When I think about my life


the best things that have ever happened to me, the most beautiful encounters I’ve had in my life, the greatest possibilities that have been offered to me and the things I’m deeply proud of – all of that has happened to me – not because of my education, nor my good planning, my position, money, connections or me being ready.

The most beautiful things showed up in my life unexpectedly when I opened my heart and followed what it told me to do. Without any guarantee, any back up or plan B. But with full commitment, enthusiasm and knowing that I was on the right path.

Below I share with you a few stories from my life that occured when I followed the way of my heart. Maybe they will remind you of your own path? Mayby you’ll get inspired to start living your life differently?
Share with me your story, I’d love to hear from you.

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I’M IN!

Psychotherapy is My Political Party

It’s 2007, I live in beautiful Cracow and for two years I have been doing my dream work – I’m a psychotherapist. I have just finished the school of psychotherapy. I have my patients I’m responsible for, an excellent supervisor and my friends, also psychotherapists, with whom I am constantly talking about our job.

One day suddenly this thought pops up: why has nobody ever written a book about the beginning of Polish psychotherapy? How come that in difficult and not inspiring times a small group of people started and developed a revolutionary approach to understand and treat psychiatric patients? Thanks to that new approach a psychiatric patient became a human being, a person, an individual who can be responsible for his own treatment and life. That revolution has irreversibly changed the Polish psychiatric system, the lives of patients and their families, the medical staff and also the mentality of the Polish people. Psychotherapy brought the awareness, the language and the tools that have opened up what’s incomprehensible, strange and painful in all of us.

The thought about writing such a book became my big dream and it took me another… six years to accomplish it. The book consists of a set of twenty interviews with the first Polish professional psychotherapist and supervisors. They share their personal stories and individual perspectives on the Polish psychotherapy and its development.

During those years I frequently had to deal with all sorts of obstacles. A few times I had to start over. Many times I felt tired, lonely and lost. There was a moment when my family and friends advised me to quit (and I can understand why). But every time when I felt helpless new people or resources showed up and gave me the energy to go on.
For me writing that book was a huge acceleration in my professional and personal development. I probably made all the possible mistakes of a beginning author. And then I made even more during the publication and the marketing process. I received tremendous kindness, support and real help. I also got some criticism.

The book „Psychotherapy is My Political Party” was finally published in 2013. It’s an expression of my gratitude and appreciation for the first generations of Polish psychotherapists for introducing humanistic values to Polish psychiatry and society. In this book I also wanted to honour hundreds of psychiatric patients and their families who were always at the centre of those transformations.

See more about the book:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FReciyfYmJs
https://www.facebook.com/wereszka

Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat

In early autumn 2008 I received an invitation for the Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat. Although I had expressed on beforehand that I’d be interested in taking part in this retreat, the moment I got the invitation „for real” I was terrified. It wasn’t because I had never been to the Auschwitz Museum. Actually I’d been there already twice before as a student. Nor was it because I have a personal story connected to that place. Neither because I was going there alone. No, I was invited together with my best friend by the Polish coordinator, Andrzej Krajewski, whom we knew also pretty well. The truth is I could not really explain the fear I felt. But it was huge.

Despite the fact the fear was growing even more with time, I decided to go. The name „bearing witness” explains the first of the main tenets of the retreat: we don’t go there to have a guided tour, to visit or to discuss the history. We go there for almost five days and we stay in the place with the intention to listen to the place as if it were our teacher.

No matter how weird it may sound that was basically what I’ve done there. Incomprehensibly for myself I’ve experienced, and very strongly so, that the place which is the symbol of unbelievable suffering and barbarity can also be a place of powerful healing. During the retreat I met people from all over the world, including some people from Rwanda, who shared their personal stories of pain, fear and being excluded, which sounded very universal and human to me.
Surprisingly for myself I kept coming back to the retreat every year for about eight or nine times. At some point I was fortunate to start serving as a staff member and a group facilitator.

Each year I had to deal with my fear again and again. And not only fear but also pain, sorrow, crying, rage, a sense of vulnerability, not-knowing, loss, grief, trauma. The more I was ready to open myself to those kind of feelings, the deeper I was able to experience joy, love, compassion, gratitude, safety, trust and peace. And not only during the retreat but also in my life after. The opportunity of listening to personal stories of people from different countries, race, religion, age, professions, genders turned out to be the greatest school I’ve ever attended and it has shaped me forever. That retreat has extended my understanding of who I am and who we are as humans.

One of the many consequences of coming to the Auschwitz retreat was an invitation for the Ravensbrück Retreat for Women in Germany, in which I also participated a few times. I’m deeply grateful for that possibility and the friendships that have grown from that encounters.
Another outcome of the Auschwitz retreat was meeting my husband 🙂 Yes, Auschwitz opened my heart and opened it permanently… but that’s the beginning of another story.

Cracow – Paris – Massachusetts U.S. – Ghent

It’s summer 2014. I live in beautiful Cracow (Poland) where I have a very interesting job as a psychotherapist and trainer. Just recently I have published a book on Polish psychotherapy. My friends are here, my family lives close by and over the years I’ve built my private and professional network here. And I love this city!

On top of that a month ago I got engaged! My fiancé is a Belgian living in Paris at the moment. We are to get married in a year and then we’re going to live together.

And one day I just decide to „close” my life in Cracow and join my fiancé.
He immediately agrees. Soon after that we take the decision that I will move to his place in Paris in November, which gives me three months. Three months to stop „a fully running train” as my life was at that time sounds rather challenging… but I trust my choice. I’m confident, enthusiastic and very optimistic. My good energy helps me take all the steps necessary and makes it easier and faster.

Difficult moments occur when I have to finish the ongoing therapies with my patients and then say goodbye to my family and friends.
Three months later my fiancé and I set off from Cracow to Paris. In our old Golf packed to the ceiling. The trip seems very symbolical. I feel extremely happy. I’m going to live with my beloved in Paris! Wow!
We will live in a zen centre, where my fiancé has already rented a small room as a zen practitioner. I also practise zen but living in a zen centre, with its busy schedule to follow, being constantly surrounded by people I don’t know, and sharing a very small room as a young couple – that’s my first big challenge. Very little privacy, everything and everybody new.

The next challenge comes up soon after: I don’t find any work. From being a very independent woman who was always busy and passionate about her work, I have nothing to do now. I start learning French without much success and I advertise as a psychologist in Paris but not much happens. It also means no income for me.

After two months of living together, my fiancé and I start having arguments and we often get ill. Additionally, our preparations for the wedding also don’t go so well. We have to deal with all sorts of formal barriers and requirements. I start missing Cracow and everything I’ve left behind.

In these circumstances I can’t fully enjoy living in Paris. I have quite a few symptoms of mourning, including increasing unexpected fear. The intensive meditation practice we do at the centre opens the space to feel all that. That’s very helpful in my emotional process but it’s not so convenient… It seems that I still have some serious inner work to do.
In the meantime we receive an invitation for a wonderful and free training in NYC! That makes us excited but… we have no money to travel and stay so long. Miraculously all the money comes to us. And also miraculously the day before our flight I get my visa for the U.S. We book our first two nights on the day we are leaving.

NYC, the training and meeting our friends make me feel so much better, recharged and more optimistic. And at the very end of our journey we completely unexpectedly get an invitation from our zen teacher from Massachusetts, Bernie Glassman, to assist him for about three months. Wow, we’re speechless.

We come back „walking on air”. Shortly after that the invitation gets even more specific and longer: my husband is invited to help write a new book, and I’m to support the organization Zen Peacemakers which I’ve known from my history with the Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat.
Apart from that, it’s summer again. Eventually I can fully enjoy and appreciate Paris. I’ve also made some personal and professional contacts and start doing some work. When I finally find the wedding dress the paperwork for the wedding doesn’t bother me anymore 🙂 And my fear starts to go down.

Our plan is to stay one more year in Paris. Then travel for a half a year around the world. Then go to the U.S. But just before our wedding we decide to move out of the zen centre and immediately start the second part of our plans.

Our wedding is beautiful.

Epilogue

After the wedding we indeed leave Paris with the intention to travel for the next six months. However, our plans change again 🙂 Since we don’t have money enough so we have to quit most of our travelling dreams. But we did the walk along the Saint Francis route. Which means that the whole of January 2016 we walked with our backpacks in Umbria and Tuscany!
Extraordinary, unforgettable, amazing.

And three weeks before leaving to the U.S., in our last day in Assisi, we got a message that Bernie had gotten a stroke. His state was difficult. Would we go anyway? It was clear that the book project would be impossible. But we could still go to support him and his wife in the recovery process.

Which we did and which was a life changing experience for us.
Bernie recovered very well in his unique style and energy. It was a profound experience to assist him and his wife, Eve Marko, in this very vulnerable moment of their life. And for us it was a possibility to settle down a little bit as a couple and enjoy living in beautiful Massachusetts.
Six months passed quickly and so we came back to Europe, Belgium. I had never lived here before. My husband re-immigrated to his town and his previous job and I… Well, I started a new life in a brand new country, with a new language I had to learn (and still don’t really speak), a new environment, new people, looking for a new job.

Two months after our coming to Ghent it turned out that we were going to have a baby and again it was a completely new situation for us as all of you who are parents know well.

Official biography


Mariola Wereszka is the founder of this website and the author of the coaching programme „The Universe Wants You To Succeed”. She offers online life coaching, workshops and lectures. She works in English and Polish.

Mariola was born in Poland, where she also spent the major part of her life. She holds a MD in Applied Psychology, a MD in Philosophy and post MD in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.

For more than ten years Mariola led psychodynamic psychotherapy with individuals and with groups. She published the book „Psychotherapy is My Political Party” on the history of Polish psychotherapy after World War II.

Mariola also has experience in working as a trainer and a coordinator of programmes for people in danger of social exclusion.

She taught students and social workers creative thinking and psychology.
Since 2016 she has been living with her family in Belgium.