By Theresa Puskar
To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Conscious Community Magazine, I interviewed our publisher, Kasia Szumal about the magazine’s history, her vision and her intentions for the future of the magazine and our vital community.
Theresa: Tell me how you first got involved with the magazine.
Kasia: In 2006, I was studying accounting, and I was not the most joyous person on earth. I was looking for more joy, meaning and a community because I felt quite alone here. I found Yoga Chicago, and they were advertising a showing of the movie, The Shift by Wayne Dyer. I thought to myself, “Okay, Kasia. You are looking for a shift in your life, so go to the movie.” I went and it was [being shown] at the Spiritual Learning Center. There I met Walter Perschke, the previous publisher of Conscious Community Magazine and he said, “Do we know each other?” I was like, “No!”
Theresa: Maybe in a past life or something. (laughter)
Kasia: Walter started questioning me, “Can you help me with the students?” And I responded, “Sure.” This is how my story began, and then I worked with Walter for four years. Then in 2012 Walter decided that he wanted to expand his spiritual business and he bought The Monthly Aspectarian, the previous name of Conscious Community Magazine.
Theresa: The Monthly Aspectarian was created by Guy Spiro.
Kasia: Yes. Guy started the magazine in 1979, and he ran it for 32 years. He was an astrologer—and the magazine was very astrological—and very spiritual as well. He passed away and his wife was running the magazine for a few months. Then [one day], one of his co-workers called Walter and asked if he wanted to buy the magazine. Walter was already in this energy—he wanted to buy a magazine. It was a perfect fit for him.
Theresa: So, they approached him. He set the intention, and then look out, Universe!
Kasia: Exactly! He was thrilled…
Theresa: Now, you studied at DePaul…
Kasia: Yes. After finishing high school, I came to the U.S…first I studied English for two years, and then I graduated in Business Management from DePaul University. That was 2012 as well (the same year as beginning the magazine).
Theresa: And there is a clear connection. I’ll share with the readers that I met Kasia right before I started writing for the magazine. I had a friend who suggested that I attend a free healing session at SoderWorld. There were three women doing the energy work. This one woman did the most incredible healing on me…and it was Kasia. I didn’t realize this until years later! [Back to Kasia’s journey.] Talk about a perfect dynamic—with your passion for spirituality, healing and business management. Then when Walter crossed over, he left you the magazine. How was that transition for you?
Kasia: It was really hard. Even though I had the business experience of running the magazine…I missed working with Walter. I loved our collaboration about business and spirituality. What we were doing next and where we were going. Sometimes I was wondering where his vision ended and mine started.
Theresa: So, it was a partnership. I can see that! I used to tell Kasia back then that she was the friendly face of the magazine. I loved Walter dearly, but he could be a little gruff around the edges. Whereas, Kasia—whenever I talked to her on the phone, she was such a beacon of light and joy. She has been a wonderful asset to the magazine. I’m glad that he left it to you because he left it in wonderful hands.
Kasia: Thank you.
Theresa: And then we transitioned from The Monthly Aspectarian to Conscious Community. I remember the meeting.
Kasia: And you were the one who came up with the name.
Theresa: Thank you for remembering! God (or Goddess) bless you, Kasia. (laughter) Do you think that changing the name made a difference, and if so, how?
Kasia: Yes. I think that changing the name made a big difference. When I asked people “What does Aspectarian mean?” One hundred percent of the people did not know…Walter changed the name in 2013, and I think that it changed the energy. We changed our tag line from “Awakening Consciousness” to “Elevating Consciousness.” The magazine expanded from astrology and spirituality to consciousness, health, yoga and mindfulness. We are more than spiritual beings. We have our mind and our body that we need to take care of as well. The reason why you see so much variety of articles in Conscious Community is because I feel that we are many things. When you are ready, you are going to be reading more about spirituality, you will be reading more about yoga, etc.
Theresa: It’s diverse…It encompasses a larger audience. What was the feedback from people as we made the shift?
Kasia: They really love the new name and the new content and variety that this magazine has to offer. Nice to see!
Theresa: Your efforts are being noted.
Kasia: Yes, but I am not afraid of change. The magazine is about elevating consciousness and inspiring people to be who they really are. This is what we continue to do.
Theresa: Our commitment is to serve. Has anybody come to you and told you how the magazine influenced them…any stories you can share?
Kasia: Yes. I remember this guy who was a veteran from Iraq and he came by our table at a conference. He said that the magazine saved his life. He was going to kill himself, but the article he read in the magazine changed his mind and he started his new life…I get goosebumps whenever I think about it. The magazine is also being sent to jails. Some parents see that this is the last opportunity for their children to change, and they send it to them. I never imagined this as a possibility.
Theresa: You never think about that. When we’re going through the grind all the time. Trying to get it out on time, the deadlines. And for me, it’s writing the articles…it’s nice to hear that the end product touches souls in a bigger way. Being so busy, we forget sometimes.
Kasia: Exactly. Each article can change someone’s life. Even when you are not aware…everything in the magazine transforms people’s lives…if you change someone’s life for the better, life is worth living. Also, I keep hearing from people that they collect each issue because of the articles and the connection this magazine provides.
Theresa: And it’s good karma too! (laughter) So, what is your vision for the future of the magazine? I know it’s about elevating consciousness, and strengthening the community.
Kasia: I would love the magazine to be a hub for consciousness where all of us can collaborate, work together for higher good. I feel that when we are collaborating and getting together, we are much more powerful and we can achieve more. I just want people be to happy, healthy and joyous all the time. We are the energy and the engine that shifts the world!
If you want to become even more involved with the Conscious Community, go to www.ConsciousCommunityMagazine.com, and let Kasia and the team know your thoughts, feelings, insights and consciousness-raising ideas!
Theresa Puskar is an author, performer, speaker, minister and motivational audiobook producer. She is the creator of the “Terri” children’s book series, as well as being an actress and director. A powerful inspirational speaker and transition leader, Theresa edu-tains her audiences, by touching hearts and minds in a way that is engaging, joyful and life-affirming. Her most recent endeavors are her solo show Causeless Joy, her new company, Dragon Soup Children’s Theatre Training and Productions. Her upcoming books, 8 Ways to De-Clutter Your Brain and The Good Morning Mind: Seven Highly Effective Habits for the Workplace will be in print in the spring. For more information, visit her website at www.TheresaPuskar.com.