Be Your Own Beloved


Let me tell you what’s in store:

You are amazing.

You are beautiful.

You are brilliant.

You are hot.

You are perfect right now.

Did you cringe, back away or deny any of those statements? Try saying it this way:

I am incredible.

I am fantastic.

I am wicked smart.

I am handsome, gorgeous, powerful.

I am loved.

If you are waiting to feel this way until you:

lose weight

find a [better] job

run a race

meet your soul mate

find financial stability

start your business

earn your degree…

I have a solution for you.

Be your own beloved.


Ask Vivienne McMaster. She‘s a wildly talented Canadian photographer full of light. Vivienne is your guide to self-compassion. But wait, this is different. It’s a fun journey through self-portraiture. Selfies, that’s right! It’s not about narcissism, it’s about learning to love all of you. It’s about starting right now to accept you for you.

Imagine what you’ll radiate just walking down the street. Imagine who and what you’ll attract into your life.

You can learn more about Vivienne’s embrace and the creation of Be Your Own Beloved by following her on Instagram and visiting her gorgeous website. I’ve learned so much from her already. She has helped me to just take that step, literally, and embark upon that photo walk to connect with all that is good around me and inside me.

Take a moment to view her video about her own journey down the road to self-compassion. She went through some dark times to find her own bright light. Some of it might sound familiar. And think about signing up for her amazing e-course starting June 1. You can read about the experiences of people who have taken the course.

My friends, please remember this, every minute:

You are



Why not try on these statements today?

I am love.

I am loved.

I am my own beloved.


Love from my pulsating yes of a heart to yours,



A little extra love note post script: PLEASE FOLLOW ME, BABY AND ASK YOUR BUDS TO FOLLOW TOO!

Please consider sharing this post with friends and following my blog by entering your email in the box at the top. Remember to confirm your subscription in your email box. You’ll hear from me every 7-10 days. Here’s what readers say:

“I really needed to hear that right now.” and “I’m always inspired by your writing. It’s the next best thing to being with you. Thanks for sharing so generously!”

I’m picking the winner of Rebecca’s Birthday Blog Giveaway in the next 24 hours! Click here for more info on my groovy annual gift to an amazing follower. Thank you for following and sharing the inspiration!





My First Time: Two Audio Poems for You


One of the most exciting aspects of blogging is trying new things. There was once a first time that I wrote a poem. Do you remember the first time you rode a bike? How about your first kiss?

I remember my first reading in the mid-90s at Dark Horse Books in Washington, DC. I met one of my best friends that day. And I released a part of my soul. It felt so good to share my art.

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’m broadcasting two poems using SoundCloud. Rochelle Soetan just shared them for the first time on her blog Tuesday Morning Love.

Please take a listen to Jacob’s Bridge, for my son, Providence, Rhode Island

This poem taught me how I can be present for my son, even when I’m on travel for work. It lightens the guilt (a useless emotion) about leaving and celebrates our ever-present connection through poetry and story.

Please take a listen to Generation Asante, for Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Wangari Maathai is founder of the Green Belt Movement. You can watch an inspiring short film about her here. I first learned about her during my years working at the African Wildlife Foundation. She proves that one person can make a difference every single day. I wrote Generation Asante in gratitude to Dr. Maathai for the air we breathe.

To read Jacob’s Bridge and Generation Asante, please visit Tuesday Morning Love by clicking here.

Asante sana for listening to my first SoundCloud recording!

Rebecca’s Birthday Blog Giveaway

Today is my birthday! I want to celebrate with gratitude! I have so much abundance thanks in part to you, dear readers. I’m giving away some of my favorite books and other goodies.

How can you qualify to win?

Easy: enter your email* at to become an email follower. Remember to check your inbox to confirm it!

You can increase your chances by sharing this via Facebook and twitter and encouraging your friends to follow via email. Just let me know at which friends joined.

We’ll do the drawing late night on May 1.  Thanks for sharing!

Sample Post or Tweet: Get inspired! Win some amazing books. Follow Rebecca Villarreal at

[Style note: My fabulous hat is from Katherine Carey Millinery, She’s the most amazing milliner for men and women. Treat yourself to art for your head. Food note: This video was shot at Davanti Enoteca in Chicago, IL, check them out at Always delish.]

*Current email followers will be entered to win. In the case of a winner outside of the U.S., you’ll receive some books in e-book format.


Powerful or Powerless?

“One of the best gifts to give a friend is freedom.”
–James Martin, S.J.


Do you ever wish for freedom from caring about things or from caring about certain people? I’ve learned some very powerful lessons about attachment in the last couple of years. Have you seen someone you love in a frightful act of self-sabotage? And you want to fix him or her? That’s attachment.

Offering help and knowing it’s that person’s choice to take or leave your advice, that’s called detachment. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care, detachment can actually manifest as a powerful act of love.

I have a friend who is an absolute expert at emotionally compartmentalizing people and events. At times I’ve watched him do this to protect his heart. Now though, I see how he uses it to spend his energy on the individuals, causes and moments most important to him. I feel like he has taught me by example. And now, I’m practicing.

You may recall that on December 31st, I created a video invitation to forget resolutions and give yourself a monthly gift. Just pick one word per month, write it on an index card and put each one in a sealed envelope. Last month, my word was TRUST. I watched how that word showed up all month. And it continues to remind me to trust that I’m on the right path, even when I’m feeling pain, it’s part of a formula that gets me to joy.

I opened this month’s envelope on April 2nd and it was POWERFUL. I love that word. Today, I read this excerpt below and it truly made me think about power:

“Admitting powerlessness is not something we love to do and yet, it is the cornerstone of the healing path of recovery. To admit one’s powerlessness is to understand one’s place in the world. For example, we are powerless over the actions of others. We cannot control other people. Simply understanding this can literally change the course of our life. I struggled for many years trying to “fix” my father. He was very sick and was making poor choices. It hurt me to see his pain and to watch the results of his poor choices right in front of my eyes. Truth be told, I became annoying to my father by trying to change him. He needed acceptance and unconditional love, but it was very difficult for me to give these to him. When he died, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I’ve expended all this effort trying to make my dad better. It strained our relationship and he has still died, sick and unhappy.’ That was a hard lesson for me to learn in recovery, but it has been one of the most important of my life.

There is an amazing power in admitting one’s powerlessness. It is counter-intuitive, which is why our logical thinking gets in the way. On your path, you will hopefully come to learn many ways that you are powerful. You will be blessed indeed not to forget the places where you are powerless.” –Tommy Rosen*, Addiction Recovery Expert & Yoga Teacher

Are you saying “wow”? Because I sure did!

So here’s my takeaway, I can be powerfully powerless. I can detach. And in so doing, I am free. This has allowed me to experience an incredible sense of joy, even in the face of some recent conflicts, that have nothing to do with me. I just watched them occur without any emotional attachment to the words and energy emanating from those creating conflict. This state of being is also possible when you perceive stresses, dramas and tensions are connected to you. While you may have obligations to take actions to move forward through those moments (at work, with family, in traffic), you are powerless in terms of controlling them, so why carry all of the emotional garbage that piles up? Why not let it fall in a dumpster, stay detached and put your power in what you can affect: your own reaction, your own heart.

Here’s one more nugget that helped me to understand the dance of being simultaneously detached, powerful and powerless:

In some of the most painful moments in the lives of friends and families—illness, divorce, death, worries about their children, financial problems—we usually cannot work miracles…Paradoxically, admitting your own powerlessness can free you from the need to fix everything and allow us to be truly present for the other person and to listen…This is when we are called not to do, but to be.”

–James Martin, S.J., The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything

Rock on my friends, flow and just be. It’s much easier.

*Tommy Rosen  is a yoga teacher and addiction recovery expert who has spent the last two decades immersed in yoga, recovery and wellness. He holds advanced certifications in both Hatha and Kundalini Yoga and has 20 years of recovery from acute drug addiction. You can register for Tommy’s free online conference “Recovery 2.0 Beyond Addiction” May 3-7, 2014 through:

With thanks to for sharing Rosen’s work. 


As we forgive those…

You have so much power. You have the power to choose what you eat, how you exercise your body, and how and who you forgive, even if it’s yourself. Bear with me, I’m going to give you something so light, you’ll be breathing easier at the end of this post.

Sweet Forgiveness by Rebecca Villarreal

I went to confession this past Sunday. As you know from a past post on faith and boredom and another on divine noticing, I’m re-examining or reviving my spirituality. It’s been completely organic. I’m a bit unplugged about it intellectually at times, but it seems my spirit’s plugged in, even if I don’t always understand it in my mind.

That context is to tell you I seem to have completely forgotten things about religion. Like Catholics go to confession during Lent. It makes sense that the 40 days and nights prior to Easter, a time of rebirth and celebration, we would ask for forgiveness and absolution from our sins.

Lots of folks through the years have said to me in jest [somewhat], “Oh, you Catholics have it easy. You sin, then you go to confession and you get a fresh start.” Catholics, however, layer guilt like a yogurt parfait: one layer of forgiveness, a layer of residual guilt for the sin, a layer of Hail Mary in an act of contrition and so on. If you have never been to confession, it’s basically a chance, usually face-to-face these days, to speak to a priest. You tell him, “Bless me father, for I have sinned, it’s been x number of days since my last confession.” Then I think from my childhood days, you list the commandments you’ve broken. Since I’m not exactly on my game with all of the rules, I remembered the opening and then just honestly shared my struggles. I talked about the areas of my life where I’ve fallen. I asked for help—that is an incredible power. I asked for help to forgive. I know confessions are private. However, I’ve been woken at 5:00am to write to you, so I believe that I’m called to share this part of my confession. The priest was a little old school, yet firmly sitting in true Buddhist compassion for me. I could feel it. He said some wonderful things in response that were not perfunctory. And then he instructed me to say three prayers, one of which I didn’t know, so he gave me a pass on that one.

I went to the front of the church (this is after mass) and pulled a kneeler up to a saint’s statue. It was Saint Martin. Above him was St. Joseph and next to him was St. Cabrini, a woman. I was verklempt and crying quietly in this truly cleansing way. Then my mind took over and I started wondering about St. Martin and St. Cabrini. My cousin works at Cabrini College and that was my main mental reference. I didn’t even know there was a St. Cabrini. Then I started thinking about how saints are like the superheroes of the Catholic Church. I spend quite a bit of time now learning about Marvel and DC Comics superheroes and villains. I thought about how I need to research some of these saints. I bet they have cool powers. My tears had stopped during this mental adventure.

And then I remembered I just went to confession. I remembered that I had an assignment. So I began with a speedy rhythm to recite the “Our Father.” That prayer is one of the coolest during mass because we all link hands across the church and sing it. I can truly feel superpowers when linked with others in this prayer. It’s like grace-on-demand. So I’m in the midst of this prayer and I get to:

Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

And then I said, “Holy smoke!” and started crying again. I think I felt that prayer for the first time in my life. I glimpsed in my soul the idea that I truly want to be forgiven. And then [this is the holy smoke part], I want to be forgiven so much, the same way, that I want to forgive those who have trespassed against me.

Do you feel me?

I was astounded at the idea of true forgiveness and absolution. I felt lighter. I felt cleaner, clearer. What if I let go of all of these feelings? What if I forgave everyone who has hurt me in my whole entire life? What if I let go of the pain in my shoulder blade, the thoughts that drill in my head about people who have let me down. What if I applied that same compassion to myself in feeling all of that toward those whom I perceive have injured me in some way? What if I let go of the guilt? What if I dumped that yogurt parfait in the trash and started all over again?

What if I make a fresh dish in the kitchen of my soul? What would it look like? What are the ingredients to feel fresh and light?

My friends, you do not have to be Catholic or go to confession to lighten your load. Ask for help. Ask for forgiveness. Forgive those who have made the most egregious errors against you. Write it down. Keep it in a journal. Or use a piece of paper. Throw it away. Burn it if it makes you feel better.

Do you want to see how this manifests? I finished my prayers, my acts of contrition. I had received a text during mass which I could not open. And truthfully, I only check my phone during mass for family emergencies. I tried to check the text on the way out, but my old simple phone doesn’t always unlock. I pressed and pressed the button as I left the foyer. It didn’t open until I stepped outside into the sunlight.

I had received an apology text from a family member.

Again I say, “Wow.”

I wrote back, “I forgive you, Sweetness.”

Try it. Say it. I forgive you. Even if the you, is YOU. Taste the sweetness. It’s delicious. I promise.