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Expression of Grace and Gratitude to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)

“When you make service the sole purpose in life, it eliminates fear, focuses your mind, and gives you meaning.” ~ Sri Sri Ravishanker

It is with eternal thankfulness that I write this expression of gratitude to my leaders and colleagues, past and present, stakeholders, partners and producers in and associated with the South African Broadcasting Corporation locally and globally, at the time of launching my book, Infinite Grace.

Infinite Grace recounts my story about the awakening of my soul and my miraculous journey to healing, after experiencing a double stroke and the subsequent discovery of a Glomous Jagulare Tumour, a rare tumour, which occurs at an estimated annual incidence of 1 case in 1.3 million people in the world.

The journey started in 2007 – I was at a breakaway strategic planning session. At the time, we were thirteen years into South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy, thus we were engaged in an intense process of transforming the broadcaster… and as General Manager of Content; I was right at the epicentre of these challenges.

It was about sunset when I completed the rather tough and exhausting three-day sessions with my colleagues in Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg. As I drove home, still preoccupied with the past deliberations, I suddenly felt the left side of my body going numb. I changed my route and drove to the hospital where I was admitted, my diagnosis was made clear, I had had a stroke. My Creator was calling me to a one-to-one in a very physical way.

It was when I was in the Intensive Care Unit that I realised how blessed I am to have worked with professionals who were not only interested in my performance agreement but also in my wellbeing.  This gesture demonstrated a connectedness with me at a deeper level than most employers do.  Mvuzo, Solly and the then GCEO, Dali Mpofu and Charlotte Mampane (acting COO at the time), came to see me immediately they heard the news that I had been hospitalised. Their high regard for my well being, compassion, and demonstration of humanness was clearly demonstrated through their support for me, especially during this time.  Seeing them at my bedside was a meaningful moment for me.   By the way, just a week before, our current CEO, Lulama Mokhobo (who was then Group Executive:  PBS) mentioned to me that my face looked swollen and that I should rest.

I cannot remember a time when my colleagues were not attentive and did not care – one of the milestones in my journey to discovering my life’s calling was when I was encouraged by Mr Mvuzo Mbebe (SABC Group Executive:  Content Enterprises) and Mr Solly Mokoetle, the then COO, to attend courses run by the Insight Training Centre. One of the objectives of these courses is to empower individuals to face challenges at the workplace through personal transformation.  For some reason (which I now know was divine guidance), I was encouraged to attend these courses.  After consideration, I whole-heartedly embraced the opportunity and signed up. These courses gave me the rare opportunity to examine my attitude and approach to life and assisted me with defining who I really am.

Today, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the leadership and colleagues at the South African Broadcasting Corporation for providing the space, support understanding, and compassion whilst I journeyed to wellness. My humble and sincere gratitude goes to my immediate colleagues and all SABC souls who are angels of light and journeyed with me to health and well-being

I am humbled and grateful for the love, care, inspiration and support given to me by all SABC colleagues during the time I needed it most.

With Grace and Gratitude

Baruch BanaiExpression of Grace and Gratitude to Dr Baruch Bani

It is with eternal thankfulness that I write this expression of gratitude to Dr Baruch Bani.

Baruch, I am grateful for the knowledge, wisdom and your guiding light during this significant moment in my life. You taught me about living with purpose and to be of service to my Creator and my fellow souls. You are a true icon who literally and figuratively held my hand during my healing journey.

I am grateful for the awesome encounters with you, Maria, Royee and Ephrat over a sustained period.

My experience with you as an earth angel who guided me to healing of body, mind and soul, is an awesome life changing and significant part of my story. It is one of personal transformation, which brought me to the realisation that there is beauty and purpose in my existence.

Your commitment to your personal vision has served as a north star to me.

Although my entire life could be considered a continuous journey toward grace, August 2004, when I attended my first course at the Insight Training Centre marks a milestone that brought me closer to my purpose and truth.

My experience of your work has undoubtedly resulted in my life changing and the way I came to think about myself. It gave me the rare opportunity to examine my attitude and approach to life – today I have a heightened awareness of who I am.

The courses allowed me to discover my truths, and they encouraged me to be a better person, mother, and wife. As a result I have defined my life’s mission to be:

“To build a state of the art, powerful, vibrant, healthy, free, fun haven of creativity that promotes unity, celebrates diversity, harnesses innovation, upholds human rights, creates peace and justice, encourages collective effort, engenders hope and resilience. Embracing individual expression, to engender confident pioneers of love who are conducive to weaving a dream together to shapes individuals, families, communities, and nations.”

Baruch, my personal encounter with you and my experience of personal transformation brought me to the realisation  that the reason I am on this planet  and the reason I have to embrace my uniqueness has to do with a  purpose I am here to fulfil.

Baruch, your teachings “unity in purpose boundless possibility, collective energy, seizing personal power, and that hope lives in our soul,” remains in my being.

A prayer of thanks for you – “Thank you for your Guidance, Thank you for the Light, Thank you for your commitment. I commit regardless, with courage, to do what I am here for.”

With Grace and Gratitude

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - Art of LivingExpression of Grace and Gratitude to His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – The Art of Living.

“A smile that comes from the depth of an innocent life, the freedom you are able to feel in life… these are the signs of success” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Deep faith and gratitude to my noble mentor and Guru, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of The Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values.

I give thanks for the sacred encounter with enlightened beings, such as His Holiness who gave me the wisdom, courage and light to face the challenge of healing with courage, strength, acceptance, calmness, faith and hope.

Sometime in early 2006, before I suffered a double stroke, a colleague told me about The Art of Living Foundation. She encouraged me to attend breathing classes.

I scoffed at the thought and doubtfully told her that I could never take so much time off work for a silly breathing course. Little did I know that The Art of Living would contribute to healing and changing my life in the most significant way imaginable.

My deepest thanks to Vanishree Pavadai, a senior faculty member at The Art of Living who turned out to be an amazing teacher, healer, mentor, and friend.

My interaction with Vani taught me to believe in myself, face every moment in life as a new opportunity and to see it as a chance for me to grow and make a mark with the full knowledge that I had the ability to succeed in all that I do.  I now believe in myself with deep understanding, humility, and acceptance that I can turn my darkness into light. When doubt sets in, I can look at it, turn around, and leave with conviction that is strong and true.

Through The Art of Living my symptoms from the stroke improved by almost 70%. I continued with the breathing practice I had learnt on the course everyday without fail. I have not skipped a day since 28th October 2007.

I am still mastering The Art of Living – thus I have come to the realisation that the destination is never a place – this is all a process of new growth and development. I do breathing every morning and go for breathing practice every Monday, attending Satsang as frequently as I can.  I have found much deeper passion in completing service, something I have always done but revere much more now as it brings me strength and renewal.

One of the greatest gifts I received from my illness is that I was afforded an opportunity to delve deeper within myself, and discover the truths of my life and the grace that was available to me at a time when I needed to see beyond what was obvious and inevitable.

Here are some of the benefits I have derived from my encounter with The Art of Living:

  • Reduced stress
  • Higher energy levels
  • Strong immune system
  • Reduced Cholesterol
  • Greater creativity
  • Greater clarity of mind
  • Improved sleep
  • Enhanced brain functioning

  • Improved ability to manage challenging situations
  • Improved interpersonal relations
  • A deeper sense of community
  • Patience
  • Increased self esteem
  • Decreased anxiousness
  • Heightened spiritual awareness
  • Peace of mind

There’s no doubt that my healing was due to faith, my will to live, the medical interventions I underwent and the alternative methods of healing and prayer I practiced and received from across the globe. Many people become so involved with trying to cope with catastrophic events that they tend to shut themselves down at these times. I have learnt to open myself up to the love and support that I was surrounded with. I received very simple and practical breathing techniques yet they were part of my healing.

At this moment, I endeavour to create Beauty, Harmony, and Perfection. In all areas of my life, I understand fully that my body is not a monument that will last forever – when my purpose on planet earth is complete, I will die gracefully.

My Prayer for You: “Heal the World, Learn and Teach Life’s Lessons. Spread Love and Humility, Sow Peace and Harmony.”

With Deep Gratitude to my Guru, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Brandon BaysExpression of Grace and Gratitude to Brandon Bays – The Journey

“Deep inside a huge potential beckons, waiting to open us to the infinite wisdom, freedom and love within. This presence is calling you home right now, longing to set you free.”- Brandon Bay

I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude as I reflect on my experience with you and your programme of healing, The Journey.  The process has contributed significantly to my personal journey towards well being; and I am convinced of the powerful healing techniques learnt through my engagement with you.

I have come to the realisation that we do indeed guide and heal ourselves in understanding our own condition.

The Journey has helped me realise that my path to healing came about through the examination of both the physical and emotional factors that contributed to my stroke.  After identifying these factors (e.g. letting go of my anger and learning to forgive) I was able to arrive at the place I wanted to be.

During my illness, I received your book and DVD from my soul sister. It was a dark moment, faced with the news that this was the end of the road for me and all I had was to wait for the tumour to take its course.

My one-to-one session with The Journey teacher, Angie Jameson was one of the deepest journeys I have ever experienced. My gratitude to Angie for her love and guidance through a deep process of accessing my will to live and bringing this into my consciousness and supporting me to visit those better forgotten moments of my life. After this work with Angie,I could finally say: “This is who I am, I’m home,  I’m home.”

In August 2007, just after the stroke, although I was ill and could not hold myself steady, experiencing constant dizziness, I was inspired to attend the programme while you were in South Africa. It was indeed a magnificent meeting with you and a moment of inspiration that I will treasure and hold dear in my heart.

The greatest gifts I carry forward from the programme are:

  • To be constantly present
  • To nurture my soul

  • To nourish my body with lots of water
  • To stop, breathe and be present

After taking the physical journey to wholeness, the emotional journey felt like a breeze, a beautiful inner adventure.

In my daily life, I have learnt to pray in thankfulness for the wholeness that is already present in my being. Instead of pleading and begging for what is unconditionally mine, I have faith and trust that before I ask for healing, it is already done. I have experienced freedom and am now living in the beauty of Infinite Grace!

I regard my wakeup call as a moment of Grace, an opportunity to break through to a new way of being and to experience the joy and happiness of who I really am.

Prayer of Gratitude:

“Thank you for the invitation to inner wisdom,
A grand walk to new vistas and landscapes of the spirit; from which I return refreshed, rejuvenated, re-energised, revived, recharged, and redeemed!”

With Grace and Gratitude

Dadi JankiExpression of Grace and Gratitude to Dadi Janki – Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University

“I am a Soul”- Dadi Jank

In June 2006, I was invited to attend The Call of Time, a retreat organised by the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.

During the retreat, I met the most beautiful soul, Dadi Janki, one of the leaders of the Brahma Kumaris, Dadi Janki, was 90 years old at the time we met and gave me the most amazing gift of life and kept regular contact with me. Some of the views she expressed is that simple changes in the way we think and feel will secure a healthy future for humanity, and a better world. She maintains that filling one’s mind with positive self-awareness creates an environment of love and care, which in turn helps others to regain physical strength. Meditation and rediscovering the inner self are the two main tenets Dadi Janki taught at the retreat.

Throughout my trauma, I was supported, prayed for, and shared meditations with the South African members of the Brahma Kumaris.

Dadi Janki had sent me an email in May 2007 which read “The most elevated service we can do at this time is to become instruments for God’s work in the world. To become true instruments, everyday go into silence and experience the stage of being detached and the stage of being beyond this world. Become an observer i.e. ‘saakshi’ in Hindi, and be God’s companion i.e. ‘saathi.’

The first lesson in becoming an instrument is to become detached from the body.  Unless you have learned this lesson, you cannot have a connection with God.  When you want to connect two electrical wires together, you have to remove the rubber coating first, otherwise the power will not go through and there won’t be any light.  Similarly, become detached from the body and then connect, and you will get the light from the Powerhouse. If you are still attached to someone or something, then you cannot take love from God and give that experience to others.”

It was humbling to again receive a beautiful email message in June 2007, after my stroke, saying. “I am thinking today about the power of love. When you are a magnet of love, anyone who is defaming you will bless you. If you stay ‘double light’; that is if you fill yourself with light and keep lightness in your attitude, anyone who is heavy will be transformed. To be ‘double light’ is the fruit of love. There should be no labour involved. God makes us so sensible with love and peace merged within us. Without love and peace, our inner sense does not work properly. When we become loving, we get more peace.”

Dadi Janki touched me deeply. When I returned to work in February, 2008, I found that she had sent me beautiful gifts of a lamp and a shawl.  Along with these lovely gifts, she sent me a beautiful message;

“Yvonne, you embrace the word in the tenderness of recognising how God considers each soul”.

I do my breathing and pray with this shawl and lamp everyday of my life. Each time I do, I envision this beautiful image and voice of hope.

My gratitude to Dadi Janki.

Thanks also to Sister Jayanti who is the European and Middle East Director of Brahma Kumaris.

My deep gratitude to Sister Pratiba Daya, Sister Dipti and Sister Belinda. During my illness, Dipti and Belinda would travel from Cape Town to do meditation and pray with me. It is this type of selflessness that I will carry with me forever.

My deepest thoughts and feelings of Gratitude and Grace inspired by my time spent at The Call of Time can be captured in the following words …

My Prayer for you:

“There is a space for intimate connection with my God, a direct channel for us to express our love for God, a time to feel Grace and Gratitude for our lives. It is a decisive moment, a sacred contract between God and us. Om Shanti”

With Grace and Gratitude

Dr John DemartiniExpression of Grace and Gratitude to Dr John Demartini – Demartini Institute Houston, Texas, USA

It is with a sense of deep appreciation that I write this expression of Grace and Gratitude to you Dr Demartini.  My gratitude is extended to you in acknowledgement of your profound guidance on my journey to healing and wholeness.

After experiencing a double stroke and the subsequent discovery of my tumour – the door to my spiritual self opened. Thus, I needed to find new ways of being in the world. Through my journey and engagement with you, I came to understand that we generally know very little about the big picture or the grand design of life and the universe. Since all of existence is part of a master plan, everything and everyone who exists is part of this perfection -even our illnesses and disease.  In the end, there are no mistakes; everything is perfect as it happens.

One of the most poignant moments for me came whilst in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.  During moments of quiet solitude, facing the uncertainty of what lay ahead; I realised that I was carrying a heavy load.  A load of guilt about my life and what I had or had not done.

“Count your Blessings” brought me clarity on what I was contemplating and I found myself reading the chapter “There is nothing to Forgive” over and over again, reflecting on what this meant for me.

At first, the concept of having nothing to forgive, as you discuss in the book, was a hard concept for me to accept as I had grown up with the idea that I had to be in constant prayer for forgiveness.  I felt a great sense of release and readiness as I learnt to let go and to step into a new life

What a comforting moment of realisation and truth this was for me! I began to see how I could liberate myself from the guilt I had been feeling and the way I had conducted my life so far.

My participation in the Breakthrough Experience provided me an exceptional opportunity to expand my mind, open my heart and encouraged me to keep journeying upward and outward to a greater sphere of living and to experience the truth of my own magnificence.

Our time together in June 2007 was indeed a blessing. It gave me the courage to face the decision I had to make about what the best solution would be for my well-being. After our talk, I was ready to make a decision about what I saw and wanted for my life.

John, I embrace the knowledge and experience of your guiding light during this life-changing and significant moment of uncovering my authentic self. My encounter lifted the weight I had been carrying from my past. Creating a flow of gratitude has opened the windows and doors to my soul and has allowed new light and blessings in.

My gratitude to Clarissa, the Director of the Demartini Institute in South Africa at the time. She supported me through my Breakthrough Experience, facilitating the process of what was holding me back from living the life I was meant to have. Her kind words i.e. (“Yvonne’s big vision about contributing to Africa and its people inspires and guides her. It feels that what she had learnt under the guidance of Dr Demartini would assist Yvonne in living her dream”) stay with me and is a reminder of where I am heading.

Exploration and tapping into “my unique inner power” brought me to the realisation that there is much that I still have to do to contribute to awakening and unleashing the creative genius and magnificence of Africa.  My spirit soars as I work with this vision.

My soul’s journey in search of healing has brought me to new vistas. As I look out over the path that lies ahead of me , I am secure in the knowledge that as I carry gratitude with me, the knowns and unknowns will be taken care of through love and grace as I practice giving gratitude for the beautiful gift of life.

My meeting you is evidence that earth angels exist and that I have been blessed beyond anything I could have asked. I live in gratitude for our meetings; and at this moment I can truly say that I have come to understand that “what I think about and thank about, come about.”

With Grace and Gratitude

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