Tell us about yourself:
I live with my husband and our two children in an old house in a small village just outside Vienna, Austria, squeezed in between a great city and the great outdoors. I was born in Germany, but spent years living elsewhere since my youth, including the U.S. I am a Global Ecologist and work at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), researching ways for us to live sustainably with our environment and with each other. Prior institutions I have worked at include the Center for International Development at Harvard University and the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research (PIK). I am also a Personal Renewal Group Facilitator and am currently facilitating my first group of eleven women, in German.
My son Seon Justus, was born 2005 in Cambridge, USA, and my daughter, Luz Magali was born in Vienna, Austria in 2008. My husband Tony is American and works at the same institute as I do. We met working, while he was on sabbatical in Potsdam, Germany.
I spend a lot of time with my family and like to be outdoors on snow (all sorts of skis), water (cayaking) and land (bicycle and feet). I like to dance (Nia dancing and “free-style”) and take yoga. I also enjoy writing, arts and crafts, gardening and music. I practice mindfulness best as I can, inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh and others.
Why did you become a Personal Renewal Group (PRG)Facilitator?
I wanted to really live and practice my way through Renée’s book, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. I really resonated strongly with it. However, I knew I would need a community of women to keep help me embody these themes, so I reached out to others. It was scary — would Austrian women want to do this with me? Could I successfully translate Renée’s ideas and guidance into German and the Autrian/European culture? — but the room filled, and my Personal Renewal Group is alive and well.
How has the PRG work changed or affected you?
It has helped me gain trust in my own resources and in the community around me. It was a leap of faith for me to “expose” myself in this “foreign” culture of Austria, but I was received with open arms by the women around me. The power of authentic connection and people meeting heart-to-heart has shown to be even stronger than I expected. I can sense this enormous longing in the world: to really connect. This has given me great hope. It has also helped me better manage situations in my scientific work, such as miscommunications during workshops etc. I am managing my energy better than before, and self-care as a daily practice is really growing on me.
In Facilitating, I often connect back to my experience (since 2002) in the Al-Anon network, and this has been very helpful to my members. We often share how co-dependency leads to insufficient self-care and so forth.
I also really enjoy translating Renée’s concept and writing into German, and coming up with my own stories, exercises and images to give my PRG its unique home in this different culture. It helps to have lived in the U.S., to live a bilingual/bicultural family life and to also acknowledge how difficult this is at times, too. I have seen Renée quote Goethe in her writing (Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.) It is hard to reliably trace this back to the original German quote, but here is one of my favorite Goethe quotes: Who loves no more and errs no more let himself be buried. (Wer nicht mehr liebt und nicht mehr irrt, der lasse sich begraben.)
What are your favorite self-care activities?
Connecting to nature by outdoor movement like walking, cycling, kayaking; creating just about anything: drawings/paintings, clothing, flower arrangements, stories/poems, meals, breads, get-togethers etc. The creative process can include my children, friends, even my husband, but sometimes I create alone. And, contemplation and expression: yoga, meditation, dance, writing, journaling.
How to reach you to learn more about your groups?
You can meet other facilitators around the globe here. If you’d like to learn more about empowering women in your community, growing your small business and joining our international community of RTA-Certified PRG Facilitators, click here, call 512/459-6700 or email us.