15 Mar Wisdom in Life & Business with Wessel Paternotte
“In the healing practices I work with light, and in a way I feel that bringing more light into the world is my purpose in life”
I met Wessel approximately 5 years ago when I joined Delight Yoga. Immediately this place felt like a 2nd home to me and I felt welcomed and inspired by the warmth, grace and strong dedication of senior teachers who are paving the way for us to practice, learn and unfold on our Yoga journey. I was always inspired by Wessel’s continued efforts to create a safe space for students where they can feel the Delight and Joy of inner peace and connection. Starting with a small and humble place with no students at Weteringschans, Wessel foresaw his vision and purpose and patiently allowed it all to unfold into what is now 4 beautiful centres across Amsterdam and one centre in Den Haag, opposite the Peace Palace, serving students in the best way possible. This interview is quite exciting for me to publish as it answers some of my questions I have been wanting to ask Wessel on his path: “the driving force and “silent voice” behind the story of Delight Yoga & other wonderful projects.
When you started your first Delight Yoga studio at Weteringschans many moons ago in 2006, there was a lot of work and effort put in. Sometimes at the beginning with no students showing up. With faith and hard work you slowly saw it ripening. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey; how did Delight come about and the early days when you first set up your first studio?
Looking back it is interesting to see how that came about. I guess it’s a long story but I can tell you that spirituality, meditation and healing have always been a topic for me. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon an essay I wrote – by choice – on enlightenment, when I was only 11 years old. Haha my school teacher must have been like “whaaat?”. When I was 18, I worked at a spiritual center called Oibibio, and my father told me recently that back then, I often said that one day I would also have a center like that. But this dream was latent, I never thought it was actually possible. My family was not into business, I had no money. I did continue with the practices and studied Reiki healing for several years with my teachers. In 2006 I was initiated as Master in the traditional lineage of Mikao Usui. One of the benefits of practicing Reiki is that blockages get released. All of a sudden the realization of a place where I could teach healing and meditation – and others could share their practice -, was not so far away. I just started looking for a space and found the attic on Weteringschans. I did not have any funds, nor a business plan, but I followed my bliss and signed a contract. It felt right. I have always believed that when you do the things you love, the universe will provide. That belief became reality and I have never regretted taking that decision. Not for a second.
Can you describe why you chose the name/word “Delight” yoga. What does it mean for you and the students when they choose to practice at Delight Yoga studios?
In the healing practices I work with light, and in a way I feel that bringing more light into the world is my purpose in life. That is why I wanted a name for my company with the word ‘light’ in it. I searched and searched and found words like lighthouse, lightwork, sunlight, etc but nothing really felt right. One day I was out dancing with friends and there I heard the word delight in a song. It hit me like lightning. Next day I went to the Kamer van Koophandel and registered Delight Studio, Delight Reiki, Delight Yoga and Delight Agency. It just clicked. As mentioned before, I really believe that doing the things that bring you joy is your unique gift to the world and practicing healing and meditation brought me a lot of joy. It is as if delight is at the heart of everything we do. It starts with that.
Over time the studio grew, and I got better at running it and keeping it delightful for everybody – even when it was crowded. I love creating a space where people love being. But it goes further than a bouquet of fresh flowers and a cup of herbal tea after class. Delightful though these things may be, they are also temporary. The practices of yoga, meditation and healing help us connect with a sense of happiness and delight that is always there. The delight of being. Also known as inner peace.
When you look back on your journey, what has been the most fundamental lesson that has shaped you as an owner of a beautiful space where students can practice, connect and be together?
I have learned lots of lessons on the way, but if I am to pick one that has shaped Delight into what it is today, it is captured in this African proverb: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” When I started the studio it felt good to do my own thing. But after a while I had a bigger vision and started to see that if I wanted to get there, I needed to find a group of talented people sharing the same vision and working together in a spirit of harmony. And, as it often happens in life, as soon as I had taken that decision, great people started showing up. Together we grew and we keep on growing every day; personally, as well as collectively. I often feel humbled and even honoured to be a part of this group of amazing people.
Photograph captured by: Daniel Lewensztain // Lewensztain Photography
Prior to setting up Delight Yoga, you had a dream. Do you think the dream you had back then has manifested the way you intended and can you tell us a little bit about manifesting your dreams and how it worked for you on your path and journey as it has unfolded?
Yes, it did manifest in the way I intended: I have some files on my computer from 2006 that describe the kind of organization I envisioned and a lot of that has come true. Most of it, actually. I believe getting clear on what you want to manifest is the first key. One of my favorite authors, Napoleon Hill, wrote: “Anything a man can conceive and believe, he can achieve.” The conceiving part (writing down what you envision) is important, but the believing part is crucial. Mariah and Whitney sure were right when they sang that there can be miracles when you believe. When you want to do good – not just for yourself but for others – in this world, and you have a plan and you believe you can do it, higher powers come into play and make the impossible possible.
Any particular milestones you look back on that give you joy and keep you focused and on track?
The manifestation of the studio in Den Haag was amazing. I try to be aware of little signs in life and a couple of years ago, I got a lot of signs that we needed to go to Den Haag and open a studio there. My business partner Maarten, who thankfully joined Delight in 2012, made an appointment to see some buildings there and the first building we saw was right in front of the Peace Palace. It just felt right and we decided to go for it immediately. It was way bigger than would be logical to take on in a city that was new to us. Plus there was a lot that needed doing to convert the building into a yoga shala, a sacred space. Looking back, we took a big risk. But we followed our intuition and I am so happy that we did. The studio in Den Haag is blossoming, there is a beautiful community with a lot of happy people. Great things are happening there. Practicing with the Peace Palace in view has led to the creation of The Inner Peace Conference.
I wanted to ask you about the Inner Peace Conference, which is a beautiful coming together of wisdom teachers, where students can connect, learn and be inspired… and ultimately connect to their inner joy and peace. Volunteering for this project, I have seen so much hard work, effort and dedication put in behind the scenes to make this event run smoothly. Thank you for this. Can you tell us a little bit about how this came to fruition, what Inner Peace means to you and your own personal quest and connection to Inner Peace?
It’s not always easy to live in this world. Inequality, poverty, wars and stress is what you see and hear about every day. It’s so far from what we really want: a world where we can all live together in peace with each other and in harmony with the planet. We often wonder what we can do, to make this a new reality. There are a lot of things we can do in the outside world to try and fix things, yet until now that has not always been super successful. I believe the answers lie within. Applying the universal law of correspondence (as within, so without), what we need to do is find inner peace. If we all find peace within, outer peace is inevitable. Maybe it still seems too simple, or too far-fetched to think that it makes a difference when you meditate alone, though it isn’t. But when a couple of thousand people get together to meditate, it’s very powerful. It is wonderful to see so many people gather in peace, love and harmony, with the intention of cultivating inner peace.
When we find inner peace, we see the essence of our true nature. We see that we are all connected, that we are all one. With this awareness, a new reality starts to take shape. A life of peace.
Living a life of inner peace is – for me – all about connection. First, you make a true connection with your Self. Through the practices we offer at Delight and The Inner Peace Conference, we come to see that we are more than our body and mind, and we become aware of our soul and the higher spirit. Then, sooner or later we start to see our purpose in life. Living a life of purpose is a major key in finding inner peace.
As Delight Yoga has grown, I can imagine a huge shift has taken place in responsibility and balancing your life, both businesswise and personal, especially with having a family and living abroad. How do you maintain wisdom in business and ensure that your goals keep aligning to that of your initial dream and how do you ultimately balance work and life. Any special tips for us?
On one level I don’t I see work and life as separate things. My work is my life. Bringing more peace and love and awareness into the world is my life’s work. There is nothing I’d rather do and I can do it all day and all night.
On another level, I have definitely had periods where the balance was off. Delight was growing very fast, and even though I thought it was wonderful, it wasn’t always easy. Growing fast costs money. All of a sudden there were a lot of people making a living at Delight, and that is indeed a big responsibility. I felt pressure and stress, and so there was a little bit less joy in my work. Was I becoming a victim of my own success? It sure seemed that way. But I believe I am the master of my fate, never a victim. The situation I was in, was 100% my own responsibility. And so, I could also change it. I made conscious decisions by letting go of some responsibilities, handing things over to other people. It was sometimes difficult, but that is what the practice is about, right? Now that I have let go of these things, I experience more space, more freedom and definitely more joy. It is great to see that the things I have let go of continue to go well – or even better. And I can focus on other things that make me happy.
Can you tell a bit about what those things are? What makes you happy?
In general, life makes me happy! I love being alive and feeling lively. Last year I moved to Norway with my wife and our two children. We now live in a beautiful seaside area surrounded by mountains and woods. Being in the presence of nature is important for us. I find it very soothing and calming, and at the same time it inspires me and gives me a lot of energy. I am creating a retreat center there, right at the sea, with an amazing view of islands and mountains. It’s a big project and there is a lot of work to be done – years even before the opening – but I am in no hurry and it’s a lot of fun to see it unfold. Here again, I am experiencing that whenever I do what I love and follow my bliss, I get into the natural rhythm – the flow of life. Synchronicity guides me, and it is almost as if everything I need magically appears – and makes my heart sing.
The Inner Peace Conference is also wonderful to work on, and I am excited to share with you that we are planning a conference in another country – another continent even. Where, and when is not a secret, but it’s not 100% sure yet and I don’t wanna jinx it. I am truly blessed to work with so many inspired teachers, and together spread inner peace across the globe.
Last but not least, I am still so happy to work with the Delight team. They are doing everything so incredibly well, with so much love and genuine care, it is truly a blessing to see that. And apparently, I am not the only one who sees it, because we are still growing on all levels. As I said earlier, I often feel humbled to be a part of this movement. The way we are with each other as a community, with this deep sense of connectedness, I wish this could be a blueprint for a new humanity.
Wessel, born and raised in Amsterdam, found peace in the hustle and bustle of the big city. From childhood on, he was interested in spirituality and martial arts. After years of practice and study, be became a Reiki Master in 2006. That same year he opened Delight Studio, a space for healing, meditation and yoga. Wessel teaches Reiki courses and studied Zen meditation, Vipassana and TM. He loves sitting still for many hours, but also is inspired by energy in movement. Wessel is now a dedicated yoga practitioner.
His passion for spirituality, purpose and people are the foundation for his dream: opening a spititual center. In 2008 he founded Delight Yoga, together with Kristin S. Vikjord Delight Yoga.
Connect with Delight Yoga and Inner Peace Conference:
Delight Yoga Website:
Delight Yoga Locations:
Inner Peace Conference:
Photograph captured by: Daniel Lewensztain // Lewensztain Photography
Where mentioned, Photographs have been captured by:
LEWENSZTAIN PHOTOGRAPHY //