Last week I shared with you the first part of my interview with travelling life coach and creative, Vienda Maria (which you can find here if you missed it). In part two, Vienda shares her thoughts on fear, embracing change, vulnerability and we end on a few of Vienda's favourite and not so favourite travel destinations. Dig in!
In what ways does fear play out for you?
I think fear is a part of everyone’s life. Fear is simply when something new is happening in one’s life, and we respond to it as though something bad is happening and react in an almost fight or flight kind of way, but when what is really happening is something different is taking place and we just have to make a conscious decision around whether this different thing is good for us or not. And fear often for me is a pre-cursor to great growth. So when I’m really scared about something, because I am doing something very new or different, it means that I am learning or growing a lot, and that I need that as part of my personal development. Which also means that fear means ‘YES, go for it!’ - rather than ‘No, stop, don’t do it’, because it’s too scary.
Our fears are usually around losing something, not getting what we think we need, or feeling the need to control our lives or others – not fears that are based on substantial real things that are threatening us.
I think fear is really healthy when we learn to not allow it to control us. When we acknowledge it for what it is, and then keep moving towards the things we desire.
A lot of people crave the freedom and sense of wild-hearted living that comes with living with passion and according to their truth. But the thought of changing their circumstances or really devoting a whole lot of time and energy to shifting everything can become really overwhelming or leave people feeling somewhat stuck. Is there some advice you can give to help people feel that sense of freedom right now, regardless of their circumstances?
I would say one of the best things you can possibly do is start repeating a mantra to yourself, which is “I am willing to change”. Because that is the first step to anything.
And the moment you become willing to change, you become free.
People are so afraid of change, because it means bringing up fear, it means facing yourself, it means having to grow which can be painful, so they’re essentially saying “I want all this freedom, but I don’t want to do anything for it” – which is essentially self sabotaging. So if you want freedom, be willing to change. Because the moment you’re willing to change, everything opens up for you. And freedom is actually about possibility, it’s about making choices, it’s about changing the way you live your life to a way that might be better suited to you.
Why do you think so many people are so resistant towards embodying a lifestyle that reflects their true desires? Why do they dream it, then put it off for another day?
I think it comes back to fear. Fear of judgement from others, fear of failure. Feeling worthy of fulfilling those dreams in the first place. Also, it involves a lot of work as well as making changes, learning, growing and facing yourself in ways that maybe you haven’t faced yourself before. And with everything in life, it’s easier for people to talk about it than actually do it.
But here’s the thing, life is now! There is nothing else. My dad died when I was 10 and so I always think to myself – I could die tomorrow. I don’t know, but I could. So, how would I live today knowing that?
Which means that the people I love, I squeeze and I tell them I love them. And the work I do, I do it with complete passion, I adore it and I’m present and enjoying it.
Be here. Enjoy it. Because if tomorrow I’m gone, I don’t want to regret it.
Can you share a story or experience where you feel you grew the most or it made you question your own way of thinking?
Definitely. Actually I feel a bit shy to talk about this, but essentially it taught me about vulnerability in such a powerful way. When I left Sydney about two and a half years ago, I was in a relationship with this lovely guy. He was a tattoo artist and just super sweet and super sensitive. Before I met him I was going to leave at a certain time, as I had already planned to go to Europe, and he decided he wanted to come with me. We had only been together for a really short time, and we travelled around Europe and were in Amsterdam because we both had friends there. Suddenly he completely changed and decided to start dealing cocaine on the streets and doing all these things that weren’t in alignment with who I am. I believe everyone has the right to live their life the way they want, but I was in shock that I had been in an intimate relationship with someone whose values were so out of alignment with who I was and what I believed in for myself. And through that process, some really scary things happened where he must have been using a lot, and he ended up getting quite psychotic and I ended up with a gun against my head, as he told me that he was going to kill me. He just completely lost it, and I ran away on a night bus to Prague with all of my things the next day, as soon as I could and cried in a hotel room for days. And I was like, how did this happen? This is not my life! But, it taught me vulnerability. It taught me to really look at myself and get really honest – because everything is a reflection. This experience taught me so much about getting clear on who I am, and who I was, and who I wanted to spend time with. And also making sure that the people I was intimate with had the same values and were in alignment with who I was from the very beginning. I have always been very accepting of people, and curious to find out about people’s worlds in a completely non-judgemental way. But I learnt that you can be accepting and non-judgemental – but also have very strong boundaries. And so vulnerability and boundaries were both huge lessons for me during that time.
What advice can you give to people wanting to embrace vulnerability?
I think the reason why people are afraid to be vulnerable, and definitely the reason why I was afraid to be vulnerable for a long time, was because I thought it would make me weak and disempower me and mean that other people could take advantage of me. So I avoided it at all costs, and I would go to great lengths to make sure that I wasn’t vulnerable and put up emotional walls and all sorts of ridiculous things to ensure that I wouldn’t get hurt. Which obviously doesn’t work at all - it does the complete opposite.
Embracing vulnerability means having those wounds of yours and still loving yourself, and accepting that we all have those wounds. We are human beings, we are one of the most vulnerable creatures on earth! Once we embrace being vulnerable, we recognise how powerful it really is. Because when you show your vulnerability to another human being, they soften as well. And you can connect so much better, it’s so beautiful. Because you know what, we’ve all been through shit, we’ve all cried , we’ve all felt pain and were all going to do it again and that is just part of life, so let’s stop pretending that we’re these soldiers made of steel who aren’t affected by things – this is just what life’s about, that’s just how it is. It’s real. And sometimes it hurts. But if you cut off the pain, you also cut off the joy. You don’t get to experience the happiness. You don’t get to experience the deep joy. You don’t get to experience what it actually feels like to be alive when you are not vulnerable.
A few fun questions to finish us off:
When I was a kid, I wanted to be... a mermaid! I used to train for hours to hold my breath and swim without arms!
Of everywhere I have travelled to, one place I dislike is… Belize. It’s one of my least favourite places. It’s beautiful, but it has this dingy energy where you can feel that stuff isn’t quite right. I feel like the locals were suppressed at some point and a lot of the government actions are quite illegal and they have a lot of illegal drug activity there. And even though the country itself is beautiful, and it has amazing chocolate and coffee and all these things, there is just something about it that makes me feel not quite right.
Travel destinations that stand out? India – I just love India, so much. Mexico is also one of my favourite places. I also quite love Australia - for me Australia is super grounding. Everything comes back to earth and I feel good here.
Where in the world haven’t you been yet and think you would love to go?
Namibia. A tiny country in Africa. I never really wanted to go to Southern Africa, because I feel like they can be a bit aggressive and violent in many of those cultures, and as a woman I wouldn’t be resepcted there, and I think It could be quite challenging. But I have a friend who grew up in Namibia and she goes back every year with her son, and I would love to go back with her, and see the wild as she sees it, and see it from her perspective. She goes and lives with tribes for weeks on end and I’d love that, which is different to those tours and safaris, and I’m not interested in that.
Want to keep in touch with Vienda? Vienda has just moved to Byron for a while, into a big beautiful, old, quirky farmhouse in the forest, and she will be running live workshops every month starting in March from there, which you will be sure to love. Vienda also has a fantastic set of programs coming up: The Gypset BSchool Adventure and The Gypset Biz Adventure (which will include all the bonuses in the BSchool Adventure without having to do BSchool). She also has a Manifest More course coming out in a few months, so stay tuned!
Vienda is a life coach, writer and creative who travels the world, teaching women how they can create their own reality by uncovering your own truth and embodying their full potential. This is where they discover their freedom.
She believes that when we live our lives from a space of love and soul, a transformational ripple occurs that changes our entire world. Making our planet a better, kinder, more peaceful place.
One beautiful, spirited human being at a time.
Vienda’s message has been shared by thousands across the globe across her own blog and platforms such as Cleo Magazine, Tiny Buddha and Roooar Magazine.
Vienda has written 4 books of her own, including the popular Releasing Rituals guide, and has been featured in 3 other books such as best-seller Love & Oneness.