Merynel from the Netherlands was working as a massage therapist and entrepreneur selling natural products and working in the area of business development. She performed various kinds of massage, including Ayurveda, Shiatsu, Swedish, Sports, Scrub, and Herbal. She is also a Reiki master – on New Year’s day this year, Merynel and two other Reiki masters delivered Reiki attunement for New Life’s community members. Her troubles started around two years ago, when she began to suffer from various physical problems from which she struggled to recuperate.
How did you end up at New Life Foundation?
I had a number of plane, car, and bus accidents over a short period of time and became sick. I didn’t break anything, but it affected me mentally and I developed migraine, stomach troubles, and anxiety. I had a fever every day and my body ached everywhere. I was completely burnt out and felt so stuck in life. I closed my business two years ago as I couldn’t keep working any longer. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I tried all sorts of therapies, but I was still sick.
Then things started to change. I came across a Neuro-Linguistic Programming course. After participating in the course for one week, my long lasting anxiety disappeared. Then four months later, I found New Life Foundation. And what’s more amazing is that some funds which were locked up suddenly became available to make it possible for me to get to New Life.
Did you have any expectations?
I wanted to do yoga and meditation on a daily basis, and I also wanted to eat more organic and healthier foods. I was very much hoping to be healed and to gain strength through life coaching offered to residents, and I wanted to recover enough so that I could work again.
What do you like about the foundation?
Everything. I am very blessed to have found this place and to have the chance to spend some time here working on my own personal growth. The moment I stepped into the foundation, all my sickness, which had previously caused so much suffering, disappeared. I like that we can practice mindfulness everyday here. Also, I like the diversity of the place where many different kinds of work, such as working in the field, natural building, or working in the kitchen, are available.
What kind of community work do you do?
I came here as a resident and joined the resident program for one month. As a resident, we participate in the community work in the morning for two and a half hours. Working in the field helping the agriculture team was a great opportunity to work on my physical strength. I could feel my body getting stronger day by day, which was great after suffering so much for so long. After being a resident for one month and recovering from all my sickness, I became a volunteer. I usually help clean the meditation halls in the morning, and I work in the kitchen helping to prepare meals for the community in the afternoon. Every Wednesday, I get the opportunity to work as the chief cook in the kitchen when our head cook (Thai lady) has a half day off. I really enjoy cooking for the community and it’s my honor to make people smile with the dishes I’ve prepared.
What surprised you about this place?
I was so surprised that I healed from my sickness so quickly. It happened almost immediately when I stepped into the New Life Foundation. I was so grateful. And also, since it is a big community, there are so many different kinds of people with different issues or different backgrounds. But whatever the issue or the background may be, everybody is so nice and supportive, which makes this place so special.
Have you found any aspects difficult or challenging?
It was difficult at the beginning to do any type of physical work. It was especially hard to work in the field with the pains I still had in my body. But I pushed myself to work through the challenges and I started to build up my strength. Also, it was sometimes hard to follow the daily schedule as a result of my physical condition. We start our day at six in the morning and all the activities keep us really busy. Now, I have found my balance and I am handling it lot better.
How did you become a Reiki master?
I had my first Reiki initiation in 1995. Back then, I changed my career from working in the office to working in the care sector in Spain, because I knew office work wasn’t for me and I needed to change my career. I knew that I should be involved in a healing job. This is because as long as I remember, I was always giving Reiki from my hands, even before I was initiated. The healing energy was something that had always lived inside me. One day when I was driving, I came across a Reiki advertisement on the roadside and I decided to learn it. I became a Reiki master in 2004. Now not only can I give Reiki healing to people, but also I can initiate people. I really like Reiki because it helps both the receiver and the giver of the Reiki healing. It is a gift for me, and it is a gift I can pass to the other people. When I’m giving Reiki treatment, I become an instrument/channel of love and life.
Do you have a message for future volunteers or residents?
It’s a great opportunity in life to take a rest and to work on yourself. I would like to advise everyone to grab this amazing opportunity in life. You have to experience it yourself to see how wonderful it is. I’m sure that it will be a great life changing opportunity for everyone. I’m very honored to be here.
* Many thanks to our volunteer T for this interview and special guest post