FABx Stories Worth Telling

Following Your Heart's Voice for More Love, Joy and Freedom

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Nathalie Banaszak takes us back to her early teens when she had to start seeing a psychologist. She honestly recalls the problem and how she discovered “The enormous power that my mind has over my reality.” As young as five, Nathalie’s hero was a famous fictional character portrayed in books and on TV. “She can design the life that she truly wants . . . and had a powerful connection to her heart's voice.” After anxiety attacks, Nathalie packs in her job and travels the world. She practiced yoga and meditation in India and learned “How to fully actually love all those sides of me”—freeing herself.

Nathalie Banaszak

Nathalie Banaszak is a success coach and mentor for highly driven women.

She believes we create our own reality moment by moment. If you feel that something more is calling you and you want more freedom, more joy, more impact, Nathalie can help you embody that.

She wants you to expand and experience abundance and wealth in all areas of your life.

So if your heart desires something bigger and you are ready to step into your power, Nathalie can help get you there.

I'm sixteen years old. My mom walks into my bedroom. She says that she's worried about me. She says that I need to start eating. And then she bursts into tears and starts crying uncontrollably. And the reason she's crying is because she's seeing her youngest girl, her youngest daughter, disappear in front of her. Now my mom never cries, and seeing my mom so upset, in that moment, something breaks open inside of me. I look at myself in the mirror and, all of a sudden, I can see that the white top I'm wearing, which is supposed to be very tight, is actually just hanging loose on my body.

Now I have lost fifteen kilos in a very short time, and it all started because of one simple rule that I made up that I was going to stop eating after 6:00 p.m. in the evening even if I had not eaten during the whole day. Now, this just became one out of many rules that I made up so that I could control my weight so that I could look good. I start seeing a psychologist at the age of sixteen.

I meet Christer every Thursday morning. And he shows me, he makes me understand the enormous power that my mind has over my reality. Not only how I perceive myself, but how I perceive others and my entire world. And I become probably the most dedicated sixteen-year-old girl ever that just wanted to learn and grow and heal from within. Looking back, I ask myself, "Why did that happen? How did that start?" And I realized that I started to pay a lot of attention to what others were doing, how I thought I should look, what I should do. And all that I really truly wanted was just to be loved, seen, and heard for who I truly was.

So I'm five years old. It's Sunday morning. I'm with my parents in this huge furniture store, but I'm lost. I'm walking, trying to spot my parents, and this tall woman walks to me. She has a warm and friendly smile. She looks me in the eyes. She asks me what's my name? And I tell her. I look her in the eyes, and I say, "I'm Pippi." Now just to be clear, my name is Natalie. But in that moment, my mom and dad instantly knew that it was me because who I thought I was and who I wanted to be growing up was Pippi Longstocking. Some of you are smiling. So for those of you who don't know, Pippi Longstocking is the main fictional character of a series of children adventure stories that pretty much every young girl in Sweden either read or watched. Now Pippi Longstocking—she's different. She definitely does not fit in at all. She has this adventurous spirit. She even has a big bag of gold coins in her attic. So this little girl is financially free. She gets to live the life she wants. She can design the life that she truly wants.

Growing up, this little girl—she was my hero. I believe that Pippi had a powerful connection to her heart's voice, which I believe is an energy that we all can tap into—a pulse of the universe—if we just decide to tune inwards and fully listen. And when I was sixteen years old, looking at myself in the mirror, I could see that I completely had lost my connection to my heart's voice.

I'm twenty-nine years old. I wake up in panic. My heart is speeding like this. I'm drowned in sweat. And I look at the clock. It's 3:00 a.m. again. I'm having another anxiety attack. And this has been going on for weeks. I'm shit scared, and I don't know what to do. I walk to my bathroom. I flush cold water into my face. And the reflection of who I'm seeing—myself—makes me sad because I don't recognize myself. My skin is telling me that I'm not feeling well. I don't look healthy. I look quite sick. But instead of listening, I get myself together. Four hours later, I'm at work, suited and booted, showing up with my perfect smile. I'm a senior manager, and I'm greeting my staff with this big smile. At work, I'm performing excellently. Everything is great. Everything is really great. It's just that I feel like I'm slowly dying from within. I feel like I have no pulse.

"I can, and I will. I can, and I will. I can, and I will." This becomes my mantra during a transition period where I finally decide to tune back into my heart's voice. I decide to quit my job. I decide to sell pretty much everything that I own so that I can put on my big backpack again and go travel the world because that's all my heart wants to do. Fast forward six months. I'm in Rishikesh, Northern India—the capital of yoga. Rishikesh is surrounded by the foothills of the Himalayas. Through the valley, we had the river Ganges flowing freely. Wild monkeys running freely. There's something magical and mystical and spiritual with the whole atmosphere of just being there. I love it.

6:00 a.m. I'm sitting on the cold stone floor in the yoga shala. It's freezing. I'm covered in layers, and layers, and layers of weird clothes I got at the market stands—elephants and crazy colors. I do not look like I would've done in the yoga studio back home for sure. But I feel like I'm belonging. I'm surrounded by yogis from all over the world. They're chanting in Sanskrit. Back then, I don't really understand what they're saying. I kind of sneak peek like this—kind of trying to understand what they're actually saying. It doesn't actually really matter because, sitting on that cold stone floor at 6:00 a.m. every morning, something peacefully begins to grow within me.

So yoga and meditation completely change me. And my time in India brings me back to life. Not only am I traveling again, I am becoming Pippi. No rules, no restraints—just me out there feeling free. I'm not rich in money anymore, but I am oh so rich in spirit. I get to see the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I sit for hours to talk with the locals in the countryside. I get completely lost in the wild, lush jungle of rainforest of Borneo. I dance under the stars under the full moon on the beaches in Thailand. I get to connect with amazing people that I still call my best friends today. I get to have the ultimate Eat, Pray, Love romance in Bali. It was magical.

My journey of following my heart's voice has been littered with ups and downs. I can't even begin to share all the mess that I've experienced. It's not a linear path. I've fallen down more times than I can even begin to tell, but I always brought myself back up. Things go sideways. During my travel adventures, I lost my luggage more than once. I got robbed. Of course, I got parasites in India a couple of times. And the amazing Eat, Pray, Love romance? Three years later, a painful, painful heartbreak. My heart cracks wide open. Now, I know that it takes something if I say that I want to be happy.

And I've learned that my biggest battles in life, going through eating disorders, burnout, painful heartbreaks, among other things, that these battles have been gifts and blessings because they had me look deep into all the BS that I had living inside me for so many years. I had to learn not only how to love and accept myself, I had to learn how to fully love myself. And this is important—not only how to love the sunny side up of Natalie that I felt was actually quite easy to love. I had to learn how to fully actually love all those sides of me that I spent so many years running away from. The things that I didn't really want to identify myself with. The things that I felt were the dark sides that I didn't want anyone to know about. But because I've been committed to fully, fully, fully, not only face all of these sides of me, but to actually deal with it, and to make peace with it—that means that I'm no longer restrained by any rules.

I get to decide and make up my own rules. I get to live my life free. I get to feel that I'm alive. I get to define success and happiness on my own terms. And I get to create my own golden coins. So what I really, really needed to do the whole time, as I understand now, was to give myself permission to just be who I am.

And here I am today, standing in front of you, barefoot, living in Bali, which used to be such a big dream of mine for a lot of years. Standing here feeling free, feeling alive, and feeling very Pippified. Now I learned that my magic, that our magic, is to be found in the mess. And it turns out that my mess is my golden coins and that this is the currency that I get to use when I tap into my heart's voice and the pulse of the universe.

Thank you.


if you're looking for something to transform your life then they should do FABx. ~ Hoda Monika Agah
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