Vilma Reynoso

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Ten Life-Changing Things I Learned from the Holiday Season

I wrote this last year, on Dec 12th, 2014. Everything I wrote still applies today, and I wanted to share! Enjoy!

Vilma Reynoso

Christmas Celebration, Vilma Reynoso

Another holiday season is upon us. It is here whether we celebrate or not, or whether we want it to be here or not. The choice is ours to participate in it or to hide under a rock from Thanksgiving to New Year’s day. I have to admit that I have been tempted to do the latter: the folly of materialism and the illusion that things create more happiness, everyone running around frantic to purchase gifts for people they don’t really know or care about, the mind-numbing conversations with people we think we are obligated to spend time with, and the stress that we add to our daily lives are usually the opposite of the spirit of the holiday season – the spirit peace, joy and goodwill to all men (and women).

I was brought up Catholic, so during my childhood, my Argentine-American family celebrated Christmas. My parents, especially my…

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Ten Life-Changing Things I Learned from the Holiday Season

Christmas Celebration, Vilma Reynoso

Another holiday season is upon us. It is here whether we celebrate or not, or whether we want it to be here or not. The choice is ours to participate in it or to hide under a rock from Thanksgiving to New Year’s day. I have to admit that I have been tempted to do the latter: the folly of materialism and the illusion that things create more happiness, everyone running around frantic to purchase gifts for people they don’t really know or care about, the mind-numbing conversations with people we think we are obligated to spend time with, and the stress that we add to our daily lives are usually the opposite of the spirit of the holiday season – the spirit peace, joy and goodwill to all men (and women).

I was brought up Catholic, so during my childhood, my Argentine-American family celebrated Christmas. My parents, especially my mother, made sure that we had a lot of gifts (mostly things we needed but some were superfluous) and lots of food, family and friends. Christmas was a big celebration every year with a large, fake Christmas tree (with snow on the branches even though we lived in Los Angeles), a plastic, tacky Santa and his reindeers on the rooftop of the house, and decorations inside the house. And, as loving and caring as my mother truly was, neither she nor my father ever really explained to me what this season was really about. Sure I learned that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ, but what about the holidays for those who are not Christian? Why do they celebrate? As I grew older, I inadvertently partook in the Christmas traditions from my upbringing (like most of us do) without thinking about whether they reflected my values or not. However, as I grew older and wiser, I have learned what truly is important to me and thus what I want reflected in the holiday season. Below is my list. My hope is that this list will help you reflect on what is important to you. My hope is that it will help you become aware that you are free to live your values during this time of year (no matter what your religious or non-religious beliefs are):

  • The holidays are a reminder of what humans are truly capable of – giving and loving. The giving that occurs during this time is greater than at any other time of the year. If it is done with love, then it spreads love onto the world.
  • The holidays are a reminder of what humans are truly capable of – hypocrisy. The giving that occurs during this time out of obligation is also greater than any other time of year. If the giving is done without love (obligation), than it spreads more discontentment and disillusion onto the world.
  • Just because I grew up celebrating Christmas a certain way does not mean that I have to keep celebrating in the same fashion. I am free to celebrate as I please, or I am free to skip celebrating. I can create my own holiday traditions that reflect my current values and beliefs.
  • I am not obligated to anyone. I do not have to participate in any party, family gathering, gift exchange, or any other holiday activity if I do not want to or should not care to. What others think about my choices is not my business.
  • The spirit of the holidays (love and peace and goodwill) should be celebrated EVERY DAY, not only from Thanksgiving Day until Christmas Day.
  • The way to true peace begins with me; it begins with living with peace in my own heart as a result of living my truth. If I live like this, I pass on peace (and not discord) onto the world.
  • What I do for the holidays is a reflection of who I am. What I choose to do will either give life to the world, or it will bring death to the world.
  • The holiday season is not about receiving gifts, putting myself in debt, buying the latest I-pad or gimmick, or spending time with people who do not reflect my values.
  • I have learned that the time to give is always NOW and not only at Christmas time. I have learned that this is the way to peace, love, and good will to all men and women.
  • I have learned that small acts done by everyone can greatly change the world.

I choose to celebrate the holidays. I choose to participate in activities that nourish the world because they are done in love and not obligation. I choose to forgo buying gifts except for one very special person out of love. I choose to put up a Christmas tree because I love the way it looks in my house. I choose not to participate in the stress, the ridiculous debt and materialism, and the many holiday parties because all of this does not bring me peace. I choose to spend the Christmas holiday this year with people who reflect my values. I choose peace, love and goodwill. What will you choose for yourself?

May you choose to experience and reflect abundant peace and joy this holiday season and every day.

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


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I am Thankful…

This is one of my favorite of my blogs. I feel the need to blog this again. Enjoy…

Vilma Reynoso

107

I wrote this last year in 2012, but one year later, today, I feel the need to pass this on again, so here goes …  

Thanksgiving is a reflective and special time for me. It will always be because there was a time when I was not so thankful for my life. Years ago, during one Thanksgiving season, I left an abusive relationship. It was one of the most courageous steps I had to take to save myself, my spirit, my sanity. It had to be done, and there was no looking back.

To say that I am now a different person today is an understatement! As the years passed by, I gradually let go of my fear and learned how exciting life is and how beautiful I am as a person.  I am still on a journey, as we all are, but I can say with assurance that…

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Not in a Relationship? Six Healthy Ways to Love Yourself on Valentine’s Day‏

It is that time again. It is that day we celebrate love and romance with chocolate, roses and commercialized, elaborate gifts to show our love and appreciation for that special person in our lives. For some of us, Valentine’s Day is a dreadful reminder of what we perceive we lack or what we desire and do not have. If you are one of those people who is not involved in a romantic relationship or are recovering from a recent break up on this special day, before you throw away the towel, grab that third glass of wine, or head to the nearest movie theater alone with mounds of candy and popcorn to pass the inevitable Valentine’s Day blues, here are some healthy tips and truths about how to love yourself on this special day:

1.  Realize and accept that you are unique and whole.

You are a special and unique human being who is loveable and whole. You are a combination of all your past experiences, your beliefs, your personality, and your thoughts. Having a special person in your life is an added benefit to your existence as a human being on this planet. Although humans long companionship with other humans, having that special someone is not a necessity to feel loving and secure or to enjoy your life with fervor and gratitude. If you are feeling lonely or sad from a recent break up, that is a normal response. You are feeling this way because you miss the familiarity of that relationship. However, it is possible you have not learned to love yourself first. How do you love yourself first? See below.

2. Do not worry about finding the love of your life.

The best way to find that special person or soul mate is to stop looking for him or her. Instead, focus on what you love to do and do it! Focus on being who you are. Focus on you. When you express yourself to the world through your work and your hobbies, it is inevitable that you will inadvertently attract that special love that you seek. For some of us, this happens quickly. For others, it might take some time. The point is to stop chasing after love because when we do that, it eludes us. When we stop trying to control love, it comes to us.

3. Take up a new hobby.

There is nothing more satisfying than discovering a new endeavor to get lost in! Do you feel bored or lonely after your heartbreak? The reason you feel lonely could be because you are missing the companionship of the relationship that just ended. Why not try something new? Is it time to take up golf lessons that you have been wanting to learn for the last decade? Is it time to learn how to crochet? It might be time to step out of your comfort zone. Try it. You will steer your mind towards something expressive, creative, new, and stimulating. Learning a new craft, hobby or activity will help you feel alive and change your thoughts to healthier and happier ones.

4. Make time to help others.

The old saying that giving is better than receiving is true! Have you ever donated your time to a charity or an organization you feel passionate about? Have you ever spent time with someone who is less fortunate who might need some simple help? There are plenty of nonprofit organizations who could use your help. You do not need to “have it together” to donate your time and love. No one does. You do not have to be an expert to volunteer your time with love. What do you like to do? Do you like horses or animals? How about volunteering to help groom horses or walk dogs in shelters. Do you enjoy office work? Volunteer to organize office paperwork or answer phones for your local food bank. There are endless possibilities! Helping others helps you connect with your community and not feel so lonely or isolated. When you donate your time and talents to help others, you cannot help but feel good. Volunteering might also lead you to something that might change your life. For a list of places who need your help, visit: http://www.volunteermatch.org/

5. Spend time getting to know yourself. 

How many of us spend all our waking hours in service to others? Although I am a proponent of being in service to others daily, I also believe it is just as important for our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health to spend time with ourselves, especially after the recent ending of a special relationship. Have you taken the time to know who you really are? Do you know what makes you come alive or what makes you smile? The only way to discover this is to spend time alone (yes, as scary as that sounds for some of us!) nourishing your spirit, mind and emotions. Take long walks. Read or listen to a book on tape that stimulates your mind or your emotions. Feel your pain and cry. Listen to music you love. Play the piano. Spend time trying new hobbies and new activities. Spend time with people who love you unconditionally. Every day, be thankful for how far you have come, and with joyful anticipation, imagine your life as you want it to be. You will then start to heal your heart, your mind, your emotions and your spirit.

6. Love the people in your life right now.

Love is not only for those who are in a relationship. Love should be celebrated every day, every moment. You are a loving being who when expresses love will invite more love into your life.  You do not have to buy an elaborate gift to show someone you love them. Believe it or not, you still can give love even with a broken heart! When is the last time you told your children you love them, your mother, or your niece? Why not call an old friend and shoot the breeze? How about spending twenty minutes playing with your dog? Love can and should be expressed daily, and when it is expressed, it brings us much needed joy. Valentine’s Day is only a reminder of the love all around us. It is a reminder to love ourselves first so we could then love others abundantly!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso


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Creative Goal Setting for the New Year!

It’s that time again – the end of the year and the beginning of a new one! The new year beckons us to start fresh, to bring in something new, to change something for the better, to be excited about possible change, and to make new commitments to ourselves and to others. Even though a new year with new possibilities is exciting, it can also feel frightening and stifling. Sometimes, we feel overwhelmed with our lives and start to believe that we really can’t accomplish those things that we imagine would make our lives more enjoyable, even with a new, fresh start. So, what can we do to make this undeniable longing to better our lives smoother? Here is one plan of action and exercise to set your intentions for a happier life in the new year:

Grab six sheets of paper or use an Excel spreadsheet and write the following as a title on each page:

1. My Body

2. My Relationships

3. My Home

4. My Work

5. My Hobbies & Leisure Time

6. My Spirituality & Growth

Now below the title of each page, write the following: “This is what I desire for my body,” “This is what I desire for my relationships,” and so on and so forth.

Once that is completed, start with the category “My Body” and write anything you want to change about your body and why. For example, you might write, “I want to gain muscle because it would make me stronger,” or “I want to buy new clothes because I lost some weight and I want to look my best,” or “I want to lose 20 lbs. because I want to look better and feel better.” You get the idea!

For your “Hobbies and Leisure Time,” you could write, “I want to take up golf because it would be fun,” or “I want to learn to play the guitar because I love being creative with my hands.” You get the idea!

For “My Home,” you could write something like, “I want to organize my garage because it would be easier to find my tools, so I could work on my woodworking hobby,” or “I want to paint my basement because a fresh coat of paint would improve the look of the room.” Got it?

Do the same for the rest of the pages until you have written down your desires for each category.

Do not think about this too much or become anxious about it. Have fun with it! You can always go back and change it or add to it, if you desire.  Enjoy the process and take it one step at a time!

Once you are finished, put this somewhere where you have access to it every day. Now start to imagine yourself and your life with these in motion. Think about these things for a few minutes every day. Think positively and believe they will happen. Take small steps towards these goals. You will then see things start to happen. You will then be excited and that will generate more positive action towards a life you imagine and want!

This exercise will accomplish three important things:

  • It will make you realize what might be missing in your life that would enhance it greatly.
  • It will put a plan in motion (on paper and not just in your head) to make your imagined life your REAL life.
  • And most importantly, if you think positively and imagine how your life would be if you were living your desires NOW, those thoughts will set in motion those things to happen because we create the reality we want.

Happy Creative Goal Setting and Happy New Year!

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

Copyright, 2012, Vilma Reynoso


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I am Thankful…

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I wrote this last year in 2012, but one year later, today, I feel the need to pass this on again, so here goes …  

Thanksgiving is a reflective and special time for me. It will always be because there was a time when I was not so thankful for my life. Years ago, during one Thanksgiving season, I left an abusive relationship. It was one of the most courageous steps I had to take to save myself, my spirit, my sanity. It had to be done, and there was no looking back.

To say that I am now a different person today is an understatement! As the years passed by, I gradually let go of my fear and learned how exciting life is and how beautiful I am as a person.  I am still on a journey, as we all are, but I can say with assurance that I am a NEW creation, with a new outlook, a new attitude, a renewed mind and definitely a new spirit! I will never be made to feel afraid again. I will never be made to feel “caged” again. I will never be treated again like I was “back then.” I will never experience that again because I now know that what I think about and who I am attracts what comes into my life. I have learned a lot from that terrible and enduring experience. I now remember it fondly but without the pain. I can now share it and not relive it. I am blessed. I am thankful.

Have you ever felt caged? Have you ever been in fear for your life? Did you ever feel like you truly had lost your mind, or have you ever felt so confused and numb from all the pain? I have been there. I now live to put an end to this type of torture and prison that many of us live in. There is not a day that passes by that I am not thankful for who I am, what I experienced and where I am today.

However, every holiday season, I cannot help think about other living beings that are caged, in fear, in emotional confinement, and in physical torture, too.  And, on Thanksgiving, it is the turkeys that are caged and murdered to celebrate a time of “thanks.” Over forty million turkeys are slaughtered for this holiday. How hypocritical we are as human beings. How can we celebrate a time of peace, travel far to get together with our family and friends, and center our celebration around food and sit down and consume, with fervor, the remnants of an abused and murdered animal? It really does not make any sense. As a matter of fact, when you truly think about it, eating a turkey (or any animal) and giving thanks when it is not necessary for our survival is a senseless act. There will never be “peace on earth” or peace in our hearts and minds, if we continue to torture, abuse, murder, and eat animals. What we put into your bodies, our minds and hearts becomes a part of us.  A person who consumes violence condones violence.   If one partakes in the traditional Thanksgiving by eating a dead turkey, he participates in violence; he participates in abuse. He condones abuse. It is logical.

What can you do to end this abuse and not corrupt your mind, soul, and spirit? You can be part of the solution by feasting on vegan food for Thanksgiving and not consuming animals and their byproducts. You can begin that day to experience true life. Here is an example of a vegan Thanksgiving meal:

  • Vegan turkey: a vegan alternative to turkey that comes already made with stuffing and gravy.
  • Mashed potatoes made with olive oil without butter
  • Green bean casserole made with vegan mushroom sauce or coconut sauce
  • Boiled or mashed yams or sweet potatoes made with olive oil instead of butter
  • Fresh, raw cranberries blended into a sauce
  • Raw or cooked corn or corn on the cob spread with olive oil or vegan margarine
  • Your favorite green salad with a vinaigrette dressing
  • Vegan pumpkin, apple, or sweet potato pie

For some recipes and other alternatives, click below.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/vegan-thanksgiving-recipes

Let’s stop the abuse this Thanksgiving season and have true peace, for all.

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

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso


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Reflections on Mom and Mother’s Day

It is an atypical, gloomy Mother’s Day in my part of the world today, but my spirit is feeling content and peaceful. I am a mother; I have a precious child that I have been given to help walk through life to the best of my ability. However, today, like any other Mother’s Day, I  am thinking of my own mom, who, more than any other person in my life, has made the biggest imprint on my heart.

Mom was one of the most giving and selfless persons I have ever known – perhaps to her detriment. She was in ill health almost the entire short sixteen years I had with her. Despite not feeling well most of the time, she gave and gave. Her creative talent was sewing and decorating; every Halloween, my brother and sister and I would have the best costumes in the neighborhood, created from scratch by her. We always had good food, warm clothes, and a cozy bed to sleep in; she took excellent care of us when we were sick, laying at our bed sides and making sure we were as comfortable as possible. She baked girl scout cookies, helped us with school projects, made an effort to be involved in our lives as much as possible. She made our home a beautiful place that in every corner demonstrated without any doubt her fabulous, creative side. She was also a wonderful wife. However, despite all the above, what I remember the most was how she suffered, and as a result, at times, was not the most loving mother. As I became an independent and very curious young adult, I could not understand Mom’s suffering and bad behavior. However, now, as a mother myself, I have come to realize how difficult life must have been for her.

Mom’s life ended while I was in high school one evening after collapsing two weeks earlier from a stroke-induced coma. She had not learned to love herself and take physical, emotional and spiritual care for herself first, so she could best love others. She carried everyone else’s burdens in her body, spirit, and mind. It caught up to her eventually, as it does with everyone, and her life came to an abrupt halt when I least expected it. My mom taught me that life is precious, that every moment counts. Every day counts. Every thought and action counts and will spur on love or fear and destruction. It is really that simple.

Today, as a mom, I am living simply. I gave my daughter a massage, a manicure, a pedicure, and fixed her hair in a French braid. It is the first time I ever did all this at the same time for her, and other than the time it is taking me to write and post this blog, we are spending the rest of the day together with no distractions – no TV, internet, I-pod or any other twenty-first century time-consumers. She was delighted and especially loved  spending time with her mom! I probably enjoyed it more than she did, because I remember how much I longed for my mother to spend this kind of time with me. As a working mom now, I know how difficult it can be to find time to spend with our children, and my mom did her best with what she knew. We all do what we know to do, and that is all we can do. What is important is implementing new ideas and strategies when we learn them and focusing on what is most important – time with our children.

So, I’ve learned many lessons from my mom. I suppose the most important one being the love for a child is beyond anything I can explain, and the limited time we have with our children together is priceless. I am going to make each moment I have with my gift count. It is time to spread the love and wisdom Mom bestowed upon me to my daughter.

Thanks, Mom.

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

Copyright, 2012, Vilma Reynoso