Maturing Happily

There are 22 million people over 50 in the UK: that’s one third of the whole population. Yet we all live in a culture that idealises youth. The midlife years, say 45 to 65, and the ‘early older’ years, say 65 to 75 plus, are times of huge change. These life stages can offer us new freedoms and choices, but often bring losses and challenges that need facing.

I have been exploring these issues since my own midlife crisis began with the end of my first, 28-year marriage at the age of 49. I’ve written extensively, and have co-led both mixed and mens’ groups on creative ageing, at the Findhorn Foundation, Hazel Hill and elsewhere.

My second book, Out of the Woods: a guide to life for men beyond 50, has a lot of useful material for men and women, age 45 to 75 plus: to see more, click here. For my blogs on creative ageing, click here.

I’ve now turned 68, and realise I’m nervous about my 70’s. So I’m working on a new book: Not Fade Away – Staying happy when you’re  over 64! If you’d like to be a trial reader, or share your experience, please contact me. To see more about the book, click here.


Click on the project heading or logo to visit the relevant website:

Wisdom Tree:

wisdom treeResilience is the ability to bounce back and move forward under pressure: to improve your wellbeing and effectiveness amid too much change, challenge and complexity. Organisations who invest in the wellbeing of their staff report reduced stress, conflict and absence levels, higher productivity, improved collaboration and comfort with ambiguity and change.

Our vision is of flourishing organisations and communities where people are confident, happy, productive and able to look after themselves and each other now and into the future.  Wisdom Tree aims to fulfil this vision by:

  1. Providing supportive space and practical skills to nourish a sense of calm and wellbeing. Enabling busy people to reconnect with their own wisdom and find resilient ways of moving forward amid the pressures of modern times.
  2. To nurture a collaborative network of wellbeing practitioners where they can safely explore, share, experiment and develop what they offer to their clients.

Wisdom Tree is a small team of committed professionals.  We support individuals, teams and organisations to learn the skills and behaviours needed to thrive in these challenging times.  We work with you to develop the practical tools, resources and culture that seed, nourish and sustain individual and organisational resilience and wellbeing

Our approach draws on what has helped us and our clients, and grows from well-proven methods such as mindfulness, assertiveness, emotional intelligence, NLP, and natural systems. We can co-create organisational and culture change programmes to enable success in uncertain futures, and we offer a toolkit of resilience resources that enable people to remain confident and productive amidst the turbulence of change, challenge and set-backs.

Hazel Hill Wood:

Hazel Hill WoodHazel Hill Wood is a beautiful, secluded 70-acre wood and sustainable retreat/education centre, seven miles from Salisbury, which offers unique scope for people to deepen their connection with nature and learn about living renewably.  The programme includes retreats, conservation, men’s and women’s groups, and the wood is available for group bookings.  The facilities include heated bedrooms and sleeping lofts, indoor group room, camping area, compost loos, good showers and a hot tub.

Hazel Hill has been owned and stewarded by Alan Heeks since 1987.  He has led the creation of education facilities and programmes there since 1993, and has co-led many groups there, especially vision quests for teenagers, men’s groups and conservation weekends.  In June 2015, Alan gifted ownership of the wood to a new registered charity the Hazel Hill Trust, of which he is currently Chair.

Scanning Our Future

Diverse global views on the decades ahead

The present is already so intense and demanding that most of us don’t want to consider the future. But surely the rapid changes and pressures we face now are likely to continue, and increase?  Where is all this leading to? The aim of Scanning Our Future is to gather insights from diverse experts around the world on the outlook for the next 15-35 years, i.e. the period 2030 to 2050.

Initial work will mostly be done by Palden Jenkins, a freelance researcher based in the UK, who has a range of international contacts, and experience of several complex research and writing projects, such as the Kingfisher Encyclopedia of World History which won a Smithsonian Award. The aim is to publish a report and launch a website for the project by early 2018.

For a fuller overview of the project click here.

Bridport Cohousing

Bridport CohousingAlan Heeks is one of the lead professional advisors to the residents group creating Bridport Cohousing Neighbourhood.  This builds on his experience as co-founder and project manager of The Threshold Centre in North Dorset, the UK’s first affordable low-impact cohousing neighbourhood.

Read more about the Bridport Cohousing project here.