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A heartrending story on money, not enough-ness, self-sacrifice, and lacking self-worth.

A heartrending story on money, not enough-ness, self-sacrifice, and lacking self-worth.

 

Over the past 3 years, I have spent countless hours working on the beliefs that I hold about wealth, money and earning. We create out realities through the beliefs that we carry with us, meaning that, what you believe to be true, is exactly what you will experience. I realised, when I started my business, that if I wanted to be financially abundant I had to change the way I viewed and thought about money and how I interacted with it.

 

So many of our common beliefs around money are simply fucked up. And because those same beliefs run rampant amongst our friends and peers, they are reinforced and fortified, making them feel like truth. One poignant belief that I have written about is how having a ‘lack attitude’ can ruin your life. But that’s just one side of the story.

 

I recently spent 10 days volunteering with a Orangutang conservation organisation, which gave me a ground-level education on exactly how limited belief systems around money can affect an entire organisation and everything it attracts to it. It was so interesting to see how much I have learned and grown since I first started to question and change my beliefs about money, and how much my past beliefs were mirrored in this very present experience.

 

Leo, who runs this organisation is a very tall, enigmatic, British man who knows how to hold the power in a room and captures his audience’s attention with his booming voice and sincere passion for the work he does. He rescues captive animals, predominantly orangutan, from illegal wildlife trafficking, and gives them a safe home, and rehabilitate them when possible. This work is necessary, heartfelt and important.

 

One of the first times we met, he told me. “I don’t pay myself. Nor do I pay any of my staff. All the money goes straight back in to the organisation and rescuing animals.” Immediately alarm bells went of in my head. While being so dedicated is very noble, one cannot live off passion and love for animals alone. He continued to share that he makes most of his money by lecturing and speaking at universities, which he uses to support himself and his partner and then filters on into the charity.

 

Here’s the first limiting belief: there is not enough money.

 

Meeting the other members who were integral to the core team working in the charity, it was clear to see that they all carried with them, the same attitude. An irrefutable air of not-enoughness was carried alongside them, evident in their malnourished, bony bodies; their stained and dirty clothes; and unkempt, unloving appearance. An organisation that runs on a belief system that there is not enough money in the world to support what they are doing, attracts people who already run on that very same principle. This is reality for them.

 

We all naturally seek out realities that reflect our beliefs. We are all, always seeking evidence for our own truth.

 

Here’s the next limiting belief: to do good, to love, and to be good, is to sacrifice.

 

Leo, in all his righteousness, sets the bar, by sacrificing his life, his income, and his comfort to ensure that the charity he runs can rescue as many animals as humanly possible. Leading by example, all his staff, employees and volunteers, who admire Leo deeply (and it would be hard to resist admiring him) follow suit, and give away every ounce of time, energy and money they have, in the name of rescuing animals.

 

From a psychological perspective, this is known as a martyr complex, where one will wilfully suffer in the name of love and duty, and constantly reassure themselves of their self-worth through self-sacrifice. Often this is coupled with the belief that the martyr has been singled out for behaving in this way because of exceptional ability or integrity.

 

While I really admire the work that Leo and his organisation are doing, I am also see the imbalance that this approach is creating. Many people believe that in order to right the many wrongs, injustices, the corruption, exploitation, and just plain cruelty that is happening in the world, we need to go to the other extreme and heal the world through sacrificing our wants, needs and comforts. This however does not create a healthy, whole and balanced world. This is simply the other side of the same coin and only adds to the imbalance that already exists.

 

I believe the best way to end corruption and injustice is to practice the art of finding the balance, as Buddha calls it ‘the middle way’, where everyone is giving and receiving, supported and supporting, just the perfect amount.

 

Which leads us to another limiting belief: worthiness or value must constantly be proven.

 

When people don’t value themselves, and they sacrifice themselves, they become imbalanced within themselves, which leads to people being depleted and acting from a survival mode level. When people are just surviving the quality of their work goes down, their appreciation for life is limited, and the care for their environment disappears (as I wrote about here), because they simply do not have enough love, money, kindness, care and support that they need. This supports their lack beliefs and brings us full circle back to the beginning.

 

I have seen these beliefs play out in many other circumstances and many other lives (including my own) and know that when we choose to change our thoughts and beliefs, even if the physical evidence is not there yet, we can change the world. I know this works, because I have done it.

 

I hope these words have brought to light something you might have witnessed in yourself and others, and is helpful in choosing another path. If you are interested in how to change the way you look at money and the implications your beliefs have, I’d love to invite you to join my 8 week course, Manifest More. It’s an adventure into creating and having more of the good stuff in your life, while having a positive impact in the world around you. For the month of August I am running a special offer where you get 50% off the program by using the code ‘manifestmore’ at the checkout. See here for more details.

 

 

35 BIG mistakes I’ve made in the past 35 years that changed my life for the better. 

35 BIG mistakes I've made in the past 35 years that changed my life for the better.  with VSCO with f2 preset

 

In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you.

 

I turned 35 today. I wrote about it earlier this year. I feel really good about it. I’ve done so much in my life already, more than the average human, and that makes me feel proud and satisfied. I’ve also fucked up (a lot) and made some big mistakes in my life that have changed my life for the better.

 

I thought I’d share them with you today. Maybe you’ve made the same mistakes. Or maybe you can skip making them and just learn from mine.

 

Enjoy!

 

1. Loving too much. While I do believe that love is the answer to almost everything, it also has to be balanced. I tried to save my mother with love, and didn’t work. I got into the wrong relationships and they didn’t work. It wasn’t until I learned that love alone isn’t enough, that I understood what love really is.

 

2. Dishonouring my boundaries. It’s still something I’m working on, boundaries were non-existent in my life a few years ago. As a recovering ‘rescuer’ I’m learning how to identify boundaries as a safe container for self-love while also taking risks.

 

3. Believing in external security. Our society loves to pump us full of promises that we will find a sense of security out there if we follow the rules and buy the things. Get a job, and get married and you’ll feel secure. Lies. People get fired and divorced all the time. Buy our insurance and get all the fancy things and you will feel secure. Lies. Insurance doesn’t pay for acts of god, and acts of god often vanquish our fancy things. Real security comes from knowing, loving and accepting oneself. And staying open and flexible with the ever-changing nature of life.

 

4. Fighting for things to go my way. When we soften, the world softens. If you are fighting, and it isn’t working — try softening. This is where you learn to go with the flow.

 

5. Not trusting. The signs, the people with good advice, the support networks all around. I didn’t realise that these where all here to guide my way and take care of me. Trust is the highest currency of the heart. Use it generously and wisely.

 

6. Being afraid of being ‘weak’. In the meantime I’ve discovered that vulnerability is a superpower. When I am vulnerable, open, honest — I am stronger than anything that might be in my way.

 

7. Wanting to ‘find myself’. Finding myself actually showed me that I was never lost. What was lost is a sense of certainty in myself. But uncertainty is a gift: it breeds skepticism, it breeds openness and it breeds non-judgement. It helps you grow and evolve.

 

8. Needing to know all the answers. So instead I’ve learned the art of not having to know. And I let it all be. And just keep moving. It’s much more fun, this way.

 

9. Being too hard on my self. It is atrocious, the demands and expectations we place on ourselves. Since I’ve let go, I’ve achieved and done more than I ever did when I gave myself a hard time.

 

10. Waiting for external validation. When instead, it’s up to you (and me) to decide: you are fucking awesome.

 

11. Getting caught up in eating trends. The green smoothies. The paleo. The vegan thing. The all or nothing. The raw till 4. Fuck that shit. Eat what your body wants to eat. Eat things that are alive. Avoid boxes and packaging. It’s that simple.

 

12. Being addicted to stress. Gah! I’m still working on that one. It’s cellular. But I’m getting better and better at relaxing and enjoying the simple, little things, every day.

 

13. Thinking that who you spend time with, doesn’t matter. I had this crazy belief that I could overcome any negative person with my positive energy. But man is that exhausting! And you just end up giving away your energy. Now I’m very, very selective and adhere to the rule: the 5 people closest to you are a representation of who you are; and choose to spend my time with people who uplift me and encourage me to shine brighter.

 

14. Putting joy at the bottom of my essentials list. My upbringing was all about putting others first. Martyrdom before joy. Many of us have been taught that. But the moment I made joy a non-negotiable, I started living the life I always dreamed of.

 

15. Waiting for permission. How often do we wait for someone to say “yes” to what we want to do? Too often. That’s how often. You don’t need permission. If it lights you up, do it. End of discussion.

 

16. Being afraid to speak my truth. Because no-one wants to hear what I have to say, right? Don’t want to upset the god-damn boat, do we?! Wrong. No-body cares what you say, but saying what it truth for you, is ground-breaking.

 

17. Having grandiose fears of being punished. Just in case the entire world is out to punish me for innumerable sins, I would hide away. And then I realised, hey — we’re all sinners! And stopped that.

 

18. Doing the ‘nice girl’ thing. For many years I thought that in order to get the things you want, you had to play the ‘nice girl’ card. But being nice, is suffocating. It’s stifling. It’s soul-murder. Don’t be nice, be you.

 

19. Believing that everyone else has the answer. Guess what?! Everyone’s making it up, just like you. So no more of that, thank you very much.

 

20. Shrinking, because I’m a woman. I love men. This is not about them. It’s about the social conditioning to be less than men, because I’m a woman. This is not helpful and true, for anyone. There is not better. Men are men. Women are women. We show up in our individual ways. Be who you are. Stand tall and proud and do what you want to do.

 

21. Waiting for someone else to take care of my finances. I grew up in a world where money was ‘the mans realm’. It’s almost like I grew up in the 1940’s. Lady, did I have to break down some social conditioning to get through that mountain of a molehill! Now, I very happily am in charge, and my money mound is healthily expanding.

 

22. Blaming others, or circumstances for my woes. Learning to take 100% responsibility for my well-being and happiness has been the best lesson ever. Now, whenever I want to point my finger out into the world, I take that finger and point it straight back at me and ask “What can I do right now, to change this / make this better / choose something else?”. Simple, easy, mind-blowing.

 

23. Being scared to piss people off. But being a people-pleaser is social suicide, and at some point, we are all going to do things that others don’t like. And that’s ok.

 

24. Expecting others to just ‘know’ what I need. These lips didn’t know how to ask for what I need, or communicate what my boundaries are, because I thought, for too long, that we all work on an equal assumption of what we all need and what everyone’s boundaries are. Not so however.

 

25. Feeling guilty when things are going great. It’s almost like I would expect someone to come along and show me that I didn’t deserve all the awesome. Enjoy your awesome, people! You deserve every ounce of it. Own it. It’s yours.

 

26. Being afraid to set real, definite goals. Call them intentions if you wish. Or dreams. But essentially, I was so afraid of failure, I wouldn’t put my big dreams in motion and hence miss out on multitudes of opportunities, that the universe is constantly gifting us with.

 

27. Having FOMO. The fear of missing out is so real, that sometimes we say “yes” to things that should definitely be a “no”. It’s so wonderful to have the wisdom I have now: that everything is happening at just the perfect time, and what is for you, won’t pass you by.

 

28. Bulldozing past my energy levels. I’d push and push and push until I fell into a heap of exhaustion. It’s not okay. Now, I protect my energy levels, my time and space, like a spiritual ninja.

 

29. Giving away my power to situations I cannot control. What I can control is myself, and how I choose to show up in this world. You too? Perhaps now is the time to start asking yourself, what kind of legacy and impact do you want to leave behind in the world… Write it down, map it out, and turn it into a plan by breaking it down into daily micro-actions that result in re-creating your life and telling a new story.

 

30. Trying to do everything the ‘right’ way. As if there is a right way. Ha!

 

31. Confusing my identity with my work. The part of you that equates your sense of worth with “what you do” is your ego.

 

32. Confusing my output with my worth. The part of you that equates your worth with “how hard you work” is also your ego.

 

33. Thinking that ‘more is better’. It’s not. More is more. This is better: what is necessary, for this to be at its ultimate, most essential, best? That is all that’s required. Magic. Love. Work. Worth.

 

34. Holding on too long, to people who didn’t deserve it. I think that’s a mistake we all make at some point. Letting go, letting go, letting. There’s purification and expansion in knowing when to let go.

 

35. Copying others because my art didn’t feel ‘enough’. When I first started writing, I would copy others’ words down into a notepad to see what it feels like to write words that meant something. It took me a long time to trust and like my own art and voice. I did the same thing when I was learning to draw. I would take sketches that I loved and draw them myself until their art felt like my art. I’m doing the same as I’m learning to sing. I hear a voice and imitate it until I can’t tell if it’s my voice or theirs. Part of this is learning, part of this is hiding because owning what you have, doesn’t feel ‘enough’. Holding back my own art, and copying others is both detrimental and helpful. Knowing when and where to draw the line, is the difference between stealing and learning.

 

Want more travel, money and love? Here’s how I made all that a reality.

Want more travel, money and love? Here's how I made all that a reality.

 

It’s been 3 weeks since Julien and I left New Zealand, after 10 months, living and exploring this pristine part of the world, to go on our next adventure: South East Asia until the end of the year. Some may say, I’m living the dream. I would agree with them. I am living my dream.

 

Years ago, I dreamed that I would have a career that had a positive impact in the world and helped change people’s lives. I dreamed that I would have more than enough money to fulfil my needs and desires. I dreamed of being able to take off and travel the world whenever I want to. I dreamed that I would have a beautiful, intimate and supportive partnership to share all my dreams and adventures with. I dreamed that I would be happy, and healthy and having fun, loving my life every day.

 

All those dreams came true.

 

But it’s not by chance. I learned a set of practical skills and tools that helped me turn my dreams in reality. The trendy name for how I do this is called manifesting. But in reality it’s consciously creating your reality by understanding your place in the universe and the dance and art of co-creating with it. It’s been around since the beginning of time, and everyone is doing it, in every moment of every day, whether you know it or not.

 

Around this time last year, I decided to share my secrets. It started with a free 7 day manifesting course, that snowballed into one of the most popular creations I have ever made, with over 1,000 incredible people taking the course, and emailing me daily, with stories of amazing things they have manifested into their lives. Reading those notes of happiness and abundance always fills my heart with joy.

 

Then I released my biggest bundle of love into the world: Manifest More — an 8 week course teaching you the art of turning your dreams into reality. You can learn more about Manifest More, here.

 

With an ebullient team of 70+ manifestors in our jubilant Manifest More Facebook group and over 100 participants in the course within the first year, Manifest More has become a successful reality that has reached far beyond my dreams. That’s the beauty of consciously creating your life — when you know how to manifest properly — you will be taken to places that not even your imagination can take you.

 

Now, I am taking this course to the next level, and over the following months am working on restructuring, rebuilding the entire program from the ground up and making something even better than ever before. It’s exciting work, and I cannot wait to see the finished product. So I’ve decided to run a special for Manifest More for the month of August, before I close the doors to this very first version forever, on Wednesday August 31.

 

Right now: Get 50% off Manifest More, valued at $137 USD, by using the discount code at the checkout ‘manifestmore‘. Click here to join our 100+ enthusiastic manifesting mavens.

 

Plus: Everyone who joins us before Wednesday August 31 (plus all the current members) receive access to the brand new sparkly, updated and more expensive edition of Manifest More when it comes out next year, for free!

 

I’d be delighted to welcome you into our folds, and support you in creating a reality that is made up of your dreams.

 

I’ve had plenty of time to think about things over the past few weeks, as we have been traveling around the jungles of Borneo, and I am bursting with appreciation for all the magic that has come into my life, even just in the past 6 months.

 

  • A full schedule of 1:1 clients.
  • Over $3,000 worth of free (and stunning) hotel rooms.
  • Leaving New Zealand earlier than originally planned. (I was ready to move on!)
  • A stunning leather shoulder bag that I had been coveting worth $200.
  • Spiritual insights and a level of devotion that I was seeking.
  • Unlimited free yoga at my local yoga studio while I was living in NZ.
  • The most savings I have ever had, in my savings account.
  • Opportunities to work with some of the most talented and creative photographers.
  • Friendships with people I truly love and admire, who support me unconditionally.
  • Offers to do awesome work with brands and companies that I love.
  • Inspiration to grow beyond my (already very expanded) limitations.
  • And lots, lots, lots more.

 

Now I have new dreams. I want to buy a house (and it’s happening people!!!!). I want to start presenting and speaking at workshops and events. I want to have an even bigger positive impact. I want to learn about investing my money well. I want to start a charity to educate young women who come from challenging circumstances. I want to travel more. I want to start another (very different) business. I want to take my fitness to a whole new level and generally bring my self-care up a notch. And I continue to dream. And do my part in manifesting those desires.

 

I’d love to share this journey with you, and have you join us this month. Remember, using the code ‘manifestmore’ gets you 50% off the total price when you become a member of Manifest More before Wednesday 31 August.

 

xo

Vienda

 

P.S. Here’s the url to Manifest More, in case the links above didn’t work for you: http://viendamaria.com/manifest-more-2/

 

The Free-Spirited Collective — August 2016 — encourages you to shake things up.

 

The Free-Spirited Collective -- August 2016 -- encourages you to shake things up.

 

 

It’s August and this month’s issue of TFSC includes 2 themed podcasts, a tailored video, your monthly astro-guide, and a chance to win 1 of 5 1:1 Bespoke Muse sessions.

 

This month you are being encouraged to shake things up; to shine your light big and bright, fearlessly, courageously.

 

Learn more about The Free-Spirited Collective.

 

You get to decide how dynamic your “shaking up” will be, however now is the time to step out of the shadows and allow your true self to shine. The energy this month is supporting you in stepping up to a whole new level of living and self-expression.

 

Seeing your name up in lights is not so far away now, if you are willing to embrace this shaking up of who you thought you were, and how much you allow yourself to take up space and share your unique self with the world.

 

It’s time to express yourself — and all that you believe in — with courage and authenticity. Watch what happens, when you do.

 

 

PODCAST: Recognising The Artist Within

 

Being in August, creativity is our central theme. We tend to think that creativity applies only to painting, music and other forms of artistic talent, but creativity is more an approach than an activity. Creativity, quite simply, is the ability to take two separate things and combine them to create a third; it is the ability to create something that wasn’t there before.

 

Creativity is ultimately the expression of the Self. When you take a creative approach, you make a statement of some kind that comes from you. It says something about the creator as well as the created. Even if you’re just putting together components that someone else originally created, the way you put them together can be yours alone. In this podcast we are speaking with Cherise Lily, with a lifetime of creative pursuits under her belt, who teaches us how to recognise the artist within.

 

 

PODCAST: Harness Your Creative Genius + Take Action

 

The month of August is all about self-expression and shining like the sun. This is the month that you really want to focus on your creative genius, how you share yourself with the world, and to give yourself permission to be seen. You are being called to shine, to be courageous and fearless, to let your heart lead in connection with your highest self.

 

Helping us ground this energy in a very real and practical way is our special guest Sarah Jensen, who teaches us how to connect with our creative genius and take action on your passionate, fiery dreams by rocking those big, lofty goals and intentions you hold for yourself. Sarah is a writer, speaker and host to award-winning ‘Rock Your Goals’ workshops, and also runs a popular podcast of the same name. Sarah’s approach is all about tuning into yourself, your heart, soul and intentions, and aligning yourself with your highest purpose, so you turn up the power and potency of your unique, individual creative genius, and fulfil your goals and dreams.

 

 

VIDEO: Stop Hiding in the Shadows and Let Yourself Shine and Be Seen

 

Showing up and being willing to be seen is one of the basic fears that many of us have deeply embedded in our consciousness. The major difference between people who succeed from those who do not allow success in their lives is the repeated ability to show up and put themselves out there and allowing the world to see them and their work.

 

Since August is all about energy, confidence and creativity, we are being called to activate our sense of self, take risks, and make things happen; to reach for the stars and have fun while doing it.

 

Most of us are afraid to be seen. We are so absolutely certain that what others see in us is insufficient in some fundamental way. I am here to remind you that you have a right to take up space in the world. Pay attention to when you shrink yourself to suit your environment or others’ expectations of you.

 

In this month’s video I share my own stories of where I have shrunk and hidden in the past, plus the 5 fundamental pillars to stepping up and being seen.

 

 

ASTRO GUIDE: August 2016 Astro-Guide

 

August ushers in the season of Leo, a sign that shines bright like it’s ruler, the Sun. Leo leads with the heart and invites us to express our creative genius with love. It also asks us to shine our light big and bright, fearlessly, courageously (which means, with heart), and from a place of connection with our Highest Self. Leo asks that we be resourceful, which means finding our own way of reconnecting to Source for energy.

 

 

GIFT: Win 1 of 5 1:1 Bespoke Muse Sessions

 

Our special guest and creative muse expert Cherise Lily is offering 5 free-spirited sisters an opportunity to work with her 1:1 to reignite your inspiration and creative expression, perfect for those of you who feel creatively stuck and have a deep desire to start expressing yourself in a playful, safe and fun way. It’s the perfect gift for the month of August!

 

Your gift includes:

  • 60 minute 1:1 with Cherise over Skype to investigate your unique creative nature
  • 2 weeks of bespoke muse prescriptions
  • valued at $200 AUD

 

Learn more about Cherise and her Bespoke Muse sessions at www.cheriselilynana.com.

 

Join us for The Free-Spirited Collective here. 

 

Illustration by Victoria Rosas.

How ‘going with the flow’ and ‘intentionally creating your life’ live side by side. 

How 'going with the flow' and 'intentionally creating your life' live side by side. 

 

Two plane rides. A bus. 3 nights in a hotel. 4 Nasi Goreng (rice with veg) 3 thali (Indian curries with rice). 2 pineapples. Another bus. Another plane ride. A short trip in a car. 1 night in a hotel. A breakfast buffet where I stuffed myself with as much melon and coffee as I could. 3 client calls. 47 emails. A long car ride. A small dog vomiting in the back of the car. And I arrived at my current destination.

 

Within moments I was devastated. This was not, absolutely not in any circumstances, what I wanted.

 

Weeks ago, when Julien and I first decided to leave New Zealand 3 months early, we made a compromise. That Julien would arrange for us to spend time at, and work for, various volunteering projects along the way, which would be good for his career and his interest in conservation. I wholeheartedly agreed. Travel is so much more fulfilling and meaningful, when you can channel what you are experiencing and learning into something valuable. I get to do it, every day, with the work that I do.

 

So he went ahead, and arranged for the first volunteer position. An orangutan conservation centre on the Malaysian side of the 3rd biggest island in the world: Borneo. They needed someone to baby-sit a beach resort they are building, a project designed to support the conservation centre, while the main caretaker is on holidays. It sounded idyllic and ideal.

 

Arriving, I was miserable to discover what we had stepped into.

 

The building, floors and rooms we sleep in were covered in concrete dust. The beds are springy, old steel frames covered in sheets that have holes in them. I found a flea in one of them. The bathroom and kitchen were overflowing with filthy water. The beach was covered in plastic rubbish. There was dust and dirt and sand everywhere. Building and construction trash sits in almost every room, and around every single edge of the unfinished concrete buildings.

 

There was no love. There was no beauty. There was no cleanliness. The place was a mess. It felt like a refugee war camp.

 

I hated it.

 

I came out onto the beach. Julien was swimming in the water. “I love it here!” he says. I look at him stunned. “Really?!!!”

 

I explain to him that this is a far cry from the reality I am intentionally creating for myself. I honour myself by holding certain boundaries and standards in place. A few years ago, I learned what it takes for me to feel good, to care for myself and give the best of myself to the world. When I don’t uphold what feels good to me, my energy levels feel depleted, I cannot show up fully, my creativity wanes, and I get frustrated, annoyed and resentful more easily.

 

As an act of self-love I choose to spend time in places that resonate beauty, spaces that are filled with love, projects that are fuelled with grace and abundance. It’s better for me, and for those around me. This place screams lack, limitation and leaves a bitter after-taste of forlornness. It is in no way aligned with the direction I am moving in, in my life.

 

This current life experience is a reflection of several factors.

 

  • A partner who doesn’t uphold the same standards that I do. Not all people are as sensitive as I am, to their environment. Not everyone is doing the same kind of deep soul-work that requires a safe, beautiful container to flourish in. Not everyone has learned the powerful impact that choosing to live life at your highest level has. I know and understand this. He attracts experiences that are at a different level of vibration than I do. I’ve seen this happen in the past, and I am aware of it.

 

  • The residue of my boundless enthusiasm to embrace all experiences. I hold such strong boundaries in my life now, in response to not having had any at all in the past. I spent most of my twenties exploring the darkest depths of life. I cared not for taking care of myself. I cared only for adventure. And adventure I got. But it came at a cost. A cost that I now appreciate as life lessons, and have transformed into the magic of upholding boundaries. I see now, however, that there are still some energy leaks in my precious container. I still have things to learn around upholding my values and boundaries. I am grateful for the reminder.

 

This is where ‘going with the flow’ and ‘intentionally creating your life’ find a way to live side by side.

 

Intentionally creating your life is about the vision you hold for yourself now, and into the future. It’s the dreams, the values, the desires, the beliefs and the intentions you have. These elements create the roadmap for how you want life to feel and look like. They invite your manifestations and determine the direction you will move.

 

Flow is the natural movement that your life takes in response to your beliefs, choices, visions, dreams and circumstances. Some may call it karma. Others might call it life lessons. Most of our current experiences are a response to intentions and manifestations that were set, often subconsciously, in the past. Our current life is an indicator of what we once believed was true and possible for ourselves. It is the best compass for showing us, where we need to grow, expand, heal and make new choices.

 

In every moment, you are intentionally creating your life, with your thoughts and focus, and living the flow-on effect of that. The flow then gives us indicators on how we want to adjust our sails to experience the level of life that we desire for ourselves.

 

I believe everything in life is exactly as it is supposed to be. And that sometimes, when life gives you a circumstance that doesn’t align with your vision, the best thing you can do is surrender and open up to the lesson.

 

Returning to the beach that day, with Julien in the water, he asked me if I was going to be miserable. He noted my disappointment and feared that I would resent him for the choices that led us to where we are now.

 

“I’m going to do what I always do.” I replied. “I am going to make it the best experience that I can.”

 

We swept the concrete building that we are living in. Twice. I mopped the floors of our rooms. Three times. We places buckets of water at entry ways to wash away the sand. We cleaned the kitchen and dried out the floors. Julien built me a bamboo cabana to sit on, in the sand. I created a little office space with a space mat and a chair as a desk in an empty room.

 

I get up to watch the sunrise every day, and enjoy the simple stillness. I collect fresh, ripe fallen mangoes from the surrounding trees for breakfast every morning. I swim in the warm, salty blue ocean. I work, as much as I can. And I surrender.

 

This experience wasn’t what I wanted. It is not aligned with my vision and the life I am intentionally creating for myself. If I was on my own, I wouldn’t have chosen it.

 

But I am being given many gifts here.

 

The opportunity to share my vision, beliefs and boundaries with the one I love, at a deeper level. This conflict in interest became an invitation to open up a deeper conversation around self-worth, values and boundaries.

 

Tremendous space and time to simply be in stillness. Nothing inspires my creative mind more than complete and utter acceptance and stillness. And while it’s still at its tender intangible stages, this space that I find myself in, has become fuel for creating something bigger in life and work. It’s exciting.

 

And a reminder to let go, and focus on the little things. Appreciating the little things, is all that really matters.

 

Every experience holds a precious lesson in it. When you find it, you discover that you are always exactly where you are meant to be.

 

VM’s travel guide to the North Island of New Zealand

VM's travel guide to the North Island of New Zealand

 

Crossing over to the North Island after 7 months on the South Island was like arriving in a different country. While the lush deep greens, rolling picturesque hills, endless waterfalls and snow-capped mountain peaks stole my heart on the South Island, it was the open-hearted, loving kindness and generosity of the people who captured me in the second half of our trip around New Zealand. You can read about the first half here.

 

The ferry from South to North is a comfortable 3 hour ride that ends in the centre of Wellington, which is where this story begins.

 

 

VM's travel guide to the North Island of New Zealand: Wellington

 

Wellington

 

This windy city, makes up for its unfortunate weather, with ultimate ‘coolness’. It’s hipster central, with some of the most fascinating decor in bars; alluring cafés, art galleries and museums, and enough shops to keep you amused for at least a day or two. And the food is to live for! Julien was particularly obsessed with a very authentic Chinese restaurant called K C Cafe, that he made us return to every single day.

 

I spent my first day in Wellington catching up on work and running 1:1 client calls from the beautiful Wellington National Library, complete with the most friendly and helpful librarians I have ever encountered and a cafe inside, making it the perfect workspace. We also visited the Te Papa Museum and learned all about the history of New Zealand, went shopping for shoes, saw the parliament building (picture above) and ate as much sushi as possible, to make up for the lack of it on the South Island.

 

 

 

VM's travel guide to the North Island of New Zealand: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

 

Raetihi / Tongariro Alpine Crossing

 

Raetihi holds a special place in our hearts, as it was here that we spent our first few weeks in New Zealand and made friends with Sandy and her family, who run and own Snowy Waters Lodge. In fact this was a place filled with firsts: the first time I ever went mountain biking, to the Bridge to Nowhere, and climbed the 19 kilometres return up a freaking huge volcano; Mount Ngauruhoe at the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, also known as Mount Doom from Lord Of The Rings. As we are coming into winter, everyone at Snowy Waters and surrounds were holding their breath for the first snow falls, so that the ski field could open. The nights were cold and the weather was starting to get fierce, and I spent most of my time writing and reading in front of the fire.

 

 

VM's travel guide to the North Island of New Zealand: Rotorua

 

Rotorua

 

New Zealand is famous for its geysers and thermal mud pools fueled by geothermal activity and Rotorua is the cultural and indigenous centre for exactly that. We spent a full day at the Te Puia cultural centre, guided by a gentle Maori elder learning about the nature, watching the Pohutu geyser erupt, exploring the walks and discovering indigenous talents at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Rotorua is very, very touristic which diluted much of its magic for me, but it was definitely worth seeing the thermal mud pools and watching the geyser erupt, which was short of spectacular. (I also had fun teasing Julien that he was at fault for the sulphur smells in the air.)

 

 

 

VM's travel guide to the North Island of New Zealand: Gisborne

 

Gisborne / Bay of Plenty

 

Arriving in Gisborne we were greeted by the lovely Marg at the Waikanae Beach Motel who very kindly upgraded us to her best room, complete with ocean views. Heaven! Gisborne’s beaches look like they come out of a catalogue about Thailand, and I can imagine that in the height of summer, it feels like it too. As we moved further up the North Island, people become friendlier, the land greener and the beaches more inviting. Gisborne had a cute small-town feel with quirky cafes and shops, and a skate park that Julien couldn’t get enough of. It was one of the few places that I wish we had more time in.

 

 

 

VM's travel guide to the North Island of New Zealand: Mt Manganui

 

Mount Manganui / Bay of Plenty

 

By the time we made it Mount Managanui the weather had turned and we only had snippets of sunshine, which we made advantage of with walks on the beach whenever we could. Trish and her husband who run The Terraces complex, where we stayed, made our time at Mount Manganui special with their attentive care and recommendations of places to go to work in and relax, since the weather wasn’t on our side. (They also wanted me to tell you that they have really affordable specials running when you stay a week or more, and the fully equipped apartments can sleep up to 6 people. Contact Trish directly to get their special deal.) Mount Manganui is a bustling city, and the most populated place to be found in the Bay of Plenty, with beautiful beaches, located very centrally for folks spending a couple of weeks exploring the northern east coast. Due to the weather, we didn’t get to indulge much in sightseeing, but noticed that there were tonnes of things to do, if we had more time.

 

 

 

VM's travel guide to the North Island of New Zealand: Coromandel

 

Coromandel

 

I was particularly excited to get to the Coromandel, not only because I had heard that it was one of the most beautiful, secluded and magical places in the whole of New Zealand, but even more so, because our friend and madly talented artist and illustrator Helinor organised for us to stay in her quirky boutique apartment built into — wait for it — a moored ferry! It was the best thing ever! We drove up to the Marina, and there it was, all white with red and blue stripes, the SS Ngoiro, waiting for us in all its glory. Staying in the ferry for two nights literally made my trip. We also visited the infamous (to the locals) and divine Luke’s Kitchen and gallery, where we had coffee and shared delicious sugared vegan donuts and hazelnut bliss balls while catching up on work, and Hot Water Beach where you can dig a hole into the sand and let it fill up with hot water to bathe in. (I totally didn’t do it because it was cold and windy, but I came and I saw.) And of course went on lots of walks. Glorious!

 

 

VM's travel guide to the North Island of New Zealand: Raglan

 

Raglan

 

The last stop on our 5 week road-trip around New Zealand was Raglan, and nuzzled right beside Coromandel, was my ultimate favourite place on the North Island. The chilled surfer vibe is moreish and the people matchless in their kindness, warmth and welcoming attitude. As soon as we arrived I deeply regretted not having lived in Raglan for a few months. We were lucky enough to spend 2 nights in a quirky old train caboose at Solscape, a sustainable eco-lodge set up high on the hill a short walk from the world-famous surf of Manu Bay and Ngarunui Beach with breathtaking views over the Tasman Sea. I had a jam-packed day of client calls on the first day, but as soon as I was finished, wandered the streets in awe of the creativity and self-expression oozing from the locals, and the endless choice of amazing coffee shops in the little streets that make up Raglan. We also met up with online holistic business coach Sabrina from Hello Freedom Lifestyle and her husband Sam, who very kindly and generously offered us their comfortable AirBnB room in their incredibly beautiful tree house set in the hinterland of Raglan. Leaving Raglan was hard in two facets: because 3 days simply wasn’t enough time to really feel into the beauty and magic of Raglan; and because this was the beginning of the end.

 

 

 

VM's travel guide to the North Island of New Zealand: Auckland

 

Auckland

 

Auckland is far from a favourite city, but it does create full circle in this particular story that is my experience for New Zealand, and duly, I hold a certain fondness for it. We spent the entire time organising ourselves to leave this part of the world behind, changing money, packing bags, closing bank accounts, selling the car, tying up loose ends and catching up with friends.

 

Right now, we find ourselves en-route to the airport. I want to leave you with some inspiring words that summarise the past 10 months in New Zealand. And as I ponder the immensity of it all, I realise that the hidden gems are yet to reveal themselves to me. It is often with hindsight and introspection, that I receive the greatest gifts that any experience and country gives me.

 

My non-negotiable travel essentials + packing list.

My non-negotiable travel essentials + packing list.

 

To travel is to take a journey into yourself. | Danny Kaye

 

Travel acts as a truth serum. I recommend travel as a tangible inquisition into the depths of your soul. There is nothing like travel to accentuate your buried strengths, expose your slight deficiencies and shine a bright light on the unique magic that you bring into the world.

 

As I am sitting here, writing, my love is next to me, planning out the places we might go from Borneo to Myanmar to Vietnam and everywhere in between. In 3 days we will embark on the greatest adventure of our relationship: 6 months in unchartered parts of South East Asia. He’s the planner in our relationship, while I prefer to arrive, and see which way the winds blow me, so I nod and smile, as he points out places we absolutely must visit.

 

While I’m an expert at solo-wanders, traveling in a couple is a whole new world for me. I confess I am equally exhilarated and intrigued. This journey will be an adventure unlike any other.

 

Every week I receive many enthusiastic emails from gorgeous readers wondering things like…

 

“I want to travel the world with my work. How can I do it?”

“I’m about to leave on an indefinite world-wide trip. What do I pack?”

“What are my absolute must-have essentials for travels?”

“Have I missed anything? I’m scared and leaving tomorrow!”

 

Etc, etc, etc.

 

These are the best questions to receive in my email, because if you’re as enthusiastic about travel as I am, then we are bound to be friends. After 13 years of on-going indefinite travel plans I’ve got a pretty clear idea of what is required and included.

 

So I have put together my non-negotiable travel essentials and packing list, for anyone taking their life (and work) on the road for an indefinite period of time. Things like: visas, banking, portable office, emotional and health precautions and what (and what not) to pack. I hope this gives you the confidence to fill your rucksack and take a leap into the atlas, to re-acquaint yourself with the depths of your soul.

 

Enjoy!

 

Booking flights.

 

(Almost) every journey begins with a flight. I keep flight searches simple. I start by going to Google Flights to get a first impression of dates and costs. Often (more often than not) I find the flight I want there, but sometimes I like to check in other places like Momondo and Skyscanner, just to compare. When I find a flight I like, I’ll also check with the airline directly, to see if they have any specials or better deals, which is often the case. I tend to book my flights a few weeks out even though that’s not necessarily the most cost-effective route, simply because my life changes so often and so quickly, that in the end it works out better, as I save in flight change fees.

 

Hot tip: Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be the cheapest days to fly.

 

 

Emotional preparations.

 

The emotional rollercoaster that escorts travel, especially the kind that is unplanned and open-ended, the kind that leads to adventure and spirited inner growth, often arrives unannounced and in the most unexpected ways. There are family members to console, who think you are leaving them (no matter how often you tell them you love them forever); friends who are terrified you will change (and you will); and your own fears and anxieties to quell. Remember that these emotions are part of the experience, and choose to find your zen throughout it all by practicing patience, compassion, openness, courage and acceptance.

 

Hot tip: 3 days before your departure, you will likely encounter “the freak-out”. It includes completely questioning your plans, feeling that you are absolutely not ready, and wanting to cancel everything. This is normal. Breathe through it. The moment you step onto that plane all this tension will dissolve and will be replaced by heartfelt excitement and joy.

 

 

Travel insurance, banking and visas.

 

I always get travel insurance through World Nomads. They are simply the most competitive and best that I have found. I try to have $100 USD in a hidden pocket, just in case of emergencies, and beyond that, pull out local currency in lots of $400 or $500 (depending on what the maximum of the ATM is) when I arrive. It tends to be the cheapest and simplest way that I have found. In first world countries like Europe, the UK, North America, Australia and NZ, I open up accounts so I can transfer money from my PayPal account into them without having currency costs and fees to deal with. I always work and travel on tourist visas. It’s easy, inexpensive and hassle free. Except for in Europe because I was born there, and Australia because I’m a permanent resident there.

 

Hot tip: If you have a freelance or online business like I do, talk to your accountant about how to make your travels work for you. All my travels are tax-deductible for me, because they are part of my “education business”. I pay taxes every year in Australia, because that’s where my business is registered, but my accountant is awesome, and I’ve not literally had to pay anything, yet.

 

 

Places to stay.

 

The next thing you will want to organise is where to stay. I like to reach out to my global online community first and foremost, to see who is out there, in the places I am going. Sometimes they have a spare room to rent, or recommendations or friends I can stay with, which is awesome. I love connecting and staying with real people, rather than outsourcing places to stay. Second to that, I also like to use AirBnB, Booking.com and WorkAway, as options and solutions.

 

Hot tip: WorkAway is different, as it allows you to exchange your time for food and accommodation, and give you really authentic experience, plus covering your basic expenses, as you learn about the new culture you are exploring. This is perfect for slow travels, especially for those still growing their business, and wanting to save some money while giving back to the local community.

 

 

Portable office.

 

I’m a fan of sweet and simple. My entire portable office includes: My Filofax, Mac Air laptop, Olympus Pen 1 camera and an assorted ziplock bag of pens. Everything else is organised digitally, some of which I outline in my Love List. I pack it all into my small canvas duffel bag which goes with me practical everywhere, so I can stop and work whenever and wherever I go.

 

Hot tip: Create systems and processes that mean you don’t have to print anything. Printing on paper kills trees and is a serious waste.

 

 

Packing essentials.

 

Unless you’re going to Australia or New Zealand everything you could possibly want or need is going to be cheaper at your destination. Which means that I recommend not buying anything extra for your trip, using what you have, and buying what you need upon arrival. This goes for: electronics, beauty and personal products, clothes and so on. Literally everything.

 

Beauty: I keep it simple. I use Dr. Bronner’s Sandalwood and Jasmine liquid soup; virgin coconut oil for my body (and face as a makeup removes and even moisturizer sometimes); Sukin Restoring Night Cream, Kiehl’s Skin Tone Correcting BB Cream + Sunscreen in Medium; Buxom Lash Mascara in Black; a no-brand black kohl eyeliner and a liquid eyeliner I picked up somewhere along the way for sultry nights; an eyebrow power kit I bought in a supermarket once and a cherry lip and cheek tint by Glory Boon. I usually get all the important places waxed, but always have a razor and tweezers handy for emergencies, and carry around loofah gloves because sometimes you just need a good scrubbing.

 

Health: I travel with Spirulina powder; Magnesium tablets; and Melatonin to help with relaxation and adjusting to time zones quickly and easily.

 

Clothes: Since my travels are always open-ended, and I never know what seasons I will encounter, I always, always pack clothes that can carry me from hot, sweltering summers (my personal preference) to mild winter, and will purchase any additional clothes and jackets that I might require upon arrival. In an attempt to give you an idea what that looks like, I am spilling the current contents of my bag.

 

For cooler weather: 3 pairs of jeans; 2 warm weather dresses; 3 knitted sweaters; 2 long-sleeved tops; 1 hooded sweater; 1 flannel; 1 leather jacket; and a scarf that doubles as a blanket on cold flights and bus rides. These are all optimal layering clothes where almost everything can work together in some way.

For warmer weather: 2 pairs of denim shorts; 2 muscle t’s; 3 t-shirts, 2 playsuits; 6 dresses, 1 kimono, 1 light jacket.

Everything else: 2 pairs of leggings that double as pyjamas / lounge-around-the-house clothes; a pair of yoga leggings; 4 bras; 1 sports bra; 9 pairs of panties; 3 sets of bikinis; 5 pairs of socks and my current favourite 5 rings, 2 necklaces and 1 pair of earrings.

Footwear: 1 pair of ankle boots; 1 pair of runners; and 1 pair of leather sandals.

 

Hot tip: When at tropical, warm beaches, go find a bit of beach with privacy, grab a handful of wet sand, and scrub your body with it. It feels amazing, and is the best natural exfoliation you could ask for, leaving your skin baby-soft, as soon as you dip into the water to wash it off. Nature is the best beautifier! (Don’t forget to follow it up with coconut oil when you get back to your abode.)

 

 

Luggage: I absolutely adore and recommend using duffel roller bags. They’re easy to manage, can fit a surprising amount in them and are hardy. I’ve taken mine across the scariest borders and through glamorous hotels, and they stand the test of time, no matter what. I used to have one from Dakine that looked a bit like this, and now I have a Quicksilver one that’s similar to this.

 

Hot tip: I like compartmentalising my bag so one area is filled with things that I rarely use (i.e. winter clothes during summer), and the other is one that I access often, so I don’t have to rummage around everything to find what I am looking for.

 

 

Carry-on: My carry-on essentially doubles as my portable office. So it includes everything outlined above, plus some nuts to snack on in emergencies, my Brita filtered water bottle, my scarf / blanket in case I get cold, Yes to Cucumbers facial wipes, my Medicine Mama’s Bee Magic Wand for dry face, lips and skin from airport transfers and some essential lavender oil for relaxation and to rescue me from any surrounding stink.

 

Hot tip: Keep your passport and important documents in your handbag or purse rather than your carry-on bag to keep them easy to access and always carry a pen. It will come handy when you least expect it, and will help you make friends.

 

 

Healthy transit.

 

This section could really have an article all of its own. I’m very sensitive to travel and my environment, and so I try to keep things as easy and stress-free as possible. I arrive at airports early, especially because I love prowling through the duty-free for unusual deals. I usually fast during flights, and just drink teas and lots of water, because flying messes with my stomach, and pack nuts to nibble on in case I can’t get a healthy meal upon landing. I take my makeup off, if I’m wearing any, before take-off to let my skin breathe, and spritz it with water and moisturize it during the flight to keep it hydrated because the airplanes suck everything out of you. And I take Melatonin during the flight to relax and sleep as much as possible.

 

Hot tip: Staying hydrated is the kindest thing you can do for your body. Make sure you bring a big bottle with you, that you can fill up at the water stations in the airport (they all have them). The tiny cups they give you en route are simply not enough. 

 

 

Older travel articles you might enjoy on this topic.

 

I want to help people, and travel, and I don’t know how to start.

Travel-hack your way into free first-class flights.

The modern-day gypsies travel essentials guide.

10 tips on keeping healthy while traveling.

8 gypset travel tips for keeping it simple.

The dark side of travel.

 

 

The Free-Spirited Collective — July 2016 — is focused on your emotional foundation.

The Free-Spirited Collective -- July 2016 -- is focused on your emotional foundation.

 

We have made it halfway through 2016 — its July — and the third ever edition of The Free-spirited Collective it out!

 

This is an extra-special edition as it includes a fascinating insight into understanding men, in this month’s podcast, as well as a chance to win a one of 5 specially curated flower essence elixirs worth $22 USD plus postage and handling!

 

Read on, to learn all about what’s included in this months The Free-Spirited Collective.

 

The energy of this month is focused on your emotional foundation. It is a time where you are most emotionally vulnerable. It is also where you may be at your most emotionally withdrawn or protective.

 

This vulnerability can be used as a gift to deepen relationships and take time to develop your own inner strength and connection to yourself.

 

You have probably become so accustomed to feeling certain ways and believing in what you believe, that changing might feel scary and overwhelming. It is often easier to protect what you know than to be vulnerable and open to what you don’t know.

 

This month is the opportunity to observe your habits and emotionsto check whether they actually serve you — and change your inner world, to start reflecting a life that fulfils your emotional desires.

 

 

PODCAST: Understanding Men. A deeper view into the emotional psyche of the modern man.

 

The theme for this month is all about our emotional foundation. Our focus is on how we feel and how those feelings influence our lives and choices. Being emotional brings with it a need for vulnerability and openness, as well as being receptive. Most of our pieces in The Free-Spirited Collective are centred on how we can make choices that set us free and bring us more freedom.

 

In this interview, we are pivoting a little to talk about the emotional engagement with the men in our lives, so we can be more open and receptive, as well as take responsibility of how we show up in relation to them. Sharing his profound insight in this interview is writer, personal transformation innovator and creative entrepreneur, Dane Tomas, as we dive into a deep and juicy Q&A on understanding men, based on real questions fielded from you, my collective tribe.

 

 

 

VIDEO: How to stop feeling insecure, powerless and fearful, using 7 epic tools to take charge and fully own your life.

 

Using your emotions as a guide to bolster and strengthen your inner sense of power, and resolve to create the life that you truly want for yourself, is where the magic lies in your emotional highs and lows.

 

However often, you perceive emotions, especially negative ones, to mean that there is something wrong with you, and that you do not have the ability to change or harness this energy, because it feels so strong. In this video, I share how our emotions can be used as tools for transformation and teach you 7 tools to use your negative emotions to take charge and fully own your life.

 

 

ASTRO GUIDE: July 2016 Astro-Guide.

 

Our life choices are rooted in trust. It’s a matter of how much we trust the people around us. It’s also a matter of how much we trust ourselves.

Our trust is developed or destroyed by how we interpret the events and experiences of our lives.

Our astrologist Danielle Polar guides us to view July as a great month to tap into your intuition as a trusted source of guidance, and become receptive to the subtle shifts in your energy. It’s also a great time to take responsibility for your creative insights, which means being able to respond to the information you receive in a constructive way.

 

 

GIFT: Open + Receptive Flower + Gem Elixir.

 

My sweet friend Valeria from The Soul Essence has created a very special flower essence blend, specifically for The Free-Spirited Collective this month: Open + Receptive Flower + Gem Elixir  { Star Tulip – Bellflower – Star Sapphire}.

 

This month we have partnered together to give away 5 of these unique flower essences to the first 5 folk who sign up for The Free-Spirited Collective in July. It’s first come, first served, so if joining our collective calls to you, we love to see you in our circle.

 

Open + Receptive is an excellent flower essence to connect deeply with your inner wise-self and receive the soulful guidance that you are seeking.

 

The alchemy of this blend will work in two ways:

 

  • Firstly, it will allow you to be open + receptive to the messages of your inner voice enhancing dreaming, prayer, meditation and any form of listening.

 

  • Secondly, it will promote trust in the universe, so you can take inspired action and let your dreams, ideas and desires come true.

 

The Soul Essence – Botanical Therapies is a holistic brand providing you alchemical soul healing journeys, and uplifting and supportive Flower Remedies to help you evoke the essence of your soul.

 

 

Join us for The Free-Spirited Collective here. 

 

 

Illustration by Victoria Rosas.