Soul

Discover your blocks and limiting beliefs to heal from burnout

During my career in psychiatry, I worked with many depressed and anxious patients who were stuck in patterns that kept them locked in. It was frustrating for them because they could feel how blocked they were but weren’t able to see what the blockage was. Usually, it took a while until they recovered and were able to reflect on their thoughts and emotions without getting extremely upset. 

When I found myself in severe burnout in 2016 after a series of extremely stressful life events, health issues, and surviving almost 3 years in a toxic work environment which caused me PTSD, at first, I didn’t know what was happening to me. I felt awful, extremely tired and exhausted, and I had severe cognitive problems, causing me to get lost in the supermarket, and how to get dressed.

I recognized that something was very wrong but I didn’t know what it was. When I was told it was burnout syndrome, with severe physical and emotional depletion, I didn’t know what to think of it.

I have always been a firm believer in our capacity to shape our reality and manifesting our intentions. In my private life, I lived with the Moon cycle, and every New Moon I journaled about my intentions for the month. Usually, my intentions were focused on the things I wanted to accomplish. And usually, I did. 

While in this burned out state, I felt like a total failure. How could I have created this mess myself? I must have done something wrong because I clearly never wanted to manifest the health problems, traumatic work environment, divorce, and the stressful life I was living. How could I unconsciously have wanted all these things?

I remember telling my husband that I was convinced that “this was all happening for a reason although I couldn’t see why yet”. 

What I didn’t know yet was that this way of looking at the situation was my lifeline. It was a form of surrender, enabling the transformation to start.

During my recovery process, I found out that the old way of living wasn’t sustainable anymore. The old way of striving, pushing, achieving, always making deadlines, following orders, and forgetting myself, my health, my body, my spiritual needs. I needed to do things very differently.

This was when the hard work started. Doing things differently, but how?

I wanted to live a different life, and I started to try new things. Some worked fine, but some threw me back into exhaustion, grief, and despair. 

While reflecting on every change I tried, I found out there were certain patterns surfacing. Patterns related to my thoughts and feelings, that were vital for my ability to change and grow. I began to notice some major blocks I must have had all my life, but I had always navigated them without really seeing what I was doing, causing major energy leaks (this became clear to me because I was so depleted and needed every shred of energy.)

With my clients, I can see similar blocks. These are usually beliefs, deeply ingrained in your system, that are difficult to look past or challenge by yourself. The blocks are always ready to defend their existence because they made you survive difficult situations in your life. The pay-off was disconnecting from a part of your Soul. Sometimes, after years of living this way, leaving you with nothing, the connection between you and your Higher Self severed. 

In my opinion, this is what burnout really is. Separation from your Higher Self, from the Universe, and from the Life Force itself.

As long as you are in a stressful situation, this will go on. Stress is a sign. It is telling you that the situation you are in isn’t serving you. That it is taking something away from you. 

Of course, stress is a part of life, but it is first and foremost a NORMAL response to an ABNORMAL situation. Changes need to be made.

For me, that meant: walking away from relationships, setting clear boundaries, quitting a toxic job in a broken health care system, and caring for my body.

Stress is survival. However, when the challenges are over, you don’t need to shut down the vital parts of you anymore. The problem is, after years of stress (childhood trauma, difficult family situations, work-related stress), the survival strategy can become a habit. And it created beliefs that this is the only way to survive. The beliefs are so strong that they become blocks in your life, preventing you from changing and living your best life. 

It is very important to discover the blocks in yourself if you want to shut them down and live the life you want, in alignment with your true empowered Self, led by your Inner Voice.

What I discovered was that I was constantly trying to fix a broken system, a toxic environment, destructive relationships. There was no space for my Self to flourish while I was busy trying to fix everything. Unfortunately, what I manifested in years of trying to fix everything, was separation from my Soul, separation from the Universe, separation from others, broken relationships, and a body-mind disconnection. Also known as burnout syndrome.

What I found out through deep soul searching was that I was blocking myself with major limiting thought patterns. And I now see them in my clients too. I made a list of four big blocks that are often present, some of them I had to overcome myself. They usually start with “I am…”, followed by something negative or conditional.

Four major limiting beliefs that can lead to burnout:

  1. I am alone. This one comes in many shapes. For some people it is perfectionism, thinking that things will only be done perfectly if they do it themselves. They don’t let others help them or take over. Others have experienced interpersonal trauma, an unavailable parent, or loss, and believe they have nobody to support them, or if they ask for support, they will lose it. And consequently, they do it all themselves.
  2. I am unsupported. This is related to the first one but goes deeper. When we felt unsupported or not taken care of as a child (food, shelter, unconditional love, attention) this created a deep spiritual wound. It may even go as far as not believing there is an Omnipotent or Divine presence (God, Mother Earth, Source, the Universe…) to help and guide you, causing you to work very hard and trying to create your life all by yourself. This belief prevents us from collaborating, helping others, and asking for help, and it creates feelings of loneliness and disconnection. What if the truth is that there is always Divine guidance and support available, and you just have to ask for it?
  3. I am successful only when I work hard/all the time. This is a very destructive belief, that many of us have been brought up with. Stories of working hard in school, being ambitious, and only receiving praise when coming home with good grades install this belief. What if the truth is that if you are doing something from the heart, with passion instead of pushing, you will be way more successful? Another way how this shows up is reluctance when it comes to rest and recovery. To be productive and successful it is vital to rest and restore our energy as well. However, if the belief is that only hard work is leading to success, it’s very hard to surrender to rest and downtime.
  4. I am not worthy. This is a very common block that prevents us from receiving. If we feel unworthy, we are constantly trying to show our worth by over-giving. Over-giving is the main cause of depletion. This belief is very common in women, caused by our patriarchal culture and the heritage of centuries of gender oppression. If you hold this belief you might have issues receiving compliments, help, suggestions, advice, love, health, abundance, energy, Divine guidance. What if you are inherently worthy, and using your skills and talents and being you is enough to be of value? You can’t give from an empty cup. You can only give from the saucer when the cup is overflowing with abundance.

Of course, there are many more blocks that can be very individual. But usually, they can be grouped into one of those big four. 

Try to find out which one(s) resonate(s), and journal about them. Also, write about your fears and doubts and you will discover what is beneath them. 

What really helped me in releasing the blocks was working with several coaches and theta healers. Coaches can help you see what you are missing, unearthing the limiting beliefs you might have. Theta healing is a powerful way of releasing limiting beliefs, using the energy in the body to untangle them. Some say it even affects you on the DNA level, which makes it a very powerful healing tool that can even affect your health, and the health of generations that come after you. 

The coaches/theta healers I worked with are:

Darling Allegri (USA) - XOXDarling who starts a great new group program August 27th, 2018, around releasing your biggest limiting beliefs to help you past the blocks that prevent you from stepping into your best life. Early bird enrollment until August 8th.

Yvonne Dam (UK, NL) - Amaze Yourself who is a great life and career coach.

Jocelyn Mercado (USA) - We Are Sacred Planet who is a business coach for inspired people who want to serve the world in a purposeful way. She will start a new group business coaching program in September, I will keep you updated on that one too. I followed it and started Elemental Life because of this program and never looked back!

If you feel called to share your blocks and limiting beliefs in the comments, please do so. You can always email me (email address at the bottom of the page) as well, or book a call to see how I can support you in your healing journey. 

New Moon in Pisces - March 17th 2018

Spring is imminent. You can feel it, you can smell it in the air. 

I am so ready to say goodbye to the grey skies or winter... longing for spring I turn my face towards each ray of sunlight, trying to catch the warmth and support. I have never needed it more than I do now.

It's like I have been waiting for this moment to start anew. And now, on the verge of spring, just before this New Moon, at the end of Winter, climaxing towards a fresh start, I am overcome with fatigue and grief. It's like my old Self is dying inside me, it's very intense and many old themes are coming up one more time.

The Moon is entering Pisces. On March 17th, 2018, the new Moon cycle will start in this watery sign of the unconscious mind. Pisces brings us vivid dreams, emotional states and connects us to the symbolism and language of the ancient mind. The rational mind can feel threatened by this fluidity, it's not able to explain what is happening and it will try to take control. This fight with your unconscious mind can take a lot of energy, and combined with the low energetic ebb of the New Moon, you can feel very tired and empty. You may also experience detailed, or very strange dreams. Don't be afraid of them, don't try to 'explain' the meaning, just let them wash over you like a wave that sweeps you clean. Let the waters of Pisces take away any old remnants, any broken dysfunctional survival habits of the ego. It is an old ragged coat that doesn't fit you anymore. 

My dreams have been dark and scary over the last week. Last night I watched my father die and a few days back I witnessed a church shooting in my dream while I was trying to save my daughters. Both situations are not very likely to happen, my father is healthy and vital, and in my country, there are gun laws and shootings are extremely rare. But I lived it in my dream so realistically, as if I knew exactly how it was going to happen. I must admit I was keeping an eye on the news that day.

It can be heavy to wake up from those energies, but being aware of my emotions helped me to release their charge quickly. You could use deep breathing to connect with your body to calm it down while connecting with your feelings as well. They are telling you something you might want to hear.

We all have dreams about death sometimes, and it's important to remember that our unconscious mind is speaking in symbols, and not to be taken literally. 

Death indicates transformation. 

And how profound is the transformation from Winter to Spring? As I find myself at the end of a two year long 'Winter' season in my personal life in the form of burnout, there is a lot happening under the surface. My old patterns are challenged every day, as they are already dead, and new habits are surfacing. However, my ego tries to hold on to every thread. This explains the feelings of grief, as the old story is falling away, making way for something new

Old wounds are healing and we will rise.

One of my coaching clients experienced it like she was dying herself, which can be a scary experience! But as I explained to her, only the construct of ego is dying, and she will rise up, out of the ashes, and her Spirit will bloom again, this time showing her her true colors. 

Hold on, let the waves crash down on you. They will take you to the shore where they will place you carefully and lovingly in the bright Sun. (Aries, a fire sign, is up next!).

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.
— Prof. Stephen Hawking

As I was writing this Moon Report, the news of Stephen Hawking's passing reached me. Contemplating about transformation and death, I realized that, during his life, he died at least thousand deaths. Every time he lost another function of his body, due to his neurological disease called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), he had to change and transform, to reinvent himself in order to be able to breathe, speak and share his visionary ideas. 

Although (or perhaps, because?) he slowly became caged within a limited body, his mind was able to expand to an extent that is not comprehensible to many of us. And in doing so, he completely transformed our collective understanding of the Universe. 

The lesson we can learn from Prof. Hawking is, that when we are able to release our old Self, a thousand times over, we can reach for the stars. 

We are truly limitless.

My Soul returning

There is something I want to share with you, a beautiful but strange experience I have had.

In September 2016, I had to have emergency surgery. Although I am a doctor myself and knew what was going to happen, I was naturally upset and stressed. I was absolutely sure I didn't want to receive any opioids (morphine-like substances) so I told about everyone who came near to me prior to the procedure. While I was induced the anesthesiologist said: "We will see what we are going to do about the opioids. I wasn't able to talk anymore and protest, and the last thing I remember was her saying that I went into cardiac arrhythmia.

When I woke up I was sedated with opioids. I felt very violated. The rest of that night I suffered from severe tachycardia (speeding heart) until the early morning hours.

After surgery, I wasn't recovering. I felt completely exhausted, and severe burnout was diagnosed. I was so tired, I couldn't walk, talk or sometimes even breathe. At one moment I felt so lifeless, I thought that I might be dying. The thought somehow didn't scare me, and that realization scared me the most. I was literally left without any life energy in my body.

In the weeks after I suffered from tachycardia a few times, every time it started while I was resting. I was taken to the hospital and they couldn't find the cause, other than probably stress. The cardiologist and I figured it was probably a common stress-induced re-entry tachycardia. Nothing too worrying. At least, I felt at ease with it.

Fast forward to a few weeks later. I was slowly recovering and felt a bit more energized. One night I was in my bed and my heart began racing again. I decided not to fight it or focus on my breathing. Instead, I focussed on my heartbeat, racing at 160 bpm. Suddenly I felt very sad and anxious. When I focussed on those emotions, I suddenly sensed something in the room. It was at my right side, near the window. I couldn't really understand what it was at first but after a while, I started sensing that it was related to me somehow. I asked it to come closer and then I suddenly realized it was my Soul... I don't know how, I just knew, with absolute certainty. I was crying and telling Her that it was safe now. That the threats were over, that my body was safe now. And right after that, I felt a shift, my Soul entered my body in my heart space. It was a violent motion but without pain and immediately after my heart stopped racing and a very calm and peaceful feeling came over me. I held my heart for a bit and drifted away into a deep dreamless sleep.

I am still speechless about what happened and have no clue. I don't even have the right words to search for similar experiences on the internet. To me, it was like my Soul entering my body after a few weeks of absence. I think She left me right before surgery, feeling very threatened as my body was abused, cut, taken over by medication and pain. Since Her return, I didn't experience any more arrhythmia episodes. I feel my energy coming back and my compass isn't spinning anymore.

I never thought this would be possible. I have read about dissociative disorders/phenomena and I'm familiar with gentle dissociation myself as a coping mechanism. But this was different. It reminded me of Outer Body Experiences (OBE) but then consciousness travels away, to a place somewhere outside the body. In my case, I (my consciousness awareness) was still in my body but instead, my Soul had left...

I'm really glad She is back to guide me. She is my connection to the Universe, to the Energy of Life. I can't live without Her. I nearly died while She was away.

Do you have similar experiences? Please share in my closed FB group! I'd like to hear about it.