About Karen Knowler

from Humble beginnings

When I reflect back on where I started from, versus where I am today, my life is a million miles away from what I ever envisaged for myself.

I grew up in rural Essex, about 45 miles north of London, and my childhood was pretty eventful from the age of six, when my parents split up and got divorced.

The next twelve years were a classic mixture of growing up, finding myself, trying to be happy when my home life with my mother and (alcoholic) stepfather was periodically turbulent, and moving home six more times before I was 19.

At the age of 19 I had left school with good grades, and could have gone to university, however university was not the path I had taken for so many reasons, and so my reality was that I was still living at home with my mother, step-father and boyfriend of the time, I was working two part-time jobs while I figured out what I wanted to do, and I was living an extremely average life, but feeling relatively happy doing so.

And then events took an unpredicted turn…

It was January 1992 when my mother announced that she was moving out, leaving my step-father and moving in with another man. I was welcome to go with her if I wanted to.

Bearing in mind that at this point my step-father had made sexual advances towards me twice over the preceding years, was still drinking heavily, and I had already told my boyfriend it was over between us, but he wouldn’t move out… well…

It was one of those times where you see that whichever way you turn, it’s not going to look or feel good, and suddenly it’s a big wake up call.

My mother moved out and I didn’t go with her. It was not the next step that I wanted for myself.

And yet the alternative was just as unattractive also.

I really did not know what to do.

So I made a call to my father who lived an hour away, and he invited me to go and stay with him that coming weekend, a few days away, so that we could discuss everything that was happening. That was all I knew. Luckily my very controlling boyfriend was going to be otherwise engaged with his amateur dramatics rehearsals and so I would be free to go and stay without him being with me.

For the next few days I continued to work my two part-time jobs, and going about my life as normal, while trying and figure out what on earth I was going to do.

My colleague, Moya, a beautiful Irish Catholic woman with a heart of gold, took me under her wing and invited me to go with her to Ely cathedral on the coming Friday. She wanted to get me away from my normal environment, to bring some light and relief into my world, and she also had other plans that I didn’t yet know about

And so Friday came, we went to Ely cathedral, and Moya told me that she was going to pray for me. I was so touched. I wasn’t used to someone putting themselves out for me in such a way, and so when she went up to the front of the cathedral and knelt down and bowed her head in prayer, I was impacted beyond words.

After about 15 minutes she returned to the pew where she had been sitting next to me, and told me that she had prayed to Mother Mary for a miracle. She said that I didn’t deserve to be in the situation I was in and that now the prayer was in to expect a miracle.

I was ready for a miracle to be sure, and I was willing to trust that a miracle would occur, even though I had no clue what on earth that would look like 

The following day my father collected me and the rest of the day was spent at his home telling him and my step-mother just about everything.

Long story short, it was decided that I was going to live with him and his family, one hour away from where I lived, and that we were going to drive back to my home in Newmarket the following day, pack up all of my belongings while my step-father and boyfriend were out, and then we would figure out what would happen next once I was safe, unpacked and in my new home.

And so it was that my entire life changed in a weekend.

I didn’t know what would happen next. I had left everything I knew behind, and now here I was single, jobless, with very little money in the bank, sharing a bedroom with my 18 year old step-sister and I had literally no clue what would happen next.

What I did know now, however, was that whatever happened next, it could only be better than the other two options that I had been faced with.

It was decided by all of us that my best next step would be to go and get a job in London. Both my step-brother and my step-sister worked in the city in banking, and while banking was definitely not my thing, obviously there was going to be a whole lot more choice and diversity available to me in the big smoke, and so I started circling jobs that I was interested in.

Within a few short weeks I was working in children’s book publishing in the West End, I was commuting every day, and it was at this point that my life really started to blossom, and my eyes were opened up wide to a whole new way of life, of living, of choices, of people, of possibilities.

It was my life in London that set the scene for everything that was to happen in my life, and that gave me the opportunity to release who I truly am.

Over the next couple of years I dove into healthy eating, veganism, raw food, fasting, metaphysics, law of attraction, yoga, meditation, fitness, self-help, spirituality, past lives, feng shui, space clearing, nature… basically, anything that was about living the best life possible but with soul, purity and magic at its heart.

As I started to dramatically clean up my diet by experimenting with raw foods I witnessed first-hand that on a mostly or all raw food diet I was a completely different version of myself.

I was leaner, happier, clearer, braver, and much more positive, peaceful and connected than I could achieve any other way.

As I learned yoga and meditation I came to see how much power resides within, and how our mind and body can be our most powerful tools for changing our entire experience and perception of reality.

As I read copious numbers of books around self-help, spirituality, metaphysics and law of attraction, I came to understand exactly how and why my life had played out the way that it had.

I was 21 years old at this point and while on the outside I appeared to be a normal young woman going about my daily life in the city, on the inside I felt like I was exploring a magical new world that was literally limitless in what could be experienced, enjoyed and accomplished.

And none of it felt odd, weird or wacky. It just felt like a level of wisdom or knowledge that was really obvious when you looked more closely at it, yet was still completely alien or unheard of to most of the people I was meeting.

At the age of 21 I left London to return back to my home town of Newmarket. I was homesick, wanting to go out with my friends, and basically to live a less frantic and demanding professional life, and as much as I was grateful to it for what it had opened up to me, the truth was, I didn’t like living and working in London.

Returning to Newmarket, everything was different. My step-father was long gone, my ex-boyfriend too, and my mother was back living in the home that she had moved out of.

It was at this point in my life that I made two naive and unhelpful decisions.

The first was to move back in with my mother (I love her, but we are very different people and not the most compatible of house mates!), and the second was to take any job that appeared half-decent.

These two decisions really came from a place of settling, because I wasn’t in a strong enough position financially or emotionally to make decisions that would better serve me.

However, these were lessons that I needed to learn.

During this time I learned so much about myself and who I really was, and what I really wanted. It was the stark contrasts of this particular chapter of my life that showed me clearly that everything I tapped into in London was, in fact, so much more me, than anything I had left behind or was trying to fit into.

I felt so alone, sad, frustrated and craving the adventure and expansion that London had brought me that I started job hunting again and within 18 months I was back, living and working in London – different job, different home and different location, but trying to recover whatever it was that I thought I had lost, and trying to find my true calling, destiny and purpose in the best place I knew where to look.

My new job was great for a while. I was still in children’s publishing, but this company was bigger, brighter and much more fun to work for. I loved the people and I loved feeling that I was part of something that was making a positive difference in the world.

I felt blessed to be back in work that I loved again, and able to tap back into all of the things that London had enabled me to enjoy and participate in before. I was still young, free and single, and I strongly believed that London was going to be the place where I was going to discover exactly what it was that I was looking for: my true purpose.

And then it happened.

I was 23 years old and one morning I was unable to get out of bed.

There was nothing physically wrong with me. I could have got out of bed if I had wanted to. I just didn’t want to.

Literally, there was no piece of me that wanted to get out of bed and get into my life that particular morning.

I had been feeling down for weeks. The place that I was living in was a house share with others around my age and most of the time no-one spoke to each other. It was depressing and dirty, apart from my room, and it was a place to rest my head, rather than anywhere I would call home.

I reflected on how I had once again given up my friends, the countryside, the more peaceful and less stressful way of being of my former life for… exactly the same as I had before. Same life, different details.

I felt like an idiot.

I had come back to London expecting something different, when really, not a lot had changed.

I still didn’t feel at home in the city, I felt more lost and alone than ever before, and most damaging of all I was now feeling as if I was literally crazy for thinking that life could be anything more than what everyone else appeared to be experiencing. I needed to accept that life was not magical after all, that this is it, this is how life works, and I need to grow up and shut up, and get on with it, just like everybody else.

And that’s when I couldn’t get out of bed.

I was written off work for two weeks with a nervous breakdown.

My father came to pick me up from my squalid home in East London and I went to stay with him and my step-mother for a couple of weeks in order to try and recover.

My step-mother took time off work and did her very best to cajole me back into happiness and interest in life, but nothing was working. I was a broken young woman and no-one knew how to put me back together again.

But thankfully, I did.

After a week or so of feeling that there was no point in living anymore, I found myself sitting in the middle of my father’s sitting room floor and it came to me.

I was feeling this way because I had been trying to live my life from the wrong place.

Externally, I had ticked some pretty impressive boxes so far in my life, but internally I was almost completely out of alignment, and trying to feel happy while making some really significant compromises.

It was then that I realised that I had just about fully disconnected from my Soul.

In that moment I knew that the only way I would be able to get back on the horse and get back out there into life was to make a commitment to myself:

“From this moment forward I’m only going to live according to the guidance of my Soul.”

And that’s where it started.

This was in mid-1996.

In 1997 I was still living and working in London but so much was different. I was co-sharing a huge and gorgeous new flat with my former housemate Lisa, in a much nicer area. I was back to raw food, meditation, journaling and reading, and remembering who I really was.

I had my hair cut short and felt like a completely new woman.

And spiritually my inner guidance system was at a completely different level.

This was the period of my life where I truly started to hear my calling.

I would come home from work, go straight to my room, and then sit in bed for hours just journaling, asking questions and listening.

For this period of a few months it was if I could feel a powerful and undeniable energetic calling.

I remember saying to myself, “This is what the nuns must be talking about when they feel a sense of being called to the nunnery”.

The only problem was, I didn’t know where on earth I was being called to. I just felt the pull and it was relentless.

The only thing that stopped me from going crazy during this time was a deep sense of trust that the answers would come.

I didn’t know how long it would take, I just knew that I would be guided.

Having been to the pits of despair, I knew that as frustrating as this waiting game was, I was heading in the right direction. I was going to receive what I had got back on the horse for.

During this time I got clear that my future path, my purpose, lay in one of three areas:

Raw food, spirituality, eco/green living.

Whittling it down in this way brought tremendous peace and clarity to me.

It was now a question of fine-tuning.

I continued to ask for guidance and journal on a daily basis. I was getting clearer day-by-day, and yet I was starting to get concerned that I might just continue to be “close” to something but never actually pinpoint it, and this might go on forever.

This was my biggest fear. I had come so far and had been so committed. Please God, don’t let this all be for nothing.

Simultaneously big things were happening in my life. I started working weekends in Planet Organic, the UK’s first organic health food store. Being surrounded by the highest quality fruit and veg, and in that particular store which was of a completely different vibration, was like heaven on earth for me. I knew I was heading in the right direction.

On Monday nights I was volunteering at Alternatives at St James Church, Piccadilly, and as a result I was immersed in all things alternative, spiritual and self-help, and was part of the team that made it happen. This too held a huge amount of magic for me.

I had now whittled it down to two really strong areas of passion and magic for me:

Raw food and spirituality

A few weeks later I was done.

Working five days a week in publishing, all weekend at Planet Organic and Monday nights at Alternatives, was just too much. I was exhausted.

I had to let them go.

It was hard to hand my notice in, I loved doing both and didn’t want to let anyone down, but I had what I needed now. I was closer than ever. Now I just needed that final break, that sign.

As tends to happen, this moment showed up when I least expected it.

I was sitting in the hallway of my flat, on the phone to my raw-and-spiritual friend JJ, and was telling him about where I was at. At the same time I was flicking semi-consciously through the Mind, Body Spirit Festival brochure which was promoting the upcoming event, when my eyes were drawn to an advert for a meditation centre.

The advert was for the courses they were running, but as I looked more closely, I saw that they were based just 15 minutes from where I used to live.

In that moment I knew I had to call them the following morning – but not about their courses. I was very clear on what I needed to say.

The next day I made the call. I asked if they happened to have any jobs going there.

The response was the first major sign that I was bang on point with my inner guidance.

“We were actually about to start advertising for a new assistant, but hadn’t got around to it yet.”

I already sensed the job was mine.

Around the same time Susie Miller from The Fresh Network (the UK’s only raw food organisation) reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in taking over the Network as she was no longer able to find time for it.

Bearing in mind that I had approached her many times in the past asking if there were jobs available within the Network, and it had always been a “no” due to finances, this was yet another one of those OMG moments, and I knew this too was part of what I was to step into.

And so it was that by early 1997 I had left London for the second and final time. I was now living back in the countryside, working part-time in this amazing meditation centre and running The Fresh Network the rest of the time. I had manifested a car, a two bedroom home for a crazy-low monthly rent, and was eating 100% raw, working out most days, and feeling as if I had finally found what I was looking for.

This is where my New Life really began.

Twenty years have passed since then.

During this time I have continued on my path, continued to follow guidance and have made literally all of my pervasively held dreams come true.

Professionally, I have become an author, I have spoken on the stages I wanted to speak on, I have touched the lives of millions, and I have created many firsts in the world of raw food – way too many to mention.

Personally, I became a mother at the age of 29 (my son was born in water in my home overlooking Ely cathedral, 10 years after Moya had taken me there for the first time – how crazy is that?!). I went on to raise my son mostly single-handed for the majority of his life (he’s now 15 and totally beautiful inside and out), and last year I met the man who is now my life partner and who I am sharing this next incredible chapter with in a beautiful home, many miles away from where this journey started.

Of course, so much has happened in these twenty years.

More lessons learned, more guidance received, more evolution made. It’s been immense and of course, it never ends. There is always more, always better, always higher, always more magic.

And it’s not right to keep this to myself.

I know there are so many women out there who are feeling what I’ve felt, who know there is more but can’t seem to access it, who feel completely different to those around them yet know they’re not crazy, and who, more than anything want to find their truest truth and live it.

I have plummeted the deepest depths of despair, hopelessness and feeling utterly and completely alone, lost, confused and deluded.

And I have also had some of the most mind-blowing, totally real and profoundly affirming spiritual experiences imaginable that have clearly shown me that there is a million times more to life than meets the eye. (I’ll save these for another time!)

And so here I am today, many years later, here to share my huge wealth of experience, knowledge, wisdom, intuition and practical tools with you and with any woman in the world who is ready to trade any kind of life that’s less than magical, for the life that she really came here to live.

If you are ready, if this is where you’re at, then I am so blessed and grateful that you are here.

Now it’s my turn to be to you what so many others that have gone before me were to me.

I will hold that light for you when all you can see and feel is darkness.

I will help you to get clear when you feel about as clear as mud.

I will help you to hear your truth when you’re struggling to know what’s actually real and what’s totally imagined.

And I will hold the space for your magic to reveal itself, no matter how long it takes, no matter how many attempts it takes, and no matter how many challenges come across your path.

How can I do this?

Because I know that we all come from the same source, we all are on the same journey, we all desire to come home to the truth of who we are, and we all, if we’re honest, want to experience on earth what we remember to be true in a place that often feels far, far away.

If you are ready to find your way home, and to live the most magical life you can conceive of, then I am here to help you tap back into that magic, and to take that journey all the way.

Sure, you have to be brave and you have to be at least a little bit trusting to get started, but with the rest of the tools and information that I have to share with you, I have no doubt whatsoever that you will not only find your way home, but inspire so many others to do the same. And that’s incredible.

Thank you for reading my story. I hope it has helped you in some or many ways.