Inspiring authentic transformation in people for a kinder, healthier world.

bell hooks


2 Comments

April Book Review: The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks

An absolutely compelling read, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks (she does not capitalize her name) urges us to reclaim feminism for men as the result of patriarchy maintaining its power over their lives. I have to admit that this reading left me in awe. I had not thought of the implications of patriarchy in regards to men this extensively, and I could not stop reading this book! The author addresses the damage patriarchy causes to men – the inability to be in touch with their emotions, to love wholly (themselves and others), and to truly know themselves.  Her writing is courageous and visionary.

bell’s book begins with a chapter defining patriarchy, and she states,” Patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation.”  She explains how boys are indoctrinated detrimentally, the role media, society, and women play in harming men, and male sexual relationships and sexual violence.  hooks also examines the roles men play at work and in their relationships with women, other men, and their children. The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love explains how the men’s movement against feminism is critical of women but makes no effort to address the damage patriarchy incurs on men. The book concludes with a denunciation of patriarchy without apology. It suggests how to heal the male spirit, how to love men properly, and how men can reclaim their integrity, wholeness, and authenticity. She also urges feminists to fight for men as victims of patriarchy. In hooks’ words, “We have yet to create a world that asks us to stand by a man when he is seeking healing, when he is seeking recovery, when he is working to be a creator.”

I highly recommend The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks to anyone who is interested in feminist theory, women’s studies, patriarchy, male and female relationships, male violence towards women, gender studies, misogyny or sociology. It is truly intriguing and a well-balance argument.

A bit about the author, bell hooks:

bell hooks

bell hooks is an acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, cultural critic, artist, and writer. hooks has authored over three dozen books and has published works that span several genres, including cultural criticism, personal memoirs, poetry collections, and children’s books. She covers gender, race, class, spirituality, teaching, and the significance of media in contemporary culture.

Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, bell hooks adopted the pen name of her maternal great-grandmother, a woman known for speaking her mind. hooks received her B.A. from Stanford University, her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. In addition to The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love, some of her books include Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-Esteem, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope, Where We Stand: Class Matters, and We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity.

To learn more about bell hooks or to purchase The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love, visit her website, bellhooksinstitute.com, or Indiebound and Amazon.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 


4 Comments

I’m One of the Lucky Ones; Me Too, but…

rape0-2

I’ve never been raped. I’m one of the lucky ones.

Violence from men towards women is at an alarming, disturbing high. It is extreme because we allow it. We dismiss, trivialize, ignore, and ridicule what happens to women. We laugh when woman talk about it.  We silence their voices. We do not hear their cries, and we don’t care. We traumatize women further. By “we” I mean men especially. I mean society. I mean the select groups of women – women who have bought into the abhorrent misogyny covertly embedded within patriarchy (a subject for another blog).  Bottom line: women are treated like they are expendable commodities. Feminists call this rape culture, and it must end.

I consider myself lucky – lucky that my virginity was not taken at sixteen when I was almost raped in high school by a stranger who should not have been on the track field, lucky that I was not left on the bottom of the Hudson river in New York City when I was almost raped when I was twenty-three; lucky that I was not raped on a date to dinner and a movie in Los Angeles when I was twenty.

I’m the Lucky One

I will tell you why I am so lucky:

Because the hired construction worker, who was a friend of the family, touched my tiny nipples right after I had hit puberty at age eleven. But, I wasn’t raped.

Because my mother fired the gardener when she caught him eyeing me from head to toe several times instead of pruning the roses. I was twelve. She did not tell my father. I wasn’t raped.

Because I was visiting Tijuana, Mexico, with my family one summer, and walking down the street, a stranger touched my butt. I was nine or ten.

Because I lost count how many times men have told me to smile throughout my lifetime, as if I exist just to please them.

Because I lost count of how many times men “accidentally” get too close and their hands end up feeling my ass on a crowded bus, subway or street.

Because the jerk at the bar did not leave me alone after I told him I was not interested (Or, is it “jerks?”)

The many times when I outright lied: “I have a boyfriend.”

Because I’ve lost count of how many men from all over this world EXPECTED me to pay attention to them no matter what I was doing.

Because of the cruel and grotesque comments from men on my social media because I was standing up for myself or standing up for oppression (of any sort).

Because I lost count of the whistles, howls, obscene comments and gestures uttered as I walked down the street minding my own business.

Because of the two high school boys behind me who yelled, “Let’s get her!” when as a middle-schooler, I was walking my bike home up the steep hill (I dropped my bike and started running towards home like a bat out of hell; they then yelled, “We were kidding – it’s okay!” Fuck them.).

Because at cross country practice in high school when I was running with my teammates, an overweight man drives by and yells, “Go on a diet!” (NONE of us were fat, not that THAT should matter).

Because my ex-husband expected sex whenever he wanted it. Didn’t matter how I felt.

Because of the nonstop, intrusive chat messages sent on social media AFTER you tell men you are not looking for a relationship, a hookup, a boyfriend, a husband, or to even shoot the breeze.

Because women are called cunts, bitches, sluts, whores, you name it, and “just a woman” (as I was once told by a man from Iran).

Because of the many times I was thankful to be out with a boyfriend because I knew other men would then leave me alone.

Because I was sexually harassed by a male boss at a former job.

Because of the many times I was expected to play stupid so I did not embarrass (or anger) a man.

Because I was followed to the bathroom at an outdoor concert by a stoned, long-haired, sixties-freak hippie who would not leave me alone.

Because everything I mentioned above happens everywhere.

Because I can go on for pages and pages for myself and for every women. I am the lucky one.

Rape. Date rape. Spousal rape. Partner rape. Gang rape. Serial Rape. Friend rape. College-campus rape. Child rape. Prison rape.  Transgender rape. Rape just because. (Did I miss any? By the way, I know men get raped, but guess what? Most rapists are MEN).

Rape culture.

I have never been raped. I am one of the lucky ones.

Me, Too, but…

But, I have gained so much by what I experienced! I have learned to forgive, to release it, to NOT give it any more power. I am no longer a victim. You read that correctly: I AM NO LONGER A VICTIM.

But, I have learned to accept myself as I am, with or without makeup, with or without sexy clothes, with or without high heels and perfect hair.

But, I have learned that I don’t need to smile if I don’t want to.

But, I have learned it is okay to tell the truth: “Thank you, but I am not interested.”

But, I have discovered it is okay to not respond; it doesn’t mean I am a bitch or a cunt.

But, I have discovered I don’t have to have the perfect body for a man to love me.

But, I have learned it is okay to walk away. It’s okay to be me. It’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay to be smart.

But, I have learned that I am a human being first, then a woman. I breathe. I am a human being!

But, I have learned I don’t exist for MAN. I live for ME.

I have found my voice.

I am.

#metoo

I’m one of the lucky ones

I am one of the lucky ones who will spend the rest of her breathing days empowering a new paradigm where women are treated like human beings, like human beings, like human beings, like human beings…

I am one of the lucky ones who will spend the rest of her breathing days standing up for equal rights for women.

I am one of the lucky ones who will teach the younger generations of women that they are just as deserving in every aspect of their lives as men.

I am one of the lucky ones who will help to end the abuse and misogyny of women worldwide.

I am the lucky one who thanks the world over that there are men out there who treat me like a human being and not like a woman. Because they are the real men.

I am a survivor.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com


2 Comments

On The Frightening Realities of Being a Woman in 2017

I stumbled across this blog post and thought I would pass it on because, frankly, what happened to this woman needs to end. Please read with caution.

Women experience what you are about to read every day to one extent or another. I, personally, was almost raped twice in my life – once because I jumped into a cab in New York City by myself. The cab driver grabbed my knees and legs while driving and would not stop. It was my first time in the big city,  and I was shocked.  I somehow managed to get away after pretending that I wanted to see him later. He dropped me off at Grand Central Station where I was to take a train; I will never forget the tears falling from face as I stood on the steps of the train station wondering what the hell just happened.

The second time, I was on a first date; his hands were immediately all over me after I hopped into his car to go to dinner and a movie. I began crying hysterically because I did not know what to do. He was so oblivious to my predicament that he thought I was crazy. I told him I needed to get back home immediately because my father was severely ill. He dropped me off and sped away.

Women go through hell every day in this world. Please read and pass this on.

Source: On The Frightening Realities of Being a Woman in 2017


2 Comments

Four Ways to Experience Authentic Living

Vilma Reynoso, Town of Parker

I am thankful that I live near a beautiful and serene walking path in my part of the world. I have walked this path many times, and today, a windy and semi-cloudy day, I realized something.

Very recently, there used to be a wooded area around a bend and after a bridge that I found serene. It was covered with all kinds of vegetation, plants and trees. Beautiful and sometimes breathtaking, it was part of our path until the town leadership decided to remove the plants and trees and remake the area to something more practical. At first, I scoffed at this decision. I did not want it be changed. I loved it the way it was with the old trees and swamp-like essence. I enjoyed seeing it every time I walked, ran or rode on the path because it was familiar. It was comforting. It was good.

Today, as I was taking a morning stroll in the area, I realized its beauty and I acknowledged that it was more than just “a practical redo.” I now am able to sit on a man-made rock formation and meditate or relax (even sleep). I am able to hear the stream of water (And I love the sound of running water!). I can appreciate the fact that now it will be nearly impossible for this area to flood because of how they redid it. And, it is progress. It is not so scary anymore. I have embraced it. It is good.

Life is about accepting the new, not ignoring it or constantly attempting to keep it as is. Life is not about control, but it is about change and growth. Growth does not come without change. This I knew deep inside, but today, the gentle breeze, cloudy sky, and the relaxing sound of the water flowing in the new and improved nearby stream reminded me of this.

Allowing and accepting change in our lives will bring about authenticity and growth. And allowing ourselves to be authentic allows us to ultimately be the most content. It is this place we all want to reach: our bliss. I was reminded of four ways in which we can attain authentic bliss today:

  • Do something you have always been terrified of doing. You will realize that the fear was only an illusion. It was in your head. Once you do whatever it is you are afraid to do, you will have destroyed those thoughts and the next time is not so scary. Most of the time, what you fear is not something in the present, but something that was part of your past and now tied up in your present imagination. I have recently done something I was terrified of doing. I am now not afraid of it anymore and realize there was no reason for me to have been afraid. You can do it!
  • Do something you love but for whatever reason stopped doing. Have you stopped golfing or swimming? Did you stop traveling or eliminated a hobby you enjoyed from your life because you now have too many “responsibilities?” If this is the case, get back into it! Once you restart this activity or hobby, you will feel authentically alive again. I am making a commitment now to restart something I love that I had given up.
  • Get reunited with someone with whom you have lost contact. Many times we lose contact with those we care about because of many reasons. Is there someone you would love to have in your life again on any level? If the answer is yes, then you need to contact that person and take a step. Once you reunite with this person, you will have opened up more authenticity in your life. You will feel more alive, more bliss. I have done this recently, and I am happy that I did.
  • Get moving and learn or do something you have never done before. Trying a new activity, a new hobby or a new adventure makes us come alive. Leave the “I can’t” thoughts behind and just do it. This new experience will enrich you, take you away from your current rut, and help you see past your preconceived ideas. You might even discover an entire new direction in life! I am making a commitment to try something new this summer.

The above four ways to experience authenticity will inspire and allow you to live from your most raw and loving self. Living authentically inspires and enhances our peace and our joy and helps us connect more deeply to each other and to our planet. And, like a new, man-made stream, life is experienced with embracing the new, moving past our fears, and accepting what is. The new stream in town is perfect. I have embraced it. You can, too.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings From One Creative Being 


Leave a comment

September Book Review: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Marie-France Hirigoyen

“The goal of abusive conduct is to destabilize the other person and make them doubt themselves and others.” – Marie-France Hirigoyen

Stalking the Soul

The destructive art of making someone doubt themselves is only the beginning of emotional abuse. If a person is able to make another doubt what they just witnessed, heard, or felt, then that person has just gained control over the other, and thus, committed the very misunderstood but definitely widespread and deliberate act of emotional abuse. Often, emotional abuse builds over a long period of time until it becomes so unbearable that victims lash out in frustration and anger, only to appear unstable and aggressive themselves. The intent of many abusers is to systematically confuse their victims with irrational, threatening behavior that preys on the victim’s fears and self-doubts. The end result is an erosion of the soul or spirit.

Marie-France Hirigoyen in Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity brilliantly and clearly demonstrates the dynamics of emotional abuse. Her book identifies emotional abuse in couples, in families, and in the workplace. She explains thoroughly what emotional abuse is, what an abusive relationship is, the consequences of living with abuse, and ends her book with practical advice on how to handle this type of abuse. What I especially found fascinating about Hirigoyen’s book are the several dialogues she included between partners in an emotionally abusive relationship. I found this part of her book very poignant.  I recognized my past abusive relationship in these dialogues and realized how damaging the process of control is and how it almost destroyed me.

As one the best books I have read on the subject of abuse, I highly recommend Dr. Hirigoyen’s, Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity to anyone who seeks to learn what emotional abuse is, or anyone who wants to identify if their current relationships are abusive. You will not be disappointed!

A bit about the author, Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen:

Ms. Hirigoyen is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and psychotherapist specializing in mobbing, a form of bullying. Marie-France Hirigoyen does research on psychological violence and has published several books since 1998. In 1999, she participated in creating a law against workplace harassment, which led to a debate about workplace abuse in France. To learn more about Marie-France Hirigoyen, visit her website: Marie-France Hirigoyen (Please note it is in French).

To purchase a copy of Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen, please visit Amazon.

Lastly and most importantly, if you think you are in an abusive relationship, or you feel that something is not quite right in your relationship, the chances are high that you are being abused. Seek help. It is there and free for you. Contact The Crisis Center or call 888-247-7472. Stop the slow and poisonous erosion of your identity now.

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

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


2 Comments

We Have Forgotten

It is a foggy day today, September 11, 2014.

As I sit at one my favorite cafés writing, I honestly am asking myself how much more can be written about this tragic day. I feel as if I am reiterating the same old sentiment: “never forget.” With all of the articles, eBooks, blogs and conspiracy theories floating around the internet about 9/11, how can anyone forget what happened that day? And, what about the families of those who died on that day? Do they really need to be reminded again and again what happened everywhere they turn? Today, thirteen years later, I am writing yet another blog for everyone to read online about September 11th.  The truth is we do forget. We have forgotten how wounded we are.

September 11, 2001

Like many people, I remember that day like it was yesterday. In complete, numbing shock I changed channels on the television only to come to the same horrific rehashing of the two planes flying into the towers and the buildings tumbling to the ground. I had a friend who I knew worked in Tower One. I could not help but think of her as I watched in disbelief (I found out the next day she made it outside before the building fell).  As a brand new mother, I wondered what kind of world my child would inherit. It seemed like the attainment of peace worldwide, much less in my own backyard, was now almost impossible.

Robert Maynard Hutchins, American philosopher and perennialist, wrote:

“The goal toward which all history tends is peace, not peace through the medium of war, not peace through a process of universal intimidation, not peace through a program of mutual impoverishment, not peace by any means that leaves the world too weak or too frightened to go on fighting, but peace pure and simple based on that [will to peace] which has animated the overwhelming majority of mankind through countless ages. This will to peace does not arise out of a cowardly desire to preserve one’s life and property, but out of conviction that the [fullest development of the highest powers of men] can be achieved only in a world of peace.”

peace

The events of September 11, 2001 (as well as other horrific events that occur worldwide) – however planned and executed – demonstrated the state of consciousness of the perpetrators. Did they have a “will to peace” as Hutchins mentions? They were as far from a consciousness of peace as one can get. There are probably many arguments one could surmise to explain why anyone would commit this type of mass murder, but one thing I do know is this: we cannot “undo” what happened that tragic day. What we can do now is move forward. We can move forward in creating the world we truly want to live in – a world of cooperation, respect and compassion. Let this short blog inspire you to rise above by acknowledging what is within you first. Heal your wounded parts, for life or death begins there. It is these wounded parts that contribute towards living in fear of others, that separate, that cause us to believe there is an enemy “out there,” that fall prey to racism and control, and that spew out fear onto the world. It is the wounded part of us that plans a “9/11.” Let’s heal and transform the world into a place where the events of September 11th are unheard of. Let’s do it for our children. Let’s do it for humankind.

As I contemplate that day forever etched in my mind, I cannot help but hope for a better, freer, and more compassionately conscious world. So, on this foggy, September 11th in the Rockies, as I sit with others around me whom I do not know but who share flesh and blood and the desire to live free, happy, and creatively with me, I will say, as has been said over and over again: never forget.

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

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


Leave a comment

June Book Review: The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness by Gary Zukav and Linda Francis

June Book Review, Linda Francis

“Your emotions will tell you what your soul wants to know.” – Linda Francis

Published in 2001, The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness by successful authors Gary Zukav and Linda Francis, is still a wealth of knowledge that will inspire you to look at your emotions as undeniable aides in your growth and healing. Gary and Linda explain how our understanding of our emotions as they relate to the body’s seven emotional centers (also known as the seven chakras) gives us power to live authentically and joyfully. In this book, Zukav and Francis explain how emotional awareness can enhance, change and redirect our daily lives.

June 2014, Book Review

I happened to stumble upon this treasure one day when I was briefly browsing books in a used book store. It was not my intention to purchase a book that day, but my intuition told me buy The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness. I recently discovered it in my collection of reading material and decided to delve into it. I was pleasantly surprised by how informative and easy it was to read and assimilate. I like to write or underline concepts in books, and I found myself underlining a lot in this one! Most importantly, I humbly realized where I need to improve and change to live more authentically.

The first part of the book specifically explains the relationship our emotions have with our energy patterns, what emotions are and how we gain power and authenticity in our lives by acknowledging them as they are. The second part of this book demonstrates how we run away from feeling our emotions through addictions and escape mechanisms. The book summarizes how we are able to live joyfully when we learn to live in love and not in fear.

June Book Review, Gary Zukav

A bit about the authors, Gary Zukav and Linda Francis:

Gary Zukav is the best-selling author of The Seat of the Soul and has written other books, including The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics. Gary is a Harvard Graduate with a degree in International Relations, a World Business Academy Fellow, on the advisory board of the Human Kindness Foundation, is an inspirational teacher and writer, and much more.

Linda Francis, along with Gary Zukav, is founder of Genesis: The Foundation for the Universal Human, an organization whose mission is to assist people across the world to create meaning, creativity, purpose, health, joy and love, which, in their view, is authentic power, the alignment of personality with the soul. Linda has been in the healing profession for three decades as a registered nurse and a doctor of Chiropractic. She now teaches the Authentic Power Program with Gary Zukav. Both Gary and Linda can be reached at www.zukav.com

A copy of The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness can be purchased from www.zukav.com.

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

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso