Vilma Reynoso

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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 

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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Like Nature, We are

Nature. It is what it is.

I have to apologize if you think this blog is about the physical or biological building blocks of our natural world. It is not. It is, however, about what we can learn from nature.

Snow in the Rockies

As scientific and rational human beings in the twenty first century, there is a lot we do know about how nature works physically, but we lack in the philosophical understanding of why it does what it does. There is much more to study and ponder. Sometimes, the best we can do is experience without having to explain. Nature is observable but not completely explainable, magnificent and fearless, majestic and mutable, beautiful and courageous, unapologetic and focused. Nature is all of these things, and it is a poignant reminder of what just is.

I eloped almost two weeks ago and was headed for my honeymoon when nature “happened.” Due to forecasted rain and snow, we had to alter our plans and postpone our adventure. Instead, I found myself walking among nature during a snow storm and snapped the photographs above and below. As I strolled, I was mesmerized by the beauty of this familiar but very pleasant winter scene. I realized that human beings and nature are similar: both are majestic, innately beautiful, transitional, transforming and there. Nature is. We are. As I strolled and immersed myself in this breathtaking part of the planet, I was reminded of something we all are guilty of forgetting: we ARE first and foremost. We ARE before we are wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, employees, managers, tax payers, experts, professionals, writers, coaches or any other label we might give ourselves or is given to us. We ARE, and it is okay to just BE. We often feel obligated to live up to the expectations placed upon us based on the roles we are assigned or the labels we are given. If we do not take the time to realize that we are more than these labels, we will forget the essence of who we are. As human beings, we are mysterious and somewhat unexplainable; we are magnificently and beautifully created, breathing and living beings; and, we just are. Like nature being itself or like a snow storm dumping precipitation on the trees and landscape, causing the creek to freeze and displaying its marvelous beauty and essence, we are.

Nature comes out to play. It IS and does not apologize for itself, and we should not either. It knows who it is and what it needs to do. When is the last time you showed up to play? When is the last time you brought all of you to the table and not just part of you? How long has it been since you have showed up to just be YOU? When is the last time you got yourself out of bed in the morning and, like nature, made no excuses for who you ARE? When is the last time you stopped living your “label” and lived YOU? I invite you to take a look at your closest natural scene (no matter where you are on this planet), and decide if it is YOU who is coming out to play every day.

Snow in the Rockies

Standing in the snow storm and watching the flakes fall into the trees, the rocks and the freezing water, I was reminded about my true essence, our true essence. We all need to live passionately, purposefully and without excuse for who we are without all the labels. It is only then that we are able to truly shine no matter what the season.

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

E.O. Wilson


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December Book Review: The Creation: An Appeal To Save Life on Earth by E.O. Wilson

Influenced by his southern Baptist upbringing and the beauty and mystery of nature throughout his lifetime to pursue a career in biology and the sciences, E.O. Wilson writes to the pastors of the world in a plea to put aside science and religion’s opposing worldviews for the saving of planet Earth in this concise and well-written argument. In The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, Wilson explains scientific humanism while demonstrating a thorough understanding of the religious belief of intelligent design. The book is easy to read, interesting, entertaining, eye-opening and poignant.

E.O. WilsonE.O. Wilson begins with the definition of what nature is followed by why we should care about the destructive environmental changes that are occurring. He explains the symbiosis and biodiversity of life on earth, and in a surprising and interesting chapter, covers thoroughly why the ant species are so needed for our survival. The author explains why the decline of ecosystems, the demolishing of our rain forests, the overfishing of our oceans, global warming, and more are destroying our planet Earth and life as we know it. Demonstrating his love and genuine curiosity of nature and the origins of life, Wilson talks about the beauty in nature and how we have only begun to catalog the multitudes of species on our planet. His appeal ends with an explanation of what science is and its role in understanding the creation, and asks the “Baptist pastor” to work with him, essentially to allow religion and science to work together in the mutual goal of saving the planet (and humans) from its current level of destruction.

E.O. Wilson

I highly recommend Wilson’s, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, to those who are naturalists, humanists and environmentalists who seek an overview of biology and current environmental devastation. I also recommend the book to those who are Christian or subscribe to other religious beliefs. E.O. Wilson’s argument explains why denial of the above-mentioned ramifications will only lead to our extinction as a species and the ultimate end of life on Earth as we know it.

A bit about the author, Edward O. Wilson:

Wilson is a world-renowned naturalist, humanist, myrmecologist, former Harvard biologist, theorist, author and winner of two Pulitzer prizes and is the author of over twenty other books. Furthermore, he has written more than four hundred mostly technical articles and has also won over one hundred (very impressive!) other awards including but not limited to The National Medal of Science, Japan’s International Prize for Biology, the Presidential Medal and Nomino Prize of Italy, The U.S. National Medal of Science, and the gold medal of the Worldwide Fund for Nature. A brilliant mind and compassionate spirit, Edward O. Wilson focused his career on scientific research and teaching at Harvard University for forty years prior to retiring and founding The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. He lives with his wife, Irene, in Massachusetts.

To learn more about E.O. Wilson, visit: The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.

To purchase a copy of The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, visit: Amazon.

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


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March Book Review: The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods by Julia Butterfly Hill

Julia Butterfly Hill, Luna, VIlma ReynosoThere is a moment in our lives when we truly come to know and understand the relationship we have with creation and nature. Nothing is ever the same again. I, as well as this courageous activist and author, Julia Butterfly Hill in The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods, in one life-changing, delicate moment in the Redwoods, understood this.

My only visit to the Redwoods was in 1992. I spent about twenty minutes hiking in and around the tallest and most beautiful living beings I had ever seen! My heart thumped, my eyes and ears opened wide, and my spirit became ALIVE. I felt a connection with all that lived in and around the trees. All my senses became alert. It was that moment in the Redwood forest that taught me the power of stillness and appreciation of nature and indescribable beauty. I wanted nothing more than to stay there forever. That day left a mark on my heart and soul that I will never forget.

Back to Julia Butterfly Hill…

Redwood Forest, Vilma Reynoso

In the Redwood Forest in 1992 (best I could do with a scanned photograph!).

It was the following words written by Hill, when she first stepped foot into the Redwood forest, that caught my attention and enthusiasm because she expressed exactly what I had felt when I experienced it:

“For the first time, I really felt what it was like to be alive, to feel the connection of a life and its inherent truth – not the truth that is taught to us by so-called scientists or politicians or other human beings, but truth that exists within creation. . . . Gripped by the spirit of the forest, I dropped to my knees and started to sob. I sank my fingers into the layers of duff that smelled so sweet and so rich and so full of layers of life, then lay my face down and breathed it in. . . .  I could feel my whole being bursting forth into new life in this majestic cathedral. I sat and cried for a long time.”

The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods by Julia Butterfly Hill, published in 2000, is a story of courage, love and unrelenting faith and determination in fighting for what one believes. It is the story of how this incredible woman saved a two-thousand year-old redwood tree named “Luna” from being cut down and destroyed by the Pacific Lumber Company. The book explains the relationship we have with nature and how its destruction creates our own destruction and demise, physically and spiritually. It demonstrates, via the author’s experiences living in 180-foot Luna for 738 days, how we, as created beings, are all related. Hill’s spiritual growth is extraordinary and poignant. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a lover and protector of nature, is an activist working to save our precious forests and land, is curious about the relationship we have with nature and all living beings (including thousand plus-year-old trees), or is looking for undeniable inspiration.

Julia Butterfly Hill

A bit about the author, Julia Butterfly Hill:

Julia Butterfly Hill is a writer, poet, and activist. She helped found the Circle of Life Foundation to promote the sustainability, restoration and preservation of life. She has been the recipient of many honors and awards and speaks at environmental conferences worldwide. To learn more about Julia, visit: juliabutterly.com.

To purchase The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods, visit: The-Legacy-Luna-Struggle-Redwoods. I bought a used copy that was printed on recycled paper.

The book is also available as a PDF for free

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

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


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The Bench

I recently took a long walk through my neighborhood and beyond not only to smell the summer flowers, but because I am currently without a vehicle. I live in a small suburb of a large city with the feel of the country but with all the city’s amenities. There is literally everything an American could possibly need (and perhaps want) close to the center of the town in which I live. If I desired, I could stumble into a Starbucks, visit Home Depot, buy used books, hang out at the local bar, watch a local rendition of the play, Oklahoma, or visit the farmer’s market all in one afternoon with ease.  All of this is about four miles from where I live via a beautiful, paved and clean biking/walking path filled with the sounds of the birds chiming and the deer hiding behind the trees. As a cyclist and runner, I had never actually just WALKED the path to downtown until now.  What a surprise!

Once I reached the downtown stores and shops, I ran a few errands, ate delicious Chinese food, mailed a package, and then finally relaxed at my favorite coffee shop.  During my trek through town, however, I could not help but notice all the benches – everywhere. They were at the park, on the path, near the restaurants, close to the coffee shop, across from the day care center, in front of the law office, across from the Italian restaurant in the old, Victorian house – everywhere. I had been to downtown many times but never, until now, noticed the benches.  I was in awe. How in the world did I miss these benches when I rode my bike or drove through town on so many other occasions? How? As I walked, I began to appreciate each and every bench as I came across them. I noticed what was around and beyond them, and I became more grateful for them!

Glancing at one bench after another, I asked myself, “What else am I missing that if I were to slow down, I would enjoy, love, or even cherish? What is life trying to teach me when I slow down? What do I need to stop and absorb deeper? Or, what do I not see that is right in front of my eyes? What have I missed throughout my years of life because I was in a hurry?” I pondered these questions as I walked and walked and noticed more and more benches downtown.

I think most of us want to see only what we want to see. And, I believe we do not always see what we need to see. We also do not notice what life is trying to teach us when we are so focused on the destination (or the goal). Benches are snippets of our journey through life. They are markers that help make the walk through our lives more pleasant. They are there to remind us to take a break, enjoy the scenery, and take a load off. They are there to remind us to pay attention to the details, because it is in the details that beauty happens. They are on our path to remind us to SLOW DOWN. They are there to remind us of what is most important in life – peace, joy, creative expression, compassion, and love. The benches are markers and reminders of what we might be missing, what we might be hurrying through, what we need to stop and think about, or what we need to “see” that we are refusing to see. They remind us that life is always about the journey and not just about the destination. They are visual reminders for us to stop, breathe, feel, think, and just be.

I will undoubtedly walk the four miles to and from my house again this summer. And, this time, I will be walking with greater appreciation, greater ease, and greater expectation of not only every single bench on the path, but also of what life is trying to teach me. And, I might just sit on one and ponder. You can too!

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

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

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Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Happy Earth Day, 2013!

The best way to preserve and take care of Earth is to live VEGAN.

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

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso