Shortly after leaving school, I came across a series of books that described people going through intense processes of changing who they were and became fascinated by the idea that this was possible. I consider myself to be on the third adult version of Jonathan Dover, all with quite different values. Discovering coherent maps of this process in integral theory and spiral dynamics about 13 years ago was so helpful to understand the journey so far and offer insight to what may be the most effective next steps.
I had spent the early part of my career in a busy retail management and buying environment, based in Birmingham City Centre. I began to question the meaning my lifestyle was providing and a friend suggested I take a holiday at the transformational learning centre of The Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, which proved life changing. After a relatively brief immersion in this community and their small farming unit, a much improved version of myself somehow appeared. I knew that if I wanted to be helpful to others, then I needed to find out more about how this had actually happened.
Upon leaving Findhorn, I decided to retrain, achieving a distinction at Master’s level in Sustainable Development Advocacy in 2005. I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between disease and transformation of human consciousness and was introduced to the work of Ken Wilber and spiral dynamics for the first time by my Professor and her partner. I found a source of answers to deep questions and committed to learning more.
Following my masters, I went on to hold a central role in the initial development of care farming in the UK, setting up farm based social enterprises to provide support to various groups of vulnerable people – from those suffering from alcohol, drug or mental health problems right through to those excluded from school and people with learning disabilities. I provided business planning and marketing advice to the start-up care farms and raised over £600k for a new organisation to provide strategic support and networking.
Providing the go-between between social services and the farming community and with over 40 social enterprises in active development, the intensity of my life conditions caused another and much broader integral worldview to be viscerally activated within me. I recognised that integral theory and spiral dynamics had been so supportive towards my own growth and so moved into education and coaching to deliver this in practical and helpful ways for other people and organisations.
It was very rewarding to instigate the live event in 2017 between Ken Wilber and Doshin Roshi at Findhorn to discuss how the Transformational Communities of Tomorrow may emerge. This has led me to be one of the recommended consultants of the Holistic Centers Network.