Half a billion winds of change

Consider for a moment your breath as wind.

You inhale. Often unconsciously, but for now let’s pay closer attention. The wind moves through your nose or mouth. It is usually a different temperature to your body. Notice the coolness as it brushes over the tiny hairs in your nostrils. Or the damp surface of your tongue.

By the time it reaches your windpipe it is already close to your body temperature and harder to detect.

With next to no guidance from us, this wind finds its way to our lungs, filling them with fresh supplies of life giving oxygen. Our body knows what it needs. It sorts through the gases, oxygenating our blood and sending it on our way. We have breathed in the wind.. Inspiration. Ours for the taking, over and over. At least 20,000 times a day for the typical adult. Half a billion breaths in the average life span. More if you exercise. At least half a billion opportunities to fill our lungs with life.

And wind moves through the world. If it blows in a window in your house it must blow out somewhere else. So with our breath. Expiration. Removing waste products, cleaning our bodies, sweeping out unwanted gases and vapors.

So each of those half a billion breaths is a chance for change. Each is a change as our body actions dozens of processes according to the inhaling and exhaling, inspiring and expiring.

It is a wonderful thing.

A little history…

Essaouira (formerly Mogador) in its current format, was one of the world’s first intentional towns.

This swamp / archipelego / port already had a long history – from occupation in Paleolithic times through to when its Purpurae islands provided the purple dye that coloured Senators’ robes in  the Roman Empire (an industry set up in the 1st century BC by King Juba II of Mauritania) .

It also has a centuries’ long habit of cohabiting – Jews with Muslims, Christians with Berbers, artists with craftspeople, fisherman with merchants. The trade winds that bluster through the old medina from April to October have always brought a whirl of cultural and educational references.

In 1764, the Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah decided to take advantage of the strategic position of the fort & port (built the century before by the Portuguese and of interest to French and Spanish) and combine the Saharan trade with the external world in one place. Using French architect Cornut he designed the medina much as it is today, combining French city planning with Arabic tradition. The labour was carried out by local tribal peoples and French prisonerss.

The canny Sultan then populated the town with highly skilled craftspeople from Marrakech plus others from Europe. He deliberately combined Muslims, Berbers, Jews and Christians to create a diverse community vital to a flourishing hub of innovation and skilled workmanship.2018-04-04-19-14-58.jpg

Why me?

I have been on my own journey to arrive at this point where I decided to set up the Winds of Change centre.

That journey has taken me from a closing steel town in the North of England, via a maths degree and 18 years in the corporate world (oil and gas) to the last 16 years of independent project work. during that time I have travelled to over 80 countries and am fascinated by the differences and similarities across cultures.

I have been going to yoga classes for decades and trained as a massage therapist 25 years ago. I have always loved discovering new things, and have been attending courses and retreats myself for nearly 30 years. More formally I have trained as a Feminine Power Transformational leader, studied colour psychology (and written a book about it) and am now on Level 3 of my End of Life Doula training with Living Well Dying Well.

Every one of these courses, along with travelling, parenting, volunteering in my local community and pretty much everything else that ever happened to me, has played a part in creating the woman I now am. Developing the courage to understand myself and others, supporting the idea of radical honesty in relationships and loving to connect ideas from different fields, cross-pollinating to create new combinations of thinking and being.

I am excited about meeting all of you who come to be part of the Winds of Change community, welcoming your unique gifts and insights as we expand each other’s humanity and possibility.

Why Essaouira?

After many visits to Marrakech, I visited Essaouira for the first time in April 2018. I was curious about the art in the new airport… Antoine de St.Exupery (The Little Prince), Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix. An unlikely trio. Yet they speak to the slightly off-Broadway feel of the place. Of Morocco yet also of itself. Part Arab, part Berber, part Nomad, part European.

It has a clarity that hits you in the eye as soon as you walk out into the daylight. Searingly bright. Swept clean by the near constant winds off the Atlantic.

In half an hour you can go from the ancient medina sheltered by the city walls, to new apartments and surfer scene, to ancient argan forests and meadows of wildflowers. All of the passion and colour of North Africa garnished with a more relaxed, almost bohemian culture mix.

What a place to think. To feel. To be open to new ideas. Every conversation drenched in philosophy, cultural encounters on every corner. Things can happen here it feels. Ideas can be born that might not emerge anywhere else. Come and join the adventure!

Why Winds of Discovery?

2018-04-09 09.57.42There is no missing the wind in Essaouira. Small wonder the 2018 World Surfing Championships were held just a few miles up the coast. And those puddles you see are not from rain, but from gusts of wind sweeping water out from the sea, far below and on the other side of the ramparts.

Originally known as the winds of discovery, the winds that blow here from April to November changed the world.

They allowed sailing ships to travel so much further and find out what lay beyond the horizon. Later when those discoveries allowed extensive trade of silks, spices and the riches of the tropics to northern countries they became known as the trade winds.

As they say, it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Do you feel like blowing away some cobwebs? Generating some wind power for your ideas? Maybe just opening the door and see the wind what blows in.? Come and join us

Why Morocco?


Sweeping cobwebs from the edges of my mind
Had to get away to see what we could find
Hope the days that lie ahead
Bring us back to where they’ve led

Extract from the Marrackech Express, Crosby Stills and Nash.

Songwriters: Graham Nash
Marrakesh Express lyrics © Spirit Music Group

morocco-waterI first visited Morocco in my early twenties. I was alone and afraid. Challenged by the unrecognisable culture. Fearful of the unknown.

On the train from Tangiers to Marrakech I took out my bottle of water. As I put the top back on I saw that all the other people in the carriage were looking at my in horror. What had I done wrong?

Scraping some rusty French from the back of my mind I asked one of the passengers. “Water is life,” he explained. “We all want life. So they don’t understand why you would have water and not share it.”

What a clear lesson for me. And there were others on that train. Stopping by some fields and the workers coming to the train to hand (not sell) grapes to the passengers. Those on the train passing out maybe a chunk of bread or a newspaper. The way that as the train emptied, instead of spreading out as we do in the west, the passengers moved to be closer together. By the time we arrived at Marrakech, many carriages were empty.  And where there were people, they were sharing food, comforting each other’s babies, telling jokes, listening kindly. With strangers.

Mutuality mattered more than individuality.

What better context for understanding and exploring self and connectivity?