Welcome. This is me...
Intelligent, Reliable, Heart (& a little stubborn). Grounded in Flux.
Connect with yourself (and me).
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This is my story...
When I was 19, all I knew was that I wanted to save the world.
As I set off on my idealistic work/life, abroad and at home in the Netherlands, I had cool jobs where I soared and expanded (think: being a part of a core team of social workers championing a new approach to welfare in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.)
I also had stages where I felt frustrated and stuck and phases of unemployment where I felt like the world's biggest failure (think: having no income for 14 months, a year after I was headhunted twice, in Cairo, Egypt).
And between all of that, I had periods where I felt adrift.
Periods where the old didn't feel good anymore, but a new horizon hadn't emerged yet. Where the question: "what do you want?" was a difficult one to answer.
At first, these shifts or periods of flux were painful - as the image I'd built of myself seemed to go up in smoke. In the middle, these shifts are healing, allowing me to slow down and focus on the only things I had energy for (think: volunteering with refugees in the Netherlands, or puttering around the house and meditating, in my new home in Germany).
In the end, these periods of flux always bring me unexpected positives -
whether it's a career I didn't know was possible for myself, more self-awareness or a greater sense of peace. It's not easy getting there - and usually involves (internal) tension, struggle and trying to 'hold on' to the old way, before something new may unravel. Along the way, I've also grudgingly realized that dissapointment, vulnerability and sadness can't be avoided, if I want to live a true and open-hearted life. They're parts of the process towards myself. The one thing I've realized I can do to stop further pain is to slow down, notice and reflect - through meditation, reflection, creativity and therapy/coaching.
Through the various changes I've experienced in my life both personally and professionally I've learned that, even when things seem to fall apart - they might just be falling together from a future perspective. I now no longer try to fix things, control outcomes or feel like I need to know everything or have all the answers for things to work out.
I now try to flow with life, as it shows up.
Even if things don't happen the way I thought they would - I now know that there's a larger mystery at play...
"What has gone wrong becomes an opening to more of yourself and part of your gift to the world.
This is the beginning of wisdom."
- Krista Tippett
This is my insight...
I think we're right at the cusp of a more balanced, collaborative and conscious age (because the night is darkest before the dawn). And I think you waking up to all of your messy self, directly supports that process.
You don't need to be fixed, pushed or told what to do...
Life tends to unfold cyclically, including both amazing highs and painful lows, messy middles and periods of waiting. It might just not happen in the way we expect it. You, like most, probably try to live life as well as you can and know how, wanting to avoid suffering, pain and discomfort. This works - until it no longer does. All of a sudden, you may feel as if life is working against you, like things are falling apart, or like you've failed somewhere. The harder your try to fix things, hold on or keep going, the more you seem to lose a hold on your joy and previous answers...
I know you're maybe thinking you did something wrong to be here, to feel this way, maybe even to be the way you are ("why can everyone else figure this out but me?!"). But let me tell you that under that thought and experience of yourself, lies an ever present field of dynamic creativity, of infinite grace, present in stillness. We live in a world where tension and suffering, also happens to be the breeding ground for our biggest lessons, as uncomfortable and unwanted as this process may feel at the beginning! Be patient, kind and compassionate towards yourself, as you grapple with yourself in this messy middle between the way things were - and a new way that is being moulded in these slow fires.
...but slowing down, reflecting and connecting with yourself makes all the difference.
You have everything you need within you to meet & create change. But knowing this rationally doesn't make your fears, stress, anxiety, loneliness, emptiness or sadness go away. When life becomes too overwhelming or stifling, when life seems to work against you or fall apart, when things aren't turning out the way you hoped they would or when you're feeling more and more tangled up in various thoughts or emotions - I am here for you.
Some therapists focus on your past. Some coaches focus on your future. I like to meet you as you are, right now - in all your convoluted thoughts, numb sensations, intense emotions and unspoken wishes. They're all welcome in this space of sharing and listening, exploration and salvation. Our sessions or Sisterhood gatherings will provide you with insight, hope, peace, freedom and creativity. You'll be surprised and humbled by the beauty and wisdom that emerges from within, hidden like gold in the mines of darkness and disappointment - and the healing power of simply slowing down (a bit), breathing and being heard. I know this place - and would therefore love to support you, as you continue on this ongoing journey of self-discovery, one uncertain step at a time.
Would you like to go further?
Click on any of the images below to see how to work with me.
This is my story continuing...
I also love to write: to use the power of words and stories to connect, create space and heal. Dive into the stories I share on my blog, or that have been published on other like-minded platforms below. Are you looking for someone to put your soul into words? I'm here for you, too.
Celebrate You. - Rebelle Society
Notes from the Messy Middle. - Elephant Journal
How to Effect World Change Without Quitting Your Day Job. - Career Contessa
Our World is Broken. You Have a Piece to the Puzzle of Fixing It. - Emerging Women
The Cult of Doing & Human Flourishing - On Being with Krista Tippett
Leiderschap? Doen waar je goed in bent voor een positief verschil - Lof Magazine (Leadership edition)
Dare to Follow Your Heart In Your Career - LinkedIn
4 Ways We Need To Rethink Female Leadership - LinkedIn
HeartWork in Frankfurt - Entrepreneurial Expat
21 Blunt Questions for a Life Coach. A Story of One HeartWork - True Stories With Gill
This is what shapes me:
- I love to keep on learning, both in and outside of a class-room setting. Some of my past learning endeavours are: my B.A. in Social Sciences (2006), my M.A. in Comparative Women's Studies (2007), my coursework at the Institute for Life Coach Training (2013-2014), my coursework in Voice Dialogue facilitation (2015), my own ongoing coaching/therapy (2015-present), my participation in an international women's leadership development retreat (2016), and a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat (2017).
- I have a hard time answering the question: "Where are you from?", seeing as I've lived in 6 countries, gone to school in 4 and worked in 3. Usually, though, I'll just say 'the west of the Netherlands.'
- Before I became a coach I was a social worker for migrant women in the Netherlands and a development worker in social entrepreneurship in Egypt. Both of these careers taught me a lot of valuable skills I still use (incl. graphic design, strategic communications and connecting with people no matter where they're from).
- I believe coaching, loving presence and guided self-reflection are one of the most transformative resources we can have, which is why I've been active since 2013 as a mentor for Wedu: a social enterprise promoting young female leaders from Asia.
- In high-school, I briefly considered studying theoretical physics. I ended up studying social sciences & gender studies instead. I now see the link between the two, as well as with counselling & coaching: understanding how unseen forces affect us.
- I'm into deep, heartfelt insights and transformations - on the outside (note the international moves and career switches above), but lately, more so on the inside.
- I am both rational, grounded and systematic as well as intuitive, spiritual and creative. I like to think embodying both makes me a bridge between the two.
Connect with yourself (and me).
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