“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 and my mission is to be part of manifesting such communities into being. I’m passionate about the transformational potential of a community based on a culture of trust and compassion as I believe that a culture of trust allows us to be safely transparent and vulnerably honest about who we are – even the parts we fear are ugly and unacceptable. 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 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. In November 2016 I moved to The Netherlands again and I now live in Utrecht.
In previous life chapters I was looking for ways to contribute to 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 to live in an ecologically and socially sustainable 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.“