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


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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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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!

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…

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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…

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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!

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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 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 Health

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 health,” and “This is what I desire for my relationships,” and so on and so forth.

Once that is completed, start with the category “My Health” and write anything you want to change about your health 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 and then take small action steps, you will eventually have what you desire.

Happy Creative Goal Setting and Happy New Year!

Copyright 2012, Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com.