In July, I attended a class „How to create the change you wanna see in the world?“ I was the only one who showed up that day but something that felt awkward at first turned soon into one of the deepest experiences in an online class I ever had. I could talk freely with Magali about the paths I have taken, where they have led me, and where I want to go. We discussed my desire to change a small corner of our world by doing something meaningful that aligns with my core values. My problem was, that I saw so many different directions before me that I could not figure out which way to look and here Magali´s strength and patience and her gift to guide people helped me to listen to the small voice inside myself. My dream suddenly became a plan.
The free class Magali offered was the opening act to a months-long transformational program for the game changers, the people who see the world as it is and want to create a better world, and I can only encourage everyone who wants to make a difference but feels too insignificant to reach out to Magali.
When we met again, it was me who asked questions and Magali who answered. We talked for hours about her life, the lessons she took away from suffering, how she healed, and why she feels the desire to connect with people who want to transform their lives and our world. You can hardly put life into a few words, so this is a long read, but one that will make reconsider your values and hopefully awaken the wish to create change.
I didn´t ask Magali if she sees herself a Real Life Hero, but for me, the only category I can place her in is this. The hardships in her life have made her kind and strong and she is using her knowledge and heart to inspire people to make it through the challenging times all of us have to face.
Lacuna: You told me, you are neurodiverse. What does it mean exactly?
Magali: When I was a child, it was easy for me to learn. I would hear or read something and get the feeling I already knew it and just remembered it, which means learning was effortless to me. Thus, it felt a bit useless and boring to be in class. So I would chat a lot during class and always be with the “dunces” in the back of the classroom. On the other hand, I would also help them because somehow I could translate what the teachers were saying in a way they could understand.
However, neurodiversity has to do with a different way of perceiving and understanding reality, and although I was good at explaining other people’s views, my own views were often misunderstood and misinterpreted by others.
This makes you feel very lonely. When people don’t understand you, it makes you feel like there’s something wrong with you.
Lacuna: We think of neurodiversity as something that is different in a negative way, but I think it´s positive. It is a skill and a talent to translate things, to be in your head, and think about the world on a deeper level. Most people in our society do something to distract themselves from thinking. I really dislike this negative view that we have, but it is not only about thinking but also about feeling. When you were able to translate those academic terms into simple language then you have not only the ability to understand the topic but also feel what the other person needs to understand. It´s more wholesome.
Magali: Yes, although this doesn’t apply to all neurodiverse people as it is a wide spectrum, I agree that it’s a gift of being able to understand how it feels to be in other people’s shoes. It expands your perspective. In my particular case, it is combined with hypersensitivity and empathy. I can literally feel someone’s experience as if it were my own. That is something that took me thirty years to become aware of; that most of the time the emotions I would feel were not mine! For a long time, I thought I was too emotional and uncomfortable, while I was actually feeling in myself what other people would more or less consciously experience.
Lacuna: How did you learn to deal with it? Not only to know these are not your emotions but also to place them outside of yourself again?
Magali: It´s all about grounding. I wouldn’t say it’s completely resolved, even after years of practice. Sometimes I get tricked again into confusing whose experience it is that I am feeling. So when I´m unsure if what I am feeling is really mine, I ground myself and come back to my center. That re-establishes the boundaries.
The way I dealt with it for a long time was by hurting myself because I thought that there was something wrong with me.
Maybe you can also relate to that. Being in a world that is made for people very different from you can be so complicated, illogical, and unpractical. You internalize the feeling that you do not fit into this world.
Lacuna: People give you the feeling you are the problem. You are difficult.
Magali: Yes! I would often misunderstand what was expected from me because I would understand questions in a very different way. To compensate for this at school, I had the ability to learn very quickly once something was clarified, but most of the time the framework didn’t make so much sense. The teachers want you to follow specific steps to get to a point that makes no sense to you because you actually find a way that is so much quicker and more logical for you, but they tell you it’s not the proper way. So for years, I went against my intuition. Trying to fit in, I betrayed myself more and more. I guess that is why at some point I started to suffer so much. Trying to fit in wasn’t making me feel happy, and I was so removed from myself. I was not able to feel who I was under all these layers of dissociation from myself and identification with others. This is why I ran away from everything I knew.
Lacuna: You couldn´t be yourself. You tried to be the person people can accept.
Magali: Yes and no. Unconsciously I was trying to make myself acceptable. But consciously I was super rebellious and did many things people considered unacceptable without caring what they thought.
Lacuna: Let´s go back to the time before you started your journey to find yourself.
Magali: I was a tormented teen. I was wearing only black and scarifying myself. I would leave my parent’s house through the window because I was not allowed to go out and then hitchhike to the city. I drank a lot of alcohol, did drugs quite early, and was very promiscuous. I was very cynical, unhappy, and really hated myself.
Lacuna: Was there a reason for the self-hate?
Magali: I was bullied when I was 13-14 years old. Some people were telling me on a daily basis I was ugly and should kill myself instead of bothering the world with my ugliness. I guess I believed them because unconsciously I also thought I was less than other human beings and somehow didn’t deserve to live. Later I found out that this feeling of being wrong/unlovable was because of developmental trauma and the feeling of not belonging because I wasn’t in the norm.
I thought a lot about killing myself. I played a lot with the idea until one day I went almost all the way and realized: “Wait, I could kill myself at any minute.” The solution is always there. So I could also give life a harder try, and if it doesn´t work out, I can still kill myself. It was somehow empowering.
When I was 19, I had my first big heartbreak and started to take heroin to numb the pain, but also to destroy myself. After a few months like this, I was completely broke, the dealers were using my flat for their business and things started to look really bad. I realized that if I wanted to keep on taking heroin I would have to become a complete slave to the drug and make compromises I wasn’t ready for.
I decided to restart my life in Berlin and left without any drugs to wean myself off. I tried to find a flat and register at university but the withdrawal makes you feel like you’re in a nightmare, so it was difficult to get anything done. I came back to France to sort myself out first, deciding I would try Berlin again the next school year.
I moved to Paris and became a sex worker. I truly enjoyed it and experienced a lot of healing and empowerment through it. I got my life on some kind of track and was feeling quite happy. What happened then is that the man who broke my heart came back into my life, asked me to marry him and I accepted. We were married for six years and for a while we were very happy together, leading sex, drugs and rock’n roll lifestyle. We had problems with alcohol and addiction though and this destroyed the relationship little by little, but also I felt stuck and something in me knew there was more about life than that.
So I left him, and the online company we had started together, our house, our friends, our country. I reconnected with that guy in the US that I had met during my former travels. He was on a path of improving himself and creating the life he wanted to have. This was this shared intention that brought us together and he was the one that taught me meditation. But the relationship was extremely toxic and soon enough I lost all my autonomy and started not to recognize myself; until the moment my sister visited. She was like the mirror that made me see that something was really wrong with the way things had become. So I left but it wasn´t easy. I started having all kinds of health issues that doctors couldn’t figure out.
Finally, I made it to Berlin in 2012 and started to research and try out alternative therapies. This is also around that time that I unexpectedly became pregnant and decided to keep the child. This was a big push for me because this is one of the reasons I started my shiatsu training; I wanted to be independent so that I can be present for the child. During the pregnancy, I also did my first meditation retreat and since then I have been on this path of healing and development.
Having a kid made me face what I had to deal with because it was clear that I couldn’t be the mother I wanted to be without resolving my deeper unconscious issues: you can’t love unconditionally without loving yourself. And a child mirrors anything that isn’t aligned in you, so it is the best compass if you are on a spiritual path.
To come back to the self-hate, I think I fed it while looking for intensity in the wrong places, and betraying myself in pretending that it was what life was about while my soul was craving for poetry, dignity, innocence, mystery, exaltation, and grace. This was something I could only find in art, while most people’s interests were for me shallow and boring, and they would also find me boring and too serious! The people I would connect with were usually through art. But even then connection was difficult for me because the fear of vulnerability and intimacy would silence and petrify me.
In retrospect I can really see how learning to love myself through healing and mindfulness has transformed the things that I rejected in myself into the best assets I use for my work. I have a capacity for tuning in to people so deeply that I usually find very quickly what they need to understand, hear, and experience to heal and transform. And because I have been to very dark places, I am neither afraid nor judgmental of other’s darkness. This is something that allows me to go very deep with my clients; they feel safe to explore rage, terror, despair, disgust, and all these places many therapists won’t relate to. They sense heartfelt compassion because I know the suffering they’re talking about. They feel that I can handle the intensity.
Lacuna: Don’t you feel that your personal suffering wants you to help other people heal their suffering?
Magali: Of course. When you find a way to relieve suffering for yourself, of course you want to share it with everyone!
And I am grateful for it, it has been such a great motivation. You so badly want to improve the way you feel when you have so much pain that you’re constantly looking for solutions and trying out new things. This allowed me to access a fulfillment I was craving for but that could have never been provided by material comfort and entertainment.
While people who are a just bit stuck, a bit in pain, they don´t like the job they have or their relationship, but it´s kind of comfortable, they might be less lucky because they stay in that and they never get the chance to experience the deep aliveness, enthusiasm, and freedom that comes with spiritual healing, integration and accessing more of our life force.
Lacuna: Why are you doing what you´re doing?
Magali: This new project that I am launching now started to be shown to me in different pieces. First, I was really moved by the Julian Assange story because he is an archetype I can relate to. A loner, extremely intelligent, with a high sense of ethics, who´s trying to empower, inform, and protect people. A visionary who sees how things are going to evolve if we let them in the wrong hands. I hadn´t heard about him in a long time while he was in the embassy, and then I saw online this picture when he was forcefully removed from the embassy with this beard, looking twenty years older and with the expression of terror on his face. I was so shocked. There were rumors about him being a narcissist and that he had raped some girl. I started to research and realized they were actually trying to destroy his reputation. I became deeply concerned and started to support him in the ways I could. This is also how I met a hacker in Berlin that had severe mental issues and I started to help him too. He also had an extreme sensitivity to injustice, to the suffering of others and I think a great potential to help others if he would empower himself. I started to put the pieces together.
I wanted to work in a more focused way in my healing practice, not just having anyone coming in, but the people I am the most excited to work with because those are the ones you serve the best. I realized I wanted to work with people who are connected to the future, who see what´s coming and have this visionary aspect but also has a different way of understanding things that can help the world to create new systems, new structures, a paradigm shift. Also because healing and empowering them might be the quickest way to propel human development. That´s when I started to create a program specifically for them.
There´re many common patterns they are experiencing. One of them is they could never feel like they belong, and interestingly enough the moment I started to work on the program, these people actually started to pop up in my life more and more and we could all feel this sense of belonging. I hope we will be able to create a community as it is part of the healing process, and strong networks will be necessary to support the paradigm shift.
Lacuna: Talk more about your program.
Magali: First, there are two aspects of healing. There are internal aspects and the external. It´s not a program about having sessions dealing only with inner healing but it supports taking action. Applied healing if you want! When you start to take action it will trigger things in you you’ll need to process, and no healing can be complete until you put it outside until you practice and embody it.
And we can never finish this developmental work and we should not wait to become a “perfect” person to put ourselves out there. Another reason why I chose to create a framework to support action is a sense of emergency for these people to step up in what they wanna do for the world. We cannot wait any longer to take responsibility for the state of things.
The result of my research from observing these people; my clients and I, is that there are three necessary foundations for healing and transformation.
The first foundation is grounding.
This is what creates a sense of safety and stability inside of us. Having this sense of stability inside of ourselves makes us able to deal with any situations. Even if we are able to find a secure job and flat, there is a pandemic, there is a tsunami; money has no value anymore, who knows what’s going to happen in the next years. We are never able to control everything. We might get sick. We might have an accident. We can never control the outside circumstances, but feeling safe and stable means that whatever comes my way I am able to deal with it. It doesn´t mean I´m not going to suffer, but I feel strong enough to go through it. If we want to create change in the world we need this really strong foundation. People will criticize you, they might try to destroy your reputation or hurt you and your family. It can feel very scary to go out there with your uniqueness.
The second is self-love.
Being able to gather all the scattered energies of all the parts of ourselves that we disown, reject, or hate is the key to development and integration and becoming whole again. Self-love brings clarity, connects you with your intuition, and helps you to know what you want. It comes with integrity. It is important to know our core values and take a stand for them if we want to change the world. This is also our best protection from judgment. Fear of judgment is one of the main things that prevent people from being who they really want to be. But when we are not judging ourselves internally, we are immune to what others say and think.
Another thing that prevents people who want to help others and who are very sensitive to other people´s suffering to carry their mission is that they tend to love other people more than themselves. They end up been depleted, burnt out, or codependent, so they need to learn themselves as much as others to step up in their full power.
An example of a lack of self-love on a systematic level can be observed in the capitalistic market. To fit into this framework, we compare ourselves with others, we are in a competition for money, so many ask for less money to make themselves more “competitive”. So if we are not able to take a stand for our own value and depend on other people to recognize it, we overextend ourselves, we create living conditions that are draining and we feed this system by pulling everyone down with us (the average salary becomes always lower if there are people ready to do the work for less money). It enslaves us. If we are ready to deserve less than others, then we are just the other part of the puzzle and we are feeding an abusive system. Learning to love ourselves allows us to take a stand for what we need to feel good and create pleasant living conditions.
The third foundation is power.
When I talk about the power I don´t mean accessing some kind of social status, but I talk about inner power. It means the capacity to create your life as opposed to being the victim of the circumstances and to have an influence on your values and intentions. Blaming circumstances, people/ and institutions for what is happening to us give them the responsibility, thus making us victims. This is what means giving our power away and making ourselves small.
Reclaiming our power is done by taking responsibility, saying “Hey, there’s a problem here. How can I find a solution?”. This means owning anything in our life, all the ways we feel. This means to stop blaming other people, institutions, or the systems that we actually want to change. We are part of them. It is for us to act in a way that disrupts them. As long as we complain about them we are feeding them. We need to embody integrity. It´s not an easy process and it can be painful to look into all the ways we betrayed ourselves by giving our power away. But beyond that, it will be the place where we can reclaim strength and the capacity to create.
Lacuna: What’s the change you´re hoping for?
Magali: The change I am hoping for is that we can create new structures, new systems that support people’s well-being and development so that we don´t live in a world anymore that is based on using and abusing humans, animals, and the earth. The abusive pattern is coming from deep suffering. I´m not saying there are good or wrong people, because we all are both the victim and the abuser. There are so many ways we are feeding those things. We need to acknowledge and accept both aspects in ourselves so that we can stop judging, blaming, shaming, and rejecting others for its people and resolve the polarisation. Healing increases our capacity to receive and give love, which increases kindness and understanding.
I hope for a more mindful and compassionate future, and I am actually grateful that things are collapsing. It´s like the relationship or the job that is not pleasant but too comfortable to leave. Without this collapse, we might have remained in these systems, but now we can stop focusing on the old and think about how we want things to look like. And I want to support the people who have a vision of how this could look like so that they are able to start building it.