I am a therapist, educator, speaker and fellow traveller.
I was born in the UK in a small suburb on the edge of London – from the outside an ordinary family of two parents and two children. When I was 12 years old, we moved to South Africa for my Dad’s job and I spent the first half of my adolescent years as an expat in a country that was coming to the end of apartheid and about to enter a new era.
the need to belong
Most of my adolescent years were spent either trying to fit in or avoid fitting in – I didn’t appreciate then the theory behind the need to belong and feel securely attached but I truly felt it in my heart and soul – and it hurt. When my parents got divorced during my first year of university, I entered a self-destructive period of my life that at the time seemed inevitable, but I now realise was a reaction to the trauma and stress that I had experienced.
I lived the life that was expected of me by family and society until I was around 30 years old, university, a ‘good’ job, married, children – 3 sons and a hefty mortgage. I always knew there was something missing, that despite my constant striving the answer to happiness was not in the world around me but instead in the world inside me.
“healing ourselves from within”
This awareness came both in small pieces and sometimes in big realisations – watching my three boys grow and fearing that I would not be the mum they deserved wasn’t the reason I started my mindfulness journey, but it was the catalyst. At the same time, my father-in-law died suddenly before his 50th birthday and this gave way to a new phase of my life. I entered into therapy, started training as a counsellor and read everything I could find about healing ourselves from within.
“Jo, eternally thank you for being the island where I could heal, be safe, be me and always return to whenever I need to do that again”
I became an expat again at 38 years old, this time in Dubai, where I embraced the opportunity to connect with people whose stories seemed outwardly so different from mine yet with whom I shared so many similarities in both our pain and joy. It was here that the interconnectedness of human spirit led me to form a new community and so Mindful Parenting was born.
My greatest learning has been that through mindfulness I can change my blueprint; whatever I was taught and no longer want to use can be changed, and this is true for all of us. Some changes can be inspiring, and some can be painful, but being supported, cared for and accepted along our journey is essential and this is my promise to you.