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


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December Book Review: I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life by Marissa Peer

A quick, easy but profound read, I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life by Marissa Peer is a book for those who are willing to heal from their childhood emotional wounds and want a simple, very effective solution with dramatic change. Marissa’s book will help you realize what is holding you back from living the life you truly want and deserve.

Sound cheesy? Well, it’s actually not.

Let me tell you I used to be very insecure. I grew up in an emotionally abusive household and was constantly told I was never enough explicitly and implicitly: no matter what I did, it was not good enough or wrong. I was made to feel that my very existence was shameful. A childhood like this is incredibly damaging on so many levels. It takes years, decades, and sometimes a lifetime to change these beliefs and reverse the damage from this type of abuse (and it took me decades to heal). Learning how to accept and love myself, to love others, and to love my life is to thrive, and this is what Marissa’s book taught me. It can do the same for you!

Marissa demonstrates, step by step, how to heal from the emotional damage you might have experienced by changing your thinking to create happiness, better handle anxiety, and feel a million times better. She demonstrates how our thoughts can be destructive habits and to change them is to create a more joyful life, and more. What I love most about this book and Marissa’s approach is that she gets right to the bottom line: you believe you are NOT ENOUGH. If you are addicted to alcohol or porn, if you have issues with self-image, if you eat for emotional reasons, or end up in harmful relationships, etc., you basically believe there is something wrong with you (consciously or unconsciously), or that you are not enough. Through decades of research and experience, Peer has determined that the common thread to additions or damaging behavior is the belief that we are “not enough.” She offers the solution to misery, and it is easier than you think it is.

I recommend I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life by Marissa Peer to anyone who has been abused, those who struggle with low self-esteem or self-hate, and those who are ready to become healthy and happy. Honestly, you can read this in one or two hours and do the exercises she recommends, and it will improve your life!

A bit about the author, Marissa Peer:

Marissa Peer

Marissa Peer is a motivational speaker, psychologist, and hypnotherapist. She started her career as a child psychologist, and after decades of counseling clients realized there was a faster, more efficient way to heal her clients’ emotional wounds, so she developed her own pioneering hypnotic therapy. In addition, Marissa is a national magazine columnist and has appeared on major media outlets and television shows including GMTV, Lorraine Kelly, This Morning, Sky News, ITV News, BBC News, Channel 4 News, BBC Radio, Supersize Versus Superskinny, Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Big Brother, and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. She has appeared on countless news channels in America, Scandinavia, Japan, Africa, and throughout Europe.

A best-selling author of five books including I am Enough, Marissa lives in Britain and improves people’s lives worldwide.

To learn more about Marissa Peer or to purchase a copy of I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life, visit: MarissaPeer.com.


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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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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

 

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 

 

 


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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 – we 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 beautiful 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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What I Learned About Life From My Two Cats; Yes, From My Two Cats

Two Cats

I have two awesome cats. It’s not what you think.

Yes, I love them both; one is a beautiful Somali-type and the other is a gorgeous grey and white mix. Both are humorous, sensitive, affectionate, loving, fantastic, and I love them both equally. They have similar, laid-back personalities, but there is one part of the day (every day) that demonstrates clearly to me their innate differences: meal time! They are fed at the exact same time, but my grey and white guy, let’s call him “Tentative One,” thinks long and hard before he eats. He is hungry, and sometimes maybe famished, but he will ALWAYS wait and not eat immediately. My other cat, the “Little Lion,” a name she inherited since she looks just like miniature lion, immediately runs to her plate and gobbles up her food! She does not hesitate for one second. She knows it is coming and jumps at the chance to eat her portion.

So what is the big deal, you might ask? Well, the problem is that when Tentative is too tentative, Little Lion eats his share as well, and he is left with nothing to eat! Many times, I have to make sure she does not eat his food in addition to hers, and I have to nudge Tentative One to eat before she gets to his. Some of the time, he appreciates the nudging, and other times, he remains indifferent. I would say once or twice a week, Little Lion eats his food! Why does this happen consistently? Why doesn’t Tentative One learn that if he is tentative, he will miss out?

Like a cat waiting for his or her daily meals, the universe presents us with gifts every day. Some of us are hesitant to take what is presented while others jump at the chance. Why do we do this? All of us are guilty at being hesitant or of being too rash at times. While noticing the differences between my two cats, I realized that they still manage to get along with each other. There is a lot that we can learn from animals (at least from cats). When the universe presents something, we need to take it in faith. And, if we hesitate, someone else will snatch it – whatever it is. How many opportunities have I missed because I was the “tentative one?” Or, on the other hand, how many opportunities did I snatch too quickly and got burned because of my rash choices because I acted like Little Lion? It is easier said than done sometimes, but I prefer to be on the receiving end. Ideally, we should know when to jump and when it is best to think before diving in. However, I believe many times we think too much before taking action. I prefer to be like my Little Lion. She anticipates, she waits, she never begs, she does not fear, and when she sees it coming, she runs after it!

Now, I want to be crystal clear: I am not advocating stepping over anyone’s toes to get what you want or using any form of abuse to obtain your desires. I am simply advocating for all of us to learn a simple lesson: anticipate good things, know you will get them eventually, wait for them, and when they are presented, grab them. Many of us wait and then do not accept what is coming to us because we question whether we deserve it, or we think too long and hard about whether we should take it -whatever “it” is; and then, like Tentative One, we lose that opportunity that we desired and would have propelled our lives into a new, more exciting direction. Little Lion is courageous and she is the example we need to follow.

So today, let me encourage you to embrace your “little lion.” She is the part of you waiting to snatch that desire you have when it becomes available. Look around. Opportunities are everywhere. Make that commitment today to seize what comes to you so you can create the life you would love. Believe it. Seek it. Wait for it. And, finally, go for it.

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


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Four Ways to Experience Authentic Living

Vilma Reynoso, Town of Parker

I am thankful that I live near a beautiful and serene walking path in my part of the world. I have walked this path many times, and today, a windy and semi-cloudy day, I realized something.

Very recently, there used to be a wooded area around a bend and after a bridge that I found serene. It was covered with all kinds of vegetation, plants and trees. Beautiful and sometimes breathtaking, it was part of our path until the town leadership decided to remove the plants and trees and remake the area to something more practical. At first, I scoffed at this decision. I did not want it be changed. I loved it the way it was with the old trees and swamp-like essence. I enjoyed seeing it every time I walked, ran or rode on the path because it was familiar. It was comforting. It was good.

Today, as I was taking a morning stroll in the area, I realized its beauty and I acknowledged that it was more than just “a practical redo.” I now am able to sit on a man-made rock formation and meditate or relax (even sleep). I am able to hear the stream of water (And I love the sound of running water!). I can appreciate the fact that now it will be nearly impossible for this area to flood because of how they redid it. And, it is progress. It is not so scary anymore. I have embraced it. It is good.

Life is about accepting the new, not ignoring it or constantly attempting to keep it as is. Life is not about control, but it is about change and growth. Growth does not come without change. This I knew deep inside, but today, the gentle breeze, cloudy sky, and the relaxing sound of the water flowing in the new and improved nearby stream reminded me of this.

Allowing and accepting change in our lives will bring about authenticity and growth. And allowing ourselves to be authentic allows us to ultimately be the most content. It is this place we all want to reach: our bliss. I was reminded of four ways in which we can attain authentic bliss today:

  • Do something you have always been terrified of doing. You will realize that the fear was only an illusion. It was in your head. Once you do whatever it is you are afraid to do, you will have destroyed those thoughts and the next time is not so scary. Most of the time, what you fear is not something in the present, but something that was part of your past and now tied up in your present imagination. I have recently done something I was terrified of doing. I am now not afraid of it anymore and realize there was no reason for me to have been afraid. You can do it!
  • Do something you love but for whatever reason stopped doing. Have you stopped golfing or swimming? Did you stop traveling or eliminated a hobby you enjoyed from your life because you now have too many “responsibilities?” If this is the case, get back into it! Once you restart this activity or hobby, you will feel authentically alive again. I am making a commitment now to restart something I love that I had given up.
  • Get reunited with someone with whom you have lost contact. Many times we lose contact with those we care about because of many reasons. Is there someone you would love to have in your life again on any level? If the answer is yes, then you need to contact that person and take a step. Once you reunite with this person, you will have opened up more authenticity in your life. You will feel more alive, more bliss. I have done this recently, and I am happy that I did.
  • Get moving and learn or do something you have never done before. Trying a new activity, a new hobby or a new adventure makes us come alive. Leave the “I can’t” thoughts behind and just do it. This new experience will enrich you, take you away from your current rut, and help you see past your preconceived ideas. You might even discover an entire new direction in life! I am making a commitment to try something new this summer.

The above four ways to experience authenticity will inspire and allow you to live from your most raw and loving self. Living authentically inspires and enhances our peace and our joy and helps us connect more deeply to each other and to our planet. And, like a new, man-made stream, life is experienced with embracing the new, moving past our fears, and accepting what is. The new stream in town is perfect. I have embraced it. You can, too.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings From One Creative Being