Short Eclipse Meditation + Short Post

Hello Brilliant Ones,

Here’s my shortest post ever:

I love you.

Thanks for reading!

Rebecca

PS: Of course I have a bunch of fun resources for you. Choose what you want!

  1. Short (less than 6 minutes) Eclipse Meditation for the next 24 hours and beyond:

2. Mindfulness Walk video — Join me in my favorite grove and along the Pacific Ocean:

3. The writer and poet, Terry Spencer Edwards wrote this reaction to Charlottesville. It has been shared all over the world. (Terry’s poetry was featured on my blog.)

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Here is something I wrote before going to sleep last night. I hope there is a little something in it to fortify you.

I Am

You may think your threats have caused me to retreat into a corner in fear. You are wrong. My back is straight. My resolve is pure. I know who I am and whose I am. You cannot bruise my spirit even as you attempt to batter my body.

You may think your ignorance and hatred belittle me. You are wrong. I am the progeny of kings and queens. My ability to live, and move, and breathe, and adapt, and love, and struggle, and succeed, and influence, is intact and especially nourished in the face of opposition. I steady myself on the shoulders of my ancestors who instruct me to run on and work while there is yet light.

You may think your strategy is clever and your whispers and whistles are imperceptible. But I hear what you don’t even have the courage to utter. I see you clearly, with or without cowardly coverings. My gaze is steady, unflinching. I have the courage not to look away and pretend. You are who and what you are and I am who and what I am. Despite your calculation, I know without doubt, that I am beautifully and wonderfully made, unfettered by the evil you seek to attribute to me.

You may not believe I belong here. You are wrong. My roots are inextricably bound to the soil of this land, seeds planted from the beginning of your version of this country, watered by the tears, sweat, blood of those before me and even up to this moment, enriched by the bodies buried deep in the earth but never far from the surface of my consciousness.

You may think you can make me hate. You are wrong. I don’t deny my sadness and my anger in the face ignorance, immorality, inhumanity. After my moment of emotion, my moments of resolve, hopefulness, faith, and audacious love dry my tears and redirect my frustrations into quiet fortitude and authentic connection, shedding light in the places of isolation, terror, and cowardice you seek to create.

I am held together by experience, expertise, history, education, in and out of the classroom, and the moral fiber of a proud people. Never mistake my kindness and forgiveness for weakness. I cannot be brushed aside. I am here.

You may espouse a false doctrine that contorts to an unrecognizable version of your fear-based belief. If you call that narrow vision faith and truth, you are wrong. Fear and faith cannot dwell in the same space. My beliefs are not anemic, immobile, not passive. My faith humbles me enough to kneel and instructs me to get up. You may think I am bowed down. You are wrong.

 

5. Here’s Brene Brown’s research-based response to what’s showing up in our world  — it has always been there, but the events in Charlottesville have shed yet another spotlight on it.

6. This On Being broadcast with the late John O’Donohue on the inner landscape of beauty has helped me over the last few days.

7. Untamed the Wild Soul’s podcast with Rare Media – A conversation on Creativity, Productivity, Health and Rituals. Here’s the blog post which connects to multiple platforms so you can listen on the device which best suits you.

8. Crack the Egg: Finding Joy Amongst Conflicting Emotions: I referenced this past post in the Mindfulness walk. Note that the meditation by Sheila Pai is no longer available but you can find a whole host of meditations, poetry, interviews and more on my SoundCloud page.

 

 

Photo Adventure Winners!

Thank you to my wonderful readers and supporters for submitting photos in honor of The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon’s 2nd Birthday!

We have winners from VA, CA, Rome and London!

And the special creative photo at the bottom is from Philadelphia thanks to my cousin. It’s my Mama Chelo who passed at age 105 before Selma was published, but there she is with a copy magically on her lap!

Winners will be contacted in the next 72 hours with their prizes.

Cucalacas!

Fun Gifts for Selma’s 2nd Birthday!

Let’s celebrate and also here’s another video I made in Italy just for Selma readers!

It’s 8-8-2017–it’s a magical day for many reasons!

Happy, happy 2nd Birthday to my novel, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship!

I am so excited to share a fun celebration that starts today:

We’re hosting a photo adventure! I’m inviting you to take photos of your copies of Selma (e-books too!) with you, friends and family, your pets, yummy food and more!

Winners announced Sunday, August 13.

You can enter as many times as you’d like! You can either:

  1. Post to Facebook and tag me and include #cucalacas
  2. Post to Instagram and include the hashtag #cucalacas
  3. Email the photo to rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com

Please note that when you enter, you’re granting me rights to share the photographs as I celebrate and promote Selma with others.

Prizes are:

Gift cards;

75-minute Dream Maker Session with me. You can learn more about that in my last blog post;

A spot in Carrie Hensley’s Ayurveda 101 course (valued at $97);

30-minute Oracle card reading with me;

Thanks for being so supportive over the last two years.  If you want a blast from the past, check out this post when I celebrated 100 copies sold.

And if you want a blast from the future, I made this video for you while in Italy staying at the beautiful agriturismo La Torre Rossa with details about the sequel! It shares how I do my research, get inspiration and document scenes and details to be written later.

But wait, there’s more! Today is #istandforlove day, the brainchild of Sarah Love Hanna McCoy. It’s a special day to declare love.  Anyone can participate–check out the details here.

Sending you love and magic!

Cucalacas!

Rebecca

Secrets from the Olive Grove

UndertheOliveGrovebyRebeccaVillarrealDear Beautiful Readers,

Today I’m sharing more of an intimate letter with a post card from Italy stuck inside the envelope. I’m going to tell you some magic secrets in this post. You’ll also learn how I’m helping some people (maybe you!) make their dreams into a living reality.

Here’s a story I’ve never shared publicly before: In September 2003, I was ready for a big change. So I wrote this simple item in my wishing journal, “I’m moving to Spain, San Francisco or Chicago.” Three days later, I left for Chicago where I met my husband. Months later, I moved there.

But wait, it gets better.

Before I moved, I was throwing away photos and ran across an image from my first trip to Chicago about seven years earlier. It was a photo of me leaning against a railing and standing in front of a travel agency sign with my last name. I looked a little closer at the photograph and realized that I was leaning on the railing where my husband lived in “present day” Chicago which was to become my first home there.

Below is the photograph of me back in the day, and years later when I was living there, dressed as a bee next to the very same railing giving out candy on Halloween.

MagicChicagoOrcasYou can also see a green construction paper note which outlines the intention I set in 2011 after visiting Orcas Island in 2009—that’s a family photo in Moran State Park on the island. It was a wish to move to a diverse community near the water with good schools and more. That paper and photo was on my fridge from 2011 until 2015. And guess where I live now? I’m thriving in a diverse community near the water with a lovely elementary school.

That’s a lot of magic. And it’s also a lot of intentional work. I’ve often talked about the small measured steps it has taken to make my dreams real. And coming this fall, I will be offering 1-on-1 sessions to clarify your dreams and develop a practical plan with a timeline to help you make those dreams a reality.

I’m still fleshing out the options, but currently it look like this: 1 or 2 live sessions with me using Zoom, Skype, Facetime or the like, with a focus on plan development, and in some cases, personalized videos and meditations for your use to stay on track.

While in Italy doing research for the sequel to my novel, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship, I made a special video for you about these sessions.

This trip was one of those magical opportunities. I had admitted my longing about a year ago and then six months later I shared it with you in this video on my blog. You can see how tentative and excited I am. From there, I tapped into a lot of energy to support my dream as well as developed a plan of actionable steps to make it a reality. This was a soul longing and I quenched the longing exactly as I had hoped. As a result, I’ve expanded as a human being.

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There are so many opportunities for you to expand. We all know what contraction feels like: stress, anger, anxiety over people, relationships, money, health and more. Expansion is an entirely different experience.

If you or someone you know is ready to expand into a life that has been nudging at them, let’s stay connected. Please send me an email at rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com to express your interest.

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A few notes about what this is not: it’s not therapy or a commitment to a long-term coaching relationship. It’s targeted at people who are ready to put action behind their desires. It’s for individuals who are willing to extend a measure of emotional risk to step into their potential.

For one last before and after comparison—here’s the video of when I applied for a scholarship to Jennifer Lee’s premium group in which I declared that I would finish my novel.

The year was 2013 and you’ll see how elated and nervous I was as I spoke my dream into reality. It was that declaration that kept me accountable and moving toward my goal. And now, I not only have lovely reviews of the book, but also a feature in The Huffington Post, a radio show appearance and I was even lucky enough to be invited to the Drop Out Writer’s Residency where I made this documentary to share my experience with you.  All this from the nervous woman (me) asking for help and leaping at the same time.

So stay tuned friends, this is going to be a bold, beautiful and bountiful year—it already is!

Let me know if you want to connect about your dreams and make them into a reality!

Much love and adventure,

Rebecca

P.S. I also wanted to share two resources which have helped me in the last few months. One is an interview with Todd Herman about making changes stick.  The other is a wonderful post by the writer and entrepreneur, Catherine Menist, titled Barefoot on Machu Picchu–5 Steps to a Barefoot Life.

HappybyRebeccaVillarreal

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Ways to be Unbroken


These are the ways to be unbroken
let naps sneak into your days off

doze for even a few minutes 

or let rest be a stillness snuggled with your eyes open and your ears peeled for divine noticing
Let music tickle a memory

roller skating

tug of war

jumping in the lake

let music create new memories

walk with it
Be your own superhero 

You are a human lie detector

The best french fry eater

A stealth listener weaving stories from the unassuming characters in your novel yet to be written
Cry 

Taste salt like a soft pretzel

Wipe the snot from your upper lip

Talk to yourself in your head like you talk to your best friend
Find a new best friend if you need one

You will find one with the step above 

Wiping your own tears and snot and sadness and despair with love, tenderness and compassion

is like personal training for new friend finding 
Cook and eat 

or just eat

the foods that make your heart sing and skip a beat

the Reuben

sautéed spinach with garlic and pine nuts

chocolate pudding 

peanut butter
Go barefoot on grass

ask a tree if you can sidle up and lean for a moment or just touch both hands

plug in and charge your cells

before charging your cell
Mend.

The Light Bulb Testers

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There is a special job held by certain individuals in your life: they are the light bulb testers. They may take the form of people you love and they may appear as people you hate. Yes, hate, as in the underbelly of love. Or they may take the form of the person in front of you ordering the last jelly doughnut.

Now you’re craving a jelly doughnut, aren’t you?

I digress.

This week, dare I say as an emboldened Aries, this month (!), I celebrate my 48th birthday. It was on 4/18 and I turned 48. (8 is my favorite number. And 4 is a multiple of 8 so that’s very cool. Plus it’s my sister’s favorite number.) Thank you to so many of you who wished me a happy birthday through phone, text, social media and snail mail. It’s been magical and fun and full of love.

And, I’ve run into a few light bulb testers.

That’s when, in the midst of my intense joy and gratitude, some individuals and events have brought darkness to my doorstep—and no jelly doughnuts.

So what are your choices when you are moving into a beautiful moment in your life? What if you are in that beautiful moment and someone takes a hammer to your light bulb no matter how many times you’ve dodged his or her swings?

You embrace the shattered light.

“What does that mean, Rebecca? Can you please be more specific?”

Yes, yes I can. Here’s what happened:

The day was full and beautiful. Love surrounded me—even in nature. I saw a heron, a seal and a super cool snail!

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Then a light bulb tester came in the form of a conversation later in the day.  I made a boundary and declared, “Nope, not today. Any other day, but not today.” But I didn’t duck and I stayed in the conversation despite my intuition (which was a mistake) and I allowed that bulb to get broken. Then I stepped in the glass with bare feet again and again.

And my “old stuff” came up. The pain in my shoulder blade I hadn’t felt for almost a year came back. And do you know what I ended up saying after a few tears? “Thank you. Thank you God and the Universe because I know that this is part of a plan and this had to happen.” I didn’t know why and I didn’t need to understand why. (Though I tried for a moment.) And I let myself get really angry at the light bulb tester. I let that move through me so it wouldn’t ping around like a pinball in an old-fashioned machine. I wanted to kick myself for not trusting my intuition or for making firmer boundaries. But then I came around to compassion for myself and a softening for the hope I had for a light-filled conversation on my birthday.

Getting back to the light and burning brightly took a bit more doing. It was my super special lucky number birthday, so I took action. I prepared a delicious snack, watched a movie, went swimming and played with my son. And every time the memory of the last smash came back, I said, “I see you, but that’s not what’s happening right now. And I replaced the darkness with the faces of the people with whom I spoke that day. I replaced the feelings of lack, guilt and shame that were dumped on my doorstep with the firm decision that I was not going to accept that delivery. And days later, I’ve extended compassion to the light bulb tester, a compassion firmly lined with a boundary.

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Whether you believe in God, Source, the Universe or nothingness, there’s a plan. You have a chance to co-create it. I chose my reaction to that plan. I chose to embrace my uncomfortable feelings and move through them until I was able to pull another light bulb out of the box. I got plugged in again.

My grandmother Mama Chelo always told me, “You live in my heart, and you don’t even pay rent.” Be mindful of who gets to come into your heart and when. People do not have a right to be there, it’s a privilege. And sometimes, new people come into your heart and some people take a break from rent-free living. And that’s okay.

You don’t have to accept any unwanted deliveries and own other’s people’s stuff. We each have enough of our own stuff — no additional clutter needed.

Know that when you’re tested, the source of your light is limitless. There are always more light bulbs. Also, without the dark, your light wouldn’t burn as brightly. But protect your light. And when you need to, grab a broom and sweep up what’s been shattered. It’s okay for life to be messy. It’s a beautiful mess. Plug in again. It’s how you heal old wounds. And it’s how the world gets healed over time.

Aim your face and your heart at the sun, it’s the brightest bulb we have. And it’s a renewable source of energy. Just like you are renewable, every single moment.

This is one of the keys to living in the world.

And speaking of living in the world…here is the documentary from my stay one year ago at Drop Out on Orcas, an transformative writer’s residency. I spent 5 days in a beautiful house in the woods without cell or Internet working on the sequel to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship. Spoiler alert: I take you to the place where the culminating scene in the novel occurs and I also create (and act out) scenes in the woods on the spot for the sequel.

I did a whole lot of healing in this magical place. I hope you enjoy it! Please share with friends!

Deep gratitude goes to the poet and visionary founder of Drop Out on Orcas,  Jennifer Brennock, for this life-changing experience.

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Ideas on doing what’s most important to you – plus my birthday celebration!


Oh happy day! How are you doing?  The land here is filled with wildflowers. I have a quick heads-up about my awesome magical birthday:

Bottom line: The Kindle version of The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship will be $8 and you can order a signed copy from me for $8 (plus discounted $2 shipping in the U.S.)

**If you’re new to my book, check out this article in The Huffington Post. Or listen to the first few chapters here and here.  I also have a recent radio interview here and here. (Skip the first two minutes to get to the conversation.)**

Please share this with someone who may enjoy the book!

Here are the details:

8 is my lucky number. On April 18, my 48th Birthday, you can get an $8 Kindle copy here for 48 hours. You can order an $8 signed copy by emailing me at rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com.

In the video below I:

1. Take you on a walk through the field above on my favorite trail by the Pacific Ocean;

2. Lean against a gorgeous tree and almost fall down, and offer my trademark snort;

3. And talk about our different roles in life and how to create the best environment to do what’s most important to you.

In that video, I promised you a nature video and that can be viewed here and below:

In other very exciting news, I finished the rough cut of my documentary from my stay at Drop Out on Orcas writer’s retreat! If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to write a book alone in the woods without cell or Internet, this film takes you through some very intimate moments of one of the most transformative experiences of my life. It even includes exciting preview scenes from the sequel to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon. Here’s the trailer:

If you want to be the first to see the rough cut, sign up for my newsletter at RebeccaVillarreal.com which will be coming soon! (I’ll only send out about 4-6 newsletters per year.)

In my video at the top of this post, I mentioned the short time management TED talk. It’s called “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time”. You can view it here:

Also, if you’re looking for a refresh on your approach to planning, I’m really enjoying the Panda Planner, which you can find here. You can start the planner at any point in the year. There’s a discount code you can use PANDAFAM at checkout for 10% off. (I don’t receive anything for sharing this–I just believe in the product!) You can learn more about the making of the planner (after its founder had a traumatic brain injury, he really went back to basics) in his welcome video. 

Thank you for cheering me on and supporting me in so many ways. Remember your magic, every day. Cucalacas!

Have a great rest of your day!

Some Sunshine for Your Week – radio recording, new poem & more!

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Hello Beautiful People!

It’s such a thrill to share the recording from my recent fun and inspiring interview on KCSB 91.9 FM with LP on her Writers Almanac West program. If you didn’t get a chance to listen, and you want a dose of inspiration and a break from the negative news cycle, click here to listen on Soundcloud and here to listen on Podmatic. Both are downloadable! (Note: Jump to the 2 minute mark to skip the intro reading of Paul Simon’s Sound of Silence.)

We talked about all of my favorite things: food, poetry (I read a new poem at the end!), my novel, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón and the plans for the sequel. We also talk about staying in love, faith and hope for all humanity. If you find yourself curious about the many resources and books I mention during the show, I’ve added links to just about every topic mentioned at the bottom of this post.

Also below is a short “Broadcast from the Beach” expressing my gratitude for your support. I recorded it for you right after I wrote the poem “Birdfight” in the previous post.

In the video, I mention a luxurious time binge-reading the poet Mary Oliver, at my friend’s house. Here’s a poem I wrote about that experience:

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On Reading Mary Oliver in Bed

I eat your poems

between bites of fig-filled cakes

or are they cookies?

forgetting to chew

because your words make me hungrier

for solace and weeping

for herons

suns

moose faces

and querying the soul

 

the chicory and hot milk

burn my throat

but I can’t stop devouring line

after line

fearful my gluttony

will spill on the white down comfortor

of my momentary retreat

 

how do you take a Sunday morning and make it urgent?

Volumes One and Two

and Felicity

again I want to be haunted by

all the space

on the page

your succinct seventy-seven year old

plunge into Cobb Creek

and your truth-telling of a girl raging

in dark corners

or the soul stolen from the blue Iris

I must go now,

for this pen is distracting

from my voracious consumption

If you’ve never read Oliver, here’s a link to some of her poems. There’s also a rare interview with her on the NPR program, On Being.

For those of you interested in writing or any other seemingly dreamy, yet filled with reality, kind of pursuit, this interview with the writer Cheryl Strayed was very inspiring to me. She’s so honest about the fact that she doesn’t write every day and also about her struggles with money. I have watched or listened to it at least 7 ½ times.

Links I mentioned in the Writer’s Almanac West radio interview

My website for The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship is rebeccavillarreal.com.  We have a page with links from the topics in the book and an area where you can sign up to receive the free Tribe and Family Book Club Guide via email. The book is available via Teaching For Change (they get 5% of net profits), Amazon, Independent Book Stores, iTunes and Barnes and Noble.

You can read and listen to the opening poem Bound here and The Slowdown—a parenting poem, here.

The Slow Food movement can be found here.

Those fish-shaped crackers and why they are not great to eat–more info can be found here. What I mentioned about the way wheat is treated with pesticides in the U.S. is covered here. And there’s more from Robyn O’Brien about the 2.6 Billion pounds of Monsanto’s Glysophate (which is linked to Cancer) sprayed on American farmlands.

CarrieHensley.com and info about her Sacred Sangha is here.

LindsayPera.com and The Mystic’s Society is here.

Brené Brown’s TED talks on vulnerability and shame are here and here.

There’s an NPR interview with Mario Martinez about his book The Mind Body Code and the concept of tribal shame here.

Whatever you do, try to find a way to watch Trevor Noah’s special “Afraid of the Dark” on Netflix. (Note: this is meant for adult audiences.) The official trailer is here.

One of my chosen teachers is the Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. The first book I was every exposed to by him is Living Buddha, Living Christ. I reference a number of his other books in “aisle 4” of this previous blog post.

Here’s the post where I did a round-up of all of my recorded meditations.

I mention my connection to Jennifer Lee’s Right-Brainers in Business and an interview she did with SARK. We talked about creating inner characters to help deal with uncomfortable emotions. Here’s a post I did about Matilda, one of my characters and another about My Noisy Neighbor, Fear.

I also mention Drop Out on Orcas by the poet, Jennifer Brennock which I’m not sure it exists in the same form, but just in case, here’s the site.

Well, my friends, that’s a wrap! I hope you’ve enjoyed hanging out with me. I’m sending you love and some delicious food and time in nature for this week! Nourish yourself, you deserve it!