Interview by: Mary Mckeone

 

There is a gracefulness about Gaia Vacheva, Director of Insight Seminars, UK.  Raised in a town near the Black sea in Bulgaria, towards the end of the communist regime, she watched her country transition to democracy and its citizens adapt to a new way of being. As business opportunities opened up, her career took off: she set up an advertising agency, did an executive MBA in Madrid, had a spell touring the world working with the Financial Times before landing her dream job with one of her client’s, Walt Disney, who offered her a job in London. So, what was it, I wanted to know, that made her turn her back on the corporate world to become Director of Insight Seminars, UK? 

It started, she says, in 2012. A chance conversation in a bar, with a friend of a friend, who spoke to her about an Insight seminar she had taken and what an amazing weekend she had. As someone who meditated and practised yoga, Gaia was curious. Soon afterwards, she signed up for Insight I in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was the natural next step, she says, in self- exploration. During that weekend, she tells me she was, ‘so joyful, so peaceful.’ And although keen to emphasise her childhood was happy, the seminar provided her with the right questions to start healing childhood hurts. With incredible heart energy in the room, she was aware, too, of the close connection she felt to everyone in the group. ‘It was as if, Insight was knocking on the door, and I knew I wanted more of this.’

The following month, November 2012, she was back in Bulgaria doing Insight II.  This time, things were less straightforward. In bed, for five days before, with chronic back pain and barely able to walk, she struggled to Heathrow only to miss her flight. But something in her was determined to go and the following morning she hobbled back to the airport for what proved to be one of the most challenging and illuminating experiences of her life. Throughout that seminar, she laughed and cried in equal measure and sometimes did both together. What she got from those five days, Gaia says, was an acute awareness of ‘how our minds can block us.’ She saw how she was carrying the beliefs of her parents, society, her friends, her teachers, her partner: Beliefs handed down through generations ‘which were not necessarily hers and which may not, even, be true.’ She realised she needed to find out who she was and what was true for her. What was so amazing, she tells me, slightly tearing up at the memory of such a transformational experience, was that as she began to explore and let go of some of those limiting beliefs, her back pain began to ease. By the third day it was gone. ‘What is inside of us that is hurting us so much and stops us from flourishing and thriving?’ she asks with deep compassion but adds, ‘we have the opportunity to heal ourselves in this lifetime.’ For her, Insight’s teachings, is one of those keys and believes it is for others, too.

By the end of Insight II, there was no going back. There was, she realised, ‘a deeper game going on,’ and she was on a mission to discover her truth and how best she could live her life whole-heartedly. In April, the following year, she did Insight III and in May, Insight IV. During Insight IV, which runs for 29 consecutive days, Gaia focused on getting to know that deeper, inner truth and how she wanted to present and operate in the world. By the following year, she knew she wanted to make a greater impact and was keen to share the value of Insight with others. When approached by Insight’s CEO, Joey Hubbert, in May 2014, asking if she would like to take the licence for Insight Seminars UK, she jumped at the chance. 

‘But it has not always been plain sailing,’ Gaia says, laughing. As a direct speaking Bulgarian, she had to learn diplomacy and tact the more she operated in an English environment. There were tough times, too, more recently when she came near to burn out. However, she is learning to delegate and ask for help. ‘I’m getting better at putting into practice Insight’s guideline: Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.’ What helps keep her going through tough times is witnessing the transformation and growth of the participants, who she finds inspirational. ‘It takes great courage, you know, to be willing to find out who you are. And then there is the incredible team of volunteers who keep showing up. Insight is a jewel, a treasure that has incredible power to unlock potential on so many levels whilst nurturing the well-being of the person as unconscious hurts and patterns are unlocked.’ 

Suddenly, she is looking at the time, aware she has only two more child free hours with still so much to do. I wrap up the interview with two last questions: the impact of coronavirus on Insight and what would she say, she has learnt most from doing Insight seminars? Since the onset of the pandemic, Insight, she tells me, has been providing a lot of free online seminars and workshops both from the UK and globally, ‘so we can be of service during this difficult period.’ Ironically, the impact of the virus is that Insight has been reaching an even wider audience than before. As for what she has learnt most from doing the seminars. She thinks for a moment, ‘I have learnt to be a true leader who is no longer afraid of failure. I used to dream I was Super Woman, but I have woken up and realise I am not. And that is fine!’