VIlma Reynoso

Inspiring authentic transformation in people for a kinder, more compassionate world.


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December Book Review: I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life by Marissa Peer

A quick, easy but profound read, I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life by Marissa Peer is a book for those who are willing to heal from their childhood emotional wounds and want a simple, very effective solution with dramatic change. Marissa’s book will help you realize what is holding you back from living the life you truly want and deserve.

Sound cheesy? Well, it’s actually not.

Let me tell you I used to be very insecure. I grew up in an emotionally abusive household and was constantly told I was never enough explicitly and implicitly: no matter what I did, it was not good enough or wrong. I was made to feel that my very existence was shameful. A childhood like this is incredibly damaging on so many levels. It takes years, decades, and sometimes a lifetime to change these beliefs and reverse the damage from this type of abuse (and it took me decades to heal). Learning how to accept and love myself, to love others, and to love my life is to thrive, and this is what Marissa’s book taught me. It can do the same for you!

Marissa demonstrates, step by step, how to heal from the emotional damage you might have experienced by changing your thinking to create happiness, better handle anxiety, and feel a million times better. She demonstrates how our thoughts can be destructive habits and to change them is to create a more joyful life, and more. What I love most about this book and Marissa’s approach is that she gets right to the bottom line: you believe you are NOT ENOUGH. If you are addicted to alcohol or porn, if you have issues with self-image, if you eat for emotional reasons, or end up in harmful relationships, etc., you basically believe there is something wrong with you (consciously or unconsciously), or that you are not enough. Through decades of research and experience, Peer has determined that the common thread to additions or damaging behavior is the belief that we are “not enough.” She offers the solution to misery, and it is easier than you think it is.

I recommend I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life by Marissa Peer to anyone who has been abused, those who struggle with low self-esteem or self-hate, and those who are ready to become healthy and happy. Honestly, you can read this in one or two hours and do the exercises she recommends, and it will improve your life!

A bit about the author, Marissa Peer:

Marissa Peer

Marissa Peer is a motivational speaker, psychologist, and hypnotherapist. She started her career as a child psychologist, and after decades of counseling clients realized there was a faster, more efficient way to heal her clients’ emotional wounds, so she developed her own pioneering hypnotic therapy. In addition, Marissa is a national magazine columnist and has appeared on major media outlets and television shows including GMTV, Lorraine Kelly, This Morning, Sky News, ITV News, BBC News, Channel 4 News, BBC Radio, Supersize Versus Superskinny, Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Big Brother, and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. She has appeared on countless news channels in America, Scandinavia, Japan, Africa, and throughout Europe.

A best-selling author of five books including I am Enough, Marissa lives in Britain and improves people’s lives worldwide.

To learn more about Marissa Peer or to purchase a copy of I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life, visit: MarissaPeer.com.


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November Book Review: Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Truly fascinating and unique, Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, is a detailed, engaging summary of the history of human beings.

Harari demonstrates how humans are the only species willing and able to believe what only exists in the imagination such as money, human rights, religion, and states. He brilliantly weaves the history of humans as far back as the Stone Age to modern day with the goal of discovering who we are and why we do what we do.

What fascinated me the most about Sapiens was the author’s viewpoint on the processes throughout history that shaped and influenced human thought: the cognitive revolution, the agricultural revolution, the creation of money, philosophical inquiry, the birth of science and the scientific revolution, capitalism and the industrial revolution, the creation of boundaries and states, the information age, genetic engineering, and more recently, artificial intelligence. Yuval also mentions how modern animal agriculture is one of the worst atrocities humans commit. His book bridges the gaps between biology, economics, history, and philosophy. It is a stunning read.

The culmination of Harari’s, Sapiens, is the conclusion regarding the upcoming artificial intelligence age. Harari argues that humans have not evolved and concludes that robots (or AI) will eventually eliminate most jobs, and that the rich will eventually be able to re-engineer bodies and minds. His book shows that humans pride themselves on their high intelligence, however most of us are not happier for it. I hate to state the obvious, but this reading provokes deep thought and emotions, and book clubs should definitely add this book to their reading list. Sapiens was received well by the general public but some scholars have criticized Harari’s assertions and conclusions.

I highly recommend Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari to those interested in a deeper examination of who we are as human beings. The book covers the relationship we have with science, religion, ecology, money, politics, our happiness, and our future. For students of world history, Sapiens is a must read!

A bit about the author, Yuval Noah Harari:download harariProfessor Yuval Noah Harari is a historian, philosopher, and bestselling author. Born in Haifa, Israel, in 1976, Harari received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford in 2002 and currently lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Department of History. He has written another book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, after writing Sapiens, and also authored 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide.

To learn more about Yuval Harari or to purchase Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, visit ynharari.com. 


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Forget Your New Year’s Resolutions: Do This Instead

The new year is here (or almost here depending on where you are in the world), and you are feeling apathetic about creating goals for 2020. Or, you are sick of people asking what your goals are. Or worse, you are tired of setting up goals for the coming year and failing to achieve them (Sometimes giving up during the first week of the year!). Nothing could feel worse than this.

I have been there and emphasize.

“What are your goals for 2020?” “Did you create a list of New Year’s resolutions?” “Are you going to the gym on Jan 1st to start the new year with a bang?” Oh stop already! Shut up already, right?

Blah, blah, blah…

Here’s the hard truth: goals give us direction and purpose but they do not always make us happy. Read that again: goals give us direction and purpose but they do not always make us happy. So, then what?

Throughout my various decades of living with lots of trial and error including elation, misery, and everything in between, I have learned that without intent, goals do not make us happy, they do not ultimately satisfy, they do not bring joy, and we feel flat and discouraged.

What is Intent

According to dictionary.com, the word intent is defined as “the state of a person’s mind that directs his or her actions towards a specific object.” Intent is also defined as “meaning or significance.” The origin of this word, intent, was first recorded in Middle English (1175–1225). It is from Late Latin intentus “an aim or purpose,” and from Latin intentus “a stretching out.” Intending is directing your mind towards a path that gives your life meaning. It is the mindset that comes before setting your goals. An intent can be used for a life goal, a goal for the day, the week, the month, or the coming year. For the purposes of this blog, I will explain how to create an intent for the new year.

Why an Intent

We all seek and want to have meaning in our lives, but sometimes we fall short. Have you ever set a goal and not accomplished it? Or when was the last time you gave up on your goals when things got tough and then beat yourself up later? We have all been there. I believe that when we give up on our goals, it is because we did not set a personal intent. Our intent is the first step in accomplishing what we want.

If we ponder what the deeper meaning is behind what we do, we will survive the challenges that life throws at us. When things become difficult and we are tempted to quit, we will muster up our resilience and do whatever we need to do to make it happen. If we set an intention for the year, for example, we will not give up because we know the meaning behind the action. We will not give up because we know that every small thing we need to do to reach our goals contributes to a higher purpose.

How to Form an Intent

Consider what you believe, what you stand for, what you love, what you value, what you appreciate, what you see in the world that you think needs to improve, what you despise, or what makes you come alive to set your intent. Ponder, meditate, or journal about it. Does anything stand out to you? For example, my intent for 2020 and the coming decade is to inspire authentic transformation in others for a more compassionate world. This is my intention, my BIG picture and the reason why I get out of bed in the morning. Our world is very troubled, and I believe, together, we can improve it. So, based on my personal intent, my main goal for 2020 is to grow my business to a full-time status so I can inspire and teach on a bigger level. Make sense?

How to Take Action on an Intent

Taking action on an intent is where our goals come in. Yes, I mentioned the G word, “goals.” Here is a short process on how to achieve your dreams based on your intent. Remember that an intent precedes your goals: it is what gets you up in the morning and dictates what you will do each day.

  1. Decide what your intent is. Write it down and put it somewhere where you can see it every day: add it to your cell phone, iPad, laptop, mirror, wall, journal, or anywhere you will see it. Let it be an encouraging reminder for you daily!
  2. Ponder how you want to achieve that intent. This might take some time, so be patient with yourself, and give yourself time to truly consider it. What are your strengths, what do you love to do, what would you love to learn, or what do enjoy doing that you would do without getting paid? What could you do that would best make your intent a reality? You might go back to school, start a business, become a long distance runner, open a community center, become a philanthropist, start a Meetup, etc. The list is endless but specific for you.
  3. Decide how you will make your goals a reality. This is, in my opinion, the most challenging part. Brainstorm some main things that need to happen for you to accomplish your goals WITH your intent in mind. It is important to focus on your intent, so you are excited when writing down the major steps needed to accomplish your dreams. For example, if you want to start a dog-walking business in 2020, I would list something like this: decide on a name for the company, create a website, research established dog walkers and how they do business, learn how to run a business, etc. Depending on your level of experience or knowledge, these are major projects that will require some time to accomplish. Once you have these written down, you can proceed to step four.
  4. Break down your main goals into smaller tasks that you can accomplish daily. You could even just do ONE task a day, and you will get closer to reaching your ultimate goal. For example, to start the dog walking business, you could list what needs to be done to research other dog walking businesses: do a google search, visit your local Chamber of Commerce, ask your local community center if they know anyone in the business, read blogs or articles about the dog walking business. You get the picture! Every task will bring you closer to your goals. What is important is knowing that every task contributes to deeper meaning in your life (your intent).
  5. Do not give up when things become tough. Notice I said “when” and not “if.” You will experience resistance of some sort (we all do) because you are growing, and with growth comes some difficulty. Remember your intent for your week, month, year, or even decade and you will have the strength to proceed despite some obstacles. Some goals might take longer than you anticipated, and this is okay. It happens. If you have a clear intent, you will eventually succeed. Go for it!

Resolutions, especially for the upcoming year, usually fall by the wayside. Intent is a state of mind that directs your actions towards a specific object, to a specific dream life, if you wish. Learn to create intent, follow that intent with specific goals, and be mindful of your intent every day. If you do, you will accomplish great things. Your life will matter. Your life will shine.

Happy 2020 and the years beyond.


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Happy Holidays to My Readers

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” – Virginia Woolf

As a thinker and writer, I appreciate you, my readers, IMMENSELY.

A writer must write; a writer is a creator full of more ideas than they can express. A writer is an artist with words. We ponder, wonder, draft, organize, re-organize, agonize, rewrite, express, and criticize our writing more than you can imagine.

We read a lot.

We think a lot.

We love life and written communication. We love to learn. We live to ask, “What if?”

We want to be read and heard. We want the people in our lives to understand that writing is something we need to do. It is us.

Writers write to express who they are, to discover who they want to become, to change the world, to tell their story, to persuade, to convince, to examine, to entertain, to emote, to share, and just because. Because they must.

Thank you for reading my musings. My hope is that they have inspired you to think beyond what is familiar.

Happy Holidays to you and yours,

Vilma

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October Book Review: The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail

 

As an admirer and preserver of nature, I found Dahr Jamail’s The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption pertinent, engaging and beautifully written. Attacking a very difficult subject to ponder (much less write about), Jamail weaved his personal experiences from climbing Denali Mountain in Alaska with climate science and what ensued is a very thoughtful and poignant book.

Interviewing experts in perspective places on earth who have watched and experienced the changes of our climate occur over decades, Jamail discusses the melting of the ice caps, glaciers, and permafrost in Greenland and in the Arctic; the rising of sea levels worldwide; the dying Great Barrier Reef; the warming of our oceans, including the numerous loss of marine life; the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and ramifications thereof; the loss of habitat in forests; the extinction of millions of species; the sinking of coastal cities, islands, and towns; the feedback loops already occurring; and more.  He also explains how all of this is and will continue to gravely affect all animal, plant, and human communities worldwide. He includes a chapter on grieving for what has happened (and what might occur) and ends his book with a question for all of us: “Knowing what is happening to the planet, to what do [we] devote [our lives]?”

The urgency of acting to combat the worldwide major problem of climate change cannot be overstated. It is absolutely vital that we take part in doing everything we can to stop (or at least slow down) the process of climate change for our survival. At the rate we are living life, our children and grandchildren will not have enough water, clean air to breathe, or an inhabitable planet in which to live. We must change our energy system to green/clean energy, and we must stop consuming animals (animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels and is a leading cause of deforestation, water, air pollution, and biodiversity loss).

I urgently recommend The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail to anyone interested in the science of climate change, the student of environmental science, activists for planet Earth, and to anyone who cares about our future as a species. It is well written and well documented.

A bit about the author, Dahr Jamail:Dahr_Jamail

Dahr Jamail, an accomplished mountaineer who has worked as a volunteer rescue ranger on Denali, is the winner of the Izzy Award for excellence in journalism and the recipient of the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, and winner of other awards.  As an accomplished reporter who spent more than a year reporting from Iraq, he is also the author of three other books: Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq; The Will to Resist: Soldiers who Refuse to Fight in Iraq or Afghanistan; and The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Disintegration of a Nation (co-authored with William Rivers Pitt).

Dahr lives in the state of Washington. Denali is still his favorite mountain to climb.

To purchase a copy of The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail, visit: DahrJamail.net.

 

 


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My Voice Matters: A letter from an Immigrant to Bernie Sanders

I wrote this in 2016 when Bernie was still in the running for president of the United States. This blog is even more pertinent today. Bernie has my vote in 2020!

VIlma Reynoso

Dearest Bernie,

You have truly done it.

I have not been one to get heavily involved in politics, but this year, I couldn’t help myself. The reason is you, Bernie Sanders.  You have reminded me that I have a voice, and my voice is heard.

You need to know, Mr. Sanders, that in the past, my voice shattered when I spoke. I stuttered badly as a child, because I was not secure in my skin. I grew up in an upper middle class neighborhood in California as part of a working poor class family. My family and I were considered strange – Mexicans that were a nuisance who would not amount to anything (even though we were Argentine; no offense to anyone who is Mexican or Hispanic reading this). I did not feel accepted, liked, normal, and especially, heard. I had no voice then. It was not until decades later…

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Letting Go…

pexels-photo-286973

I live in a neighborhood full of deer.

I often have to watch out for them as I drive to and fro, so I don’t hit them with my car. In February, in the ice and snow and sometimes bitter cold, the mother deer watch their fawns stroll across the street, hoping they are not harmed. It is truly a beautiful sight to embrace, a moment that stops my racing thoughts and reminds me of the mystery of life.

As I observe these precious animals walking in front of my car, I take a peek at their concerned mothers off the road nearby; they are watching with anticipation and wondering, “Is my baby going to make it?” They know they have to allow them to walk across the street knowing they cannot always protect them from harm.

I’m also a mother, and I relate to the mother deer. I am now at a point in my life where I have to watch my baby cross the street by herself, and I have to let go.

As a mom, I’ve always cherished the short car ride up the long hill in my neighborhood on school mornings. I have driven my baby to school for eleven years. These days, my seventeen-year-old and I sometimes talk. We are sometimes silent, and that is okay. Grade school, middle school, and high school in wind, snow, ice, rain, and sun, we have made it to school, despite the deer. Each school just happens to be farther in distance from the house, and we’ve mostly taken the easiest route available that led us to all three schools. When I drove her to her first day in grade school, I knew that one day it would be our last time driving to that school, and then months later, I would be driving father away, to the next school. Soon, the day will come when I will drive my young adult to her last day in high school. It is coming, and I can’t avoid it.

Little shoes, pretty dresses, big backpacks, crayons, and smiles in grade school – 5 minute drive.

Friends, sleepovers, crushes, and new music in middle school – 7 minute drive.

Cell phones, Snap Chat, raw emotions, first loves, and the beginning of independence in high school – 10 minute drive.

(And, she has never wanted to wear a coat!)

Life happens. It changes and we have to let go. We have to embrace it. We have no choice, really. Somehow, we have to find the strength to believe that if we let go, it will be okay.

To know that I have done my best in the situation I had…

To know that I have allowed my fawn be herself always…

To know that I have guided my fawn to be kind, to be considerate, to be compassionate…

To know that I have watched my fawn work hard towards her goals and dreams…

To know that I have watched my fawn learn that life is not perfect, that it is unpredictable, that it can be amazing and also heart-wrenching…

To know that I have taught my fawn to avoid what harms, what is dangerous, what will hurt her…

To know that I have guided my fawn to be humble, encouraging, and loving…

To know that I have witnessed my fawn give it all she has…

To know that I have taught my fawn to cross the street after looking both ways…

To know that I have loved my fawn with all of my heart…

Is to know that I have not failed.

It is to know that this is life. It is to know that life is about letting go.

© 2019, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com