“It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community, a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
This is the vision which lights me up; I long to participate in bringing such communities to life. I’m passionate about the transformational potential of a community based on a culture of trust and compassion, the kind of culture that allows us to be safely transparent and vulnerably honest about who we are – even the parts we fear are unacceptable or unwelcome. I find it an incredibly liberating and exciting journey to reclaim my wholeness and be welcomed with it – it’s a lot more fun than pretending to be what I’m not!
A society which allows each individual to flourish into their fullest, most authentic and alive expression of themselves brings enormous personal joy and new possibilities for living together. I am confident that this is also a pathway to peace on a much larger scale. When I am supported in bringing compassion and expression to all parts of myself I start to see the same humanness in the behaviours and actions of others, and it destroys the kind of fear which sets me against another person (and myself). Once I release my judgments and step into a field free from ideas of right and wrong, I arrive in a natural state of compassion and there is no more room for violence.
I was born to England but from the age of two I was raised, and continue to live and learn, in many other parts of the world including Nigeria, India, The Netherlands, Singapore, Cambodia, Australia and Guatemala. At the moment I live a semi-nomadic lifestyle but am mostly based in Somerset, UK.
In previous life chapters I was looking for ways to contribute to global peace and justice on a political level as a student of International Development & Geography at the School of Oriental & African Studies (University of London). I graduated with a BA in 2012 and decided to follow my heart and take a more ground-roots approach to making positive change. I took a Permaculture Design Course and went to live in permaculture communities in Australia for 2 years to learn how to live in an ecologically and socially sustainable and resilient way (the latter seeming to be far more challenging!). Meanwhile I also started teaching yoga and meditation, recognising that we can only live out the amount of peace which exists inside of us. The next chapter involved a lot of inward journeying as I headed to Guatemala for further yoga teacher training and took a deep dive into bhakti yoga (devotion) and karma yoga (service) for most of 1.5 years, particularly while living for 6 months at the Mahadevi Ashram as a permaculture karma yogi. My search for how to make a meaningful contribution to the world had brought me to Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teachings: “Your own Self-realization is the greatest service you can render the world.“