Tend to your spirit as you would a garden and watch your whole life bloom. ―Helen Russell
How did I get to this place where I thrive?
And let me be clear: It’s not that I don’t ever feel down, angry or sad now. I’m human! My emotions ebb & flow just like everyone else’s – that’s what being alive is all about, right? The problem is that, when you’re disconnected from yourself, you might not even be able to feel those emotions or know how to truly be with them. The difference for me now is that I can feel & embrace whatever my emotions are, soothe myself, and allow them to move through me.
So, to get back to my point...how did I get to this place of acceptance & connection? Well, the answer is one of those ‘full-circle’ stories...in fact, it wasn’t too long ago that I actually felt really disconnected from myself.
So I want to share with you what happened, and how things changed for me.
Burnout hit me hard when I was in my early 30s.
I’d been working my butt off for years, trying to get everything done, and constantly adding more stuff to my already full plate. I was a nice girl perfectionist type – I wanted to do everything really well, and took outside feedback personally. I needed validation from other people, and that sometimes led me to act out of fear and ignore my own inner compass.
For years I’d been working in the media industry in my home country Denmark. I took part in organizing film festivals, co-founded a nonprofit, launched projects...the list goes on. The work I did was super fast-paced, always go-go-go – and a big part of me loved it. It was exciting to be in constant creation mode, and working together intensively towards a common goal. Yet I also felt anxious from pushing myself too hard; I didn’t know how to say no. It’s like I was going through the motions of how you’re ‘supposed’ to live...while slowly burning myself out.
While in my mind I thought I was doing everything ‘right’, my heart deep down knew better: I wanted to stop the endless cycle of stress, and to do that I needed a change. A big one.
So I relocated to Thailand in search of a different kind of life.
But moving away, while helpful in many ways, still wasn’t enough. My body, mind, and spirit were maxed out. They needed way more care than I’d been giving them...and they rebelled.
Only to discover deep physical and emotional pain
It started with a bad pain in my breast. A visit to the doctor’s revealed that the pain was caused by cysts in my breast – and that I’d need to have surgery if they didn’t get better. I felt shocked, alone, and scared.
This happened 3 months into my stay in Thailand. I had no close friends at the time, no one to talk to, no shoulder to cry on.
I was in pain physically and emotionally.
At the same time I lost my desire to create.
I’d moved to Thailand because I’d wanted a change of pace. What I didn’t know was just how much healing I really needed to do.
But that’s why life gives us reality checks, right?
Discovering the cysts in my breast was a wake-up call, a really scary one. The healing process that followed didn’t happen overnight – it took time, lots of it. And in the beginning I felt depressed. I was disconnected from my body, and deeply out of touch with my creative self.
So I listened to those painful feelings, and opened my heart to learning how to heal.
I began a healing journey back to myself...
The first thing I did was reach out to a local Chinese doctor for help. She pointed out something I’ll never forget. It turns out that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the cause of cysts is pressure – either internal or external. And she recommended that I focus on only one thing: to reduce the pressure in my life. This meant consciously not putting any pressure on myself, and also not putting myself in any pressure-filled situations.
Isn’t it funny how our physical bodies can mirror the exact thing we need to work on internally?
The lessons I learned from my cysts were truly life-changing: I needed to be easier on myself and, even more importantly, start listening to my inner voice.
“To listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.” ―Mark Nepo
And then began the real journey. To be honest, the fact that I was already living in Thailand was a great start. The Thai lifestyle is naturally very relaxed, which made it a little easier for me to slip into a more laid-back routine. And since I’d worked so hard pre-trip to save money for the move, I actually had some time to focus on healing. The foundation was there; all I had to do was slow down.
...With the support of a community and ancient practices
One at a time, I also started exploring different healing tools that I felt drawn to. Medical qigong was the first practice I trained in – mostly in attempt to help heal my cysts. This practice focuses on mindfulness, breathwork, and being in flow with the body. During the training I re-learned how to be with myself, and in the present moment.
We all know this innately as kids, but as adults we forget: It’s okay to just be.
In the class I also met other people who shared my yearning to heal and grow. Being a part of this community did wonders for my spirit; I felt held. I learned to sense my body, and become more aware of my mind.
When I returned to Denmark half a year later, my doctor gave me the good news – my cysts were gone, and my breasts were as healthy as can be. My body had healed.
But like most healing journeys, mine didn’t end at the first sign of success.
While my body physically felt better, my heart was still unfulfilled. I didn’t feel like myself yet...my motivation to create was nowhere to be found. So it was clear that a) I had more inner work to do, and b) it was time to reach out for support.
“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” ―Brené Brown
I transformed my life by transforming myself
So again I found myself reaching out – this time, to a life coach who’d guide me along the next step in my journey. During our sessions together I was able to reconnect to my personal dreams, my inner voice. Ultimately, we worked together to set small, achievable goals. And I worked hard to meet them. In the process I learned firsthand to create a life that feels more true to my own needs. Slowly but surely I transformed my life by transforming myself.
Sometimes it feels like my journey has been growing from the ‘nice’ girl I used to be into the wholehearted woman I am today.
And now? I feel connected and aligned with my inner self. My body is healthy + happy, and my spirit is too.
It’s because of my own experience with healing that I’m so passionate about helping you discover this same power and peace in your life.
“Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.” ―Chögyam Trungpa
And now that you’ve learned a bit more about my healing journey – if you are still curious...
Quirks, Random Facts, & Bits of Truths
(That Make Me Me...)
I play the ukulele! The first song I learned to play was You Are My Sunshine
I have 5 siblings, my mom is Mexican and my dad is Danish; they met in Paris
I’m a Gemini with Leo rising, and the moon in Capricorn
I love Strong. Black. Coffee. :)
I’m still a hopeless romantic deep inside...
I was obsessed with the movie Dirty Dancing as a teenager – I knew it by heart, and rehearsed all the dances with my friend
Sometimes when I’m in nature, life feels so beautiful I cry
In 2014 I sold my apartment and all of my belongings...I thought it’d be challenging, but it actually felt liberating to let all my stuff go
I love taking photos, it’s one of my favorite mindfulness practices
It often feels like I get a million new ideas a day...I’ve learnt that I don’t have to act on all of them
I collect stones, I can’t help it
I’m a podcast addict: I especially love OnBeing, Invisibilia, Startup, Tara Brach, Song Exploder, Strangers and Love Me
Over the years I’ve been really fortunate to have had incredible experiences that’ve made me become the person I am today. Here’s an idea of the type of skills I bring to our sessions and work together.
Breathwork: I've been practicing breathwork for nearly a decade through different practices like qigong, yoga, meditation (and silent retreats).
Coaching: I’m a certified facilitator of TeamUp Triad Coaching – an organization that facilitates online mindfulness coaching in groups.
Movement: I’m a certified DANCEmandala facilitator (Level 2), a movement meditation practice founded in Thailand. I was lucky to study with DANCEmandala founder Areeradh K Tri-Siddha. Furthermore I've recently attended these immersions: "Learning to Listen: Intro to Somatic Movement" with Tara Eden, "Positive Tension: The Art of Dance Improvisation" with Ophra Wolf, and "Inner Dance" with founder Pi Villaraza.
Qigong: I’m a certified qigong instructor. I completed my two-year training at Thai QI Holistics several years ago in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Mindfulness: I’m trained in stress-reduction through mindfulness. Am a graduate of MBSR course – 8 weeks Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course (guided by Saki F. Santorelli, EdD, MA, & Florence Meleo-Meyer, MS, MA).
Yoga: My mom was a yoga teacher, and I grew up doing yoga as a kid. It has been a big part of how connect with my body & focus on breath. I do regular self-study with different teachers, including Adriene Mishler.
Meditation: Meditation weaves itself throughout all of the practices I specialize in. I also go on meditation retreats whenever I can. Here are some in Thailand that I can recommend for you – and if you’re interested to learn more, I’ve written about some of my experiences here and here. I’ve also been following the teachings of Dr. Tara Brach for several years via self-study.
4-day silent retreat at Wat Suan Dok (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
10-day & 5-day meditation retreats at Wat Tam Wua (Mae Hong Son, Thailand)
10-day silent Meditation retreat at Wat Suan Mokkh (Surat Thani, Thailand)
Keep in mind that these types of retreats are offered all over the world, so you can check out if there are any close by for you.
Check out these free resources to feel more connected today…
We all have a special story to share, learn, and grow from. And it’s such a gift to be able to use mine to help others reconnect to themselves. I want to share my passion for inner work with you so that you can start feeling more peaceful & powerful today.
If you want to start connecting more to yourself, feel free to reach out to me. You can also explore some of my free resources, and listen to my audio meditations to feel more peaceful. Be sure to let me know how they work for you!