Tanis Helliwell (our very own Personal Development columnist) took time to speak with us about flexibility, mentorship, and her greatest reward.
Q: What is one skill that has enabled you to become who you are today?
TH: I think that flexibility is really key. Keep your flexibility on where you want to go long-term; don’t lose your focus, and ensure your actions are congruent with what that long-term goal is. At the same time that you have that in your mind, you hold it lightly, and are immediately accessible to whatever the universe presents with you in the present moment. A lot of people do not live in the present moment; they’re always thinking about what are they going to have for lunch, what are they going to have for dinner, and what are they going to do tonight and meanwhile, these wonderful opportunities in the present are passing them by.
Q: At any time during your life have you had a mentor?
TH: I was not fortunate enough in my life, call it destiny or whatever, to have a mentor. Not that I wouldn’t have wanted one, but there was none that appeared. I could say absolutely that I’ve done lots of courses and studied with lots of people and I’m very grateful; and not just living people, because sometimes my teachers have been in books, whom I didn’t physically know but they’re just as important as far as influencing us.
Q: What has been the greatest benefit of founding the International Institute for Transformation?
TH: It has taken an amazing amount of time, money, and commitment. It has been the greatest challenge of my life and the greatest gift. I’ve discovered from everything that it has asked of or asked for, from people asking me, to circumstances asking that it has caused me to go way beyond what I ever thought was possible for me to do or give or be into this total area of the unknown and from that I’ve become relatively fearless. I’ve opened my heart again and again and this great gift that’s come back is one of gratitude, deep gratitude for my whole life and for all these wonderful people who’ve been journeying with me and who’ve been trusting me and I’ve been trusting them. I’m just deeply grateful.
Q: What is the essence of Tanis Helliwell?
TH: I’m just an ordinary person doing the best I can, showing up.
Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
TH: Doing the same thing I’m doing now, showing up.
Q: So if there was any question regarding retirement, for you that’s not in the cards?
TH: No, I don’t think it’s in the cards, because retirement only exists when we think of ourselves as having segmented lives; you have a life where you’re now working and then that ends and you now are retired. Or you’re already retired while you’re working. If you’re already on retreat while you’re working, sitting by the ocean, writing your book, going out for a hike, coming back, having an interview, it doesn’t matter. The boundaries break down and there’s no separation. So what does that mean? It means, in ten years I will do whatever gives me joy and whatever I feel is of use to others.