Q and A with Cornelia from Germany, living in Panama
“Happiness is a decision and gratitude is the key to it.”
Q: Tell us about yourself.
A: I am passionate about well-being and abundance to follow your dreams, live, work, and ENJOY it while being happy, vibrant, and confident. Yes, this is quite a bite to chew, but seriously, when we take responsibility for our own personal situation, that is where freedom begins. So, it starts within ourselves, our thoughts, words, and actions that create the outcome of our own journey.
Years ago, back in Germany, I was struggling with health and emotional issues. The recommended approaches by the doctors I saw did not seem to solve the issues of the source but only the symptoms. So, I decided to take my health into my own hands, studied naturopathy, entered a completely new world of looking at well-being, and opened my own practice.
This path led me to follow my heart. I closed my practice in Germany and moved to the United States where I founded my own business called Life Balance Passion. I create and share simple steps, routines, and online programs that help people to learn and understand what they can do to achieve what they want to improve.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: Protected, shy, and eager to fit in…I grew up as a middle child with two brothers, near I grew up close to Hamburg, actually Norderstedt, which is a little town about 30 minutes from its center. I played instruments, sang in choirs, and played handball several times a week. I always felt like an outsider, a late bloomer, and for sure the violin lessons I went to, were not helping to be part of the “cool peeps.”
I was afraid of doing things the wrong way. I was playing the violin, playing handball, and in retrospect with all the knowledge and experience of other countries, cultures, and stories, I got very lucky. In my youth, I was often angry about being so protected and not allowed to go out or else. Even though I think that my parents may have been overprotective, I feel that the trust and love that I have experienced from them was a great foundation. I would walk to even as a first year on my own to school (followed by my mum in secret, if I can handle it), she later started working. I was about eight, and my older brother and I had to make our own lunch. In the neighborhood, it was incredibly special that a mum was not at home the whole day.
My first really rebellious action I remember was (when I was about 16) climbing out of the bathroom window to hang out with friends later than I was allowed to be out of the house. Coming back in without being caught was such a success and started in me the seed of independence growing.
The cool kids at school would have parties and boyfriends, and I was still in my little world. I don’t think that it has harmed me, quite the opposite; I had a late start but a great solid foundation of love and trust. I started to be rebellious around 18. Then I moved to southern Germany at around 22 years old to be as far away as possible.
Later in life, in my 30s, other attempts to “be part of” or “fit in” would work for a while but the passion for independence and just being my authentic self without “playing a role and function” was always stronger. After accepting that, life became more joyful and fulfilled.
After studying in Bavaria and coming around, partying and experimenting, I moved to Berlin, studied there, met my first husband and moved back to Hamburg and married. My own health issues showed up, and over the pain and disappointment of not giving birth to the next family heir, I was at the most desperate and sad times in my life. It was my awakening.
I learned about more holistic perspectives of life and became aware that I am an empath, and that is not a bad thing but something beautiful to work with. My husband and I separated and got divorced as friends, peacefully. In my studies, I learned about essential oils and how they benefit me and my emotional state with such an enormous impact. I started to trust and looked deeper into aromatherapy. I started to use them in my practice with clients. Meanwhile, I had studied naturopathy and I learned about so many new aspects and perspectives of life and nature that I felt that I had finally found what I was looking for unknowingly.
My journey brought me to Salt Lake City, I met my wonderful, crazy man (and now husband). Within a year, we married, I moved and immigrated to the US., left my country with two suitcases, and four years later, we left the US.
I had meanwhile built my international network marketing business. Four years later, we left the U.S. with two suitcases, two cats, and 1/3 of a shipping container for a new adventure in Panama. Panama is in so many ways different…the culture and the ways how things get done. When we arrived, we had to get our papers done. It took about four months, and then the Pandemic hit. We had here strict curfew, defined days when were allowed to leave the house, defined by passport numbers at what time. At that time, we lived in a high rise and ordered fresh produce, fish, and meats via WhatsApp. For workouts, we ran down and up our stairs. Alcohol was not allowed. The government was afraid of domestic violence. People jumped out of high risers, so it was an intense time. Feelings were up and down; that’s when we started fostering cats or kittens, and that’s also how our bunch of two grew to a crew of four. As soon as we were able, we moved to the historic district where we heard that there was kind of a community. Since then, we have been living here in the beautiful district of Casco Viejo, which is finally waking up from sleeping during the pandemic to a touristy vibrant party area. Life in Panama is slower, louder, and warmer. We have two seasons: rainy season or dry season, temperatures between 26-32 C, and humidity around 80-90%. It makes me humble to see what people are struggling with here and even though I feel that our adventure of exploring other countries has not found an end here, I am incredibly grateful for this experience in beautiful Panama.
Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?
A: Make a decision and make it count. It is YOUR personal story and path. Nobody can tell you who you are and how to live your life. You will make mistakes, and run into obstacles and pain. Embrace them and find gratitude in the experience they have given to you. Happiness is a decision and gratitude is the key to it.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: I grew up very protected, kind of naive, and in the knowledge that the generation of my mother fought for their rights. For me, I never felt a disadvantage for being a woman. My mother never differentiated between me and my brothers. I grew up with the confidence that I can do and accomplish ANYTHING I want, so I took it for granted and stood my ground.
Living in Panama, and being exposed to other countries and cultures opened my eyes to the fact that we still live in a world that does not treat every person like it is: a person, an individual, a wonderful creature.
The unbelievable torture, traditions, and rights that are still to this day practiced in some cultures to subdue and treat women and girls like property is hard to comprehend from where I come from. It makes me feel naive and furious, and the unspeakable injustice rattles me deeply.
MORE FROM CORNELIA: I am often asked: “Cornelia, what is it that you do?” My answer is always the same: I provide simple tips, routines, and programs for working women, as well as clean solutions, provided by nature for you and your business. Well-being and health don’t have to be complicated. It starts with a mindset and a decision.
A big part of my success so far has been sharing tips, routines, and programs with other women in wellness-oriented businesses. The difference now is the way of sharing…instead of traveling around Germany…we now share in online courses and video classes.
Not sure yet if and where we will go next; let’s call it “laid-back digital nomadism,” only moving every couple of years.