Interviewer: Carren, welcome to our live online chatroom.
Carren Smith: Thank you for having me tonight I'm looking forward to answering the questions.
Interviewer: Let’s get straight into the questions...
Robbie asks: how has this horrid event changed your life?
Carren Smith: It's changed my life enormously as it's made me a bigger person. It's helped me to see people in a completely different way and as a result I've gone on to become a professional speaker and trainer, working with mindsets, confidence and self-expression. I never would have gone down that path had it not been for such a life altering experience and for that I'm eternally grateful that I get to make a difference in the lives of others every day.
Robbie asks: How long had you been in Bali before the bombing took place?
Carren Smith: We were there probably half a day.
nicko-suns asks: r u going back to bali for the 10 year anniversary??
Carren Smith: I went back to Bali for the 60 Minutes interview 2 weeks ago so I won't be going back for the 10 year Anniversary.
Robbie asks: What was it like meeting the Federal Police Officer who helped you so much after the bombing, it sounds as though he was your Angel.
Carren Smith: It was an extraordinary experience, one I never expected, it took me by complete surprise and I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was of itself a life changing experience and when he wrapped his arms around me to tell me it was OK, I felt the same sense of safety I felt when he held me in Bali, and that was extra-ordinary.
Laura asks: I'm 13 years old, I am so inspired by you and your bravery. Although you may not see just how brave you are, you definitely are, my question to you is why speak now?
Carren Smith: I have been a professional speaker sharing my story across Australia and the United States for the last 5 years and have spoken to over 45,000 people. I thought the 10 Year Anniversary was a perfect time to share my story and my message of inspiration and responsibility on a much larger scale. Thank you for asking such a thought provoking question.
nicko-suns asks: I was there that night and have never been back although I am for the 10 year anniversary and am starting to worry and question if I should go I’m so scared something else will happen what are your thoughts
Carren Smith: I had the same initial thoughts, going back for the interview with 60 Minutes and it's only natural. I think the most useful response I can offer you is to go back to Bali with the intent of it being an experience that gives you peace, rather than an experience that keeps you trapped in fear and isolation.
hannah123 asks: how long did you stay in bali after the bombing?
Carren Smith: I was flown out on the Sunday night so I think that was the 14th so I was there a day and a half after the bombing.
Matt asks: What were your first thoughts of Bali before the bombing incident occured?
Carren Smith: I thought it was a great holiday destination, because I'd never been before I thought Bali was a good place to escape. I was in a very depressed state when I went to Bali and it was a place for me to escape my nightmare at home.
lynda asks: How has the experience changed your life?
Carren Smith: It has changed my life in every way, nothing about me is the same. I have an incredible sense of purpose in my life now which has been an incredible gift. I have created a business that delivers seminars and training, working with people's mindsets and confidence and self-expression and I get to work with people at the deepest level on a day to day basis which fulfils me at the deepest level possible. I've been given a gift as a result of the bombing that allows me to make a difference in the lives of thousands and I feel incredibly blessed that I survived.
annie asks: carren how brave you are. i have just returned from bali after originally planing our trip the year of the bombing.it has taken me all those years to finally build up the courage to go. we went to ground zero with our guide who explained to us what and where everything happened. the way of life in bali is so different to life as we know it as i'm sure you know. the balinese people's outlook on life is something which has left me in awe. how do you ever trust again in bali after what you have been through?
Carren Smith: It has been a challenge but a challenge I needed to overcome in order to heal. I made my healing a priority about 5 years ago and creating a new meaning for my experience in Bali was the catalyst. I didn't want to carry the pain of the bombing around with me for the rest of my life so I had to make peace with it and every part of it.
Robbie asks: What plans do you have for the future?
Carren Smith: I am working on my own TV show called "Carren's Couch" and radio show because my intention is to spread a global message of possibility and strength on behalf of humanity and I know because of my experiences in Bali I have both the capacity and the capability to be at the forefront of such a powerful message.
Laura asks: I'm 13 so I'm young and cannot completely understand what you have been though and I doubt anyone really can but how would you describe it?
Carren Smith: I would describe the experience as that the experience is something that has pulled me apart, broken me down into little bits and it left me vulnerable, vacant and empty, but with the love and support of my partner and my family I've been able to take the experience and use it to make my life meaningful, purposeful and fulfilled.
oneski asks: My husband worked with Charmaine, years ago, I met her many times and spent a few Christmas Parties with her, she was one amazing person; you must miss her?
Carren Smith: I miss Charmaine and Jodi dreadfully, they are in my thoughts daily and there is not a moment that goes part that I don't wish they were still here. Your husband was lucky to have met her.
Robbie asks: It's often said that things will either break our back or make us stronger - you obviously chose to become stronger. Are you glad that you went through the experience for the fact that you are a stronger person now?
Carren Smith: I don't know that I would say "glad" I went through the experience, however having gone through it, I have been fortunate enough to extract strength and mobility from what I've learned about myself and people. If I hadn't gone through the bombing I don't know what my life would look like, so for the work that I do now I'm grateful for the lessons it taught me.
Nicholas asks: Will any of the proceeds of your forthcoming book be going to charity?
Carren Smith: Not from the sale of the book, however my book launch on 11th October in Mooloolaba is supporting the Peter Hughes Burns Foundation and we are really excited to be aligned with him.
rachael asks: You're totally incredible Carren - I cried a sea of tears watching you all tonight.. What's your book called Carren? And where can I get it?
Carren Smith: My book is called "Soul Survivor" and you can get it on my website which is www.carrensmith.com or in good bookstores as of next week, and from Amazon.
LindaO asks: Carren, are you a mum? If so, were you a mother when you first went to Bali in 2002?
Carren Smith: No I'm not a mum. I did try for a number of years after Bali but it just wasn't to be for me.
Chris asks: Caren, You lived through terrorism at its rawest face and as the bombers acted in the name of islam, has the actions of Bali in the name of religion made you carry a torch for those who dealt you a cruel card?
Carren Smith: I don't have a feeling one way or the other towards the perpetrators, I have chosen to focus on my own feeling rather than focus on any negative feelings towards religion or religious inspired extreme acts. I felt sadness on behalf of humanity, when I saw that the bombers had been killed, that we were no better, but aside from that I've chosen to invest my energies in my own healing more than allowing individuals or the religion to occupy my mind and interrupt my own sense of peace.
Robbie asks: Do you keep in contact with any other survivors?
Carren Smith: No I haven't. I carried an incredible amount of guilt and responsibility after the bombing for losing my friends, so I distanced myself from everybody for a long time and this has really been the first time that I've been exposed to other survivors.
sally72 asks: I have a dream to change people's lives too - on a different scale in relation to children and the gift they bring to people's life... I've never been through anything even close to the horrors that you have - why is it, do you think, that the horror and depths of darkness seems to propel a person to their ultimate purpose in life? And, how can you achieve the same purpose with such passion without experiencing such horror?
Carren Smith: In response of your first part of the question we are thrust into the ultimate decision that can possibly be made in our lives and that is to either withdraw with life or embrace all that life has to offer when we are faced with horror and tragedy. The human spirit for survival is somewhat superhuman and it's that internal wakeup that occurs after tragedy that creates incredible perspective. Where settling for second best or near enough can no longer be an option. The experience of tragedy brings a person to their most significant choice point. In answer to the second part of your question, simply observe those who have experienced horror and the magic they have gone on to create as a result and then model yourself on their attitudes and approach to living. Because they have experienced their horror not only for themselves but for you and on behalf of mankind. You don't need to suffer great tragedy in order to fulfil you purpose. Your purpose is always there waiting for you to slip into it and bring it to life.
Interviewer: Unfortunately we are out of time, any final words before we finish up this evening ?
Carren Smith: Please visit my website www.carrensmith.com for more information on my seminars and training as well as picking up a copy of my 10 year Anniversary edition of "Soul Survivor" . You can also grab the book in all good bookstores this week. Be sure to check out my next mindset makeover live event on the website. Thank you so much for having me, join me on Facebook.
Interviewer: This concludes our chat with Carren Smith, Sunday September 30, 2012.