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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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Rich in Rainbows

Dreams. We all have dreams.

We all have dreams, but how many of us truly pursue our dreams?

I am currently in the process of getting my certification as a life coach. One of the questions I have to contemplate and answer with certainty for one of my assignments is something along the lines of, “How do I picture my life and what is it that I want to experience on a daily basis?” Or, in other words, “What is my dream?” So, I have been thinking, pondering. I have been contemplating about the life I want to create, the life I dream about that I am not necessarily living now. What would it look like? Who would be in it? What would it entail? What do I want to do? What do I want to leave behind for others to learn from when I am no longer living?  How would my life serve humanity? So, I asked myself two questions: What imprint do I want to make and leave on this planet? And, and what or who inspired me to want this?  Those questions got me thinking about rainbows and clarified my dream life!

As a stay-at-home mother in my past, I noticed that one of the first activities that my three-year-old daughter loved to do was color on children’s coloring books or on any loose piece of white paper. She even tried to coordinate her colors so they, as she put it, “matched.” This endeavor is not rare, since so many toddlers love to color; however, a rainbow was the first thing she created. I did not teach her how to draw and color a rainbow. Neither did anyone else as far as I know. She must have seen one in a book or in the sky and just made it a point to create one of her own. For her first rainbow, she used three colors: red, yellow and orange. As she grew older, her rainbows became more elaborate, and she eventually perfected them with the basic colors of the rainbow we can see with the naked eye and with beautiful, rich flavor. She continued to draw rainbows whenever she got a chance. In kindergarten, she sewed the above image as her final art project before graduation. I was in awe.

There is something about this detailed image of a rainbow sewn with patience, diligence, love and talent by my little girl that touched me and inspired me. What does a rainbow represent? It represents hope after the storm. It is a mirror reflection of each and every one of us: we are all endowed with hope, (whether we want to admit it or not); we all experience heartaches and difficulties in life; and, all of us experience moments of love and joy. The rainbow phenomena can be explained by physicists and scientists, but the wonder it brings when seen in the big sky is perhaps not a mystery but an example of how each one of us appreciates beauty and creativity of all types. The rainbow, itself, is inspiring.

As I thought about the rainbow, I also could not help but think about the other woman in my life that was my greatest inspiration: my mother. She did not draw rainbows, but she was one of the most creative (and talented) human beings I have ever known, and she taught me far more than to appreciate rainbows. My mother, who is now deceased, lived a life of creativity. She was able to create and beautify anything she put her hands on! As a talented seamstress, she created gorgeous wedding dresses from scratch, she put together fantastic Halloween costumes for my siblings and me every year, she baked and cooked better than any chef I know, and she kept a beautifully-decorated and coordinated home. Her creative nature and attention to detail always inspired me. Mom taught me that beauty and creativity is not just about whether you have the ability to draw, color, paint, write or sew; being creative is about what is within the heart and expressing it in tangible form. Famous writer, Leo Tolstoy, in his essay, What is Art? (1897), explains that art must create a specific emotional link between the artist and the viewer, and the viewer must be affected. He believed art is not only about beauty. He believed art is meant to transmit previously experienced feelings and experiences to the audience. My mother, in her talent and majesty, and my daughter, in her innocence and joy, transmitted and expressed their heart-feelings in their creations.

Creating is what life is about. It is what we do whether we realize it or not. Not only do we create our lives, but sometimes our lives are a reflection of what we do not want to create and not the lives we truly desire.  At any given time, we choose to use our creativity to encourage, inspire, realign, change or enhance, or we use our creativity to discourage, alienate and destroy. And, as demonstrated by my mother and daughter in my life, art is a way of making those changes and expressing what is within for the ultimate purpose of connecting and sharing ourselves with others. So, now, my dream was clear:

I imagine a large retreat area for artists of any age or level and of all types: painters, sculptors, draughtsmen (draw-ers), sketch artists, textile artists, illustrators, photographers, digital artists, printmakers, glass workers, jewelry makers, scrapbookers, all kinds of craft makers, all kinds of writers, all kinds of dancers, and all kinds of musicians! The retreat serves two major purposes: for artists to reconnect by discovering the “artist” in themselves – whatever fashion that would be – after a tragic or difficult life experience, and to teach people how to live a life of purpose, peace, health, and joy. My retreat center sits on a beautiful and serene cliff overlooking the ocean, perhaps in the California redwood forest! All rooms are decorated with a different theme and display the works of a different artist, writer, dancer or musician. An abundance of art, music, writing, holistic health/wellness and spirituality classes and workshops are offered at the retreat from music appreciation to art therapy, from poetry writing to jewelry making, from yoga and meditation to healthy vegan eating, and more! I spend my day teaching classes and workshops, writing and coaching. When I am not at the retreat center, I am traveling and teaching classes, lecturing, writing and coaching. I am a very successful published writer and coach. People from all over the world come to the retreat center to create, to experience, to learn and to reconnect. And, there is no doubt that my daughter’s kindergarten rainbow is the FIRST decorative and inspiring image displayed on the walls of this place! The retreat center is named, Lexi’s House, in honor of my daughter, Lexi, and her rich rainbows, and it is dedicated to my mother, Amelia.

Aaaaaahhhhhh…

What is your dream? How do you imagine your life? Have you ever dared ask yourself this question, or are you living a life that is not your own? In order to find out what you want your life to look like, start by asking yourself the following questions, think and meditate on the answers, and write them down:

  • What do I imagine my life to look like if all the money, time, and resources were at my disposal?
  • What inspires me and why?
  • What event or person in my life has made the most impact on me and why?
  • What do I want to leave behind as a legacy?
  • What are my talents, my gifts, my abilities?
  • What do I love to do that makes me wish time would stand still?

What is your dream? Pull it out of your heart. It is in there.

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

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso