People live with roughly 60,000 thoughts a day, but how many of us really concentrate on obtaining what we want earnestly? The famous third law of motion, according to Newton, states for every action there is an opposite reaction. If you continue to worry, fear, and only complaint, you will be losing more than you receive. The Sookmyung Times (SMT) met Kim Saehae who pondered her dream continuously and advises people to think only good thoughts. Thinking only about love and forgiveness leads to blessings.
SMT After graduating from the Department of Chinese Language & Literature at Sookmyung Women's University, you enrolled in the Graduate School of International Service. That’s a fair distance from your current career. Then, what motivated you to become a writer and an artist?
KIM As a child, I was cared for by a nanny who had a hearing impairment until I was 4 years old. She couldn’t hear well, so we communicated through drawings. I got good at communicating my thoughts and feelings through my drawings and dreamed of becoming an artist during my school days. I only entered the Department of Chinese Language & Literature because of parental disapproval. However, I wasn't interested in my major, so I enrolled in other major classes whenever I felt the subject to be of interest. With a passion for art, I became president of the art club, Seolmi, and I participated in a graduation exhibition. After graduating from university, I painted continuously in my spare time, and this served as momentum to fulfill a contribution request for the Korean weekly art column of Canada Living Plus for three years. I dreamed of one day seeing my stories in a book of their own. I also dreamed of courageously struggling against my diagnosed disease. When I recovered, I was reborn and pursued life as a writer, who has now published two books.
SMT You have travelled to different 23 countries around the world over the last 14 years and worked in 30 different jobs, all unrelated to your major. These experiences must have had a huge influence on your life.
KIM Over a period of 14 years, I travelled to 23 countries in North America, Europe, Oceania, the Middle East, and Asia. After the economic crisis of 1997, our family’s ran into economic difficulties, so we were obliged to go abroad. Because Working Visa weren't well-established at the time, I had to take jobs unrelated to my aptitude such as cleaning, assembling kitchen accessories, working as a florist, selling clothing, working at a cosmetics shop, lecturing, to blueberry farmers, modeling, shopping assistant and insurance sales. In many countries, I worked long labourous hours and realized the meaning of the saying, "If you do not live the way you think, you'll think the way you live" by poet Paul Valery. It was during this time that I dreamed of the economic and mental freedom to reveal my hidden talent to the world. After saving money, I could hold single exhibitions in the United States, Canada, and South Korea, wrote an art column, wrote a book, took photographs, and lived freely doing whatever it was I wanted.
SMT You convey hope to other people through lectures, paintings, and writings at the Kim Saehae Hope Laboratory. What motivated you to establish the Hope Laboratory?
KIM The Hope Laboratory aims at giving individual hope through lectures, writings, paintings, and photos under the vision of filling the world with hope. As a painter, photographer, and speaker, I convey hope to anyone who seeks help. Furthermore, we have started plans for an international mobile tent school project that sets up tent school to reach people anywhere in the world. I dream of delivering hope to all children in Asia and Africa who have become demotivated because of uneasy and unfair reality. I published the books, The Bucket List (Winning Books), Dreams will be Reality (Future Knowledge) and the publishing of books was also the part of my long-term dream. I want people to mend their wounds through my stories and view the world as hopeful by being concerned about the pain of others and empathizing with them.
SMT You have had a constant vision of your future dream despite many hardships and adversities. You surely possess hope and there must be something luring you. Where does your energy come from?
KIM For me, the misery was long. I had to work doing daily laborer during my golden twenties due to my family’s circumstance. There were indeed many times I blamed my situation on other things like the environment, the economy, the language and the like as I felt deprived and fleeting. I endured my circumstances with the notion that nothing could take away my "hope." I papered my room with images of my dream wherever I went in the world. I collected and attached my favorite phrases, who I wanted to be, something I wanted to get, things I wanted to buy and what I wanted to do. Then, I stretched my imagination looking at the wall in my room everyday and it was then that a miracle happened. I realized all that I ever wanted was already a reality. If you say something even playful ideas and act upon it, eventually life will have made it happen. People need to have faith in what they can do. At first it will seem like you can’t do it, but over time, you will have gained the power to do it. All attempts are not failures, so I recommend you also step up to a challenge and be not afraid to fail!
SMT There are many university students and people who have lost hope because of today’s harsh reality. Could you offer any suggestions or words of advice for them?
KIM Life gives you no choice but to fight. Students must prepare for a cruel reality. You only complain because you haven’t fallen in love with reality. Of course the world is full of tragedies and there are many things to complain about. However, if you continue to waste time with complaining, you'll only cause yourself more problems that you'll complain about. Take the time and effort to try loving yourself and facing reality. Think about your merits and what you really desire. Proceed with a thankful mind, and try things with excitement. To find pleasure in life, you need the treasure of happiness. You must constantly remind yourself of your dreams because your imagination is reality.
SMT Finally, what does SMU mean to you?
KIM SMU makes me appreciative. I opened my eyes to the world of literature and art from the many courses I took at SMU. Gradually I knew who I was and what life I sought. After graduating from SMU, under the university slogan of 'Gentle power to change the world,’ I have lived, became a mother of two, wrote bestseller, became an artist and represented Kim Saehae Hope Laboratory. Thank you Sookmyung Women's University.
Kim Saehae (KIM)
•Graduate of the Department of Chinese Language & Literature '05 and minor at Department of Painting
•Kim Saehae Hope Laboratory Company Representative
•Writer of Dreams will be Reality, The Bucket List (co-authored)