Who am I?
This question I would like to answer first of all with the words of Thomas Merton:
"If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”
I have been living this question for a long time now and it lead me on an interesting and rich journey in life. My professional journey has lead to an accumulation of degrees, knowledge, skills and deeper insights into the human condition. My life journey has taken me through some really hard times in which no ready made answers were available. I had to dig deep to find my own answers, and forge my own path, through the desert of loss and grief. Exactly because of my personal journey I have learned the truth of the saying: 'There is light in the darkness'. Darkness does not overtake the light: never.
All of this has prepared me for my current position in life. Being a contemporary theologian, writer, researcher and spiritual care councillor.
My CV in sum: I hold degrees in social work, Religious Studies and have done a intense postacademic training in spiritual direction with the Carmelites. I have worked as a social worker, a researcher at the university and in a hospital, and have lead countless workshops and retreats. Together with my rich life experiences this makes me an expert in spiritual guidance and spiritual care, meaning of life and contemporary spirituality. This background I use in my work as a counsellor, researcher and writer. Besides this, I am bi-lingual English - Dutch and fluent in German. I am also blessed with creative genes which I use in being an artist, and innovator of spiritual care in health.
Over the past years I have been working as a chaplain for healh care professionals in the Netherlands, and for women and new born children at King Edward Memorial Hospital and at the Perth Childrens Hospital, both in Perth West Australia.
I am currently appointed as a research fellow with the section Innovation in Spiritual care of the Radboudumc Research Institute's 'health improvement sciences' in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. For this I am a) editing a book on meaning of life, spirituality and shared decision making, especially in times of a pandemic for health care professionals in the Radboudumc; and, b) designing a tool to be used by specialists in the consultation room, when hard decisions have to be made. The tool will help to included the meaning of life and spirituality of the patient into the process of decision making.
Also I am prapering a Phd in Philosophy titled:
'Soul and art as spaces for personal transformation in times of suffering due to illness. Innovation of spiritual care within health care.'
I have worked as a researcher at the university (Radboud University Nijmegen) in the Netherlands. At the university, I did qualitative research on religion within the public domain; policy for churches and faith-based organisations.