what is freedom? (I want to be wild and free)

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It is in the circumvent moment of taking a leap of faith that we taste true freedom.
It is in the letting go that we gain so much more.
Saying no leads to better yes’.
When we let go of expectations that we feel the sweetness of success.
As the dreamer we realise that our dream was being realised all along.
It’s not judging…..and relinquishing the need to care about what others think.
It’s in the shedding of tears, in feeling lost and still moving forward.
It’s having tremendous faith…..that everything will work out….better than fine.
It’s in the questions we pose of ourselves, just enough to widen our horizons and move past our limitations.
Freedom is being a bright beacon of light…..clarity, honesty and love….no matter what else is going on around us.
When disappointment turns to longing turns to the realisation that what we thought we wanted we didn’t actually want.
It’s in the receiving….graciously, openly, without feeling we owe something in return.
It’s in the giving selflessly…altruistically without expecting anything in return.
It’s in the loving someone fearlessly…completely, whether or not they may love you back
It’s in the intoxicating joy, the serenity, the happiness without a reason.
It’s in realising that no-one’s got it all figured out ….. and nothing is permanent.
It’s when we teeter beyond our imaginations with nothing but trust and hope to catch us.
And when we do fall, we fall up….and everything gets unexpectedly better.
It’s in reinventing yourself every single day.
It’s when simplicity takes over.
This is freedom.

why blogging makes you a better person

Much is said across the blogging community about developing your authentic voice. Less is said about how blogging helps you unfold your authentic self.
As many bloggers will agree, finding your voice, your own unique style, format and way of sharing with your audience takes time. The six months to one year of initial blogging is a steep learning curve from trial and error as you experiment with different styles, formats and ideas to find out what works for you.
In the midst of this, you are learning to a articulate your thoughts, ideas and develop your brand in a clear and entertaining way. You begin to discover insights about yourself and the way you express yourself that you were never aware of before. You’re always considering how your real-life experiences can be used full translated into valuable and compelling resources for your readers. Suddenly your entire life become a walking, talking research and experimentation unit.
As you become clearer on the messages you want to share, you also become clearer on who you are as an individual and how your viewpoint affects yourself as well as others.
Blogging in itslef creates a spectrum of continuous self-awareness, asking questions and building your knowledge base. Not only are you growing the spectrum of your blog, you are growing as a person. Each time you publish a post, you reveal a little more of yourself, you increase your own awareness as well as grow the knowledge and awareness of your audience. You share your talents and skills on your blog in order to help others and simultaneously seek to help yourself. Blogging, after all, is the art of solving people’s problems in this wonderful age of information. And our problems, we realise are also the problems of our peers, friends and communities.
So how does blogging make you a better person?

  • You become a better communicator. You are continuously learning to articulate and express your message in several different formats so that all kinds of people can be reached. This practise alone makes you more aware of how different people absorb information differently which is subconsciously translated into your daily life. (I recently wrote a long letter to my mama and finished it off with bullet point to surmise my main arguments just to make sure “she gets it”… Ha!)
  • You develop your unique authentic voice. It is said many time over that the best way to create compelling content is by being completely yourself. This requires a bit of soul searching wherein often the process of blogging helps to navigate you to that point of figuring out who and what you are in order to share your authentic voice.
  • You learn to better deal with the highs and lows of life. Blogging comments, google analytics and social media give you a good idea in the real-time realm how you, your brand and your ideas are coming across to your audience. Some people will love you, some people won’t. You learn that you can’t please everyone and that most importantly you must remain true to yourself.
  • You learn to react quickly in intense situations and your problem solving skills rocket skyward. A link is broken, your site is down, something has gone wrong. But it’s ok. You take a deep breath and figure out how to solve the problem and perhaps come up with a solution so it doesn’t happen again. You know that sometimes these things happen and that it’s not the end of the world.
  • You meet likeminded people. Internet and the blogosphere have become one of the best ways to meet wonderful amazing people who are on the same wavelength as you. Like attracts like in cyberspace and suddenly you will find yourself amongst a group of the most fabulous and fascinating friends imaginable who totally “get you”.
  • Self awareness spurs on self development. The two move hand in hand. From all the analysing and collecting ideas from your daily life to share with your audience comes the automatic response of building and growing on that which you already are and know. You are continuously taking your thought processes deeper and wider in a wild array of topics, developing your own knowledge and how that this reflected in your life experience.
  • Blogging makes you a happier person. Not only are you giving value to people and contributing to the world, but you are sharing your art, you passion and wisdom with those who choose to seek it out. Now that gives everyone a good sense of fulfilment!
  • The commitment and constancy that blogging brings to your life gives you a well-rounded sense of achievement. Human beings thrive from having to complete something on a consistent basis, especially if and when the rest of their life may be a sort of unexpected chaos, and research that a practise of anything (such as blogging) improves your general sense of self and wellbeing.

Not only are you giving value to others but you are also giving enormous value to yourself. Each and every single time you hit that publish button.

how I started my business blog website + how you can too

One of the biggest challenges that I have had to overcome with my www: Wonderful Worldwide Website or my online presence that you see here before you, is constructing the site itself, in a way that was easy (not being a computer geek), cost effective (I didn’t want to look back and think “Gosh! that cost me so so much and I’m not even happy with the result!!!”… and wanted to have control over how much and what I was spending my money on), loads of flexibility (being the creative control freak that I am) and a product I could be at least a little bit in love with. Yes, that was possibly the longest sentence ever written.
When I first started sharing my musings publicly, I wanted my own, free-standing website (not linked to blogger or tumbler or the like though they are all very worthwhile in their own way) and I knew that I wanted to use my name for the site, so that I have the freedom to change the content as I saw fit without having to rebrand too radically. Being an expert on myself, I acknowledge the necessity to allow room for change in my world. So I bought the domain name viendamaria.com, downloaded WordPress and then just started using one of their free templates. I didn’t have an exact plan for what my site would be about or which direction I was planning to head. I had been writing for over 10 years and so many friends said they wanted to read what I had written about certain things so, instead of sending everyone a group email, having a site where I could share my thoughts was clearly the perfect solution.
Truthfully, (eeep! it’s kind of embarrassing!) when I first started writing online, some of my headings and even topics were a little lack-lustre, my layout was unremarkable and it took at least 6 months of consistent publishing to begin to find my groove.
I learnt how important it is to be consistent, why blogging is an extremely valuable tool for any business and why it is critical to carve your niche by using your unique point of view and personality.
As well as posting regularly and finding my voice, my passion and discovering insights in which niche much of my written work was lying, I spent endless hours immersed in the depths of Google learning about SEO Search Engine Optimisation and trying to figure out how to customise my template and learning how to code in certain elements which I wanted to include on my site to give it a more distinct and personal look and feel. I wanted “me” to be recognisable in the branding and the feelings that visitors had upon reaching viendamaria.com.
This certainly wasn’t easy for me! I am most certainly not a whizz-kid when it comes to online adventures and it was an incredibly time consuming and daunting task. I managed to get my lovely little WWW presentable but was never entirely happy with it. I continuously researched problogger forums, advice articles and websites for systems and products that suited my need to have creative control over my site whilst making it easy for me to do what I wanted to do, when i wanted to do it. Be it at 5am on a Tuesday morning or after Sunday brunch when I am still in bed.
All of this knowledge and experience garnered over many months of research, experimenting and testing many different systems resulted in a byproduct where I am putting all the most important elements together into a guide on how to build your own business blog website from scratch in 1 day. I am currently writing the copy and designing the template so that I can share all that I have learnt with you, in a digital format easy for you to download and use, complete with links and inside tips and advice.
It will include:

☮ A step by step guide on getting your site set up.

☮ How to start building your own site from the very beginning.

☮ The art of copywriting.

☮ Basic SEO and marketing

☮ What products and resources I used to create what I wanted.

☮ Loads of additional fun tools and quips along the way!

This will be a very simple guide for beginners who, like me, are clueless, non-geeky types but are passionate about the internet and have the commitment as well as see the value in having an online presence to share their work, talents and insights. The truth is, nowadays, if you don’t have a place where you can be found online, people will quickly forget about you, as well as question your credibility. If you have something to share, whatever it may be, and you’re not online, you are seriously stunting your capacity of having a successful, flourishing identity, business or brand.
The  digital guide that I am currently working on will probably be called something cheesy like Zero to Cyber Space Hero ~ A Guide to Creating Your Own Business Blog in 1 Day. Ok, so I haven’t totally decided on the title yet, but that’s one of the final things I need to do. I’m still working on it. If you have any great title ideas, please DO feel free to share them with me! Put your ideas below in the comments section below or email me studio@viendamaria.com or on Twitter or Facebook. Whichever medium you prefer works.
The guide will be your fast-track guide past of the trials and tribulations that I went through in order to create the site that I have now. It will help you develop a website that you love, all on your own terms at extremely low costs in just a few super easy and simple to follow steps.
After all, if I can do it, so can you! Look out for the digital guide to creating your own business blog launch in early June.
Image source.

are you who you want to be? {this one’s for the guys}

Men are continuously being conflicted to bury their true natures of being strong, individual, unique and masculine in order to become more streamlined, more sensitive, more fashion forward, consumer giants, more effeminate and different to how you are. Basically, you are being told that “you’re not good enough”.
All of these concepts fill your thoughts, your minds, you dreams and eventually you begin to lose touch with who you are as you busily endeavour to be who you think you should be in an effort to gain the acceptance, recognition and most importantly love that you crave and innately deserve. And then, one day, you look around yourself, surrounded by crap and gadgets and clothes you don’t wear, and discover that the one thing which makes you distinct as a human being and more importantly as a man, has been lost.
All the products and material possessions that you have been beguiled to purchase with your hard-earned cash in order to become a better man, the man the you “should” be are worthless in the face of a life and manhood frittered away. In frustration you shout out “How could this be?! I’ve done everything right. I’ve done it all like I’ve been told to. I work hard, I provide for my family, I exercise, I spend time with loved ones, I have bought the car/the house/the boat, I go out with my mates and show them how to have a good time, I’ve wooed women and treated them right and showed them what stuff I’m made of. Why does it all now feel so empty? Why do I feel unfulfilled and no longer truly alive?”
What happens now? Perhaps you go out, get drunk, firmly position your head in the sand and buy something expensive which will captivate and distract you from those questions. This will work, for a while, at least. At this point men begin to question themselves; sometimes this questioning take place as a mid-life crisis, sometimes as a journey of self-discovery. The path is yours to choose.
What if you were to delve a little deeper? What would happen if you were to face yourself, in the mirror, with all your honesty and fears and love and flaws and all that makes you, you and ask yourself “Who am I?”. Actually truly, who am I? Without the the labels, the social conditioning, the job, the family position, the “woe is me” story, the history, the education, the heartbreaks, successes and losses. Who am I?
Knowing who you are is the greatest wisdom any man can possess. Self-awareness is what sets us apart from all others in the animal kingdom. Get to know yourself. Simply by making the choice that you are willing to and want to get to know yourself is all it takes to start the ball rolling. Take time for self reflection. Consider the way in which and what decisions have been made throughout your life and realign them with your beliefs and values on a daily basis. Are you living out your true, authentic self? If not say so, take stand and make some changes. Choose to live your life the way that YOU would like to. Choose to be happy. Choose to be positive. Your life is reflected in the thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself. And no matter what messages you are receiving from the world outside of yourself, know this: You are good enough. You are safe. You are provided for. You are loved. Just the way you are. Because you deserve it.
Image source: Unknown.

the greatest love of all ::: a self love manifesto

what makes you worthy of being loved? the simple truth that you exist.
the greatest love of all is self love. when we fully love, accept and approve of ourselves exactly as we are, then everything in life falls into place.
self love is nurturing your body ~ sustain you life force with love
self love is cultivating you mind ~ grow through pleasure, not pain
self love is listening to your emotions ~ trust them and they will guide you
self love is honouring your spirit ~ mediating between body and soul
self love is accepting yourself ~ you are worth it
self love is practicing kindness ~ benevolence, generosity, charity, sympathy, tenderness
self love is practicing compassion ~ everyone is doing their best
self love is being respectful ~ a sense of worth for all things
self love is be-ing free ~ all conditions are temporary
self love is practicing forgiveness ~ release and let go
self love is allowing yourself to be happy ~ find your happiness within your heart
Image source.

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