By the time you have read this, the story I tell about myself may well have changed. The stories we tell about ourselves are constantly evolving. This is a good thing. When our story is too rigid, there is no space for anything new.
Professionally, I am a therapist, a coach, a meditation teacher, and a social entrepreneur, but to be honest with you, I feel uncomfortable with all of these labels. I am really just like you: a human being with a heart, seeking to reduce suffering and bring joy to myself and in the world.
I have specialised in the last 16 years supporting children, families, and adults to thrive, by helping them get free them from emotional and practical blockages. I have achieved this though a private practice, as well as working with local authorities, in Tier 4 mental health services, as a drug and alcohol counsellor, and for charities such as Centrepoint and Kids Company, where I helped design and then manage a therapeutic education provision for some of London's most damaged teenagers. I worked at a Hospice in Hackney providing emotional support to children and families when a parent or someone close to them is dying or has died. I have also worked as a Consultant on issues related to psychological, and spiritual wellbeing, consulting organisations such as Headspace, where I helped conceive a mindfulness app for kids. I co-founded a social enterprise, Bounce Works, which is a foundry for creating digitally connected products designed to help reverse the growing mental health crisis.
My greatest joy is to see how easily, given the right conditions, a human being can experience a blissful freedom from the inherited patterns that are limiting their innate brilliance. I believe this is particularly true with children. Children can inspire adults with their lightness.
I found myself in various spots of bother as a teenager. I was angry, lost, troubled. But it was through the unfolding of these dark moments, and the growth they asked of me that I realised my life purpose: to better understand myself and the world around me so that I can be a beacon of unconditional love and understanding. On this journey, I discovered wisdom from people all around the world: from both personal and academic studies of Surrealist philosophy, Postcolonial Political Psychology, indigenous wisdom traditions , and an intensive Transpersonal Integrative Psychotherapy training in the UK, to travelling with Native and South American wisdom-keepers, studying with meditation masters and yogis in India, and retreating to Buddhist monasteries in the forests of mid-Thailand. However, I have learned most from the clients I have worked with over the last 16 years, those human beings that found the courage to evolve, in spite of often extreme, traumatising, soul-restricting environments. Through this whole kaleidoscope of beautiful and challenging encounters, my eyes have gradually been opened to some common truths that unite us all as human beings. The most common, profound truth revealed to me has been that unconditional love is the highest state we can experience as human beings. My philosophy is thus simply based on unconditional love, an ideal that needs courage, fearless self-awareness, and discipline, to have any chance of becoming manifest.
I incorporate different traditions and alternative, radical forms of wisdom into my work, as I believe that the main stream of conditioning in the West is causing more harm than good on the psychological plane. One of the problems I have become aware of in the West is an almost insatiable need to drive forward in the name of progress, blind to the trail of destruction we leave in our wake. It is not surprising that depression is now the second greatest Health problem in America and Europe after heart disease, that more than 1 in every 10 children in America has a diagnosis of ADHD, and that about one in five children in the UK will have a mental health problem in any given year.
To address these destructive ways of being in the world, I believe we need to turn back to our nature, to our roots. The idea of 'A Quiet Evolution' captures the way in which nature can show us how to grow, to flourish, to thrive, without destroying everything around us. In the Bible, there is a saying: 'see the lilies, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin.' I believe that before we change the world around us, we need to slow down, to be quiet, to find space to look inside ourselves. When we do this, there is a natural and effortless process of healing that we can tap into and grow from.
I am currently developing a series of digital applications to help us cultivate emotional and spiritual wellbeing. One is called Apart of Me, an interactive game to support children and families when someone close to them has a terminal illness. This project was born from my work at a Hospice in Hackney with children and families, and a realisation that the sacred memories, moments, and emotions needed a digital space where they could be captured, processed and shared. Contact me if you are interested in learning more. I am also very excited to be supporting my wife to write a book about how we can bring sacred ritual and the ancient wisdom that lies within out it into our busy, modern lives. The book will be published Spring 2017 by Harper Collins.