Some years are made for fighting shadows, some years are made for dreaming dreams, some years are made for wholly living, some years are made for falling in love, some years are made for heartbreak and some years are the dark, rich spaces in-between that tie all the other years together.
I read somewhere that astrologically we are in a kind of limbo: the old world has come to an end, but the new world has not begun yet & so we hang in this strange in-between liminal space not knowing quite what to do. A world is ending. The way we used to live life no longer fits. Breathe out. But we have no map for what comes next. Let it go.
There is a new way of life and a new world rising. But in its emergence, we are meeting the parts of us that have been broken and our old stories of pain and separation are cracking. We are simultaneously activating higher states of consciousness while surrendering the illusions of control and power as well as shedding old beliefs and feeling a sense of emptiness and directionlessness. It’s hard to know how to navigate the in-between…the limbo we are facing.
The answer is to commit to the frequency of your desire…The how comes as a byproduct of you being in connection with your creative life force.
Everything I am calling into my life, everything I want and desire the universe requires me to become a slightly different, higher version of myself to get it. I have to upgrade as a human being to meet my next level of desires. That means practical earthly things like having a more relaxed nervous system, being more in tune with my body, feeling more nourished and hydrated and flexible and strong, choosing habits that offer financial stability and comfort.
Practical magic to open up to a whole new set of dreams. As I come to the end of one huge chapter of my life and a new one I am getting clear on the shifts within me that the universe is going to require me to make in order to fit into the new life that I want. I have to shift the inside first to become the embodiment of what I am calling in. As I am becoming it is materialising.
The past few years have been the culmination and expression of so many desires I had for myself and my life, once. In the meantime, I have lived and loved them all and while living them I forgot to take the time to build new ones. I’ve partied and travelled the world, I’ve had great lovers and awful ones, I’ve built a business out of thin air that extended anything I had imagined, to begin with. I moved to the UK on an intuitive whim and then immediately lockdown happened as if conducted perfectly. I came to soothe my soul, to settle in a home for a while, I came to turn Plannher into a real thing which I seeded a solid address for.
The gifts that the past year+ in the UK I have been given are the opportunity to sit with myself in stillness and willingly move through the uncomfortable in ways that have emotionally matured me. I am now able to stay with hard things in ways I never have before. I used to have an addictive need to default to positivity in every circumstance and while yes, it’s valuable to be able to find the benefit in every challenge and experience, if done as a default, it creates an inability to fully support and hold space for suffering, challenges and growth. I have become more sensitive, compassionate and resilient all at the same time as a result and have developed a grounded discerning optimism at the heart of the ups and downs of life. I am really enjoying and appreciating my newly integrated levels of maturity.
It’s time to call in some new desires: a (more permanent) home, a conscious relationship within a masculine container that feels both safe and expansive, writing books, maybe starting a family, more nature, still travelling but perhaps in a different way, more in-person experiences, more devotion to the pleasures of life.
The more we lean into our body-lead desires the clearer it is where our actions, thoughts and beliefs are out of alignment with those desires. This is how we lead ourselves into the new way, a new world.
Your current reality is the expression of what you accept to be true for you right now. The only way to show up for the new way of life is to choose a new perspective, one that reaches towards the reality you want to be experiencing. To engage in change and create a new version of self and create a new world is to be present and witness yourself without judgement and examine what of the beliefs you hold are serving the new version of self and the world you want to experience. We want to live in integrity which means that our actions, thoughts and words are all in alignment with our dreams and visions. You show up for the new way by taking responsibility for your current belief systems and choose to change any that are out of alignment. Through repetition and practice, you create new neural pathways in the brain and the nervous system thereby creating a new reality.
If we all do that on an individual level, at the micro, if every single person who reads this does it, we create enormous pragmatic change, together. Of course, this process feels terrifying. It requires a shedding of old skin, old identities, old thought patterns, old worldviews, old assumptions. It can feel like a betrayal of the you that’s gotten you to this point and the grief of leaving them behind can feel overwhelming at times. Nonetheless, every part of you will meet you where you now find yourself in a newly emerged way. It takes tremendous self-trust and courage to build a new world, your new world but your desires, determination and hope will see you through.
I grew up in an environment that was highly controlled by people who feared life. It meant that from the moment I was self-aware enough the only thing I wanted was freedom. Liberation from being told what to do by people who were living out their unresolved pain within a society that has an unnatural addiction to productivity.
As soon as I was able to I vehemently stood against the routines, structures and systems I was taught in favour of gentler, more intuitive and cyclical living. I believe in the intelligence of nature above the intelligence of man. I believe we all have access to that intelligence. It is body-led, not mind-led.
The world loves to tell us what to do. In return, we have been conditioned to look for external guidance and validation on everything we do. From the moment we enter the school system if not before, we are taught the invalidity of our own independent thoughts and feelings. So we look to others for how to do things.
Information at our fingertips like Google has stolen our trust in ourselves and our bodies. Or, more correctly, we have handed over our relationship with the wisdom of our bodies to the need to have everything answered and validated by an external source. This is dangerous and disempowering. It means we don’t trust the intelligence of nature to take care of us.
Including routines. The personal development and self-growth industry have touted morning and evening routines as the go-to practices. With good reason. I agree with the sentiment that the way we live our day-to-day reverberates throughout our lives. There are millions of articles and podcasts and books on how to have the perfect morning and evening routines.
Routines are consistent ways that we intentionally show up for ourselves to make life good. Routines are practised self-love. The magic lies in how we do things not what we do.
There is no perfect routine out there. Because different ways of showing up will serve different people at different times as we move through the chapters of our lives.
We all learn so much from others. The beauty of life is that, in a way, we are all raising each other, sharing what we have learned works for us, guiding one another home, over and over again. I adore this part of the human experience.
And… as we learn from one another there is an opportunity to refer to our own inner knowing. To, instead of requiring others to be responsible for our wellbeing and living a good life, assign our routines to be an ever-evolving reflection of our dreams, growth and desires in the world.
When I am asked what my morning and evening routines look like, I hesitate to answer. I don’t want to add to this noise. What I really want is to encourage the asker to explore what habits will become the sum of a life well-lived? I teach my process on how to identify this in my free course: Pause & Pivot.
To provide an example of what I teach and how that looks like in my own life. My highest values are freedom, beauty, creativity and peace. Each of those words can be distilled into specific expressions. For example, peace means choosing peaceful relationships, feeling at peace in my home and inhabiting a peaceful body. These expressions become practices and routines. Inhabiting a peaceful body means that my health and physical well-being are at the forefront of my priorities. Simple but important things like sleep, nourishment, movement and hydration feed into my daily routines.
I am, by nature, inconsistent. What I enjoy doing and in what order changes all the time. Sometimes I live a perfect day by Google’s standards. I wake early, dance around in my pants, drink lots of water, exercise (walk/run/yoga/pilates), journal, meditate. Then work, eat, socialise. And wind down by turning my phone off by 9.30 pm, read, journal, sleep. Other days I stay in bed until close to noon, thinking, writing, feeling, processing and then allow my day to flow from there.
In Pause & Pivot, I share how my routines are guided by my daily non-negotiables.
As I wrote previously here, my aim is to live my life guided by the intelligence of my body over the constructs of my mind and the only way I know to do that is to intimately feel and listen to myself. Different days call for different approaches to life.
When I was 11 years old I asked my mother when she felt like she had become a woman. She paused for a moment and replied that it had been after she had her first 3 children. “Does having children make you a woman?” I wondered aloud, mesmerised by the complexity of growing into my own womanhood. I can’t remember what she said but I like to imagine it was something along the lines of “in some ways, but not in entirety”.
I have been still a girl for most of my adult life, until the last few years where I find myself facing my own mortality. I turn 40 this year. It is a number that brings a smile to my lips because I believe these numbers are simply representations of the number of turns we have taking around our sun. I have lived an unconventional, whimsical kind of life, shirking much of the dogma, conditioning and expectations of traditional trajectories offering me the liberty to follow my own path on my own timeline. Guided by my personal and spiritual beliefs I am on a karmic journey that I have no control over aside from taking personal responsibility for how I show up and respond to life moment-to-moment.
It’s a subtle thing that creeps up in you — terrifying at first but now it has become a portal into a new way of life — one that is more precious and cherished and far more powerful. I am on my journey from girl to woman, maiden to mother, independent of my alternative choice to not-yet carry and birth a child.
At this juncture, I am discovering certain changes. The corners of my eyes now fan out into lines that point towards my cheeks and the millions of times I’ve frowned in my life have left folds between my eyes that don’t fade as fast as they once used to. I am in less of a rush to get there. I used to be so impatient for my visions to unfold missing that best part: the unfolding of them. I recognise where I have had to own parts of myself that I once expected others to rescue me from. I am exploring what it means to be a fully expressed woman and find myself want to fully stand in and embrace my sensuality and sexuality.
No longer a little girl playing coy, I openly use what charms I have with intention. Not for attention but as a declaration of my being. I owe myself to the world. For what good am I, hidden away, and how much have I yearned to be this woman that I have tucked away for too long.
Yet, there are some socially constructed anxieties that arise with this.
This judgment that being a fully expressed woman would lure men away from their senses. That I am responsible for their disarmament if they lust after me in some way. Hide. Society tells me. Put those legs away. Shame on you for flaunting your body. It is perceived as an invitation. Yet, when I see a man with a shirt off I don’t think “Oooo, he wants to have sex with me!” Instead, I think “he must be more comfortable that way, today in this sun, as it shines in us.” Or if I discuss my sexual preferences or feelings it is seen as a cue to “wanting it” or being “loose’. And yet I’ve never had a one night stand nor philandered my sexual energy with anyone who felt unsafe or undeserving.
These double standards that we have to navigate as women are curious to me. But they are just some of the teachings I have traversed in my recent growing into myself.
I have discovered the need for deep discernment around whom and what I say “yes” to and allow into my life with a radical approach to boundaries that are neither black and white, nor uncertain, but rather an embracing of both “no to this, but with these adjustments in place, then yes” to make space for me to live a life with a fully open and surrendered heart in a way that feels safe and protected.
I have determined that as a woman there is nothing I crave more than letting go of control. There is an aliveness and eroticism in tasting the edges of existence and meeting death. I have discovered deep layers of surrender that I can access now.
I have learned how important it is for women to be well-resourced financially. So many poor decisions have come from seeing myself and other women not have the resources and breathing room to make the right decisions for themselves and their potential children. Women who willingly and actively empower themselves financially are independent of the systems that hold them to archaic patriarchal systems. I teach this process in my instant- access online course: Affluent.
There is a flowering into my fullness, a coming into full bloom happening here, and I am enjoying this new perspective of myself and the world that I am now witnessing.
As the days get longer here on this side of the sphere — today we celebrate the return of the warmth and the increasing power of the Sun with Imbolc — I want to invite you to join me for my 28-day journaling challenge. We begin right now and it’s free, with a new guided journaling practice released every day for the entire month of February at 6 am GMT on YouTube:
28 Days of Journaling with Vienda Maria.
When things are unsettled and uncertain around me as they have been I always return to my daily non-negotiables. Journaling is one of them.
Journaling informs so much of my life. As well as my creative writing, the way I run my business, how I relate to others — everything really! But it’s not a daily tracking system. Instead, it’s a way to connect the mind, body and soul and to discover what’s really going on beneath the superficial surface layers. Journaling helps me to find clarity, create resolution and make better decisions for a sweeter, kinder, more meaningful life.
There have been times in my life when I couldn’t afford therapy though I really needed it. Journaling filled that space and allowed me a way to hold those necessary painful conversations in a safe space. This is where journaling came into its own for me.
In this 28-day journaling challenge, we will be using a psychology-based structure of enquiry known as reflective writing beginning today with the fundamentals and 3 big questions that you have 3 minutes each to answer. And on day 7 on Sunday I will guide you on how to journal using tarot cards to identify what’s really going on which is so fun and fascinating. Here’s what you can expect for the week ahead:
Day 1. Fundamentals of journaling.
Day 2. Peaceful morning journaling.
Day 3. Find your centre journaling.
Day 4. Gentle evening journaling.
Day 5. 7-minute menstrual cycle journaling.
Day 6. Clear and focused journaling.
Day 7. Journal with tarot.
A few things as we get started:
I can’t wait to spend every day this month with you taking you through a range of different journaling practices. Please tell me how you go with them!
P.S. Here’s that link for Day 1 again: https://youtu.be/b1M0ZgVRIdA
Our hope to circumvent heartbreak in adulthood is beautifully and ironically child-like; heartbreak is as inescapable and inevitable as breathing, a part and a parcel of every path, asking for its due in every sincere course an individual takes, it may be that there may be not only no real life without the raw revelation of heartbreak but no single path we can take within a life that will allow us to escape without having that imaginative organ we call the heart, broken by what it holds and then has to let go. David Whyte
Each person’s experience of life last year was different. For some, it went on almost as usual. For others’s life screeched to a shocking halt. Some found a comfortable balance point to navigate their way through it. Other’s deeply grieved their past life, or the loss of loved ones, and had to learn to let it all go.
I received a lot of questions asking how to accept the grief and loss that comes from letting go and how to keep moving. How to stay grounded and remember that life is beautiful and this time is just a phase.
Heartbreak and the certain grief that accompanies all types of loss are inevitable in life. Sooner or later in larger and smaller ways, we all have to face the vulnerable fragility of ourselves. Over and over again.
There are those who think they can escape it. They build impenetrable invisible walls. They opt-out of real intimacy and cautiously skim the surface of life avoiding the depth that can bring the deepest love, joy, loss and pain. But in avoiding they also miss out on living.
There is a simple answer.
The very nature of life is that we do not always understand, or see why things are happening or where they are leading us. Acceptance brings us the peace to take back control. To remember that life is beautiful and this is just a phase and that we are not victims of circumstance. We have choices.
We have the choice to change our perspective to one the emboldens our courage and our willingness to feel the full spectrum of life. Without avoiding. Without running away. Without playing the victim.
As the serenity prayer aptly says:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Can we believe that this is happening for us?
Can we sit in the unknown and trust?
Can we have patience?
Can we surrender?
Can we then move forward when, and only when, life opens its doors to the next unfolding and invites us into its mystery? Then, can we say yes?
There is a reactive desire to jump ahead, past the grief, the pain, the challenges, the weirdness. We are pleasure-seeking beings after all. We want to speed through it instead of letting it sink in. We have fears that the grief will be too great to hold. That is will drown us. That we will get stuck here.
In the haste to move on quickly to the place where things feel sweeter, we look for ways to reinvent ourselves, to become new, to escape without having fully realised the gifts of our depth of feelings. Inevitably life will find a way to lead us back until we have fully surrendered to it. Until finally, in suffering, we find profound acceptance and transcend it.
Acceptance will lead us through.
One day this too shall pass. In the meantime, life is happening, hours, days, weeks, months are unfolding.
Can we live in the present and embrace the moment?
2020, in a poem:
I flew 5,740 miles across the Atlantic ocean to a new seaside town I’d never lived in before and cried when I couldn’t find a place to live midst pandemic until a stranger reached out with a little flat that’s been my home for 8 months now. I withdrew from the world into my own creative imagination when the world told us to stay home. I held in my heart all those whose hearts were broken through losing loved ones, leaving loved ones, and letting go. I tightly squeezed everything I could out of every sunny day and every friendship and heartfelt connection. I gave myself grace in my business and in my life, not to create too much or expect too much, but just to be here, every day, and show up fully present with openness, tenderness and love. I grieved the loss of an old version of myself, the loss of a family I never really had, the loss of love in its many iterations across my lifetime and went back to therapy. I have been up and down mountains this year. My heart broke open over and over again. I questioned my existence for days on end wondering where I belong. I received a note from a stranger saying “you’ve been very much on my heart of late. you are wholly and resoundingly safe, supported, and loved.” and wept at the intuition and kindness from a woman I’ve never met. The world cracked my heart open with all its beauty and its brokenness.
Life, an initiation of heartbreaks.
It’s definitely been a wild one. For us all.
Collective grief is dripping off the walls at the moment. We have all experienced a loss of some kind and many of us, myself included, are navigating this in some sort of isolation. Bearing witness to each other’s pain is uncomfortable, but we have to learn to embrace it to create a new relationship with grief and loss and uncertainty.
I read somewhere recently that community is the antidote to grief.
The desire for community and belonging has been a strong one for some time now. I dream of living in a village of friends where we all have our own homes and come together daily to share and support one another. But there’s a caveat. I’m repelled and exhausted by the “new age spiritualism” narrative that seems to have taken over the internet. Big words and theories are thrown around by youngsters who’ve barely lived. I don’t want to be apart of it. I don’t want that in my community. To me, truth is simple and spirit is found in the subtle nuances of daily life, love and nature. We don’t need to complexify the multifaceted life experience with cognitive distractions. Everything we need to know is right here and it’s so uncomplicated.
For me personally, this year was hugely paradoxical. Incredibly beautiful and deeply painful. I had more space and time to myself than ever before. After having always been surrounded by people and communities I struggled with the loneliness of being without that and also cherished finally being able to soak in my own spirit for everlasting periods. I reconnected to people who have always lived in my heart and allied with new ones. The circumstances of the year uncovered deep-rooted trauma I didn’t know I had. Some stemming from childhood. Others from unpacking western culture and modern societal norms. I learned that if you look for trauma, you will find it. And that acknowledging and working through your trauma is one thing but carrying it around as wounding to negate taking responsibility is another. I’m working on owning my part in things and letting the rest go.
We still haven’t become mature enough to think of ourselves as only a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.Rachel Carson
The thing is, I have always been one of the fortunate ones. I have worked online for 7 years now. That didn’t change. My business thrived as more people joined the online sphere. I don’t have children to worry over. My life became my simpler, insular, contained into a smaller sphere than I’m used to. After a life of going anywhere and everywhere on a whim, I barely left the 10-kilometre radius of the seaside city I currently call home. And I’m still searching, still looking for the perfect place. A home to call my own. I feel like I’ve been searching my entire life and while home resides within me, it is also a place outside me that I am craving with some urgency to sink into.
I spent 20 years of my life following my heart across the globe whimsically exploring the lands of my planet. This year my heart led me to find a place to land and nest. While I fully intend to do that it doesn’t come naturally to me the way travel has. Its feels awkward and uncomfortable to allow my roots to take hold deeper than they have before. I sense a great resistance to the simplest, mundane things. Going grocery shopping. Paying council tax. Unblocking a clogged sink. And while I don’t miss airports or aeroplanes I do miss the momentum and spaciousness of foreign landscapes rolling past me while I centre myself. For years I practised anchoring myself within and finding a sense of grounding in the unknown. That’s always been my safe space. Now I am being asked to let go of that and connect to the land I find myself in in a whole new way.
What is left is a space of deep listening of what is wanting to be left behind and a claiming of what is coming next. It is a noticing and allowing of the energy to tell me what is wanting to partner with me to guide me into the new.
It feels like we have reached a point where the “old way” just isn’t working even though we have been told our whole life that this is the way it goes. Within each of us exists this natural force that wants to drive us forward in life. The caveat is that it doesn’t fit neatly into any pre-made boxes. It has a song and beat of its own. This is where the fear and uncertainty seeps in… the sense that this thing that we don’t know cannot be safe or trusted and all it is asking us is to commune with our own inner nature. It’s big, potent, powerful, necessary work. And it’s terrifying. We all meet each other here at some point in our lives, whether willingly or because life has brought us to our knees. Sometimes both.
It doesn’t require a noble purpose or a grand ambition; it’s okay to just wander through life following the threads of what lights you up until you die. Our western cultural narrative has tricked way too many people into thinking their lives have to have them looking for a great lightning strike, some flash of great meaning and deep insight whilst they miss out on everything else. In reality it’s mostly the little things that really matter.
The more I tune into my essential nature the more I recognise how much I have to override my innate gentleness, that softness and sensitivity in order to operate in this world. Having to adhere to linear, masculine energy undermines the powerful nuances and delicate nature of that feminine essence that resides in all of us which has messed up our human species and the planet considerably. I’m trying to find another way forward with all this.
Being a human being, a woman, a creative, running her own business making her way in the world on her own is a ride. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve reinvented myself and my work and the ways that I share pieces of my heart with you in the last 7 years. I’m currently unveiling the next version of myself and look forward to meeting her with you.
As this year comes to a close I don’t come with big, grandiose statements or insightful revelations. I simply have a commitment to myself to keep my heart open and trust the unfolding.
2021, may you be gentle with our hearts.
Thank you for continuing to share your heart and life with me on this online journey. It’s fun, weird, wonderful, awkward, inspiring, and confusing. I’m deeply appreciative of the watching, liking, commenting, communicating, and connecting. Truly, deeply, from the depths of my heart, thank you. No really, I mean it. Thank you. No, you hang up first.
Photo by the lovely Fern.