studying and researching the fields of peacebuilding and conflict resolution. Exploring what brings us peace; culturally, interpersonally and as individuals. Looking deeply at the science and practice of cultivating peace in all it forms and arenas.
For over 15 years I helped lead a successful U.S. based peacebuilding focused NGO, which was co-founded along with former Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson and others.
The Peace Alliance (www.peacealliance.org) is an alliance of organizers and advocates throughout the United States taking the work of peacebuilding from the margins of society into the centers of national discourse and policy priorities. We mobilize a network of grassroots teams in cities, towns, colleges and high school campuses. I helped coach and trained thousands of people to be more effective citizens and activists towards our shared cause of peace – in ourselves and on Earth. We trained not only on how to be effective at activism, but also how to embody peace as a core operating value in our activism.
On a policy level, we have helped spearhead efforts through our organization and close allies to pass numerous pieces of federal legislation (and some state), including:
- Helped secure over $110,000,000 in funding for International Peacebuilding priorities;
- Led successful national effort to secure U.S. Institute of Peace funding when Congress threatened to eliminate it completely during budget battles;
- Passed meaningful provisions of the Youth PROMISE Act (one of their top legislative priorities) as part of the final version of the Every Student Succeeds Act, S. 1177, which passed into law, and the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act in the House of Representatives;
- Supported the path for President Obama to sign an Executive Order to institutionalize the U.S. State Department’s Atrocities Prevention Board;
- Helped garner over 70 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives for legislation to establish a U.S. Department of Peacebuilding, including the introduction and support in the Senate.
- Helped educate and advocate for the inclusion of “Peacebuilding” efforts as part of the Democrats 10 key foreign policy priorities;
- Passage of the first in the nation Colorado Restorative Justice in Schools bill to implement and fund programs state-wide;
- Helped educate and advocate for the inclusion of meaningful “Peacebuilding” efforts as part of the Democrats 10 key foreign policy priorities in 2009;
- California Democratic Party adopted key Peacebuilding priorities into its party platform.
I have a B.A. in psychology and an Master of Arts in Humanities and Leadership with a focus on Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Community.
I’m also the author of “Living Out Loud: Young Adults, Finding Our Purpose, Shaping a Better World.” You can check out my Huffington Post blog where you can read my musings on peacebuilding. More recently I write for Medium.