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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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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 and happy. 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 


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March Book Review: Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet by Matthew Fox

Creativity, Matthew FoxThe true artist draws out all from his or her heart.

The true painter is wise,

God is in his heart.

He puts divinity into things;

He converses with his own heart.

-Black Elk, Ancient Mesoamerican Poem

As an artist, writer and unwavering believer that there is an artist of all sorts in each one of us wanting to emerge, express and thrive, I was mesmerized and indeed fantastically impressed by Matthew Fox’s Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet. A mystic, Episcopal priest and radical theologian, Dr. Fox explains how creativity is our true nature and how all of us are creative; what creativity is, where it comes from, how to tap into it; and how it is ultimately the expression of the divine within (However you label “the divine” does not necessarily matter. Even if you are atheist, you are still creative, and this book still applies to you!). In his book, he also examines the doctrines of Christianity: the creation story, the redemption of sins and the Christ story including Easter, for example, in a fresh and rather invoking, mystical perspective as it relates to the creativity that we all possess. He concludes with a chapter explaining the hope that creativity brings to each of us and for our offspring.

I highly recommend this book to any artist, musician or writer. I recommend this brilliant piece of writing to anyone who is interested in a thorough view of the creative process and where it comes from. I would also recommend this reading to anyone who desires to learn more about the mystic, allegorical view of the Christian scriptures. I found his book quite engaging, easy to read, and very deep and profound. It challenged me to think about the role of creativity in my life. Matthew Fox

A bit about the author, Matthew Fox:

Matthew Fox is an internationally acclaimed spiritual theologian, an Episcopal priest, and an activist who was a member of the Dominican Order for thirty four years. He holds a doctorate (summa cum laude) in the History and Theology of Spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris. Dr. Fox has written thirty books including Original Blessing, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, A Spirituality Named Compassion, The Reinvention of Work, The Hidden Spirituality of Men, and Christian Mystics. He is also the recipient of many awards for his work. Matthew Fox lives in California.

To learn more about Matthew Fox or to obtain a copy of Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet, visit his websitematthewfox.org.

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

 


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August Book Review: You can be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective by Richard Carlson

Happiness – “It is our natural state,” says, Richard Carlson, Ph.D.  But, if so, then why are many of us far from “happy?”

Richard Carlson, Vilma Reynoso

Dr. Richard Carlson’s book, You can be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective, explains exactly how to be in a state of happiness and demonstrates why we
usually are not thriving with abundant joy. The author breaks the book down into two sections. Part one explains the principles behind true happiness such as thought, mood, separate realities, feelings and the present moment. In part two of this book, the author explains how to apply these principles in our relationships, stressful situations, in solving our problems, in addictions and more. Even though I have learned that my happiness is always my choice, Richard Carlson’s book explained to me how my thoughts and consequent feelings have a huge impact on my happiness every moment.

You can be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective by Richard Carlson is a pleasant and easy read; the material presented is very practical and solid with real-life advice. Dr. Carlson even includes a “Checklist for your Life” at the end of the book to help identify what is keeping us from truly thriving in abundant happiness. I recommend this book for anyone who might be wondering why happiness seems to be illusive or for anyone seeking simple solutions to improve the joy in their lives.

A bit about the author, Richard Carlson, Ph.D.:

Dr. Richard Carlson is considered one of the world’s leading experts on happiness and stress reduction. He is the author of thirty popular books including Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and was a psychotherapist and speaker. Dr. Carlson was a great television and radio personality, appearing on The Oprah Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show and The View. He died in 2006.

To learn more about Dr. Richard Carlson, visit Wikipedia on Richard Carlson.

To purchase You can be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective, visit Barnes & Noble.

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

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


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Aim to Live

I’m a runner.

I often get the question every runner gets, “Why do you run?” My response to that question varies depending on what state of mind I am in and how I feel. You see, there are many reasons why runners run. We run because it feels good during the run; we run because it feels good after the run; we run for better mental focus; we run for better health. We run to challenge ourselves, to stretch ourselves, to strengthen our muscles, and to lose weight or stay in good shape. We run because it makes us feel like we are invincible, and we like to feel that way.  We run because we are competitive. Running is meditation. It is prayer. We run because we can; we run because we love to live.

As an experienced runner, I have ran different races from 1 mile to 5 and 10k’s (3.1 mile and 6.2 mile races), and longer distances as well as half marathons (13.1 miles) in addition to running in high school on the cross country and track teams.  There is not one single race that is the same as another. Every race is different: the distance, the terrain, the temperature, and the spirit of the race always varies. One thing, however, that is constant is the beginning and the end of any race. I know where to start the race I am participating in and I also know where it ends. What I don’t know is what is in between the start and finish lines. Sure, I could study the race course before I start running, but I really don’t know what I will experience before I actually run, step by step, to reach that finish line, nor do I know what is around the bend in a race, or in a terrain I have not ran before, but because my goal is to finish, I keep running. I realized that when I have a vision of something I would like to accomplish, the same dynamics apply: I have to take it one step at a time and sooner or later, I reach the finish line. Running is like life. We are here to start and finish our races. Just like I imagine what it will feel like and look like crossing that finish line, we imagine what it will feel like and look like to accomplish our goals. It starts with a vision in our minds. We envision our goal and then take the steps to make that vision a reality. Like a runner who does not intimately know a race course but continues to move towards his goal (the finish line) by putting one foot in front of the other, we also reach our goals by taking small steps.

Furthermore, as a runner in a race, I have to be in the present, and simultaneously, I have to keep my mind on the end goal, the finish line, or my vision. When I stay in the present, I receive the gifts life gives me along the way and I enjoy the journey. If my mind strays from the present and from my goal, then I am tempted to quit the race. Of course, there were many races that I participated in where I wanted to quit, but I kept my mind on the finish line. I knew that it did not matter if I couldn’t see the whole picture (the whole race course); what mattered was that I kept my vision, with faith and courage every step of the way. Although I have crossed the finish line of every race I have ever participated in, there are some that I barely finished or finished injured. Those were the races where I was not prepared mentally or I doubted my vision when the rain, fog, snow, wind or excess heat came forth. I learned that if I had not had my mind on the finish line, I would have quit running when rain or snow hit. When we set goals, problems might arise, but if we keep our minds on our vision, we will persevere through those problems.

Goals give us direction. Direction gives us purpose. Purpose gives us a feeling of well-being. Well-being is true life. Whatever your goal might be, do not be anxious. Instead, be in the present aware of each moment and also expect the finish line.  Know the end goal is coming, envision and feel your goal, and act as if you know, without a doubt, that you will receive it. Be grateful for whatever circumstance you are in while expecting your goal because this is your personal race course. Live in the present and do not worry about the future or the past. You might have some problems along the way towards your goal, but know these are only temporary roadblocks. Enjoy the journey. Be content. Be at peace. Know that whatever happens along the way happens to teach you something about yourself. Practice these things, and you will truly live.

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”Henry Miller

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

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso


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The Pattern

“What do you know?”

There was no doubt that I was not prepared for this question at the interview! The question should have been, “Tell me about yourself?” or, “What did you do at your previous job?” I was a bit perplexed and my mind froze for a few seconds as I desperately tried to think of a good response that would surely get me the job. But, as I write this blog, I seriously cannot remember what I said. I do know, however, that whatever it was did not get me the job, and now I know why.

If I were asked this question today, I would respond with something like this: “I know Me. I know what I like, what I want, what I do not want, and what I stand for. I know what it is like to spend a day in utter despair and also what it is like to spend a day so gratifying that I never want it to end; I know how to balance my checkbook, make vegan lasagna without a recipe, run a half marathon, research and schedule a trip to Europe, make love, spend a day at the beach, write essays, dance, get sucked into my favorite CD, laugh until my stomach hurts, meet and make new friends, and gargle. I know that people are more important than anything else, that life is not about what you have accomplished but about enjoying the ride; I know that happiness and joy are always, each and every time, my choice; I know what it is like to feel the freezing wind on my cheeks, the hot sun on my flesh, and the soft snow on my face. I know that things and money come and go but my experience and my character never do.  I know that no matter what the job entails, I can do it because I believe in who I am and believe in what I do. I know life. ”

It takes time (and sometimes lots of it) to come to the realization that life is a gift and truly is amazing!  It takes experience (and sometimes lots of it) to come to the thorough understanding that you know more than you think you know. At a time when I was questioning what I will do next in my life professionally, someone gave me a bit of great advice: they told me to list everything I have ever done (whether I enjoyed it or not), read it over, meditate on it, and then find the pattern. This includes listing every job I ever had, every creative or recreational experience I had, every trip or vacation I took, every creative activity I partook in, anything I accomplished and took pride in, schools I attended, hobbies I enjoyed, anything I tried only once,  anything that made my heart come alive, and also the difficult, heart-wrenching life experiences. I decided to take up the challenge, and here is a partial list of what I wrote:

  • Taught 2nd-5th graders as an assistant elementary school teacher
  • Bought a condo and a house
  • Started my own business
  • Created many recipes from scratch
  • Traveled to 48 states
  • Attended both of my parents’ funerals
  • Took scuba diving lessons
  • Discovered I loved to scrapbook and made many albums
  • Moved across the USA to different cities a few times
  • Fell in love (well, more than once)
  • Experienced a broken heart (also more than once)
  • Volunteered to teach English to immigrants
  • Left an abusive marriage
  • Became a mother
  • Ran 3 half marathons and many other shorter distance races
  • Graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado
  • Obtained four different certifications in different subjects of interest
  • Painted almost every room in my house a different color
  • Read and studied many books
  • Fell asleep laying on a hammock on the big island of Hawaii
  • Met many people
  • Went to hundreds of concerts
  • Cruised in the Caribbean and the South Pacific Seas
  • Was a cheerleader
  • Worked as a reporting analyst, a travel agent, a teacher, a sales rep, and an administrative assistant (and more)
  • Visited and experienced the former twin towers in NYC
  • Performed on stage as a dancer and actress

And the list goes on!

What did I learn from this? Not only did I appreciate my life more, but I learned that I had experienced more than I had realized! I apparently love variety and the physical. I enjoy learning and stretching myself, inspiring others and teaching. I love to be creative. I need to be engaged and active.  Yes, it was encouraging to look over this list, but the most important lesson I learned from this exercise and reviewing my list was that I had the courage, confidence and faith to step out and do something new and different. And, as I step out once again with my own coaching business, I know that deep inside, I still have the courage, confidence and faith. Putting myself in someone else’s box or corporate version of who I “should” be is no longer an option.

Perhaps you are dissatisfied with what you are doing with your life and are struggling with what to do next? What is your list? Everyone has one. Even if you think you do not have one, you DO. I would encourage you to take some time and make your list. Without editing what comes to mind, list everything you have done in your life – your hobbies, your accomplishments, the schools you attended, clubs you were part of, jobs or careers you had, the good and difficult experiences you have had, etc.  This might take some time, so it is okay to brainstorm in more than one session. Once you are done, review all that you have accomplished.  What are the activities that made you come alive when you wrote and thought about them?  How did you feel when you performed the activity? Can you remember how you felt before, during and after you did those things? How you feel indicates whether there is life in that activity for you. Then see the pattern of your life. Are there activities in your past that you loved that are similar? Or, are you all over the map like I am? What are the common threads to these activities? Once you find your pattern, you will get a clearer idea of who you are, what excites you, and what your passion(s) is. Once you know that, you are on your way to changing your life to a more satisfying and joyful one.

The truth is you and I know a lot. And, deep inside, we know what our spirit is calling us to do. Sometimes, it is just a matter of clearing out the chaos in our lives so we can see our pattern. Once we see it, “what do you know?” becomes a very easy question for us to answer.

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

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso


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Creative Goal Setting for the New Year!

It’s that time again – the end of the year and the beginning of a new one! The new year beckons us to start fresh, to bring in something new, to change something for the better, to be excited about possible change, and to make new commitments to ourselves and to others. Even though a new year with new possibilities is exciting, it can also feel frightening and stifling. Sometimes, we feel overwhelmed with our lives and start to believe that we really can’t accomplish those things that we imagine would make our lives more enjoyable, even with a new, fresh start. So, what can we do to make this undeniable longing to better our lives smoother? Here is one plan of action and exercise to set your intentions for a happier life in the new year:

Grab six sheets of paper or use an Excel spreadsheet and write the following as a title on each page:

1. My Body

2. My Relationships

3. My Home

4. My Work

5. My Hobbies & Leisure Time

6. My Spirituality & Growth

Now below the title of each page, write the following: “This is what I desire for my body,” “This is what I desire for my relationships,” and so on and so forth.

Once that is completed, start with the category “My Body” and write anything you want to change about your body and why. For example, you might write, “I want to gain muscle because it would make me stronger,” or “I want to buy new clothes because I lost some weight and I want to look my best,” or “I want to lose 20 lbs. because I want to look better and feel better.” You get the idea!

For your “Hobbies and Leisure Time,” you could write, “I want to take up golf because it would be fun,” or “I want to learn to play the guitar because I love being creative with my hands.” You get the idea!

For “My Home,” you could write something like, “I want to organize my garage because it would be easier to find my tools, so I could work on my woodworking hobby,” or “I want to paint my basement because a fresh coat of paint would improve the look of the room.” Got it?

Do the same for the rest of the pages until you have written down your desires for each category.

Do not think about this too much or become anxious about it. Have fun with it! You can always go back and change it or add to it, if you desire.  Enjoy the process and take it one step at a time!

Once you are finished, put this somewhere where you have access to it every day. Now start to imagine yourself and your life with these in motion. Think about these things for a few minutes every day. Think positively and believe they will happen. Take small steps towards these goals. You will then see things start to happen. You will then be excited and that will generate more positive action towards a life you imagine and want!

This exercise will accomplish three important things:

  • It will make you realize what might be missing in your life that would enhance it greatly.
  • It will put a plan in motion (on paper and not just in your head) to make your imagined life your REAL life.
  • And most importantly, if you think positively and imagine how your life would be if you were living your desires NOW, those thoughts will set in motion those things to happen because we create the reality we want.

Happy Creative Goal Setting and Happy New Year!

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

Copyright, 2012, Vilma Reynoso