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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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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26.2 Happens

Today was the day I was supposed to have finished my first marathon – 26.2 miles – and I couldn’t help but reflect on that fact on this beautiful Sunday in May. It seems, this was not the year for me to do this. Part of me is very competitive (with myself) and I could not even imagine forgoing running this race when I made the decision to do it last Dec. I had found a perfect training schedule to follow that fit my schedule very well. I had been following it for months, starting in Jan of this year until I injured my right calf running a 10 mile race in mid Feb. Knowing that this injury would set me back a few weeks at least, I was upset but still determined to go for it and run the marathon. However, it seems that life decided to throw a new twist into my little world.

Since I could not run for about three weeks, I decided I would start a detox cleanse during that time. The fasting went well, but, as it turns out, was the beginning of more cleansing to come. As is indicative of the body detoxifying itself, I have not felt on top of my game or as well as I usually feel since then, so I never did get caught up with the training I needed to do to prepare for the marathon. Over the last few months as I thought about the fact that I was not running and training like I should have been and wanted to, I concluded that my health was more important and discovered that this year, 2012, is my year of deep cleansing on the physical, emotional, and spiritual level. I have been fasting, juicing and cleansing my body since that injury occurred in Feb.  I also believe the  injury happened to deter me from running and propel me to cleanse myself instead. I have no regrets. Sometimes life throws curve balls at us. Sometimes, things just do not happen for a good reason. Sometimes, we just need to accept it and not try to change it or control it. Sometimes, we just need to know that the Divine is trying to teach us something different, perhaps something we NEED and not something we THINK we want.

As I have mentioned, I am very competitive with myself, and it took an injury (I couldn’t walk for a week without pain) to get my complete attention. I have learned throughout my full life that the unexpected can be a blessing in disguise, that life is meant to be lived and experienced; and, there are some events or circumstances we must embrace;  the difficult experiences do teach us, if we are open to experiencing them fully.  I believe my time to run my first 26.2 miles is coming in the future. Right now, I cannot say when, but I know, for now, I am listening to the still, small voice that tells me healing is what this time in my life is about, not running.

It is said when one runs a marathon, every last bit of energy, strength, focus, power and determination is used, especially during the last six miles. I am a runner. I have ran many races – the farthest distance being a half marathon, 13.1 miles.  But today, I am embracing a new, more important race, a different and more satisfying “marathon.”

So be it.

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

Copyright, 2012, Vilma Reynoso