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May Book Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

It’s 5 a.m. It’s quiet, and it’s my favorite part of the day.

Introverts love quiet: quiet mornings, quiet afternoons and a contemplative walk, quiet evenings with a great book and an animal (or two), quiet workplaces so they can create. I am an introvert. I’m a lucky introvert because I stumbled upon Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, a book that thoroughly demonstrates that not only is it okay to be introverted, but there are so many advantages to being one. Are you an introvert?  Did you know that you are okay as you are? If not, look no further – read Cain’s book!

Susan Cain in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, begins by explaining how extroversion became the norm in society (even how extroversion is preferred over introversion) followed by considerable evidence demonstrating how collaboration or “group work” actually kills creativity. Even though most of our workplace is designed for extroverts, evidence shows that working alone cultivates and sustains creative thinking. According to research psychologist Anders Ericcson, it is when we are alone that we can engage in deliberate creativity and practice; it is only then that we can identify knowledge just out of our reach, strive to upgrade our performance, monitor our progress, and improve. Working in a group setting, he advises, is counterproductive because it reinforces current cognitive mechanisms. But, how many of us have the capability of working alone, and why is society set up to value extroversion? Susan Cain discusses these important questions.

Cain discusses how charismatic leadership in our business world is a myth, and that introverts actually fair just as well, if not better, than extroverts in all areas of study and business. One out of every three people is introverted. Research shows that creative individuals became masters in their work by consistently spending time alone immersing themselves in their craft. Who are some of the world’s creative introverts? How about Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, George Orwell, J.K. Rowling, Marcel Proust, Charles Schutz, Steven Spielberg, George Orwell, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Steve Wozniak, Frederic Chopin, W.B. Yeats, and the list goes on. Can you imagine life without this list?

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking also discusses temperament and the biology of introverts and extroverts, nature vs. nurture theories, different cultures in regards to introversion vs. extroversion, how to best communicate with both temperaments, when an introvert might have to act more extroverted and why, and finally, how to cultivate and sustain the introvert in an extroverted world. Cain ascertains that the world needs a better balance between extroversion and introversion. Her book is very well researched and a pleasure to read.

I highly recommend Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. This book is rich with valuable information, and this blog has only reviewed part of it. I recommend this reading to anyone interested in this topic but especially to introverts.  It will help you see that there is nothing wrong with you, that it is okay to be introverted. I also advise this reading to business owners or managers so you can better support your staff with their development and company goals.

A bit about the author, Susan Cain:Susan Cain

Susan Cain is the co-founder of Quiet Revolution and the author of the bestseller Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts in addition to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking, which has been translated into forty languages and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for almost three years. Susan is also the co-founder of the Quiet Schools Network and the Quiet Leadership Institute. Her writing has appeared in the The New York TimesThe AtlanticThe Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her record-smashing TED talk has been viewed over 17 million times (which is where I discovered her!). She received Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership, the Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award for Communication and Leadership, and was named one of the world’s top fifty Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. Magazine. She is an honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School. Lastly, Ms. Cain prefers listening to talking, reading to socializing, and cozy chats to group settings, like a true introvert.

To learn more about Susan Cain, or to purchase a copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, visit QuietRev.com.

I leave you with the Quiet Revolution Manifesto found on Susan Cain’s website, QuietRevolution.com:

  1. There is a word for “people who are in their heads too much”- thinkers.
  2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.
  3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.
  4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend-extrovert. There is always time to be quiet later.
  5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is the key to finding work you love and work that matters.
  6. One genuine relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.
  7. It’s okay to cross the street to avoid making small talk.
  8. “Quiet leadership” is not an oxymoron.
  9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.
  10. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 

 

 


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

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

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

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

I’m the Lucky One

I will tell you why I am so lucky:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because everything I mentioned above happens everywhere.

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

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

Rape culture.

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

Me, Too, but…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have found my voice.

I am.

#metoo

I’m one of the lucky ones

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

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

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

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

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

I am a survivor.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com


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3 Simple Ways to Set Your Heart on Fire and Why it Matters

I love coffee shops! I love what I see and find in them: people conversing, reading, writing, sharing, laughing, creating, enjoying, loafing around and day dreaming. We need more of this in this very troubled world, don’t we? Yesterday, in one of my favorite hometown coffee shops, I experienced three things that touched my heart, and frankly, made my day! After having experienced these three things, I realized how important it is for all of us to experience them. Why? Because a heart on fire makes for a much-needed, kinder and more compassionate world! So, without further ado, here they are:

Make eye contact with people. Making eye contact makes the other person feel important and acknowledged. It tells them that they matter, that their presence is important. We all want to know and feel that we matter to others, even to strangers.

As I was entering and exiting the coffee shop today, several people made eye contact with me. It was simple and non-invasive. It was as if they told me, “Hey, good to know you are alive; we are both here, at this coffee shop, doing our own thing, and that is okay.” It was a simple nod that made me feel like I was acknowledged and that I mattered.

Give someone you don’t know a compliment. When we compliment someone, it is more about us than about the other person. It is giving without expectation, and when we do that, we always benefit. You know the old saying, “It is better to give than to receive?” Well, not to sound cliché, but it is true: when we give, we feel something good, and that “good” is what this world desperately needs.

After time well spent at the coffee shop, I decided to get something to eat at a nearby restaurant. As I was walking to my table, a woman very unexpectedly complimented my outfit. I have to admit that I was thrown for a loop! I thanked her and smiled. Her kind gesture put a smile in my heart not only on my face. I felt acknowledged and that I mattered.

Tell someone what they mean to you. Everyone wants to know that they mean something to others. If you know someone who has positively affected your life in one way or another (even in a small manner), please tell them! We all want to know that what we do for others makes a difference to them. When we make a difference to someone else, we feel complete and feel that our purpose on this planet is fulfilled. Telling someone they made a difference to us is simple. You can send an email, a note, a text, or make a phone call. What is important is that you let them know how pleased you are with them.

Today, during my time at the coffee shop, a friend emailed me to tell me I had made a significant difference in her life. I was a bit shocked to hear this because I had no idea! I was so happy that she had taken the time to tell me because it made me feel like I mattered and lit up my heart.

If everyone would do these three things every day, our world would be changed almost instantaneously! Just imagine it. There would be no time for bouts of anger, unrelenting fear, despair, racism gone wild, injustice, oppression of all kinds, tyranny and unnecessary wars. The world would be transformed! We would all feel like we mattered, we would all feel acknowledged, and we would never doubt our worth and purpose in each other’s lives. Planet Earth would see a transformation starting with each person.

So, if you are like me and love to hang out at the coffee house, try these three things and observe how much better you feel.  Heck, even if you are not like me and hate coffee shops, try these things wherever you are! Set your heart and someone else’s heart on fire. Do it because you matter and it matters.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being


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

Valentine’s Day can bring up a lot of difficult feelings for some of us. Here is an article I wrote in 2013 that is still pertinent today. I am passing it on today in hopes that it will help someone who is hurting. Have a beautiful weekend.

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…

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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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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 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 siblings and I would have the best costumes in the neighborhood that were created from scratch by Mom. 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. 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