Martin and I met at Leeds University in the Catholic Chaplaincy forty years ago. Martin’s Career developed from being a textile physicist, an engineer, later a Chartered Accountant and then a Leadership Consultant. I started my career in Financial Services and then moved into a Consulting and a Sales role with a US Global Talent Consultancy. After a lucky lead I signed a contract which meant that I achieved my annual sales target in one client visit. The resulting 6 months’ salary gave me an opportunity to encourage Martin to explore what he wanted to do with his life. He was happy as a Financial Director and enjoyed working with his team but I was convinced that life held more meaning for him.
At that point – 16 years ago, we had been meditating for 4 years – so when I was offered the opportunity to be Country Manager for Ireland we decided that the best way to make a decision about what to do would be to create our own one week silent retreat when on holiday in Mallorca. We thought that being in silence for a week would allow wisdom to bubble up from beneath the small “self”. At the end of the week we each took a piece of paper. I wrote upon my page – “Go to Ireland.” Martin wrote on his “Come to Mallorca.”
I asked Martin “Why do you want to do this?” He said, “I think we will learn a lot here.” I realized that the reason I wanted to go to Ireland was out of fear. What would happen if neither of us realized had a job? As soon as I realized that it was fear holding me back – I changed my mind. We gave away the possessions acquired over 22 years of marriage and headed for cat, Ziggy. We rented a remote house in an olive grove with no running water, no TV, no internet, no telephone and only sheep for neighbors. It was impossible not to feel a part of Nature. We were connected to the orange and olive trees around us, the clouds which flowed over the mountain, the sea which flowed over the mountains, the sea which sparkled in the distance and the sheep whose bells tinkled ceaselessly into the night.
We discovered a Christian Zen meditation group run bu a Catholic priest in Palma. We meditated while slowly building our Consultancy Company – Seven Rocks Consultants. We read the books of John Main and Laurence Freeman. My Mother from Belfast had meditated with a WCCM group attached to Holy Cross Church many years before. In the week before she died, she said to me, “Why don’t you give up your big job and follow Laurence Freeman?”
Martin and I joined Laurence on Bere Island for the Holy Week retreat. We then created two meditation groups in Mallorca. Although we explored Zen and Vipassana meditation- it has been fulfilling to join WCCM and to practice of there Christian contemplative tradition – keeping the contemplative flame alive for leaders worldwide and for local Mallorcans, Germans and Swiss living in Soller.