Awakening from the illusion
My conscious awakening from the Box of Fear – my term for the matrix of limitation and mental enslavement into which we are socially conditioned from birth – was brought about by seven challenging years as a mainstream school mathematics teacher here in the UK. Despite being a passionate and conscientious teacher, I became increasingly frustrated with the system around me, in particular its unwillingness to cater for my innovative, outside-the-box teaching approaches, the dehumanisation of children by data, and the cruel and indefensible psychiatric labelling of learning differences (i.e. ADHD, ODD, dyslexia, etc).
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Prompted by the curiosity aroused within me by my students' WHY-questions, I began to explore the unconscious assumptions driving the behaviour of everyone involved with the school system, eventually identifying three core implicit (and entirely false) teachings perpetuated by conventional school environments:
The experts know best.
Failure is bad.
You must fit in.
I could see how these implicit teachings – which become unconscious beliefs about “the way it is” – stifled creativity, denied the innate uniqueness of the individual, and caused children to make limiting decisions about themselves and their futures, thus perpetuating the existence of the Box of Fear.
Life beyond the box
Healing with horses in Canada
The highlight of my trip was venturing alone into the valley one day to join the herd. I walked calmly into the middle of the herd, sat down and opened a book. Before long, I felt something nudging the back of my head. I turned around to find Picasso, a giant stallion, towering over me. The selfie above was taken a few minutes after our five-minute "embrace" in complete stillness and silence. To connect with an animal so deeply, in the middle of nowhere, was an incredible experience and one of the most touching moments of my life.
That same horse ranch now attracts people from all over the world to healing retreats – all inspired by my visit in 2008! In fact, I returned in 2009 to experience one for myself. Lying on a wooden table in the middle of the paddock while horses, cats and dogs took turns to carry out energy healing work on my body was an experience I will never forget!
This is the essence of life inside the new paradigm. Intuition becomes the standard bearer of experience. The mind is no longer in charge. We listen to and act upon the promptings of our heart, with the mind acting as its faithful servant.
In 2008 I felt an inner calling to work with horses in the Canadian Rockies. This was in spite of me knowing nothing about horses! The horse ranch to which I headed was completely unknown at the time. I stayed in a walled tent surrounded by wild bears and experienced much healing and awakening by connecting with the horses and the land.
In 2008 I decided enough was enough. I quit the system, vowing to create a new trust- and heart-based model of education for the 21st Century. Following several years of reading and research into existing alternative educational models all over the world, I reached the conclusion that a sustainable Earth for present and future generations required a new paradigm of education – that is, a whole new conceptual framework within which to view children and learning. I began recording my ideas and visions for Eduspire - "education infused with spirit" - through my education blog. It gradually became clear to me that this new approach to education could only emerge in the wider context of a new paradigm for living and being.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Nobody can be coerced, manipulated or talked into a new paradigm. It is a shift in consciousness that requires a conscious choice on the part of the individual. Thus, my overriding priority since 2008 has been to become a living embodiment of this new paradigm. I knew I could only teach and inspire others through the power and clarity of my personal example. This meant turning my back on social norms and expectations – including striving to make money and owning property – and focusing instead on following my passion and excitement, whilst simultaneously facing and healing my shadow self.
Conscious healing begins
As a pioneer of the Garden of Trust – which is the term I use to describe the vibrational reality in which the new paradigm for living and being is being created – I have been blessed to experience countless examples of the magic and synchronicity of life inside this new paradigm during my ten-year period of preparation for my role as the Silent Life Coach.
The new paradigm revolves around play, passion, purpose, collaboration and community spirit. Check out the stories in the "Life beyond the box" sections of this page for some inspiring examples from my own life of the new paradigm in action:
Breaking through the chrysalis of my pain-body has, however, remained my overriding priority, for this is the prerequisite to living consistently inside the Garden of Trust. You can't “think” your way into the Garden. You can't “fake” your way into it either. It is a realisable state of being, not a mindset. You've either done your inner work and set yourself free of identification with the ego (and the mind through which it operates), or you haven't. You've either made a conscious choice to break out of the Box of Fear and to face your shadow self, or you haven't.
It has taken ten years of dedicated inner work to process all the fear, suppressed emotional pain, trauma, limiting beliefs and ancestral baggage hiding in the shadows of my unconscious awareness. I consider this inner work my greatest gift to humanity, for I am no longer contaminating the collective energies with any inner pollution. As part of my mission as a pioneer of the new paradigm, I have also been breaking ego-based energetic templates of the old paradigm on behalf of the collective consciousness. I'm referring to templates such as narcissism, codependency, addictions and abuse of all kinds. In that sense, I have been processing not only my own pain, but also the disowned pain of humanity at large. This has been a gruelling and exhausting process that has brought me to my knees on more than one occasion, earning me the nickname “Bed Bug” amongst my friends due to the amount of time I spend in bed!
Dark night of the soul
My journey has taken me to the deepest, darkest depths of despair, which is why I'm able to hold such a profoundly soothing space of compassion and healing for others. During the second half of 2015, I went through a particularly rough “dark night of the soul” that lasted several months. I was overwhelmed by feelings of being “different” and “misunderstood” in the world and struggling with suicidal thoughts. Riddled with self-doubt and suffering from chronic depression, my dream of performing on the West End came crashing to a halt and my confidence coaching business folded. Everywhere I turned I seemed to be hitting closed doors. I could not see how I was of any value to such a dark and disconnected world. Nobody cared what I had to say; I felt alienated, alone and helpless. I was ready to die.
However, I knew I had the strength within to heal my pain. Indeed, the wiser part of me was aware that this situation was an opportunity to dig deep and to prove to myself just how strong and resilient a soul I truly am. One thing was for certain: I could not go any lower! The only way was up! Pharmaceutical intervention was never an option as I wanted to feel and process my pain, not suppress it. I didn't feel any inclination towards “professional help” through conventional counselling or therapy either. With the support of my parents, my one-year-old niece (who was like a guardian angel to me) and two alternative healers who appeared on my path in my greatest hour of need, I was able to climb out of this personal hell. Self-respect and self-care became the order of the day.
Accepting my way back to health
I sat with myself for the best of part of six months, accepting every negative thought that surfaced and every dark emotion that came to my conscious attention. I quite literally “accepted” my way back to health, happiness and wholeness. That may sound counter-intuitive at first, but I learned through this long recovery process that acceptance opens the door to change. Our pain needs to be seen, acknowledged, validated and welcomed, not ignored, dismissed, suppressed or judged. I didn't “learn to love myself” (how I hated that advice!). No, through this process of radical self-acceptance, I cleaned up all the confusion obscuring my view of myself and discovered that I AM LOVE itself! In hindsight, I can see that I was also learning to surrender control of my circumstances, to trust the Universe, and to allow Life to flow through me. Losing everything I had worked so hard for was a blessing in disguise.
Having faced my own shadow self (pain-body), I set up the Silent Life Coach website to assist others. Until recently, I have focused on supporting the forerunners, way showers and pioneers of the new paradigm. However, I'm excited about expanding my reach to anyone who is ready to make the transition into the Garden of Trust.
The collective purpose of humanity is to transmute pain into beauty. No one can escape from facing their pain-body. Not indefinitely. The pain-body is the chrysalis. Breaking through this chrysalis is inevitable. How else is the butterfly (the light-body) to fly?
~ David Mills
Life beyond the box
My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)
In 2011 I closed down my maths tutoring business, packed my bags and boarded a flight to Chicago. I knew nothing about the city and nobody there. I had no idea where I would be staying or what I would be doing there. I simply trusted my heart and intuition to guide me. As a result of this leap of faith, I discovered that every moment of my life could be experienced as a miracle. Because I was in a state of “flow”, I continually found myself in the right place at the right time, meeting and making friends with the right people.
A series of miraculous events led me to discover a revolutionary small school in the suburbs. Students at this radical alternative to conventional school were free to pursue their own interests and passions within the framework of a fully participatory democracy. I was so loved by the students and so deeply touched by the strong sense of community that I ended up volunteering at this school for six months.
I also (completely unexpectedly) launched my professional singing career on the Chicago cabaret scene. Singing “Don't Get Around Much Anymore” at Petterino's, a popular restaurant and cabaret venue in the heart of Chicago's theatre district, accompanied on piano by the inimitable Beckie Menzie, remains one of the highlights of my life. Beckie subsequently accompanied me on my first album, My Kind of Town, which I recorded in Chicago. In 2015 I flew out to perform with the John Burnett Swing Orchestra at FitzGerald's Nightclub.
None of this would have been possible if I had been “thinking” and “goal setting” my way through life. I had no idea that any of this was waiting for me in Chicago when I boarded that plane in 2011. I simply put myself in a state of open receptivity, trusting my Highest Path to unfold before me. I was not disappointed!
Life beyond the box
In pursuit of West End stardom
I was asked by a life coach friend some years ago, "David, if you could do anything with your life, and there was nothing to stop you, what would you do?"
My response: "I'd be playing the role of the Phantom on the West End."
And so began another chapter of my life! At the age of 35, and with no previous formal training in singing, acting or dancing, I defied all the odds by auditioning for and successfully securing a place on a one-year professional musical theatre training course in London. I excelled in all the singing classes and relished the opportunity to improve my acting skills. However, I struggled like crazy with the dancing! I was by far the weakest dancer in the group. Watching me in my black unitard "attempting" to do ballet was not a pretty sight! Sadly, I will never be a Fred Astaire. I cried many tears of frustration due to my dyspraxic tendencies, my inability to point my toes, and the tightness of my hamstrings. However, when I reflect back on that year now, it was the pain and challenges I overcame during the dance and movement sessions from which I benefited the most. Like many people who find themselves on a spiritual path, I was not at all grounded. That year of intensive training pulled me into my body and enhanced my physical stage "presence" in a way nothing else could have done. In hindsight, it was perhaps the overriding (higher) purpose behind that year. I talk about the power of presence on my About page.
I went on to secure representation with a leading West End agent in 2014 and appeared as Mr Welch in a London production of Damn Yankees that same year. I was blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful cast, including the super talented veteran stage actor, Tony Stansfield (pictured with me below left), who was like a father/mentor figure to me.
Although I haven't landed the role of the Phantom (yet), I did have the opportunity to audition in front of the musical supervisor for the worldwide tour of the Phantom of the Opera during my training year, who gave me very positive feedback. Never say never! In 2017 I was honoured to originate the role of Francis Davey (above right) - an equally dark and complex character - in the world premiere of a musical adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn. So much fun!
My experiences in the musical theatre world are a perfect demonstration of my definition of new paradigm education: "the pursuit of passion". I share these experiences with children as inspiration to pursue their own dreams and passions - no matter how "impossible" they may seem.