Diving for Pearls with Maggie Kay
Opening the Oyster
Fully Embracing Universal Wisdom
One of the things that happened when I moved to Devon was that my inner life became much more powerful. Quieted by the beautiful and peaceful countryside and deepened by my practice of 5Rhythms dance and nature-based wisdoms like Shamanism, I developed a more receptive relationship with spirituality.
I was no longer constantly referring to friends for validation or to feedback from my workmates or communards and was thrown back on my own experience. Moving to a new place, shedding my old identity and encountering rich new stimulation sparked a spiritual reinvigoration within me. I entered one of the most mystical phases of my life so far and was propelled into months of visionary experience.
By the autumn of 2002, I had been living in Devon for a year. It was beginning to dawn on me that I was outgrowing my Triratna family like a young adult outgrows the parental home. When I left London I had no intention of resigning my ordination, but a year later with my new life blossoming, I felt curtailed by my spiritual identity as a member of the Order. In fact I felt curtailed by my spiritual identity as a ‘Buddhist’ altogether.
By now I had met a wonderful man, my soul mate, Pat. Meeting him opened up my spiritual perspective enormously. As well as being a meditator like me, he was widely read and realized, and his inspiration came from many different sources. He introduced me to contemporary teachers like Abraham-Hicks and traditional streams of wisdom like mystical Christianity and Christ Consciousness; teachings that I knew nothing about because I had been exclusively immersed in Buddhism for the best part of 20 years.
One of Pat’s influences was ascension and channeling; something I had never come across during my years of intensive Buddhist focus, yet found intriguing and exhilarating. This body of spiritual wisdom seemed to include a more ‘feminine’ approach to awakening – inviting receptivity to and the allowing of external spiritual forces to move through you, in contrast to my previous Buddhist striving and self-conquering ‘masculine’ paradigm.
Our housewarming party was the unanticipated trigger for me to actually resign my ordination. Drawing from all the spiritual influences that inspired me at the time, I wove together and led a ceremony that felt just right for the occasion. But it didn’t feel right to be creating and guiding a composite, multifaith, universal ceremony while being an ordained Buddhist.
Being ‘just’ a Buddhist didn’t fit me anymore. It didn’t ring true. I felt the same way about leading meditation classes. For a while, my new friends had been asking me to teach them meditation, but something was blocking me from doing so.
Eventually I realized that I didn’t want to be leading a class as a representative of a Buddhist Order, or any religious community for that matter. In the end, it was a very clean, simple and sudden decision to resign my ordination. I woke up one morning soon after the housewarming ceremony and absolutely knew that I no longer wanted to be part of the Order. There was no fuss, no negative emotion and no drama, only a deep knowing that it was time to move on, along with enormous gratitude for all that I had experienced in Triratna.
The first thing to do was to talk to my preceptor, Sanghadevi, and let her know. She at first asked me to take six weeks to think about it and talk to my spiritual friends and mentors. However, there was no need. I phoned her back the next day and confirmed that I was sure. And so in November 2002, nine years after my ordination at the Dhanakosa Scottish retreat center, I gracefully resigned from Triratna.
Lying in bed with Pat the night after my resignation was accepted, I had a vision of my energy being liberated from a small net of light in the cosmos – the closed circuit of the Triratna – and released to flow freely again along the infinite energy network of the Universe.
As Pat held his healing hands over me, it seemed like a demon-like entity suddenly shot from my solar plexus and hurtled out of me into outer space. I let out a yell of surprise, my body jerking like I had just had an electric shock from a resuscitation team. I gasped as I guessed I had been host to this entity during my time in the Triratna. It was small, but definitely had a dark energy. I was shocked to learn an entity had been there at all, let alone one that was less than loving.
However, there were mostly very positive and pleasant visitations around that time. One night, when I was concerned about whether we had enough money, a 10-foot angel with golden coins pouring endlessly from his pockets appeared in the corner of our bedroom. The message was reassuring: “You will always have plenty of money.” Curiously enough, in the next few days, I had an unexpected financial windfall and came upon a fantastic new training course that I wanted to do which was grant funded and therefore free of charge.
The angel appeared around the same time that Pat had a visitation from my dad. Dad, who passed away 20 years ago in 1982, often made his otherworldly presence felt these days. It seemed he was handing over guidance and wisdom about my welfare to Pat. On this occasion, Dad simply whispered the word “providence” to him. Not knowing what it meant, we had to look up the word providence in the dictionary the next day. We were glad to glean that Dad was trying to reassure us that we would always be provided for as the definition was “God’s Divine provision”. Dad, too, was answering my concerns about money.
The old farmhouse where I now lived with Pat was a spooky place, though not scary. Several of us all saw the same ghosts: including an old man with a rope tying his coat together near the back bedroom and an anxious old woman in the corner of the living room. (She wasn’t at all sure about us being there, though settled down when we chatted with her and told her we meant no harm.) A medium friend of ours said the farm cottage was a psychic junction, with lots of spirits and supernatural activity coinciding there.
A common phenomenon for me at the farm was unintentionally and telepathically blowing up electrical light bulbs. Sometimes all I needed to do was walk past one and it would shatter explosively for no reason. Friends have since suggested that sometimes our energy affects inanimate objects like this, especially electrical equipment. My psychic energy certainly seemed very powerful and overflowing at the time, so maybe I was too much for the light circuit!
The energy in the farmhouse was eventually completely changed in the course of running meditation classes, life coaching sessions and Thrivecraft groups there. This cleanse began with the housewarming ceremony soon after I moved in – involving chanting and the wafting of sage smoke, or smudging – and finished with a shamanic drumming circle just before we moved out.
The Birth of Thrivecraft
As part of ‘meeting on all levels’, Pat and I found we had a wealth of different but complementary knowledge and experience to share and an enormous fusion of inspiration occurred between us. We were together day and night, seven days a week during those first months of our relationship. In fact, this continued for our first five years with the exception of two weekends where I was away from Devon. It was a bit like being on continuous intensive retreat together. There was much spiritual catalysing going on and it was a very powerful time.
Before long, Pat and I realized that we wanted to put out a body of work together, something that captured all this wisdom, experience and practice in a form that was beneficial to others. We knew that we had an offering to give, but what was it, how could we package it? Fortunately, one of our friends said, “It sounds like you could be life coaches.” We hadn’t heard of life coaching, but we were interested in what our friend described to us. The more we found out about this exciting new profession making its way to the UK from the US, the surer we were that life coaching could indeed be just the vehicle for us.
My spiritual perspective had always been broad and eclectic, even as a Buddhist. I could see how all the world religions, philosophies and psychologies were trying to make sense of the same universal wisdom and make it relevant within different times and cultures. In addition, my instinct was to be out in the wider community, bringing meditation and spiritual teaching to all sorts of people in all sorts of situations, regardless of their religious orientation. I had a growing feeling that I didn’t just want to be teaching Buddhism to Buddhists. By the end of my time in London, I had already hatched the idea of setting up a personal development consultancy that would be accessible to non-Buddhists. And now, a few years later in Devon, the form that ‘consultancy’ could take was clearer.
It made sense for at least one of us to train as a life coach and so I did some research into two or three good courses that were available. I contacted Newcastle College distance learning because Pat knew they ran a business coaching course, and miraculously, the college had just opened applications to their first ever life coaching course and were currently enrolling. Even more miraculously, they were offering the course free of charge. Amazing! I took that as an immense “YES!” from the universe and dived in.
Pat preferred to study informally, so it was only I who officially took the course while sharing my learning and assignments with him as I went along. We were raring to go, with so much over-spilling from us to give to others. As a Buddhist Order Member, I had already been coaching, mentoring and teaching for many years, and so, before I had completed the course, we got on with setting up our new practice.
But what should we call it? I had been running my own community development consultancy for a couple of years and had been musing on the name ‘Thrive’. Then Pat suggested an interesting addition. How about we also use the word ‘craft’ to emphasize the practical/how-to aspect of what we had to offer? And so, on 1st May 2003, our inspirational coaching practice was born – Thrivecraft.
Known as the Inner Wisdom Coach and formerly an ordained Buddhist, Maggie specialises in meditation, mindfulness, law of attraction, metaphysics and spiritual intelligence for life, love and business.
As well as coaching one-to-one, she trains accredited Thrivecraft life coaches and meditation teachers and runs retreats and workshops for soulful entrepreneurs, coaches and well being professionals.
In 2016, with her son Jamie grown up, Maggie established Thrivecraft Home Hub, a riverside country retreat in Cornwall, UK, where she lives with her soul mate husband, Patrick.
Her new book – Diving for Pearls: A Wise Woman's Guide to Finding Love (O Books) – is a highly readable true love and spiritual adventure story laced with tips and teachings on meditation, Buddhism, inner wisdom and relationships relevant to all.
Maggie's vision for the future includes taking Thrivecraft worldwide via a new online academy; continuing to mentor coaches, well-being professionals and meditation teachers to grow and prosper their businesses; producing audios of her full range of guided meditations; and writing further books to inspire and support everyone to create rich, happy and fulfilling lives.
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Thrivecraft with Maggie Kay
Wisdom. Inspiration. Self-belief.