psychology

How to make your resolutions work

The year is almost over!! To me, it isn’t really hard to say goodbye, it was a difficult year in many aspects, but also a year that taught me so much about myself! Who I am, what is really important to me, what I needed to change. And I found out on a very personal level that change isn't easy (wanted or unwanted). And it's even harder when you don't have the energy to experiment new things. 

What I also found is that real change can only come from within, supported by our deepest motivation. It all starts with a wish, a desire, a longing... but for what? I learned that having clarity on what I want, and more importantly, what I truly needed, was pivotal to turn things around.

So, I'll start the new year with much more clarity on the things I would like to accomplish, and what I want to bring into my life. That empowered mindset makes me much more confident that I will reach my goals.

I stated some powerful resolutions that are aligned with my heart, body, and Soul.

What are resolutions? Wishes and dreams, goals and plans. In short, resolutions are about changes we want to make.

Having navigated many changes in all areas of my own life, as well as supporting my patients in their journey after a diagnosis or illness when I was still in the medical field, and working as a project manager on implementing complex operational changes, I have seen up close what worked and what didn't work when it comes to change.

I would like to share some thoughts about resolutions with you, to explain why they usually fail and how to approach things differently.

When you ask people about their resolutions, you usually get 3 types of response. 

  1. Well, I should quit [X] so that's what I'm gonna try. Between the brackets are things like [smoking, drinking, shopping, spending, eating chocolate, overeating, ...].

  2. Well, I should start [Y] so I'm going to do that. Between the brackets are things like [moving, running, eating healthy, being there for my family, a project, ...].

  3. Resolutions? I don't have any because they don't work anyway.

The core feelings behind those responses are:

  1. guilt

  2. guilt

  3. cynicism, defeat

Not very positive. 

This is exactly why resolutions like this usually don't work. They are stated while we are in a restrictive or judgemental emotional state. We believe we are doing something wrong and we try to fix ourselves. 

Of course, there is nothing wrong with ambition, setting goals and trying to be the better version of ourselves. But, it's important to know what that version is and whether it suits us.

Usually, the wish for change comes from a sense of urgency. Things go wrong, we don't like the results we are getting. And that leads to stress. Our systems are built to eliminate stress immediately. And the way we are wired, it leads to behavior that temporarily decreases stress -> eating, drinking, smoking, shopping, checking our phones, ... 

Oops. 

The things causing us stress, are the same things we go to as a temporary stress release. And we know it. That's where the guilt creeps in, the 'shoulds', the inner critical voice. We punish ourselves with restrictive measures (causing stress) and we call it a resolution - "I am going to be a better version of myself without this behavior. I should ... "

We humans have stress on a daily basis and we have needs on a daily basis. We want to feel safe, supported and loved. However, during our lifetimes we taught ourselves to get positive feelings through external things. Self-soothing is a lie... We don't self-soothe, we externally-look-for-soothing. We fall into the trap of feeling good for a short while though unwanted and destructive behavior, causing stress and in the long run, not giving us what we are longing for.

It's a vicious cycle. Or a downward spiral. See how this will never work?

How would it be when we were able to shift our perspective and look within to find what we need? To give the love, care, and support to ourselves? To break the cycle in a different, lasting way? To spiral up an up towards the things you truly want?

When you create change by adding restorative practices, you will decrease stress and enhance relaxation. This creates so much more space to invite new things into your life! 

To create lasting changes, you need space and clarity on your deepest motivation and your true needs.

To help you state powerful intentions that are aligned with your heart, body, and Soul, and the energies of the January New Moon, I created a 9-day online program, the WinterLight Wellness Week.

You can find more information about WinterLight HERE.

Consolation for a Broken Family

"I had to kiss them goodbye. I had never been away from them more than two nights. And now I would have to leave them for five days. Not once, but over and over again.

‘Mommy, I want to stay with you!” 

My 3-year old daughter was wrapping her arms around my neck. My 6-year old daughter already took her father’s hand, ready to walk away, like she was heading towards a new adventure. She didn’t know what was waiting for her. A broken family. Swapping homes for the rest of her childhood. Missing mom, or missing dad.  

There’s a time for letting go. You can’t hold on to your children forever. Having to let them go at 3 and 6 years old is just cruel. 

As I was dying inside, I looked up towards the stars, as if they could give me the power to survive this agonizing moment. My eyes rested on the Full Moon. 

I took a deep breath, and as I went down on my knees and whispered to my sweet little loves with as much courage as I could gather: 

“Do you see Her, the Moon? Did you know She’s always there, always have been, and always will be? Remember that when you miss me, you can always search for the Moon. Wherever you are, and wherever I am, I promise you that when you look for the Moon, I will be looking for Her too. When you see Her, you will know that we will always be together.”

My sweet baby girl smiled, I snuggled her one last time before handing her over to her loving daddy. My oldest daughter threw me a hand kiss and swirled away into her new future.

I watched them as they drove off. I don’t remember how long they were gone before I could breathe again. Then, I looked up at the Moon, and I could feel Her cool white light on my wet cheeks. That moment, it was me who needed to remember Her presence most."


This is my contribution to the May Magick project, hosted by Alauna Whelan, published May 29th 2018, titled 'The Moon'. It was written straight from my heart and a true story.

New Moon in Aquarius - 15th February 2018

Did you notice that February has no Full Moon this year? Due to the double Full Moons (a.k.a. Blue Moons) in January and March, February is left without any... When a month goes by without a Full Moon, the New Moon is called Black Moon. 

This might sound dark and gloomy but it isn't! It's creating opportunities for powerful new beginnings instead.

This month, the Black Moon will fall on February 15th, 10:05 pm CEST, and it will coincide with a partial Solar Eclipse, which is, astronomically, nothing more than a New Moon with the Moon aligned partly in front of the Sun. 

Energy-wise, it intensifies the dark aspect of the New Moon and it marks the start of two new cycles at the same time: the Moon cycle for the following 4 weeks, and the Eclipse cycle for the coming 6 months. 

This New Moon is taking place in Aquarius, an air sign (not a water sign as the name suggests). Aquarius is about thinking energy, communication, new ideas, and technology. Aquarius also is the odd one out, the dreamer, the visionary. When the Moon is in this sign, our emotions and inner worlds are closely connected to the Aquarian themes. 

Due to the air energy (mind), we may feel disconnected to our own inner emotional worlds. This can translate as feeling detached, flat, unaffected, unmotivated and without passion even. 

You can use this detachment to your benefit when you have experienced difficulties with letting go of certain things. Feeling detached will help you to see where you are holding on to the things that aren't serving you anymore and to shift into a new way of being. 

You will be able to truly reinvent yourself with the help of Aquarius!

However, when detachment happens in relationships, it can be difficult to stay connected to the other person. It's more difficult to understand each other when we are less able to connect to someone else's feelings. This may cause conflict, but when we are aware of it, we can choose differently. Putting away your phone and other distracting screens can help tremendously with keeping in touch with your partner, children or other family members. Create space for conscious connection and schedule some time to talk about themes and ideas that are important to you. Communicate in an open and truthful way. Although the connection might be on an intellectual level only, this is perfectly fine. Perhaps this is the way to create interesting new plans and launch projects together! Socializing with larger groups is also a great way of feeling connected. 

Aquarius is the sign of revolutionary ideas and progression. Be prepared for a flash of lightning, an 'AHA'-moment, or an epiphany. This could be the sign you have been waiting for, the message that never seemed to arrive. Journal about your ideas, because there are some gems of insight coming your way, some of them might be pivotal in making changes to your life. The theme here will most likely be around how you can serve the collective as an individual. 

You may want to keep your discoveries to yourself for a bit, to avoid judgment and criticism from people about your 'strange' or 'odd' ideas. It takes a few more days to shift the energy away from Aquarius into Pisces, helping others to relate more to your dreams and visions.

Find your tribe of like-minded people or create your own. It's easy to feel isolated and alone in this world, with its never-ending turmoil and relentless conflict. But there are many people who are just like you, and they are showing up with many now. Be open, and you will find them. 

Super Blue Blood Moon in Leo - 31st January 2018

On January 31st, 2018, a special celestial event is happening: a Super Blue Moon ... and a partial Lunar eclipse will coincide! 

Blue Moon means that it's the 2nd Full Moon in one month, in this case, in January. In March, this will occur again. The 3rd Full Moon in a season of four Full Moons is also called a Blue Moon (normally there are three Full Moons per season). Although it's a matter of calendar technicalities, it is also said that Blue Moons can create portals towards change, and are about making choices at a crossroad. 

In the summer of 2013, I participated in a nature-based course during a Blue Moon month (in August) and there were so many breakthroughs! 

The Moon is called a Super Moon when she is closer to the earth. She will be up to 14% brighter, larger in size and her energies will be enhanced accordingly. While the Full Moon phase is all about heightened emotions, vivid dreams and visions, and all of these can be much clearer. Dreams can be longer, and more detailed, complete ideas and visions can be received. You may experience mood swings that are more pronounced. Just know that your emotions are a compass, nothing to fear. In fact, it's easier to feel into what aligns with you then when you are feeling flat. 

The Lunar Eclipse is happening in Leo at the same time as the Blue Super Moon and this forms a powerful gateway into the next Eclipse season. The Moon will pass the Earth's shadow and will appear red (also called a Blood Moon). This can be seen in the early morning hours of the 31st in North America and in the evening of the 31st in Australia and New Zealand. 
Eclipses are always powerful, and when we are aware of them we will begin to see how they are portals for change as well. 

Leo is the sign of leadership, authority and shining your light in the world, in a playful way. This Full Moon will remind you. There may be reasons why you didn't step into your power yet. We all have blockages that keep us smaller than necessary. Use this Lunar Eclipse to shine a light on the shadows that are cast on your personal leadership. Which thoughts and beliefs do you have around stepping into the world on your own authority? It's time to release them in order for you to grow towards your fullest potential. 

While success has been defined before as getting rich, working hard, climbing the 'social ladder' fast, and striving for more, the paradigm is changing. It's time for a new definition of success. The old ways were leading to material gain and external polish, and it may seem attractive. But in reality, this way of living ultimately leads to burnout, because it demands us to push and achieve ALL the time. The new paradigm leads us towards pleasure, joy, and fulfillment. To do what you love, what you are meant to be doing here in your lifetime, to live your purpose and enjoying it, that's the new definition of success. 

Try to create things in your life that direct you towards joy and pleasure. What lights you up in this moment? What is the smallest thing that you can introduce into your life that helps you to shine from within? How can you choose love every day, every moment? Where can you introduce a playful mindset?

Start with that.

There are two gateways to change happening simultaneously (the Blue Moon and the Lunar Eclipse) and these energies are very present (Super Moon). 

It's time for choices.
Do you want to crash and burn? Or do you want to lead from love? 

Feel your emotions, receive the visions, dream the dreams. Be aware of the thoughts that are connected to how you feel and what is holding you back, and evaluate whether you are living from love or from fear, so that you are able to consciously decide what you want to express and attract. 

Let us step through the Super Blue Moon Eclipse gateway into the new paradigm.

Full Moon in Gemini - 3rd December 2017

The Full Moon in Gemini will be this Sunday, December 3rd, 2017.

We have arrived at the time of year where gatherings and celebrations are on the weekly calendar. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and in The Netherlands (where I live) we celebrate Sinterklaas, traditionally a children's feast. It is comparable to Christmas Day and Santa Claus, but it is celebrated a little earlier, December 5th, which is the birthday of the bishop of Mira (Saint Nicolas, now called Sinterklaas). To celebrate his birthday, Sinterklaas treats everyone with lots of presents. It's so lovely to see how excited the children are when they are told to put their shoe at the front door or next to the fireplace, filled with a carrot for Sinterklaas' horse and a clementine or a drawing for the Saint. And, finally, on the 5th of December, we celebrate 'pakjesavond', meaning 'gifts evening' and a big jute bag filled with presents is secretly left at the door....

It's a wonderful tradition of sharing, giving, company, warmth, love, and humour (the adults write funny, teasing poems for each other). However, it's also a celebration that asks for a change, for cultural and sustainability reasons. The change that we need in society at large, on many levels, to take away differences between people, created in the past and still making wounds and scars. To change the earth-destroying way of living of consumerism. 

It's a difficult to navigate situation and many of the conversations around it turn into polarising heated discussions, creating more division instead of less

For myself, I try to hold in mind that a lot of people are reactive, coming from fear or pain or suffering. It is important to share feelings, but it is also important to remember that healing can only come from compassion, understanding, and unity. And the truth is, there are many scars that should be recognized. Like the #metoo and #blacklivesmatter and climate change and much more.

This Full Moon in Gemini reminds us that we should think again and invites us to innovate. Old ways and traditions have to be constantly revised and adapted, like an evolutionary process. That is what makes us humans stand out, that we are able to change and adapt. It's not easy and can lead to fear and resistance, but in the end, we can't stop evolution.

Over the last few weeks, many dark and hidden secrets were revealed and uncovered by Scorpio. This Full Moon, the truth will be revealed in other ways.

Gemini (Latin for Twins) is the sign of communication and connection and shows us polarity and similarity too. During the coming Full Moon weekend, you may find yourself engaging with others much more, and you may find yourself in conversations that provide you with insightful information

Pay attention to words. Written, spoken words. An article, newsletter, television show, conversation, telephone call, text, email... You will be given information to gain clarity on your path. Look closely for messages that are meant for you.  

Gemini gives us mental stimulation and enables us to intellectually or rationally come up with solutions for the problems we are facing. However, there can be a disconnect between the heart and the mind in Gemini, and this challenges us to be more compassionate and empathetic towards others in problem-solving. 

This Full Moon will give you mental clarity, but don't forget to check in on your heart space as well.