Self-reinvention

 

Self-reinvention and new beginnings are major ley lines that will colour the power of your year. — Natalia Benson

 

I had written the title in December. When I read my horoscope for 2k18 this morning by one of my favourite astrologists, Natalia Benson, I knew I had gotten it right. This idea of self-reinvention this year is one that I feel to the core of my bones.

 

Last year I took a major detour in my life and chose something I had not done before: I moved to my beloved’s hometown in Canada to settle and enjoy a more fixed lifestyle for a while. I didn’t hide the fact that I deeply struggled, often bursting into tears. Nonetheless, I kept trying to find the magic. We bought a home. I decided that my sadness was a result of adrenal fatigue, until I had removed my copper IUD and all those symptoms were gone. And, I was still crying.

 

What I felt most sharply that left me feeling so lonely and isolated was the lack of community and culture. I was warmly welcomed and everyone was exquisitely generous and kind but I felt that I didn’t fit. The free-spirited, heart-led tribe that I accustomed to immersing myself in was replaced by people whose leading concerns were around security, stability and fitting in. Those who lived to feel free and alive, and willing to take leaps in the direction of inspiration and intuition was exchanged with those who preferred to recoil into a safe mediocrity, pulling each other into place with them.

 

While I know that much of the world is like this, it’s not my world. I worked hard my entire adult life to free myself from the tight grip of despair that leads to choosing safety over freedom, fear over faith, security over love. It was an inside job, but once I’d untethered myself, I couldn’t go back.

 

 

“Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvellous. I want to be a writer who reminds others that these moments exist; I want to prove that there is infinite space, infinite meaning, infinite dimension. But I am not always in what I call a state of grace. I have days of illuminations and fevers. I have days when the music in my head stops. Then I mend socks, prune trees, can fruit, polish furniture. But while I am doing this I feel I am not living.” ― Anaïs Nin

 

And so I cried, a lot, mostly in private, and questioned myself, even more, wondering where I had gone wrong. Over the months I grew bored, and sad and fat, not fat fat, but those extra 4-5 kgs crept on as they always do when I don’t know how to shift my misery. My body is always the first to know, even before I can intellectually acknowledge it. I felt like the Little Prince who says in French, “I have to learn to apprivoiser (domesticate) my inner flowers or storms.”

 

By the end of 2017, we both knew something had to change. Julien was always so compassionate and understanding about how I felt but lost on what to do about it. He thought that maybe I had to try harder. He is happy with this life that he knows. I offered a solution: I would travel more next year, maybe 3-4 months of the year. Maybe that would ease the pain of not feeling at home in his home-town. He agreed and I promptly rescheduled my trip to Mexico for January 1 and extended it to 6 weeks.

 

One week in this bustling tourist town of Puerto Vallarta, and my heart has been satiated with everything I’ve been searching for. Friendships with like-minded gypsy souls that float by, opening up conversations on following your heart and living by the wisdom of your feelings, fill my days. The expat community has absorbed me as one of their own and everywhere I go I bump into someone I already know. Chivalry is reborn as strangers hold open doors and help me onto buses and shower me with admiring words and glances that make me feel like art. Meanwhile, I wake every morning gushing with gratitude, the ocean soothing and washing away my pain, the sun refuelling my passion for living and my body sweating out the past year on hikes through the jungle.

 

I feel more at home here, than I have in Canada in a year.

 

What happens next, I’m not entirely sure of. I am completely surrendering with trust and a singular intention — to chose the ‘middle way’ as Buddha counsels — while I navigate this self-reinvention.

 

Make 2018 the best imaginable [free 1hr video workshop]

 

To arrive at what already is here, we need intention and commitment and a practice to enable the heart to be quiet and the eye to be clear. Intention is developed in radically honest self-reflection, piercing to the deepest of our hearts’ longings. Intention arises from our hunger and opens to our fulfilment. 

 

At the start of every new year, and then every few months throughout the year, I perform a combination of planning, visioning and manifesting practices to align my life, intentions and actions to my unique, aspirational path.

 

Something that started as a fun way to share my practices has become a yearly ritual where I create an updated workshop to show you exactly what I do (right now) to create my life and align myself so that my visions, lofty dreams and fiercest hopes come true. My life is an actual testament to this work, and it’s with such gratitude that I can pass it on to you.

 

We are creating our reality in every moment. Every thought you think, every intention you set, and every plan you put in motion is a powerful conduit for what you create in this world, placing you on the leading edge of your life.

 

With encouragement to reflect on the recent past and the lessons learned, as the contrast of this takes us towards what it is that we actually want, I guide to where we discover for what we hunger.

 

A secret about knowing what you want: It doesn’t have to be logical or make sense. All it has to do is feel good (to you).

 

And then I show you how to align yourself to the fulfilment of the things that you want without having to understand or know how they’ll come about or how you get there. Because the ‘how’ is not your job. Your job is simply knowing what you want and paving the way for those things to arrive.

 

Once you get that all you need to do is set the intention and clear the way, that’s when the journey begins.

 

Are you ready?

 


 

Sign up* and I will instantly email you a heart-centred, intuitively guided and inspired 1-hour video workshop for manifesting a great future, using practical planning tools that I use every day, to make sense of what you are creating for this year.

 

*If you are already subscribed to my emails you will have received the secret password from me already!

 

Don’t worry — it’s a do-it-in-your-own-time workshop — so even if you’re busy right now, you can sign up and do it when you have time.

 

You don’t need anything except an open heart and mind, big dreams, pen and paper and a willing imagination.

 

 

☾↠❍↞☽

 

 

Kind words from workshop students:

 

Loved your workshop soooo much Vienda!!! It has helped me immensely in gaining clarity over what I want to focus on and achieve this year, as well as allowing me space to dream that everything I desire CAN happen! Thanks so much for putting so much of your time and love into it. You looked absolutely gorgeous too! — Kate, Australia

 

 

Just watched your workshop video (finally!) – LOVED it! Just what I needed to get my butt in gear. I keep saying I’m going to do all these things but haven’t gotten around to writing them down because I was trying to create my own template. The planner fills just saved me hours and now I can spend those hours filling them out! — Teresa, Canada

 

 

I absolutely LOVED your planning workshop. I’ve been sharing your concepts with friends and my own clients (of course quoting you!) and it has made such a difference to me. You make me feel as though freedom of time and an abundant business can coexist and is possible. I wanted to let you know how impactful that one workshop was and not just what you said or taught but all of the inspiration that sparked through me because of it. — Mish, Australia

 

 

I loved your 1-hour workshop, beauty! Thank you! I really loved your money manifesting/abundance tip! I create capsule wardrobes too… and our non-negotiable are the same! It was just such a joy to listen to. xoxox — Katie, UK

 

 

So ahh, I just went and ordered a planner! Totally looking forward to the focus and clarity I want it to bring. Thanks for your always beautiful and (what I love most) simple and easy way of doing things. x — Ainslie, Australia

 

 

Wow Vienda! This is so amazing and I am so grateful! I know I will work with this a lot. You are truly an angel!!! — Anna, Germany 

 

 

I just got a chance to watch your video workshop (it had been queuing for a few weeks), OMG so good, and so relevant to me right now as I am totally obsessed with my planner/journal. I took a whole heap of ideas from what you said and showed throughout the video and have now incorporated them into my daily/weekly/monthly processes. Thank You!! — Ame, Australia

 

 

Thank you so much for your free workshop! (And also for your new moon & full moon journaling guides). So many great things have happened since I started journaling properly and everything just seems to fall into place, for example I worked in a really shit job (my boss was the worst) and when I felt like something needed to change and I set the intention to be more confident in my work and believe in myself and just quit I got called into HR literally like 2 days afterwards and they offered me a cancellation agreement (I can now stay at home for 4 months but still get paid!). Thank you for making me more aware of my own power and of my own self. Even now that I know I don’t have a new job yet I don’t panic because I know the Universe will guide me to a better job, maybe also in a different place, who knows?! Anyways, thanks again for all of your hard work, it is really appreciated. — Jessica, Germany

 

 

I watched it this morning, taking notes throughout and I feel so energized and inspired!! So helpful. Thank you. — Melissa, USA

 

 

VIENDA! I began my day with my supercharged rituals and felt called to sit and watch your new workshop – make 2017 the best imaginable – and I am SO GRATEFUL for you beautiful guidance, your positive, strong, trusting energy that you share and the truth and clarity you offer us that read/watch/listen to your content. SO much appreciation. I feel really clear about what I will create this year and also reminded how I naturally contribute and show up for myself and others. Thank you thank you thank you!  — Emily, Australia

 

 

Another miracle to add to my day! — Stacey, UK

 

 

Darling, you are a pure delight to watch! Magical – yes! You’ve inspired me no end with this ever-so-generous workshop. We share so many values and ideas. I’m currently working on my 33 capsule too. Big shift for me, but I’m excited! Thank you again. — Catherine, Australia

 

 

I watched the workshop today, I really liked it, especially the part about the days of the week according to astrology! I always felt that Monday was my quiet day! — Alessia, Italy

 

 

Thank you for your gorgeous workshop.  I’ve gone through it and I intend to go through it again!  And I’ll be off to find me a planner this weekend. :) — Amy, Australia

 

 

#myheartfullife — a short story about discovering my purpose + career

 

When I came up for air at the end of my graduate degree in psychology I looked around at the paths open to me and didn’t like what I saw. I seemed to have two choices: become a stay-at-home-mama (superheroes) or follow a career path that required me to give up my space, time and freedom (slavery). I didn’t like the look of either.

 

I felt sad and discouraged that there were so few options and out of the ones available, none lived up to what I considered, the nature of an aligned and in-tune life. Instead, they required a kind of hardening of the spirit, hustle to move forward and competition with others grappling over measly crumbs of a possibly fulfilling career. I chose an alternative (less esteemed) path…

 

I wanted to have fun and explore the world and garner a broad range of life experience that I could draw from. Somehow I had the wisdom to reach for experiences over titles or tangible things. I left every comfort behind me and made adventure my guide as I starting working in the music industry.

 

I was cool in those days.

 

Working as an artist coordinator at underground psychedelic music festivals I crossed the globe many times over. I had mystical experiences. I watched people lose their minds and lives to drug habits. I slept on floors in random squats. I rediscovered myself and the meaning of life over and over again. I made friends and lost friends and took lovers.

 

The one thing that stayed with me was the relentless curiosity on what made people do the things they did, say the things they said, and experience their lives in their own unique ways. There are as many ways to experience the world as there are people. Not a single one of them is the same.

 

I started writing about them. Every month I wrote long, psychologically-analyzed, descriptively detailed group emails about my travels and what I was seeing to my list of friends. Every month that list kept growing. People were intrigued by the strange bound-less unconventional life I was living. I didn’t have much money nor a permanent home. I lived off hope and dreams and the next adventure.

 

At some point, someone told me I should write a blog. I adamantly said “no”. It was 2008 and I wildly opposed to the Internet. I didn’t have Facebook. I chatted on MSN messenger once in a blue moon. And I wrote a monthly group email to my fast-growing group of world-wide friends.

 

That year I moved to London (for the 2nd time in my life). I slept on my friend’s living room floor while I looked for work. I worked making cold calls as a telemarketer out west for 3 days while it trampled my soul. I worked as a receptionist at a real estate agency in Clapham for 2.5 weeks which squeezed the life out of me. On my 3rd Wednesday, I went on my lunch break and never came back.

 

Finally, I was hired as an events coordinator for a reputable dance company in Holborn. My boss was a micro-managing dragon-lady with horrible acne, but my co-workers were 5 angels from different parts of the world and together we represented the international department running dance events around the world.

 

I moved into a bright, sunny apartment in Hackney that I shared with a Spanish gay hairdresser who worked for tv and a fashion designer from Georgia (the country). This was the year that I threw myself into manifesting. After years of drifting with adventure my only cause I was ready to start wanting and asking for more, even though it didn’t all make sense to me at the time.

 

That sunny room in Hackney in 2008 was the foundation of my now popular course Manifest More.

 

London was and always has been like a mother to me: nurturing me, holding me and giving me space to soothe my soul and grow. After a year of working in an office and living in a busy city, I started to get restless. I was ready to move on and start creating something new in my life. I didn’t know exactly what it was that I wanted. I only knew what I did not want: to work in an office, headed by a dragon-lady, without adding anything meaningful and worthwhile to the world, for the rest of my life.

 

So I followed my heart and booked a flight to India. I didn’t know it at the time but I went to India to search for my purpose. I didn’t find it in the 4 months I spent there. What I did find was an unbreakable inner strength. And the deep desire to help people and be creative. I kept looking tangible answers. For that “thing” I was destined for to fall into my lap.

 

3 months in Europe. A month in the Middle East. 2 months in Thailand. A month in Japan.

 

A year later I arrived back in London. I felt more lost and confused than ever.

 

I tried to put some pieces together: I love fashion, and sustainability and being creative. I had connections in the fashion industry in India. I decided to build a small eco-friendly fashion brand. I called it Etica & Ella. With no understanding of marketing and sales and the confidence of a field mouse when it came to business I poured tens of thousands of dollars into an idea that dismally failed. The idea was good. But I didn’t have this systems, support or shrewdness to sustain it.

 

My boyfriend at the time suggested we move to Sydney for his career. Dejected with the word “failure” stamped across my heart I agreed.

 

At that time I decided 2 things: 1. that I knew with absolute certainty that I had to work for myself, and 2. that this was the last time I was ever going to work for someone else. I sat down and wrote a job manifestation list to end all lists of exactly what I wanted: A job that would teach me everything I needed to know about running a small business, that I could walk to from home, paid well and was close to my yoga studio.

 

Two months later, I became the business manager for an acclaimed author and motivational speaker. It gave me everything I wanted. While in that job, I started a blog, and wrote frantically every day, posting 3-5 times per day. I was finding my voice, figuring out my “thing” by actively showing up day after day and pursuing whatever lit me up.

 

2.2 years later in mid 2012 I decided I was ready to take flight and try again. I spent a year travelling while I built up my name, copywriting and managing social media accounts for other #bossgirls as I went. 3 months in Amsterdam. 3 months hitchhiking from Mexico to Panama. 3 months in San Francisco. 3 months in LA. In August 2013 I signed my first clients. I officially had a business.

 

That first year was haaaaard. Harder than I could have ever imagined as I navigated my own insecurities and the mysteries of running a business that was both authentic and financially viable. I moved to London for the 3rd time and discovered the heart-healing love of unconditional support that I received from the women in my life.

 

In agonizing anxiety on how I was going to make enough money to live each month and remain integrity and authenticity I kept showing up day after day after day with nothing but stubborn persistence to make my dreams of creating a job that allowed me to truly be an extension of ME as well as give back to the world. I left London for India and then Australia as I entered my second year of business.

 

Things started to feel lighter and get easier. I found my flow. Systems and business practices started making sense to me. I began feeling proud of my achievements and the tremendous journey I had embarked on. It was so much more than starting a #heartfulbiz. It was a life education that shone a light on every shadow in which I attempted to hide. I had unwittingly dedicated my life to growth and expansion.

 

Now in my 4th year in business, I continue to learn, to grow, to be stretched and expand. The process is much sweeter and easier now as I’ve put practices in place that hold me in a safe sacred space as I move through them. I see it as my duty to teach what I learn and share the journey and lessons to make it a little bit easier for all of us. That’s why I created The Heartful Biz with my friend Claire.

 

Right now we have a free 90 minute Q&A video for you answering 10 of the most potent questions we get asked time and time again about creating and running a heartful biz. Register to access the Q&A here.

 

Photos: Alana Rae Photography

 

What is this liberation that I am seeking?

 

I lie on my side on the bed, wearing my new moccasins that my boyfriend has forbidden me to wear indoors, hugging my journal close to me as I write. The words that are spilling forth are hardly my own, instead, they are wiser, guiding me to an insight that will help this dull tightness in my chest fade away.

 

I want to complain. I want to scream “It isn’t fair!” and most of all I want to feel like it’s not all my fault. That’s why I pulled my journal out in the first place. To stew in my own self-pity. I feel a lot of emotions. I don’t have words or a comprehension of them.

 

Instead, what comes out is a deep appreciation of everything that I have and everything that has happened so far, as if by design. It’s slightly maddening to me that my highest self is always present with me when I write. I don’t get away with anything.

 

I have this feeling of being caged in. That my body, the space, the city, the country, the earth that I occupy is too small and I am wanting to crawl my way out. There’s this craving for space, more and more space. There’s never enough and yet when I open my eyes I look around and I know this is not true.

 

What is this liberation that I am seeking?

 

I remember a dream and write about it — about a medicine woman who asks me four questions — and how I awoke, left with an empty, liquid feeling in my womb, in the primal ground of creation, where the secret key to all things lies hidden.

 

I close my writing with a line that I often end with: Universe? Answers, please. 

 

 

I go to a hot Hatha yoga class. The woman teaching is my favourite in the studio: she has short curly hair and her voice is smooth and deep and solemn. I would place my entire life in her gentle hands, though I’ve never spoken to her, except at the end of class to say thank you.

 

She takes us through a difficult transition from triangle to one-sided squat to wide-legged forward fold and the grace she translates to our bodies through her words is beautiful. It’s rare that I feel so held in such a safe container by a woman.

 

As I slowly drive home, still yoga-stoned, I have a striking realisation. This feeling I have been having, of wanting to burst out of my own chest, is a kind of sadness. The liberation I am seeking is freedom from that feeling. I often have this unquenchable desire for limitless expansion when I am growing. As if the skin I live in isn’t big enough to encompass me anymore.

 

That’s what growth looks like, It’s a shedding of one’s skin, over and over again. When I signed up for growth and freedom being the markers by which I measure my life, I hadn’t appreciated how deeply I would have to face my own underworld.

 

 

I get home and place a stale croissant in the oven and treat myself to a rare homemade coffee with almond milk. While the croissant warms up I walk around the house tidying. I make the bed, put the coffee table back in its place after my boyfriend moved it to rest his legs on. I tidy my desk which is covered with the tools of my creative trade: camera battery and led lights from recent filming, pens and watercolours and paintbrush, my two ‘to-do’ lists: one for short-term aims, the other for longer-term, and several pages of hand-written notes for the next free online workshop I am running.

 

I bring the warm croissant and coffee into my office and flip open my journal. I want to catch the awareness of the realisations I have had in yoga before they disappear again. I write little love-hearts next to key points:

 

♡ My therapist and a psychic have both told me that I need to heal my ancestral female lineage, and after several years of working through those lines I have realised that — no — what is left now, this is my stuff.

 

♡ I have held this deep wedge of mistrust towards women in my life, the story of which has played itself out exceptionally, in my experience with the women in my family. This, of course, leads people to assume that the lineage needs to be cleared. But when I lean into it with my intuition, what it looks like is a past-life experience, that feels like a sword being pushed through my heart — an unforgivable moment of betrayal — from one woman to another, me, in this case.

 

♡ This has caused me to create life experiences for myself where I never have to deeply lean into trusting another woman. I have held myself apart, almost aloof, in a subconscious effort to protect myself.

 

I allow myself to feel the fullness of this, the impact these choices have had in my life and how now that I know this, things may be different. Then I take myself through the clearing process that I teach in my brand new online class: Sovereign.

 

The rest of the afternoon I move between a floating sensation, exquisite spaciousness and utter relief. I integrate my transition into this new level of being and growth by writing a long email to one of my closest friends: a woman whom I love and admire for her ferocious devotion to only speaking the truth. She replies and tells me I did good. And to keep going.

 

It’s a strange thing, how I am often guided to teach exactly what I need in that moment, the most. It’s as if in its own completion the lesson becomes integrated and taught and learned all at the same time. Sovereign run this Friday, December 1.

 

Do you want to be…. sovereign?

 

This time last week I was leaning over my laptop churning over this article that I wanted to write about emotional blocks, patterns and limiting beliefs that hold us back from living the full potential and possibilities of our lives. It’s a topic I am particularly influenced by.

 

I grew up thinking that life was a sequence of circumstances that I had to react to as my parents had done, and those before them. It wasn’t until I was halfway through my psychology degree that I realised that my life experience was a result of pre-programmed patterns, blocks and beliefs in my mind. When I discovered that, I recognised that I have a choice on how my life unfolds. We all do.

 

I started pouring these striking realisations from my heart out onto these pages, intending to turn it into a blog post. I wrote and wrote and wrote and surprised myself on how much I had to say. 3,000 words later, I realised I wasn’t even close to half-way…

 

That night I fell asleep and woke again in the dark cold night before dawn with a really strong message: I had to finish writing everything I knew about this topic to share and then turn it into an online class.

 

I spent the entire weekend deep in creative trenches, writing 10,000 words, filming, creating and making, until today…

 

TODAY: Sovereign was born!

 

I am excited to say (actually bursting at my seams with joy!) that in 9 days time I will be teaching a brand new online class called Sovereign.

 

The premise is that one of the beautiful things about being human is that you are not made of stone. Cycles are breakable. Reality is moldable. Habits can be re-set & strengthened. And this class will teach you how!

 

SOVEREIGN — WINTER 2017

REGISTRATION OPENS: Wednesday 22 November 2017
START DATE: Friday 1 December 2017
DELIVERY: 6-part video series

PRICE: $57 USD

 

To learn more about Sovereign and sign up, go here: http://viendamaria.com/sovereign/

 

My skincare selects and practices

My skincare selects and practices — the full loot by Vienda Maria

 

I’ve spent most of today creatively wrestling with myself: I have a couple of articles to complete that arise from a more serious and deeper note, but all I really want to share with you is my skincare selects and practices. There’s something intriguing about looking into the intimate aspects of another’s beauty rituals — what their biggest vanities and superficial dreads are — and what magic creams and potions they use to calm, treat and care for their skin and most importantly, their face. The one area of our body that leads the rest of us and endures the most evaluation and judgement.

 

Instead of suppressing my desire to reveal my own habits and practices, I am flamboyantly sharing them with you today, including my thoughts on ageing, adult acne, sun damage, and all.

 

In truth, I suspect that real beauty, the kind that lifts eyes and turns heads, comes from within. It’s an energetic thing, and the more we become clear channels for our inner beauty to sparkle outwards, the more we glow, look and feel healthy and beautiful. This kind of beauty comes from a soul at peace with itself, that knows it is on a journey in a human body and takes care of itself at every level. Which includes, of course, skin care.

 

I notice that, when I am truly in tune with myself, self-care and self-love become a priority and so taking care of my appearance is an easy and fun aspect of that. The more I love myself, the more I take care of myself, which is reflected in the way that I carry and present myself. Essentially, when I feel good, I look good, and I take time out to care for myself.

 

While the products and practices I have, change with the seasons, this is what I’ve been loving so far, this year.

 

 

Cleansers

I tend towards drier skin so using creamy, nourishing, nurturing cleaners is really important to me, especially now that I’m living in a desert between the Rocky Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean that gets both bone-dry and super cold. I like to use 3 different options, that I generally apply intuitively based on how I feel and my skin is feeling.

One, I use the Australian brand Sukin’s Cream Cleanser because it feels and smells so good, and always gets all my makeup off, if I’m wearing any. I tend to smear it all over my face rubbing it into the skin and then wash it off in the sink or when I get into the shower.

Two, I just use virgin coconut oil, in exactly the same way. I like to take coconut oil travelling with me because it’s multi-purpose and perfect for warmer, balmier locations.

Three, when I’m not wearing any makeup and I want to nourish my face I use Lush’s Ultrabland, almost like a mask: I smear it on and let it soften into my skin while I shower and then when I get out, wipe it off with a hot washcloth. It always leaves my skin feeling really soft, supple and ready for some serums or oils.

 

 

Oils, serums and creams

Again, depending on how I feel and how my skin feels, and if it’s morning or night and if I’m going to wear makeup or I have been, I do one of the two:

I use the Maritime Naturals Vit C skin serum, mostly at night but there aren’t any rules really, in an effort to erase the entire decade of my twenties spent chasing the sun under the assumption that ageing is a myth, and that it would never happen to me. Ha! Now I have a tender little sprinkling of sun damage on my forehead and on the sides of my face that I’m faithfully performing damage control on. And, I’m happy to say, with a combination of spending much less time in the sun (thank you Canada) and a few little, bottled miracle-workers, it’s visibly getting better. The serum is then always followed up with the hydrating Retinol Moisturiser accoutrement.

Otherwise, I choose my much trusted Sukin Certified Organic Rosehip Oil that always leaves my skin looking hydrated and glowing and apparently also heals any skin damage, followed by the simple and delicious-smelling Sukin Facial Moisturiser to lock all the goodness in.

I’m a big fan of finding a healthy balance between natural and effective. Let’s be honest: we’ve all bought natural products that sound amazing, but really don’t do anything helpful at all. I’m interested in finding the middle path when it comes to skin-care.

 

 

 

 

Masks

I expect 3 basic results from my masks: detoxify, exfoliate and nourish, not all in the one package, however.

Subtle Energies is a dry aryuvedic blend that I just have to add water to, to turn it into a clay mask. It smells amazing, and I’ve never had a face mask that is soooo jam-packed with natural, healing ingredients have such a positive, immediate impact on my skin as this one. It takes away redness and inflammation, clears up spots and generally makes me feel good.

Sukin Detoxifying Clay Mask does what it says it will, and I tend to use it when I have hormonal acne. I always thought spots, were a thing of puberty, but it turns out that they determindely reemerge whenever my body is a little bit out of balance. I actually appreciate them as I see them as my body communicating with me when I need to rest more or generally take care of myself.

Lush’s Bunny Moon is a recent addition to my collection and I love it because it nurtures my skin and hydrates it like nothing else, leaving my face feeling softer than anything. In these harsh conditions, it’s good to have a mask like this to fall back on.

REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask is a hard worker in that it exfoliates my skin removing all the dead, old debris and cells that are stopping my skin from renewing, while also clearing away sun damage and skin spots. I use this one once per week, and often before a photoshoot because it leaves my skin looking clear and radiant.

REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial is also a little miracle worker — it really only takes 1 minute — and forms and tones my skin. I notice that it does tend to dry out my skin and leave me a little flaky, due to its tendency to exfoliate, so I’ll often follow it up with Weleda’s Skin Food. I think Skin Food is meant for hands, elbows and other dry patches, but I use it as a sort of rescue remedy for any part of my body, including my face.

 

That concludes my skincare selects and practices. I like to keep it simple and potent, without cluttering my life and bathroom with too many products. I’m also a bit of a stickler around finishing what I have before I buy more, in an effort to be a conscientious consumer. Now that I have this topic out of my system, perhaps I can focus on the psychology and spirituality-based topics that I have ahead of me. Or… I might just distract myself and write up a makeup version of this rendition, instead. Would you like that?

 

How I hone in and focus on a specific project even when I have alllll the ideas

 

I woke up this morning at 6 am feeling a familiar combination of excitement and anxiety: I had a full day of Skype calls with clients and a creative project persistently tugging at my ankles. It is the one. I want to give it every ounce of my attention. I wake up in the middle of the night to type notes with eyes half closed into my phone for it. I dream about it and stress about it and it is consuming me.

 

But it wasn’t always that way.

 

Like every idea, this one came as a passing thought, amongst many other thoughts on a regular thought-filled day. There was nothing special about it. It didn’t stand out in any particular way.

 

After years of creativity, I now have a candid system, that allows me to capture the ones that are meant for me. This is how I hone in and focus on a specific project even when I have alllll the ideas.

 

Just like the seasons and the moon and everything else in nature, I go through a sequence of cycles in my creative process. There are four parts: idea, incubation, evolution and formation. Within those four parts are woven four other strategies: testing, space, structure and offer.

 

Idea

Ideas are like stars. There are billions of them but not all of them are going to light up the sky in your corner of the universe. Whenever I have an idea that I feel particularly inspired or excited by, I add it to a fluid ever-changing list of ideas. I often get ideas while I am working on something else, and sometimes there is an irresistible urge to jump ship and move onto this new idea now. If it’s something smaller, that I can do in a day, I allow myself to be swept away by the creative current. If it’s something bigger, I add it to my list and trust that, if it is the next one, it will incubate and start to reveal more of itself in the future. Some ideas are particularly persistent and alluring, while others fade away and end up being crossed off the list.

 

Test

Once an idea had caught my attention particularly, I test it out. I start with self-enquiry:

 

Does this idea stand the test of time?
Do I have the resources to execute it?

Will I still be excited by it in a week, month or year?
Can I commit myself to it for however long it takes to complete?
Is the commitment worth my time and energy?

 

If there is even an inkling of apathy, I let it be for now. If there is a full-body yespleasetakemenow, I move onto the next phase: testing. I check in with my tribe, the people that I create for, and see if they’re as into the idea as I am. I love that I can rely on them to always tell me how it is. If it’s “no” I drop it and move on. There are always more great ideas.

 

Incubation

Upon receiving a green light from my folks, the idea generally moves into the incubation stage. This is where timelines start to differ. Some ideas have been quietly incubating before I even took notice of them, so the incubation phase is shorter. The creative project that I am working on right now, has been incubating for about 18 months, but in reality, it is the culmination of my 36 years of existence.

 

Space

Incubation requires a lot of space in order for the idea to take form. Because it is my idea, it is something that I am already wildly fascinated by and involved with in my life in one way or another, and so it is being fed by my natural curiosity and interest to explore and learn more. Ideas come through me, they are not mine, but rather an expression of all of us, that takes pieces of me and integrates them into it as it grows. I give it space and quietly ruminate, allowing myself time to come to a place where I can feel the fullness of it start to burst forth.

 

N.B.: Incubation and Space are non-active parts of the creative process. What that means is they require nothing from me, but the allowing of them to be present in the back of my mind, while I do and focus on other things. I might be working on a different creative idea or project while a new one is taking form and incubating. I might be in-between ideas. I might be brimming with allll the other ideas, and giving some of them my attention, while I file others away to refer back to in the future, using the system outlined previously.  My focus is not entirely on the idea. Instead, I allow it to guide me, around when it is time to give it my undivided attention. I know when that is, because, like right now, there is nothing I would rather do or think about.

 

Evolution

This is when things get exciting because I get to initiate the making of the idea into a real, tangible, accessible thing. Generally, all that the evolution process involves is some blank paper or my journal and some coloured pens. I give myself the freedom to play, to be curious, to brainstorm and write down all the concepts and ways that I could engineer this idea. Sometimes it takes a few minutes, as a result of much incubation, sometimes the process happens in moments between other things over several weeks.

 

At this point, I usually have a number of options around roll-out and will go back and test those with my tribe once more. Sometimes what I think is best, is not what they want, and they always provide me with fresh insight on how to make the things I make, better.

 

Something else that often happens at this point, is a new wave of bright and brilliant ideas, vying for my attention. I give them the same treatment as I do all ideas: follow through if they are resolute and easily completed, or add them to my list for further review. I firmly believe that if the idea is that good, it can wait for me or move on to someone else who can provide it with the nurturing it requires in that moment.

 

Structure

Along with this evolution of the idea into a more cohesive form, a tangle of many elements, thoughts, concept and visions, comes the need to wrap the idea in structure, to give it lasting power.

 

Much like we swaddle a newborn, we want to tightly envelop our idea-babies in a safe web of timelines and plans, so that it can grow into the thing we want. I used to believe that structure was creative kryptonite. I quickly learned after many incompleted and failed attempts to follow through on creative ideas, that without something to hold and move it all together in union the evolution of my ideas are at risk of getting lost and falling apart.

 

It is here, where I take everything and break it down into a comprehensive, chronological flow that can be easily utilized. I write the overlying concept to guide me and pull out the leading topics. I create a breakdown of all the various steps that need to be done to completion and map out a timeline within which I want to create my vision. And finally, I place each step into my calendar over the defined time-period.

 

Formation

I often feel like formation is the most paradoxical phase because it is both the most fun (yay: creativity) and the one that brings up the most resistance because now you’ve actually got to do this thing and give form to something that was previously only a notion. The birthing of a creative idea is not without pain or challenge.

 

The one I am working on right now has been full of stops and starts, and yet every day it finds a way to lure me back in and engage me. I am being stretched and asked to dig deeper than I ever have before which takes more time than my overly-optimistic taskmaster mind likes. I know this about myself and plan in less than I think I can do when I am creating the structure and timeline. I also make a note of celebrating my accomplishments as I go along, every day, even if it’s as small as completing a particularly difficult paragraph.

 

Offer

This is all about sharing the creative idea with the world and offering it. Another word I could use here is marketing. My marketing process begins as soon as I’ve engaged in the evolution stage. I start by sharing my creative process on social media. I write little hints about it on my blog, like this article you are reading right now. I keep the lines of communication open with my tribe and keep coming back to them, asking how they feel about specific approaches I have in mind around the creative project I am working on. The closer I come to completion, the more I share.

 

At this point, I am still fairly early on in the active formation stage, and so I’m still holding much of this project close to my heart. It’s important to keep some secrets, secret. But slowly, slowly I am revealing more and more. What I do know and can share is that that I am going to have a month-long pre-sale period where folks can buy this project at a significantly reduced price, before the official release date in January 2018.

 

That’s my strategic process for honing in and focusing on a specific project, even when I have allll the ideas. I teach other heart-led creative and business practices, like this one, in another of my projects: The Heartful Biz.

 

 

If I want to live a new life I have to sacrifice my old one

From the in-between: integration in the face of mountainous transition

 

I am kneeling over my laptop on my bed, feet curled up underneath me, sipping one of my “healthy hot chocolates” made of cacao powder, a little medicinal mushroom powder, a teaspoon of honey topped up with boiling water and a dash of almond milk. It’s Halloween and I can hear the fireworks going off on adjoining streets as I tap away at my laptop keys.

 

At the start of this year, I sat down and made a promise to myself that I would see this year through, in this little city between the Rocky Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. I knew it would be a year of transition. I knew it would take all my strength and will. I knew it would be one of my greatest challenges yet.

 

This transition feels like being deliriously happy one moment and sinking into a lingering dissatisfaction the next. I have this beautiful opportunity for reinvention right now. As I integrate, I allow myself to feel sad, to mourn for the person I once was. To sit down with myself, once more like I did so many years ago, and redesign the life that I want for myself.

 

Transition is a kind of death. A death of one life, to make space for another. It’s quite apt to be writing about this on All Hallows Eve. Tracing back to its roots, this holiday was known as Samhain, a time where death was celebrated. Perhaps tonight marks the death of my past life, as well.

 

Again and again, I’ve surrendered into trusting that I am exactly where I meant to be right now, as I’ve watched myriads of dreams and wishes unfold and lay to rest around me. For the first time since I started my digital lifestyle business, I’ve met all my financial aims. I’ve bought a home to call our own with my love. I’ve created 2 courses that are having such a powerful impact on people’s lives that they are transformed. I’ve travelled to London and San Francisco and all around British Columbia.

 

Life has unfolded with absolute ease and grace — the two things I always look to — to confirm that I am living in the flow of life, and not against it.

 

Still, I’ve spent more hours than I’d like to admit, pouring over my journal or curled up on the sofa, wondering whether living in Canada really is the right thing for me. It’s hard for me to confess this because I’m terrified that I may be misunderstood.

 

I keep remembering that time the psychic in Bali told me that my fate would be to find the magic in the mundane. The thing is, I want so much more than mundane. I want extraordinary. I’m terrified that I am missing out on all the adventures I am supposed to have. And pacified by the sense that my adventures will be of a different kind from here on out.

 

I remember the heartache I would sometimes feel from belonging to no-where and no-one when I lived, travelling, always on the road. There was a sadness there that pulled me towards wanting a home, and a physical place that I could feel moored to. This feeling is what propelled me towards wanting a new life… it is what brought me here, to this place, where I find myself, now.

 

I also remember the exhilarating freedom that came with travel. Fifteen years of it has left me with a mark stamped into my heart. A feeling of there being no limits. A desire to taste the edges of that limitlessness. It acts like an addiction imprinted on my soul. I always want more.

 

Yet, there is this deep inner knowing that here is exactly where I am meant to be. That all the mental noise, the toing and froing, back and forth between the life I used to live and the new life I am conjuring up now, is a result of the transition I am undergoing. This is what it feels like here, in the space in-between. It’s a kind of no-mans-land between one world and another with feet in both places as I integrate the transition from one way of life to another.

 

Integration, in this case, means completely letting go: if I want to live a new life I have to sacrifice my old one.

 

I don’t know how I’d manage all the big emotions that this transition has brought up if I didn’t have my daily spiritual practices to anchor me. I keep returning to my breath, to my body. I escape the precarious thoughts playing like a broken record in my mind “you are missing out” and “maybe this isn’t the place for you” by being still and present.

 

Starting fresh means integration and new manifestations. The details of the life I am calling in are only just starting to form their first tendrils. I require patience, time and space to allow myself to sink into this new me that is emerging while I gain more clarity around what I want and trust that the right things are already on their way.

 

I am always growing and changing and evolving while at the same time learning how to stay still within myself. This death, the sacrifice of my old life, is just another cycle within the larger cycle of life, as I make room for something new.

 

To celebrate this inner death of mine, on this particularly sacred eve, I am offering a $50 discount on my most popular course: Manifest More. Almost 200 wise women and a small handful of men have sauntered through its doors, to heal, to release and to shape a new approach to their lives, with the 6 simple steps that I use in my own life, time and time again.

 

Use the code ‘mmv2’ at the checkout to make use of the discount.

 

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