Life isn’t an easy ride is it? No, it’s a pretty bumpy one. And it’s tiring work constantly trying to make the world fit in with what we think will make us happy. Most of the time the deal we get falls pretty short of our expectations. We’re restless and dissatisfied creatures on our never ending quest for a better life.
Many years ago I gave up trying to shape my life into something perfect or spectacular and made the decision that I’d just do the best with what I have and enjoy being who I am, just as I am. Because it’s quite frankly exhausting and stressful trying to be anything else. This decision also led me to question the meaning of our human existence and who we are really are deep down beyond our life circumstances, history, material wealth and so on. Call it a spiritual search, call it looking at our inner and outer world through new eyes. I found out some beautiful things along this also bumpy ride that I’d love to share with the world. So here I am, a teacher of sorts but really a human being just like you, trying to figure how to live this life in the best way I can.
At the centre of what I teach is the message that we are enough just as we are right now. We are imperfectly perfect beings and that is a wonderful thing. It is only our minds that tell us that we can’t feel at home as ourselves right now. It is only our minds that tell us that happiness and peace exist round the next corner, but never here. I’ve come to realise that our minds are not to be trusted. They paint a wildly inaccurate picture of reality.
What I have found is that when we listen to and follow our own inner wisdom and heart, we live from a place beyond our perceived and projected identity, a place that sees the bigger whole, of which we are only one small part. When we live from this place, we live a life that is true to every part of our being and one that is full of mystery and wonder. It is true that we are shaped and conditioned from birth by the world we live in and our experiences but that does not mean change is not possible. The universe is constantly shifting and changing and we are part of that. And anything is possible when we trust our heart and allow it to guide us somewhere new. And we may find that when all the layers we build around ourselves to try to fit into this world gently fall away, all that is left is love.
There is only one spiritual path and that is your own. Spiritual teachers are just there to help you to discover and access your own inner wisdom and ability to heal yourself. For me a spiritual path is about using everything that happens in life, joyful and disastrous, as a way to heal, understand and let go. In doing this we tread lightly and enjoy more moments in awe and wonder.
My teaching comes from many spiritual traditions, philosophies, religions, therapeutic approaches, books and trees climbs. It of course comes from my life experiences, including all my successes, failures, mistakes, losses, joys, depressions and everything in-between. I only teach what is true for me, tried, tested and lived. I hope my words light up your heart and my music finds and heals those places the words can’t reach.
(I do offer one to one sessions but I am currently full. I only work with a small number of people to make sure I can give my sessions the energy and time they deserve. Please drop me a line if you’re interested in one to one mentoring and I can let you know when space becomes available)
If you’d like to hear my tales of the sea here you go!
When I was a child, maybe 12 years old, I always had the question in my head, “how do I know that I am me?” I couldn’t work out why I was conscious of myself. This might have been the beginning of my curiosity that there could be more to this human life than meets the eye. My spiritual search really began in my early 20s. As a young adult I found myself pursuing my dream of becoming a rock star. Music has been a passion and a thread that has run throughout my life. It began with learning to play the drums age 11 and after that magical discovery I never wanted to do anything else. After studying music at the only university that would accept me (I didn’t get great grades) I went to a drum school (yes they exist) and immersed myself in practice with the aim to become a session drummer. As luck and perseverance would have it, I got my dream job of becoming a rock star age 23. My band signed a record deal with a major label and we were whisked of into a whirlwind of music industry madness. I toured the world, played huge venues, recorded in some legendary studios, and met some of my music heroes (Daniel Lanois, Slash, Peter Gabriel). I lived the dream but it soon wore off. I began to feel really depleted and empty as now I’d found my dream job and there was nowhere to go from there. I turned to philosophy, yoga and self help books and joined a local Buddhist centre who would send me cassette tapes of talks and meditations to listen to on tour buses.
The music dream ended abruptly as often happens in the music industry. Then I really wasn’t happy. After a week of it ending, I had a job in a call centre selling baby accessories. A few months later and I was suffering from anxiety and depression and really hit the ground. I stepped up my meditation practice a few notches desperate to feel better. I meditated every day. This woke up my curious 12-year-old self again and the question of ‘how do I know I am me’ became ‘how can I be at peace?’. Eventually I moved through the depression and my anxiety softened greatly. There was no magic fix, moment of awakening but rather a gradually letting life be with a deeper kindness towards myself. A sense of being enough.
In 2010, I decided to begin teaching what I had discovered. Over the years my teaching and practice has grown and evolved, as it should. I’m always learning, always a student. Currently, I’m returning to more my more traditional roots in the yogic traditions, Buddhism and I’m also learning to trust my own wisdom a little more and teaching from that place. There’s more Andyism in what I teach now. I’m currently developing my meditation in schools work (very slowly) and am working on a new audio course called “Doorways to being: a heartful path of mystery and wonder”. This course reflects where my practice and teaching has moved to over the last 3 years or so. I’ve truly lived this course as I’ve written it and it’s been changed and has been chipped away at as the world has changed too. It’s changed direction greatly since I started it in 2018. I’m so very excited to release it on Insight Timer in mid 2021 (if I can get all the music written in time).
While I have trained with some established organisations I don’t associate my teaching with any of them. My teaching comes from my personal meditation practice and many spiritual other traditions, religions and therapeutic practices. What I teach is completely secular.
- TTR Level One: Mindfulness-based stress reduction at the Centre for Mindfulness, Research and Practice at Bangor University, UK – an international centre for excellence in mindfulness training.
- Certificate in Psychodynamic Counselling Skills from the BACP approved Manor House Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy
- Intermediate Diploma in Therapeutic Communications with Children from the London Metropolitan University
- Certificate in child counselling using the arts from the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education – a leading provider for UKCP and BACP validated courses in arts psychotherapy child counselling and child psychotherapy in the UK.
- ‘Mindfulness in Schools’ primary school teaching programme.
- 6 years experience in managing a child therapy service in a primary school in London where I offered one to one creative arts mentoring sessions for children. The role also included supporting families and referring to external family support agencies.
Lastly, nothing I teach is new. These teachings have reverberated through this earth for thousands of years through all the great teachers and gurus as well as through the planets, stars and all the teachings of nature. In the spirt of this I’d like to thank and acknowledge some important teachers and mentors that have helped me along the way:
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Jon Kabat Zinn
Cups of tea
You can’t take a photograph of it at night
It lives in the code of a firefly buzzing
It vibrates through brick walls, keeping their time
It cuddles the creeping chaos coming
I see it more clearly than ever before
I’m in its invisible river flowing
Through everything I’ve ever been through before.
Heads up, something’s really happening