View the video: Releasing what doesn’t serve you.
View the video: Releasing what doesn’t serve you.
with thanks to Glennon Doyle Melton for coining the conundrum.
You can listen to this poem here.
To view the video that illustrates the poem, click here.
To listen to the poem, click here.
a dog named Denise
and a deconstructed taco
this one Vermonted up
with pork and apple chutney
the vegetarian is not mailed in
uncrowded mushrooms dance with pepitas
until Crazy Gringo Taco Bar runs out
I spin into Gilead confections
before cash leaves hand
a salted caramel seduces the buds
they cry, More! More!
so an apple cobbler with cream cheese filling
take five bar
and my childhood favorite: elephant ears
Alas I am abuzz with cane and confidence
fly to The Hive
with fair Lindsey
who learns to eat sunshine and poetry
while painted faces born of my namesake, Stone
speak of favorites: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots
construction paper verse spills under and above glitter glue, feathers and pom poms
Kelly’s earth music
Anika’s bunny pumpkin puppy family dog poem, inverted
Cut to Lindley’s scraps crafted with fine furniture fingers
her earrings dangle from my lobes
reminding me of Vermont trees laden with faeries and tucked in Lylee’s golden pouch alongside Lisa’s felt snail, Joy Full
Did you know the B.U.G.s on chairs painted between vines and pines stand for
Bethel Under Ground?
Community insurrection for places to sit, sip and savor
Kirk speaks of midnight runs for theater seats on sidewalks
bounce to blue lanes where e-bikes zoom me forward and back
into a beer garden framed by Ola
the wave, beloved eighty years plus
earth and truth via Tennessee
she speaks of equality in the face of all the hoopla
knowing elegance over the mess of sloppy slurs
The checkers, chess and tic tac toe of tree stumps
make me wish for more stories
Doug settled in town after Fort this and that
fixing roads, minding a granddaughter
I assure you, I tell her,
as we both spill, trip and drop,
your mind is too full to worry over table corners
that’s no clumsy
you’re just creating fire
it’s a gentle burning
There’s a better block in Bethel now
sprouted amidst Nell’s pizza and dominoes
all hail the hearts who uncover treasures
waddle with wattles
Alternative title: Unconditional love and how to stop being an Emotional ATM
Yup. Just finished crying on the couch with my husband. It was a happy sad cry. It was an I can’t figure it out cry. It was an I’m lonely and I feel so loved cry.
And then came the a-ha:
I have everything I’ve ever wanted in my life.
And I’m not living in fear that I have to anticipate every scenario that could upend this happiness.
I have faith.
I am a vessel for unconditional love.
What on earth does this mean for me?
And what about you?
If you are feeling, lonely and sitting in a church full of people
If you are sitting alone in your apartment facing an open day in front of you with a to-do list chomping like the childhood monsters under your bed
If you can’t sleep
YOU ARE LOVED.
You don’t have to believe in God for this one. I believe in God and lots of other fantastic and fantastical things.
There is a universal force out there and it is this: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
Now unconditional love is so dang different from TRANSACTIONAL LOVE.
I have had people very close to me offer transactional love.
If you answer my 911 calls, then I love you. If you listen to all of my problems and do not introduce your own into the conversation, then I love you. If you call me, then I love you. If you send me one of your signature care packages, then I love you.
I used to try to keep up with the people whom I love by “holding space” for all of them. A text to let you know I was thinking of you, a voicemail, a card. And then, I started to do that for myself.
I slowed down and sat in my own pain. That experience actually stinks. What I found however, even this morning, is that I was missing Father Jerry from my old church in Chicago. When he got reassigned, I tried the new priest a few times, but I basically left. Like a kid who didn’t get her way in the kickball game, I picked up my ball and went home. I didn’t leave God. I didn’t leave faith. But I left Regina and Greg. I left Mrs. Clayton. I left Liz. I left my friends and I left my community.
Then I left Chicago.
So I’m rebuilding again. I’ve sat in meditation. I’ve embraced yoga on an entirely different level than ever before in my life. I’ve prayed. I’ve tried two churches here. I’ve met God in the ocean, on the mountain and on the trail.
Yesterday, I went to the Catholic Church in my town and kneeled and prayed. And all I got was, “You don’t belong here.”
Last night I went swimming and I asked God, “What do you want me to know?”
And here’s what I heard: “Stop trying to figure it out.”
So this morning I sat with it. I just shared with my husband:
“I miss Father Jerry. I miss my church community. I’m lonely. And I feel more loved than I ever have in my life. I only have people in my life who love me unconditionally.”
I’m no longer an emotional ATM. Occasionally, people make deposits via the ATM. But usually, folks use the ATM to withdrawal funds.
What if I were to tell you that you are actually a vessel for UNCONDITIONAL LOVE?
Yes, the capitalized version of those words.
I have found my path to unconditional love to be painful and messy and beautiful and illuminating and magical and fantastic.
Here’s what worked for me:
And finally, there’s big faith. I have big faith in “if not this, then something better.” And I know I’m a vessel for UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. And it feels so good.
I want you to feel that way too.
I love you. I love me.
Love thyself. Start there. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Thank you for reading. This has been my Father Jerry moment. I feel in community with you. I needed that today. Thank you for loving me unconditionally.
P.S. I’m currently obsessed with the work of Glennon Doyle Melton. I’m listening to her book, Love Warrior. Tomorrow* I start The Wisdom of Story course with her and Brené Brown. The code LOVE20 gets you 20% off. I’m not an affiliate, just sending you big love to write your own story and your own ending. In case you’d like to get to know Glennon better, I enjoyed her interviews with Marie Forleo, Lewis Howes and of course, with Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday. For more on Brené, check out aisle 2 of this post. I have a selection of her resources there.
*A week later…
P.P.S.: Well, I let this baby marinate for an entire week. I actually wrote it the morning of Sunday, September 11th. It’s been a beautiful week of healing. The Wisdom of Story course has been phenomenal. I also created this downloadable Ocean Meditation in the middle of the week which addresses many of the themes above. It’s only 10 minutes and it invites you to keep a paper and pen handy in case you need to get some things out of your head and on to a list. I hope you enjoy it! Sending you big UNCONDITIONAL LOVE for a phenomenal week. Witness a miracle because you are the spark behind one (or more!) every single day.
To listen to this poem, click here.
and the wonderings of a mother
who hasn’t signed up for
instead she shifts her son’s head
to drop in a remedy for swimmer’s ear
Saturday marked by ten, twelve hours sleep
a body in repair
and the luscious knowledge of the intangible
it’s called Rest
“You know the park is just down the street.”
“He can walk there on his own.”
“Everyone here does it.”
What choice does she have?
Sign on the dotted line
put a number on his back
swear fealty to the clock for fear of falling behind
Or what if stop-motion movies
puppets and pizza tag
riding bikes till twilight
made for enough of a childhood?
What if boredom became a challenge?
Live in the world
surf on worksheets
dig up Redstone
write the series about
Super Parnassus the Potato
and his Grape sidekick, The Greginator
this verse is homage to the slowdown
allowing for mothering and fathering
any which way
in the gray lies truth, freedom
and knowing the human who chose you
Friends, this vlog post has been bursting out of me. You’ll see why. And yes, I’m scared to share it. But I’ve come to the point where it’s no longer optional. So here goes:
In the video, you’ll hear me talk about the following people and resources which have helped me to take small, measured steps into wholehearted living.
Me & Carrie Hensley–my favorite yoga teacher and one of my best friends in the world.
Do you want to get stronger inside and out? Making me stronger than ever before: It started with the 30-day yoga un-challenge by one of my best friends, Carrie Hensley. It’s free. It starts September 1. And guess what, it’s okay if you miss some days! You can sign up here.
Have you always wanted to write a novel? Beth Barany has been a wonderful coach to me, helping me unravel Selma’s story and get extra curious about my characters. Her “30-Day Writing Challenge for Novelists” runs October 1-30. And after that, you’ll have lifetime access to the materials. She’s even providing three bonuses for those who purchase the course by August 31. Beth also offers scholarship applications until August 31 at 9pm Pacific Time. If you want to get a sense of Beth’s style (and that of her awesome husband, Ezra), you can sign up for her webinar replay here. The webinar is called Planning Your Novel: Essential Plot & Character Tips. Check out the course details here.
Do you want to live a wholehearted life? Yesterday, I signed up for The Wisdom of Story course by Courage Works with Brené Brown and Glennon Doyle Melton. Check out the course here. Use the promo code WARRIOR to get 20% off. I did!
Specific goals of the course include:
For some of my favorite Brené Brown resources, check out “aisle 2” in this post.
Kick tribal shame to the curb.
I talk about tribal shame in this blog post specifically in #2 in the bottom of the post. This is also when I just scratched the surface of what it is to allow joy & sadness to coexist inside of your heart without fighting them.
Remember, I love you with my whole heart. Bring yours to the table. Plant it and see what grows. I promise, it’s going to be BEAUTIFUL.
Happy 1 year birthday to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage Food and Friendship! I’m buzzing with excitement, gratitude and Assam tea. I love you. I love you for reading. For showing up again today! For supporting me here in this blog and with my novel. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! And please keep spreading the love and magic–I’ve put the Kindle version on sale for 99 cents here through Tuesday!
1. Live Party on Facebook: Come party with me! I’m having a Facebook party on Thursday, August 11 at 5pm PT/6pm MT/7pm CT/8pm ET. If you’re outside of the U.S., you can use this handy time zone converter. The link to RSVP for the party is here. I hope you can join us! WHAT THE HECK IS A FACEBOOK PARTY? It’s where we hang out together right here. We’ll celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the publication of Selma. I’m going to ask questions like where you’d like to see Selma go next, where you personally like or wish to travel, what books you like and easy fun things like that. Of course, we’ll talk food too! And there will be prizes like gift certificates and Skype book club visits with me!
2. Photo Contest: This week, I’m also announcing a contest to win a $50 gift Visa e-gift card! If you want to jump on the train early, all you have to do is snap a pic with you or your pet or someone or something like food or nature and my book (hard copy or e-reader) and tag me on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #cucalacas. I can’t wait to see what you share!
3. Documentary Trailer for Book 2: I’m writing Book 2 like crazy! I spent nearly a week at Drop Out on Orcas. An amazing internet- and cell-free refuge for creatives in the woods. Just me and the trees. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve always wondered what it’s like for writers when they go off in solitude and write. I figured you may wonder about that too. I’m editing my documentary! I recorded videos every single day to share the process. Oh and please sign up for updates on my site rebeccavillarreal.com where you’ll get the first view of the full documentary once it’s complete. Click here for the trailer.
5% of net proceeds go to Teaching for Change! If you want to relive some of the fun videos and interviews from the last year, check out this blog post!
Two of my favorites and big, big honors for my heart are:
Thank you again and go bravely into your world…and er, um, one last gift, I recorded this downloadable meditation titled Made of Stars Meditation to Trust in the Divine Plan which has really helped me believe there’s a plan even when things get a little unsteady. I hope it serves you!
Remember, find magic in your everyday life. It’s there!
Be-Loved readers, get it? Be loved. Because you are, by me! I’ve got something so major to share: The Four Desires, by Rod Stryker has changed my life.
You know how I am. I find lots of things inspiring, but this book has literally changed everything for me. I’m undoing unhealthy patterns, I’m getting braver and more courageous by the day (even as scared or anxious as I get over some of my decisions) and I’m feeling a level of contentment which I’ve never felt in my life.
Full disclosure: it took me six months to read the first eight chapters. I had started a new job and was still (and still am) going through lots of transitions of creating a life here. I was fascinated by what was in the pages, but I could only read a chapter on Saturdays, every couple of weeks. (It won’t take you that long.) Then, something clicked in me. And there were more clicks and a-ha’s. Also, I went on a vacation to a dear friend’s house and had been diving into the book more during the previous weeks and brought it with me so that every morning I could read it. Then BOOM. Everything shifted.
I explain some of the amazing insights and steps in the book in the video below. It can be accessed by clicking here too:
If you don’t have time to watch the video now, here’s the gist: The Four Desires come from the ancient Indian spiritual texts called the Vedas:
Dharma: the desire to uncover your unique purpose, that longing to thrive. Sometimes your dharma is quite simply what’s in front of you.
Artha: the desire for the means such as money, security and health to help you fulfill your dharma.
Kama: the longing for pleasure in any and all forms–friendship, sensuality and more.
Moksha: the desire for spiritual realization and ultimate freedom.
The book is filled with stories about ordinary people just like us. Only you know, I believe that there is always something extraordinary and magical underneath the ordinary. Rod Stryker walks you through steps to uncover your dharma and create a Sankalpa–which is basically an intention for the next 6-18 months with a ton of clarity. He helps you break patterns which impede you from living your life purpose. There’s more, but I can’t do it justice in a blog post. Even if you don’t read or get the book soon, I’m sharing some of the meditations which I use to move through the steps in the book. Stryker encourages his readers to record them to help progress through the book or you can purchase his CDs of the recordings. He also has a workbook, but I used blank notebooks, day planners and whatever I had handy. For more information about the author, visit his site: https://www.parayoga.com/rod-stryker/
Here are the meditations** developed by Rod Stryker from the book I recorded which you can use too!
I also mention at the front end of the video that August 8 is the 1 year anniversary of the publication of my novel, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food and Friendship! Hop on over to my website rebeccavillarreal.com and sign up to be the first to receive access to the documentary about my time on Orcas Island writing book 2!
Okay, it’s time to go swimming! I hope this post brings lots of light into your life!
**One cool thing about the meditations being on Soundcloud is that you can download them onto a playlist on your phone so you always have them.
Show up. Show up this week. That’s all. Check out a bit more in this 5-minute video from my first run in a long time and there’s a seal!
I took you on my hike this morning and shared some of the helpful tools I’ve learned and applied in the last few weeks. I edited together all the nuggets plus a 15 second avocado meditation at the end! You can view the video here.
Some of the resources which I mentioned are included below:
I love you.