It takes 17 seconds for a thought to take on an entity of its own.
My meditation teacher said this morning. Every morning since the start of the year I have been meeting her and a group of others at 8 am to meditate together to change the frequencies in our bodies so that we get out of our damn way.
When you focus on a thought for 17 seconds, you activate the vibration of the thought. And when you focus on a thought for 68 seconds, the vibration becomes powerful enough to manifest itself in real life. She says.
We do 20 minutes of focused awareness each morning, just to be sure.
These are the tools of our human supernatural sorcery.
How we choose to spend our time becomes central to our life.
Where we put our focus grows, expands and evolves as if focus itself is the water to a seed.
What we bring into our awareness commands the perspective we have in each experience.
I have not been shy in sharing that life, as I was experiencing it, has challenged me for the past 18 months or so.
The tipping point occurred when, one day in mid-October 2021 as I was preparing for my journey to relocate to Mallorca, I suddenly felt a sharp spasmodic pain run across the left side of my lower back that brought me to my knees and down onto the floor. I lay there, frightened and confused until the pain subsided a little and found that I could not stand up. Slowly, awkwardly, crawling on hands and knees, I ungracefully threw myself on the sofa. I found that, if I laid on my back, completely still I would be ok. Any movement however would trigger the sharp pain again. It was excruciating.
Terrified, immobile and alone I did what I could. I crawled to find some ibuprofen to ease the pain. I cancelled my meetings for the rest of the day. I booked an osteopath for the next day. And for the days following, I saw as many holistic specialists as I could. I would try anything, throw everything, at this painful problem.
It jolted me in such a way that I felt like I couldn’t trust myself nor my body, or my thoughts and I felt fearful, doubtful and full of anxiety. Everything I did was suddenly coupled with catastrophic thinking.
Catastrophic thinking, also known as catastrophizing, is irrational thinking that may cause you to assume that adverse outcomes will occur. Catastrophizing is a way of thinking known as a cognitive distortion.
This incident haunted me with continuous occasional recurring back pains, though never as severe, and long-term mental health symptoms that made it hard for me to enjoy the world and my life with the pleasure and optimism that had been natural to me before.
I felt broken and helpless.
Of course, there is more to that story. The back injury and resulting cognitive distortion that I experienced were a snowball response to many other things. Things we lived through, together. A decisive change in our world, the loss of freedom to move about and travel as we wished, coupled with uncertainty and lots of opposing messages begin flung around. Amidst the external chaos, I was forced to face and handle some of my own relational and familial trauma that I had suppressed and spiritually bypassed. Plus, I had a whole lot of emotional maturing to do, and it was not happening without meeting some hard truths and disappointing realities.
I moved to Mallorca, a shell of myself but with all the tools (and a lot of impatience) to return to wholeness. It took:
This morning, I woke up early… before my natural waking time between 7 am and 7.30 am. I don’t know what time it was. I leave my phone outside my bedroom. But I guesstimate sometime between 4.30 and 5.30 am. This happens whenever the spirits want me to listen and know I’ll be too sleepy for my ego to get in the way at that time.
Connect with your heart. Pour your attention and focus on your heart. Listen to what she has to say. They told me.
I placed a hand on my heart and kept my attention on her, delicately and gently, so the nuanced and subtle messages can make their way through. She told me what she wants. And that she wants me to ask for more than I have so far. I promised her to listen always and forever and reminded her that she will eternally be my guiding force. At some point, I drifted off and woke up again minutes before my 8 am mediation group was about to start.
As I went about my day today, I noticed a significant shift. I felt trust again. Trust in life, trust in my body, trust in myself. I felt a soft, warm pulsing emenating from my heart and wrapping me in love and comfort. I felt safe existing in the world without trying to protect myself with catastrophic thinking. I felt joy from the simple act of existing. I remembered how good it feels, just to be.
I quietly in my mind and heart, celebrated arriving here, finally, after so many gruelling months of throwing all my psychological, physical and spiritual tools at everything that was arising for me.
As difficult as this time has been, it has also been full of gifts.
— I learned what I truly need as a human being and a woman in this world, and to prioritise meeting those needs, above all else.
— I developed a deeper level of understanding and compassion for human suffering as well as a stronger discernment of things that I am not available for.
— I became dedicated to permitting myself to feel all those sloppy, grating, messy and dramatic emotions that wanted to make their way out of my body and thereby transcended the emotional maturity I had until now, to a point where I understood and could hold space for so much more than ever before. In myself and others.
— I started to acknowledge that if I wnated to continue in this line of work I was going to need help and to allow myself to be supported and my team grew beyond the occasional contractors I’d hire from 1 to 3 people.
— And it led me to develop the leading edge body of work, which is a fusion of all my education, my childhood challenges, and my career working with private clients and teaching groups bt in person and online into The Mentor Training.
It is something so unique, and so needed in the world, that it already holds its energy and magnetism. I ran it for the first time across 8 months in 2022 and enrolments have just opened up for the 2023 training on Monday. We’ve already ushered a few new students into our space and cannot wait to welcome the rest of you. I would love you to check it out and feel into whether this is something that calls to you.
Remember, your heart will always guide you.
Thank you for being here with me, as I somewhat unskillfully navigated the past year and a half. I did my best. And I am human and sometimes make mistakes. This period has taught me a lot and I sit here today tapping at these keys to send this transmission out to you with so much gratitude in my heart. For the journey. For the struggles that brought me to my knees. For the opportunity to grow. For my community, here. For you. For the ability to feel joy. For all of it.
These writings originate from my occasional (usually every couple of weeks, sometimes less, sometimes more) free email subscription. I like to save the best of me for this space that is so precious to me. If you would like to read more of these types of musings and transmissions, I encourage you to subscribe.
Some years are like being caught in a plunging wave that at first, beckons you with a playful curl and then, drops you into the frenzy of its internal tumble, before spitting you out against the sandy ocean floor with violent speed, leaving you floundering, fighting against the ocean’s mighty force to reach the surface and urgently fill your lungs with air. Over and over again. That was this year for me.
2022 has taught me to navigate the waves of life as a surfer does. With equal parts hope, determination, resilience and surrender.
I learned that I have more strength and capacity than I ever thought. It taught me a level of emotional maturity that was new to me that helped me handle the knockdowns. It gave me opportunities I didn’t know I wanted. It asked me to reclaim my life as my own. As a woman and a human in this very strange cosmic experiment that we call life.
My most recent piece of writing was about how when the question ‘what would make me feel good?’ isn’t big enough anymore, the question ‘how does life want to be expressed through me?’ replaces it. Read the article here.
In 2023, I am:
- Splitting the forward-facing parts of myself as A Person On The Internet into 3.
- Holding the inward-facing parts of myself close so they can rest in the chaotic mystery and intelligence of life. What that means is that my work is coming to rest in 3 separate specific fields instead of being all these other pieces at once.:
1. ‘Vienda’ as my personal brand. It always has been a personal brand in many ways, but I felt like I had to stunt and martyr parts of myself in order to be recognised as a professional in my field(s). It made me sad that I felt like couldn’t share myself fully, including how silly I actually am behind closed doors or how much I love clothes and fashion (almost exclusively second-hand because I believe in sustainability and new is never the answer) or how playful I am because, aside from being playful, I also want to talk about the truth of things which include difficult and confronting topics. I was afraid that too much playfulness would take away their weight and meaning. This part of my work will continue evolving, here in my emails to you, in all of my articles, in my writing over at ‘kismet’ and on Instagram.
2. Plannher as my first and so far only product brand heralding a new intuitive and gentle approach to planning, specifically designed to encourage one’s feminine nature, coupled with journaling practices for holistic, self-reflective, and introspection-informed growth and happiness. My COO Stephanie and I have big dreams and visions to see Plannher reach more people and the tools to be far more accessible across the globe.
3. The Mentor Training as the extension of my psychology, mental health and embodied healing background which aims to be the world’s most accessible and leading-edge training for people to help people by changing how we think about leadership and community while enhancing world peace through self-knowledge, compassion and tools for growth and change.
As of this morning, the website is as complete as it can be at this point, and I would love you to check it out, even if to let me know if we’ve missed any spelling errors (despite combing every page 100 x I’m sure we have missed something somewhere 😅) or haven’t been clear enough.
If becoming a trained mentor is of interest to you, I strongly advise you to join the waitlist, as those on that list will receive a very generous special offer valid only for 10 days from when enrolments open on Monday, January 2. Please peruse The Mentor Training website here.
Before I close this chapter and this calendar year with you, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart with the deepest gratitude for all your support, kind words, marvellous replies to these emails, solidarity during challenging seasons, and outpouring of generosity I receive from you, so very often.
You being here with me brings me the community and sense of belonging that I have always wished for.
Thank you. Until next time.
P.S. I promised some of you I would write a full list of the lessons I’ve learned in 2022, but there’s no more room for those in this transmission, so here are 3 of the biggest, with an exhaustive list due, in the new year:
3 of my biggest lessons this year:
1. Regardless of what we say, ultimately it’s our energy and integrity that matters. If actions thoughts and words are not in alignment, it creates cognitive dissonance, a fragmentation of the mind, body and soul and the things you say you want in your life can never arrive. Because you are out of alignment with them.
2. How beautiful it is for the understanding to fully land with you that you don’t need to chase things, prove your worth, or run to be seen, loved or validated. That actually, the more you recognise your value, worth and Beingness the more the world reflects all that back to you.
3. You can only become whole by seeing the parts of yourself that you don’t really love and staying with them until you find understanding and compassion for why they’re here. And then being really sweet and loving with yourself because you realise they come from an innocent place. That’s how their charge transforms from a burden to a gift.
This is originally from my newsletter, so if it inspires you, please subscribe to receive future articles of the same ilk.
You have to realise there are two types of people in the world.
Half of us thrive from consistent routines and structures, and half don’t. Neither one is better. You have to know what you are running with and map your life out accordingly. I have an entire free self-study course dedicated to figuring that out called ‘Pause & Pivot’ that you can take right now. And if you belong to the half that thrives from less structure and more from frenetic free flow…
Then you are like me.
In human design, they use the term ‘consistently inconsistent’ for people like me. If the upper left arrow in your chart points to the right then you are a person who thrives when you have the freedom to do things in a different order every day. You will likely struggle to adhere to consistent routines.
And that’s ok!
When I share my day-to-day on social media, I often am asked how I manage my time. I promised to share my system.
I live my life adhering to my values, which, if you have watched ‘Pause & Pivot’ you would know are truth, freedom, beauty and love.
And the way I manage my time is that I make time for what matters most.
I never wanted to live a life filled with external definitions of success, hustle and bustle, determined by social standards that do not align with my own personal beliefs that are grounded in a life that is well lived.
I have the luxury of space and time and the resolve of how I use that space and time.
I have the luxury of space and time, not only because I am lucky and privileged, but mostly because I chose to make those markers of a life well lived. To make them a priority. Because space and time nourish me. I am better, kinder, more productive, creative and compassionate, and aligned when I have ample space and time. I need unscheduled space and time to fluidly allow the tasks I have set for myself to be completed.
Space and time are the major elements of a person who navigates life as consistently inconsistent.
There is a system to this.
Firstly, I reverse engineer. What do I want to be, do and have across the next year?
Secondly, I break it down into 6 months, 3 months, 1 month, and weekly in my Plannher.
Finally, I have 3 key areas of life I want to meet each day because they make me a better, kinder, happier human.
There are specific things that fill those 3 areas.
- one of or a combination of yoga, walking, pilates and swimming
- direct-to-skin Vitamin D in the form of sunshine
- nourishing my body with at least 2 good meals
- face yoga or face massage
- LED red light therapy
- physical touch
B) Emotional + Spiritual
- time spent connecting with others
- time spent in contemplation
- being in nature
- inner listening
C) Intellectual + Creative
- both personal and content writing
- creating content for marketing
- delivering course content
- creating leads for sales
- private client sessions
- teaching live classes
- managing my team
- making offers
Every day, I choose elements from those 3 lists to devote my time to. How and when I do it is fluid. I don’t care much about the structure. I care about the results. The when and how, change with the seasons, with my mood, with the energy I wake up with that morning (sometimes more in masculine/yang energy, others in more feminine/yin energy), where I am at in my cycle.
Recently, with the onset of winter, I have found that my mornings are slower than they used to be, that I need to spend time in the sun between 11 and 2, and that I am most productive from 3 pm. I pay attention to these subtle changes and adjust to them, rearranging my meetings and commitments to better sustain my natural rhythm. I am devoted to living life with and in the inclusion of the ebbs, flows and seasons that we move through rather than in restraint or resistance of them.
Based on my earlier reverse engineering there are certain things that have to happen by the end of each week to meet my aims, hopes and dreams. I am fully intrinsically motivated and wholly trust myself to complete them and that they will always happen in their own flow. I simply choose to align myself with that flow.
I do that by making the pieces in columns A and B a priority, knowing when my cup is filled from those parts of my life C will easily be an extension of those.
More often than not, I can do things in a crossover pattern. For example, I can go dancing and connect with people. I can walk, be in nature and be in quiet contemplation at the same time. I can manage my team and have connections with them. I can spend time in the sun and read or journal. I like to double or triple up on things — mindfully and with presence — when I can.
When I first started my business I had not yet learned about nervous system regulation and lived off a heady cocktail of cortisol and adrenaline that felt like exhilaration which had me rushing through tasks at full speed. After almost a decade in the personal development field, I’ve come to know that there is nothing as valuable in life as reclaiming your life.
- Nothing is as time-sensitive as my well-being.
- Everything will get done at the perfect time.
- Urgency is a seductive illusion.
I teach all of this in my courses, and with my private clients in both personal and business mentoring. I have a few spaces available at the moment. If you feel the call, contact me and tell me a little bit about yourself.
Nineteen years ago, I was sitting in the middle row of my enormous lecture hall as our professor peered at us over his glasses “eight out of every ten of you will have in the past, or will in the future experience some form of depression and anxiety” he said. We looked at each other quietly wondering who in this room might admit to it. It was 2001 and mental health still had a stigma attached to it even though we were all here to become mental health professionals.
Three years later I stood at the front of that lecture hall and gave a talk about the hazard of labels, including anxiety, depression, ADHD and so on. I proposed that, while it is important to acknowledge the emotionally, hormonally, and physical-health driven rollercoaster of life would it not be more reasonable if we embraced those as the human experience and focused on creating a society that made the world will live in a safe place for the full spectrum of human affairs.
Afterwards, my lecturer congratulated me for my well-delivered unorthodox ideas and amusedly reminded me that if we didn’t give people names and labels for the highs and lows of life, we would be out of jobs. I decided I didn’t want that kind of job, then, anyway.
Fiveteen years later, I am still trying to find ways to normalise the highs and lows of life, in ways that are inclusive.
Growth and healing are inseparable parts of a continuum, both reaching for wholeness, intertwined like DNA strands.
Depression is when society tells us that we cannot do what our entire body and souls ask of us: to enter a healing cocoon where you disappear for a period of time to be alone, simmer in your own beingness, learn to set boundaries, spend time alone, and in nature so you can be a completely different person when you emerge.
Anxiety is when society tells us that our inner knowing is wrong: and we a told to bypass our jittery nervous system that is asking us to slow down enough to calm down and listen so that we can see that the life choices we have made recently aren’t meant for us.
We live in a world that tells us to transcend the wisdom of our bodies in favour of the hard facts and knowledge of science and technology.
Over and over again, I come back to the question of how I can integrate the natural intelligence of life itself, which makes up all of us and our planets, cosmos and universes, with technological evolution.
In 2004 when I graduated with a psychology degree I had zero interest in the internet.
In 2007 when everyone started using Facebook, I scorned it. My boyfriend at the time set up an account for me because he wanted a way to stay in touch with me when I went away to India for 6 months. Back then I was flaky and unreliable so it was his hope to somehow still hear from me.
I love a story diversion so let me tell you what happened. Three weeks into my trip to India I did a 10-day Vipassana silent meditation retreat during which I decided to end the relationship with him. In the spiritual heights of regaining my senses, I called him from my old silver Nokia to tell him I’d finished the retreat and we needed to talk. The line was bad and my friends were waiting for me so I cut the conversation short, in my ethereal haze leaving the phone on the wooden steps I had been sitting on. He ended up flying to India to find me and we had that conversation in person.
In 2010 I started a blog after years of people encouraging me to do so on account of the monthly group emails I’d send to my ever-growing email list from all the people I met on my travels. Back then, I was still very averse to the whole concept of the internet. I’m a slow adaptor. But, also a fast learner.
I never imagined I’d end up creating a career and a lifestyle that relied so heavily on technology and that I would make that choice specifically because it entitled me with the freedom, space, and time to cultivate my connection to nature, self, spirituality, growth and healing. The instrument that I thought would take me further away from some of my highest values has in fact offered me a way closer to it all.
So as our humanistic, scientific, intuitive, biological and technological knowledge evolves, so does our spiritual, and we have landed at the submission that the human experience is not to be transcended but to be felt fully. In the flesh. That both elation and despair belong. That depression and anxiety are sided by happiness and peace. That we cannot escape pain and grief if we want to have love and joy.
Naming one as ‘bad’ and the other as ‘good’ does not make it easier, better or sweeter. What does offer comfort is in the inclusion of it all, our deeper understanding that we cannot have one without the other, and universal compassion that every life is one hell of a rollercoaster ride.
I’m currently on an assignment to offer more insights, philosophies and tools on this topic of inclusion, where we embrace the hard and celebrate it as much as the light, soft and effortless parts of life. Where healing and growth are two sides of the same coin.
Stay with me here.
Let’s do it.
Today, October 11th marks exactly 1 year since my arrival in Mallorca. Unlike a year ago, when I landed to sunny skies, vibrant flowers and an ache of deep grief in my heart that gave this island a chromatic dullness… today it is pouring down with the first proper rains of the season, vibrant flowers and a renewed sense of joy and possibility in my heart that provide this island life with an animated delight.
What a difference a year makes. What a journey this has been. How much I’ve had to move through. And you, probably too.
I want to write about the hypnotherapy sessions I’ve been doing, but I’m still in the midst of them, so I will save them for when I feel more complete and all the pieces have settled. But alongside that, with the craniosacral sessions, and all the practices I teach in RENEW, I’ve been able to cultivate and curate a whole new perspective and experience of the world. One that is more honest than ever before, while also being more playful and light.
I don’t want to be one of those people who keeps going on about how challenging life has been the past couple of years. But there are two reasons why I do want to keep speaking about it.
1. I know I’m not the only one, in fact, I’m one of the lucky ones. And the more we admit and share and speak to the fact that life has been filled with provocation and collapse lately, the less isolated and ashamed we all feel in our journeys. Surely, this is all for our highest good, I have no doubt. And also: it’s been HARD.
2. I see people who aren’t equipped to face and feel their own emotions all the way through bypass just how difficult these times have been for all. I see how stuck they are. In their growth as a human, in their emotional maturity, in their ability to relate and communicate their own feelings and experiences, as well as hold space for, and having compassion for others.
We have to talk about things. We have to admit our vulnerability. We have to learn to surrender and hold each other through the challenges that grow us.
Earlier this year I taught RENEW. A 5-week live-led prescriptive journey to move through the chaos of reinvention.
It was an incredible expedition for all of us and the connections and revelations made among the 40 students remain close to my heart. The past couple of months I have reflected more on the renewal cycle.
We don’t live life in a straight line. Life is a spiral: a series of cycles through which we are moving and, hopefully, growing.
There are 5 phases to the renewal cycle.
It is a process of teasing out what is most important for you. Across 5 phases:
Phase 1: FLOW
This is where you expect to find yourself most of the time: positive, goal-oriented, and committed to living the life you have set your trajectory on. This is the phase that most of us find the most comfortable… until it isn’t. FLOW is the place where your skills and the challenge of performing are in agreement. Too big of a challenge and we become stressed; too small, we become bored. But at some point, old challenges become smaller, routines get stale. Subsequently, opportunities for flow decrease. We feel dissatisfied.
Phase 2: SPACE
In phase 2 we might feel trapped by everything in our lives, and have this strong sense of wanting to burn it all down. This may be experienced as ennui and a feeling of being “out of synch” with other people and with life in general. You feel “stuck” and are unsure of how to free yourself.
Sometimes people get stuck in Phase 2 longer than anywhere else in the cycle because they feel . . . immobilized by forces beyond themselves.” In reality, the person in phase 2 is not trapped at all. What they really need is to create space from everything to be able to redefine their lives and begin the renewal cycle again. This is has more to do with the regeneration of positive feelings of self-regard and spiritual trust beyond yourself than with ‘doing’ anything
Phase 3: EDIT
In phase 3, a person turns inward. This is a time to heal, to reflect, and to begin to consider new possibilities. People in this phase are “quiet, withdrawn, often emotional, and unsure of themselves”. A person doesn’t have to withdraw from work or life entirely to EDIT, but instead withdraw some of the energy you put into your old life to edit out anything that is no longer in alignment with who you are becoming.. Editing leads to a profound renewal of energy, purpose, and hope.
Phase 4: AWAKEN
The person in phase 4 begins to explore possibilities, to network, and to train for the next chapter of her life. It is a time of learning new skills and of thinking in new ways. It is an exciting time, a time for dreaming and for creating and for testing out new possibilities. This is where you tap into core values and finally awaken – like a butterfly leaving the chrysalis. You begin to disengage from the previous life that no longer satisfies you.
In phase 4, you get to try on new roles but without committing yourself to any. Eventually, one path will feel “right” at which point you will you write the script for the next chapter of your life and plunge into it, leaving your transition with gratitude.
Phase 5: EXPAND
The Outer Journey always reflects the Inner Journey. Although we don’t always realize it, the cycles repeat periodically throughout our lives. To experience the fruits of our inner journey we have to expand beyond our previous horizons and integrate this expansion into our daily lives. The inner journey is focused on inner work, with renewal and rejuvenation, with feelings and introspection. The outward journey is concerned with work in the world, with achievement and results, with thinking and doing.
RENEW is going to take you through these 5 phases in this order.
One phase is not better than another and all are necessary. Where ever you are, whatever phase you are in, there is work for you to do to learn and to grow. And I want you to trust your process and do each section in your own time as feels right to you without losing the thread. Come back to it at least once per week and pick up where you left off… until you reach completion.
In response to emphatic demand, I have added this new perspective and freshly filmed each section of the course, added journaling prompts to each of the five sections, some more guided meditations and audios, plus an integration sleep hypnosis at the end and turned it into self-study program.
To do in your own time, on your own timeline.
Because renewal is timeless and cyclical. PLUS, you get lifetime access.
Learn more and register for RENEW here.