Based in Malta, Michelle is the brave Dutch girlboss behind The Mindful Magazine. The platform was created to spread awareness about our spiritual being and the potential of life that is in all of us. Encouraging finding answers from within rather than seek them from external sources beyond materialism, Michelle gives an overview of various mindfulness techniques everyone can use in the everyday to better connect with their true being and reach their full potential. She has definitely gone through her own life challenges along the way and changed career paths several times, but finally found a way to her real calling to guide other souls to spirituality and healing. Michelle reveals us her journey toward mindfulness and encourages everyone to follow what they are truly born to do through introspection and self-love. Let’s learn to trust the universe with Michelle.
Words: Hanna-Amanda Pant
I am curious, where had your career path taken you prior to launching the platform?
About 4 years ago I started a career in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and content. During that time, I was really craving for a personal project and website.
When did you witness the 'this is it, this is what I want to do' moment that made you actually begin your journey with The Mindful Magazine and helped it to finally materialise?
As my passions are mindfulness, spirituality and psychology, I decided to create a website in that field. I bought the domain and started writing down all the ideas, knowledge and creativity that have been hidden in my brain and body for quite some time. The idea behind The Mindful Magazine is to offer a platform on which I promote ideas of myself and others that improve the planet and help us into a better future. I believe that mindfulness can provide us with the right attitude to observe our own behaviors and improves the lives around us. By means of tips, articles, poetry, interviews and more, I hope to entertain the public while inspiring them to live out their best energetic potential in this life. Followers, visitors and likes have been growing over the last 2 years and I couldn’t be more proud.
What exactly does mindfulness mean to you personally?
Mindfulness to me is coming back to a place that connects us with the roots of who we are, without all the outside distractions. That altered state of mind can be reached by sitting still and having an introspection of oneself, a level that otherwise might have been forgotten. We are so much more than just human beings living our lives and we are capable of much more than we think.
How can we utilise mindfulness to improve our relationships and connect better with others?
We can boost our self-confidence, self-reflection and self-creation with mindfulness. It provides us with a better perspective of life that comes from a higher view of being. When we know ourselves better, when we have internalised both the good and the bad, we can improve our relationships and we are less afraid to connect with people. Accepting yourself as you are and accepting others as they are, instead of trying to change the people around you, is a relief. It is something that mindfulness teaches you and it will take a lifetime or lifetimes to master it. We are not perfect, and to stop reacting to any situation is more than difficult. We can, however, observe our behaviour and patterns, and truly take our time before we respond. So, I can say it improves your own life, and that of others. When you change into a more positive person, you also charge the people around you with your energy field, which in return brings better connections and relationships with others.
What do you enjoy the most about interviewing people and exploring different subjects of interest on the platform?
What I enjoy the most is learning about different visions and perspectives from different people. I truly believe that we all have something to contribute to our amazing planet. Why not help each other spread the word? The people I interview all have the aim of improving things: structures, lives and nature. They always have their own creative ideas which are so unique that I can only do a favour to the world by sharing it with others.
Why do you think the video medium is an especially effective tool to connect with the interviewees and share the various stories through?
Writing is still a great tool to spread the word, but as many people are on the road and busy, they prefer to listen to a video, or it just makes the story much more real to see the people in it. Videos can be easily shared, and it can be a good way for both me as the interviewer and for the interviewee to express our thoughts the most natural way, as we also do in daily life. I want to show people that we are completely ordinary people, and in a similar way, everyone around us can change their lives if they want to. Nobody is more special than others, we are walking the earth like everyone else. We have problems that all humans have, no one is perfect. We just have people who carry a wisdom that needs to be shared. We can all learn from each other and that is what The Mindful Magazine carries forward.
“Being mindful or spiritual does not mean to meditate all day and give up everything in life.”
What are some of the most significant career mistakes you have done thus far and what have you learned 'the hard way'? For example, about success or money...
I have been working several jobs since I am 11 years old. I have studied for 8 years, which I certainly knew was not all that fitting for me. However, sometimes we must go through a road of obstacles and knowing what we do not want, in order to find what we do want with our lives. I have noticed that a job that keeps me imprisoned really restricts my personality and creates a feeling of unhappiness. I need to be in a place where I can express and be myself freely, while having some sort of structure. But for me being free is not what for someone else is being free. There are plenty of people who love to have a routine and structure and live for that, or people that would love to travel and risk it all non-stop.
Mindfulness again shows you what truly makes you happy, outside of what other people want from you. A feeling of constant dis-ease (derives from disease), will come from being in a life that is not fully coming from the heart. With mindfulness and meditation, you can change your vision of what YOU want in life. So did I regret some jobs in my life? There were plenty of times that I felt out of place, but they all led me to the road I am on now. Although I do feel I am certainly not there yet! I know I like to have a comfortable life without struggles, so being ‘spiritual or mindful’ does not necessarily mean you have to live in poverty. I love to buy myself healthy food and a comfortable place I call home. Nothing wrong with that. What is success to you? Success to me is doing what I love, and I truly try to do it the best I can. I still carry a bit of the old-fashioned idea of hard work pays off, which doesn’t mean you have to work 24/7. But you just have to focus on doing what you love, enjoy every single moment and know that all will be well.
What do you think about the empowering movement we are witnessing now: women are being more brave than ever and launching more businesses than ever. Do you think the current cultural climate enables a fertile enough ground for us to stand up and pursue our dreams?
I think it is amazing that women are standing up for themselves and following their own dreams. We are born as free citizens with our own baggage of, in some cases, repression. But nowadays, it seems much more possible to go anywhere and follow your dreams. Globalization really makes that happen. We can now make our own money and decisions, especially in the Western world. These women and entrepreneurs are examples for others to be whoever you want to be. If it is your dream to be an entrepreneur, then why let it stop you. I hope that we can spread it worldwide that other people can’t define who we are. Ideally, one day, us, women can be whoever we want to be, anywhere in the world with equal chances. Movements like this encourage a start and give power to the idea that women are more than just household keepers and mothers. We are so much more. I think that men and women equally should have choices to become both sole-parents or entrepreneurs. No more judgment, just an increase of inner power that leads to more successful people on the planet.
“Sometimes we must go through a road of obstacles and knowing what we do not want in order to find what we do want with our lives.”
We have also briefly spoken about the 'Law of Attraction'. How has the concept materialised in your own life recently? What are the benefits of practicing such manifestation technique of attracting the things we wish would happen, yet seem out of logic in the first place?
Absolutely. I have been testing the law of attraction in certain ways to see if it is really true and this is what my opinion is about it; I believe that to a certain extent it absolutely works. We can write down our goals on a paper and focus on it one by one. We do need to really believe it and focus on it for quite some time. Which means the desire needs to be super strong. Most of my goals came into fruition and happened in my life. However, some did not, and I realised that those goals were to a great extent blocked by my blockages that have not been healed yet.
Sometimes we need to heal something first in order to believe that we can truly achieve it. Also, we can sometimes manifest something into our lives that is not in alignment with who we are. For example, at some point, I wanted to have a certain position in a company, and when I got it, I was not happy at all. It was not in alignment of who I am, but it was inspired by more of a greedy moment. I wanted to just simply have a better position. My suggestion is, pretend you already have it and visualise it, while not holding onto it and make sure it is something you truly want. Easy right? If you truly want it, channel all your energy into going for that goal.
“Accepting yourself as you are and accepting others as they are, instead of trying to change the people around you, is a relief. It is something that mindfulness teaches you and it will take a lifetime or lifetimes to master it.”
What are some of the positive affirmations that guide you through the day? If you feel particularly low or anxious some days, what would you say to yourself to improve your mindset? Share with us your favourite mantras.
I have some days when I truly feel down, and I doubt myself and all that I do. When this is the case, I try to listen to positive affirmation by means of a headset and some YouTube videos. Depending on what I am feeling down about I would listen to accordingly.
My favorite affirmations:
I am love
I am successful
I am inner power
I am grateful for all that I have
Mantras is a whole different thing but my favorite one is: Om Gyaanam Dhyaanam Shantam Hari and Om Kleem -> Both are bringing you in alignment with the universe as that is our ultimate goal.
What fascinates you the most about the field of astrology and why is it such a complex subject to learn? Have you found that astrology helps you to understand some people / explain life situations, our destiny better?
Recently, I started a study in astrology and I simply love it so far!I am fascinated by the fact that our imprint of life is written in the stars at the moment we are born. The question arises, is everything then set beforehand? Yes and no, we can choose whatever we want to do in this lifetime, but certainly we came here to learn certain lessons and to fulfill our life’s desires. With astrology, we can understand ourselves better and we know why particular problems keep repeating itself. By knowing these issues, you can improve it and / or accept it better. We can discover our talents earlier on and we sometimes just simply accept that we are always evolving and never the same at one time. We have different aspects of ourselves and, with astrology, we can work with these aspects and bring it into the best potential of life.
What would you say to encourage other women to take the leap and set up something of their own, so their authentic self and vision could shine through? Why do you think many people are not doing what their heart is telling them to do... is it to do with fear that is holding us back?
I think fear is something that definitely holds us back. Fear of the unknown, fear what other people think of us and a fear of failing. It is mostly outside factors that stop us from being who we really want to be. The best way is to start with mindfulness and meditation and work from there. We have to create space and time to get to know ourselves in order to grow into the person we really want to be. I would just tell every other woman out there to just start with the first step and see where it takes you. Try to spend a bit more time alone and understand what makes you happy in that moment. Start living with small changes into things you love and from small changes you might even make bigger steps. You can do anything you set your mind into. So go for it, even step by step.
What other life philosophies are serving as your absolute solid cornerstones in life: are there any spiritual practices you are engaging in daily and that help you to seek for meaning?
Be yourself, do not try to be someone you are not. Being mindful or spiritual does not mean to meditate all day and give up everything in life. It is about understanding what you truly want and living up to that. Just be a good person, laugh through your days and don’t take it all so seriously. Obstacles will always be there, just change the way you look at them and understand the lessons you have learned. There are not big secrets, just allow yourself to be (present). Wish you great luck in your own spiritual practices and see what works for you! There is no one way to do it.