Interview with Veroniek Vermeulen, founder of Silatha
Read how Veroniek Vermeulen was inspired by a trip to Nepal to turn her back on a successful corporate career to create the Silatha Journey.
What’s your career background?
For 12 years, I enjoyed a successful career in global business – marketing and innovation – in one of world’s largest FMCG’s, with my last position as Global Platform Lead of a billion dollar business. So you could say a corporate career!
Why did you create Silatha?
The start of Silatha was born when I realised that my life was leading me, instead of me leading my life. Even though I practically had everything to be happy, I never seemed fulfilled and was always reaching for more. I knew something had to change as I wanted to feel fulfilled.
Meditation appeared to be the answer for my quest and on an exciting trip through the Himalayas, I consciously experienced for the first time the amazing effect that meditation has on your state of being.
This inspired me to learn more about meditation and I immersed myself in retreats in Monasteries in Nepal, Vietnam, Myanmar and Europe.
However, even with this profound happiness I experienced during the retreats, it would leave me after a week or so, being back in my busy life. I wanted to ensure that I kept focused and remained feeling fulfilled.
I noticed that the barriers to this were within me so I started to focus on improving the inner quality that was blocking me the most from feeling fulfilled and happy.
I also wanted a reminder, to not forget to meditate and to support me during the day, which led to the design of the gemstone jewellery. I created the Silatha app so that in only 15 to 20 minutes a day it guides users into meditation, when and wherever they want. These three elements became the Silatha Journey.
What is the Silatha Journey?
Delicately hand-crafted jewellery combined with a simple and motivating meditation app, that supports users in creating inner peace that endures, in their busy modern life.
This is a very personal offering whereby the person has to look within themselves.
With the help of a psychological quiz they can select the gemstone to start their journey. A community is there to support, motivate and inspire. Finding happiness every single day takes a lot of discipline and determination; this is an easy-to-access way to get started.
What’s your USP?
The specific focus on nurturing an inner quality, in combination with a delicately hand-crafted jewellery and a meditation app is unique.
This is empowering users to take ownership of themselves. We all are beautiful beings and we forget this sometimes about ourselves.
Detecting what is blocking us most from living fulfilled and balanced, and working on improving this daily, helps enormously to create inner peace. The meditation guides you there and the jewellery reminds you of your intention when you need it during the day.
How does the Silatha Journey work?
You choose the gemstone that carries the energy of an inner quality you desire to grow.
The gemstone is held by delicate, hand-crafted jewellery. This Silatha Dorje is to be worn on your heart as the reminder of your intention. The 21-day meditation course – on the Silatha app – guides you towards your pursued intention, to achieve your flow and feel fulfilled.
Carrying the Silatha Dorje during meditation, is like charging it with energy of the inner quality you desire to grow. This energy will shine back on you when you wear it during the day.
Who’s your target audience?
Women who are enjoying a very busy life. They’re in the driving seat of their lives, but often struggle to juggle all the daily demands and don’t prioritise time for themselves.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
Currently we having an exciting Kickstarter campaign live of which we are almost funded and on the final eight-day countdown.
Our website has inspirational meditations, exercises, quizzes, podcasts and detailed information about the individual gemstone qualities.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
There are many obstacles on the way. It’s important to believe in what you’re doing to overcome them. For example, to find a supplier that creates high-end jewellery with love and care for detail, was a whole process on its own!
It’s a totally different industry than where I come from. You learn a lot from this.
Generating awareness with a budget close to zero, isn’t an easy task, especially in a world where we are bombarded with thousands of messages each day.
However I used to work with very large budgets, which attracted people to work with me, now people want to work with me as they believe in the Silatha project. This is heartening to hear and much more fulfilling!
And your proudest moment so far?
The feedback from friends and old colleagues I haven’t spoken with for a long time or even people I’ve never met.
To see and feel their excitement for the jump I made, and their belief and trust in the project, ready to start their journey within, is absolutely heartwarming and drives me to grow further.
Why is this work so important to you?
It makes such a difference in feeling fulfilled and balanced in my own life, I truly believe that this will be the same for many other women out there, who are struggling with the same obstacles as I did.
Letting their lives be controlled by the outside world and feeling unfulfilled. Now they can take the control back into their own hands. To support this, is the most beautiful task for me with my work.
Who inspires you?
People that look at all the beauty in life, and understand how they can grow from setbacks we experience. Who realised that a stable happiness is formed from the inside.
So, there are many people, for example Lizzie Velasquez and Viktor Frankl who choose to be happy, even though the very tough circumstances they experienced in life.
And instead of blaming others for the situation, they take the learning and even share this with others, to stimulate them to think positive and be happy.
How do you balance your venture with your family?
My morning routine keeps me focused and fresh: when I get up, I meditate, go for a run, and have breakfast. Then I make a to-do list for that day and I stick to them!
Of course sometimes something more urgent comes in-between, but it can’t be that everything is more urgent, so I stick to what is important. There are evenings when I need to work, but most of them I deliberately keep free, for quality time with my partner, friends and family.
This empties my mind and I start fresh the next day. Then of course the meditation, helps me to be more focused in all I do. By consciously implementing this routine and at least do it for 21 days, it becomes a habit. Then it’s easy to continue.
What are your three top pieces of advice for other entrepreneurial women?
1) Be patient
As an impatient person, I had to learn that things come, when it’s time and I can’t force it.
Doing most things on my own, makes that I can’t go as fast as I would like, but then, when things do come together, I realise that I kept going. Little steps, but always keep on going. Trust that it will work out and be the success you’re after.
2) Maintain a work-life balance
Starting your own business could eat all your time and work-life balance would be hard to find. For me, it’s very important that my life does not only consist of working.
Even though my work is following my passion, it’s important to have time for the people I love, travel, my sports, my meditation and time for me. It creates space.
Taking time off is essential, to look at things with a fresh and open perspective. Also by spending time on other things, and discussing them with other people, brings great ideas to my mind. It’s like by taking off the pressure of great ideas to spark they will come when you let go.
3) Start the day the right way
Create a morning routine, in which you take some time to keep your body fit, meditate to keep your mind fit and have some healthy food.
Make a list of what you need to do and keep track of the progress. Meditating every morning, keeps you focused. Focusing not only on the things you desire to accomplish, but also everything in life that is important to you.
And finally – tell us more about the 21-day Silatha Journey
Research confirmed that when you repeat something for 21 consecutive days, it becomes a habit.
After meditating for 21 consecutive days, the Silatha Journey becomes a daily ritual, which makes you benefit from it the most.
Having a specific amount of days, creates a personal challenge, which helps you to get started. Most of us find a reason to delay starting something we really want – including happiness! This app is immediate and relevant to women’s busy lifestyles which should make it achievable too.
What does Silatha stand for?
Sila means Nobel life in Sanskrit, and Atha means now. Thus: you can start now, living your life, in full presence with love and happiness every day.
Why a Dorje, what does it mean?
The Silatha Dorje is inspired by one of the most sacred objects in Tibetan Buddhism, the Dorje. It represents our inner light, our true nature; brilliant and indestructible, always here.
Dorje, also means thunderbolt and is known for its power to transform; like a lightning that can strike us anytime, to realise our true nature, and build once again the connection to our inner light.
So all in all, the Silatha Dorje represents the power to transform your life, to find your inner beauty.
What is the impact of the Silatha Journey?
During the Silatha Journey, you train your mind to stay focused on your breath, and to become more mindful. You focus on the intention, you set at the start of your Silatha Journey, and work for 21 consecutive days, growing the inner quality that blocks you from feeling happy and fulfilled.
Meditation has many benefits: it helps you to better concentrate, and focus. To be more calm and balanced in your daily life, to more easily control your emotions and feel more grounded.
It improves your performance in relationships, work, sports, etc, it helps you to take a helicopter view of your life and become stronger in letting go of things, thoughts and emotions.
Meditation helps to feel happiness from the inside, just by being in the present moment and allowing yourself to truly feel it.
What happens after 21 Days?
You can go back to any of the meditations, they are very suited to being repeated often. Furthermore, we’ve created a couple of silent meditations you can practice, to stay on your journey after finishing the first 21 Days.