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The wonders of life
Ellen van Dongen

I could never have imagined it was possible and yet life gave it to me: the opening of my heart and my ability to embody emotions. It started four years after my burnout and it was a difficult, slow process. Life is different now, with more discomfort and unexpected sensations from within, but it also feels more natural. Being calm and grounded has become a practice in stead of a state. Since my awareness expansion, as I tend to call my burnout nowadays, I’m ‘awake’ and that means openness and transparency. Luckily, I had already learned that wrinkles are part of life, when you get older, and that misses are to learn or improve. I feel inspired and deeply grateful for the next generation. My two sons and daughters-in-law make me happy and proud. Together we share memories of Willem Aaij and we create new memories every day with Mila, our wonderful new family member.

Career in keywords

To me work has always been my life’s work. Work experience in key words: Strategy, helicopterview, analysis & synthesis, context-aware. Personal development, information technology, systemic advising and change. Biologist, teacher. New business developer for large-scale works with long-term partnerships, in government and corporate industry. The core: seeding the field, weaving a web of connections, creating conditions for success and giving direction. Developing a joint vision, inviting all stakeholders to commit the best of themselves, choosing collaboration over competition. Working for a great and higher goal, achieving results with value for the stakeholders and the whole system. I incorporate everything I’ve done and learned in my life into the lifemaps. And that naturally includes what I am experiencing now – my life and the lifemap developments are closely interwoven. Linkedin profile.


Lifemaps.NL is a one-woman, socially inspired, not-for-profit venture, registered in The Netherlands. Chamber of Commerce number is 30213990. VAT Identification number is NL001246484B58. The catalogue on the website offers an overview of lifemap building blocks and available scenarios. The purpose is to work closely together with others using the lifemap scenarios to discover ways to apply the Master Code of Care. There are no financial objectives for the venture, but the degree to which occurring costs and expenses are recovered could be improved. All work with lifemaps is project-based. Prices, tariffs and conditions will vary, depending on the aim and nature of the project in question. Recognition for Lifemaps.NL: Meshworker of the year 2020


In this phase of life my mission is more to bring awareness-raising than it is to take action. So how can I still make my contribution to care for the planet? One of the strengths of lifemaps is precisely the physical, the tactual, working with products on the basis of paper… I therefore designed private measures for myself. I cleared out my excess clutter, took part in a communal living experiment, became vegetarian, got rid of the car and bought solar panels. More sustainability measures are taken recently, such as installing insulated glass windows at home (the workplace) in 2021. In 2022 a solar boiler system will be installed. I use organic products, avoid products with environmental impact, travel less, buy less stuff and try to do more with what I already have. Together with others I pick up litter in the neighbourhood. For Lifemaps.NL I aim to purchase materials and services from companies with clear sustainability objectives. I am keeping lifemaps in the paper form. It works well. Happily people tend to keep their completed poster in stead of throwing it in the garbage can for waste paper.

Free online book
E-book Life in 3 questions

Life in 3 Questions, a journey through your life: Who are you, what do you stand for and are you where you want to be? These are the three crucial life questions highlighted in the e-book, in a pointed and clear way so that everyone understands, with images that add something and with great poems by Ingrid Al. It inspires because it is written so positively. It helps you to get an overview and see the big picture. It gives you something to hold on for self-reflection. It becomes clear what is important to you when you want to create and make changes in your personal life or work.

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