Meet John And Marion
The Live & Flourish Team

John Dhiraka Frater

I've been an ordained Buddhist for more than 10 years. I trained and was eventually team manager at Dhanakosa Retreat Centre in Balquhidder, where I lived in the resident community for seven years. Since ordination I've developed and refined my skills as a meditation teacher working in the Buddhist, secular and corporate worlds.

However, increasingly I have noticed the peculiarly modern problems that many of my meditation students are suffering from which traditional teachings don't directly recognise or address. Live & Flourish is my response to these needs. It is a stepping outside of my traditional background to directly address what has been called the malaise of modernity.

I also have a degree in Ecology and in recent years have been designing ecologically informed planting schemes in public and private landscapes. I've taught planting design to professionals and undergraduates.

As well as a passion for gardening I'm a keen painter, working at my easel whenever I can. I'm especially drawn to still life painting - there is something very Zen about it that I love.

Western philosophy is another of my loves, in particular the works of Iris Murdoch, Mary Midgley and Simone Weil. All of whom contribute to the philosophy that informs Live & Flourish.

Marion Stumpe

In many ways I had a privileged start in life. A good education culminating in a PhD and a promising career as a clinical pharmaceutical research scientist. I thought I had it all but what I didn't have was a life. Working in such a profit oriented environment where the welfare of people comes second affected my health and clashed with my aspiration to make a difference to people's well-being.

In the following years I embarked on a personal and professional journey to discover the 'real me'. This meant taking time out to pause, to meditate, to go on retreats. Through all of that I started to connect with myself and the world around me in a more meaningful way.

As a first step to a healthier work life I trained and worked as a Steiner school teacher. Eventually I returned to the field of health and facilitated lifestyle management courses in the third sector. I also volunteered as a mentor for young people who were less privileged than I was.

Whilst exploring my unique path towards wholeness and authenticity I came to Focusing. Over time Focusing has hugely transformed and enriched my life and my way of being in the world. My wish now is to teach this wonderful practice to others and support them in creating a life that has meaning for them and allows them to thrive.

Being in nature, playing my harp, reading inspiring books, being playful and sharing quality time with others are all important for my flourishing.