Meet the ex-soldier helping us to achieve holistic wellness with Lone Wolf Vision
“The spirit of the Lone Wolf is to move away from the pack mentality… growing the muscle of will and breathing in the air of self-reliance…”
Before we jump into the interview, first you’re going to want to check out the trailer for Stephen’s pretty inspirational documentary, ‘Why We Wander’…
What is Lone Wolf Vision all about?
Lone Wolf Vision has evolved from my own journey. My life hasn’t been a conventional one and has taken sharp twists and turns along the way, which have all made me move inwards and explore who I am.
I was a typical young lad growing up in the North East in the 1980s, trying to find a sense of identity by flexing my masculinity. But underneath the surface, I was insecure and lost. I decided to join the military, where I excelled and joined the elite Royal Army Physical Training Corps. I thought I had my whole life figured out: successful career, married, dog, house… and then everything fell apart.
All of what I had fell away, and so did the masks that I wore that were covering up who I was underneath the surface. My marriage ended, I left the army and I lost all my confidence. I was suffering mentally and was in a very dark place. From this point, I had to rebuild who I was. This time, though, I wanted to live on my own terms – not trying to fit in or follow society’s usual ways of living. I suppose this is where the Lone Wolf archetype was discovered. The meaning of the “Lone Wolf” is to walk your own path, embracing your unique qualities and breathing in the sense of freedom that comes with that.
What gave you the push to start Lone Wolf Vision?
I travelled the world solo, trekking through the Himalayas and learning meditation in India and Nepal. My mind was expanding and I was living in alignment with the deeper parts of myself. I felt my awareness grow and the baggage that I had been holding onto drop away. That was when I decided to use all of what I had learnt from my experiences to help others.
You’re motivated by a holistic approach to health and wellbeing – how important is it that we give attention to our body, mind and spirit equally?
I don’t actually think people understand what a “holistic approach” really means. It means to look at the full person: mentally, socially, physically and not as a “condition”. In other words, not putting them into a box. Humans are made up of many different elements and so is the business of Lone Wolf Vision. Our “Lone Wolf” is made up of five different elements:
All of our services work under the premise of one of these elements, the idea being that whichever element you’re deficient in, that’s where we do the work.
Can you break down the services you offer under each element?
Earth is based around setting strong foundations by focussing on improving our “function”. This can be through exercise rehabilitation, massage therapy, acupuncture, counselling, etc.
Water is having the ability to flex around obstacles and regain your flow. Yoga is perfect for this, whether a strength building Ashtanga routine, a one-to-one beginner’s course or a deep stretching restorative yoga class.
Fire. This element focusses on intensity and regaining self-motivation. Our SoulVision Online platform – which has multiple courses for body and mind – will provide the tools you’ll need to maintain this.
Air. We spend most of our lives thinking about the past and the future, so the air element brings us back to the present. Our four-week online or in-person meditation course is one of the most powerful tools to change your life.
Space. As human beings, we’re ever expanding. It’s important that we unleash our hidden potential and carve out the path that we were destined for. Before Covid hit, we ran retreats and events at Lone Wolf Vision designed to push your boundaries. They’ll be returning next year, so watch this space…
Tell us more about the physical side of things – how do you help your clients improve their fitness?
I want to know why a person is coming to me, rather than looking at outcome (which we become so transfixed with). It’s about changing the person that you are, instead. Your habits, your views on training and helping you enjoy the journey.
The funny thing is, as soon as you switch up your mindset, the goals that you previously set gravitate towards you. It’s about lasting change, not yo-yoing. I also encourage a well-rounded approach to training to incorporate all the different components of fitness.
How much can meditation improve our overall mindset?
For me, meditation has been a ground-breaking discovery. The benefits are undeniable and have a huge crossover into many aspects of my professional and personal life. I started delivering meditation sessions to soldiers when I was in the British Army, which is an unusual place to start! But I pointed out to them that they already use breathing techniques when firing a rifle (to lower their heart rate and create selective attention on a target), which helped them apply these techniques in a different setting.
Meditation isn’t just about breathing. It’s about processing our emotions, reflecting and moulding ourselves into the people we want to become. It’s allowed me to stop running away from painful emotions, become more mindful about negative thought patterns and find a deeper sense of purpose.
You offer Yoga and Pilates in the beautiful grounds of Ushaw Historic Buildings, Chapels & Gardens. How much can your surroundings impact what you do?
I feel so grateful to run my business from such a fantastic venue. I knew from the first day I drove into the Durham countryside and down the long drive at Ushaw that this place was special.
We have had a long period of being locked down with Covid, where the lines became very blurred between work and home life. There are still ways to create some separation in your own home, but sometimes you just need to be able to retreat somewhere different and break away from the external stresses in your life.
You have an online platform for body and mind – can this be just as effective as your in-person offering?
My business model is different to others and some might say it’s flawed, because the “Lone Wolf” means to walk your own path and be self-reliant. We want you to be able to have that sense of confidence and self-trust that allows you to navigate through life, without having to rely on others – even us! Our services help to cultivate this sense of freedom.
However, sometimes the journey of self-discovery requires guidance and learning techniques to remain on the right path. The SoulVision human growth platform allows you to develop at your own pace: whether that’s learning meditation, regaining flexibility or creating stronger foundations.
When you take some time out for yourself, where are some of your favourite places to go in the North East?
I love the North East! Outdoors is where I feel most at home, as high up as I can get usually – running, hiking or climbing around beauty spots like High Cup Nick or the Pennine Way, through quaint villages like Blanchland in the valleys of Northumberland. In the spirit of the Lone Wolf, I like to be spontaneous, getting off the beaten track and exploring lesser-known areas. Adventure is a huge part of my life.
What do you love most about your job?
I don’t actually like calling it a “job”, as it’s more of a way of life for me. I love the freedom to express myself and be creative. I’m basically just having fun and not taking things too seriously, which is the perfect environment to cultivate creativity.
What I find feeds my soul the most, though, is being able to serve other people and create positive change in their lives. Every day when I wake up, I set the intention that I’m going to give my best to everyone that I meet and make a real difference. I love the famous quote by Ghandi: ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world.’ That’s what I try and live by.
What does the future look like for Lone Wolf Vision?
Really exciting! On 9th October, we’re launching three long-term projects, all on the same evening. An inspirational documentary, the OHALE apple/android meditation app and a clothing collaboration with ‘The Lone Wolf Pack’. All three collaborations will empower others and help them to harness the power of the Lone Wolf.
Then, on 17th October, I’m running 75 miles (in one go) with my fellow wolf-brother for three amazing charities. If the COVID situation continues to improve, Lone Wolf Vision will be hosting retreats for yoga, running and self-empowerment soon, too. Watch this space!