Once upon a time I was a Buddhist monk. It’s true! Through my twenties I lived an alternative life. My dad would have loved me to take the vow of Saint-Francis, but I went to India instead and took vows he’d never understand. Eight years later I had my new life all figured out and what do you think I did? I rejected it all, moved to Canada and started writing.
Seriously? Why did I do all that to myself? To find out, I wrote my memoir The Novice. The mindfulness I learned from my Tibetan teachers helped me dig up all the pain and self-destructive impulses. Writing helped me let them go.
Every life’s a tragedy, but my Mum taught me to laugh at the shit life throws at you. One day she called to tell me she’d been diagnosed with something, “but I forget what it’s called…,” she paused, “…oh yes, Alzheimer’s!” She shrieked with laughter. Not funny really, but inspiring.
GhostBio is the name of my ghostwriting service. It’s a cliché to say you’re honored to work with your clients, but I honestly am—every time. They tell me all their secrets. They trust me to understand their story and tell it in their voice. Things get chaotic; details emerge; feelings outweigh facts—emotional, painful, liberating and life-changing. In the process, we become friends. In the end, they make friends with themselves. It’s quite something.
My old mindfulness teacher Lama Yeshe used to give a talk called, “Be Your Own Therapist.” It seemed that’s what I was doing when I wrote my memoir. The process of connecting ‘me-then’ to ‘me-now’ was challenging and cathartic. I questioned every memory—everything I thought was true. The floodgates opened and I realized I’d always been at war with myself. Now I made my peace.
It also inspired me to start GhostBio. I’m not just offering a professional service—I’m there with you. I know how hard it is to explore your own life, and what it takes. You know your story and what happened—you were there—but all the memories still have to be pieced together. You’d be amazed.
I don’t just write. I design too—especially coffee-table books. My first love after leaving the monastery was typography, and I practiced it with monkish devotion. I’ll lovingly illustrate your life story with sidebars and stand-outs; also photos and illustrations. It makes it easier for readers to understand the context of the times so they fully understand what they’re reading.
Contact me here for a free one-hour meeting to discuss working together on your biography from birth to now) or memoir focusing on one aspect).
“Since my interaction with Stephen my writing has changed. He served as a catalyst in the development of my awareness of those who, like me, are reading for their own healing. Stephen’s autobiography inspired me to finish my own story, and then Stephen himself helped me to write it again. In this way, Stephen played his part in the compassionate working-out of my own healing process.Travis Irwin
What can I say about mindfulness? It started trending at the turn of the millennium and now it’s big business. That’s not a bad thing, but I can’t help feeling that it’s not fully appreciated. Stress reduction is just the tip of the iceberg.
First of all, mindfulness isn’t a ‘method.’ You don’t have to learn it—it’s a mental factor and you’ve already got it. What hones it into a powerful tool is training, and how you train is a matter of character. You might say you are what you’re mindful of.
I’ve been teaching mindfulness for a long time, and find that most people love it. The trouble is, very few succeed in building it into their lives. They always blame themselves—but it’s not their fault.
The missing ingredient is not willpower; it’s support. You need a teacher who inspires, a method that works and ongoing conversations with people like you.
That’s what we’re building here—not just a selection of recordings but a live half-hour of pure mindfulness, with continuity from class to class. Together, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we meet to establish mindfulness in our lives. If you miss one you can listen later. Your commitment to this simple schedule becomes the backbone of your practice. Soon mindful attention appears even in those perilous real-world situations when you really need to be non-judgy and non-reactive. Practice regularly and you’ll be ready.
“An extremely liberating experience. I’ve learned through reflection and insight much more about myself and the world around me.” —Falk Kyser
“…a worthy investment in personal development. Thank you for this experience.” —Diana Simms
I’ve always loved books. As a boy I used to write for fun. My first story was about my parents’ life in the circus during the Second World War. Dad was a lion-tamer and Mum was an acrobatic dancer. I had great material!
I went to school and kept writing, but it was all a bit tame. To gain experience I hitch-hiked to India and became a Buddhist monk, staying with the Tibetans for eight years, learning their language and philosophy, and publishing my memoir in 2009.
As a monk I was trained in mindfulness. It’s at the heart of Buddhist training and is an incredibly useful tool. Twice a week, I teach cancer patients, helping them manage their anxiety and live to the full. Also, mindfulness helps put me in my clients’ shoes, and bring their story to life. You can’t take this for granted. Good storytelling doesn’t simply tell you what happened—it makes you feel like you were there.
I teach at the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre in Montreal, and at Cedars CanSupport in Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre. These patients are finding out how mindfulness can bring peace. Many have even said they enjoy life now more than ever. That’s what happens when you develop your mindfulness muscle.
When I met my wife Caroline, the first thing I learned was that she had multiple sclerosis. She seemed to think that would stop me falling in love with her, but it didn’t. Some people say I’ve never been very practical, and I can see what they mean. However, meeting her changed my life and I love it—plus we have the best conversations ever—so maybe practical is relative.
We live in a little house in a small town in Quebec with our cats, Sam and Ziggy. My wife Caroline Courey is a life coach and an MS warrior who stays on her feet with diet and exercise. More about Caroline HERE.