Elsibe Loubser McGuffog (ELM), features editor of the Real Simple Magazine, in a soul talk with Karina Andersen (KA), author of The Responsible Individual.
To my mind, one of the nicest lines in the book is something to do with how she recommends that you take a minute of silence before starting a big task, or making a big decision, or such-like. I find it such effective and simple advice. I never do that (i.e. don’t take the minute) and then end up feeling frazzled a lot of the time, or I suddenly run out of steam in the middle of a conversation.
ELM: When did you move to South Africa?
KA: South Africa opened its doors to me in November 2006. The journey that was about to begin was undoubtedly one of the most amazing ones – a journey that I embrace with a grateful and humble heart.
ELM: What did your husband do? Was he South African or Danish?
KA: Thorsten (we were never married) was German. He was in the field of insurance and investment – self employed for many years. I met him in 1996 on a nutritional conference in Stuttgart, Germany.
ELM: Can you remember some stories or examples to explain why you called him your best friend?
KA: He gave me a great gift – from one soul partner and friend to another – allowing me the opportunity to ‘see’ - both through our relationship, which wasn’t always an easy road to walk (for both of us still very unconscious experiencing) and through his, for me, ‘sudden’ departure. It is first today that I truly understand the connection we shared, the role he played in my awakening and how meaningful it is/was. I do not believe in coincidences. I carry his gift of love with me in my heart.
ELM: On what date did he die? Where? A car crash? (Can you tell us more?)
KA: He died the 26th of May 2002 late evening just outside of Bad Segeberg, Germany as he lost control of his car and crashed into a tree. Let me share the impact it had by showing you different sections/chapters from my children’s book: Traces within my Heart...
Not long ago we lost our daddy in a car accident. I was 6 and my sister was only 3 years old. It was the saddest moment in my life. I was crying so much that I almost had no more tears. I never knew that could happen!
I missed my daddy so much, that my stomach wouldn’t stop aching. I missed spending time with him; laughing with him, cuddling with him…..
We always had soooo much fun together. My daddy was so strong – his hugs lasted for days…
I think a lot about you, daddy!
My daddy will always be the best and the coolest dad in the whole wide world. I love him more than there are stars, mountains, flowers, animals, people, skyscrapers and woods in the whole universe!
I miss you, daddy!...
…Daddy and Me
……“Daddy, I want to tell you, that I miss you so much. Sometimes I get sad and then I cry. It would have been so great if you could have seen me on my first day at school, with my new schoolbag and the big bag full of sweets. I was really scared at first, daddy. It was all so new to me - a new school and new friends. But then I thought about you. Thought about how you were there with me holding my hand the whole time, giving it a squeeze when I felt scared. Then I felt much better and it all went well.
It’s a great school, daddy. I already got lots of new friends. Sometimes I misbehave a bit. Then I have to leave the classroom and go outside the door. I know that it’s not too good, daddy. But it’s just so hard to sit still all the time.
Daddy, do you remember how you, Nathalie and I went on this camping trip in Denmark. It was so cool. We laughed so much and had the greatest time!
Daddy, it is sometimes difficult for me to understand that you are not here anymore. I mean – that I can’t see you. Mommy did explain this thing with life and death to me. Even when I think it’s unfair at times I do understand the new way a bit better now. And I also feel much better when I can sit and talk to you like I do right now. What confuses me, though, is this thing about the soul. Mommy told me that we all have a soul. And the soul lives in my body here on earth. Like the body being a house for the soul. When we die the soul leaves the house and takes the chute to heaven. But what I don’t understand is how you look now, daddy. I don’t know how to imagine a soul. Is it like a ghost? Like being all transparent? Or maybe you are just air now? But – if you are in heaven then you are an angel. How can air have wings? It is so hard for me to understand, daddy. Mommy says that things will be easier to understand along the way. I really hope so!
I love you, daddy!”
ELM: Did you start writing the book THE RESPONSIBLE INDIVIDUAL after that?
KA: Both yes and no. Everything from that point plays a vital part in my spiritual awakening (on a more conscious level) and in my understanding of the elements of responsibility. It became the turning point in my life, where I suddenly understood that I did have a choice to actively take part in the creation of my life. It did however take a few more years to break down the last bits and pieces of my very strong survival mechanism – created through the bumpy road of my childhood (bumpy in terms of how I at that time perceived it to be – another vital part in learning and creating understanding).
I wrote the children’s book: Traces within my heart, which became a wonderful way for my children and me to express our emotions and turn our experience into something of true value. The story is written as told by my son, sharing of his feelings, his observations and his healing…. our healing! By writing it this way (as seen through the eyes of a ‘child’) it expresses the experience in a one-dimensional reality. The process of the story brings it to a broader perspective and understanding. As mentioned, I have not published it yet.
The preparation for the Responsibility Coaching™ Concept started during 2005. I have worked intensively on it through the past 3 years – implementing it in my own life – allowing it to take form. In the beginning of 2007 I created the Responsibility Coach™ Education and decided to write the book/manual, in June 07 the first Coach was in training and in September 2007 I started the more focused writing.
ELM: How long did it take you to write the book?
KA: Decision: May/June 2007
Focused writing process: September 2007 – May 2008
Published: June 2008
ELM: Did you have any inspiration or mentors while writing it?
KA: Lots! The greatest inspiration is life. Every single day it offers opportunity to bounce of the concept and to deepen my understanding of myself, others, the universe…the journey to ONEness. And when I speak of inspiration I include everything. Also…
…embracing being ‘put on the street’ only 3 weeks after our arrival to South Africa
…having ‘just enough’ to pay the bills and understanding just how rich I am
…observing fear turned into extreme actions of judgment, making me feel compassion
…feeling like the most fortunate ‘single’ Mom
…being the ‘foreigner’ who finally came home
…building a company with one source: love
…and sooooo much more….
All of it allowing me to come to a place of gratitude, understanding my own limitations, my ability to choose, knowing what freedom and love means, understanding why we do what we do and how I can embrace those on my path with love and compassion – no matter if it is those assisting me while resting and recharging or if it is those offering challenge and huge mirrors – opening doors to more of my healing. All of them are great mentors. Yes, those I had quite a few of and yes, they were all part of inspiring my writing.
My children are great mentors and daily they avail their journey of life for my learning and growth. They are my greatest gift and I feel privileged to both offer guidance as a mentor and receive learning as a student.
Vivian and I have a very special bond. We both are able to offer each other guidance and mentoring. We daily bounce off ideas, challenges/opportunities…. She has been with me on this journey from the very beginning. She is for me as much part of the concept as I am.
ELM: Tell us more about your work at the prison (see p 165).
KA: After I had created the platform for the Responsibility Coach™ Education my intention was to open the door for community building programmes (today under the ONE SOCIETY brand). A vital part of the educational path of a coach is to 1) observe and 2) actively take part in a community building programme, giving one day a week voluntary through a period of minimum 12 months. The purpose is that the Responsibility Coach™ in training will develop the skill of a Responsible Community Builder – driven by compassion and humble in guidance/learning.
The educational programme was running and the door opened to Brandvlei Maximum Prison – our first community programme. “ASK AND IT IS GIVEN”. I met Jacobus Pansegrouw, who is the co-ordinator of the Group of Hope, end of October 2008 at a breakfast meeting in Cape Town, as shared in the book.
Today the programme has taken an amazing form. There is no way that I could have imagined the impact it was going to have. Instead of 12 months we extended it to 18 months with weekly trainings. After this phase we begin the follow-up phase which is a continuous process. The objective was from the very beginning to implement the concept of responsibility through Responsibility Coaching™ sessions and the book/manual: The Responsible Individual and from there to offer the Responsibility Coach™ Education to 1) assist sustainable responsible living & 2) build a sustainable rehabilitating environment and 3) ensure further development and progress.
ELM: Is your coaching partner, Vivian, based in Denmark?
KA: Yes, Vivian is in Denmark. We are deeply thankful for Skype and modern technology, allowing us to keep daily contact. We haven’t seen each other for the past 2 years. Yet, we know that also this has a special purpose.
ELM: Will you ever franchise your business locally (i.e. franchise to coaches, other than those coaches in the prisons).
KA: The word ‘franchise’ does not go well with me. This is our intention:
We educate Responsibility Coaches™, allowing the concept to spread in a natural and organic way. Some of these coaches will be able to become Trainers and if desired; SmilingOne Ambassadors, taking on a SmilingOne Learning Centre in a designated area or Country with the aim to offer Responsibility Coaching™, educate Responsibility Coaches™ and run ONE SOCIETY Community Building Programmes. Exactly how this will be structured is yet to be decided. There will be license fee involved.
All Coaches and Trainers do at this stage pay a yearly fee, which gives them the opportunity to use the Responsibility Coaching™ Concept, the book and Responsibility Manual: The Responsible Individual, the support of a growing network, receive updates of material, facilitate SmilingOne ONE SOCIETY Community Building Programmes and take part in client processes delegated through the network.
ELM: When you suffered from Bulimia as a teenager, where were you staying then? Statistics of that area? Social influences? Do you ever deal with people who suffer from bulimia nowadays?
KA: My childhood is probably a whole book on its own What I have come to understand is that my bulimia was my way of expressing my pain, releasing my fear and ‘fighting’ the box I felt I was suffocating in. There was a lot of tension at home, a lot of physical punishment directed at me and not much patience. It was an environment created and influenced by my parents (especially my Mom and her way of living her reality), who did what they thought to be best. Today I know that they did not know how to do it differently.
My Mother discovered my Bulimia as I was 17 (at that time it had been going on for 2 years). She arranged for me to move out because she could not cope with it. I was in the summer holidays send to San Francisco for 4 weeks, on an exchange student programme, and came back to find that I had moved in with my Grandmother.
It took me many years to heal the wounds from my childhood. I am, however, deeply grateful for the lessons I have learned and still am learning from this. Today I have an understanding that cannot be bought, neither can it be borrowed. I help others who go, or have gone through, abuse – both physically and emotionally. This is one of my strongest assets when working inside prison. And yes, also helping people with eating disorders (most have experienced some kind of eating disorder on their journey of understanding and balancing their body).
…And I know I can do it differently, offering my own children a childhood of much care and appreciation for who they are and what they bring to me. I have chosen a path of responsibility. Instead of re-acting towards my children I know that if they ‘push the button’ / offering the mirror, the pain that surfaces is mine, mine to be owned, mine to be looked at, mine to be healed and worked through, and not theirs.
My own childhood I am able to view and re-visit with a multi-dimensional understanding, I can embrace my learning and yes, use it as great inspiration in the work I do today. Even if the road was tough to walk it has shown to be of great value. This is how I have been able to heal and let go (resolving = the process of forgiveness).
Our mirrors are mentors in disguise. Also my mother I regard as one of my greatest Mentors. I love her – unconditionally!
ELM: When you talk about “the band-aid quick-fix”, what exactly do you mean?
A lack of tenacity? A lack of patience? A lack of true transformation? Why are people band-aid orientated? Has something in our culture created this? In the world in general? In South Africa in particular?
KA: I regard a band-aid as a temporary solution – by many thought to be ‘the’ solution that they are looking for. It is where we attempt to ‘fix’ or solve our challenge by only attending to the symptom.
It can easily be explained by looking at head aches. These often occur due to something that has been neglected or left unattended. Instead of looking for the core / the source that is causing the symptom – the head ache - it is being treated with a pain killer (a band-aid / quick fix / a temporary solution).
This we do all the time in life. It is not country or culture related. It is something we all do. It is not that we are just ignorant…. we simply just don’t know how to do it differently, thinking, these are the choices we have. These choices are based upon what we know due to what we have experienced growing up. It is part of our ‘tool box’ and what we automatically (instinctively) make use of.
All of this is important and in my view, part of transforming. The more we have explored the possibilities the better we can become in establishing a balance. This is our life-journey!
I do not use terms as true or false transformation. It is all purposeful and all is transformation ;-)
The Spectrum of Awareness is illustrating how we experience by experience create awareness and how each single one of them is valuable for a whole (becoming ONE in ourselves and ONE with all) and for balancing life. As we balance our experiences we feel whole (ONE). Most of our childhood experiences have occurred in a one-dimensional reality (without the multi-dimensional understanding). If an experience has been perceived as hurtful it is essential to re-visit with the aim to broaden the perspective (add more elements and possibilities), to heal and allow letting go. Everything that is unattended to (left within the one-dimension) will attract mirrors – what often is perceived as a challenge (this can be found in different situations that become challenging, people pushing our buttons, it can be a physical manifestation of our inner pain… also mirrors are multi faceted…not just showing challenge). Instead of looking inside, we try to solve on the outside. This is where most use the band-aid/quick-fix.
ELM: You talk about “sustainable awareness programmes”. Why exactly that name? Sustainable in what way? It’s quite a catch-phrase nowadays. Do you think the quest for a sustainable environment is leading people to more sustainable human relationships too?
KA: I talk about sustainability, yes. In order to sustain I must first have created at platform, which is showing the results I aimed for. In our case… responsible living!
If I view my personal process of balancing as a responsible individual (my purpose) I am aware of my responsibility towards sustaining it. I know that part of balance is imbalance. When there is imbalance there is fear, doubt, my conditioning… (a one-dimensional reality) This is where the opportunity to bounce of the process is essential…
1: I can make use of simple tools, which I can use over and over again – allowing me to go deeper for each time.
2: I can make use of a coach, who knows the way, goes the way and can show the way.
The book/manual is such a tool.
...It meets you where you are at – at any given time – in any given space. For each time you reach for it, it has something new and special for you, which all comes to you due to your new way of viewing it.
...The Personal Balanced Profile (PBP™)- which you create with the book - is in itself a very effective tool for sustainable responsible living. It asks you to continuously assess and develop – balancing.
...The book furthermore asks you to explore and expand your horizon – inviting in further tools!
We offer further education and skills development to those who know this tool by heart and have used it to understand, implement and sustain responsibility in their own lives. These are the best ones to guide others, using the same basic tool. These are the Responsibility Coaches™.
In my experience from the prison environment I see how the personal processing of inmates, who have been guided by the book and the PBP™, has had an amazing effect on the shared environment and their relationship with others. It has changed dramatically. Instead of being driven by emotions/re-actions, as before, they now choose responsibility – understanding that they must own their emotions and that the occurrence is relating to their personal growth and awareness process. Instead of ‘re-active’ they have become more ‘observing’ and show great interest and compassion for one another. They regard challenge as learning and as an opportunity.
To make use of the Responsibility Coaches™ - also in the prison environment - will allow everyone a possibility to take their processing to a new level and sustain what they have achieved so far personally and inspire others to do the same – responsible individuals have responsible relationships! Changes come all the time with new people and new ways of doing things. This can cause ‘disturbances’ and push buttons/offer mirrors. It asks for continuous processing and (re)establishing of balance.
The moment we have established an environment which thrives, having guides/coaches in place to assist and guide sustainable responsible living, we have a platform from where we can continuously develop.
In the Responsibility Coaching™ Concept we are aware of that this begins with individual responsibility! Sustainability is, as everything, a working process on many different levels.
ELM: Do you think that what this book is about can be paraphrased as “Effective self-management”?
KA: I like to use this phrase about the book: offering a window of opportunity - for effective Self-Discovery and Personal Leadership Development ;-) One essential part of the concept is that we all have a choice. This is where the responsibility kicks in. Do you choose to make yourself a priority? The book is a choice and each person will gain from it in their own special way. It meets you where you are at; builds with what you know and you will be able to say… I did it all by myself ;-) (because you did…the book is a tool… you are the one creating with it!)
I make a difference as I come to life through you!
I am a tool – availed for personal leadership development and self empowerment.
I guide and encourage you to explore and to consciously participate in the creation of your life!
ELM: Your practical approach on p. 51, where you talk about deposits in a bank – is that your idea / metaphor? It’s very useful.
KA: Yes, this idea/metaphor stems from my understanding and the concept of responsibility. I often use this metaphor as it illustrates what I mean in a very simple, and for many, useful way. To open a new account and deposit those ‘new’ experiences with trust is essential to build confidence.
ELM: How did you and Vivian meet? How long have you known each other?
KA: The book describes our meeting on page 143 as I came to Denmark again in 2003. My kids and I had just spent 6 months in the US, recharging and working through the loss of Thorsten and the understanding of this new and very different way of life.
Vivian had a daughter in the same grade as my son Daniel. We shared a profound connection from the very first moment. It didn’t in the beginning quite understand why (as I do today)…other than knowing that I was intrigued by her – as I also described in the book – and the way she inspired me to let go of my protectiveness. Not so much in words…more through her presence and non-judgmental way of being.
ELM: The subtitle seems to suggest “life after death”. Is that intentional? Or is it more to do with self-actualisation? (in other words, freeing limiting beliefs about oneself?)
KA: Are you referring to beyond… ?
It is interesting to hear what it reveals to you!
This is exactly what the book is there for…for you to discover the next step on your journey. Taking you beyond the previous step… What does a life after death mean to you?
The book leaves room for anyone to explore ideas and own belief systems…also life after death. And for me as a guide and coach it reveals doors I can ‘knock on’ to assist you to explore different areas of your life (like the one just revealed ;-) ). This makes the book a very powerful coaching tool for the coach.
I can share with you what ‘a life-changing journey taking you beyond…’ means to me and why I chose this way of phrasing it. The beyond… has a very special meaning. I had great fun with my editor with this word as I wanted to express that which cannot be limited to words in a book that is written with words - a fantastic journey in itself!
Beyond… is multi-faceted. It symbolizes taking you beyond where you are right now – indicating that there is MORE. ‘go beyond the reality you have chosen to live in’.
Beyond… has no limitations, no boundaries, no conditions, no need/expectation….
Beyond… also is that which we originate from. It is our source energy… It is LOVE… (or can even be referred to as God)
…this is the very reason why it is written with bold/italic and three dots… there is MORE ;-)
It indicates that we are in a place of limitation. The moment we understand our own limitation and embrace that we can go beyond… that is when we are open to discover and explore so much more, willing to free ourselves and embrace that which we truly are…
…a drop in the ocean and the ocean in one drop -Vivian Tatschke- ONE
This leads to great humbleness and a deep sense of gratitude, understanding how tiny we are compared to the whole and at the same time of inestimable value as there would be no whole without us.
ELM: What kinds of people have used this book? The broadest spectrum, to date? Vocations, ages, gender?
KA: The actual book has been on the market since June 2008. It has been used on print-outs since January 2008 to accommodate the prison process.
This year male maximum and medium prisoners from age 20 to approx. age 60 have benefitted from the book. Also both male and female wardens have participated in the programme.
Management and teams of companies have been working with the book this year – men and women, all ages.
Female CEOs I have had several of this year. From age 20 to age 50.
Families/couples with focus on relationship matters have worked with the book this year.
I just had an 18 year old young man in the process.
I currently have a 79 year old woman in the process.
The Responsibility Coaching™ Concept, which is the content of this book I have used for years and worked with children, families, companies etc.
For community building programmes in schools we will be using my newly created educational game, which has all the elements in the book. ‘playing your way to unique understanding.
ELM: Do the guys in the prison use this exact book? Any other resources? How long does it take them to get through a programme to the point where they can then coach?
KA: Yes, they use this exact book in their first 6-12 months process. I just donated 500 books (print kindly sponsored by ABCpress) to the Brandvlei Maximum prison. They (the Responsibility Coach™ Students) will use these books to guide others. There is not used any other resources other than the valuable experiences of each attendee. The book inspires them to share openly, availing their thoughts and feelings for the journey of others. This is VERY powerful and different for such a seemingly ‘tough’ environment!
Within the first 2 terms (each consisting of 10 weeks) it becomes quite clear who has a natural calling to guide others. Step by step they become more aware of their potential and the wish to follow it through grows stronger and stronger. It is highly valuable for the process of taking your understanding to a whole new level… bringing it into action…
Most have shown to be ready for the Responsibility Coach™ Education in the beginning of 3rd term, which is in the 7th month of the process. In their 3rd term we have still focused on their personal process of visualizing a direction in each of their responsibility areas. We have furthermore started with test clients and they are now also working with their SmilingOne Responsibility Coach™ Manual.
Their Educational path as Responsibility Coach™ Students will be one of 12-18 months. As each individual has a unique journey so will their educational path be. We do not operate within a certain time frame. We work on getting out of that box and allow their education to take form in the best way possible.
ELM: The relationship you refer to on p. 89 – what relationship was that? After your husband’s death?
KA: This is the relationship that took me to South Africa in November 2006. It was a very challenging 2 ½ years in this relationship - prior to our emigration! It truly made me understand operative survival mechanisms and, for me, how to stay in a calm and peaceful place even when being one of the greatest mirrors to a partner. I was able to be in this relationship due to my spiritual awareness and understanding, embracing him with unconditional love and gratefully accepting my learning – as also described in the book.
3 weeks after arriving in Cape Town he decided that he wanted a life without my children and me and asked us to pack our stuff and leave. Only a few weeks later he flew in a new partner.
Yes, it was first overwhelming and did push my buttons. I did, however, soon realize what a great gift I was given. I was set free and the door opened to an amazing adventure. An adventure that would take form by every single step I would take. This is when I truly understood that:
I am the creator of my life
and the scout of my own journey
It is solely in my hands to choose my destination,
to focus on the path and to draw the map
by every step that I take
ELM: What are examples of balance you’ve achieved in your own life?
KA: We are all balancing every single day… every single process is about (re)establishing balance. My balance today may not be my balance tomorrow due to a change in the way I view and perceive things ;-) these changes occur all the time.
Meaning… every single day I am responsible about ‘listening’ to the signs/my mirrors to be aware of if I am off balance and how to gain a better way of balancing through my processing.
All the responsibility areas in the book are areas that have a very special meaning to me –all in which I have come to understand how to ‘listen’ and attend to balancing… My body/mind/soul, my learning, my relationships, my environment, my social responsibility and my bonuses…
The Personal Balanced Profile is a tool that I use to sustain and continuously develop in all of these areas.
ELM: Are there days where you feel out of balance?
KA: Of course - that is part of balancing. I am grateful for each process allowing me to learn and grow – gaining a better balance.
ELM: What are your present physical, mental, emotional and spiritual challenges?
KA: One of the main areas that I have been dealing with the past year has been balancing my masculine and feminine energy. Part of this process is also mentioned in the book page 89. I have found that taking two steps with my feminine energy and only one with my masculine offers me the best balance at this given time. It is that space where I allow a flow and can listen with all of my senses.
Areas that has been influenced by this process has been my body both in terms of physical exercise and the food I eat. It has been interesting to follow how my spiritual process of ‘seeing’ deeper/broader ‘asks’ for more ‘gentle’ exercise and different food. It ‘asks’ for me to listen (intuitively) and not overdo anything. What applies today may not apply tomorrow.
This new way of balancing is allowing me to let go of a ‘controlling’ pattern (a masculine driven energy), which stems from my childhood and started as a way of ‘protecting’ myself (the survivor - page 19 in the book).
Any process is most likely to consist of all 4 key aspects in your question – if you go deep enough ;-) This is how I view it. My physical challenges are a manifestation of emotional imbalances (the physical expression offers a mirror so that I am able to attend to the root – the emotional imbalance), which do influence me mentally (the center of my perceiving). All of it is part of my spiritual journey - creating understanding/awareness, which will allow me to balance physically/emotionally/mentally – bringing all into perfect harmony.
I know I must consider all aspects to balance.
ELM: Do you think people judge each other a lot?
KA: Yes. As long as we create and at the same time hold on to our boxes (our realities) there will be measurement and judgment. It is part of our learning and learning is never a waste. My journey is about inspiring people to identify their boxes/limitation, liberating themselves and come to that space which holds no judgment or boundaries – only possibilities ;-)
ELM: How open are South Africans to understanding each other?
KA: Understanding each other begins with understanding oneself! Once we truly know we will aim to have responsible and healthy relationships.
I have the past years in South Africa experienced a lot of open doors and souls who are eager to take learning to a more conscious level. It has truly been an uplifting experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to both guide and learn from the people of this beautiful country.
ELM: Can we create new ways of seeing, even long past childhood?
KA: Absolutely! You have created your way of perceiving life. You can choose to re-create anytime.
ELM: What do people need, to sustain their new worldview? Do we all need “a Vivian”, a heart sister, or heart brother?
KA: What is so amazing about this ‘new’ way of living and embracing life is that all you need will come to you ;-) You attract everything to your path – this includes attracting inspiring people with gifts of knowledge, wisdom and inspirational sharing. Yes, we do ‘knock on doors’ to allow opportunities to enter. This could mean a ‘Vivian’ or a heart sister/brother offering guidance/learning. We are not alone! The moment we realize that we are ONE all it takes is to… reach out and open your heart.
ELM: The eco or green issue comes into play in your book (p. 150). Tell us more about how you stay on top of developments in that field.
KA: My love towards the environment reflects the love and care I have for myself and visa-versa. I know that by adding my energy in this area (this I do by using my PBP™ and bringing it into action in my home) doors will open to keep me informed and bring further inspiration and ideas. I enjoy joining green networking breakfasts. They offer a variety of green subjects and the contact with inspiring and conscious people. I furthermore follow trends and news via internet, my circle of friends and the Waldorf Community – a school that has a well-functioning recycle project running and is eager to inform and educate both students as parents.
ELM: Tell us more about what you touch on, on pages 164 and 165, about the Group of Hope at the prison.
KA: Page 164 is part of the BONUS responsibility area and exploring what the financial arena truly means. This page reveals a part of my journey of liberation in the financial arena, which begins with understanding my own limitation. Part of this is to explore what is perceived as ‘lack’ and through the experiencing to make new deposits with trust, to heal and to let go.
I grew up in a wealthy family. The way my mother often showed her love was to buy us things. I soon came to believe that these two (money and love) were closely connected – a big misunderstanding / a one-dimensional perceiving / an emotional imbalance / my limitation.
It has been an amazing journey of healing and detaching from this ‘old’ behavioral pattern – inviting in a new way of living and liberating myself from this limiting belief about my Self, about love and about money.
My South African Journey has added tremendously to this understanding. I now know that everything is provided for and I live my life in abundant flow – no measurement, no substitutes, no limitation – full allowance, a deep-felt gratitude and unlimited possibilities. No matter what I attract onto my path I know that it is meaningful – also if this means that I am not able to finance the print of the first 2000 copies of my book. I know that it is guiding me to reach out and allow others to contribute and take part in making a great difference. This has been an important learning curve for me – detaching from ‘I must do everything by myself’ and inviting UBUNTU: People are people because of and through others.
I have until now build SmilingOne with a burning desire to contribute, by walking my path responsibly and with an open and pure heart and with very little financial support or means. It has been profound and an overwhelming experience – a very successful one – and it allows me to guide others…. because I know the way, I go the way and I can show the way ;-)
You can find more details around the Group of Hope here: www.smilingone-goh.blogspot.com
ELM: Any soulful insights from that? Experiences? Stories? Further lessons you’ve learnt?
KA: Oh yes…there are sooooo many soulful insights, experiences and stories here. That is what we will be using in the upcoming book ;-)
Let me share one of many with you:
Thabo Zondo transferred to Goodwood Medium in July. He shared with me the other day the story of his transfer and how he normally, when transferring, would have used his well-known mask – the mask of the gangster he had been for many years, a comfort zone.
He was asked, as he came to Goodwood, where he belonged to. Instead of choosing his mask he made himself a priority and shared with the gang that: “I am Thabo, I do educational programmes and I am a child of God. I am here to learn and not to be part of any gang.”
It takes a strong sense of self (trust) and confidence to choose yourself like he did when arriving at Goodwood. Prison is not ‘a walk in the park’ and it can often seem easier to blend in as he had been used to. To stand out is a different ball game. He is now experiencing that being true to himself offers great rewards. It also inspires others to explore that there is different ways – not just the gang way.
If we look at where Thabo was 7 months prior to his transfer, you will find him in one of our first coaching sessions in the beginning of the year, where he shared with all of us that he trusted no one. What he basically was saying was… he didn’t trust himself.
He has through the programme come to the understanding that trust is not of external character… it is that which lives inside of you. He learned to reclaim his power (trust) and now walks with it upright; he feels inspired and daily inspires others.
ELM: Tell us more about the book that you’re writing with the GOH.
KA: We will be starting the book in 2009. It will be stories of hope (taking us from fear to love) and inspiration, showcasing amazing change in one of the toughest environments. Each person who has been involved in the process will be part of writing the book. Its mission is to create awareness, open hearts and inspire change – both inside prisons and in every single home out there. Let us not forget where the root of crime lies…
ELM: Tell us more about the Responsible Education Programme.
KA: Our unique product: Responsibility Coaching™ and Mentoring does inspire the Self-Educating process, which is fundamental to make a change and walk the path responsibly.
Education is an important tool.
Self-education gives us the ability
to make use of it!
The Responsibility Coach™ Education is an 18-24 month educational programme, focusing on developing skills as a responsible guide, who first of all walks the talk and is humble in the process of Guidance/Learning.
The Education consists of different building blocks:
• Challenge to Opportunity
• Responsibility A-Z
• The Community Builder
• Supervision & Coaching
• Study Group
• Case Studies
ELM: Tell us more about how it’s going with your future plans of The Smiling One Trust, The Smiling One Village, and The Smiling One Orphanage.
KA: My aim is to establish a SmilingOne Trust. I am looking for sponsors who would like to invest in our ONE SOCIETY Community Building Programmes such as Responsible Rehabilitation in South African Prisons as well as our educational programmes for townships, families, schools etc. This is the first phase. From here I would like to expand and attract sponsors/investors for our village project. Here we will have our Learning Centre, a Responsible Rehabilitation Centre for ex-offenders and their families as well as an Orphanage.
The initial stage with running community programmes has shown to be a huge success. From here we can attract sponsorships and take it to the next level. I am confident that sponsors will come on board now and that we in 2010 will be ready to allow the village to take form.
ELM: Do you see either of your children following in your footsteps as a coach?
KA: My children have their very special purpose in life. Only they will know what this is and how they choose to express it. I will stand by their side and support them all the way as they allow their journey and expression to take form. They are already wonderful guides and I have no doubt that they will continue their journey of inspiring many many people.
ELM: And what about friends and family? Who have you influenced who you hadn’t expected to?
KA: I do not intend to influence. ‘Intending to influence’ has for me the taste of aiming to control a certain direction. My concept is about letting go of control and come to a place of allowance (trust) – being ONE. My intention is to inspire change ;-) I walk through life without expectation. I trust that my being/doing inspires others exactly where they need the inspiration the most – in many more ways than I can ever know. Inspiration is many things. This I have learned especially on this amazing South African journey of mine.
I often hear from my Grandmother how much our weekly talks inspire her. She now lives her life more fully and allows the different seasons of it. I enjoy our sharing immensely and treasure our friendship.
Many of my friends have shared with me how my South African Journey and the ‘not that easy path’ I have walked has been of great inspiration to them. It has inspired them to never give up and no matter how tough it seems that it always has a special meaning and comes with a special gift.
ELM: The quotes I liked most:
...bottom of p. 43 “You create a sound and caring environment around you – it is one of compassion and appreciation. It is an environment that you know depends a hundred percent on you. This is the energy you come with. This is what you bring into the shared environment and what will attract others to you. You build bridges instead of walls.”
...bottom of p. 44 “Your journey of responsibility is one of great inspiration. You know that rewards come in various ways – the more you give, the more you learn, grow and gain. When you add your energy to a process, it is not just about what you can become, but what everyone can become!”
...middle of p. 85 – the quote on trust “We know that trust has no need for firm walls.”
Sections that shed light on Karina’s life story:
- p. 78: Crux of her story
- p. 82: Story of her loss
- p. 174: Insights into her childhood and childrearing.
- p. 189: She’s writing a book with the Group of Hope, which she will publish in 2009.
- p. 189: She’s started the responsible education programme.
- P. 190: “The Smiling One Trust, Village and Orphanage”.