Who am I?
A question that can be answered on many different levels!
I remember in Poona, India, having to answer this question for 4 days, 18 hours a day… The only answer at the end of such an exploration is a blank page. That is the ‘true self’ aspect of me. AND I do believe our personal stories are important – all 7 billion of us. Not to mention all other sentient beings.
My story started in England with the most traditional upbringing you can imagine:
Stable home, unstable boarding school, Cambridge University, ticking all the boxes that were put on my plate – like many before me from my particular socioeconomic background. Plenty of privilege, plenty of dysfunction, plenty of learning and challenge.
In the meantime, an intense curiosity about life was turning at an early age in a spiritual direction – an Osho sannyasin at 17, first therapy groups, meditations, ashrams, and a very steep learning curve! Michael Barnett then took over as my spiritual teacher and took me on a roller-coaster ride of discovery as I lived in and out of his communities over the following years.
In this period I was initiated by masters and experts into a whole new world of meditation, energywork, and group therapy of all kinds – Gestalt, Encounter, Bioenergetics, Rebirthing, etc. – a huge range of growing up and waking up methods, all of which combined to me upside-down and inside-out. It was tremendously exciting and at the same time deeply unsettling.
In between, a passion for travel led me all over the world, through heaven and hell, from West Africa to Australia to Japan, India and the USA, sometimes backpacking, sometimes picking up teaching jobs on the way. It was as if I had to throw away all my previous education and history to make space for a new way of unlearning and learning to happen – to make space for spirit in my heart, mind and body. No wonder I acquired two different new spiritual names on the way. It was as if I had to lose all my old reference points.
At the age of 33 I finally decided I wanted more stability, more of a ‘career’ and started my work as a coach and facilitator, giving workshops and trainings both in organisations and in open format. Back to university to acquire a second masters, this time in facilitation. Spirit at Work was born in Holland and turned into Quinx in Belgium and a wonderful group of friends and colleagues was formed.
Time to re-integrate the past from a new perspective.
And from then on, the teacher figures receded into the background and I slowly became my own reference point.
On the private side I met my lovely Flemish wife Micky, who gave me a family and a home, a nest and base that has enabled so much for both of us, including our beloved children. Furthermore, in terms of self-development, fathering and husbanding has taught me as much as any spiritual teacher or community.
Now in my fifties, I feel such wonder at all the amazing experiences I have had and feel profound gratitude to a universe that has given me such a rich life.
“My greatest joy is to share what I have learnt with others.”
My greatest sense of fulfilment comes from contributing my piece to a world on the edge, torn between beauty and horror, evolving so much, evolving not enough.