Hello Beautiful,

I would like to share something with you that's been drifting through my mind lately.

I've been reflecting a little upon the course of my life, about what I've gone through, how I've grown stronger and what I've achieved in the process. I hope this may inspire you to keep doing what you believe in — or to have the courage to change direction if you feel like you're not on the right track.

It's striking how different I feel about myself and life in general compared to just one year ago. Before last year, when my eczema would flare up, I just applied steroid creams and took a pill to suppress the itch. I knew this was not a sustainable solution, though.

After seven years of using steroid creams, my skin had become so thin that it would bruise and bleed from the tiniest little irritation. I also had become strongly reliable on antihistamine pills to reduce itchiness and be able to sleep. But there were some unpleasant side effects too. The day after taking an antihistamine pill, I always felt drowsy, nauseous, detached and depressed. I felt so heavy inside that walking up the stairs was exhausting.

So last year, I decided to quit using steroid creams and pills, and because it was Spring back then, I could handle the withdrawal symptoms surprisingly well. Spring always gives me a bit of a power boost :)

But this Winter, as usual, my eczema flared up again. Even though I had been detoxing for half a year, cleaned up my diet and thought I was doing everything right to create the best health conditions for myself — I suffered from the harsh cold.

Eczema flare-up last Winter

Eczema flare-up last Winter

This flare-up felt different, though. Now that I don't use steroids and pills to suppress my symptoms anymore, I feel like I'm in stronger alignment with myself. I have learned to read the signals my body sends me.

I understand now that I am my body — And my skin shows me when something's not right within.

I understand better why I have eczema, what triggers a flare-up — and how I can help to bring it down again.

An after storm view from our apartment in Aarschot

An after storm view from our apartment in Aarschot

And that's where the Sun comes into the picture... I love love love the Sun!

As soon as the Sun comes out and temperatures rise, I instantly feel 100x better. I'm more relaxed, energized, confident and more in tune with nature and with myself. As soon as it's warm enough for me to walk around barefoot without feeling cold, I really feel like I'm in perfect balance. I have a better vision of where I'm heading, I'm more focused, I take things less personal, I feel like socializing more spontaneously and I even have nights when I sleep 7 hours in one piece! Such a mind-blower for me. Sleeping 7h in one piece was absolutely unthinkable during Winter.

Remember my blogpost about our trip to Bulgaria? Before we left, I had such a bad flare-up that I even decided to apply steroid cream again, after one year of abstinence. I was just so afraid that if I would get on a plane with my damaged skin, I wouldn't be able to enjoy my trip at all. And I'm actually glad that I did it, because it gave my skin some peace for a few days.

On our way to Boyana Falls, Bulgaria

On our way to Boyana Falls, Bulgaria

We spent four days in Bulgaria. We had long walks in the city, enjoyed plenty of fresh vegan food, we climbed a mountain, soaked in Sunlight, connected with the Earth and with friends, we talked, laughed and relaxed. If you read my blog post, you probably know that I was amazed to see my skin clear up in just a couple of days. After all these months of agony, I was really surprised to see my skin heal in just a few days!

Reconnecting with Nature at Boyana Falls, Bulgaria

Reconnecting with Nature at Boyana Falls, Bulgaria

As Summer has now (finally) entered Belgium too, I feel how the elements of Nature — Fire (warmth & sunshine), Water (fresh spring water), Air (breathing) and Earth (being and moving in Nature & eating organic whole plant foods), are my most powerful healers.

The more I feel connected to the elements, the more relaxed I feel. And the more I can relax, the better I sleep, the quicker I heal, and the more joyful I am.

So I realize now that Winters are really not for me and I'm seriously thinking to move out of Belgium next Winter. All I need to do is find myself a job so I have some money to support this dream.

You know, I used to believe that the world was a circumstance, that there was little I could do to change it. i thought life was about learning to adapt to situations and meeting other people's expectations.

But I've learnt to let go of that unfulfilling mindset.

Now I believe I just have to be confident. I am here and I am wonderful. I create my own opportunities. This is my life. I won't get a do-over.

So if you too feel like you don't 'own' your life, maybe because you have a chronic illness, or maybe because you live in an unfortunate environment, or you're in a situation that doesn't inspire you: do not despair. There is a way out. There may not be one magical cure that will fix you overnight, but there is a way out.

This was me on a hiking trip in New Zealand 2.5 years ago

This was me on a hiking trip in New Zealand 2.5 years ago

Just be confident. Believe in yourself. Don't let society's dogmatic beliefs rule your life. YOU ARE A POWERFUL CREATOR. You have the right to be here and speak your mind just as much as anyone else. You are a person with unique talents, beauty and a voice that are worth sharing. Allow yourself to live a life that feels fulfilling to you, even if that means you have to step out of your comfort zone more often.

And don't be afraid to fail. Don't be afraid to change your course. WE ALL FAIL. That's how we learn.

So stop living like you get a do-over life. You only have this one life. And it is yours. You own it, you create it — you are the director. Every present moment holds in it the opportunity to start something new, to shift your mindset — to quit smoking, to change your diet, to forgive someone, to go out for a run, to let go of or pick up a new habit.

There will always only be this moment.

So make it the best. And remember:

"Failure is not the opposite of success. It is a stepping stone to success." (Arianne Huffington)