“This is a new life for me, and I feel so free. I feel so happy. Because I have found my true self and purpose,” says Helena Abidin of giving up the corporate life to become a meditation facilitator who aims to transform lives through speaking and mindfulness workshops. Claudia Rindiantika reports.
“Wellness and wellbeing are not only about the outside, like having a six-pack. Mostly we focus on the outside, so we become beautiful outside. But we forget that being well from the inside is also important.”
Helena Abidin is talking about a method called Mindfulness. The method is an effective way to address the challenges faced by corporations and organisations in the current disruptive environment, Helena says. It is “a simple holistic approach to help leaders and employees to be conscious of their individual power to create positive changes, to improve performance and satisfaction”. She also believes that “integrating compassion” as a leadership quality is crucial to bringing a business forward.
After spending 25 years in the corporate world, Helena who studied at RMIT University in Melbourne quit her job as Marketing Director of BMW Indonesia at the end of 2018. She is now a business partner and Corporate Director of The Golden Space Indonesia, a holistic health and wellness organisation that provides transformation, meditation and healing.
It’s a cloudy Thursday morning when we sit down with 53-year-old Helena. The interview starts with her recent career switch. “I was in the corporate life for more than 25 years and I enjoyed every second of it. For the last 16 years of it, I worked for BMW Indonesia. I really enjoyed my work, but somehow there was always a calling in my heart,” she tells us.
“I had been searching for my life purpose for some time, and I knew I had a calling to do something bigger. ‘Helena, you can do bigger work. There are bigger things in life that are waiting for you’, the voice said to me. But at first, I did not know what to do, how to start. I felt a little hollow in my heart.
“This happens in corporate life sometimes. You feel that hollowness, you feel that you need to look for a more fulfilled life. You must look for a purpose, like, why are you here in this world? Who are you? That kind of question had occurred to me for quite some time. But I didn’t know how to respond.
“I had been doing yoga for four or five years. Then from November 2017, I started to meditate more and more seriously and consistently. A moment came in early 2018 when I set an intention to transform my life.
“I registered for a series of life-transformational workshops and retreats called ‘Awaken ~ The Divine You’ by The Golden Space Indonesia.” (This is a signature programme for self-realisation, self-actualisation and transformation, led by the founder, Master Umesh H. Nandwani.) “I went on retreats to Nepal, India, Thailand, Hawaii and Peru. And I received international certification as a meditation facilitator from The Golden Space during 2019.”
Helena says that leaving the corporate world has transformed her life. “My heart said, this is my calling,” she continues. “It said: ‘This is what I want to do. I want to bring love. I want to bring back compassion to this world.’ And I am ready to help people transform their lives as well as to teach and share my life journey and experiences through talks, workshops and retreats.
“This is a new life for me, and I feel so free. I feel so happy. Because I have found my true self. Maybe previously I felt, as a corporate executive, that I was very perfectionist and controlling. Also, somehow I became quite resentful. Because I demanded perfection, and I always complained: ‘This is not enough’. I wanted perfection in everything I did. I realised that it was not good or healthy for me mentally. And it created a numb feeling in my heart.
“After joining that journey with The Golden Space Indonesia, I can feel really connected in my heart. And I know that my heart is actually full of love and compassion, and I’m ready to actually give it up as a service to others.”
The Golden Space was established in Singapore in 2006. Its Indonesia centre for meditation, healing and transformation opened 10 years later, offering daily meditation classes Sudirman Park Complex in Jl. KH. Mas Mansyur.
“Our meditation is universal and non-religious,” Helena says. “This is important because people’s perceptions of meditation are often related to spooky thing. Because they think that while meditating, our mind is empty and there is this belief that when our mind is empty we could be possessed by a spirit or ghost. Our meditation is not like that and we are not related to that. We just focus on our breathing, and connecting with our hearts.
“You need to connect with your heart. You need to be in stillness. We forget about everything around us and really connect with ourselves. When we are praying, we are asking. But when we are meditating, we are listening. We are listening to the guide that guides us every day in our life.”
The Golden Space is like “a gym for the soul” as Helena puts it. She says she has introduced its Corporate Wellness and Mindfulness programme to many corporations and organisations here. “Because I have so many years of experience in the corporate world, so I can introduce meditation and bring mindfulness back to the work people do,” she explains.
“Speaking of corporations, we have a lot of emotional issues there. People are stressed out, productivity decreases, a lot of anxiety. But they don’t know where to get help. They feel that they are OK, and every time they feel something wrong, like loneliness, anger, unhappiness, they suppress those emotions and brush them under the carpet.”
Of the programme, Helena explains: “It is a one-and-a-half-hour programme, including two 10- to 15-minute meditation sessions, and then we talk and we share. The important thing is sharing. Because in corporate life, we don’t share much. So, having a third party: that is the role of The Golden Space Indonesia, to be there and to listen to whatever you want to share – and with no pressure. We don’t push you to talk if you aren’t willing to. We listen, and we help you heal. Because by sharing, you heal yourself.”
Helena also has her own programme, Btch/Beauty, which she teaches herself. It has its own website, which states: “Our culture today is obsessively focused on more, more, more. Bitch to Beauty is anything but be more. Just be less stressed, less neurotic, less self-loathing. While there’s nothing wrong with being a bitch like we are, we deep down also know where we want to go next. Embrace what makes you stand-out: being a Bitch; emanate your stand-out Beauty.”
“The programme is based on my past, of being quite this tough person,” Helena grins. “I do Btch/Beauty retreats and one-on-one deep talks. I want to help leaders who share the same experiences as I had. I want to help them transform, open their hearts and heal emotional issues. I want to help them discover their true beauty from inside and let it shine, to express their truth, enhance their self-worth and claim their power.
“You need to connect with your heart. You need to be in stillness. We forget about everything around us and really connect with ourselves. When we are praying, we are asking. But when we are meditating, we are listening”
“It used to be kind of hard for me to smile. When I did, it was not from my heart and it was not sincere. And now I feel, when I smile, the beauty that comes out from me, that’s my true beauty. I want to help people who feel the same way. Whoever they are, if they feel like there is an emotional issue, or there is an anger inside them, unhappiness, loneliness, people who want to heal their soul, that’s what I want to help them with. That’s where my journey is now.”
So, has Helena really found her true calling? “Yes, I have, and this is what I enjoy doing,” she answers. “Every day, wherever I go, this is what I am doing. If I can help you change and shift your perspective about life and to become better, it is enough. It is already helping for me. It doesn’t have to be a big impact. Even just a small bit, it is already fulfilling. That’s why, each day, I try to be conscious and aware of myself – that everything I do, every word I say, my mind, my thoughts, have to be positive and to project love to people around me.”