Vilma Reynoso

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May Book Review: The Big Tiny: A Build-it-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams

Big tiny In the last decade, the Tiny House Movement has grown tremendously. More and more people are downsizing and embracing the simple yet rich life of minimalist living. Building their very own tiny house on their own land or in Tiny House communities, people of all ages are finding unexpected gifts and freedom from living in these very small spaces.  According to psychologists, the motivation behind the Tiny House Movement is the result of the ideals of environmental consciousness, self-sufficiency and the desire for an adventurous life (all of which I can relate to). Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny: A Build-it-Myself Memoir, is one of the pioneers of this movement. “I found a certain bigness in my small house – a sense of largeness, freedom and happiness that comes from when you realize there is no place else you’d rather be,” writes Williams.

In The Big Tiny: A Build-it-Myself Memoir, Williams details how she went from living in a three-bedroom bungalow with a detached garage, a fireplace and gas heat to making the decision to build, sustain and live in an 84 square foot (yes, 84 square feet!) miniscule house! The experience and the results of her endeavor are nothing less than exhilarating, frightening, completely jaw-dropping and inspiring. Dee details her plans, explains her frustrations and fears at times, and takes the reader on her courageous journey in this very personal memoir. I enjoyed her poignant, honest and sometimes, hilarious prose; furthermore,  an environmentalist myself, I was encouraged to look at my own carbon footprint and consider tiny house living myself.

Having recently visited the Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, a three-day exhibition of tiny houses and information with the mission of motivating the public to live their passions through simplifying their lives and discovering what truly matters, I was amazed and inspired by the various types of tiny houses available for purchase at any level of the building process. Below is a picture of a “bigger” tiny house that I took at the jamboree. Tiny houses come in all sizes, shapes and styles to fit any taste or budget. Truly, they are very functional and beautiful!

Tiny House Living

I highly recommend The Big Tiny: A Build-it-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams to anyone who even has a tiny interest or curiosity of what the Tiny House Movement is, and what it would be like to build and live in your own little house.  Her story and writing is very inspirational.

A bit about the author, Dee Williams:

Dee Williams Dee Williams is a builder, teacher, author, occasional rabble-rouser. She is the founder of Portland Alternative Dwellings, a company centered on the principle that everyone can build the life they dream. In addition to helping people make the conscious decision to simplify their lives with Tiny House living, Dee has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the NBC Evening News, the New York Times, NPR, MSNBC, and Time Magazine. Dee lives in Olympia, Washington, in her 84-sq. ft. tiny house, the magical place she calls, “home.”

To learn more about Dee Williams and the Tiny House Movement, or to purchase The Big Tiny: A Build-it-Myself Memoir, visit: PADtinyhouses.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration 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 

Earthships


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

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

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

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

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

Earthships

Earthships

Earthships

A bit about the author, Michael E. Reynolds:

Mike Reynolds, Earthships

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

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

 


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January Book Review: The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power by Brendon Burchard

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” – John F. Kennedy

Brendon Burchard Absolutely one of the best books on human drive and motivation and what it all means individually and collectively is The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power by Brendon Burchard! I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that this is not a copy-cutter version of every motivational book on the market. Burchard’s book is truly unique and will re-awaken the dormant parts of you, stir you and move you to go after and experience all that you seek and want, and will give you authentic encouragement. Brendon Burchard is an inspirational force who has become one of the top motivational speakers and teachers on this planet!

In this fabulous book, Burchard explains the nine declarations of personal power available to all of us and explains why they are important and how to live these declarations. The book is split into two sections: human nature and the nine declarations. The author thoroughly explains the universal fear that we, as human beings, all experience; the freedom we all seek and why; and human motivation and how it works. In his words,” We can feel motivated to move forward or to halt, to grow or to shrink, to settle or to chase greatness. The actions we take in life are often based on whether our internal logic and impulses lead towards fear or freedom.”

The second section of The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power by Brendon Burchard explains the nine declarations to claim our personal power, a power that is available to all of us. This section is rich with personal and collective examples, practical advice and wisdom that expound upon the meaning of and importance of the declarations.

What an inspirational book! I highly recommend this book for anyone who truly is looking for not only a practical way to fully engage in life, but the meaning behind why (as struggling human beings), we behave as we do. It has inspired me to recommit to living my life with purpose every day, to live more passionately and loving, to pursue excellence and growth, and to step outside my comfort zone, for there, according to Brendon Burchard (and I agree) is true freedom and passion. It was a wonderful book to read for the beginning of a new year!

Brendon Burchard

A bit about the author, Brendon Burchard:

Rated as one of the top motivation and marketing trainers in the world, Brendon Burchard is also the author of three other books: The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive, The Millionaire Messenger and Life’s Golden Ticket. Living his dream of teaching others how to live a life of authentic freedom, he is founder of High Performance Academy, the legendary personal development program for achievers, and Experts Academy, the world’s most comprehensive marketing training for authors, speakers, life coaches, and online thought leaders. Furthermore, Brendon is a popular conference speaker worldwide and is one of the one hundred most followed public figures on Facebook. For more information on Brendon Burchard, visit his website: BrendonBurchard.com.

To purchase a copy of The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power by Brendon Burchard, visit: BrendonBurchard.com.

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


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The Rocks


The Rocks, Vilma Reynoso

I like to work in my yard. I love to clear the path for the new growth that occurs every spring by cleaning out the dead leaves and debris. This season is no different. But, this time, while in the midst of the crumbled leaves, the dead pine needles, and even the blown-in pieces of trash, I learned something.

There are four beautiful pine bushes growing in my front lawn with a boat-load of rocks – large, medium, small and tiny – placed all around them (too many, really). This was something set up by the prior home owners years ago, so when I moved in, I left it as I found it. This spring, it was time to clean out the underlying earth stuff that was now morphed into and beneath all the rocks. I made the decision to transform it. The slow process of removing every rock and cleaning underneath was sometimes laborious and time-consuming.

I have to admit that I loved grabbing and pulling out the muck with my hands in between and underneath the rocks!  What a rush! I find the smell of wet leaves and dirt and the spring sun warming my back comforting and life-giving. There was something about it that made me feel like I was doing the bushes (and the earth) a service: I was removing the dead stuff stifling their growth; I was making them look better; and, in the process of eliminating what had been mounting on top of their roots for probably years, I was allowing them to breathe easier. I was contributing to their health and vitality.

As I moved each rock to see what was underneath, I thought about my life throughout the decades, and I asked myself what did I need to remove for me to breathe easier, and what have I already removed. As I cleaned up the surface-level trash and the old leaves, I realized that this was the easy part. The removal of what everyone sees on the outside (what everyone will see from the curb or from the street, in this case) can be “cleaned up” pretty easily: we are courteous in public, we groom ourselves, we brush our teeth, we add make up, we cut, clean, and color our hair, we shave, we wear clean clothes, and we present our outer selves (our surface-level selves) to others pretty well. This is okay, and it is a reflection of who we are. We want to present ourselves as acceptable and want others to like us, but how many of us really like what is underneath? How many of us present a different picture when we are alone? I asked myself how I treat myself when I DO NOT have to “clean up” for others. I began to ponder…

As I finished the surface-level cleanup on the top of the rocks, I started to move each and every one of them to see what was underneath. There I found even more dead leaves, trash, compost, and some weed roots that needed to be removed. Wow. This entailed a lot more work than I had expected! As I moved each rock, pulling up the debris and the roots of weeds with my hands, I pondered what I have “underneath my rocks,” or deep within, that has not been pulled or cleaned up. That was a sobering thought. What am I hiding beneath my rocks? What do we hide about ourselves that if brought to light, would dramatically improve our lives for the better and allow the sun, the water, the air, the universe or God to give us more life or heal us? What needs to be removed?

Vilma Reynoso, The Rocks

I then moved even more rocks. I realized the roots of the weeds that I discovered in between and under several layers of rocks were deeply embedded; I realized they were there for years and years, and no one ever bothered to remove them. I knew they really did not belong there. They crowded and suffocated the roots of the bushes, which needed room to breathe so they could grow and flourish. The weed-roots had to be removed.

I pulled and pulled with all my might to no avail. I could not completely remove all of the weeds. I had to leave them there for the time being with the intent of completely removing them step by step with patience and diligence. But I was now aware that they were there: they were not going anywhere and they were strong and deeply rooted. How many of us have self-destructive behaviors or thoughts that are so deeply rooted? I pondered mine…

What began as a difficult task ended up being a great lesson in my life: the surface level cleanup is not enough – move the rocks and clean up what is underneath, and do all you can, Vilma, to get to the roots and remove them, no matter how deeply rooted. Abundant life requires clean up. It requires not only surface-level clean up, but also deep, root-removal. Ignoring untrue or destructive thoughts will lead to destructive emotions; destructive emotions will lead to destructive behaviors; and, destructive behaviors lead to a destructive character. The more I “clean” and am aware of my “deep-seeded roots,” the more I can pull them out or change my thoughts, emotions and behavior to allow more life into my being. This, I believe, is the true meaning of the phrase, “life rocks.”

Now, go look underneath your rocks.

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

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


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April Book Review: A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson

 

A Year by the Sea, Vilma Reynoso, Joan Anderson

“We cannot write in water; we cannot carve in water. Water’s nature is to flow and that is how we should treat life. Emotion – negative or positive – do not deny it, but always let it flow through and then away.” – Anonymous

A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson is the story of the author’s search for direction and self-discovery after finding herself in a stagnant relationship with her husband of many years. Separated from her life-long husband, Joan spends a year by the sea in their cottage on Cape Cod (by herself). Feeling unfulfilled and with no possibilities, she discovers new life and spends time taking the steps to transform her life. Joan discovers that she is always a work in progress and it is okay to be “unfinished” like the shoreline. There is (of course) an inspiring surprise at the end of the book!

The ebb and flow of the prose in this book is fabulous! Joan uses water-related, rich metaphors in this narrative non-fiction memoir to illuminate her feelings and her transformation easily and beautifully in each chapter. This is a perfect book for a lover of the sea or the oceans (as I am) or for someone who is a student and lover of metaphorical prose (as I also am). I could smell and feel the ocean when I read this! I recommended this book especially if you are a woman who has devoted her life to her husband and children, and in the process, have forgotten to nourish yourself. Anderson’s book is a wonderfully-written, very personal story that will encourage you and help you realize that it is never too late to live a life full of opportunities at whatever age you find yourself.

A bit about the author, Joan Anderson:

Joan Anderson is the author of numerous children’s novels and author of Breaking the TV Habit. A year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman is her first narrative non-fiction piece, and it has now been produced into a movie! She has also written The Second Journey and A Walk on the Beach and A Weekend to Change your Life (I have not read these books). She lives in Cape Cod and conducts her popular workshops by the sea.

To learn more about Joan Anderson and to purchase A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman, visit: joanandersononline.com.

Joan Anderson, Vilma Reynoso

“I am unfinished as the shoreline along the beach, meant to transcend myself again and again.” – Joan Anderson

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

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso

 


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Thirty Rightful Actions for Living a Happy and Fulfilled Life

Sequoia National Park

Today, I decided to make a list.

Thinking about how short life is sometimes, I wanted to share my wisdom, my thoughts, my experience and my take on life. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, nor do I feel I have mastered any of these, but I think this is a decent compilation of everything that I have learned, so far, in my decades of living. My hope is that you, the reader, might find encouragement if experiencing some difficulties, or that this list may help you embark on a new and more peaceful path through your life.

So, here it is (and I will repeat the title of this blog here): thirty rightful actions for living a happy and fulfilled life:

  1. Be present. The happiest people in the world are present. Even though they may work towards something in the future, they do not concern themselves with the future. They have learned to live at peace and be content in the present moment.  Be present in all you do.
  2. Resolve your past. Your past remains in your past, and it is part of your present only if you allow it to be. Happy people have resolved their past and do not live in it.
  3. Leave your future in the future. Your future has not yet arrived. Dwelling or worrying about possible future events will only take away from your precious present moment.
  4. Eat healthy food. Your body is designed to flourish when you feed it healthy vegan food. Do that and you will have all the energy needed to live a life of ultimate pleasure and vitality.
  5. Drink lots of water. Our bodies are made mostly of water. Drink lots of it (64 oz. per day), and you will aid your body daily in its processes, and you will have abundant energy.
  6. Sleep eight hours per night. Your body heals while you sleep. Give it proper and consistent rest, and you will feel good every day of your life.
  7. Exercise daily. Your body is created to move and not sit still for long. Exercise your body every day to help it release toxins from your environment. You will feel fantastic!
  8. Develop a routine.  Our minds and bodies work best when they are in a rhythm. Create a basic routine for your life that nourishes your spirit with what you love to do. Your body and mind will respond favorably, and you will be happy. This does not mean there will not be spontaneity in your life, but you will find peace through a basic routine.
  9. Pursue your dreams. Never think that you cannot have what you dream about. Always pursue your dream or vision, even if you can only take a small step right now. Always believe in your dreams.
  10. Believe in humanity. Basic human needs are all the same. We all want creative freedom, love and happiness. Do not harbor a negative attitude towards humankind. For if you do, it will come back to bite you.
  11. Drop the addictions. No one can live a truly satisfying life if they are in denial. Addictions of any sort are the ramifications of trying to deny pain or fear. Embrace your pain or fear, and it will diminish and you will live a happy life. There is no other way around this.
  12. Love unconditionally.  Do not be afraid to love others with all of your heart. Being hurt in the past does not mean you will be hurt in the future. Realize that love is what you are, and giving of yourself will only bring back more of what you are.
  13. Give abundantly. Be cognizant of where and to whom you could give in whatever way you choose. Giving opens your heart and the heart of those who you give to; it also spreads goodness onto the world.
  14. Release judgment. The only thing that judging others does is take us away from our own humanity and it puts us in a position of eluding ourselves, thinking we are superior to someone else. We are all on a unique path through life. With the measure that you judge others, you will be judged.
  15. Expect the best. As you pursue your interests, goals or dreams, expect the best outcome. What you expect will be given to you.
  16. Embrace yourself fully. Accept and love yourself with all your perceived imperfections. You are special, unique and loved. No one is perfect. You must love yourself before you can love others.
  17. Think positive thoughts. What you think, you create. Choose very wisely what you think about, for what you think will come to pass. A man creates his reality by his thoughts.
  18. Feel your emotions. Your emotions are indicators of what you are thinking. Change your thoughts, and your emotions will change. Do not suppress your emotions; feel them and move on. If you do not feel your emotions, your body will produce a manifestation of your emotions in the form of disease.
  19. Act fearlessly. Fear is an illusion. Fear is only the boundary between what we know and do not know. Fear stops most people from living the life they would love to live. Step out in fear, and you will conquer that fear. Do not let fear stop you from living your best life.
  20. Live peacefully. Choose to live in peace no matter what is happening in your life. A mind at peace is able to make better decisions. A body at peace is disease-free. And, a spirit at peace can do anything.
  21. Smile often. A smile changes your entire physiology positively; a smile will not only help you to feel better, but will also light up people around you. Smile always.
  22. Forgive always. Holding on to grudges does not do anything but harm ourselves. The sooner you forgive, the sooner your body, mind and spirit can heal from your past so you can live in the present. Forgiveness does not mean acceptance. It means releasing the thoughts and feelings you hold towards that person or situation so you can fully thrive.
  23. Practice gratitude. Be thankful for every good thing in your life. Practicing gratitude will change your heart so quickly that you will not have room enough to contain your joy!
  24. Live passionately. Explore and know what you are passionate about. What is it that lights you up? Make it a point to practice and do whatever those things are.
  25. See the small things. Notice the beauty in a cactus; notice the color of the sky; notice the beauty in the face of your child. Realize when someone is doing something to make your life better. If you notice these things, you will live at peace.
  26. See the big things. Realize the big things happening worldwide. Do your part to change or end that which is harmful to humanity, but do not dwell on those things or focus all your thoughts on what is negative and chaotic.
  27. Surround yourself with beauty. Make your living environment an orderly and beautiful display of all that you love. It will nourish your spirit and expand your creativity.
  28. Use your gifts. Create a life that involves using your unique gifts. You will make a contribution to this thing we call life and go to bed a satisfied person.
  29. Embrace each new day. Be excited and passionate about each new day every morning. It is a brand new day, and it is your responsibility to make it the kind of day you want to experience.
  30. Know you are not alone. No matter what you believe, whether in God or not, know that you are not alone in this universe. You are one of many. You are one of many living beings. Know you cannot take a breath without the aid of whatever it is that makes life happen. You are a part of a larger, incredible and expanding, creative system. Feel the love and not the fear. We are all One.

 

Let me know what you think. Peace.

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

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso