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September Book Review: Fearless: 7 Principles of Peace of Mind by Brenda Shoshanna

Fearless“Whoever can see through [all] fear will always be safe.” -Tao Te Ching

Profound verse, isn’t it?

In a time of tremendous internal and external fear, I found Brenda Shoshanna’s Fearless: 7 Principles of Peace of Mind a breath of fresh air and very encouraging. Like the author, I believe that in order for us to change our collective consciousness of fear to that of love, we must learn to become fearless and find peace internally, primarily. Brenda Shoshanna, a practicing psychologist and therapist, discusses in detail her principles of peace of mind. They are: the courage to be who you are; letting go of attachment and grasping; recognizing the voices within; finding a safe harbor; blessing others: deeds of love; letting go of control and domination; and lastly, discovering your perfect nature: becoming a friend. The author then discusses what it means to live as a “whole” and healthy person.  Additionally, in the last part of her book, Dr. Shoshanna supplies very practical steps to dissolve our fears so we can live peacefully and powerfully.

I found Fearless: 7 Principles of Peace of Mind by Dr. Shoshanna very helpful personally. I was reminded that if I want to live in a loving world, I must be the one who promotes peace by living with peace in my own mind. Living fearless begins with my internal thoughts and emotions. This book has helped me recognize my unconscious fears and taught me how to remove them (of course, this is a work in progress). I highly recommend Shoshanna’s book to anyone seeking to learn how to confront fear for what it is – a bully. This book is a keeper!

A bit about the author, Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.D.:

brenda-shoshanna-bio

Dr. Shoshanna, psychologist, author and workshop leader, works with individuals and couples who wish to find relief from stress, anxiety, depression, loss, and relationship difficulties. She helps clients discover inner resources, engage in heathy communication and build uplifting, satisfying relationships both with others and themselves. She works with a wide variety of life problems and issues, from depression, anxiety and stress relief, to relationship difficulties, grief, loss and more.

She has lectured and taught psychological subjects at the New York State Psychological Association, Barnard College, John F. Kennedy Medical Center, The Center for Practical Nursing, Marymount Manhattan College, Adelphi University and more. Dr. Shoshanna has published five books about various aspects of psychology such as relationships, mourning, and personal achievement.

To learn more about Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, visit: DrShoshanna.com. To purchase a copy of Fearless: 7 Principles of Peace of Mind visit: Amazon.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com. Musings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

 

 


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April Book Review: The Practical Peacemaker: How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible by Kate Lawrence

peacemaker_cover_60_pct

An intriguing read, Kate Lawrence’s The Practical Peacemaker: How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible explores the practical ways we can experience and spread peace on this planet. Kate analyzes and summarizes the obstacles to living in peace from the personal and societal levels. Each chapter explains how small changes can make a tremendous difference. She explores the damaging results of personal habits such as careless eating and drinking, packed lifestyles and schedules, instant gratification and anger, for example. Kate also explains the ramifications of some advertising, media saturation, general rudeness and prejudice, environmental degradation and overpopulation and how these things are damaging to a society seeking amity and harmony. In conclusion, the author summarizes how our daily actions do and will contribute to a more compassionate world.

I found Kate’s book an easy and informative read. I recommend The Practical Peacemaker: How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible by Kate Lawrence to anyone who is looking for a way to make thoughtful and compassionate choices every day. I especially recommend this writing to anyone who might find themselves lacking joy or peace, or to those who are searching for how to live a simpler and more fulfilling life.

A bit about the author, Kate Lawrence:

Practical Peacemaker, Kate Lawrence

Kate Lawrence is a writer, an environmental and vegetarian activist, and a retired reference librarian. She spent ten years as a full-time church administrator, founded a Buddhist sangha, and has studied and practiced several other paths, both religious and non-religious. She has been consciously simplifying her life for the last twenty-five years. Kate lives in Denver, Colorado, where she is assistant organizer of Denver Vegans Meetup and educates the public about vegetarian issues.

To learn more about Kate Lawrence or to purchase The Practical Peacemaker: How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible, visit her blog, practicalpeacemaker.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 


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March Book Review: Finding Quiet: Four Simple Steps to Peace and Contentment-Without Spending the Rest of Your Life on a Mountaintop by Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson, Vilma ReynosoFor many years, I believed meditation was only for people in India, those who were more spiritual or those who have nothing to do with their lives. As embarrassing as this is to admit, I now know better! I found Paul Wilson’s Finding Quiet: Four Simple Steps to Peace and Contentment-Without Spending the Rest of Your Life on a Mountaintop very helpful and extremely inspiring. I am not a meditation expert by any stretch of the word; however, after reading this book, I feel that I have the tools and knowledge not only to begin with confidence, but also to continue without ceasing.

Paul Wilson divides Finding Quiet into two sections – the first is for beginners of meditation and the second for experienced meditators who want to go deeper. I was especially thankful for the structure of this book because as a product of a western, go-getter and always-busy culture, I was a bit intimidated when I stumbled up on this reading. However, after immersing myself in this book, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that meditation is not difficult and is essential for our ultimate health, happiness and well-being.

Within Finding Quiet, you will discover what Wilson calls the “underlying quiet” and how to find it and experience it. He unveils why meditation is essential, (especially if you feel that you do not have time to meditate) and clearly demonstrates what meditation is as well as what he believes are the most important, three quiet practices: deep, directed and aware. The author explains how meditation enhances peace of mind, clarity of thought, emotional stability, creativity, general calm and physical well-being. I am excited about incorporating meditation into my life!

I highly recommend Finding Quiet: Four Simple Steps to Peace and Contentment-Without Spending the Rest of Your Life on a Mountaintop by Paul Wilson to those who are curious about what meditation is and how its daily practice can greatly improve your life. This wonderful book will also inspire experienced meditators.

A bit about the author, Paul Wilson:

Paul Wilson, Vilma Reynoso

Paul Wilson is known around the world as “The Guru of Calm.” He has taught meditation for almost thirty years, is a businessman, lecturer and renowned author of two novels and nineteen self-help books. Wilson began his meditation training in the Buddhist and Yoga traditions, experimented with Transcendental Meditation in London in the late 1960s, then synthesized what he learned from these and other meditation traditions and created a simple, secular meditation approach which he coined “The Calm Technique.” His meditation methods are taught and practiced throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia. Learn about Paul’s mission to spread peace and quiet.

To learn more about Paul Wilson or to purchase Finding Quiet: Four Simple Steps to Peace and Contentment-Without Spending the Rest of Your Life on a Mountaintop, visit: calmcentre.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

 


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We Have Forgotten

It is a foggy day today, September 11, 2014.

As I sit at one my favorite cafés writing, I honestly am asking myself how much more can be written about this tragic day. I feel as if I am reiterating the same old sentiment: “never forget.” With all of the articles, eBooks, blogs and conspiracy theories floating around the internet about 9/11, how can anyone forget what happened that day? And, what about the families of those who died on that day? Do they really need to be reminded again and again what happened everywhere they turn? Today, thirteen years later, I am writing yet another blog for everyone to read online about September 11th.  The truth is we do forget. We have forgotten how wounded we are.

September 11, 2001

Like many people, I remember that day like it was yesterday. In complete, numbing shock I changed channels on the television only to come to the same horrific rehashing of the two planes flying into the towers and the buildings tumbling to the ground. I had a friend who I knew worked in Tower One. I could not help but think of her as I watched in disbelief (I found out the next day she made it outside before the building fell).  As a brand new mother, I wondered what kind of world my child would inherit. It seemed like the attainment of peace worldwide, much less in my own backyard, was now almost impossible.

Robert Maynard Hutchins, American philosopher and perennialist, wrote:

“The goal toward which all history tends is peace, not peace through the medium of war, not peace through a process of universal intimidation, not peace through a program of mutual impoverishment, not peace by any means that leaves the world too weak or too frightened to go on fighting, but peace pure and simple based on that [will to peace] which has animated the overwhelming majority of mankind through countless ages. This will to peace does not arise out of a cowardly desire to preserve one’s life and property, but out of conviction that the [fullest development of the highest powers of men] can be achieved only in a world of peace.”

peace

The events of September 11, 2001 (as well as other horrific events that occur worldwide) – however planned and executed – demonstrated the state of consciousness of the perpetrators. Did they have a “will to peace” as Hutchins mentions? They were as far from a consciousness of peace as one can get. There are probably many arguments one could surmise to explain why anyone would commit this type of mass murder, but one thing I do know is this: we cannot “undo” what happened that tragic day. What we can do now is move forward. We can move forward in creating the world we truly want to live in – a world of cooperation, respect and compassion. Let this short blog inspire you to rise above by acknowledging what is within you first. Heal your wounded parts, for life or death begins there. It is these wounded parts that contribute towards living in fear of others, that separate, that cause us to believe there is an enemy “out there,” that fall prey to racism and control, and that spew out fear onto the world. It is the wounded part of us that plans a “9/11.” Let’s heal and transform the world into a place where the events of September 11th are unheard of. Let’s do it for our children. Let’s do it for humankind.

As I contemplate that day forever etched in my mind, I cannot help but hope for a better, freer, and more compassionately conscious world. So, on this foggy, September 11th in the Rockies, as I sit with others around me whom I do not know but who share flesh and blood and the desire to live free, happy, and creatively with me, I will say, as has been said over and over again: never forget.

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

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


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January Book Reviews: The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony by Will Tuttle

The World Peace Diet

The first book featured for the new year, 2014, is none other than the brilliantly-written, The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony by Amazon best-selling author, Will Tuttle. This book explains thoroughly why a vegan diet is the only diet of choice from various perspectives – spiritual, political, ecological, nutritional and cultural – for this planet. The author profoundly makes the connection between our culture, our food, and our broad range of problems. He explains and demonstrates the way to a positive transformation in the individual and the collective. If you are seeking a new perspective on how to solve the dilemmas we face as a growing population and changing culture, this book is for you!

About the author, Will Tuttle:

Born in Emerson Hospital in 1953 in Concord, Massachusetts, and a thirty-plus year vegan, Dr. Will Tuttle is a pianist, composer, educator, and the recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award. As a former Zen monk, his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley focused on educating intuition and altruism. He presents ongoing events promoting peace through compassion for all life via articles, lectures, radio, TV, and print interviews, trainings and online seminars. He lives and travels around the country with his wife, Madeleine, in their motor home.

As a vegan and as lover of great reads, I am facilitating a study of this marvelous book! Join me, Vilma Reynoso, Vegan Wellness Coach and Peter B. Roth, Transformational Spiritual Healer, Astrologer and vegan, for a study and discussion of The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony. Our purpose is to dig deep into the reasons why people choose to become vegan and the reasons why it is vital to adopt the vegan lifestyle. You are welcome to join whether you are a seasoned vegan, a new vegan or curious about veganism, and if you live in the Denver metro area.

Meetings will be held in Denver, CO, on the last Thursday of the month in January, February, March, and April of 2014. Each meeting will consist of a short presentation and recap of the month’s assigned chapters.  An open discussion will then follow.  To join this study, visit The World Peace Diet Meetup.

To learn more about Will Tuttle or to purchase a printed version of The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony, visit Will Tuttle’s website.

Printed, digital and audio formats of the book may also be purchased at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

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

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso

Peace not Violence


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Reflections on Violence and Guns

Yesterday was the start of a new week after the needless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Sandy Hook, CT, on Dec 14, 2012. I dropped off my child at school yesterday morning and was saddened to see a police car and two officers with their guns standing outside the school in place of the principal who usually greets the children as they arrive at school. I have to admit I was a bit relieved to know that if someone were to start shooting, the police would most likely stop it before it got out of control, and my child’s life might be spared. However, the reality of this situation flattened my spirit, and I felt a profound sadness because of the state of our world. Why so much violence?

When I was in middle school, all I worried about was what I was going to eat for lunch that day, what boy would or would not like me, or if I was going to be chosen on the better team for kickball. Possible bullies at school and getting in trouble at home was all we feared. I was a happy-go-lucky child who looked forward to guitar lessons, girl scouts and cheerleading after school; I knew all my classmates. If one were to go missing, we all would feel the loss. Now kids have to worry about being shot and killed at school, a place where they should feel safe. What child would not be afraid to go to school this day in age? How does a child feel when they see policemen in their full uniforms – guns included – standing in front of their school waiting to take aim and shoot, if needed?

As I thought about this for a moment, I asked myself who really should hold the guns. On the one hand, I was thankful the police were there with ammunition (for obvious reasons). However, on the other hand, it was a sad and frightening thought that put fear into my heart – the fear of what might happen. Forty or so years ago, this “fear” did not exist as it does today. We have created a society based on fear. We are afraid to take a stand. We are afraid of losing our jobs. We are afraid of going broke. We fear illness, loss and death. We are afraid to walk outside our front doors.  We would rather stay inside our homes and surf online than walk to the neighbor’s house and introduce ourselves. We are afraid to feel our pain, so we fantasize, take drugs, eat in excess, and create chaos for ourselves by becoming addicted to substances, alcohol, recreational drugs and pills. We submerse ourselves in our I-phones, I-pads, I-pods, other electronic gadgets, the internet and TV. We have become numb and despondent, uncaring and cold, distant and confused, anxious and rude, lifeless and robotic, and disconnected. And now, we are even more afraid: we are so fearful that we clutch onto our guns (and rights) tighter. When will it end? What will it take to change our present reality? Why are we so afraid?

“Put more restrictions on the purchase of guns,” they say. More restrictions will make it harder to obtain guns, but will it stop the criminals from confiscating and using them?  I understand wanting to protect ourselves and our loved ones, but I cannot see any other way to protect myself from an attack unless I am always on alert with my gun. How am I to live always waiting for the impending “attack?” How is that freedom? It is not. It is living in chains and in anxiety each moment.

What about protection from tyranny? Yes, we need to have the right to own guns, just in case of an impending governmental or other assault. But, how many guns do we need to own and hide away? How many is enough?

Our world is filled with relentless greed. The hearts of the people who run institutions, corporations and governments these days are fueled by greed, whose driving force is fear. The dollar and bottom line is more important than the person. This cold attitude creates fear – fear to lose our jobs, fear of going broke, and fear of pursuing what we really desire. We lose our authenticity and we embrace someone we are not. We have lost our humanity. It is time to change the world and stop the downward spiral of fear to love and peace.

More guns will not ultimately solve the root of the problem causing the violence. Imagine, for a moment, a society where everyone owns and carries guns. Would you feel safe knowing that at any moment anyone at anytime can start a shoot out because someone else cut them off in traffic, for example? Would you feel safe walking out your front door then? A society with guns only perpetuates more fear of each other and makes it easier to kill.  It will further divide us, separate us, further alienate us, and further drive us to despair and loneliness. Nothing good can come from more guns in more hands.

I often dream about a world without the violence. Many tell me that it is impossible to have a world where something like Sandy Hook shootings only happen once in a blue moon or very, very rarely. Why is it impossible? It will take a change of consciousness; it will take a shift in focus, a collective arming of love, a collective new level of acceptance of all human beings without regards to social strata, religion, politics, sexual preference, gender and color. It will take a mass healing starting from each and every heart and spreading to every system we have in place that is not working or failing. We need to ask, “What’s in it for US?” instead of “What’s in it for me?” It will take responsibility. It will take each person choosing to live at peace at every moment. Not all of us will agree on everything – that is not possible – but I can safely say that every human being longs for safety and freedom, which I believe are our rights. The real fight is the fight for peace, not the fight for more weapons.

What can we do to change the consciousness and spirit of fear in this country and worldwide? It starts with each one of us. It starts with peace and love in your heart; it starts with releasing the fear; it starts with letting go and embracing love and peace in each moment. It starts with treating each other with respect, love, and embracing our differences instead of being threatened by them. We are at a crucial time of change in history because the fear and resulting violence in this world is at an all-time, disturbing high. Let’s switch the pendulum to love. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” said Mahatma Gandhi, who freed an entire nation without ever resorting to violence. It starts with you.

My heart and love go out to each and every person affected by the tragedy that just occurred. I cannot fathom the horror from that day. However, the answer, I believe, is not to arm more people with guns. The answer is not more violence. The answer is less violence; it is a shift in belief and action to one of unity, compassion, acceptance, cooperation, love and freedom regardless of differing beliefs and lifestyles. It is time to move forward without more violence. It is time to conquer fear with love, not with more guns.

Peace.

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

Copyright, 2012, Vilma Reynoso