The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly by Franziska Iseli, A Review

Unique and inspiring, The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly by Franziska Iseli demonstrates how to live your best life by stepping out in courage despite the fear you may face.  

Most people stay locked in their fear. How many times have you not pursued your passions because you were afraid? How many times have you told yourself that you “can’t do it,” or how many times have you given up because things got too difficult or because you were afraid?

I sure have!

Franziska, in The Courage Map, gives us a guide on how to change the habit of fear, to live boldly, and do the great things we aspire to do.

The thirteen principles in Iseli’s book are very helpful and will inspire you to live a passionate and fearless life. Each chapter explains how to overcome obstacles that hinder our dreams, our desires, and our goals. An adventurer and world traveler, Iseli beautifully weaves her travel stories from her motorcycle trip on the Silk Highway from Switzerland to Kazakhstan into this book, explaining how she overcame her fears by taking needed courageous steps. She recaps the lessons and beautiful, unforgettable moments that came from those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

This book was a pleasure to read. As a lover of traveling myself, some of her amazing stories brought tears to my eyes, not only because I could imagine myself experiencing what she wrote about (I have always wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle and travel around the country but did not due to … wait for it… lack of courage), but also because I resonated with the interpretation of her travel experiences and how her courage brought about a richer, more fulfilling adventure. Franziska also includes suggested intentions, exercises, and questions at the end of each chapter for further contemplation and self-improvement.

I recommend The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly by Franziska Iseli to anyone seeking to learn how to live with courage and live in the present moment, or to those seeking self-improvement, a passionate life, mindful living, or more joy in their lives. This reading would also be exceptional for those interested in psychology and human behavior.

A bit about the author, Franziska Iseli:

Franziska Iseli is a visionary and eternal optimist. No challenge seems to be too big for her, it seems. She is known for her rebellious nature and doing things differently. She has this rare combination of being both creative and strategic, which makes her a powerful leader in the business world as entrepreneur and co-founder of several companies: Basic BananasOceanLoversMoments of Humanity, and The Business Hood.

In addition to The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly, Franziska Iseli is the author of Perception: Take charge of how others view your brand, Become Irresistible and Make a Bigger Impact, and Bananas About Marketing: How to Attract a Whole Bunch of Customers. 

In her spare time, Franziska loves going on mad adventures, surfing the ocean’s waves, motorcycling around the world, playing music with her band Salty Lips, learning, writing, meaningful discussions, and spending time with family and friends.

To learn more about Franziska Iseli, visit: FranziskaIseli.com.

To purchase a copy of The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly, visit Amazon.

Thinking about publishing your book? Visit TCKpublishing.com.

November Book Review: Heal Your Life: 25 Ways to Unleash Your Innate Healing Powers by Finding Your Purpose and Connecting with a Higher Power by Carolle Jean-Murat

In Heal Your Life: 25 Ways to Unleash Your Innate Healing Powers by Finding Your Purpose and Connecting with a Higher Power, Carolle Jean-Murat shows how the belief in a higher power – however one defines it – influences our physical and mental well-being and gives us the hope and ability to restore ourselves to health.  By using scientific and medical knowledge, intuition, and a spiritual or faith-based approach, Dr. Carolle explains how she aids people in healing their childhood traumas, adult diseases, and unhappiness.

The beginning of Jean-Murat’s book is a compelling story about the author’s difficult childhood growing up in Haiti in the 1950’s and sixties. She summarizes her rape at a young age, her loss of faith, her medical and scientific pursuits as an adult and the subsequent disillusionment of Western medicine and its practices, and her eventual reaffirming of a belief in God.  The rest of the book contains twenty-five short, informative chapters on how to heal mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually with a “True Healing Action Plan” section. Some topics include: finding your life purpose, dealing with abuse, listening to our intuition, learning to live in the moment, practicing forgiveness and gratitude, the power of friendship, being part of a religious or spiritual community, the benefits of a hobby, or how to handle stress, for example. These chapters are very short but dense with inspirational, life-healing advice. Jean-Murat concludes her book by reiterating that all human beings are on a spiritual journey and to trust that life is always working for us no matter what is happening.

I recommend Heal Your Life: 25 Ways to Unleash Your Innate Healing Powers by Finding Your Purpose and Connecting with a Higher Power by Carolle Jean-Murat to those interested in seeking an alternative way of healing other than typical Western medicine, which generally does not treat the whole person. Dr. Carolle (as she prefers to be addressed) thoroughly explains the importance of evaluating and treating the physical, emotional, and mental components of the person with incorporating spirituality or faith. I found her childhood anecdote and subsequent life-story very inspiring. I also learned about the culture of Haiti, which was an unexpected bonus!

A bit about the author, Carolle Jean-Murat, MD:Dr. Carolle Picture

Born and raised within a family of healers and trained in the best universities around the world, Dr. Carolle is a board-certified gynecologist with over four decades of experience. She is a gifted intuitive and spiritual healer. As an international motivational speaker, Dr. Carolle brings her message of self-empowerment and faith through her award-winning books, telephone consultations, private retreats, workshops, blog, and podcast. She is also founder of Dr. Carolle’s Wellness and Retreat Center of San Diego, a place where women spend time with her to discover the root causes of their diseases, which she believes are usually hidden (or unresolved) emotions. Dr. Carolle also provides free intuitive gynecological and primary care to the people of Haiti through Catholic Charities, and more. This amazing woman is also the creator of the non-profit organization Health Through Communications Foundation and its Angels For Haiti Project that provide education, health-care, and hope for the future.  And lastly, Dr. Carolle is Chief Medical Director of Health Education Advocacy Leadership Community Health Promotion Center (HCHPC) HEAL, a new and innovative approach to healthcare.

To learn more about Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat or to purchase her book, Heal Your Life: 25 Ways to Unleash Your Innate Healing Powers by Finding Your Purpose and Connecting with a Higher Power, visit: drcarolle.com.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 

September Book Review: The Four Elements of Change by Heather Ash

“When we bring our attention back to discovering who we are in the inside – not who we wish we were or who we think we should be – we begin a sacred path of transformation toward our innate, authentic, embodied power.” – Heather Ash

As a Western spiritual teacher and seeker using Toltec wisdom, Heather Ash in The Four Elements of Change brilliantly teaches us how to improve or rebuild ourselves holistically. She explains how the four elements of nature – air, fire, water, and earth – are metaphors for the mind, spirit, emotions, and body. Understanding how these elements are absolutely essential for our survival (we cannot live without air, fire, water, or the earth) and learning how to integrate them help us to transition from one way of being to another, to release old beliefs that do not serve us, or are the catalyst in showing us how to create new thoughts or habits. The four elements as metaphors are a way to assimilate information effectively as we make life transitions.

Most of us struggle when we are attempting to change something about our lives. Whether by force or by volition, when we are moving to a new city, leaving a job, going back to school, ending a relationship, or establishing a new habit, for example, we struggle. We become discouraged, perceive difficulties, are struck with fear, and easily want to give up. Heather Ash explains why this happens and how the four elements play a part in helping us deal effectively with these thoughts and emotions.  Ash further uses metaphors to explain the elements – my favorite is the cycles of the seasons: air is spring, summer is fire, fall is water, and earth is winter. Lastly, the author explains how the elements are guides to help us live in alignment with nature and our own essence. Each element is a tool for becoming more present, for internal healing, and for learning about ourselves.

I highly recommend Heather Ash’s The Four Elements of Change to anyone seeking spiritual wisdom during difficult life changes, or to anyone who is interested in Toltec wisdom. As someone who just recently changed careers and is in the process of starting a few new ventures, this book was very pertinent and was a pleasure to read. It is a short book but rich beyond measure with wisdom.

A bit about the author, Heather Ash:

HeatherAsh-Amara

Heather Ash brings a rich blend of Toltec wisdom, European shamanism, Buddhism, and Native American ceremony to her teachings and writings to support each individual in the manifestation of his or her highest potential. She is the founder of the Toltec Center of Creative Intent in Berkeley, CA, and is the author of the Warrior Goddess book series in addition to The Four Elements of Change. Heather studied and taught extensively with don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The Four Agreements. Inspiring people to liberate their full voice and power, Heather offers retreats, online certifications, online events, workshops, and online resources.

To learn more about Heather Ash and what she offers, visit: HeatherAsh.com. To purchase The Four Elements of Change, visit Amazon.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

December Book Review: Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life by Abby Seixas

RIver WIthin“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Attributed to Goethe

Abby Seixas in Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life explains why it is vital to regard the things that we love to do as those which matter most. In a world that implicitly and explicitly encourages constant “doing” over “being,” hurrying and multi-tasking over living in the present moment, and as a result, propels us to experience everyday general fatigue, Seixas demonstrates how we can find joy and excitement in our lives. The “deep river within” is a metaphor for the soul-nourishing dimension in each one of us that flows beneath the business of daily life. With guidance, we can attain that which we all crave: balance and meaning.

I have to admit that I have recently been living an unbalanced and very stressful life. I have allowed myself to stop doing the things that bring me joy in the midst of what seems like never-ending responsibility and commitments. Finding this book was a god-send! As a result of reading about my “river” within in this book, I have decided to re-evaluate my busy lifestyle and commit to creating a life that will nourish my spirit and not take from it. I am committed to learning to slow down and truly live in the present moment. I am committed to doing that which I love again (blogging being one love!).

After describing the disease of the twenty-first century – the disease of “to do lists” and “a thousand things to do,” the author then thoroughly reveals the six practices that we must do to tap into our “river” in order to live joyful and meaningful lives: taking time alone, making and practicing boundaries, befriending feelings, taming self-expectations, practicing living in the present and doing things we love. I highly recommend this book to any woman who is struggling with finding time for herself in a very demanding world or any woman who is constantly exhausted, over-burdened or feels like she is going to lose her mind. Yes, it is worth your time to read Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life by Abby Seixas. You will be glad you found the time to read it!

A bit about the author, Abby Seixas:

Amy Seixas

Abby Seixas has been a psychotherapist in private practice for over twenty-five years and has worked as a consultant and clinical psychotherapy supervisor at training centers in the United States and abroad, including England, Russia and the Netherlands. Her work focuses on helping women learn and practice the art of slowing down via her workshops, public talks, retreats, coaching, and her popular Touching the Deep River groups. Abby has appeared on The Today Show, and has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Self, Fitness, Body + Soul, and Woman’s Day. She is the mother of two grown children and lives with her husband near Boston, Massachusetts.

To learn more about Abby Seixas or to purchase Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life, visit: deepriverwithin.com.

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Earthships

Earthships

Earthships

A bit about the author, Michael E. Reynolds:

Mike Reynolds, Earthships

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

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

 

The Crack

On the last day of the year, 2013, I thought I would ponder, once again, that age-old question: “What is the meaning of life?”

What a crazy question that has been asked over the centuries since the beginning of time! There is no other question, I believe, that has been asked more. And, answers? There are probably as many answers to this question as there are thinkers and philosophers who have asked it over the ages. It is a question that really has no direct, easy answer.

One such thinker and philosopher who asked this question and contemplated the answer to it was Henry David Thoreau. In the mid 1800’s, this man decided to take up the challenge of trying to answer the important question, “What is the meaning of life?” Thoreau decided to ponder the question as he lived by himself in a small house in the woods which contained one room and a nearby outhouse for two years, two months, and two days. There, in this peaceful and serene place, he thought, studied, meditated, and experimented, deeply pondering not only what the meaning of life is, but also why it is that man is always wanting more and seems to never be satisfied with what he is and has. Alone and at peace, Henry David Thoreau became in tune with the Creator, the force that exists in all creation, the universal spirit and intuition that resides in all people and which stimulates man to live. During this momentous time, he wrote his best work, Walden. Thoreau discovered that life is always seeking to expand, emerge, to grow. He also concluded that what we dream about for our lives is not only that which is seeking to emerge from us, but it is nothing less than the creative force, the infinite Creator, or God (whatever your choice of words) that wants to manifest itself in our lives through our expression and creativity. Life, and the meaning thereof, is all there is. The meaning of life is to adhere to the creative force within and express it outward. It is to allow the life spirit within to live.

Have you ever taken a walk and have you ever pondered the cracks in the pavement? How many times have you seen that tiny, soft green plant emerging from concrete? It has managed to grow through that thick material wanting to live, hasn’t it?  We are the same. Everything we do, the very reason we get out of bed in the morning is because life is seeking to emerge from us; life is seeking to have a fuller and freer and more expanding expression through us, all the time.  We want more clothes, more money, more friends, a bigger house, a larger yard, a new profession, a new book to read, a special relationship, more freedom, more creative expression, more LIFE! We seek because we are expanding beings who MUST create and expand. It is not wrong to want more; it is actually normal and natural. Like the blade of grass that needs to break through the payment, we always need to break through to a fuller and more expansive life. And, this is where our dreams come in. The life we would love living is the life that is seeking to emerge from us.

How do we live our dream life? Our first step is to decide what our core values are and then start to imagine a life we would love that would encompass those values. You might value your time with your family, or you might value spending time by yourself reading and need this time to relax and recharge. You might value nature and prefer to spend an hour a day experiencing the outdoors. You might value health and prefer to eat healthy foods and exercise daily. You might value peace, love, or respect. Or, perhaps you value friendships and desire to spend time socializing more than spending time alone. Whatever it is that you value must be in line with whatever you desire for your dream life.

Once we know what our core values are, we then decide what it is we LOVE. What makes you smile, makes your eyes and body light up fully? What activity do you do that when you do it makes you wish time would stop at that very moment? Or, what do you day dream about doing and wish you could practice all day?  What do you know that is welling deep inside that needs to be shared with others? What passion do you have that you desire to share with the world? These are only beginning questions to ponder in starting to create a life of your dreams, the life that is seeking to emerge from you.

Henry David Thoreau truly believed that the creative force within is seeking to come forth and blossom into a greater and fuller life through us on this side of existence. Many other thinkers and philosophers have agreed with Thoreau and have lived magnificent and full lives of creative expression and true happiness. But before they were able to create truly fulfilling lives, they learned that they needed to listen to their creative voices first. What is it that you feel and know in your spirit that wants to emerge in 2014? Whatever it is, there is never a better time than NOW to allow it to come forth.

Life. It really can be ALL that it is cracked up to be.

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

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso

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