Jacob Watson grew up in a New England family, attended traditional schools, then took a hard turn left. He founded Collins Brook School, an alternative school, then became a grief counselor and worked with HIV/AIDS, hospice, the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Center, leading life, death and transition workshops nationally and overseas. Watson helped start the Center for Grieving Children, where he has trained volunteer facilitators for 30 years. Since 1985, he has been a hospice volunteer, chaplain, board member, trainer, and supervisor.
Broken hearts and wounded spirits—and a fire that damaged his counseling office—propelled him into ministry. Watson received a doctor of ministry degree from the University of Creation Spirituality and was ordained an Interfaith Minister by the Chaplaincy Institute of Arts and Healing Ministry. He received the Center for Grieving Children Bill Hemmens Award, the Humanitarian Wise Management of Grief Seminar Award, and the Beacon Hospice & Palliative Care Caregiver of the Year award. In 2013 he received the Huston Smith Lifetime Achievement Award for Interfaith Education from the Council of Interfaith Communities of the United States.
Watson is the author of articles on grief and spirituality, and Morning Blessing Letters: A Book of Daily Gifts, Essence: The Emotional Path to Spirit, and Enso Morning: Daily Meditation Gifts. His new book is We're Gainin': Collins Brook, A Maine Free School, which will be published summer 2019. He teaches classes on spirituality and healing at the interfaith Chaplaincy Institute of Maine, the University of Southern Maine and other venues. He is the founding Abbot of the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine, and devotes his life to teaching, writing, and prayer.