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A Short Tribute to Louise Hay

What do you say about a woman whose books saved your life? There are no words but a heart full of gratitude and awe.

There are few people who cross our paths and truly inspire us so profoundly that we are never the same again. These people are sometimes one in a million, and when they appear in our lives, we never forget them.  For me, one of those people was Louise Hay, who passed away in her sleep at the age of ninety yesterday, August 30, 2017.

Interestingly, yesterday morning I was writing a book review on one of Louise’s many life-changing books, You Can Heal Your Life. After publishing the blog, I immediately discovered she had passed away at the same time that I was writing about her. I almost fell off my chair!

This morning, I decided to plant a special rose bush in my backyard in memory of Louise, who loved to spend time in her jaw-dropping garden in San Diego, California. It is how I choose to mourn the loss of such a beautiful person and my way of remembering her.20170831_095852

So, Louise, if you can hear me somehow (I hope you can, but no one really knows),

This rose bush I planted today is for you. It is a reminder every time I see it grow and flourish with gorgeous roses in my garden of how you saved my life with your wisdom, your kindness, your gentleness and your inspiring words. Thank you for writing your books! You have helped millions improve their lives. To say that the world is a better place because you were part of it is such an understatement. Thank you, Louise Hay, for having the courage to rise above what happened to you, to become an inspirational teacher, a friend to so many and a leader for all people. Please know that I have named my rose bush “Louise” to remind me of you and your inner beauty, strength, growth, courage and gentleness.  Love you always. Rest in peace, wise soul.

To learn about Louise Hay and how she changed the world, visit HayHouse.com.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 


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Heed the Big, Blue House

Do you ever wonder what is behind the front doors of the houses you see in your neighborhood? Do you ever wish you could take a peek? Do you ask yourself, “Who lives there? What is their story?”

I do. Many times.

I live near a serene, beautiful walking path that I frequent often. There, I find deer, rabbits, birds, insects and worms (and sometimes snakes) enjoying their small, undisturbed plot of land. On the way to this path, I always stroll past a beautiful and big, blue house.  Now, my neighborhood is not unique; every house is made from the same, cookie-cutter, corporate mold, even though each house has a distinct aura about them, of course. The big, blue house is different. It stands out. My eye is always on it, each and every time I pass by.

The big, blue house is immaculate. When I say, immaculate, I mean utterly without a fault. The paint is crisp, sky blue, almost as if it is touched up every day (it isn’t, of course). The trim on the house is a simple shade of white without a single speck of dirt. As a matter of fact, there is not a smidgen of dirt anywhere on the outside of that house – no oil in the driveway, no cracks in the pavement, no leaves blowing anywhere in the vicinity. The landscaping is jaw-dropping – a variety of beautiful trees, red and pink rose bushes, lovely irises and dahlias, sparkling, healthy, perfectly-trimmed (definitely real), green grass that inspires me to knock on their door and ask what kind of manure they use! In the spring and summer, the front porch is decorated with large, gorgeous hanging plants and a lovely, pleasant wind chime like a harp that seems to make peaceful, beautiful music (it makes me want to sit on the porch, but I dare not). The big, blue house should be on the front page of Home Magazine, every month. There is nothing out of place – not even a blade of grass.

There is no doubt in my mind that someone is working very hard keeping this house “up to par,” and I do wonder what the inside of that house looks like. Is it as immaculate on the inside as it is on the outside? Do the people within those walls take the same care inside as they do outside? Do they care for themselves as well as they do their house? I will probably never know the answer to those questions, but I do know how it makes me feel when I walk by the big, blue house. I can’t help but think about how we, as humans, focus on what we see and not what might exist behind or beyond appearances. I determined that the reason I am so mesmerized by the blue house is because I realize the house is a metaphor. It is a reminder of the human condition: we assume it is greener on the other side (in someone else’s life) by outward appearance.  We assume the other person must have an easy life, or the person at work must have not suffered like we have. Or, we assume, they have it all together and have perfect lives. Things might appear immaculate, but are they really?

May I encourage you to look beyond the appearance of the big, blue house? You see, deep down, we are all the same: we all seek happiness and avoid pain; we all want love, acceptance and intimacy; we all want to live joyful lives and feel safe. Most importantly, we all share pain of some sort, one or two experiences that are the catalyst that shaped our lives for the better or for the worse. We are people. We are human, and there is more to us than how we appear to each other. May I encourage you to look at the people in your life – at work, at home or in the neighborhood – with a new, compassionate love? It does not matter what their color, race, nationality, sex, class, religious or political affiliation is. They have a story just like you do, and it’s those stories (heart-felt life experiences) that help us make much needed, genuine connections and bridge differences.

It seems that people today are afraid of each other’s differences and make many unfounded assumptions. Social media is full of people determining who is right, who is wrong, who is a troll, who is a friend, who is a conspiracy theorist, and who is a jerk. We make generalizations and believe these determinations without merit or facts. I have fallen into this trap as well and have made wrong assumptions.  Although it is normal to make an assessment of someone by first appearance (even on social media), the truth is we do not know much about them unless we see beyond their “big, blue house.”  Let’s rise above this. Let’s take a step back and attempt to see the whole picture. May I encourage you to try to empathize and understand people from their perspective, even if you might not agree with them? Can I inspire you to look beyond their house, what they show to the world?

So today, as you go about your business and find people around you, take the time to ask, or simply do not assume. It will make the world less BLUE and more BIG.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 


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Scrapbooking: How it Changed my Life and Lifted the Pain

I am a scrapbooking junkie. I admit it.

One of my favorite things to do at any time is to put together albums of photographs of the years I have lived. This is an activity that when done time stops for me. I don’t look at the clock, and before I know it, the entire day has passed in contentment, creative activity and complete peace. Every page starts off blank before I add photographs, embellishments and journaling. I have to say that this does not intimidate me because it is my forte and my hobby. It is my mental release, my way of making sense of the world, my experiences and the lessons I have learned in life thus far; it is my bliss.

Life, however, was not always so “blissful.” Over a decade ago, prior to discovering my love of scrapbooking, I had been in a difficult, diseased and depressed stage of life. Maybe you have experienced something similar, but back then, I awakened uninterested, sullen and troubled, heavy-burdened, and mildly, if not chronically depressed. I struggled with a few minor illnesses and a few benign tumors with the threat of surgery. Life had become burdensome. I had lost my zest. I survived by doing what was expected of me. Like a robot, I did my duties and lived a life devoid of passion, of interest. I had forgotten who I was. I had forgotten what made me smile, what made my heart come alive, and what I loved to do. I had forgotten the creativity within me, and back then I did not know that it was that creativity, still deep inside somewhere, that would resurrect my spirit to a spirit of excitement and abundant life.

My life changed sixteen years ago on a beautiful day in April in the Rockies as walked on the path near home with a new friend. As we strolled and talked, she explained to me about how she recorded her memories with photographs she had taken and how much fun it was! She even added stickers and used colored, acid-free paper and special pens in her albums to allow them to last for as long as possible.  As she spoke, I felt an undeniable spark spring up in my heart. I knew then that I needed to create scrapbooks myself.  And, so it began.

That day changed my life. However, I would not know how much until about a year later. I immediately bought an album to get started on. The first album I worked on was a re-creation of a scrapbook I had made of my high school years that was literally falling apart (the paper was already disintegrating). This was a big project, but I was determined to complete it. I dismantled the old scrapbook and removed all the old photographs I had collected from high school. I then scanned them and had them reprinted. I bought a royal blue album, all the acid-free paper I would need, some stickers, royal blue and gold paper (my school colors) to place behind the photographs and special pens that do not bleed and will last a very long time. I was excited! I envisioned how I wanted the album to look and planned how I was going to design it before I started putting it together. This creative endeavor got me out of bed in the morning. It gave me the will to live.

As I started putting together this album, I began to realize how involved and active I was when I was in high school. The memories of all that I was involved in came flooding back, and I started feeling better. I remembered all the different kinds of friends I had: the jocks, the geeks, the boy-crazy, drama queens, the shy ones, and even some of the “party-ers.” Back then, I was popular, and I had the ability to make friends with anyone. I did not judge much, and I was happy. As I created page after page and section after section of my scrapbook, I realized that I was a diverse person, and that is how I functioned best and happiest. I relished in the memories of my cross-country and track teams and all the races we participated in. I remembered the times I would run to drill team practice right after cross country practice hoping the dance leader would not notice that I was 45 minutes late! I remembered the Science Club and French Clubs that I was a part of and the trip to Europe I was fortunate enough to experience during my junior year. I discovered that I had a poetic side, a scientific side, was very athletic and competitive, romantic, spirited and adventurous. I was more than I had imagined, and I felt alive back then. Most importantly, I discovered through this creative process what kind of life truly made my happy, and I realized that I was far from living that fulfilling life now.

Putting together and completing the scrapbook and thus remembering all that I experienced in the past, touched a part of me deeply and lifted my depression enough to the point where I could now deal with all my other ailments and not live in denial anymore. Discovering this creative endeavor was the catalyst that began the process of authentic health (emotionally, physically and spiritually) for me and restored my life to a life of joy. I began to make the changes necessary to bring myself to a peaceful and healthy existence. The changes would eventually lead me to new experiences and discoveries about myself. Holistic health did not happen overnight, and it is always a continuous process, but I am forever thankful to a friend who, until now, had no idea how much of an impact she had on my life just by speaking up about how she used her innate creativity. I often ask myself periodically, however, if I had not inconspicuously stumbled upon scrapbooking, would have happened to me.  Humbling thought.

Today, I continue to scrapbook because I love the process of putting together albums of my experiences (the joyful times and the challenging, difficult times) to understand and interpret my life. Scrapbooking helps me to appreciate life, to celebrate it and learn from it. It is also a lot of fun! Most importantly, scrapbooking helps me to know who I am and what I can become. 

Has your spirit died? Have you forgotten what makes you smile? Embark upon a creative activity; it will bring you joy and fulfillment, rest for your soul, and help you remember what is most important in life: living with peace and sharing your passion and creativity.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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November Book Review:  I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are the most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” These are the words of Malala Yousafzai, spoken in 2014 in Oslo, Norway, as the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai, a Pashtun Pakistani, is a courageous, compassionate, exemplary and determined young woman on a mission to bring education to every girl and boy in every town, province, city, and country in the world.  Her memoir, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, is a rich, beautifully-written, compassionate and inspiring story that explains her past, her passion, and her life mission.

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Yousafzai begins her memoir with anecdotes about growing up in Mingora, in the Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan, a lush, mountain region full of breathtaking rivers, waterfalls and gorgeous valleys. She describes life as a Sunni Muslim, her love of Allah, and the customs in Mingora. Her book explains the poverty she and her family endured – no running water, no stove, no heat, very little food at times, for example. She explains how poverty and tradition in the midst of paradise kept most girls from attending school. Her own mother could not read or write, for example. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, her hero and inspiration, is a fierce advocate for girls’ education, and after political opposition and financial problems, founded an all-girls school in Mingora where Malala attended.

In the second half of this memoir, Malala explains the fundamentalist beliefs of the Taliban and the extreme damage and fear they exhibited in her country. She writes stories about beheadings and public lynchings, suicide bombers, the bombing and destruction of hundreds of schools, general politics in Pakistan, the horrific damage and tyranny and eventual ruin of Mingora caused by the Taliban, and more.  As outspoken advocates of education for girls (which the Taliban was against), Malala and her father eventually became targets. Malala was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban and survived. Her recovery is nothing less than remarkable. Her story has garnered worldwide attention, which has caused a nonstop collaboration of many individuals and countries for the fight of education for all girls everywhere.

I highly recommend I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai to anyone who is curious about Pakistani life and customs, about Islam, or about the Taliban and the damage they have inflicted in Pakistan. I especially recommend this memoir to human and women’s rights activists. It is an incredible story that left me speechless, in awe, and at times, in tears!

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Opening Malala Yousafzai’s All-Girls School near the Syrian border in 2015.

A bit about the author, Malala Yousafzai:

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education. She is known mainly for human rights advocacy for education and for women in her native Swat Valley of northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school.

Malala has received many awards. The 2013, 2014 and 2015 issues of Time magazine featured Malala as one of “the 100 most influential people in the world“. She was the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and the recipient of the 2013 Sakharov Prize. In July that year, she spoke at the headquarters of the United Nations to call for worldwide access to education. In 2014, she was nominated for the World Children’s Prize in Sweden, and in May of the same year, Malala was granted an honorary doctorate by the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Later in 2014, Malala was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Kailash Satyarthi, for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.  Today, Malala is founder of the Malala Fund, a nonprofit organization that advocates at the local, national and international levels for resources and policy changes needed to ensure all girls, worldwide, have the right to twelve years of schooling.

To learn more about Malala Yousafzai and her work, visit: Malala.org.

To purchase I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, visit: Amazon.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com. Musings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

 

 

2016 Election


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Conventional Wisdom Yields Convention

As election day approaches, some of us might still be struggling with who to vote for and how to come to that conclusion. I am honored to pass on this blog by blogger and author, Peter B. Roth, that captures, exactly, what I have been feeling during this election year. I could not have written a better article that explains why it is imperative that we vote for what we value and not for “the lessor of two evils.” Enjoy!

I woke up today and checked Facebook like I often do and to my dismay, I was disgusted by people gloating over voting for Hillary. It was quite obvious to me that they had not done their homework a…

Source: Conventional Wisdom Yields Convention


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August Book Review: The Five Levels of Attachment: Toltec Wisdom for the Modern World by don Miguel Ruiz Jr.

don Miguel Ruiz Jr.We live in our minds. We all do. Most of the time, we do not see that what we believe about ourselves or about the world is influenced by our attachments –  thoughts and beliefs that we cling onto and have said, “yes” to that have a tendency to distort our perceptions.  Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. in The Five Levels of Attachment: Toltec Wisdom for the Modern World discusses what these are and why we choose to live this way. He explains the five levels of attachments in great detail:  authentic self, preference, identification, internalization and fanaticism.  He also summarizes how our beliefs are tied to our identity and how that identity is created based on the opinions and judgements of others.  Ruiz helps us understand how we create our own superstitions and become fanatics of our own attachments and more.  In conclusion, he offers solutions to help us identify our attachments, where we are stuck in our thinking, how we can alter our attachments, and how to change our beliefs and become unhindered by judgement and free to live our true life’s calling.

I found don Miguel Ruiz Jr.’s Five Levels of Attachment fascinating, challenging and inspirational. It is a book I want to keep on my shelf and refer to often.  It has helped me realize my own attachments and how they do and have influenced my beliefs and actions. Ruiz Jr. has made me realize that I have work to do in releasing some of my own current attachments that hinder my beliefs. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a way to live a more authentic, loving, open and joyful life. It will help you see your own setbacks in your thinking and beliefs and help you move to a more healthy and loving nature.

A bit about the author, don Miguel Ruiz Jr.: don Miguel Ruiz Jr.

At the age of fourteen, don Miguel Ruiz Jr. apprenticed to his father, don Miguel Sr. and his grandmother, Madre Sarita. From that early age, he was called upon to translate Madre Sarita’s prayers, lectures and workshops from Spanish to English. Through this experience, he saw first-hand how she manifested her intent to heal people both physically and spiritually. He then discovered his own attachments and a journey of healing began. Don Miguel Jr.’s apprenticeship lasted ten years. In his mid-twenties, his father intensified his training.

Today, don Miguel Jr. is married and has two young children. As a Nagual, he has become ready to pass along the wisdom and the tools of his family’s traditions in helping others to achieve their own personal freedom and optimal physical and spiritual health. The wisdom of his grandmother and of his father, don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, continues to be his greatest influence and catalyst for conscious healing and change. Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. is also the author of Living a Life of Awareness and The Mastery of Self.

To learn more about don Miguel Ruiz Jr. visit MiguelRuizJr.com. To purchase of The Five Levels of Attachment: Toltec Wisdom for the Modern World, visit: MiguelRuizJr.com/store.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

Dan Millman


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June Book Review: The Laws of Spirit: A Tale of Transformation-Powerful Truths For Making Life Work by Dan Millman

Laws of Spirit

“The universe does not judge us; it only provides consequences, lessons and opportunities to balance and learn though the law of cause and effect. Compassion is the recognition that we are each doing the best we can within the limits of our current beliefs and capacities.” – Dan Millman

No matter what you believe about the universe, about god, or about what makes everything jive, Dan Millman’s The Laws of Spirit: A Tale of Transformation-Powerful Truths for Making Life Work will help you to navigate through life’s ups and downs, or its beauty and exhilaration, with grace and patience. Millman believes the universe operates within certain “laws of spirit,” and if we align ourselves with these spiritual laws, we will positively transform and live happier lives. The book is a parable – a fictional tale of the author meeting a sage in the mountains who explains to him the twelve laws of spirit: balance, choices, process, presence, compassion, faith, expectation, integrity, action, cycles, surrender, and unity. Each chapter is a conversation with the sage and a learning experience for those looking for a deeper perspective on life and all that it is and is not.

This short book can be read all at once, or it can be experienced by reading one chapter a week, a day, or even one a month. Each chapter is rich with spiritual insight. I have to admit that when I first started reading it, I found myself wanting to slow down and thoroughly ponder what was presented. I recommend this rich book to anyone who is looking for a spiritual perspective on life and a transformation of the self.  It will demonstrate to you how to free the love trapped within you, so you could expand that love to the world in joyous service for the common good.   

A bit about the author, Dan Millman: Dan Millman

Dan Millman is a former world champion athlete, university coach, martial arts instructor, and college professor. After an intensive, twenty-year spiritual quest, Dan decided to write sixteen books (so far), conduct workshops & seminars, and lecture influencing men and women from all walks of life including leaders in the fields of health, psychology, education, business, politics, sports, entertainment, and the arts. Dan’s thirteen books, including Way of the Peaceful Warrior, have inspired millions of readers in twenty-nine languages worldwide. The feature film, “Peaceful Warrior,” starring Nick Nolte, was adapted from Dan’s first book, based upon incidents from his life. Dan and his wife Joy live in northern California. They have three grown daughters and two grandsons so far. His work continues to evolve over time to meet the needs of a changing world.

To learn more about Dan Millman or to order The Laws of Spirit: A Tale of Transformation-Powerful Truths for Making Life Work, visit: PeacefulWarrior.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being