While I was rolling down the slopes of Mount Rila, I realised that I had gathered so much unexpressed goodness rather than repressing the whole energy, talent and opportunities for creation. The pain and horror forced me — then and there — to rethink my life so that I could continue without raising further barriers. With gratitude for every breath I take.

I realised that life and death are the same as day and night. And that everything comes naturally when the ego gives up. Let Your will be — Your will, not mine, the will of life. Leaving behind the person I used to be has turned me into the person I currently am. It took courage because the longest journey is that from the mind to the heart, from knowledge to acceptance. But if the journey is completed, the moment comes when you simply help life flow and take its course to make things happen. Some time ago one of my twenty-five mountain rescuers told me that the nourishment for my soul is inside me. And this holds true for everyone. I wish more people realised this, when stepping over the threshold of the Atelier. People often come here overflowing with what they cannot put into words, blocked by the impossibility of taking their personal step forward. I am truly happy when they discover that most precious resource inside them — the food that nourishes their soul — and connect to it so that they can use it.

Life with its three stages of lack of awareness and happiness, awareness and unhappiness and awareness and happiness is the greatest teacher of all.

Each situation is an opportunity to learn to accept ourselves and the world we live in with understanding that humbles us.

Each situation allows us to see ourselves in the person before us as if in a mirror and decide what we would like to change.

Each difficulty is a lesson in coping. It is also a test to find out how far we’ve travelled down the road of self-awareness and awareness of the path we’re following. It is a provocation to understand what brought us to the point of crisis and where we are on the journey to our own change, what are needs are at the moment and how we can satisfy them.

Pain and spiritual discomfort are a catalyst for rethinking models of behaviour and the protection mechanisms we use to guard ourselves from the environment that help us stay within our comfort zone but also sabotage us.

The most difficult situations are those in our own families, those that involve our nearest and dearest and that hurt us the most. The ties between parents and children, souses and generations. Family roles and hierarchies. How was the relationship between child and mother formed from the moment of birth and what is the father’s attitude to the child’s needs? What are the key models, perceptions and beliefs inherited from the family, social and cultural environment and what extent they help us or act as brakes in certain situations.

Our greatest teachers are our own children. They love us and accept us with unconditional, pure and all-forgiving love. What about us?

Their loyalty is astounding — whether consciously or not, they would take on our greatest worries and even illnesses as long as their parents would be fine.

So, before we start making demands or declare our expectations, it is usually helpful to remember that they are our mirror image. They connect to us and to the world through what we show them in terms of behaviour and relationship between us — world views, culture and personal approach. The world we build for ourselves and our partnership will define the life of our children. If we realise this, our conscious behaviour will change. In order to equip them with a high-standard behaviour and relationships model we must make conscious efforts to change and grow ourselves. Very often when our children get into trouble, we frequently ask ourselves what we sowed in order to reap such bitter results.

I have four children. They practically belong to two different generations, the age difference between the eldest and the youngest being almost 18 years. I continue to learn new things every day. I make mistakes and I apologise, I do my best to be humble and have long since parted ways with my own unfulfilled ambitions. In fact, these moments make me a better person and add value to my work with clients. When I go out to lunch the elder boy and girl or attend a pyjama party with the younger siblings, when I discuss the team problems the elder ones encounter at work or explain the moral of a fairy tale to their younger sisters, I learn more than any training course will ever teach me. And when I hear the older siblings giving thoughtful and concerned advice and guidance to the younger pair, I think that the only thing I can do is paint in silence. Well, when I watch them unpack their Christmas presents, I offer prayers of gratitude to God.