Dr. Agnieszka Konopka bio
I left school at the age of 16, as I found life as a prisoner of the educational system meaningless.
Leaving school was an existential necessity and manifesto. It was about freedom from the system and freedom to follow my way, and deep interests. I felt a deep fascination with the world of Eastern philosophy and studied such books as Freedom From Knowledge by Krishnamurti. It opened for me a distant universe that was nevertheless very close to my heart.
The day I decided to leave, I felt expanding inner power that was freedom. The same power allowed me to succeed without attending even one class. My final exam essay was published in the local newspaper as the best one, because I wrote about something that touched my soul.
Later on, I wrote my Ph.D. on the psychology of emotions and finished extensive psychotherapy education. For about 14 years, I had a private practice as a psychologist and therapist in The Netherlands and worked with people undergoing essential life changes.
I’ve always been interested in human emotions and consciousness: two great extremes of human existence: inner movement and stillness. I became interested in Dialogical Self Theory that depicts the human mind as a landscape. I co-authored a book, The Dialogical Self Theory, written with prof Hubert Hermans, with whom I co-founded International Institute for Dialogical Self. I worked for the International Institute of Loss and Transition as a faculty member and associated director and gave training to psychologists.
When I went to Japan, Zen Gardens spoke directly to my feelings and spirit, showing me a new way of working in therapy and contemplative training.
Following their call, I developed the Composition Work Method. I gave training, workshops, and presentations on Composition Work in China, Japan, The Netherlands, Poland, Bulgaria, USA, Brasil, Mexico, UK, Belgium, and Italy.
I wrote many articles, book chapters, and books where Composition Work received a central place.
When I was 41, I experienced a significant crisis accompanied by a strong call for more profound freedom. I stopped my work for the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition and my private practice and went to India. I had planned to stay in India for 2 months, but it turned out to be almost 2 years. This has been a time of incredible transformation. I discovered a profound, sacred relationship with nature that healed my soul, gave me peace, and dissolved my existential anguish.
During the strictest lockdown, when I stayed in the wilderness I experienced great freedom and peace. It was freedom from time, civilization, agendas, career, and freedom toward beauty, presence, and sacred bond with nature.
This experience became a call to inspire others to be free from time and civilization and to heal the sacred bond with nature. I think that it is not a luxury but an absolute necessity. If we do not change the relationship with nature from instrumental to sacred, we will destroy this planet and ourselves. On the other hand, I believe that reestablishing, deepening, and developing the sacred bond with nature can give us the most profound fulfillment, heal our souls, and provide tremendous beauty through which shines the divine. There is no price for this.