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The story behind the

Lady of the plants

My story about the origin of

my mission and driving force

As a little girl I was already extremely fascinated by the nature of the Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park, where I grew up. But as I grew older, I seemed to alienate myself both from nature and from myself. In my twenties, I hit rock bottom in clinging to my own distorted idea of society's expectations.

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, I experienced chronic intestinal complaints and I had been suffering from a severe fatigue disease for more than five years. My zest for life was gone. A low point was a sudden panic attack that I had during a low-key conversation, which aroused repressed associations with my unresolved bullying past. I knew I needed help. Thus, I applied for two types of therapy and decided to change my life completely. The adventure of my personal development started with letting go of limiting beliefs and everything I had built up.

Within three months I let go of everything, my house, my partner and my career...

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 on her back, and her 5-years-old son 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 harvest every day for a month, until the last drop of olive oil is pressed.”

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. That's why I start working as a beekeeper and process 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 Propolis (Propolis cera) and herbs such as 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 fundamentals of herbal medicine, which arouses such a raging enthusiasm within me that I decide to retrain as a Phytotherapist. 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. Each individual in this ecosystem has something valuable to contribute and that includes you and me.

As a shepherd in Norway, I am not only learning to lead a flock of 25 ewes and their lambs, but 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 perhaps by a predator? Or fallen into a ditch? Panic overwhelms me. A lamb's life may be at stake! Quickly I replace my fear with a sense of responsibility. I enlisted help from local residents and after hours of searching we finally found the lamb safe and healthy with its mother. The farm owner returns, but now one of the ewes becomes seriously ill. Slowly we see the life drain from her and with her dying breath she leaves behind 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 from this journey is how to take care of myself more, by taking caring of sheep.

At this point in my story, 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'm literally walking away on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In such primitive circumstances, people come together sooner and I find this sense of connection phenomenal. I come to realize that others help me through the most dire and bizarre situations and that I can also play that role for others too. Thus, I am supported by the arm of the one that later becomes 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 life motto. After two weeks my wounds heal, all physical pains disappear and the weight of the heavy backpack is no longer felt. Walking has become a way of life. I experience the Camino de Francés as a wonderful metaphor for the road in life, with geological and psychological peaks and valleys. A month and 900+ kilometers later, after crossing the length from France to Spain, I feel a never-before-experienced level of euphoria and utter bliss as we arrive on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in Finisterre, the end of the world.

At the end of the world I sat, I wept and I laughed. Feeling full of gratitude and 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

I have now been past that low point for more than eight years and I enjoy living through the highs and lows of life. As a result, my chronic pain is a thing of the past and I can also help you with that. I mentor you to feel what you need, what your passions are and what brings out the sparkle in your eyes. This way you can transform pain and trauma into life lessons. Beliefs can be manifested in a positive manner, without thoughts or emotions holding you back. Are you ready to grant yourself that chance?

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

(Coelho, 2014)

Back in

connection with yourself

In life, we don't always get what we want, but we always attract what we are convinced of. Our story and reaction to it are part of our identity. They form our beliefs, reflecting 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. While this belief once served as a survival mechanism, it later created my own prison of thoughts. When I decided to exchange this for the belief that we all comefrom one origin, I felt connected and my story and my life changed completely.

Now I feel part of society and I feel useful in pursuing my life purpose. That goal starts with you, but transcends us. So that you, in turn, can also help others as well. Together on the road to a better world.

I believe that everyone is capable of reconnecting with themselves in expression of their authenticity. To help you with this, Phytoria works science based and holistically. Attention is paid to increasing your well-being, through simple and practical exercises that can give you more self-confidence.

Transform your mindset into a

positive driving force

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

References

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.