My biggest achievement is to have healed from being a victim
By Lena Zechner
When moving to Venezuela as a young teenager, Viola Edward was faced again with second enormous upheaval in her life. But instead of being paralysed she stayed connected with her origins making the best of her new home and progressively taking charge of her future. Immigration and the whole process of fitting into a new community can be tough but the motivation of fulfilling herself kept her going back then. Constantly travelling around the planet is no longer an issue for Viola due to this distinctive open-mindedness as well as happily living in Cyprus with her husband Michael.
Viola exclusively provides an insight into how she pursued her true passion of becoming an independent psychotherapist even after successfully establishing a career in the insurance business. Together with her younger sister Layla, whom she used to look after from an early age, she managed to set up the “Centro Rebirthing de Venezuela”.
In this interview Viola shares her multiple experiences of being an immigrant, her working together with her loved ones along with her passion and knowledge about the power of colours, how she avails herself of her weaknesses and more about her journey of becoming a “world-wide citizen” as well as her admiration of Jung, Ghandi and Jane Goodall.
What difficulties did you face moving to Venezuela at the very young age of thirteen?
I had an uncomfortably familiar feeling of having my roots cut again as this was the second time that I had been subjected to a change of country. But thankfully I had already developed a set of strong and lively wings, which I kept working with non-stop, to survive the confusion of the upheaval. I drew my strength from the clear light in the sky above me and the pulsing musical rhythms of the new land beneath my feet, learning how to maintain a personal connection with my cultural origins rather than my limiting roots.
Recently, reading Amin Maalouf’s book “Origins“ I can now understand the instinct of survival that saved me and how I got it right then. This is my interpretation of Maalouf’s clarifying perception of the contrast between “roots” and “origins.”
“… Roots burrow down into the ground, contorsioned and twisting into the darkness of the mud. They revel in the shadows and the obscurity”. They hold the tree captive from the moment of it’s birth, feeding it with the sap of life at a blackmail price i.e. “If you free yourself from me, you will die”. Trees have no choice; they have to resign themselves to this blackmail.
Mankind has the power of choice and does not have to resign. We are free to breathe the clarity of light, we can turn for inspiration to the wide open sky, connecting with the experience of our ancestors and when we finally bury the ageing matter of our bodies into the earth, it is into an honourable decay of death, a sustainable recycling.
The life fluid of our birth place does not rise from our feet towards our head. Our feet are wonderful instruments of mobility; they help us go towards chosen places or to flee from danger and abuse. Learning is there in the paths we choose to follow. These are the tested or untested routes that transport us from poverty into richness or merely to another form of poverty, from servitude to freedom or to a violent death. These roads entice us, promise us and carry us. We do not emerge from some place in the ground by chance, like seeds. Like all of us, pathways have an origin, even though the idea is perhaps an illusion, as you will never find the real starting place of the road, but as we journey these pathways, we can always carry with us that most important of gifts, the cultural wisdom of our origins…”
When people emmigrate there is the bereavement of what we leave behind balanced with a hope of better life. Sometimes that hope is an amazing source of motivation and at other times people can get trapped in the melancholy of the loss and the difficulty of adapting to the new life. The lost feeling may become chronic and take us to feelings of victimacy caused by the unchosen, forced changes. Being victimised is like being trapped by circumstances, for me it is worse than the fact itself.
Having a feeling of belonging to a like minded group, of being creative and productive, even in any small way, can take us out of the ‘victim’ mentality and can be the start of achieving victory over it and not remaining trapped in the bereavement.
I am a Latin American woman with Middle-East Origins. I like to think that I embody the best of both cultures.
What inspired you to finally pursue your dream of working in the field of psychology?
The day I turned 30, I had the strong awakening to the feeling that my life could be so much more than simply surviving. I was already a successful Account-Manager in an International Insurance company and I had already been working for 17 years and I was fiercely independent. Now I needed to learn how to live, and to live fully and joyfully. That day, I started my Psychotherapeutical process as a patient. I set out with the intention of discovering myself; discovering new pathways, discovering the ways which would be ‘my ways’. During 4 years of analysis I progressively understood the changes needed to embrace life fully, to fly higher and wider and be free from being a victim.
As being a psychologist was one of my oldest dreams, I began to look for different ways to materialise it. You know the old saying that when we are ready, the entire universe conspires to help us to achieve what we need. It seems that I was at the correct place and at the correct time to materialise the changes. To put it simply, I was ready. The rest of the work was learning dynamics and the challenges that belong to the process of change itself.
“I needed to learn how to live, and to live fully and joyfully”
Which advice would you give to someone who is unsure about pursuing their true passion?
A visionary person is somebody that has a dream and does not let go of it. They are also grateful for what they already have in hand and the things they are already doing in the meantime. They use their energy to be alert and dynamic, ready and prepared to catch the opportunity when it appears, ready to implement the changes necessary to follow their dream. Maybe it will not materialise at the first attempt but with persistance and clarity of vision, they can evaluate and make the necessary changes until they get it right. They enjoy the pathway of the process, not only the end result.
Other categories of character could be:
- a) -The one who confuses the signals and takes actions impulsively and quickly without sufficient preparation, only to lose enthusiasm after a setback and the courage and commitment required for a follow on.
- b) -The one that is extremely organised about all the details of the dream but lacks the daring and the courage to take action, to execute. The fear of failure overwhelms them.
The last two characteristics can be improved and expanded through coaching and psychotherapy. My advice here is to ask for professional support to unhook from these limitations and learn how to convert a dream into a vision which will create results, and, as in my case, results which are even beyond this.
“Apart from the deep love we feel for each other, we share similar values”
You have been directing the ‘Centro Rebirthing’, which you founded earlier on, together with your sister Layla. What was it like working with a family member?
Layla was born just 2 months after my father’s death. I was then almost four years old. Our father’s death, aged 29 years, was our family’s biggest tragedy. I took on the role of being her second mother and this role lasted for a long time. Fortunately, I managed to transform this role during my psychotherapy process and learned how to go to a healthier balance and be her sister and friend. Layla is an amazing woman. Being her business partner was a wonderful experience. Apart from the deep love we feel for each other, we share similar values and we have different qualities that complement each other and are fundamental for successful businesses.
What’s the story behind your affection for colours and becoming a Colour consultant?
I was inspired by my friend and colleague Gilly Montgomery. I saw how she was transforming her image with wonderful colours that looked just made for her, enhancing her natural beauty. She gave me a colour consultation and I discovered that blue base colours suited me best. The yellow base and earthy colours that I had been using for so long didn’t suit me. They made me look unfocussed and older. I understood that I had intuitively chosen those colours years ago when I started to work at the age of 13 and I needed to look older. Using those colours had become a habit and I developed an attachment for them plus the simplicity of wearing a lot of black as many of us do. Now, at the age of 57, I want to shine and look healthy.
This knowledge about personal colour helps us to “have more by having less” as we learn how to purchase only what suits us. This was another discovery that brought marvellous effects into my life. Many of my friends and clients started to ask me to share this knowledge with them and in 2010 I undertook a professional training and became a consultant of ‘House of Colour’.
What is your greatest weakness as well as your greatest strength?
A subject that I have been developing for my next book is about the qualities that every one has and how we manage to use them. This fascinating dance is what makes us unique. My best qualities have been my most efficient allies in times of difficulty and when I need to express my creativity. These are my communication skills and my intuitive connection with others, leading me to fulfil a vocation for service while making an honourable living. My lowest qualities have been my connection with physical exercise and my sense of orientation. Since I have learned how to acknowledge and accept even my lowest qualities, in the absence of self-judgement, shame and denial, they have been improving so much through the years.
What has been your greatest achievement so far in life?
My biggest achievement is to have healed from being a victim. That transformation has helped me to other achievements like stopping smoking (I used to be a chain smoker), understanding my addictive personality and how to heal the depths of it. With that experience under my belt, nowadays I can give compassionate help and support to others in similar situations.
Why did you decide to move to Cyprus 13 years ago?
I moved to Cyprus because I fell in love with a man that was going back to live in Cyprus, the place of his birth. I was in a very good place in my international career and I thought that I knew a lot about work but I knew very little about committing myself to a long term relationship, I was ready to commit and changing country didn’t seem the big problem, by then I already considered myself a world-wide citizen.
Now, when I think about it, so far I have been through the ‘dynamic of the immigrant’ three times. I have survived nicely from this one too. It took a time to immerse myself into the marriage and the new country and it took me five years to establish my current therapeutical business, ‘Kayana Holistic Development’. Now I can say I have created a pleasurable and meaningful life in Cyprus.
“I have created a pleasurable and meaningful life in Cyprus”
How did you and your husband Michael meet?
On a day of bright southern Spanish light and under favourable stars, we met at the “International Breathwork Foundation Conference” in Almeria Spain in June 1999. Michael was running his own Body Therapy Centre in France and I was jointly managing the Rebirthing Centre in Venezuela and a Holistic Business Consultancy internationally. We both shared a love for the healing power of Breathwork in therapy. I had just turned a beautiful forty and we had both done extensive personal development work and training, we were both ready, perceptive and in the right place at the right time. Our meeting was a powerful and energetic encounter and still is today.
With both of you being trained therapists, how do you approach difficulties in your own relationship?
We approach our difficulties with healthy communication, laughter and some tears. Respecting our differences (which are many) and rejoicing in our similarities. I am very thankful for this relationship with such a passionate and caring man and for my courage in letting go of a very comfortable single life for the challenges of married life.
I had been a free and healthy single woman for many years and now, after almost 17 years since we started our relationship, I can say that I am a free and healthy married woman.
If you had to name the three most important aspects of a healthy relationship, what would they be?
Love and healthy sexuality, effective communication and shared values and responsibilities. Extensive articles written by Michael de Glanville, my husband and I, about these aspects of relationships are published regularly in this Magazine.
Would you say that being a woman has influenced your business career in any way?
Even when I love the fact that I am a woman, It is not only my gender that has influenced my career but the way how I live it, applying my broad base of specialised knowledge with compassion, wide experience, use of intuition and my vocation for service in my expanding community. A man can have those qualities too and use them in a wise way.
Who is your role model and why?
My beautiful mother was the first one for her strength, focus and love. Later, I became fascinated by Freud, Jung and Berne in my early teenage years.Then I drew much inspiration from the work of Assagioli and many others who founded Transpersonal Psychology. I was then, and am still, fascinated by the power of the mind and the emotions.
I am humbled by the power of non-violence that Ghandi displayed. The technique of non violent communication is today a current part of what I teach and I still think that there are ways to go through life with passion and without violence.
I also have a deep respect for Jane Goodall, her passion for Nature, Conservation and Animal Wellfare and specially for being a Messenger of Peace and a powerful woman.
Where and how do you find your personal safe haven?
I am a social being; I find love and peace amongst people and networking. As a child I used to be very silent and quiet. The tranquility of natural, peaceful environments helps me to go into a contemplative state of mind, a nurturing place for my spirit.
ViolaEdward.com portrays how Relationship Coaching, Holistic Psychotherapy, Breathwork and Business Consultancy can all contribute to a balanced and harmonious personal and organisational lifestyle, where awareness, self-esteem and communication journey lovingly, respectfully, hand in hand to cultivate creativity, action and accomplishment.