Delighted to be joining women that do rather than women that talk, we caught up with Caroline Purvey about her mission to help heal the women of Malawi.
When we met up with Caroline Purvey to find out why she’d joined the #leagueofladies, little did we realise quite what a journey she’s had thus far in her business life. With such a varied past, Caroline will certainly be able to draw on her past in order to help her not only get to the top of Mount Malunje but also to help her in her stated mission of helping the Malawian women overcome traumatic events in their lives to improve not only their own lives but also that of future generations.
So, with such a bold statement, we were curious as to what exactly it was that drives Caroline with such purpose. From the outset, this quietly spoken lady oozed a steadfast resilience and an almost steely determination of purpose that it is not hard to believe that Caroline will not fail to succeed in her aim.
A deep sense of Caroline’s spirituality also comes across when you listen to Caroline talk of how she enjoyed her first foray into retailing gaining experience as so many youngsters do by working in cafes and hairdressing salons as well as spell working in the dispensary for Boots. While bringing up her young family, Caroline carried on selling by party planning but when her marriage ended, she needed to, in her words “earn a man’s wage but with minimum hours”. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Caroline became the first ever double glazing saleswoman for Anglian Windows. It was such a male dominated environment that her male colleagues refused to allow her on the training programme because she was a woman (oh how times have changed!). Undeterred and with the support of the person who recruited her, Caroline went on to prove she was worthy of the faith placed in her and was successful in the role – which was probably just as well for the rest of the ladies who followed in her footsteps!
Feeling restless and having met her now husband of 35 years, they decided to set up their own shop selling everything to do with weddings as her husband was a photographer. Not one for wanting to let the grass grow under her feet, Caroline also found time to help out at the local youth clubs her own children enjoyed so much and became involved in other youth work. Everything seemed to be going well… until the recession hit and the business closed. As someone who believes that everything happens for reason, Caroline was unfazed by the setback and started her academic journey despite not having an ‘o’ level to her name. Caroline managed to talk her way onto the business course using her best selling skills and qualified with a very respectable 2:1 in Business.
Once Caroline had qualified and after a harsh lesson in the danger of leasing a shop when you own the lease and the tenant doesn’t pay the rent, it seemed fate that Caroline would end up teaching business to youngsters in schools. When she landed a job at one of the local grammar schools, Caroline thought she had reached the pinnacle of teaching excellence – after all teaching at boy’s grammar school must surely mean that you’ve achieved. Yet, Caroline remained restless – the environment didn’t sit well with her so she started looking for her new adventure.
By chance Caroline went to boarding school for the children of military personnel in Dover and she sensed that the job was a perfect match for her. Her 6th sense proved to be right again as Caroline was offered the job and spent the next 12 years teaching business, careers advice there. Whilst at the boarding school, Caroline’s employers supported her in her wish to teach yoga and funded her training and it wasn’t long before she was teaching not only the boys, but also the staff. Being in a boarding school 24/7 can be quite stressful so using yoga to help de-stress was positive for everyone.
After 12 years at the boarding school, Caroline’s perfect sense of timing kicked in again as she felt the need to move on from education and whilst she enjoyed her yoga teaching, she was after something more than expanding classes in the local village halls. Caroline had an ambition to run her own yoga studio where people would come to her and having found what she thought to be the perfect venue, fate once again played its hand as someone secured the property first. However, for whatever reason, the original deal fell through and Caroline got the lease on the studio as she always felt she was destined to.
Whilst in the process of getting the premises ready for this next phase in her journey, her daughter was about to have a baby in South Africa and Caroline had planned to be there for the birth. In a remarkable set of coincidences – although Caroline believes it was more destiny – one of her yoga ladies gave her some information from a friend of hers who was visiting from South Africa. In addition, Caroline’s original yoga practitioner who had taught her, was doing his last ever training seminar…. in South Africa… in a venue just 5 minutes from where Caroline’s daughter lived.
Everything Caroline had done before seemed to be leading to this point and she is convinced that this is where her journey now truly begins. Having listened to Caroline speak, we were intrigued as to what s this mission of Caroline’s is all about.
When she explained that it was about using our basic animal instinct of ‘flight recovery’, we became even more curious… Caroline had been fortunate (or was it fate again) to have met a journalist friend who works with the Daily Mail and who had been helped by Caroline in overcoming an acrimonious divorce. Having written an article for the paper, Caroline is acutely aware that there are many people suffering from grief or trauma for a number of reasons and who would all benefit from this revolutionary approach to healing that Caroline had discovered in South Africa.
Known as the Reptilian Brain Practice (RBP), it involves getting back in touch with our most basic animal instinct to get rid of tension in the body – the ability to tremor. “After the zebra escapes from the lion on the plains of Africa, they will tremor and shake themselves off to recover from the near-death experience. We can do the same”. Caroline confirms that it does work (even though it might sound crazy) and she’s had success with people who have trawled the world, spending thousands to find a cure for suffering they’ve been going through.
Caroline was so convinced of the healing power of this simple practice that she stood up in front of 90 strangers in South Africa and committed to bringing RBP to the UK as she sees limitless potential for helping others relieve the ever-increasing amounts of stress and trauma that people are suffering in our ever more pressured lives. She has already been working successfully in prisons making a real difference and also will soon be working with the fire service. Caroline’s son too has been helped enormously by RBP so much so that he is now working with her to help her spread the word.
When asked about what will be the most challenging part of the expedition, Caroline expects it to be the hike up Mount Malunje and she is confident that there will be other fitter people than her in the #leagueofladies, she is not fazed at all – if ever told that she can’t do something, it only serves to heighten her sense of determination to prove them wrong.
In terms of what is going to be the most exciting and rewarding part of the expedition, it was an easy question for Caroline to answer. Knowing just how deeply the people of Malawi have been affected by war and aware of the cases of kidnapping, Caroline jumped at the chance to go and hopefully help them overcome their suffering: “The country, women and children will have suffered so much trauma and I know from my work the only way they are going to free themselves is to get in touch with the animal in them. It really is going to change things for them – there was no hesitation and that was my inspiration. This has come as part of my journey to move this in another direction”.
On a personal level, Caroline was equally unequivocal: “I think it is going to be a real test and challenge on [your] personality and personal traits, toleration, expectations, reactions and responses to anything anyone might say or do… I think it is all of these things and there’s going to be so much I can reflect on because whatever my experience is, it is going to be how I react that is going to tell me who I truly am, what’s changed and whether I’m going to be able to be balanced and unscathed by things… I hope I’m going to be a calming influence and that is the true me: that I can give those qualities and share them with people as and when and if they need them”.
We look forward to catching up with Caroline and the other #leagueofladies to find out if they conquered Mount Malunje.