Earthships


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April Book Review: A Coming of Wizards: A Manual of Human Potential by Michael E. Reynolds

Earthships, WizardsThere is a magical, enchanting and beautiful plot of land on this planet that has inspired many to change their lives and follow their dreams. This spot is about 20 miles west of Taos, New Mexico, and is the inspiration for one man, Michael E. Reynolds, who is on course to change the world. An ahead-of-his-time visionary and entrepreneur, architect, author, environmentalist and inspirational warrior, Reynolds is nothing less than brilliant. His book, A Coming of Wizards: A Manual of Human Potential, is written to explain his method of thinking behind his revolutionary “Earthship,” a beautiful, fully sustainable structure made mostly from garbage (cans, tires, bottles, and dirt for starters) and recycled materials for off-the-grid living.

Do not let the title fool you! A Coming of Wizards: A Manual of Human Potential is a unique text in that it covers the author’s history and personal story and his thoughts and views on world ecology, architecture, spirituality and physics. It also includes Reynolds’ poetry throughout. This book is very engaging and thorough. The author shares many diagrams to explain his concepts and also pictures of his Earthship structures in New Mexico from the simple to the more complex. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a more sustainable way to live, those who are environmentally conscious or those interested in radically changing society for the better.

Part one explains the author’s state of mind, the human condition and the basic way of thinking required for humans to reach their innate potential. In part two and three of this book, Michael Reynolds presents the “wizard Information”(essentially, divine or innate wisdom that can only be attained with a proper and open state of mind) along with a real and practical way of applying it in our lives. He then explains the wisdom gained that enabled him to begin his architectural work and then expand it, and the type of thinking required to manifest such a reality. Thus, this book is about finding and moving toward our human potential and learning to work with and not against planet Earth. In his own words, “the way to ride the energy to its full potential is to know the nature of the energy, so that it doesn’t control or harm us, and to also realize we cannot control it. We are talking about an alignment or a union, or a merging with energy. This is the way of the wizard. Control is the way of the ego.”

I had the pleasure of touring some Earthships recently on a trip I took to New Mexico. I also had the opportunity to not only view the Earthships, but also to spend a few nights in two different, beautiful ones! It was an experience I will never forget, and one of my goals now is to eventually live in an Earthship myself. Below, are some photographs from my visit:

Earthships

Earthships

Earthships

A bit about the author, Michael E. Reynolds:

Mike Reynolds, Earthships

Michael Reynolds is a world famous architect who has spent the last forty plus years evolving the concept of “ home.” His vision is for the home to care for its inhabitants and not vice versa. With this logical goal in mind, he set out to design, build, refine and master the Earthship, which is now an affordable reality and can be built easily.  Designed with concepts that any person can adopt, these self-sustaining buildings can provide housing for all people on any place on the planet. To learn more about Michael E. Reynolds and his Earthships, visit: Earthship.com or GarbageWarrior.com. To purchase a copy of A Coming of Wizards: A Manual of Human Potential, visit: Earthship.com.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

 


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March Book Review: The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods by Julia Butterfly Hill

Julia Butterfly Hill, Luna, VIlma ReynosoThere is a moment in our lives when we truly come to know and understand the relationship we have with creation and nature. Nothing is ever the same again. I, as well as this courageous activist and author, Julia Butterfly Hill in The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods, in one life-changing, delicate moment in the Redwoods, understood this.

My only visit to the Redwoods was in 1992. I spent about twenty minutes hiking in and around the tallest and most beautiful living beings I had ever seen! My heart thumped, my eyes and ears opened wide, and my spirit became ALIVE. I felt a connection with all that lived in and around the trees. All my senses became alert. It was that moment in the Redwood forest that taught me the power of stillness and appreciation of nature and indescribable beauty. I wanted nothing more than to stay there forever. That day left a mark on my heart and soul that I will never forget.

Back to Julia Butterfly Hill…

Redwood Forest, Vilma Reynoso

In the Redwood Forest in 1992 (best I could do with a scanned photograph!).

It was the following words written by Hill, when she first stepped foot into the Redwood forest, that caught my attention and enthusiasm because she expressed exactly what I had felt when I experienced it:

“For the first time, I really felt what it was like to be alive, to feel the connection of a life and its inherent truth – not the truth that is taught to us by so-called scientists or politicians or other human beings, but truth that exists within creation. . . . Gripped by the spirit of the forest, I dropped to my knees and started to sob. I sank my fingers into the layers of duff that smelled so sweet and so rich and so full of layers of life, then lay my face down and breathed it in. . . .  I could feel my whole being bursting forth into new life in this majestic cathedral. I sat and cried for a long time.”

The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods by Julia Butterfly Hill, published in 2000, is a story of courage, love and unrelenting faith and determination in fighting for what one believes. It is the story of how this incredible woman saved a two-thousand year-old redwood tree named “Luna” from being cut down and destroyed by the Pacific Lumber Company. The book explains the relationship we have with nature and how its destruction creates our own destruction and demise, physically and spiritually. It demonstrates, via the author’s experiences living in 180-foot Luna for 738 days, how we, as created beings, are all related. Hill’s spiritual growth is extraordinary and poignant. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a lover and protector of nature, is an activist working to save our precious forests and land, is curious about the relationship we have with nature and all living beings (including thousand plus-year-old trees), or is looking for undeniable inspiration.

Julia Butterfly Hill

A bit about the author, Julia Butterfly Hill:

Julia Butterfly Hill is a writer, poet, and activist. She helped found the Circle of Life Foundation to promote the sustainability, restoration and preservation of life. She has been the recipient of many honors and awards and speaks at environmental conferences worldwide. To learn more about Julia, visit: juliabutterly.com.

To purchase The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods, visit: The-Legacy-Luna-Struggle-Redwoods. I bought a used copy that was printed on recycled paper.

The book is also available as a PDF for free

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

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Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Happy Earth Day, 2013!

The best way to preserve and take care of Earth is to live VEGAN.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso


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Rich in Rainbows

Dreams. We all have dreams.

We all have dreams, but how many of us truly pursue our dreams?

I am currently in the process of getting my certification as a life coach. One of the questions I have to contemplate and answer with certainty for one of my assignments is something along the lines of, “How do I picture my life and what is it that I want to experience on a daily basis?” Or, in other words, “What is my dream?” So, I have been thinking, pondering. I have been contemplating about the life I want to create, the life I dream about that I am not necessarily living now. What would it look like? Who would be in it? What would it entail? What do I want to do? What do I want to leave behind for others to learn from when I am no longer living?  How would my life serve humanity? So, I asked myself two questions: What imprint do I want to make and leave on this planet? And, and what or who inspired me to want this?  Those questions got me thinking about rainbows and clarified my dream life!

As a stay-at-home mother in my past, I noticed that one of the first activities that my three-year-old daughter loved to do was color on children’s coloring books or on any loose piece of white paper. She even tried to coordinate her colors so they, as she put it, “matched.” This endeavor is not rare, since so many toddlers love to color; however, a rainbow was the first thing she created. I did not teach her how to draw and color a rainbow. Neither did anyone else as far as I know. She must have seen one in a book or in the sky and just made it a point to create one of her own. For her first rainbow, she used three colors: red, yellow and orange. As she grew older, her rainbows became more elaborate, and she eventually perfected them with the basic colors of the rainbow we can see with the naked eye and with beautiful, rich flavor. She continued to draw rainbows whenever she got a chance. In kindergarten, she sewed the above image as her final art project before graduation. I was in awe.

There is something about this detailed image of a rainbow sewn with patience, diligence, love and talent by my little girl that touched me and inspired me. What does a rainbow represent? It represents hope after the storm. It is a mirror reflection of each and every one of us: we are all endowed with hope, (whether we want to admit it or not); we all experience heartaches and difficulties in life; and, all of us experience moments of love and joy. The rainbow phenomena can be explained by physicists and scientists, but the wonder it brings when seen in the big sky is perhaps not a mystery but an example of how each one of us appreciates beauty and creativity of all types. The rainbow, itself, is inspiring.

As I thought about the rainbow, I also could not help but think about the other woman in my life that was my greatest inspiration: my mother. She did not draw rainbows, but she was one of the most creative (and talented) human beings I have ever known, and she taught me far more than to appreciate rainbows. My mother, who is now deceased, lived a life of creativity. She was able to create and beautify anything she put her hands on! As a talented seamstress, she created gorgeous wedding dresses from scratch, she put together fantastic Halloween costumes for my siblings and me every year, she baked and cooked better than any chef I know, and she kept a beautifully-decorated and coordinated home. Her creative nature and attention to detail always inspired me. Mom taught me that beauty and creativity is not just about whether you have the ability to draw, color, paint, write or sew; being creative is about what is within the heart and expressing it in tangible form. Famous writer, Leo Tolstoy, in his essay, What is Art? (1897), explains that art must create a specific emotional link between the artist and the viewer, and the viewer must be affected. He believed art is not only about beauty. He believed art is meant to transmit previously experienced feelings and experiences to the audience. My mother, in her talent and majesty, and my daughter, in her innocence and joy, transmitted and expressed their heart-feelings in their creations.

Creating is what life is about. It is what we do whether we realize it or not. Not only do we create our lives, but sometimes our lives are a reflection of what we do not want to create and not the lives we truly desire.  At any given time, we choose to use our creativity to encourage, inspire, realign, change or enhance, or we use our creativity to discourage, alienate and destroy. And, as demonstrated by my mother and daughter in my life, art is a way of making those changes and expressing what is within for the ultimate purpose of connecting and sharing ourselves with others. So, now, my dream was clear:

I imagine a large retreat area for artists of any age or level and of all types: painters, sculptors, draughtsmen (draw-ers), sketch artists, textile artists, illustrators, photographers, digital artists, printmakers, glass workers, jewelry makers, scrapbookers, all kinds of craft makers, all kinds of writers, all kinds of dancers, and all kinds of musicians! The retreat serves two major purposes: for artists to reconnect by discovering the “artist” in themselves – whatever fashion that would be – after a tragic or difficult life experience, and to teach people how to live a life of purpose, peace, health, and joy. My retreat center sits on a beautiful and serene cliff overlooking the ocean, perhaps in the California redwood forest! All rooms are decorated with a different theme and display the works of a different artist, writer, dancer or musician. An abundance of art, music, writing, holistic health/wellness and spirituality classes and workshops are offered at the retreat from music appreciation to art therapy, from poetry writing to jewelry making, from yoga and meditation to healthy vegan eating, and more! I spend my day teaching classes and workshops, writing and coaching. When I am not at the retreat center, I am traveling and teaching classes, lecturing, writing and coaching. I am a very successful published writer and coach. People from all over the world come to the retreat center to create, to experience, to learn and to reconnect. And, there is no doubt that my daughter’s kindergarten rainbow is the FIRST decorative and inspiring image displayed on the walls of this place! The retreat center is named, Lexi’s House, in honor of my daughter, Lexi, and her rich rainbows, and it is dedicated to my mother, Amelia.

Aaaaaahhhhhh…

What is your dream? How do you imagine your life? Have you ever dared ask yourself this question, or are you living a life that is not your own? In order to find out what you want your life to look like, start by asking yourself the following questions, think and meditate on the answers, and write them down:

  • What do I imagine my life to look like if all the money, time, and resources were at my disposal?
  • What inspires me and why?
  • What event or person in my life has made the most impact on me and why?
  • What do I want to leave behind as a legacy?
  • What are my talents, my gifts, my abilities?
  • What do I love to do that makes me wish time would stand still?

What is your dream? Pull it out of your heart. It is in there.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso


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Summer…Life

2012 Summer Collage

Summer is a time of reflecting, a time of anchoring in the new, a time of relaxing, a time of traveling, a time to take up a new hobby, a time for change. And, if you have children, summer is a time to create good, quality memories!

I recently made a “summer to do” collage with my daughter: we gathered pictures from magazines depicting our plans for the summer and placed them on a large poster board we created together. As both of us came up with various ideas, I couldn’t help but ponder the differences in our personalities, and I couldn’t help but think about what we could or would learn from each other as we experienced these summer activities together.  We have spent many summers together, but this is the first time we made a collage and not just a simple “to do” list. We had fun finding the magazines, cutting out the pictures, and gluing them on the poster board, which is now hanging on a wall in our home. We made sure we chose activities that we BOTH would love to do and also a few new things to try.  Our collage is a visual reminder of what makes both of us smile and makes our hearts come alive.

Some of the activities on this collage are: swimming, bird watching, walking the dog, painting a desk, gardening, hiking, reading, manicures, picnics, and concerts.

Many of us have our daily “to do” lists, but on those lists, we do not add activities that we love or brighten our lives. Why? We live each day so programmed and inundated with our “tasks” that we miss out on life.  When is the last time you actually did something you enjoyed, something that gave you joy and peace? When is the last time you couldn’t stop laughing or smiling? I have noticed in my life that if I don’t schedule in “fun,” – whatever that is for me – I can be prone to become “task oriented” only and miss out on what truly nourishes me. I have discovered that living life to the fullest includes making the fun or new things part of my schedule, or they don’t happen.

Below are five tips on how to schedule the “fun” or the “new” in your life.

1. Make a list, journal about, draw, or make a collage of anything you would like to do, have always wanted to do, or would give you peace. DO NOT analyze it, start researching it, tell yourself you can’t because … (fill in the blank), or talk yourself out of it. Just get it on paper in whatever form is comfortable for you, personally.

2. Discover where your time is spent. Grab seven pieces of notebook paper and label each one each day of the week. Make two columns on each piece of paper.  Label the left column, “Activity.” Label the right column, “Time.” For one week, write down everything you do and the time it takes to do each activity. Include sleeping, working, grooming, cooking, driving, exercising, Facebooking, talking on the phone, watching TV, cleaning up, etc. An example would be: showered and dressed – 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Do not analyze what you are doing – just write it down. This can seem a bit cumbersome at first, but if you do this for a week, you will see clearly where your time is spent (willingly or not).

3. Scrutinize where your time goes. What are the activities that are an absolute necessity? Some of these might be working, feeding the kids, driving to work, paying bills. What are some things you are doing that could be done differently, faster, at a better time? What are some activities that could be eliminated? Are you spending too much time watching TV when you could be using that time for something that feeds your soul? Are you spending too much time washing dishes when you can ask one of the children to help?

4.  Make the necessary changes, one at a time, to achieve what is on your list, drawing, journal or collage. Spend less time on Facebook. Put things where they belong the first time, so you don’t have to pick up. Ask one of the children to feed the animals, so you have that extra time for yourself. Take a shorter route to work. There are endless ways to change how your time is allotted. Making changes is personal, and it is reflective of who you are, what you want, and what makes you tick. And, not everything on your list has to be completed right away. My daughter and I will be visiting the science museum, once, but that will not happen until Aug, for example.

5. Live abundantly! Be proud of yourself for making changes one step at a time and savor the new activity, hobby or event. Start by being thankful that you took the time to review how you spend your time. Always add to your list, drawing, journal or collage. Living abundantly is learning to create a life that you, personally, enjoy!

Go for it!

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2012, Vilma Reynoso