See how excited I am. I missed you so much I’m saying hello IN CAPS! You may or may not know but I just got back from Bali. And it was a life-changing experience for me in many ways.I had a couple of Soul Goals for this trip, and I am so thrilled to say they are not only accomplished but went beyond my wildest expectations.
One of my Soul Goals was to use the brilliant English teaching materials that the students of Hogeschool Rotterdam developed for my educational BDEAL Foundation. Nearly 40 students spent an entire semester developing a brand new curriculum for newly emerging after-school English programs, run by volunteers with no teaching experience, in remote areas of Bali.
I was so excited to finally get to use it with the students, and to train teachers in how to get the most out of it. Now I can say with pride that 42 after-school English programs which help 1800 underprivileged children now have an excellent and sustainable English teaching method based on their own culture, goals, and needs in English. All tailor-made and made with love.
My foundation was also able to fund 2500 books, 50 whiteboard pens and erasers, and 100 notebooks for children who need it.
You can get a glimpse of what happened here. And more here.
(I will update the Foundation website just as soon as I can, I have so many pictures and videos to share – coming soon!)
It was a very intense time, and I am so looking forward to going back next year to see the progress that has been made. I have weekly contact with the teachers involved and am now also in the process of sending over 150 new Cambridge books that a high school here in Brabant didn’t need and generously donated. (If you’d like to make a donation to help cover the shipping costs, that would be most welcome!)
After such an emotional, exhausting, fulfilling time, I needed to take time for myself. Hence the second Soul Goal. I checked myself in to a silent retreat where I took a vow of silence and I meditated and did yoga for 4 days. It was wonderful. I never missed my phone (and I was so scared to give this up, I even had a stomach ache at the thought of it!) and learned so much about myself and the world around me. I wrote dozens of pages and read hundreds of pages. I had a healing fire ceremony and was blessed by a Shaman. I did a walking mediation with crystals. I ate the best food I’ve ever had, all vegan and organic and grown on site. I woke up before the crack of gong (which went off a 5.30 to call us to morning mediation) and went to bed with a happy heart at 7.30 pm. I observed a butterfly for 45 minutes. I cried. A lot. I was filled with gratitude and a deep, deep sense of peace.
This zen feeling really came in handy when I had to fly back through 7 hours of turbulence, missed my connection, and ended up in Rome instead of Amsterdam. I was so zen the whole time. It didn’t matter where I was or what was happening, I kept that peaceful and grateful and loving feeling inside me and guess what? It’s still here.
This trip has had a huge impact on me. I now do things a LOT slower. I gave up coffee (for now). I use my phone only twice a day. I keep writing. The ideas for my new book are so clear and the chapters are calling my name. I meditate for an hour now with ease, and I do so every morning (still getting up at 4 but that’s just jet lag I think!). I sit and observe the wind in the trees instead of looking at my phone. I have found the value of silence and solitude. Everything seems to mean a lot more than it did before. Everything has value, significance, and I try to honor that with my thoughts and my actions.
I also realised something big on this trip, and that is for me, the real definition of wealth:
1 Find out what your passion is. Share it with the world and be shameless about your love for it.
This is what I did on Bali. I spent every day teaching for free and every evening coaching my clients online (not for free!). This approach felt wonderful and I’m committed to continuing this way of working for the rest of my professional life.
What are you committed to? What makes your heart happy? Are your actions in line with your heart?
Let me know!
With love and gratitude,
PS: Check DWDD on Wednesday night – my client Jeangu will debut the Dutch Song Festival song he has worked so hard on. I am so excited for you all to hear it! It’s brilliant and beautiful and I was so honored to see it get born. #happycoach