From 5-8th of february I was in India joining the CIB conference. 150 people from all of the world were exchanging their experiences as change agents, listening to their inner voice and taking action in practical ways. There were great speakers from Africa, Great Britain, India, Sweden,etc.They shared stories of integrity, in saying no to corruption in industries, their willingness to change, and their trustworthiness. For example the leader of a large company in Kenya shared some of his lessons about what makes a sustainable organization.

  • We need planters, not harvesters.
  • We need patience for a long term vision.
  • There is enough place and ground for everyone Africa is the biggest part of the world.
  • We need to be proud again of Africa and how it can become the leader of new best practices across industries.

Beautiful truths were spoken by men who shared in their vulnerability. However, in this conference the voices of women were under represented. I found this intriguing and on the last day I felt called to speak out about what I had felt and observed about the need for more feminine leadership & wisdom.It was not my masculine part what needed attention, nor was it my feminine part that needed attention. It was a more profound truth wanting to come through me.

I did not feel nervous in front of so many people, even when I was told by the panel that I had only three minutes to speak. In that moment I spoke my truth for the greater good and I felt carried by the Universe.I did not know which words would come out beforehand. I was simply present in the moment and felt like an empty vessel, a bridge from Heaven to Earth.

I acknowledged everyone who contributed to the wonderful conference and simply shared my observation to see only men as speakers. It was not a judgment, simply an invitation to also acknowledge the deep wisdom of the feminine and the important contributions that we can make to these kinds of conversations. I felt an opportunity for everyone to shine.

After my talk I was still calm, I needed not any confirmation. It was as if Universe had used me as a bridge. I felt humbled to have had this opportunity to serve the greater good.

Insights from India and the Summit for Human Potential Realization, by Marie Josee Smulders

I have recently returned from a deeply personal and transformative experience in India. Reflecting back on these 2 weeks I realize there are many new insights that I have gained, some of which I would like to share with you in the following article.


When I first told my family about my intention to take a journey to India, their response was: don’t go there! They didn’t understand why I needed to do this and to be honest I couldn’t explain it very well myself. Perhaps part of me was rebelling against something. I needed space, freedom and a break from my daily routines. I am quite familiar with this side of myself. But there was something more…something I could not explain. It was calling me deep inside. I could feel the deep trust in myself and somehow knew that this trip would bring great gifts. It didn’t matter so much anymore what other people thought, I had to take my responsibility to explore this next step in a neutral way, beyond anger and sadness. I simply accepted my family’s concerns as a sign of their love and concern for me.  I could feel deep in my own being how I had grown in my self-confidence to give myself permission to experience what is beyond the limits of my thinking. It gave me the clear insights how old patterns were holding me back. Instead of giving away my authority, I claimed and honored it and I thank my family for the gifts in their responses for their challenging approach.

The first 10 days: Alone in India

Travelling alone sometimes feels like taking a risk. Finally it brought me more gifts than I ever could imagine…Not being able to share my feelings with others gave me more independence and a more direct relationship with the diversity within me (my blindspots, fears, wounds etc….) For example, in the Aryuveda center that I visited I would often find myself waiting. Waiting for the treatment and other various appointments. At first it was frustrating but eventually it became the greatest gift. Surprisingly it brought me peace and harmony. Because there was nobody to talk with I was not feeding my victim role, my responsibility to accept was immediately there!

Now I feel so clear that life is simple and that we often make it so much more complex by all the stories we tell ourselves from our educations, our beliefs, our assumptions and by talking with others it grows even more in chaos. By having this experience alone I could go directly to the deep wisdom within me.

Living in a country without speaking Hindi opened my heart into a creative way of communication. A new language that is unfolding in the moment, exploring between people what is working in co-creation. Discovering how to relate to each other made clear to me that there are a lot of opportunities and there’s also joy within! Communication in such a way set me free of all the conditioned communication from the past. If I wanted to eat I had to communicate with these kind people in a totally new way; I experienced that if I came from that deep place of love they responded from that place and nourished me in a basic and honest way.

Just being and allowing that people came to me, listening instead of telling, brought me a lot of wisdom. That filled my heart with joy to feel that everyone has a gift for the greater good. It connects me directly with the unity in all of us, it was confirming the dream I already had as a child.

Looking at a young child raised in freedom reminded me to the limits from my own childhood and the struggle I experienced to overcome my way of education. That gave me the insights to look to my own children and to observe honestly how I myself also limit them coming from fear. I now feel called to connect even more deeply with the unconditional love I feel towards to my children, grandchildren and everyone who I meet.

Looking to relationships between people and the relationship with yourself gave me the insights on how much space for love, compassion, accepting and forgiveness takes place and the importance to show up in pureness and to live standards you commit yourself to!

The Summit: diversity in action

The last few days in India were spent together with a wonderful group of people at the Summit for Human Potential realization. During these days we came together to explore the depth and breadth of our diversity. We came from different cultures, religions, education etc and of course life experiences. In order to get beyond these surface level differences we creating a set of standards to give space to what wants to unfold and bring us directly to a deep level of consciousness. These included for example, practicing non judgment, acknowledgment, gratitude, daring to dream, stretching our comfort zone… We used a talking stick to give space to the words what wants to be listened, space to respond with an open heart instead of react.

By practicing these common standards we created a space where each one of us felt safe to open up and share parts of ourselves that often remain hidden. In other words the full diversity within ourselves was revealed and in doing so we were able to embrace it and honour the full diversity of each other. I felt I could radiate in a more organic/natural /authentic way who I am and I could more easily invite others to do the same. At that deeper human level of connection we felt a sense of togetherness and unity. The surface level differences did not matter anymore. All that was left was a beautiful melody of souls coming together in co-creation of the greater good. The creativity that unfolded as a result was incredible. A whole new set of language, rituals, symbols and ceremonies emerged. This wealth of material will become the basis of new toolbox to truly harness organizational diversity.

Especially this summit brings me deep insight and the connection to allow the wisdom what is already there. I am more aware to renew my approach to all what is. I feel still heaven on earth and an immense courage to bring this dream to life in practical ways.


Having two extra days to integrate these experiences was a huge gift. Once again I was alone enjoying the beauty of the surroundings, the beauty of the Indian hospitality and the beauty within myself.

When I landed back in Brussels I had to laugh at myself. My husband was not yet there to pick me up and I was immediately aware of the typical judgements coming to me. Rather than get caught up in that story I just laughed and patiently waited.

I look forward to further embrace these huge gifts and radiate them out into everything I do.