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Return to Self: the appointment that turned everything upside down

In the coming weeks Myrte will take you with her in her special story, about which she is also writing a book, Return to Self. How one phone call can turn your life completely upside down and put everything in a new perspective. In a series of columns she writes honestly about loss, grief, growth, self-development, discovery and ultimately about returning to who she really is. Her story touches upon the story of all of us: creating a life the way you want it.

What preceded it: on 21 November 2017, Myrte woke up to discover that she had missed several phone calls from her parents. Her multiply disabled sister has a brain stem infarction and is in hospital. When she dies, Myrte falls into a deep hole. She gets back on her feet and two years later welcomes a traumatised teenage girl into her home. A young girl who has been through so much in her life. After the first ups and downs, a time of enrichment with her adolescent housemate begins, both figuratively and literally for Myrte herself. And then after this time of growth, the soil is abruptly swept away from under Myrte’s feet…

A virus that changed everything

To be quite honest, this blog is quite heavy for me to write. It is really very intimate and personal, but this is what I consciously choose to do. I’m not sharing my story for myself, but for anyone who recognises themselves in, and feels supported by, similar situations. I take you back to the end of March 2020. The love that I thought I had found, turned out not to be the one. What was it? I was so tired of it and actually ashamed of it. Failed again.

At the same time, the world as we know it changed completely because of COVID-19. From one day to the next, I lost my company. Everyone was cutting external people out of the budget, including my services. There I was. No income, no prospects of income, fear and uncertainty at all levels.

Despite, and maybe because of, that fear and uncertainty, I managed to set up a special COVID programme (“From chaos to control during Corona”) for small business owners to help them through this time. It was a quick fix and not permanent, but the fact that I could design it (conceptually and visually) within three days gave me a boost of confidence.

What was in store for us?

I was not alone, because many people saw at that time that fundamental elements such as income, health, safety and freedom were under threat. This can be compared to the beginning of the unconscious search in your life, the “chaos phase”. I wrote about earlier in my book Return to Self. This is often accompanied by a violent event that shakes your foundation and creates unrest, frustration, fear and chaos.

You probably feel the same when you look back at these early days of COVID, don’t you? At a time when everyone was facing the same pandemic, there were as many different experiences as there are people. The impact of COVID-19 was different and unique for each individual.

I was not alone, but my experience was unique. Two weeks before I entered the chaos of the pandemic like everyone else, I discovered that I was pregnant. I felt immediately that there were two of them. Of course, my best friends called me crazy, because how could I know? I turned out to be right.

A period of extremes

My strong intuition and connection with my higher self have never let me down, but now that I was pregnant, I had to answer the question: “how on earth am I supposed to do this?” How lonely, confused and terrified I felt. Yet I also felt a deep strength coming to the surface within me. It is the fire in your belly when you feel strong and believe you can handle it. 

I knew I was pregnant even before the test confirmed it. Shortly before that, I had escaped from the (again) very unhealthy relationship that marked the end of an era for me. Yet I had already decided to raise them myself, because I had always wanted to be a mother and I knew by now that I could, thanks to my beautiful teenage foster daughter.

I worked very hard to prepare my business for my real needs of being more online and location and time independent. But of course my world was turned upside down and I had to completely turn my life around to be a good single mother.

Two weeks after the first Covid wave I had the first official ultrasound. I was super excited and my parents had to wait outside because no one could come in due to the restrictions. As I lay there alone and looked at the screen, the nurse said: “I’m so sorry, but I don’t see anything growing”. A sentence I could not understand. How so? My body showed all the signs of a pregnancy! It was such a traumatic and surreal moment.

No more life

From one day to the next, my whole life changed again. Or rather, my whole world collapsed. I had a ‘missed miscarriage’ and because it is so unexpected, it is a very shocking experience. The physical procedure after a missed miscarriage is very painful and emotional because you take medication to induce the miscarriage. This was one of the most horrible days of my life.

I was laying on the ground of my roof terrace in a small town in the middle of the Netherlands and could do nothing but cry. I was so deeply hurt and so sad that I just didn’t know what to do anymore. Literally and figuratively this felt like my rock-bottom moment, completely empty in all areas.

A dear friend, who had had a similar experience years earlier, said these life-changing words to me: “Myrte, after this happened to me, I decided to do everything I was always so afraid of (she used to have severe panic and street anxiety). Do you know why? Because I have already lost the most important thing, so it can only turn out better than expected”.

Enough is enough

After she told me this, I decided at that very moment that I would take control of my life again. It was my enough is enough moment. I no longer wanted to be satisfied with what life gave me. Even though I had been quite successful in my work and had even won awards for it, I felt like I was always settling for the crumbs. I was done with it!

From now on I decided that I did not want life to happen to me anymore. I wanted to stop existing and start living now! In the end, I always felt that I was here for a greater purpose. It was time to set that in motion.

My motto and personal quote is always to move forward, you have to move inwards first. But how tired I was. So extremely tired. Not only physically. Also mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I decided to meditate, keep a diary and re-evaluate my life goals and life values on a daily basis.

Taking matters into my own hands

I realised that I had created the exact opposite of what I really wanted in my life. Have you ever had a moment where you wondered, “How did I get into this?” For me, it was all I could think about. What on earth had happened to my dream of working and living abroad? To create a safe place in a warm country for my clients to work on themselves and their businesses? And above all, what had happened to my desire to live a life of freedom?

Financial freedom is not my main goal but I see it as a means to create emotional, spiritual, creative and professional freedom so that I can be at my best and help the people around me to the maximum. I never fitted into a system, and yet there I was.

I was just a puppet in the system of a mediocre life. But from now on, no more.

Next week: the transformation begins

I look in the mirror and ask myself a question, what is the legacy I want to leave behind? Not only in my private life, but also in my professional life. I follow a mentorship programme in London and make a big decision. I give up my rented house in the Netherlands and sell everything I have – except my motorbike – and take the ferry to London. New country, new opportunities, new me?

Did you miss the previous blogs of Return to Self? Read them here: : blog 1, my sister  and blog 2, my foster daughter

Myrte’s next column is scheduled for Wednesday 23 February. Will you follow her in the coming weeks?

More about Return to Self

Myrte: “Way before the year 2020, I was lost. But the thing is, I didn’t know I was lost. I didn’t know that I put on a mask my whole life and I just settled for what life gave me. Never realising that those were just crumbs. Never realising that I could also choose not to settle for that. I was not myself and lost in the labyrinth of my own soul and my own daily life.”

“Until my sister passed away suddenly at the age of 21 in 2017. She was a multiply disabled girl who could not walk, talk or take care of herself. My parents always took care of her with all the love and attention she needed and deserved. She was certainly the light in our family, but I was also confronted with an unexpected new vision of her presence. This was the start of an intense journey of discovery back to myself.”

In early March this year, my book, Return to Self, will be released. I’m launching this one – online first – as I take to the big stage for the first time, in Paris, to speak about female leadership and how to build a successful business without sacrificing your real self,. “About creating a life the way I really want it. Running a business in the way that maximally supports my mission and philosophy. Living in places where I can blossom to the fullest. And above all: a journey to being happy with, and proud of myself.” Exciting! Will you follow me?

About this ‘Wereldwijf’: Myrte Scheffer

Hi, I’m Myrte. Founder of The Purpose EmPowerment Program for people, businesses and organisations who want to make a positive change and impact to improve the lives of others. Entrepreneurship runs in my family, but social entrepreneurship is a different profession. Since the age of 22, I travel and work a lot with, and in, other cultures. To make an impact, you start with yourself, something I have had to shape myself. How? You can read that in part in my blogs for the Wereldwijven and soon on my new website,

Hello, I am Myrte!

On this blog page you can read more about my personal and professional journey as an Impact Player: I'm on a mission to help as many like minded people further in building their social impact business. I travel the world as an inspirational speaker and I run my own "Purpose EmPowerment Program" for people on a mission to improve the lives of others.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

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