After personal triumphs and tribulations, and a wealth of knowledge and experience in hospitality and wellness, Kelly Sanders is building the strong foundations of Koru NZ Wellness Retreats Ltd. Using a mixture of science and spirituality means that individuals or groups can raise their vibrations and self-heal with holistic synergy.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I am on a mission to help 1 million people heal their lives and exist free from pain and suffering. As a small child, I remember telling my dad I wanted to heal the world. His response was, “You can’t make money doing that!” To which I replied, “I could if I cured cancer.” That belief has been the foundations that have steered me towards living a life of passion. I dedicate my life to helping people connect to themselves and unlock their hidden gifts so that they can blossom and grow – living a life they love.
The launch: How did you start in the beginning?
I decided to pursue my first passion for food, eating that is, and manifested a great life performing at a world-class level, connecting with people from all walks of life. I soon learnt, however, that with the highs come the lows. One of the vices of this industry was/is the harsh working conditions – yes, I started before the days of political correctness and OHS.
Hospitality is a high-pressure industry which is very demanding with no margin for error. Individuals work hard and play hard to deal with the daily demands of having to perform each day in hostile conditions. Long days, hot conditions, no breaks, high-stress environment as any mistake can throw the balance. It’s the perfect recipe for disaster. The key is being able to get the orchestra to play simultaneously to create a symphony of music and magic. That is what causes the addictive drive and tendencies that lead many people to burnout.
Eventually, the dynamics of this environment took its toll on my relationship. I had to face the truth; my relationship was suffering.
If I was honest, I was in an emotionally and psychologically abusive relationship which I used excuses and escapism, aka alcohol & drugs to cover up. I hadn’t even noticed as thought it was just part of the job.
It was at that defining moment; the universe stepped in and led me on a mission to self-discovery. At that point 15 years ago, I started my healing journey. I met my mentor Hermann Muller, who opened my eyes to a whole new world. He had a fantastic ability to see right inside your soul and KNOW you! My logical brain wanted to know how he could know more about me in 5 minutes than I had learnt my whole life. My curiosity and thirst for knowledge kicked in, and I was hooked. I wanted to understand how the mind, body and emotions could all work together.
I became qualified as a Psychosomatic therapist. Psychosomatics is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and understanding how our thoughts and emotions show up physically in our body. I was fascinated to learn how I showed up in the world. Over the past 15 years, I have collected an array of qualifications in various modalities, massage therapist, body talk technician, essential oils coach, Rongoā medicine, Certified Money coach, workshop facilitator, co-author, and business owner.
My passion is teaching people how to love themselves first. I dedicate myself to serving people to deal with the daily experiences that knock us about and teach them how to connect to their higher self and be happy and supported within themselves.
The Innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Transitioning a dream into a reality has been a magical breakthrough moment for us. Koru NZ Wellness Retreats Ltd is the result of years of mistakes, learning and lessons to be able to deliver a heart-centred approach to understanding and growing as an individual.
I have found an excellent business partner Chrissy Freitas who has a beautiful space to share with the world. The property, Auroras Landing, is a five-acre property that overlooks Lake Brunner and has magnificent mountain views. The peace and serenity are just what the soul needs in this modern world.
Our retreat business, Koru NZ Wellness Retreats Ltd is in its early launch stage, but we have created the perfect spot to escape and unwind. We are deeply honoured to now be able to offer a space to relax and journey to self- healing.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
I have adapted many strategies over the years to accommodate my family and their needs. Having firm boundaries in place helps me to differentiate what time I am spending working and what time I am are spending with family. Effectively managing my time is an excellent way to make sure I am organised and avoid wasted time. I share my vision with my family and ask for help if I need it. If they understand why something is important to me, they will be more willing to do extras like washing, dishes to help carry the load.
The most important thing is to stay connected to the reason I am are creating my future. I make time to keep building memories and balancing life as well.
The drive: What challenges have you overcome?
My latest challenge has been rebuilding my life after my husband nearly died three years ago. He had a dramatic turn in health and went from being well and helping run our family food business, to being hospitalised three days later. This had a tragic impact on his health as he was diagnosed with a neurological disease called Gillian Barre Syndrome. This rare disease triggers an autoimmune response in the body, and the whole body starts to shut down. The symptoms are very similar to a stroke with slurred speech, amplified senses, loss of sensation, vertigo, fatigue, visual impairment, to name a few.