Journey of the Soul

Good Work Foundation
Top US Life Coach Martha Beck shares how she first began her work with the Good Work Foundation and her connection to South Africa.

“There is something bigger and deeper and incredibly beautiful about this place, and it just brings me back and I keep bringing other people back.”

Dr Martha Beck is a best-selling American author, life coach and speaker who Oprah Winfrey rates as “one of the smartest women I know”. She also makes a point of coming to South Africa every year to host personal development retreats that raise funds for rural education, having fallen completely in love with the country and its people.

“In Africa, I feel safe in my soul,” says Martha, who is one of the best-known life coaches in the United States and whose latest book, The Way of Integrity: Finding a Path to Your True Self, was an instant New York Times best-seller.

Not only does her annual safari retreat help people find meaning in their lives, it’s also become part of this life coach’s own journey towards finding purpose and fulfilment.

Reimagining Education

While visiting the Londolozi Private Game Reserve, she was struck by the excellent work being done to bring digital learning to the villagers. That’s where she encountered the first stirrings of what would become Good Work Foundation (GWF) and its plans to revolutionise rural education by providing access to smart technology.

“I was jet-lagged but found it all so fascinating, listening to the big plans they had. For one thing, it felt so ancient to be sitting under a tree in Southern Africa where we all evolved, and in another way it was very cutting edge, talking about ideas that were so exciting.

“I went to a local primary school and could see it was so overcrowded – the teachers were underfunded with no materials, and three kids to a desk. But the vision the GWF was putting together was so full of life and energy – and the joy of learning – that I was hooked.”

Together with Dave, Shan, Boyd and Bronwyn Varty at Londolozi, she dreamed up a way to start bringing others to South Africa to be inspired by this “enchanted, magical” place.

Finding their Path

In 2008, she launched the African STAR (Self-Transformation Adventure Retreat) at Londolozi, an annual foray into the bush during which 12 people at a time are guided in how to “track” their purpose.

Martha and her team draw on the healing and transformative power of nature to guide participants towards their true path in life. Importantly, the proceeds earned from the (mainly international) delegates who sign up for these bush seminars go towards supporting the work done by Good Work Foundation.

“There is something so magical and heart-filling about South Africa. On my first trip, I expected to feel like this was the most exotic place I’d ever been, but it felt like the most ‘home’ I’ve ever been,” Martha relates.

“The landscape and the people and the principle of ubuntu … we hear a lot about the bad things in Africa, but we don’t see on the news the incredible kindness and sweetness that’s knitted into the souls of South Africans. There’s a spiritual essence in the country and its people that’s so powerful and magical, and it matches what I feel in my heart as the way humanity should be living. It’s so good for the heart and it’s so good for the soul.”

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