Up until 2010, my life had been pretty good. I grew up in a middle class family with loving, hard-working small scale entrepreneur parents, who like most parents, wanted nothing more for their kids than to do well at school and succeed in life. And so I did. After spending many happy years in boarding school, I graduated from uni with an economics degree, got a top job in a top cosmetics company and was all set to fly. I was living my life by the proverbial societal book of expectations, but I wanted more.
The first signs of rebellion started to show when I married a South-African and moved abroad. Many exciting and fulfilling years of expat-living followed with moves to 3 continents and 5 countries. Two wonderful kids came along and life was pretty good indeed. I had plenty of opportunities to indulge in my passions, practice art, develop my creative talents and expand my horizons in any direction I could possible imagine. Until suddenly my perfect world collapsed.
In July 2010, on a trip to Sri Lanka, I woke up half paralyzed and was not able to move the left hand side of my body. I naturally panicked but after about 2 hours the paralysis subsided. I made it through the holiday but knew that something was up. Google searches only confirmed the bad news highlighting conditions from multiple sclerosis to heart attack. An MRI of the brain was inconclusive…I was misdiagnosed multiple times, was put on heavy medication and ended up in a spiral of negativity, uncertainty and panic attacks…with another international move on the cards, thankfully to a country with high medical standards. There, I was diagnosed with two slipped discs in the neck, which by now were causing numbing limbs and loss of balance.
The situation came to a head in March 2011 when I was taken to A&E and told that I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair if not operated on within two weeks, so I was. The post surgery recovery was so slow, I was convinced the intervention had been unsuccessful. My entire life consisted of medical check-ups with all kinds of specialists, going for conventional and alternative therapies and worrying about every symptom in my body. I was not seeing the end of the tunnel, became very self-centred, spent many sleepless nights and indulged in my own misery. The darkness had engulfed me. The illness had trapped me, shackled me and handcuffed me…my only lifeline was the ongoing support of my long suffering husband and my two young kids needing their mum.
After a visit to a psychiatrist and another round of prescriptions for highly addictive anti-depressants, I realised I needed to take drastic action and focus on healing my mind rather than my body. I enrolled in a meditation course and learned some useful techniques but was not healed. However it had opened the door to the Eastern way of thinking. In December 2012, I attended a talk by Lama Marut, which forever changed my outlook on life. I was introduced to the Bhagavad Gita, which according to some, contains all of life’s wisdom and the Great Tibetan Lam Rim tradition, which explains the steps on the path to Enlightenment.
It taught me five important lessons :
- We are all interdependent (Ego disappears in this context)
- Never let a good disaster go to waste (Don’t ask why did it happen to me but what is it trying to teach me?)
- Treat every irritating person as a teacher (They are there for a reason)
- The antidote to anger is compassion (When the energy of anger is transformed into compassion, watch the magic happen)
- Act for the sake of the action, not the end result (whatever you do, make the journey count as you are never in control of the end result)
This new wisdom was liberating and transformational and to this day, I am grateful for the pain 2010 and 2011 caused me as it jolted me out of a deep western sleep into a life of meaning and greater insight.
I became deeply interested in the ancient scriptures, my fellow sentient beings and the world around me. On a personal level, I became a vegetarian, was looking for true meaning in life and started reading voraciously about food and health. My perception of our food chain was forever changed when I read the book “Food Revolution” by John Robbins. I was so incensed by its content and the brokenness of all our systems (BigAG, BigPharma and BigFood) that I could no longer be a silent witness. So in 2014, together with two friends, I decided to set up a series of workshops at our children’s’ school with the simple aim to educate other like-minded mums on how our consumption choices impact our health and our environment.
Whilst it was a very satisfying exercise, the enormity and the acuteness of the issues we faced also called for something much bigger, something much more scaleable, something that could help shift consumer understanding and behaviour far more quickly and far more radically….And so CircleWerkz came into existence…mainly as a response to an urgent need for change and as a rallying cry to no longer sleepwalk through life, but also to believe in our ability to do something about it and to offer hope for the future. It had to be a force of positivity – think of the Lotus flower, which grows perfect beauty and purity out of a mud base.
CircleWerkz is meant to function as a digital oasis where you cand find ideas and solutions for kickstarting, engineering or re-energising your conscious lifestyle. It is an online info-center which will encourage you to co-create a better future for the world, to choose a path of hope, to take a stance or to start being the change.
Over time, with the appropriate tools (and money injection), it will also become an “interactive” meeting place for like-minded people,
- where we will be able to share our experiences on the journey and shift towards consuming more consciously with each other. This should culminate in a powerful community with enough clout to drive rapid change in corporations and to profoundly influence governments with the ultimate aim to restore integrity and promote full transparency in the systems that govern us.
- where everybody can contribute to the platform by recommending products, people and services that have made a difference in their lives, which will in turn be screened internally and – if approved- will be incorporated on the platform.
If you remember only one thing, then it should be this : “We all have the power to change the world, every day and with every purchase we make!” Every day, we can either vote for hope or further collapse. Every day, we can build a better future for our children or we can further compromise it. Every day, we can choose for pollution or solution. Every day we can empower the dark side or the light side. Every day we can feed positivity or negativity. Every day we have the opportunity to exercise that freedom and power of choice. Join us in driving the change.