My personal story has led me to a rich and regenerative tapestry of community, communications and communing, as I support people and communities to tell their stories in life and death.
I’m a regenerative storyteller, communications and content geek, death doula and mentor, grief tender and ritual facilitator, community activist and fibre artist.
I’m passionate about supporting people to share their stories in life and write their endings in death.
I live by the natural cycles, with their rhythm of light and dark and release and renewal, as a way to build individual and collective resilience in uncertain times.
I work with both people and their communities in transition and at the end-of-life, and at a systemic level exploring what it means to ‘hospice modernity.
I’m based in St Albans, Hertfordshire in the UK, and live in ever expanding circles across the WISE Isles (Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England) and the world.
As a child, when I wasn’t lost in a book, I was writing and illustrating short stories. I’ve been a storyteller from an early age. Aesop’s Fables was my favourite book. I always had a strong moral compass, which along with a desire for social justice led me to a law degree. Disillusioned by a disappointing experience with the legal system while at university, I knew I didn’t want to practise in a system I had no faith in.
So, I began my career in legal publishing in 1998, satiating my creative needs, which then led into a career in digital communications and change, across Westminster as part of the Transformational Government programme. Since 2004 I have worked across the public, private and third sector to rationalise digital estates, designing user-focused dynamic content and communications ecosystems in different roles and sectors. I geek out on all types of content and communications, from the strategy and information architectures to the micro copy and nomenclature on digital service.
I love stories as they connect and inspire. As children, we learn about the world and ourselves through story. Our histories are passed down through story, and they unite us in shared customs. It is said that ‘the shortest distance between two people is a story’ (Patti Digh). They are a collective cultural glue.
Stories can also cause trouble and polarise, as we see on the news daily. In the age of propaganda and misinformation, it can be hard to discern the truth. It’s also said that:
“Whoever controls the narrative rules the world.” Caitlin Johnson
I’m passionate about helping you reveal and tell your stories in life and death, whether that’s planning for your death or as you approach the end of your life.
In 2013, I took my first foray into community and off grid living in Sussex, UK. When the community failed to cohere I recognised I was lacking the necessary ‘communitarian’ skills, and left seeking communities with longevity to learn from.
It was while attending the New Story Summit at Findhorn in 2014, I was introduced to Tamera Peace Research and Education Centre. It was also my first experience of a community grief ritual, which Joe Confino wrote about in the Guardian – ‘Grieving could offer a pathway out of a destructive economic system.’
From 2016 to 2017, I lived in Tamera while working on their new website, distilling 40 years of research into a coherent and compelling story. Becoming a communitarian was a process of deep study and research, deprogramming from the story of modernity and separation into a story of trust and cooperation with all life. It was a massive update to my operating system that continues to run and keep updating to this day.
A deep longing to reconnect with the land, people, culture and indigeneity of these WISE Isles (Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England) that brought me back to the UK. I continue to be in close relationship with Tamera and support their communications strategies.
In 2022 shortly after the death of my mother, I trained as a death doula or end-of-life doula with Living Well Dying Well. I joined End-of-Life Doula UK, the professional membership organisation where I’m a mentor and committee member for wellbeing and member support. The role of a death doula is to support the person dying and their community of people, within a community setting, which in the UK is within the integrated person-centred care framework. It’s an honour and a joy to be part of the death / end-of-life doula community and be in service to the local community I live in.
I’m currently navigating the initiation of perimenopause and live with physical disabilities related to a condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome that I’ve had since birth, which are now exacerbated by hormonal changes. The writer Sophie Strand, who also has the condition sees ‘connective tissue disease as mycelial metaphor’, and believes that the answer to living with the condition is ‘healing relationships and tending to something else’. I feel my journey as a community activist echoes this statement – my inner structures are loose (I have wonky collagen), so I seek a stronger container in the community of life.
Commune comes from the Old French ‘comuner’, which meant to ‘have dealings with, to make common, share’. The definition of the verb in the Cambridge Dictionary is:
“to get very close to someone or something by exchanging feelings or thoughts.”
I see part of my work in the world as creating spaces for myself and others to commune with the:
- more-than-human world
- emergent future.
I’ve seen when we come together with intention, community and beauty, their alchemy creates a safe container to share the most tender thoughts and feelings. Healing happens through feeling. The origins of the word ‘healing’, ‘holy’ and ‘whole’ are the same.
Why Big Seeds?
“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” Dinos Christianopoulos
I chose ‘Big seeds’ for my brand because it holds the paradox of life, death and rebirth. ‘Seeds’ for their symbols of hope and sacred design, they are the container for change. And ‘Big’ for the the immensity of the possibility of tiny seed.
Seeds are nature’s alchemists of change and a source of life. The seed has to let go, be destroyed, to grow. Even the tiniest of seeds are bursting with big designs, for themselves and their place in the larger symphony of life.
Dandelions are used for healing in many cultures, and are symbols of strength and resilience, overcoming adversity and pushing through concrete and returning year after year.
- £25 – £45 an hour for communications and marketing consultancy to tell your story
- £25 an hour for end-of-life support
- £150 for an advance plan
- £250 for night sitting and vigils
- travel costs at HMRC benchmark 0.45p per mile.
We can get in touch with End of Life Doula UK if you don’t have the finances for end-of-life support, as they have subsidies available for my work as a death doula.
Last updated: November 2023