Site Navigation


A Seeing of Oneself: Agent of Evolution in Education (M.A. thesis spotlight)

Transformative learning puts the learner at the center of their education, and then structures the academic development around that learner’s wisdom and interest. One of the successes of this emergent educational transformation is apparent through the very telling thesis produced by GIFTLearning’s unique learner-centric model.

Abbie Wellington completed her Master’s thesis in 2016, A Seeing of Oneself: Agent of Evolution in Education, earning her Master of Arts in SelfDesign® degree from the Graduate Institute (now GIFTLearning).

Abbie offered this abstract for her thesis, “Bang-bang-rattle-bing-bang gonna make my noise all day!” a phrase is inspired by Mortimer, a 1985 Robert Munsch children’s book.  

It brings to mind two things. “First, the noises created daily by internal voices. Second, the busy world we live in, amplified by external noises, activity, and constant busyness! As a result, the combination of both the inner and outer noises can in reality cover-up an ability to be aware of the here and now, as well as the inner awareness of something beyond.” 

Here are some reflections on her journey into self explored through her graduate thesis:

As a woman and educator, and in consultation with my own human nature which is practical, intra-personal and interested in self evaluation, self actualization, and spiritual/existential matters, a natural fit for a thesis inquiry was the investigation of ‘my own presence’ and ‘connection to inner and outer’, especially through a process of living the inquiry. Using qualitative Narrative Research, as the methodological vehicle for the journey, the goal was to explore how Awareness through the Body (ATB) and self reflection could facilitate my own self-awareness and what the implications were of this knowing or seeing of self.

The journey into self and ‘my own evolving being,’ with use of an experiential model, became an integration of data from field notes, pictures, and reflections on observations. Specifically, research was conducted while located in Canada and in India while at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Chennai and New Delhi; and Auroville, a United Nations sanctioned intentional community which has the goal of unity of consciousness.

Through the self study, I came to understand that I was living the narrative that I wrote, and continue to do so. The concept of ‘re-storying’ with Narrative Inquiry is to make better sense of the experiences through the ‘living, telling, and retelling’. In the midst of the process, the ability to learn to master attention with conscious choice was at the forefront.

As a result of both ‘living and writing’ about the inquiry, I’ve experienced shifts and changes in my own awareness. I find myself in a state of increased receptivity in which to better listen to the varied inputs that come into my space. As well, the journey has enabled parts of ‘my being’ to be awakened. Overall, the journey to become present to choices, and hold space to stop, focus, and bask in an ‘internal fire’ has given reference to being rekindled, like ‘I sat in that fire before’.

Read Abbie’s abstract and the full thesis here.

Transformative Learning Opportunities


  • M.A. Program: Enrolment ongoing
  • Select scholarships available


Inter-generational Lifelong Learner Courses

  • Active Hope (Inter-generational lifelong learning): Next Course starts September 23, six classes. $135.
  • Designing your Elderhood (Inter-generational lifelong learning): Next Course starts September 17, six classes. $135