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From Brutal Burnout to Purpose in Paradise

My healing journey of burning out, breaking through,
& discovering my soul purpose

The blessings of a burnout

Success isn’t necessarily what we think. In 2015 I was working as an Innovation & Sustainability Consultant in the corporate world. People around me saw great success and admired where I was in life,

yet somewhere deep inside I felt something was missing.

But I kept on. I overworked myself and depleted my energies. I felt misunderstood, undervalued, and exhausted. It got to the point where I didn’t have any energy left and got sick. It felt like my body was failing me. I felt hopeless.

I needed time and space to heal so I ventured to South America where I found myself in the middle of nowhere, stripped bare of societal structures and disillusioned by what I had believed to be true. There, I finally allowed myself to connect with the unseen world that had been calling me since childhood, but had always felt too scary to explore.

Coming from an orthodox atheist and scientific background, I was lead to believe that anything you can’t prove scientifically is imagination. But what I found in South America blew my mind--plant medicine, energy work, alternative modes of healing, and spirituality struck a chord that was undeniable. A new part of me came to life--the part that was ready to become an energy healer. But it would take some time for that energy healer to fully blossom. In the mean time, I took up another innovation job in Silicon Valley.

My body was telling me something

I tried hard to keep a balance between work and personal life as my new husband, Michael, and I moved from The Netherlands to buzzing San Francisco for a new job in Silicon Valley. But despite my efforts, burnout patterns rose again and old health issues returned. The eczema that had been gone for years now flared up over my entire body, embracing me in a painful, raw itch 24/7.

Determined to do things differently this time, I searched out energy healing and found myself lying on a table at the Bioenergy Balancing Center. The practitioner started talking with my body--asking about the origins of my ailments, and exploring remedies. The answers that arose completely surprised me!

I was in awe as I realized it is possible to ask the body to explain the origins of our ailments.

It was amazing to watch my own inner wisdom for healing be activated by the session. I signed up for the 2-year course to master the art of Bioenergy Balancing and studied tirelessly nights and weekends while juggling  my stressful Silicon Valley job. Then the company I worked for got acquired and I had a choice: move back to Dutch headquarters to a job I didn’t love--or move on. So I decided to quit pretzeling myself into somebody else's expectations of me, and set myself free to create the life of my dreams...even though I had NO IDEA what that would look like.

A new life on our own terms

We traded our electric car for a 4x4 truck, left our multi-million dollar residence behind, and took off down the coast into Baja California. When we got to the small dreamy town of Todos Santos it instantly felt like home. We decided to try it out, managing the local hostel for a few months.

I did less, had less, had to be less. A lot of space opened up, and with it came a tidal wave of all the emotions I had never allowed in. Deeply rooted fears, endless grief, and dark despair. Some days I would cry for hours on end, wondering if this flood of tears would ever finish. It was mango season, and while we peeled and cut the mangos from our yard for days on end, talking about our emotional stirrings, it finally dawned on me. There is nowhere to go.

We decided to stay in Todos Santos, root down, and prioritize our health & happiness over everything else.

After some deep soul-searching and getting clear on what I was ready to bring to the world, I established my healing and coaching practice with effortless joy. Michael, too, aligned with his gifts and built a business creating beautiful websites for conscious entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, we have been blessed with two new additions to the family--our daughter Mai, who was born in Mexico in 2019, and our rescue dog Rusty, who might just be the snuggliest dog in all of Baja.

And yes. Our location is divine. But what actually makes our life like paradise is that we managed to break out of our own conditioning, patterns, and beliefs and are now living life on our own terms.

We decide how we want to be of service to the world.
We decide how much value we can create and how much money we can make.

We decide what our priorities are. And that feels amazing.

Some days I cried for hours on end, wondering if the tears would ever finish. As we picked bucket after bucket of mangoes from our yard, talking about our emotional stirrings while we peeled and cut for days on end, it finally dawned on me:
there is nowhere to go.
Els Verbrugge, Todos Santos, Mexico

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