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!

Birdfight

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A poem inspired by Mary Oliver

For the 1 minute and 20 second video to accompany this poem, click here.

There are birdfights

compound like doghouse, lunchbox

these are cacophony crows

chasing the hawk onto a solitary branch

their shouting disturbs

the starling chorus arranged

whole and half notes

with a careful (or careless?) treble

so they escape

in an orb of black flutters

to a nearby tree

changing chanson

to chatter

like old time operators

plugging in the chords

connecting calls

MaBell as she was

didn’t know the birds

still find her ancient ways convenient

they’ve rearranged now

back into their scores

except for the ravens’ caw

crow warning

this is the medicine

of protection

a new order back again

Join Me on Saturday, Feb. 25 – Online or on the radio!

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Hello Beautiful Readers!

Please join me and tune in to KCSB 91.9 FM on the radio or online from anywhere in the world!

I’m honored to be on Lynelle Paulick’s show, Writer’s Almanac West. Thank you for supporting me so faithfully by reading, reviewing and sharing The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship. It’s been a spectacular journey so far and Book 2 is going to blow your mind! I’m working on it and we’re going to Morocco, Italy, California and the story twists and turns are more than you can imagine!

Here are the details: 

WHAT: Rebecca Villarreal on Writer’s Almanac West Radio Show talking about Selma Books 1 and progress on Book 2; I’ll read a poem never shared publicly and we will be discussing writing, food and one of my favorite topics: how to thrive in the world–you know there will be some magic woven in there too!

DATE: Saturday, February 25

TIME: 10am ET, 9am CT, 8am MT and 7am PT

Click here for a nifty timezone converter to calculate the time of the show anywhere in the world.

WHERE: Online by clicking here or if you’re near Santa Barbara, CA, tune into KCSB 91.9 FM.

My novel is available everywhere. And remember 5% of net profits go to Teaching for Change. (By the way, they have a new and fantastic resource out called Resistance 101. Check it out here.)

If you’re new to my work, check out my website: http://rebeccavillarreal.com

Read The Huffington Post article here.

There’s a fun video interview here.

I’m looking forward to hanging out together this Saturday! Please share with your friends. You’ll walk away feeling loved and inspired to pursue your own dreams.

Cucalacas!

Buckets of Hope: Delivered to Your Heart’s Door

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Now more than ever, we need hope. Buckets of it. It starts with your heart. This is me, knocking on the door of your heart, arms outstretched with your very own overflowing bucket.

One of the first things you’ll see spill out of it, is the video below. I’ve been thinking about what makes us a better version of us. When I do certain things, like connect with nature, write, meditate and play, I feel better. I AM better. Because I’m connected to what nourishes me.

What makes you a better version of you? I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Here are some ideas from me and from friends and readers. You can view the video here.

I promised to share a mix of meditations so here they are:

From my heart to yours

  1. Ocean Meditation: It’s 10 minutes long and invites you to bring along a paper and pen. It’s a great way to put your to-do list on to paper and clear the mind for just a few minutes while listening to the Pacific Ocean.
  2. Made of Stars Meditation to Trust in the Divine Plan: This was a divine download for me. It’s been a great way to help me stay grounded when when I want to know what’s in store for the future and I just don’t have the answers. The only answer is to trust. It’s a little over 20 minutes and is great if you have insomnia or it’s a nice way to start your day.
  3. Play Meditation: This is only 5 minutes long and is helpful if you’re feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders and need to connect with those things that you liked to do as a child.

From Wonders Wellness

Kuan Yin Course: I took this course from Lynn Louise Wonders. It basically consists of an e-book which you can download onto your phone or print out. I read one short meditation every day for 108 days as soon as I woke and then just stayed in bed and let it sink in. It was a transformative experience in compassion. People actually noted my increased calm. Just writing this to you makes me realize that I think I may want to do it again. Lynn Louise has made it available on a donation basis. So you can decide what to pay if you’re interested.

From the book The Four Desires, by Rod Stryker

Most of these meditations are around 20-25 minutes.

  1. Meditation to help with Non-Attachment: What’s that? It’s the opposite of when you expect results to be a certain way–for others to follow your advice and do it your way. Sometimes, that attachment can cause your own suffering. I have direct experience with that. So here are two posts which chronicle ways to let go:
    Powerful or Powerless?  and You are asking me to swallow the sun…
  2.  Meditation to Increase Energy or Shakti: This is a good one if you’re feeling confused, stressed or fearful.
  3. Healing the Heart Meditation: This is helpful if you are struggling with hurts, old or new.
  4. Bliss Meditation: If you decide to use this meditation, it’s the one I referenced in this post which is instrumental in defining a specific intention for the next 12-18 months. I’d suggesting reading the post for context before you listen.
  5. Yoga Ndira: I use this Rod Stryker video when I wake up. You scroll to about the 29-minute mark for the 8-minute meditation to begin. I listen in bed when I’m barely awake. It’s an amazing way to start my day.

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The Creation Equation from Stryker

One final nugget of hope before I go. The Creation Equation: when your desire outweighs the resistance to your desire, it impacts the outcome. Simple, I know. But when you are trying to make those habits that nourish you, a part of your regular life, it’s great to ask, what’s the resistance here? Sometimes you’ll find out why or even create a name for it. Like I did in this post–mine is Matilda. I made a 4 1/2 minute video for you on my run about The Creation Equation or Formula:

Thanks for joining me in hoping. Our joy is the best way to carry compassion and love forward. You can find your happy even amidst the sad. You can pulse out light in the darkest of night. You are full of all that is beautiful. I can see it. Can you?

Aunt Peggy’s Sweet Potatoes & Busting through Fear, Italian-Style

My aunt Peggy used to say, “Are you a ghost?” every time one of us stood in front of the big wooden television at my Pop Pop’s house. And then she’d say, “because I can’t see through you.”

And now my nine-year-old says it to me.

It’s got me thinking about all the things we pass down, like Aunt Peggy’s sweet potato recipe.*

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For my readers who want the bottom line(s), I include great books throughout this post as well as the following:

  1. Steps to get clear on your life purpose – why are you here?
  2. Identifying the two kinds of fear  – the one that is imagined and the one that lets you know you’re on to something big…maybe even connected to your life purpose.
  3. Major plans for the Sequel to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship.
  4. The most inspiring cookbook called The Tiny Mess which is a great last minute gift for someone who loves photography, food and adventure. There’s only 4 days left to support the Kickstarter campaign.
  5. The Miracle Angle: How a tiny miracle named Jaxon turns three and the Alabama Prayer Warriors tipped the scales; how to turn your own tough experiences into skill sets.

I. LIFE PURPOSE

Whether you have children or not, do you think about what you want to pass on to others? Prized family recipes? Modeling kindness? How about living your best life possible? How about demonstrating how to dream and DO?

Recently, one of the people I love most in the world spent his birthday thanking me for all that I’ve been for him. He gave me a gift: it was a belief that in choosing my happiness, I was showing him how to do the same. This is in sharp contrast to the pangs of guilt I felt in the past over creating this happy life. And also, with the way I’ve worked hard at it (in the face of some internal and external demons), I embodied possibility. That’s helping him hold on to some of his dreams.

So in the video below, I’m showing up. I’m sharing a dream I have…related to staying in beautiful Italy! There’s a backstory to how I got there in my post on the book, The Four Desires. Author Rod Stryker provides an overview of the book here and which includes a short meditation at the end.

I’m reading Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr which is a game-changer for me. And I also started Steven Cope’s The Great Work of Your Life which breaks down the Bhagavad Gita (a 2,000 year old spiritual text) while illuminating the stories of regular people and famous ones like Harriet Tubman, Mohandas Ghandi, Henry David Thoreau and Jane Goodall.  These authors offer different views of the same story: what do you want to do with this life? It doesn’t have to involve things that are so big that you have to risk it all. All three books help illuminate how to suss out the small and big steps to stay connected to what truly lights you up.

Truth-telling moment: It has taken me a month to share this video because I’ve been too scared of my own dream. I’ve hesitated and hemmed and hawed and discussed with friends. I’ve experienced self-doubt. I’ve quite simply been afraid. But I learned in Playing Big that there are two biblical Hebrew words for fear according to Rabbi Alan Lew: Pachad and Yirah. (I love sharing this on the first night of Hanukkah!)

II. TWO KINDS OF FEAR

Here’s an excerpt from an article by Mohr explaining the difference between the two types of fear titled, “What You Need to Know About Fear” explaining the difference:

Pachad is “projected or imagined fear,” the “fear whose objects are imagined.” In contemporary terms, that is what we might think of as overreactive, irrational, lizard-brain fear: the fear of horrible rejection that will destroy us or the fear that we will simply combust if we step out of our comfort zones.

There is a second Hebrew word for fear, yirah. Rabbi Lew describes yirah as “the fear that overcomes us when we suddenly find ourselves in possession of considerably more energy than we are used to, inhabiting a larger space than we are used to inhabiting.” It is also the feeling we feel when we are on sacred ground.

If you’ve felt a calling in your heart, or uncovered an authentic dream for your life, or felt a mysterious sense of inner inspiration around a project or idea, you recognize this description.

We often conflate or confuse the two types of fear and simply call what we are experiencing “fear.” But we can discern them more closely, and in doing so, more effectively manage fear so it doesn’t get in our way.

III. THE SEQUEL

How I’m Geeking Out over the Sequel to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón

So guess what!?! I’m practicing my Italian with the Duo Lingo app for free. I’ve told everyone I know that we’re planning a trip to Italy. As a result, I’ve studied the fascinating Slow Food movement which began in Rome. You can read about how the movement started and “How Grandma’s Pasta Changed the World” here. Yesterday while buying some gorgeous bread (the sliced one) and these delicious oranges from our local Farm Cart Organics, Jason told me all about Italy’s amazing organic farming techniques. And I started researching agroturismo in Italy (tourism on farms where you learn, work and eat fresh food.) And this morning at 6:10am, I finally figured out why Selma is going to Italy. It’s connected to what I’ve been uncovering about Slow Food Presidium foods like the pearl white corn at Ca’ de Memi.

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IV. THE TINY MESS

Oh and from the Farm Cart’s Instagram Account, I also found out about this amazing cookbook called The Tiny Mess. I can’t wait to get mine! These local adventurers have traveled up and down the west coast of the U.S. cooking and visiting with people living in small spaces like campers with tiny kitchens making delicious fresh and gorgeous food. And the photography is breathtaking! There’s only four days left to support their Kickstarter account and get yours. Check out their Intsagram pics and this video — they will strum at your hungry heartstrings!

Please #TellTwo 

A big giant THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me through another year of sharing my novel with the world. As I mentioned in the video, if you feel so moved, please help spread the word about The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship

Many of you have already done me the favor of telling two friends how you’ve enjoyed the book. Or maybe you’ll get a chance to read it over the holidays and share it on social media. Here’s a handy short link: http://bit.ly/BuySelma

And check out this cool graphic we used in the Chicago Latino Network’s newsletter:

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There are a bunch of 5-star reviews here. The Huffington Post article is here.If you want to share more about the book, here’s the link to my website and includes links to all the different ways folks can buy it. Also, 5% of net proceeds go to Teaching For Change. And if you’re looking for inspiration and with a nice dose of vulnerability, here’s the video interview I did with yogini Carrie Hensley last year.

My novel is also on page 11 of Lindsay Pera’s Mystic Gift Guide in case you’re looking for some cool gifts for some of the magical folks in your life. You can also email me at rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com if you would like to order signed copies for $12 each plus shipping.

V. THE MIRACLE ANGLE

Well, I’ve taken you through life purpose, fear, food, magic and my own dreams of taking Selma and my family to Italy. What’s left on Christmas Eve and the first night of the Festival of Lights? I’d say: A Miracle! The Miracle Angle links back to The Four Desires.

In the article titled, “Let Go and Find Your Miracle Angle,” Stryker shares an overview of this concept which is highlighted in the book:

History is full of remarkable individuals who — although they endured extremely hurtful and potentially debilitating things like the loss of loved ones, war, prejudice, abuse, disease and severe poverty — did not allow circumstance to prevent them from living inspiring and even extraordinary lives. The lives of Anne Frank, Victor Frankel, and Nelson Mandela, for example, remind us that we are each capable of creating productive and even glorious lives despite having to live through dire events.

Everyone who has ever overcome hardship or adversity has done so in large part because he or she has chosen, consciously or unconsciously, to “let go” of their past hardship and pain by embracing, what I call, a Miracle Angle — a way of seeing their circumstances that allowed them to transform their circumstances into a spark for positive change.

How is this possible? How, for example, was Nelson Mandela able to transcend apartheid and three decades of imprisonment when some of us struggle to forgive someone who cut us off in traffic?

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If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I have shared personal challenges whether from childhood, or facing postpartum depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome or my most recent (as Brené Brown calls it) breakdown/breakthrough. What you know is that I believe that with faith (in yourself, in God, in any approach that fits you) + action, you can live an amazing life. What you may not know, is that when one of my loved ones had three consecutive operations, we had people all over praying for us. One group of prayer warriors based in Alabama have always had my back. And I, in turn, have always offered up my prayers for those in need–most of whom I do not know. Well, let me introduce you to Jaxon, who in January will be 3 years old. It was touch and go when Jaxon was born. I do know his grandmother. Just imagine a premature baby with all of the requisite tubes and the fear of the unknown. I’m sharing his picture as a big ray of hope to serve as a visual anchor. When you are swimming in doubt, depression, despair or a simple sadness, think of little Jaxon. We all had faith that he could make it.  And I’d dare say his parents and grandparents learned a lot about how to turn those terrible moments into gifts, that’s the Miracle Angle.

Because just like my obstacles have helped me to anticipate and scenario plan–like figuring out the logistics of how to move my family to California, how to project plan at my job and how to chunk out this enormously long blog post, your struggles can be the source of your greatest gifts including the compassion and joy of living in this very moment.

Thank you, my dear amazing open-hearted readers for reading and listening and believing in me!*

I believe in you.

Do you?

With peace, big-hearted love and Aunt Peggy’s sweet potatoes**,

Rebecca

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*This post is dedicated to my Selma readers and to Carrie Hensley and the members of my Sacred Sangha for believing in me every single day.

**Aunt Peggy’s Sweet Potatoes Recipe: Boil, then peel sweet potatoes. Use an electric mixer and add a stick of butter, orange juice, brown sugar and cinnamon, then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top is browned. The top of course is covered in globs of butter and brown sugar.