In 2014, I was awarded a doctorate in Mindfulness, through the School of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand. My thesis research provided the opportunity to bring together my commitments to both education and spiritual practice. In 2010, I moved to South Africa from Botswana, where I had spent three years as deputy principal of the Maru-a-Pula School in Gaborone. My eighteen years in Botswana were all connected to the education sector, at government schools, in teacher education colleges, at an educational publishing company and working as a consultant to the United Nations, particularly in the field of HIV/AIDS education. I also took a year away from Pyramid Publishing, to set up the North Andaman Tsunami Relief organisation, in Thailand, after the 2006 tsunami.
I now run Heart-Mind and work alongside Mindfulness Africa, an organisation launched by Rob Nairn, with the intention of bringing the Mindfulness-Based Living Courses to Southern Africa, and training facilitators to offer them. Through the instruction of inspiring Buddhist teachers such as Rob, Donal Creedon, Jack Kornfield and Thich Nhat Hahn, I have developed a daily mindfulness practice, which has nourished me for the last 10 years.
On moving to South Africa, I was asked to chair the management committee of the Tara Rokpa Centre near Groot Marico. Through this involvement, I met Mike Draper, and in 2011 we married at the retreat centre. We now live in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.
My current interests include combining mindfulness and compassion with yoga asana, to create a style of Mindful Yoga. I am also seeking opportunities to bring mindfulness into the South African education sector, and to help working parents find balance across their many responsibilities. I run regular courses in Johannesburg, and retreats at the Tara Rokpa Centre, Dharmagiri, the Waterfall Centre, and the Buddhist Retreat Centre.
I was inspired by a teaching from Lama Tsondru, about the three types of bodhisattva – the monarch, the ferryman and the shepherd. The monarch develops his own strength and confidence before feeling that he is ready to help others, the ferryman travels alongside others in order to help everyone, while the shepherd puts the welfare of others before his own. I could see myself as the ferryman, who transports fellow travelers across the water. When I lead yoga or mindfulness practices, it feels like sharing a meal with a group of friends. Whatever I offer also nourishes me.