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KATIE CHALCRAFT: "What you focus on expands."

In this interview for the Woman2Woman campaign we talk to Katie Chalcraft. In pursuing her husband's dream, Katie found her path. Moving from Cape Town to Madrid made everything more clear. She now helps people through periods of transition so they can design and lead and live a life they love, using approaches spanning transformational leadership, mindfulness meditation, therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and personal coaching.

Who are you today, and what is different than ten years ago?
This question brings up my existential struggle with these conflicting quotes “To be is to do”—Socrates and “To do is to be”—Jean-Paul Sartre. Mine default ‘programming’ tells me that who you are is determined by what you do, but now, as I am in my 36th year on the planet, I am starting to question this as I learn to connect more with my essence.

Who am I today? I am a woman learning to love herself, to forgo perfection, to tap into her authenticity, and let go of what others think. Motherhood has helped a lot with this.

10 years ago, I was naive, results-driven, people-pleasing, and determined to make big waves of change in the world. I was always striving to fix others and help them with their problems and not stopping to realise that the change needed to come from within myself.

Now I’m working on my self-awareness, learning that change is an inside-out-job and that it is ok to make mistakes, acknowledge them, learn from them, and move on. The old me would be ashamed of my mistakes, try to cover them up and pretend to be perfect!!!

While a decade ago, I used to work on global health issues, my focus has now shifted to working with individuals and supporting them to find joy and purpose in their lives, and this brings me infinitely more satisfaction.

Picture of woman smiling

What are your guilty pleasures?
Candlelit baths with dark chocolate and reading Psychologies magazine. And watching crappy reality dating series, I just love it when people fall in love.

How well do you know your darker side?
Not well enough. I have only started to get in touch with the shadow side of myself in the last five years as a result of my training in Mindfulness-based Psychotherapy. My journey, both as a therapy client and as a therapist, has helped me to connect more with my darker side, but I know there is a lot more to be revealed.

In what relationship are you with it?
Honestly, a combination of fascination and fear. I ask myself to stay open, so I can learn to embrace the shadow. However, my tendency is always towards the light.

Who do you let in your home?
I make friends easily, and if there is a special spark with that person, then I love to welcome them in. I love meeting people from different countries, and my home has long been a place of hosting extraordinary people who are up to amazing things in the world.

I have lived in many different homes in different countries these last 18 years, but my true home is ‘the farm’ which has been in the family for a couple of hundred years and where we (myself and my siblings) all grew up. I have invited all sorts of people into this beautiful home of ours, and my parents are incredible hosts and love to show our guests a taste of rural living and a slice of our family life.

Some examples of these extraordinary beautiful inspirational people would be… the first religious leader to be open about living with HIV, a presidential advisor, motivational speaker, gay rights activist, a famous Muslim author…. having such a diverse network of friends from around the world helps to challenge what your assumptions about life, love, work and all those things in between and create great dinner conversations!

And who do you let close to you?
Whomever I feel a connection with, I feel very lucky to be blessed with incredible friends and family whom I can rely on no matter what.

Where or what is your happy place? How do you find peace?
In no particular order… a horse’s nose. My husband’s arms. Cuddling my little one. Sitting in a tree. Lying down by the fire with our dog. The bath. Meditation. The ocean. The mountains. Traveling. Journaling. With dear friends. Laughter. Family.

How important is a connection with nature for you?
Fundamental. I didn’t realize the impact that 17 years of city living have had on me until we took the leap of moving to the suburbs last year, and now we have a forest in our garden, and our home backs onto a national park. As soon as we moved here out of inner-city Madrid, I remember saying, ‘now my soul can breathe.’ I feel infinitely more grounded and at peace and way happier being in nature daily.

How do you take care of your body, mind, and soul?
Daily meditation and journaling using Julia Cameron’s method of writing 3 pages of stream of consciousness. Since motherhood, it is not always a full 3 pages, but still, the very act of writing daily helps massively to empty my mind and connect with myself at a deeper level. I love to read a lot of spiritual and personal development books and, when possible, attend personal development courses.

My husband and I do a daily ‘check-in’ with each other, where we each say three things we are aware of and three things we are grateful for every morning, and this helps us stay connected and grateful for all that we have. Regular connection with my friends is also hugely nourishing to my body, mind, and soul. I used to run and practice yoga regularly; however, since being a mum, I don’t think I am taking such good care of my body anymore and now as I am on the brink of birthing bubba number two I will consider how to take greater care of my body this time around. Thanks for the reminder!

How do you take care of your skin?
Organic cleanser, toner and moisturizer, and a Sunday night face mask.

Which is your daily, monthly, or weekly ritual?
Daily - meditation, journalling, check-in with husband, storytime with little one, a phone call to one of my best friends
Weekly - candlelit bath with hubby, Saturday night date night (though this is at home as we’ve not yet branched out into the world of hiring babysitters)
Monthly - I think I need to create one!!

Which piece of wisdom from your grandparents or parents do you carry with you?
Always be kind, always see the good in others, laugh lots, be grateful for all that you have and find the joy in the little things.

Which wisdom will you deliver to the others?
Be true to yourself. Be kind to yourself and others, and every day find joy and gratitude.

Woman to Woman. What would you advise yourself at 15 years of age?
What you focus on expands, so focus on all the good in your life!

Name a few of your favorite books?
The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran
Loving What Is - Byron Katie
Firestarter Sessions - Danielle LaPorte
The Passion Test - written by my mentor Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood
Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Honestly, my family, my closest friends (who live in a few different countries), and that is it. Nothing fancy, no one famous, just my nearest and dearest all at the same table would be the dream.


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