A little of my background will help in getting to know each other –
I was born in Ireland, and grew up there until I was 27, with stints living in Paris, Edinburgh and Kuwait. I studied Computer Science and Mathematics, did my Ph.D. research in supercomputing and computational biochemistry, studying how to model life biology – the DNA and proteins in our bodies – on the world’s largest computers, one of the so-called “Grand Challenges”, the world’s hardest and most valuable problems to solve.
Then I moved to San Francisco, where I spent the next 19 years. I worked in high tech, particularly in communication. I was part of the mobile phone explosion that we’ve all seen, and traveled the world to many continents and countries, as senior architect for many of the world’s mobile networks, deeply involved in its growth. I designed and launched many products and was Head of Product at several tech startups. You can read more about my tech experience on LinkedIn.
But throughout the past decade, while I was very successful in my career, there was a deep dark side. I lived in very dark shadows on the inside. I spent many years in deep treatment resistant depression. I was on six medications simultaneously, which while I believe they helped keep me alive, they didn’t work to solve the problem. I drank and used drugs to try and numb the anxiety, and they worked very well, until they didn’t, and I couldn’t stop. The financial crisis beginning in 2008 impacted me and my husband deeply. We were in debt, lost our house, he lost his job and never found another (he worked in the mortgage industry), and we went through terrible emotional suffering. He never recovered, and committed suicide five years ago. My depression got worse and worse, and eventually I became suicidal. I started having PTSD flashbacks, I became agoraphobic, so bad that I couldn’t even go out on the back deck of my apartment. My body started to fall apart, I had herniated discs, I had to go out on disability for a period of time as I was in such intense chronic pain and couldn’t function. I lay on the floor of my living room for several months in the worst pain one can imagine.
The diagnosis for all of this? Self-loathing. I was fundamentally confused about life. I didn’t get the training manual that other people seemed to. Even though I was top of my class, immensely successful at whatever I did, I constantly berated myself as stupid. I would drop something, or close the door a little too loudly, and a stream of hateful invective – criticism, judgement, loathing, hatred – would come at me in my mind. Or I would deliver perfect work, but would search the face of my boss for the slightest criticism. It was soul-destroying. There were a lot of other layers to it, that I worked through one by one, but at its core that was it.
Through a massive number of twists and turns in my journey, discovering a whole bunch of tools, trying everything, falling back countless times, spending months at a time hunkering down, then finding one by one a sequence that worked, I have come to a place of utter transformation today. Today, every day, I explore this world and the beautiful beings in it, and my heart and entire being is filled with a bottomless well of joy. It spills over into my face, as I grin and grin and grin. Fascinated by all the things around me, I look with joy at all the things.
I’ve created my own business, transformed my experience of money, built powerful freedom-based relationships, travel the world, run programs that marry my technology skill with spiritual training and am fulfilling my purpose each day.
I am deeply grateful for the experiences I had, for what they taught me. And I have a deep, powerful drive to help others along their path with the things I have learned.
From seven years of depression, of running endlessly through a maze with felt like chomping teeth and knives coming at me, I learned patience and perseverance.
From being on the way to the Golden Gate Bridge to jump into the icy waters of the Pacific I learned the power that a single human contact, a touch, a committed listener has to change events.
From being barricaded in my house for the better part of a year unable to leave, unable to place one foot outside my door even to the back deck, I learned the immense power of appreciation, that it is the most powerful force in the universe. To appreciate the colors of the sky at sunrise, to feel the cold air nipping at my beard is all there is and all there needs to be. The depth of experience there is to be felt by the life that is having this human experience when you open to it is mind-blowing. From its lack and then its return I learned to appreciate very deeply. I lived in a world of complete grey, no color, no sound, for a long time. How rich then are the dusky pinks of the morning haze painted over the Oakland hills as I write this at sunrise.
From the powerlessness I felt over drinking and the inevitability of the patterns it induced, I learned the incredible power of dropping resistance, of yielding to life, to love, and I learned of my entirely beautiful perfect imperfection. I learned, and this took some time, of the power of nothing to hide, and nothing to prove. Being authentically myself.
And what I learned from trying all the things, was the power of direct experience. Try something whole heartedly. If it doesn’t work try the next thing, but you have to actually do it. Not just read about it.
I have learned over the past few years to listen to the actual words of my guides, and then do that. For a long time I would listen to teachers and not really take in the words. I see so many people also doing the same. We would read the same words over and over and over, and somehow we would understand them but not do them. What has made a huge difference for me in actual transformation has been the simple shift to actually seeing the words much more clearly as instructions, and then doing them. Actually practice. And see if they work. If they don’t, after whole hearted engagement, find a new practice or a new guide.
Life is not in the understanding, it’s in the experience. Teachings and words and others’ thoughts are a signpost, they are the finger pointing at the moon. We must step out and walk on the moon – we’ve already got an amazing spacesuit to use. Our job is not to wake up to life, it’s to wake life up to us, to this spacewalk we’re taking. All we need to do is relentlessly remember that we are a pack of powerful and beautiful astro-creatures.
Some of the transformations that I have been experienced in my own life, from which I gained quite some experience and perhaps a little wisdom to write and help others:
- I overcame suicidal depression, and transformed to complete joy in life with no depression. I was on six medications simultaneously, and managed through coming off every single one, inch by inch over several years.
- I recovered from alcohol and drug abuse, where I was unable to stop drinking, as medication for extreme anxiety. Now I am five years sober, completely in love with the joy of sobriety in so many areas of life beyond drugs & alcohol e.g. TV, news and many other forms of distraction, allowing me direct contact with the joy of life, the wisdom of no escape.
- My husband committed suicide in the first few months of my sobriety, I learned to practice love and acceptance through this experience, and transform the anger, guilt, and shame into just love.
- I overcame panic attacks, the most extreme terror that can be imagined, multiple terror attacks daily – gone completely. I also overcame PTSD & Complex PTSD, around growing up in a warzone environment, and gay in a country where that was illegal. Completely gone.
- I overcame the deepest body shame, deep shame about my existence in the world, where it prevented me from taking my place in the world. I was completely unable to be touched. Because of such deep shame, I went without touch of any kind for five years. I transformed this entirely.
- Moving from debt after burnout and depression and the financial crisis, to completely debt free, money in the bank, enough to leave my job and travel the world.
- Overcoming agoraphobia, where I was locked in the house for most of a year, not even being able to go on the back deck, or approach the front door – to being fully free moving around in the world, spending my time in nature.
- I had chronic daily back pain, herniated discs, disabled on the floor for months. Through practice and training I investigated the nature of pain, and transformed my experience of it completely.
- Moved from employed to self-employed, building my own business, leaving a high salary and benefits in high tech.
- I embraced minimalism. I sold & gave away all my furniture and almost all my possessions. I learned immense amounts through this process of releasing, and experience deep joy in the work of decluttering and minimalism.
- I embraced a nomadic lifestyle, and have travelled much around the world, while working and running my business.
- Transformed from deep self-hatred, to absolute self-love, knowing without a shadow of doubt the basic goodness of all beings.
- Learned to let my dreams out, to nurture them, follow them – become a writer, follow my heart outdoors.
- Mastered how to transform my beliefs and identities. I let go of so many identities – name, birth, career, religion, so many more, and learned how to do this consciously, repeatedly as a skill.
- 7 years ago I did not believe a word of religion, of spirituality, I was completely “science” based. I believed this was a very open mind but in fact it was quite closed. Now I have transformed my thinking, developed my openness to encompass so much more. I trained as a Buddhist in the Shambhala lineage, and continue to be very engaged in the development of my thought & practice.
Dig into my writing and please comment and ask questions, it’d be great to engage with you. And if you are ready to explore playing together 1:1 in the greatest game there is, the game of our lives, to dive in and do the work, I’d love to talk with you.