What you do makes a difference

I don't know about you, but I absolutely love to hear stories from people who inspire me ... I love to hear how they began their journey and who had the biggest impact on them and the work they do today.

You may remember last month I wrote about a man who has had a massive impact on my life - Wayne Dyer. I asked inspiring people to contact me and tell me who influenced their lives and who has inspired them along the way.

Thank you so much to these wonderful people who responded to my request. These people are all doing such fabulous work, and have inspired me along my path, so I'm honoured to share their stories with you. Here they are:



David runs a Leadership Legacy Programme™ to help business executives define and deliver their legacy to the world. Part of the programme helps executives identify the inspirational figures in their life and embody the learning from their experiences into their business, to make both them and their business more effective.


"As you read this article, I'm curious to know who has been a life-changing influence for you in your life and why?"

David Wetton


One such person for me is Dr. Bernard Lafayette, a leader in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, who was with Martin Luther King in Memphis on the morning of his assassination. In Martin Luther King's final words to Dr Lafayette, he said it was crucial to "institutionalize and internationalize nonviolence." Dr Lafayette has spent his entire life in steadfastly carrying out Martin Luther King's very last words to him.

My first mentor Rev Jim Parkinson introduced me to the transformational and inspirational influence of nonviolence. Jim shared his own stories of how he stood arm in arm with members of the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities in Southall as they protested nonviolently against the presence of The National Front during Southall race confrontations. Jim spoke of how he was inspired to take action through Martin Luther King and his principles of Kingian Nonviolence. I quickly realised that nonviolence is not passive. Indeed it is an active, embodied response, which resists and challenges the status quo of unjust conditions. As Martin Luther King said, it is a method for courageous people, which depends on the internal moral and spiritual character of the individual and the foundation for nonviolence is love.

I was captivated by Jim's courageous stories in the face of challenging conditions and how he challenged me in turn to consider where and how I stand in times of challenge and controversy in my life. I read about Martin Luther King's method of nonviolence and learnt that Dr. Bernard Lafayette was running Kingian Nonviolence courses in New York's University of Rhode Island, where he helped to found the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. I took several courses on nonviolence and nonviolent communication here in the UK, yet I still dreamt of one day travelling to New York and taking a course with Dr Lafayette.

As it turned out, The Divine, the Universe or whatever you may choose to call it, had its own plans and its own timing! During a trip to The San Francisco Bay Area in 2012, where I was researching the Role of Spirituality in the Workplace, I wandered into Philz Coffee house on Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley. Something drew me to the community noticeboard. I could scarcely believe my eyes to see that Dr. Bernard Lafayette was coming to The Oakland Peace Center to deliver a weekend course on Kingian Nonviolence! As providence turned out, my lodgings were within walking distance of The Oakland Peace Center! Needless to say, I signed up on the spot!

The weekend was transformational for me. Dr. Bernard Lafayette turned out to be a gentle, humble, spiritual giant of a man. He shared his personal stories of how he embodied nonviolence through many of the Civil Rights campaigns he was involved in, including the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. There was a time when he was confronted by a white assailant with a knife and he knew his life hung in the balance. In this moment he shared how he told his white assailant how he loved him and how he wished him no harm. You could hear a pin drop in the room as Dr Lafayette recalled how his assailant had dropped his knife and turned away. There were other times where he was badly injured, yet he was not deterred from continuing his nonviolent campaigning. He shared a deep personal belief of how he believes that the Universe is on the side of justice and that this is the teaching and understanding of all the world's great religions.

To learn the principles of nonviolence from him is an experience I will never forget.

The photo below is of me in conversation with Dr Lafayette during my training.

The book I hold in my hand is one which my first mentor Rev Jim Parkinson had published. I was showing it to Dr Lafayette and sharing how Jim's spiritual giant was Martin Luther King and how Jim had passed on his love of Dr King and of nonviolence to me. It was a special moment for me, as Jim died a few years ago and I know he would have been thrilled to know that I'd not only met with, but had also been trained in nonviolence by Dr Lafayette.

I'll close with my original curious question:

Who has been a life-changing influence for you in your life and why?

David runs a Leadership Legacy Programme™ to help business executives define and deliver their legacy to the world. Part of the programme helps executives identify the inspirational figures in their life and embody the learning from their experiences into their business, to make both them and their business more effective.


Phone: 079-41-0975-41




Joe helps you/your organisation/your team reconnect with zest for life, and so boost your health, happiness and perform better in your life.

In the space of a year

My formative 'a-ha' moment was over 20 years ago, with the healer Colin Bloy. This experience opened me up to my current life.


I was at my first ever healing workshop. We were going to do a distant healing session and we were asked if there was anyone we wanted to bring to the circle. A woman asked for her husband to receive distant healing from the circle, with his blessing. In the 25 years they'd been married, he'd never been able to say to her 'I love you'. He'd told their children that he loved their mother but he'd never been able to say it to her.
He was emotionally imprisoned.


As she was telling this story, the welling up in my chest I'd been feeling during the whole workshop started to get stronger and stronger. This inability to be emotionally express touched a nerve. It was so me. When we settled down to start sending him healing, this welling up just exploded. I felt my heart rip open and I started sobbing my eyes and heart out. It was a John Hurt in Alien experience, something in me just ripped open. I just sobbed.


In that moment my life changed. In that moment my old life died and my new life started. I had experienced the healing power of love and from that precise instant I knew that life, and my life, was all about love - heart-opening connection with all life.


It was my wake-up moment, the birth and release of the being inside me that needed recognition, expression and liberation. It was my remembering moment, when I remembered why I am here and what I need to do.


I am here to share love. Please join me.

'Awakening the Laughing Buddha within'

Chrissie Astell is one of the UK's best-loved spiritual educators and angel experts. Following a visionary angelic experience in 1997, she is the author of four books, most recently Gifts From Angels (Watkins)

The woman who has most influenced my work

I arrived at the gathering slightly apprehensive - not really knowing much about the people I might meet there, and certainly no inkling of the syllabus or schedule. All I knew was that my mother had been invited over from America, where she had been living since the mid seventies with her husband a 'Sustainable Architect'. They were guest speakers. It was a beautiful day in early Summer and to be honest I was just glad to get away from my dreary routine running a transport company with my husband in London's east end.

Parking the car I was met by Anne MacEwen. A lovely lady with sparkling eyes and a smile that matched the warmth of her hug. She almost skipped over towards me and in a beautiful crisp English accent declared "So you must be Chrissie, how wonderful". I couldn't remember ever having been met with such enthusiasm and generosity of spirit by a complete stranger in my life. She showed me around a little, told me where to get a cup of tea, and said she would see me later.

I brought in my little dog, Barney, and settled into my room to wait for the arrival of mum, and to be given a programme.

All the guests arrived and gradually filled a circle of chairs in silence. I became very nervous and had no clue what to expect. In the centre of the room was a table displaying an amethyst geode, and next to it a church candle glowed in some fresh flowers. Surrounding the crystal and around the edge of the table someone had placed small cards. Each card had the picture of a rainbow and looked pretty but I had no idea what they were. A man, whom I assumed to be the leader of the group introduced himself as Brian and welcomed everyone. He invited each of us to say our name and a few words of introduction. Thank goodness I was able to say I was invited by my mother - phew! At the end of a beautiful prayer and a half hour meditation (which I found rather difficult and way beyond my comfort zone) a young lady spoke up and declared that she had channelled a new set of Angel Cards, and would we all like to try them during the weekend. "Oh, good grief" I thought.

Everyone left the room and as I was feeling slightly awkward and out of my depth I hung back. I slowly approached the table to look into the gorgeous amethyst, and began wondering why I had allowed myself to be persuaded to come to such a strange gathering of people. Ageing hippies I decided. I was filled with doubts at my ability to sustain four days. Just as I picked up a card from the table I said to myself, "I really shouldn't have come." As I turned over the little rainbow card the words on it read ... WHY NOT? I was covered in goose-bumps, I laughed, and stayed.

The days included interesting talks about raw foods, beautiful communions, lessons in dowsing, healing sessions, lots of amazing conversations, and a visit to some standing stones. It was during this visit that Anne took me under her wing. She suggested I lie down on one of the flat stones. Closing my eyes I followed her instructions and began to breathe deeply. Letting go of any thoughts I became aware of a large face. It was a very unusual face, and I could only describe it as rather like a lion. That evening we were presented with a film about the face on Mars. To my shock it was identical to the image I had seen on the flat stone.

That weekend I not only learned about my mother's channelling work all over the world, but I was greatly impressed by the teachings of the Essenes. These were a group of people who believed in angels as powerful sources energy, and referred to them daily at morning and evening as a way of life. Jesus had been an Essene. I resonated with the group, with the teachings and practices, with the vegetarian diet, the healing, and most of all ... I had never experienced such love.

Anne MacEwen was the co-founder of the group, The Essene Network, which she had started in 1986 with Sir George Trevelyan (known as the father of the New Age) and Brian and Jackie Stevenson. I found her so inspiring, knowledgable, kind, warm-hearted and generous. I especially enjoyed listening to her story of growing up in India as a child, and meeting a stranger dressed in white, an angel who foretold her life and answered many mysteries.

I went back to London and completely changed my life. My experience had given me the courage to follow my soul purpose, my higher wisdom. Although difficult, my decision was the best for all concerned.

I completed a course in angel healing, I left my job and my unhappy marriage and by the following Summer when I returned to the next gathering I was available to genuinely follow my spiritual path. On my way there I clearly heard the tune to the famous hymn 'Make me a channel of your Peace'. Anne was the first person I met when I arrived, again. When I told her about the song in my head, and wondered what I was being shown I asked "How can I be a channel for peace? I'm not the slightest bit interested in politics! "Anne smiled and said: "Marvellous dear, you can come with me to the Peace conference in Holland next May!" Little did I know then what the Universe had in store for me.

Anne was an English teacher and encouraged and helped me with my books and advised on my angel workshops.She sponsored my journey to the Holy Land and ordained me as a celebrant in the Essene Network handing over some of the tireless spiritual work for me to continue where she no longer can. At ninety and still hale and hearty she still mentors, guides and encourages others without judgement or criticism in her inimitable and admirable way, enjoying a life in Somerset and living as true to the Essene teachings as she possibly can.

If any one woman has inspired me onwards and upwards in my work with the angels - it is Anne.

Chrissie Astell
+44 797 996 1797
Spiritual Educator / Author / Essene Celebrant


Christina Christou is a spiritual mentor and crystal therapist. She works 1:1 and in groups to assist the healing process of past trauma, including depression and grief. Christina can also guide you with the techniques to create the life you want …


Who inspires me?


I am especially inspired by the spirit of an individual. For example, my mum lived her life with explicit faith in her religion that kept her strong and resilient. She would turn to her Virgin Mary and Jesus through her difficult life and not only find comfort but find the strength and compassion to give to others. Even when she was terminally ill she still had strength of spirit to ask after the nurses who came daily. Even in her last breath, semi-conscious she managed to open her eyes for us to say our farewells.


As a teenager I did not appreciate her quiet strength, at times I thought her weak and ineffectual. My mother suffered from depression; looking back I think she may have had bi polar as there were times she would be up at the crack of dawn, re-decorating the house zooming around, cleaning and re-cleaning. In the next minute she was crippled with the lows of depression. She would lock herself away for hours in her room crying and worryingly for us there would be the long silences. She would reappear though to feed us and tend to our needs.


It was when I became a mother I realised her true nature. I appreciated how hard her life must have been in a foreign country with limited knowledge of the language, no friends and in a marriage that was wrong from the beginning. When my life mirrored hers years later, she would say to me,


'Christina, you are more educated than I was at your age, you do not have to suffer in the same way. Your life does not have to be like mine.'


This used to upset me and I was not shy of saying how I felt. She used to call me stubborn - pot calling the kettle black. But I understand her pain now I have a daughter of my own - her names sake. I worry about her future and can see now how much more my mum must have worried, as she was also trapped in her own depression and pain.


She worked hard and would buy things for my house and my children, paying weekly from her minimum wage. When I needed her for anything she would drop everything and be there. I tried not to let her see what I was going through but she knew. She could see how my life had taken off where hers had stopped. She must have felt some distorted guilt.


I saw how brave and fearless she was as she fought for independence and freedom. She finally reached out for what she wanted after divorcing my dad. She struck up a relationship with a man she grew up with in her village. Even when everyone turned against her and called her names for daring to live, she dug her heels in and insisted on having a go at love and life. I stuck by her, even though it meant I saw her less as she spent more time with him. But her happiness was important to me, even if I was secretly jealous that this man had her attention.


She was with this man for a while and all seemed well, but she soon realised all was not what it seemed. This time unlike with my dad a dangerous fire grew in her belly. She became a raging bull and demanded the truth. When it was apparent that there was no going back she did not waste any more time and sent him on his way.


When she became bed bound in the later stages of her illness, she would sometimes be lucid where she shared parts of her life that I never knew. She had a girlish smile and a glint in her eyes. She made me blush with some of the stories she told. I felt I was getting to know the woman away from the role of mum. I had become her mum, she my daughter. She was still holding on, her spirit strong her will to be there for us apparent. But she had to leave; God needed his angel.


After she passed I had a reading from the medium, Gordon Smith. He said that she was well and wanted me to be happy and know that she would be helping me from where she was.


At the time this did not help with my grief. But time has passed and more has happened on this journey of life. I have missed having her presence, but she has been helping me in her quiet unassuming way. She has whispered in my ear to calm me down when I have lost my temper. She has gently wiped my tears when I have felt alone. She has smiled with me at my achievements and held my hand through my painful ordeals.


My mum wanted what we all want - to be loved. She did not find romantic love unfortunately. But she loved with all her heart and all her soul. She gave her life to my father and to us. She lived with dignity and with passion with dreams that she hoped to fulfil.


She may not have been educated but I learned more from this beautiful lady than from all the scholars in the world. Because of her I know what unconditional love is, because of her I know what love is not, because of her I know about passion of life. I owe it to her to live my life to the best of my abilities.


She was beautiful, a lady. All my friends wanted her to be their mum. All the men wanted her to be their wife. All the women wanted her to be their friend. Even so she was quiet and unassuming yet her soul was strong and her light shone bright. She was and is my mum, part of my soul, part of my life. She was the most amazing woman and I am privileged to have been her daughter.


Christina Christou is a spiritual mentor and crystal therapist. She works 1:1 and in groups to assist the healing process of past trauma, including depression and grief. Christina can also guide you with the techniques to create the life you want …

Get in touch for Workshop dates/information

Find out more about Christina's book 'Write Therapy here ...


Ian Tucker is an inspirational author and speaker who lives in Devon, England.
After spending over twenty years in the corporate world he reached a point in his life and realised that what he had once thought important no longer served him.

Follow your heart, not the crowd

It's Christmas Eve 2005 and I sit alone, my wife and three young children are all in bed, the presents are wrapped, the turkey and trimmings chilled and ready to go.

I pour another glass of red wine and settle down to watch a congregation sing carols by candlelight.

Christmas seems to be on of those times of year that lends itself to reflection, how's the year gone? What have we achieved? Are we getting it right?

Luckily for me I was, and my career was far exceeding my expectations.

I was sales and marketing director for the UK's largest lighting company, responsible for running a £30 Million business and directing over 150 people. My earning potential was uncapped and meant that myself and my family could enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle - and all before the big four zero.

So annual bonus in the bag, praise in abundance from the owners and every career box ticked, all I needed to do now was quietly join in singing Little Donkey and finish off the mince pie and glass of milk that had been left on top of the fireplace for you know who.

So why, oh why, in a moment of silence did I suddenly get the feeling to give it all up, to simply walk away from everything that I had ever been certain that I wanted to achieve in life.

This thought developed in to a feeling, a knowing, that for whatever reason my life had changed in an instant.

I reached for a pen and paper and sat quietly for a moment and the words "Love's whisper" came to me - I wrote them slowly in speech marks at the top of the page.

I continued to write, but this time more quickly, what flowed from the pen brought tears, and offered me the chance to reconnect with what I now believe to be the meaning of life.

"Love's Whisper."

"There comes a time in everyone's life when a gentle light begins to shine within,
A calling for you to realise what truly matters.

How making others laugh makes you laugh more, how reducing
others fear makes your own disappear.

How being grateful for the little things brings even bigger things to you.

And that how peaceful you are is the true measure of success."

So, what happens when so many of the things that seemed important to you lose their significance? When you suddenly realise that having more, or the best or the latest or the fastest doesn't hold the same value and certainly doesn't guarantee happiness.

Well, it leaves a void, as you read this you may be at the same crossroads, it can be disorientating - we have been told by society and even those who love us that life has to be a certain way, and then we can fit in, and be happy.

Within a month of hearing "Love's Whisper" I had given my company notice of my intention to leave.

A leap of faith? Maybe. Mid life crisis or new life beginning? Had I fallen out of society or fallen in to who I was really born to be?

As I look back on that time what I now know is that I had made an absolute commitment to the universe that I was ready for change, even if at the time it felt like I was blowing around like a leaf in the wind - but whatever is for you won't pass you by.

The first time my leaf settled was with a flyer handed out in a local High street, it advertised a new beginners course for something called Reiki, it could have been for personal injury insurance, I took it politely, threw it in my bag and forgot about it.

About a week later I found the leaflet and was immediately attracted by one line. "Just for Today" - Imagine living your life "Just for today", it doesn't mean don't plan ahead, or don't contemplate what has gone, but take what you have and work with it TODAY.

I signed up to a Reiki first degree course and took my next step away from my society induced take on life.

There was a wonderful simplicity to the principles of Reiki that struck a chord with me immediately.

Just for today, do not anger, Just for today, do not worry. Just for today, be kind to all living things. Just for today, be honest, and Just for today, be grateful for all that you have in life.

Reiki is an ancient Far Eastern healing technique, but offers so much more - it connects you to something bigger, it's tangible, it encourages you to let go and trust that the energy will flow to yourself and others, clearing emotional, mental and physical blockages to aid wellbeing.

I found that this energy, this divine essence was only ever a few deep breaths away and becoming silent for periods each day has also become a daily practice for me - Just a few minutes each day when I consciously become silent., every answer you will ever need will be found in your own silence.

Reiki, with it's roots in Far Eastern philosophy led me to my next great influence.

The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese masterpiece that translates as "The book of the way" - it dates back to the fourth century BC.

Through eighty one simple verses, the author Lao Tzu offers a timeless guide to life. I strongly recommend the audio version narrated by Steven Mitchell, it's a magical translation.

My final teacher brings us much closer to home, with the wisdom of Dr Wayne Dyer.

I have been close to his books and teachings for over ten years now and have come to regard Wayne Dyer as my most influential guide and mentor, his ability to bring ancient wisdom to this crazy modern world continues to have an impact on me and my own work.

Ironically, I was finally to meet him in person in London this October but his sudden passing meant that was not to be.

I love his work and what he has brought to so many, but one quote from him tends to get me through when I feel stuck or need a lift.

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

Dr Dyer started each day in gratitude, for my many teachers I say thank you.

Ian Tucker is a bestselling author and speaker, his first book titled Your Simple Path is an Amazon Bestseller.

For more information visit


Dianne has been a spiritual seeker for 20 years. Her first step on the path began with the successful completion of Louise Hay's 'Heal Your Life' teacher training programme in 1997. She is the Author of 'The Sacred Order of the Magi' and a very successful Angel Card Reader

The person who inspired me…


That person was my form teacher and English mistress when I was in year 9 at a Roman Catholic Girls Grammar School. The school was also a convent and my teacher was a nun, Sister Una.


Since writing The Sacred Order Of The Magi, I have often thought about Sister Una for I know that her dedication to me has a huge bearing on my written work. While I have been able to personally thank her for the hours she put into helping me with English as a subject, I have not, as yet sent her a copy of my book. I do know without a shadow of a doubt however that she was one of those people that The Universe sends to help us fulfil our soul mission. We do not always recognise this at the time as I most certainly did not.


I always enjoyed writing essays and had achieved success while at school with my writing so I could never understand why Sister Una seemed to single me out to stand by her desk during our English classes individually tutoring me when she had simply set the rest of the class a task. Why did she always ask me to stand by her while we went through my work? It puzzled and irritated me as I just wanted to sit and write. Of course, I understand the reason why now. Sister Una saw potential in me that I did not and wanted to help me to be the best that I could be.


I attended the 150 years Celebration of the school when I was reunited with Sister Una again having left school over 40 years previously. My book had only just been published and I said to Sister Una that whatever success the book achieved would be a testament to her hours of dedication with me. I also realised at that meeting that Sr Una was only a few years older than myself although that was something else I didn't appreciate at the time.


During those intervening 40 years, I have encountered many people who have inspired me however Sister Una stands out for me as a Gift From The Universe that I never understood until much later in life.


How many other reluctant students were subjected to Sr Una's kind and dogged determination to help them achieve their potential, I wonder? Hundreds, I am sure. Perhaps some of those students even understood the thought behind her actions at the time, too.


Bless You and Thank You, Sister Una


As a post script to this story, I decided that it was time to send Sister Una a copy of The Sacred Order Of The Magi. I took to the internet to find her current whereabouts. I knew that Sister Una had risen through to the position of Headmistress and was instrumental in introducing many social and educational programmes affiliated to the school. One of these company programmes, I discovered, is called Myrrh Ltd! *


Yes, Sister Una was definitely a gift from The Universe to me!


* For those of you who have not read my book, The Sacred Order Of The Magi tells the unknown story of the Three Wise Men...


You know, those Wise Men who presented gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to the Baby Jesus in the Nativity Story.



Find out more about my work here