Alan Seale interviews Gabriella van Rooij 

Gabriella van Rooij, Director of the Seale Foundation


In this coronavirus time when much of the world has been locked down, economies have been shut down, and people have been isolated from one another, Gabriella van Rooij and the Seale Foundation have been quietly bringing vision, hope, and inspiration for Transformational Presence throughout the world by building a labyrinth in the Netherlands.

A labyrinth is an ancient walking meditation design built on concentric circles. It is a path for reflection and insight that has its origins in indigenous cultures thousands of years ago. Unlike a maze where you can easily get lost, a labyrinth has a clear pathway, albeit a circuitous one, from the entrance at the outermost circle to the innermost circle. After pausing in the center to reflect on your journey, you follow the same pathway back out again.

Walking the labyrinth is a pilgrimage toward clarity, direction, authenticity, and truth. It can help you find your way through any question, challenge, or opportunity. Finding your own rhythm of walking the winding path at an easy, gentle pace, placing one foot in front of the other, empties the mind, relaxes the body, opens the heart, and refreshes the spirit.

Kantara Labyrinth

The labyrinth at Kantara is always available for a reflective pilgrimage walk.

Anytime we have access to a labyrinth during our Transformational Presence courses and workshops around the world, walking this sacred path becomes a part of our program. It was at the 2016 Transformational Presence Global Leadership Gathering in Connecticut that Gabriella was first introduced to the profound power of the labyrinth.

Since then, she has also had the opportunity to walk the labyrinth many times at Kantara in Costa Rica, the Central American home of our work. It was at Kantara that Gabriella was inspired to build a labyrinth on the grounds of Kapellerput, the home of our work in the Netherlands.

Basic design for an 8-circuit labyrinth as constructed at Kapellerput

Gabriella’s idea was to build the Kapellerput labyrinth with members of the Netherlands Transformational Presence community. She asked Vincent Sark to organize a group of graduates who would be willing to help in the construction project. A group quickly formed, including Donja de Groot, Judy Schnitger, Sander van Eekelen, Sascha Krijger, Joost Bazelmans, Sander Verhoeckx, and Gabriela Tichelea.

In January and February, everything was coming together for the project. Peter van Hof contributed his engineering expertise to create the drawings and oversee the layout and design. In the early stages, he and Stefan Bazelmans also contributed many hours of physical labor to prepare the ground and dig the trenches.

Kapellerput Labyrinth

Peter van Hof drew the design for the labyrinth on the ground so that the trenches for the stones could be dug.

Just as the team was about to begin laying the stones, a huge storm forced the cancellation of their first day of work. A second day was scheduled, and then cancelled again by storms.

And then the rains came. And kept coming. The ground was too soggy to work on, and the trenches were filled with water.

And then came the coronavirus pandemic and the Netherlands was locked down. Even small groups were not allowed to come together in public places. It seemed that the project could not go on.

However, Corona had not yet met Gabriella van Rooij. Corona may be persistent, yet so is Gabriella! She was determined to go on. In the third week of April, the staff of Kapellerput offered to help Gabriella complete the project. Yet Gabriella was insistent that the labyrinth should be completed by members of the Transformational Presence community.

Gabriella van Rooij and Gabriela Tichlea take a coffee break from their labors.

Because the lockdown was still in place and no more than two people from the outside were allowed on the Kapellerput grounds at any one time, Gabriella asked Gabriela Tichelea from Romania, who happened to be locked down close by in the Netherlands, to help her. On Apriil 23rd, the two Gabriellas laid the last of 775 stones in place. The labyrinth was complete.

Although, in the end, Vincent’s team was not able to help with the construction, they will all come together later in the summer to dedicate the labyrinth and celebrate this gift to Kapellerput and to Transformational Presence.

Kapellerput labyrinth complete

The completed Kapellerput Labyrinth constructed and donated by the Seale Foundation


While the world may be grappling with the effects of the pandemic for some time to come, the Kapellerput Labyrinth created by the Seale Foundation provides a place of peace, reflection, and hope for our future. The vision and commitment of Transformational Presence graduates in the Netherlands and in 35 countries around the world is making a difference in these tumultuous times.

Enjoy the interview with Gabriella.

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