“What was your miracle today?” The text reads.
I just sat down in my new favourite cafe, a small red, white and pink oriental/hipster/millennial vibes place that’s cute and kitsch with an obvious identity crisis, laptop in tow. I pull my phone out and read those words, words we have been sending back and forth to each other. An invitation to look for the miracle that happens each day.
Yesterday’s miracle was a delightful Greek lunch date with a man I consider just a friend which poured over into an art gallery and music adventures through Cape Town’s city centre streets and ended with a kiss.
The other miracle was the deep sleep that followed.
I order a ‘red cappuccino’ from the stocky African man behind the counter, flustered and sweating in his busyness — essentially a shot of strong rooibos tea made like a coffee — and return to my seat at a bench that has small cards labelled with “for laptops”.
I don’t notice the elderly man who sits down next to me until he turns and asks “Where are you visiting from?” I smile at him and say I live in the U.K. wondering how my Europeanness stands out. He tells me his daughter lives there naming a town in Surrey that I do not know.
We chat about travel and Cape Town, how the world has changed from recognition in the past three years and how social media is doing a number on human beings.
I tell him about my philosophy and my guilt.
That we are not meant to have so much information to filter through our minds, that I choose not to watch the news nor engage in the mad goings-on of the world stage because if/when I do it does irreparable damage to my mental health and that I feel guilty that by making this choice I am not offering a positive contribution to the world.
He presents a warm grandfatherly wisdom-filled smile.
“I think it’s the opposite. I think you are doing far more good for the world by refusing to engage with the drama on the world stage that is not a real part of your life because it means you can be present with what is real. The best thing you can do is make choices about the kind of life you want here and now. Is that a privilege? Sure. That’s the gift you were given. Make use of it.”
Solaced and grateful for his words I smile and thank him before the conversation is hijacked by a runaway dog who scampers into the cafe followed many confusing minutes later by a stressed dog walker with seven other dogs attached to his waist. My elderly companion finishes his coffee and says goodbye.
Maybe that was today’s miracle, I think.
After he leaves I weigh his words and how they fit into my current perspective of the world and my place in it. These past few months what I’ve really learned is just how privileged I am. And not to take any of it for granted.
Seeing people suffering without access to basic resources and human rights has lit a fire in me.
Not the fire you might think.
I do not think omgoddess, life is so unfair whydoIhavealltheseresourcesandtheydon’t. I should have/take less.
No. I have known for a long time that life is ‘unfair’. Life is unjust all the time. People die. People hurt. Life is unequal. Just look at nature.
The fire that has been lit in me was that, while I am alive, I might as well make the most of what I have available to me. And in making the most of it, I can also be generous with what I have.
When I appreciate what I have, I am abundant. When I feel abundant, I am free to give back more of myself and my resources.
In speaking to this, I softly opened earlybird enrolments for Her Wealth: a five-week money course for women starting at the end of this month. The early bird option has limited spots and ends on Saturday the 10th at midnight. Enrol here.
There’s a hot wind blowing in from the interior today, warm air wafting in currents between sweaty bodies as the desert tries to extend its reach to the Atlantic Ocean shore. I brought a Balinese fan out with me and am fanning strangers as I weave my way down to the water’s edge to keep cool.
I spend my days walking along the ocean, taking dips in the ice-cold water, making new friends and working: running my personal brand, seeing private clients, meeting with my The Mentor Training team (enrolments open again soon), and overseeing Plannher my stationery label.
I have 3 new spaces to work with me starting in March. Press reply to this if you want to know more about what that might look like.
Mentoring topics always seem to move in seasons. What has been coming up for my recent clients is this internal reorienting of who they are, who they want to be and what that means for their place in the world. We are only just grasping how the past three years have impacted us as individuals and as a collective and we are all at a crossroads of some kind to make decisions about the future.
January’s her way circle was on precisely this topic: crossroads navigated by stepping back from the cacophony of external noise and turning the gaze inward, so we can collect the subtle signposts that are offering us a new way forward.
Amidst these explorations of my own, as I restructure the way I work with a focus on relaxing and softening into my professional life and letting it all come to me more with ease at the helm, I’ve changed my mind about a few things.
One of them is that, originally, the her way circles were going to be for paid subscribers only. Now, I’ve decided that, in the spirit of generosity, I want to keep them free for everyone.
Here is the replay, to watch, for all.
I’ll be back in your emails mid-next week with an invitation to the next one which will be on the topic of ‘worthiness’ or ‘worthfulness’ and how we decide on and prescribe our self-worth, both financially and in our sense of self and esteem.
The depth of gratitude I feel for the sun and sea right now is immeasurable, my appreciation coupled with a heartfelt yearning for ‘home’. Home. It’s the first time in a long time that I have allowed myself this kind of nostalgia.
Another little miracle happened a few days ago when the perfect flat, in the perfect location, at the perfect price opened up for me in Forest Row. Just at the right time.
It found me, after I had given up my search, and posted an ad on Spareroom.co.uk hoping it would act like a note to the Universe. It did and it worked and now I get to go back to the village love and left only a few months ago.
A big piece of my sense of worthiness is allowing myself to have places that I feel I ‘belong’ to. They all have to do with people that I cherish the most alongside nature and lifestyle.
I have travelled to so many places and after almost 20 years of that, all that’s left is blurred images of landscapes held together by threads of love and friendship. My yearning to explore the unknown outer terrain has been replaced by a desire to explore the unfamiliar inner ones.
This trip has re-inspired my re-indigenisation into my traditional roots: Italian and Austrian and then going further to British, Romanian and Arabic. I want to learn and remember where I come from and the rituals and connections to nature that my ancestors practised.
This seed was planted two years ago when I read Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaportawhich I recommended in one of my emails to you. It sparked something in me and started a revolution around the legacy I want my life to have which is to integrate and honour both the past and the future. This is why I keep being pulled back to Europe, to where my indigenous lineage lies.
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.
Over the past 8 years, I have written over 700 articles on this blog. Every single one was a labour of love poured from the crevices of my heart, soul and mind. The world, and life, are changing, and so is the way I share my work and words with you.
I now reserve most of my writing here: all work-related and professional updates are in my newsletters, and all my personal cadence and musings on the mystery of life are found in my secret substack letter ‘kismet’.
Plus: I also have a podcast called re.define that you can listen to on Spotify.
Here are 100 of your favourite articles, essays, and stories from the last few years. They are organised by topic and then sequentially from newest to oldest. Enjoy!
YOUR #1 FAVOURITE
IF YOU NEED INSPIRATION
Two months ago, at the climax of a covid-induce fever, I decided to reclaim my life.
Determined to reprioritise the things that are most important to me: community, connection, time in nature, a sense of motion and movement in life, and creativity, I decided to go all-in, with the little things that are the backbone of life. Simple pleasures. And edit out the rest. I also decided to restructure my business.
Over the past 8 years, I have written 100,000’s words. Over 700 articles. 100’s of entertaining emails. I was published in books and blogs and magazines. All for free.
Writing is my lifeblood. It’s the one thing, I do every day, with great pleasure. It helps me know what I think. It acts as a neutral observer. It often acts as my therapist. If you ask me what I want to ‘do’ with my life, my answer is ‘to write’.
One month ago I began a long-form secret subscription letter called ‘kismet’. A new space where I could freely explore the mysteries of life and my personal fate via words to share with you. In that month, I have written 4 articles for you, each including an audio recording and guided journaling practise video at the end. You can read, listen to, and journal along with me, here.
All 4 of them are free.
I suppose, secretly, deep down, I have always wanted to be acknowledged as an artist. One that writes. Whose life centres around creative expression. And for that expression to be validated through an energetic exchange.
In a world of highly consumed, fast-paced social media so many of us creatives are exhausted from the energetic imbalances of giving more than is often adequately returned.
I am on an assignment to change that.
Late last week I turned the subscription into a paid one. From now on, all new articles (aside from some occasional public posts) will be for paid subscribers only. The subscription is £8 per month.
This gives me the freedom for unfiltered expression for those who truly want to be a part of this kismet world with me, and offers me the privacy to honestly write about everything I want to write about.
What you will receive each month is:
- Subscriber-only posts, incl. audio versions, guided journaling prompts or videos and the full archive of past articles.
- You can post comments, be a part of our intimate conversations and join the ‘kismet’ community.
That night I lay in bed submerged in the deepest gratitude that people want to pay for my art as the first few paid subscribers signed up and I just… cried. Tears of thankfulness, tears of disbelief, tears of relief to have the courage to do something that I’ve wanted for a long time. To be paid for my art.
I am so excited to continue this adventure with you. Thank you for being here. You can join the free or paid subscription to ‘kismet’ here.
To get a feel for my writing:
- start with my blog and work your way through, or…
- for the popular personal updates that inspired ‘kismet’, go here
- for my musings on psychology, the soul and the human experience, try this
- for all my best tips, tools and behind-the-scenes insights into the way I run my business, click here
- for stories on body image, beauty, confidence and the random recipe continue here
- for submerging yourself into stories on travel and freedom, go here
- for my intimate explorations on love and relationships, go here
- for all things intuition and manifestation follow along here
- for all the books I’ve read and recommend, read here
- to explore your creativity with me click here
Today began as a usual Monday morning… I awake with my furry lover curled in the crook of my knee, kiss him good morning and open the terrace door to let him out. In the bathroom, I remove my aligners, scrape my tongue wash my face… and then crawl back into bed. Half an hour later I awake again. Strange, I think, that never happens.
I move to the kitchen and fill the kettle with filtered water to prepare my morning hydration: 450 ml of warm fresh lemon and ginger. While the kettle boils I stretch. Left, right, hip circles, spine rolls. I’m feeling a little achy.
I take my lemon and ginger to the sofa and start my face yoga routine. The glands by my armpits ache a little. I massage them to activate the lymphatic system. I work my east up my chest neck and face and then prepare breakfast. Fresh strawberries with natural yoghurt and green tea. My body continues to feel achey so I dance, gyrate, stretch some more and then sit down to work.
Inbox zero and most of my DM’s replied the aches seem to increase. I try some more movement practices but nothing helps. I sit down to begin work on some copy for one of my programs but my body won’t comply. The aches turn into shakes and I realise I’m freezing despite the 23 degrees and full tracksuit and socks attire
I get back into bed. And shake and shake. It’s too much. I can’t stop. I go get a Valium, the one thing I self-medícate with and only on the rarest occasions. I get back into bed m, cover myself with blankets, and will my aching muscles to relax.
My mind wanders to a memory, to yesterday, Mother’s Day in many parts of the world and the pangs of sadness I felt about my motherlessness.
The tears come. Streaming down my face, wet pools mark the pillows of my bed as I grieve a childhood without a mother or father present in my life. I hold myself in my arms and let myself weep. I remind myself that ‘I’ve got me’. I know I need to feel this. I need to let it wash through me. The only way out is through.
I believe these physical symptoms are part of the surfacing of suppressed grief, guilt and shame around a situation where I was an innocent child on the receiving end of a host of adult unresolved traumas. It’s why I do this work. Because these patterns… end here. With us. With our willingness to process them, validate them, release them and choose new ways to illuminate the world with the precious gift each human is made up of love.
I stay in bed. The aches and chills are still with me. Yet I know this too, shall pass. My devotion is simply to stay with the wounded child within until she feels safe and loved again. Everything else can wait.