Meryn G. Callander, BSW
Meryn Callander was born in Australia in 1952. A graduate of Monash University in Melbourne, she worked as a social worker with children in crisis and as a passionate planter of native gardens, until a journey to Europe and the US in search of a deeper understanding of wellness led to her partnering with John Travis in 1979.
Meryn became co-director of Wellness Associates, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to personal and planetary wellbeing. In 1980 she and John moved to the mountains of Costa Rica. By then the word "wellness" was filtering into the mainstream, but all too soon it became diluted to just mean fitness, nutrition, and cardiac risk testing.
In their frequent treks to the US, Meryn and John continued on their personal mission of expanding the concept of wellness to include the psychological, spiritual, interpersonal, and planetary dimensions.
On returning to the US in 1983, Meryn�s studies in feminist spirituality led to their growing awareness that wellness concepts were not sustainable in the face of many tenets of Western culture--the belief that we are separate from each other, the earth, and divinity. Seeing that this culture of estrangement was at the root of much of the self-, other-, and planet-destructive behaviors launched Meryn and John into the next era of their wellness work: CultureMaking.
In 1987 with the launching of the Wellness Associates Network for Helping Professionals, she began practicing her skills in facilitating intensive small circles of helping professionals interested in exploring: connection and interdependence; partnership rather than domination or victimization; the fostering of circles rather than audiences to reach constituents; collaboration rather than control, and the ability to respond with an attitude of loving and learning rather than defending and protecting.
In this work, context took precedence over content. They used tools ranging from consensus decision-making to ShadowDancing, as well as the Trust Continuum and Nonviolent Communication. Their work led to the publication of Wellness For Helping Professionals: Creating Compassionate Cultures, and A Change of Heart: The Global Wellness Inventory.
In the late eighties they discovered Jean Liedloff's, Continuum Concept. This book radically impacted the way they saw children and led to their changing their previous decision not to have children. Liedloff's description of the native people of the rainforests of Venezuela catalyzed recognition that the prevailing "popular" childcare practices were in fact creating the culture of disconnection that led to most of the problems seen in adult wellness and among burned-out helping professionals. Meryn�s review of the research--both scientific and cross-cultural--supported Liedloff�s assertions, and inspired her to take them a layer deeper into the roots of wellness.
After the birth of their brown-eyed, curly red-haired daughter, Siena in 1993, Meryn and John focused to the fulltime promotion of wellness in infants and young children, especially in how they are treated before, during, and immediately after birth.
In 1996, distressed by the sparse information and minimal support for the style of parenting this research indicated, often known as attachment parenting, she began publishing The Wellspring Guide, a quarterly review and synopsis of informative and supportive books. This material has been further developed into the ebook that makes up the Child/Family area of this website.
In 1999, along with 12 other experts in the field of birth and child development, Meryn co-founded the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children, which produced both a Proclamation and Blueprint of evidence-based actions that foster optimal human development among babies, children, and families.
In 2003 she became the president of aTLC and continues to work in forwarding its mission.
Meryn, John and Siena moved to Australia in 2000. Now residents of subtropical Northern New South Wales, Meryn continues her work with child/family wellness, while enjoying mothering her now teenaged daughter, and planting hundreds of rainforest trees on their 2-acre creek frontage land just outside the bustling little village of Mullumbimby.
She and John are presently working a new book: Why Men Leave, which addresses the phenomenon of many men leaving their wives and new babies shortly after the birth of the child.