This lesson is about creating the public, web-based version of yourself, which will aid you in the never-ending process of designing your life. Having a personal website is like a personal development catalyst, so get ready to bust out the reality of your dreams!
We are all one. We come from the same place, we are made of the same energy, and when we die we go right back to the whole.
The Internet is a physical manifestation of our inherent oneness. We are all connected. We all have unique perspectives, but collectively, we are something much bigger than ourselves. And if we are all one, we are all each other. I am you, you are me. We are like spines on the same koosh ball.
Under this assumption I came to my views on privacy. If we are all one, what is the point of privacy? The need for privacy comes mainly from fear of what other people will think. Why would we be afraid of what others think, if we are all the same underneath? Why would I chose to hide from myself?
It’s time to stop caring about what anyone else thinks, discover what brings you passion and joy, and become the person you’ve always known you are! Amplify your ideas, share your happiness with others, and expand your possibilities!
Why exist digitally?
Having a personal website is a great boon in the process of designing your life. It is a way to view yourself from outside of yourself, a digital ledge from which to gain perspective. Since we spend so much time online anyway, it makes sense to be focused and deliberate about what kinds of digital creation we engage in.
Many of you are entrepreneurs at heart and hope to make money from your website, maybe through advertising revenue or product sales. By approaching your website with passion and the mindset that it is enjoyable to work on it, you are setting the stage for a successful endeavor. Below are several reasons to keep an active website, which can ultimately lead you down the path to financial success.
Keeping a personal website has been the single most valuable thing I’ve done for myself. I knew that it was a great place to collect creative works, memories and inspiration, but until recently I didn’t really understand why. The simple answer? Because keeping a website feels GOOD. It feels good to create and share our work, it feels good to collect inspiration, it feels good to write about topics that interest us, and it feels good to receive feedback in comments and conversation. It feels good to take photos of ourselves for the sole purpose of posting them to our blogs, it feels good to organize our thoughts in the form of a website, and it feels good to create digital representations of ourselves that spread our ideas to people across the world.
Maintaining a personal website feels good, so what? SO, feeling good brings more good things into your life! Whatever you think about, you bring more about into your life. So if you are feeling good, you are thinking good thoughts. These good feelings and thoughts do nothing but generate more. The more joy we look for, the more we find!
A website is like a mirror of your mind. When you design a new portfolio section, or write a fresh blog post, or take a great outfit photo, you are reflecting your life at the moment. How do you want it to look? You are in control! Every moment is an opportunity to find something that makes you feel good, and when you collect some of these moments on your site, you begin creating an archive of good-feeling memories to scroll through whenever you need a boost.
Discover your unique passion.
Kelly once said about personal websites, “if you know what your site is about, you know what your life is about.” How true this is! What parts of yourself do you want to showcase on a website? What ideas do you have that everyone should hear about? What are you truly passionate about?
Don’t worry if you don’t know yet! Maintaining a website can help you figure out what makes you feel good, what interests you, and what you are passionate about doing. This doesn’t require chaining yourself to your computer or constant twittering through meals with friends. Having a website may actually inspire you to spend less time online, so you can be out having exciting adventures to share!
Voice your intentions.
I like when I create posts that resonate with other people. I like creating with a joyful vibration, and I like it when others vibrating at the same level respond. Wouldn’t it be nice if this post resonated with many of you?
By stating what I would like to happen with my creation, I am voicing my intention. This can be applied to anything you want. Are you looking for a new bicycle? Tell the Internet! Are you in need of inspiration? Make a post about it. The universe can’t answer you if you don’t ask for what you want. And by asking publicly on the Internet, you are making it easier for yourself to believe that things can be orchestrated for you. If you just asked aloud for a new bike, you might have a hard time believing the universe was going to bring you one, just like that. But if you ask online (like Kelly did after her bike was stolen), it’s a lot easier to believe that you might have a friend with an unused bike laying around for you.
Voicing your intentions and desires online can help you begin noticing the little coincidences and synchronicities that are occurring all over the place as the universe works to bring you what you ask for. The resulting conversations tend to be deeper than the usual Facebook conversation fare. It’s fun to talk with people who have thought about life a lot!
Teach and learn.
Every single one of us has knowledge that others could benefit from. Providing digital access to what we know is a surefire way to speed up discoveries and fun-having worldwide! Not only do we all have something to teach, but by teaching it we learn it again. Teach once, learn twice. Also, it can be fun to challenge yourself to do new things and post about them along the way–learning and teaching at the same time.
Process and synthesize.
All of this business about the universe and positivity and synchronicities and the power of thoughts and putting it all online can be overwhelming at first. Having a creative outlet to discuss your understanding and progress as you go through life is invaluable. Putting your experiences online publicly is different from keeping a personal journal, because you create with the knowledge that someone else might be looking. This is a good thing–it encourages you to clarify what you’re thinking and experiencing. This clarification helps you process and synthesize new information as it comes, deepening your knowledge. Coming closer to understanding the meaning of life is definitely something that brings me joy :]
Phew! Now that we have all the conceptual reasoning for having a website out of the way, we can start talking about your new (or improved!) online presence!
photo by margolove
Visualization of Your Higher Self
In the previous lesson, we talked about writing our dream “About” pages. What would your future biography say if you could determine it now? We are going to take the same approach for our websites.
Your Higher Self is the you that you want to be. It is you in perfect form, the dream you, the you living out your fullest potential. Your website is about that you. Not you in your current reality, not the flawed you, not the sad you, not the negative you, not the unhappy you. Your Higher Self is who you are striving to become.
When you look at your website, you want to feel like you’re looking at the website of your idol. Do you want to be a rock star? Do you want to be a fashion designer with more sales than you can fulfill? Do you want to be an artist with openings at every major gallery in the country? Then design your site to reflect that!
Create a page with tour dates, use Paypal to easily let others purchase your work, describe your most recent smashing success. It doesn’t matter if you’re fibbing a little (or a lot!) because the point is to get in the feeling of success. You have complete control over your perception of yourself! And when you create an outstanding website for your dream self, you are aligning the stars to make that dream a reality.
You might be wondering how you are going to get this site of your dreams! You are going to make it of course, or perhaps you know someone who owes you a favor. But to do it yourself is most rewarding, so you can change anything and everything at any time. Creating a site that best reflects the you who you want to be is a never-ending process, because your desires are always changing.
Where to start
Your job is now to create a website that best represents your Higher Self. The first decision you need to make is where this website will live. Do you already have a site? Is the URL what you most ideally want to be known as? Whatever you chose, make sure it’s something you really love. Don’t love your real name? Change it! But be consistent across the Internet–try to make your website URL and your various account names (Twitter, Tumblr, etc) the same.
The easy way out
If mucking about with code and webhosting makes your eyes glaze over, never fear! You can get a free WordPress.com account and let WordPress worry about all the technical bits. Once you log in to your dashboard, you can choose from 99 different layouts (called themes) to make your site look the way you want it.
If WordPress.com isn’t the right fit for you, feel free to create your digital Higher Self anywhere else that makes you feel comfortable. Livejournal, Facebook, Tumblr, Posterous, Myspace, Flickr, or Blogger all have free options for your enjoyment.
How to get started with webhosting
If you’re willing to go the extra mile to have things just the way you want them, the best possible thing you can do for yourself when creating your web presence is getting your own domain name and hosting. This means that you pay someone for computer space where your website lives, but you get complete control over everything. If you ever hope to make money off your website, make sure you do this! It is more work for you than signing up for a WordPress.com account, but it pays off to have complete control over the way your site looks, what kinds of advertising you can put on it, and what kinds of content you can publish.
If you are looking for a place to host your website, I recommend Bluehost, with one caveat–they have a pretty strict Acceptable Use Policy. If you want lots of nudity on your site, Bluehost is not for you! I have held an account with them for a couple years now and they have been quite lovely to work with. If you do choose to sign up with them, use the link above and I get a little cut from the deal ;] Here are roughly the steps you will have to follow when signing up:
- Go to Bluehost.com or your hosting provider of choice.
- Choose your domain name and monthly hosting plan. Bluehost gives you unlimited storage space and bandwidth, great for when your website explodes with traffic!
- Log in to your new account and explore your Control Panel (aka cPanel). This is where you get to do lots of fun things like set up email accounts, back up your site, and manage your databases.
- Configure your FTP settings, so you can easily transfer files from your computer to your website.
Once you’ve figured out your FTP settings, install WordPress on your server. If you want to design your own theme and code it yourself, check out some tutorials. Otherwise, start browsing all the free themes available.
Things to consider about your Higher Self-cum-website
- Header: your site header is generally an image or block of text at the very top of your site. This is the first thing your readers will see when they get to your site. Does it accurately represent your higher self? Does the imagery you use have meaning?
- Sidebar: the sidebar is often your site’s primary navigation. Ponder every single link or bit of text you put in there. Carefully consider the sidebar hierarchy–what is the most important navigation item? Put that one first.
- About page: your about page is very important to give visitors some context about your site. And it is an extremely important part of visualizing your Higher Self. What you write in your About page is what will come to be, so make sure you know what you want and aren’t afraid to say it!
- Categories: the different types of posts you make can all have separate categories, so you can sort your site. What are the different aspects of your life you want to showcase? When picturing your Higher Self, what are the different areas you see? Don’t use categories for areas of your life you dislike, because you’ll just perpetuate those aspects.
- Portfolio: no matter what your industry, a portfolio can be a great section to include on your website. Choose to showcase only projects that you truly enjoyed doing and would love to do again. This will bring about more projects like those.
- Copyright: Copyright is obsolete. Read this post by Steve Pavlina on why he is no longer protecting his work with copyright. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits also has an awesome copyright policy on his blog. Consider releasing your copyright in your sidebar or footer by including a Creative Commons Public Domain license.
- Posts: every post you make should make you feel good. If you’re documenting or talking about something that doesn’t make you feel good, STOP RIGHT NOW, unless you want to bring more bad feelings into your life!
So what should I post about?
Here are some different types of posts you can create to make yourself feel good and bring more joy into your life.
- Things I love: a list of things you are grateful for, or that make you laugh, smile, or feel joy.
- Rampage of appreciation: a stream of consciousness flowing of things you appreciate about your current situation.
- List of positive aspects: if there is something bringing you down, list out all the positive things you like about the person or circumstance.
- Visualization: draw a picture of something you want, and include yourself in it.
- Vision board: put up a bulletin board in your home where you hang up all the things you want to bring into your life. Post about it!
- Exercise: embed your Runkeeper routes or talk about your favorite way to get your body moving.
- Fashion: make the Polyvore collection of your dreams, or get a lookbook.nu account.
- Link love: link to all the different bloggers you love and explain why! You’ll get good link karma.
- Research: pick a topic that interests you and dig up all the information you can find about it. Organize your discoveries into a gorgeous post that will save someone else time.
- People you’d like to meet, places you’d like to travel: start writing about the things you want to attract into your life!
- Inspiration: what is inspiring you today? Beautiful new colored pencils? A triple espresso? Your grandparents? Tell us about it, and receive more inspiration for your trouble.
- Music you’re listening to: I am always dying to hear recommendations from others!
- Book reviews: what book has really changed your life, and why?
- Portfolio of your work: no matter what it is you do, you have enough experience to create an amazing portfolio. Choose your favorite projects from your entire lifetime and showcase them. Then sit back as you attract similar projects into your life.
- Food photos and recipes: if you like to cook, document it and make it look exquisite.
- How-to: we all know things that seem simple to us but not to everyone! Think of one thing you know how to do really well and post a detailed tutorial.
- Funny family stories: we all love hearing how screwed up everyone else’s family is…
- Oh, pets: you like it when your cat does that cute thing? Make a post about it and watch more cuteness unfold ;D
Your assignment this week is simple. Get yourself a website, then start making it look like the website of your Higher Self! If you already have a site, take a look at it and make a list of the things you could change to make it better reflect who you want to be. Then start crossing things off that list! To turn in your assignment, just post a link to your site in the comments for critique and feedback.
On my list of improvements to make this week: put up my portfolio and re-categorize my posts to be more like Kelly’s!
Remember, the point of having a website is to feel good. If at any time the process is making you frustrated or upset, just walk away! There is no deadline, and no pressure. Work on your site for the pure pleasure of creating. You can’t get it wrong, because you’ll never get it 100% done. You are always changing and your Higher Self is always expanding. Do what you’re inspired to do in this moment and you’ll never be disappointed with the results.
To go deeper into this lesson, don’t forget to listen to the discussion MP3.
See you next time!
Lesson 3 is Designing your thoughts & emotions. In this lesson we’ll cover the law of attraction, positivity, manifestation & subjective reality. Learning how to control your thoughts and emotions is the basis for designing the rest of your life, so I’m super excited to see what inspiration brings us!
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Thank you for co-creating with me!