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The story behind the Lady of the plants


How did my mission come about and why do I do what I do? I'll share my story towards balance in life with you here.

Within 3 months I lost everything, my house, my partner and my job...

The year before I thought I had everything. I had that perfect commercial job, a lovely partner and was living together. All the elements I thought I needed in order to find the happiness I was searching for. But none of it gave the satisfaction I so desired. In truth, I felt depressed, had chronic intestinal complaints and had been suffering from a severe fatigue disease for years. My zest for life was gone. I experienced my low point when I unexpectedly had a panic attack during a simple conversation. This aroused suppressed associations with my unprocessed bullying past. I knew I needed help. Thus, I applied for two types of therapy and decided to change my life completely. What I didn't know at that time was that I was clinging to my own distorted idea of society's expectations. The adventure of my personal development began by letting go of this belief. Therefore, I gave up everything I had built up in that distorted reality. It awakened a desire for a fresh start to get to know myself anew.

Plant, planet & pilgrimage

It is November. The sun appears behind the mountains, as we climb down from the house near the top of the mountain, into the mist. We put nets around the old olive tree, blow out the early morning dew and begin the harvest. We rake the ripe olives off the branches, climb trees for the last tree shoots and collect everything in crates. In the afternoon, Betta climbs down with her youngest Elmo on her back, and Serio, a 5-years-old, happily runs around her. In each hand she carries a basket full of the most delicious homemade food and wine. With the sun on our face we enjoy the picnic, talk about food and feel gratitude for all delights. It makes up for all the pain, sweat and insect bites. After a siesta, we continue our work until the last rays of the sun have disappeared behind the mountains, on the other side of the valley. In this way we pick every day, for a month, until the last tree is harvested.

Through travelling and volunteering, I meet beautiful people and cultures, I discover new ways of living. In the mountains of Tuscany, I live with people who live mainly off their own land, bartering with friends and neighbors. In addition to processing olives into oil, I decide to overcome my fear of flying insects. For this I start beekeeping and processing honey. In addition, I am learning about self-sufficiency in organic food and medication. Including wild picking, maintaining herb and vegetable gardens and making resources with herbs such as Propolis (Propolis cera), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and Elder (Sambucus nigra). I experience that health can be improved by natural means. Thus, I am learning the basics of herbal medicine, which arouses such a raging enthusiasm that I decide retraining to become an Herbalist. As Charles Darwin described, we could all have originated from one origin (Darwin et al, 2012), and in my belief that connects us. Every detail in nature has a function, every organism its use. Creation makes no mistakes, and that includes you and me.

As a shepherd in Norway, I am not only learning to lead a flock of 25 ewes and lambs, but through that, also to lead myself. Suddenly, the shepherd has to be hospitalized immediately, a few days after my arrival. Now I am on my own and this herd is utterly under my care. One evening, one of the lambs misses, even after counting several times. Was it caught by a predator, perhaps fallen into a ditch? Panic overwhelms me, a lamb's life may be at stake! Quickly I replace my fear with sense of responsibility. I search for hours and call for help from local residents. Finally, we find the lamb safe and sound with its mother. The farm owner returns, but now one of the ewes becomes seriously ill. We see the life pulling out of her slowly. And with that, she leaves two lambs in the fields. Our mission is to catch and bottle feed them, now that they are no longer accepted by the herd. The triumph is therefore enormous when we catch the critters hours later and feed them for the first time. A great lesson is how to take care of myself more, by taking caring of sheep.

At this point, I'm richer in my newfound passion for plants and nature. But while I feel sense of purpose when traveling, I still don't feel fully accepted by society. That's why I literally walk away; a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In such primitive circumstances, people come together sooner. This sense of connection I find phenomenal. I come to understand that others help me through the most harsh and bizarre situations; as I myself can play that role for others. Thus, I am supported by the arm of the one who will later become my best friend; on days when the pain from the blisters is so intense that every step becomes more excruciating. "Step by step", becomes my motto of life. After two weeks my wounds heal, all pains disappear and the weight of the backpack is no longer felt. Walking becomes a way of life. I experience this camino as a wonderful metaphor for the road in life, with geological and psychological peaks and valleys. A month and 900+ kilometers earlier, I could never imagine the intense feeling that came over me, when we crossed all of Spain from France. Arriving at the Atlantic Ocean in Finisterre, the “end of the world”.

At the end of the world I sat, I wept & I laughed. I felt deep gratitude through intense love for all that life brings.

I see you

Through my story and life experience, I know like no other what it’s like to

It has now been over 8 years that I passed that “low point”; and I enjoy living through the highs and lows of life. With this, I can help you too. I mentor you to feel what it is you need, what are your passions and what makes the sparkle appear in your eyes. This way, you'll learn how to transform pain and trauma into life lessons. Beliefs can be manifested by positive means, without thoughts or emotions hindering you. I believe everyone can master these skills; and I wish the same for you. Are you ready to grant yourself this opportunity?

“Life is a long pilgrimage from fear to love.”

(Coelho, 2014)

Therapist in heart & soul

As a little girl I was already extremely fascinated by nature, at the foot of the Sallandse Heuvelrug. Here you can find my practice nowadays. It is a place where my passions for nature, people, health, philosophy and psychology come together. I have been trained as a Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Herbalist. Affiliated with the Dutch Herbalist’s Guild and recognized as therapist at Collective of Alternative Therapists (CAT). My field of expertise is clinical care; specialized in psychosomatic complaints and treatment of bladder infections (cystitis).

Get to know me better:

Reconnecting with yourself

In life, we don't always get what we want, but we always attract that what we are convinced of. Our stories and the reaction upon them create a part of our identity. They form our beliefs, which reflect the way we see the world. Therefore, it is important to realize that our beliefs are plastic, deformable. The belief that I didn't feel accepted by society came entirely from within myself. I had created my own prison of thoughts. That is, until I decided to exchange this for the belief that we all come from one origin. It made me feel connected and changed my life completely. Now I feel part of society and feel useful in striving for my life purpose. That goal starts with you, but transcends us. So that you, in turn, can help others as well. Together towards a better world.

I believe that everyone is capable of reconnecting with themselves and expressing their authenticity. To help you with this, Phytoria works holistically. This means that during treatment we do not only look at direct symptoms, but to you as a whole; in physical, social, spiritual and psychological context. Therefore, you will be treated in fundamental interconnectedness. As a result, we not only address your symptoms, but also the underlying cause. In other words, we don't just stop the smoke, we put out the fire. Attention is paid to increasing your well-being, through simple and practical exercises that will give you more self-confidence. | Method

“The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, and the second best time to plant a tree is now.”

(O’Toole, 2021)

Transform your mindset into a positive drive

Can you identify with my story in a certain capacity? I am happy to offer help on your way to use your beliefs in a positive way, so that you can also feel that connection within yourself. When you schedule your first consultation with me, we’ll look together at what your needs. In this way we can determine whether we are an added value to each other and whether Phytoria's methods suit you. If it doesn’t match, I would be very honest about it and will refer you to a more suitable therapist if possible.

Source reference
Coelho, P. [@paulocoelho]. (2014, 29 december). Life is a long pilgrimage from fear to love [Tweet]. Twitter.
Darwin, C., The Editors of the Darwin Correspondence Project, Burkhardt, F., & Secord, J. (2012). The Correspondence of Charles Darwin: Volume 19, 1871, p. 50-52. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
O’Toole, G. (2021, 29 december). The Best Time To Plant a Tree Was 30 Years Ago, and the Second Best Time To Plant a Tree Is Now. Quote Investigator. Consulted on 9th of june 2022, from

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