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!

Nourish Yourself – Granola alert and Book Two Sneak Peek!

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Friends, as I mentioned in the last post, I managed to nourish myself during the previous week even in the face of a high level of stress. I have received requests for my granola recipe, so I did a demonstration video here. First and foremost, this is not my recipe! It is from Mayi Carles magnificent and delightful Life is Messy Kitchen cookbook. It’s Gluten-free, vegan and the version you see in my video is 99.9% organic. I have adapted Mayi’s recipe to suit what’s in my pantry. I am also occasionally allergic to following instructions so you’ll see in the video that I went back and tweaked a few things. I hope it entertains and instructs! Regardless, I’m sharing this to remind you that if you work a Monday through Friday schedule, today is a great day to think about what you want to eat this week.

Click here for Mayi’s Heartmade Granola recipe. And dang it! I’m glad I just glanced at her recipe again because I realize that I forgot to add dates to my granola. Well, good thing it’s all still sitting on the counter. There’s a lot to be said about not cleaning up right away. And if you’re interested in Mayi’s Life is Messy cookbook, check out purchase info and her awesome 39-second video here.

See the instructional video below, remember to also add raisins, or dates or some kind of dried fruit like cherries!

I won’t use the term “meal planning” because that can feel overwhelming when today is a day of rest for many. My meal planning often consists of looking in the pantry and inside the fridge. Last week I said, “Oh I need to use that cauliflower,” so I happened to receive a nice email from Cookie and Kate in my inbox with 4 different easy recipes for roasting cauliflower. This meant that one day this week when I was on a 7-hour videoconference with a 30-minute lunch break during which I had 3 different phone calls, I could throw the cut and washed pieces in a bowl with some spices and coconut oil and then stick them in the toaster over to roast while I finished those calls and made my quesadilla with a side of avocado. This week, I’m thinking about tuna melts, chickpeas with indian spices and some quinoa. I don’t actually like quinoa but I’m trying to experiment with it so that I can gain the benefits of the protein and the fact that it keeps me full for a long time. There was one quinoa bowl I used to get in Chicago that included veggies and a ginger peanut sauce so I’m also thinking of making a ginger peanut sauce to have on hand for the leftover quinoa. The other thing I’m making is the Minimalist Baker’s Caramel Peanut Butter Truffles which are mind-blowlingly easy if you have a food processor. I’m experimenting with not eating white sugar so these satisfy my sweet tooth in a big way.

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In other news related to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon – A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship: I am participating in #NaNoWriMo which is National Novel Writing Month. It’s another way to encourage myself to continue working on Book 2! I spent this morning (after making and eating the granola), doing my own version of nature magic, researching, writing and singing. I’m very excited about the scene I created.  I share my process in the video below. If you want to get more inside scoop on Book 2 as well as some recipes and spells, sign up for my newsletter at http://rebeccavillarreal.com.  We will send out the first one by the end of the year. You’ll also get a preview of the documentary from my writer’s retreat on Orcas Island. In case you missed it, the trailer for the documentary is here and below my sneak peek.

Stay tuned for info on purchasing signed copies of The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon for the holidays! In the meantime, you can purchase it everywhere.

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Making Your Dreams Real & 100 Thank Yous!

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Readers and beautiful ones! I want to say thank you for buying more than 100 copies of The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship! Since we published the book on August 8, I set a goal of selling 100 books by September 30. Whether you bought one, told someone about it or shared it on social media, thank you! You can read all about why I wrote the book on my new website here. If you want to know the answer to “What if you could travel the world, go back in time, and eat your favorite foods along the way, all the while unraveling the mystery of your missing parents?” click here.

I’ve written this post with so much love and a desire to visit with you via video. That’s why I’ve compiled moments in the journey all together in this post. More than anything I hope this inspires you to go for your own dreams. No desire is too big or too small! That’s why I included a never-before-seen video of my own vision wall at the end. Here’s an appreciation video I made for you during my lunch break.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this beautiful story took me ten years to finish. To take you back to the moment we published the book, I’m sharing a video of me popping the cork to celebrate.

Here’s another video we created the weekend of publication which includes a delicious sweet potato pancake cooking lesson thanks to my favorite Life is Messy Kitchen cookbook by the amazing entrepreneur Mayi Carles.

It’s been so rewarding to read a mom’s Facebook post telling me that her daughter is staying up wait too late because she can’t stop reading Selma. And for a reader to send me this picture saying that she made a date night just for herself alone to read the book.

Selma Eat and Read Party

The reviews have been amazing! Here are some excerpts:

As soon as I started reading about Selma, I was hooked! — KC

I have fallen in love with Selma, her friends, family and adventures. Each page of this wonderful story takes you on a magical journey filled with love. This is a story you will want to share with the entire family. I can’t wait to find out where Selma takes us next. — Margaret S. Edwards

You will be swept away in a magical tale…Selma will inspire you to dream and believe in magic. Rebecca Villarreal creates a world where anything is possible-both good and bad-and how patience, understanding, love, and belief in oneself can truly be transformative…she teaches us to approach life with an open mind and with gusto. – John C. Kazmierczak

Thoughtful, engaging and delightful–your entire family will enjoy this page-turner! – Jaqueline M. Crocetta

I set aside an evening to dive into this delectable book and fell in love immediately with the cast of characters. Selma’s got a big heart and a mischievous streak that lands her in a spot of bother more often than not. I loved being on this journey with Selma, Guadey, and Hurley & Uli. And I honestly can’t wait for more. I think kids of ALL ages will enjoy this magical journey! –Linda Stockton

I was transported near and far, and imagined myself taking all of these adventures with Selma and her family & friends. It made me laugh a lot, it made me cry a little and it definitely left me wanting for a sequel. –J. Sullivan

Selma and her companions will be in several Christmas stockings this year. Hopefully, we will not have to wait long for a sequel! –Juliann Uritus

Signed copies!

And speaking of stockings or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or any holiday, we now have a team ready to send you signed copies! Please send an email to team@rebeccavillarreal.com and we’ll send you a form. The book is $12 and U.S. shipping rates for one copy are as follows: Media Mail $4; First Class: $5; Priority Mail: $8.50. Once we get your order, we’ll calculate shipping one or multiple copies to you and your loved ones.

I’m a HUGE supporter of independent book stores. You can purchase Selma through your local independent books store by searching and ordering here.

It’s also available on: Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and Nook.

Stay tuned in the coming months, we’ll be announcing which organization shall receive 5% of all net profits from Selma!

Creating Your Own Vision and Making Your Dreams Real

And here’s the treat I promised at the top of this post. Remember how I moved across country from Chicago to California? That was part of a very big and beautiful dream I held for 20 years. I kept wishing for it and working toward it.

A key step in getting me closer to how I wanted my life to look was to forgive others and myself any and all hurts and disappointments. It sounds simple and we know it’s not but it clears the way for so much yes in your life. I wrote a post about forgiveness here and shared resources related to forgiveness here.

The other way was to constantly declare my intentions either to my loved ones or to my broader family here on this blog. You saw me apply for a scholarship and very nervously and excitedly declare that I’d finish the book. The other thing I did was surround myself with images that supported my dream. Here is an intimate tour of my giant vision wall while which was built over time at my home in Chicago.

Everyone has a recommended approach to visualizing your best future. You are the best judge of that. Monday, October 12 is the new moon. No matter what you believe in the world, we all live in the same one. Here’s what I’d like to share about this moment: You are worthy. As we move into a new phase, take a moment to sit with that. You deserve joy, happiness and a rich life. Think about how you want to feel.*

One recent interview I enjoyed which helped me break through some of my own fears, is this “Big Strong Magic” interview by author Elizabeth Gilbert of researcher and storyteller Brené Brown. If you have little ones, put on your headphones because there is some adult language in it. There’s an entire podcast series on this available on iTunes and Soundcloud. You can listen to the interview here.**

I love learning about and creating my own rituals alone and with my family. Tonight’s a great night to do that. Or tomorrow night with the new moon. What if you took some time to write down a few old hurts rip them up and toss them in the trash then write some new gratitude lists or wishes for your new beginning? I’m on Day 53 of a #yearofgratitude. You can follow my journey on Instagram and start your own journey!

Please keep sharing your Selma love with her magical hashtag #cucalacas!

Thank you again for your generosity in helping my dreams come true. I hope my vision wall and these words open up a bright space for you to reflect and set some intentions for your best life ever!

With love and gratitude,

Rebecca

*P.S. A fun free tool to help you visualize how you want to feel is the Desire Map Core Desired Feelings library and graphic maker. I used the latter for my vision wall.

**P.P.S. I can’t help but encourage you to read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Rising Strong by Brené Brown. If you visit Brené’s site, watch her brief book trailer video including the Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted. And I can’t help sharing her interview on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. I broke through some MAJOR fear when I watched it. Enjoy!

Selma is out! Please #TellTwo

Today is the day! The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship is published!

Thank you for the love and support. It’s been ten years in the making. I’ve been sitting in awe all day, crying and laughing with joy.

Will you please do me a favor? Will you #TellTwo people who you think will enjoy the book? I’m hoping to share Selma’s adventures all around the globe. You can use Selma’s hashtag #cucalacas – it’s her magical word! The novel is for ages 10-105. And 5% of all net profits are donated to organizations benefiting youth.

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You can buy it on amazon in paperback and kindle.

And for my U.S. readers, you can support your local independent bookstore by purchasing through IndieBound.

It’s even in Ingram’s international catalogue so that my readers in Canada, Australia, the UK—throughout Europe, can ask their local bookstores to order it. Soon it will be up on iTunes, Barnes & Noble and Nook.

Here’s what two of my 5 star reviewers on Amazon already posted:

“I have fallen in love with Selma, her friends, family and adventures. Each page of this wonderful story takes you on a magical journey filled with love. This is a story you will want to share with the entire family. I can’t wait to find out where Selma takes us next.” – Margaret S. Edwards

“Even though this book is written towards young teens, it pulled me in from the first page. I was transported near and far, and imagined myself taking all of these adventures with Selma and her family & friends. It made me laugh a lot, it made me cry a little and it definitely left me wanting for a sequel.” – J. Sullivan

For more rave reviews by young readers and the Executive Director of Teaching for Change, click here.

What’s the novel about?

What if you could travel the world, go back in time, and eat your favorite foods along the way, all the while unraveling the mystery of your missing parents?

Recently moved to Chicago, fifth-grader Selma Calderón wants to use her magic to explore the world. She’s planning trips to Paris to taste a café au lait and a chocolate-filled croissant, to Uganda to see the mountain gorillas with her best friend, Hurley, and to Spain to visit the Alhambra palace. But she’s not supposed to use magic without permission from Guadey, her guardian, not even to do her homework, or to deal with the school bully, or to uncover the mystery of her parents who went missing when she was two.

Will Selma finally discover the truth about her parents and get to learn more magic, or will her impatience land her in some deep time-travel trouble?

You'll visit the Alhambra in Spain in the novel.

You’ll visit the Alhambra in Spain in the novel.

To see why I wrote the book, please visit my new website (hooray!) at http://rebeccavillarreal.com or just click here.

Cafe Au Lait with Selma in Paris

Cafe Au Lait with Selma in Paris

These photos are from my own travels to the same places Selma visits. Thank you so much for supporting me and Selma. And please, if you have a dream, take measured steps to make it happen. It feels so good and you’re worth it!

Will Selma get to visit the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Uganda?

Will Selma get to visit the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Uganda?

The Bravemakers are coming!

RBB Video Summit Logo FinalHurry! The Bravemakers are coming! The Bravemakers are coming! Today in honor of International Women’s Day, I want to share one of my favorite time-sensitve FREE resources for you. The theme for International Women’s Day is “Make it Happen.” On Monday, March 9, Jennifer Lee’s 5th Annual Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit begins. If you participate, it will give you that spark to make it happen! The summit runs through March 20th. (Guess what, it just might be the last one.) What’s a video summit? It’s an experience that’s open to anyone in the entire world who has access to the Internet. Just click here and enter your first name and email address to gain access to daily interviews with the most courageous and thoughtful creative entrepreneurs. Every weekday at 1pm ET, you’ll meet an “established” creative entrepreneur as well as a shining star. I’m excited that Katherine Carey, New York’s boldest milliner artist will be featured as a shining star. I’m tickled that I own one of her hats and even featured her on this very blog! Even if you can’t view the videos live, signing up will give you access for at least 24 hours after the video is aired. Here’s a peek at the line up: RBB Video Summit Final 2015 For more info, visit: http://rightbrainersinbusiness.com As Jennifer’s introductory video states, taking this time to participate, “gives you permission to listen to your deepest longings.” She speaks the truth. Two years ago, I listened, took a courageous plunge and made a declaration when I applied for a scholarship to Jenn’s premium group (you’ll learn more about that when you sign up). Here’s what I said: 

In the video, you can see how nervous I am to declare my dream in a public venue. I want to thank you, dear readers, for cheering me on because I won the scholarship. I’m forever grateful to Jenn Lee for giving me a forum (and the gentle push) I needed to keep plugging away at my dream. In the last line of my scholarship application video, I promised to give back one hundred fold. I’ve committed 5% of all net proceeds from the book to go to non-profit organizations benefitting youth. And then guess what happened? I got connected to a very supportive group of creatives from New York to Australia including Beth Barany and Stacey Aronson whom I hired to help birth my book, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón, A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food and Friendship. I’ve worked on this book for more than a decade, but did not take the true leap to publish it until I took a risk and made that declaration. You will have the chance to read my book this coming August! I’m taking another leap at the same time and moving my family to our dream town on the West Coast. Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon by Rebecca Villarreal Without being surrounded by inspiring stories like these, I don’t think I’d be here sharing my PUBLICATION DATE–it’s August 2015! August 2015! Think about joining me and creatives from around the world at the summit from March 9-20. Make it happen. Join us any day you can. Take a chance and dream! For more information about Jennifer Lee’s Books, visit her author page and her website. The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón, A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food and Friendship cover was designed by Alvaro Villanueva of Bookish Design.

Superpower Unveiled: Contentment

#WDS Rebecca Villarreal in a cape

This is not my first, nor my last post about superpowers. Or being a superhero.

It is the first time I’m writing about contentment and sharing some steps as to how I got there. The photo above was taken after an elated moment at the World Domination Summit, a gathering of people dedicated to adventure, service and community. Together we dared to answer the question, “How do I live an unconventional life in a conventional world?”

Clearly, donning a cape in public is the first step. I was inspired by Dee Williams who created her cape out of an airplane blanket during her speech about her life’s journey to building her own tiny house. (Read a perfect tiny blog post about this speech by Tiny House builder Ethan here.) Dee asked us to stand up and tie an imaginary cape around our necks. It may not surprise you that I used my wrap as a real cape in that moment. And that I walked out of the theater and down to the waterfront wearing said cape.

Try it. Right now. Stand up, shake your cape out in front of you, like you’re shaking out a sheet or towel before you fold it. Only this time, flip it around and over your head. You walk taller with a cape. You have to thrust your shoulders back to keep it in alignment. And you are driven by a strong desire to plant your feet firmly in an open stance with your balled up fists resting on your hips.

Try walking outside with your imaginary cape. No one has to know but you. You’ll notice that you have better posture and that your confidence experiences a little lift.

All that superhero set up is to tell you that recently, I went through an all-time low. Sad, dejected, I can’t quite say hopeless, but I was in the swamp. I saw it for what it was, some things happening in my life, some in my heart and some in the world.

I asked friends for help. They gave it to me with supportive words, hugs and perspective.

I also reached deep into my bucket of resources and remained open to the ones that fell in my lap. Here’s what I found

  1. Core Desired Feelings: Many of you know that I’m a believer in the Desire Map approach by Danielle LaPorte. It’s very simple. You figure out how you want to feel every day and you keep those same feelings front of mind, and heart. My Core Desired Feelings for the last few months have been Olympic Free Trusting Joy. (Note: you can change your Core Desired Feelings when the time is right for you.) I actually analyzed what in my life was lending itself to fulfilling those feelings. And I found one thing that was completely jacking it up: JEALOUSY. I thought I wasn’t one of those people that experiences jealousy, you know, those human people.  Then I realized I wanted someone else’s freedom. Freedom of time. And that was making me angry. I know, I know, be grateful, grass isn’t greener and all that. Come on, Rebecca, INSPIRE NOW! I couldn’t, until I zeroed in on the areas of my life where I’m free. So I took a five-hour semi-spontaneous bike ride along the lake and even went swimming in my biking clothes.

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I looked for other smaller windows of freedom like the quiet moment of reflection over my favorite Assam tea. Then I looked at areas of my job where I’m so free to create new tools to help the folks I love and adore. And the list kept expanding until I forgot about looking at someone else’s freedoms and I couldn’t find my jealousy because I was too busy being content and noticing miracles around me…like the tree pictured below on my bike path to work. If you want to play with generating your own Core Desired Feelings, visit this groovy graphic maker where you can plug in your favorite words to make your own electronic or printable visual reminder.

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  1. Tapping: I had heard about the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) from two of my most trusted advisors over the last few years and had dabbled, but not really tried. Tapping or EFT, is a blend of acupressure and talk therapy that has been scientifically proven to alter your brain chemistry. And here’s the kicker, you do it on yourself! I took a free webinar from Jessica Ortner to use tapping for weight loss, but really, I have used it to deal with anxiety, anger or sadness (in the form of disappointment mostly). It has been one of the most powerful paths to letting go of those feelings. It’s so simple, this short video is my go-to right now just to remind myself how to do it. The best part of tapping has been that it allows the “negative” feeling to bubble up and move through me,  then allows me to still love and accept myself. (As opposed to that internal script, “You shouldn’t feel this way! Look how fortunate you are!) This is particularly helpful to those of us who focus so much on gratitude that sometimes we smush down the negative feelings deeper and deeper so they have no where to go but in our guts, or to manifest in other physical triggers of stress. You can also just search EFT on YouTube and find a range of videos.
  1. The No-Diet: If you’re a faithful reader, you know I’ve spent time green juicing and being a vegan and a vegetarian as well as thriving with Weight Watchers. I loved those moments and I loved how I felt. Here’s the kicker: I’m done. I’m done with those rules and that rigor. I love food. I love exercise—fun stuff like biking, walking, swimming, yoga, soccer and dancing. So that’s it. I’m just eating real food. And drinking real wine. Mostly Pinot Noir and Rioja. No more rules. Just paying attention to what I eat, keeping it mostly whole organic non-GMO. And I’m so content.

There are more things I’ve been doing, like binge TV watching on the Kindle while doing dishes and working out (Scandal, Modern Family, Green Arrow). That’s been another outlet when I’m jonesin’ for freedom because it’s simple fun. I’ve made dates with my husband and with friends. I’ve laughed a lot with my kid. And I’ve prayed to God, my guardian angels and my guides to just help me be a vessel and make things easy. Mostly, I haven’t overdone anything. And for me, that’s revolutionary. That’s contentment.

I’m sending you a cape, some good posture and a superhero hug from me. Just be. You’re enough. You’re enough. You’re enough. And if you have any doubt, click on this Kid President video or watch it below. To quote him, “You have everything right now to change the world. If you want to be awesome, treat people awesome. I’m talking about compassion.” Sometimes, you have to treat yourself with compassion. Sometimes you have to see yourself as awesome, just the way you are.

Meet my noisy neighbor, Fear

 WalkThroughFearbyRebeccaVillarreal

I’m not exactly sure when she moved in. But I do know fear’s been with me since 5th grade. That year, the boy who liked me followed me home and punched me in the jaw because I wouldn’t be his girlfriend. Fear’s been that neighbor with the music pounding through the walls in my head when I submitted my first poem for publication. She came to visit me when my son was in the hospital, but she spent the whole time talking about herself. She’s been planting her lawn chair on my property poking at my heart each of the seven times I took a risk on love, until this last try worked out. She stands at my fence with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth yammering away as I expand my novel answering the questions asked by characters eight years ago when I didn’t know them well enough to answer. Or I was just too afraid?

What’s your fear?

Is it your boss? Heights? The dark? Your dream of becoming a writer, singer, chef, CEO, marathon runner, spouse, parent? Or is it just a fear of speaking up?

Fear’s that noisy neighbor inside your head. You might be so used to her voice that you think she’s your imaginary friend.

Fear tells you, “You’re not good enough, smart enough, brave enough…” And then there’s the way she controls others: “They’re going to laugh at you, find out your secret: that you don’t know what you’re doing.” Eckhart Tolle might call that voice your ego–those thoughts that are not real. Those voices are not real. What’s happening in the moment is real.

How much power do you want to give fear?

I’m not going to tell you to laugh in the face of fear. Though sometimes, you have to admit that the conversations with your neighbor, from an objective standpoint, or if they were in a movie, might be funny in a neurotic sort of way. Please know that I’m not referring to the fear when in life-threatening situations. That’s a different kind of fear. But even in those circumstances, I think that humans have the capacity to dig deep.

What about “tragedy”?

I asked Pam Teaney Thomas, the winner of my Birthday Blog Giveaway, about fear. I met her when speaking in South Dakota last year. She’s a remarkable woman, an artist and an activist who works with youth. She has seen her share of fear in the form of two life-threatening situations. Her house, including most of her paintings, burnt down. And she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Here’s what she said:

When I think of the hard times…you find the courage to go through them by those who have walked the path before you and are standing on the other side. They understand your fears, pains and needs. They made it, therefore so can I. The support of my Faith, Family and Friends were huge in pushing through. Each hard time made the next hard time not so hard. You become tempered like steel…Sharper, stronger, and shinier. You recognize that by walking through it there can be a sliver lining if you keep your eyes open to it. Count Your Blessings and Name them One by One and you will see what The Lord hath Done. Truly at the first anniversary of our Fire that is what we did, (it was hard especially for my 17 year old son, but was the best thing we could force ourselves to do). We are now 7 years out and we don’t miss that dinner together each year to celebrate the blessings, not the loss.”

Easy Tools to Deal with Fear

My friends, we can learn from Pam and we can learn from Fear. Here’s what I do now:

  1. Ask for help: I did this when I recently experienced a wave of almost paralyzing fear about publishing my novel. (The closer it becomes to a reality, the more my neighbor wants to keep me company.) I asked some lovely people to hold me up in a bubble of bravery, and that’s what they did, in words, through Facebook posts, with photos, and in thoughts and prayers. I also asked the divine for help. I pulled out all the stops, God, angels, guides, universe, fairies, moon—it made me exercise my vulnerability muscle in a whole new way.
  2. Push the button to walk. I actually walk through my fear like a swamp, because I know there is dry steady land on the other side. Steven Pressfield author of The War of Art, wrote about fear as a good thing. It can be a helpful messenger in showing you how much you want something. So the more frightened you are of taking action, the more you know it’s what you’re called to do. It can sometimes provide you with the adrenaline rush you need to get a task done.
  3. Write. It can be a poem. Or just a scrap of paper that you later rip up or burn over the stove. It can be a journal entry. An email to a friend. Try it. In writing down your fear, you face it differently. It can help you separate from those noisy voices and more objectively decide how much longer you want to pass the time with those thoughts and feelings.

Here’s an excerpt from a poem I wrote last week while swimming in the swamp of fear. One fear had triggered another and another until I was all memories and pain. It’s called: “A New Path.”

Higher self hanging by the tips of angels

feel my fingers slipping

go back to the page

repair one line at a time

fill in the space

between your eyes

there’s a knowledge

in everyone’s heart

and it rests right here

it rests right here

 

You can buoy your dreams

on a raft of chants, songs

steps on that new path

you wouldn’t have it

brick by brick

heel mark

pebble

rock

the charity of a new day

embrace it before

it’s gone again

So tune out your noisy neighbor when you need to, or shake your booty at her and use her yammering voice to propel you forward. Embrace this new day, my friend, it’s the only one you have right now.

Big hug from my heart to yours,

R

P.S.: For some other resources on dealing with fear* check out:

  1. Brené Brown: If you just want a 10-minute fix and a chance to laugh, here’s one of my favorite clips from her speech at the World Domination Summit. The ultimate victory over fear is to be able to choose vulnerability, to risk your heart in the face of it. If you’re not familiar with her research, consider watching Brené’s 19-minute TED talks focused on vulnerability and shame. They get at the heart of fear as well. I’ve also just started reading her latest book Daring Greatly and it’s amazing. If you’re already a fan, check out this recent interview with Jonathan Fields of The Good Life Project.
  2. Danielle LaPorte’s Making New Mind Grooves: A Discussion about the Neuropathways that are steering your life. This is a great way to train your brain out of its habits of worry or negativity. She also recently wrote about love and having a gentle heart, yet building a fence around it. You don’t have to let everyone in. That one resonated with me as I balance compassion with self-care.
  3. Hay House World Summit: This is a free online summit that started yesterday. You’ll be able to hear 30+ speakers online on a range of topics. I believe that for $7.00, you’ll have anytime access to 100+ speakers. (Registration fees go to their nonprofit.)

Finally, you can follow Pam Teaney Thomas on Twitter @PamTeaneyThomas

*Items one and two contain an occasional well-placed swear word in case you are sensitive about that. Stick with the content, it’s going to make you feel worlds better.

ExpandingSelmabyRebeccaVillarreal

Be Your Own Beloved

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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.

What?

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

love,

loved.

Why not try on these statements today?

I am love.

I am loved.

I am my own beloved.

YOU DESERVE IT.

Love from my pulsating yes of a heart to yours,

xo

Rebecca

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!

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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 http://www.rebeccainspiresnow.com 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 rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com 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 rebeccainspiresnow.com

[Style note: My fabulous hat is from Katherine Carey Millinery, http://www.katherinecarey.com. 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 http://www.davantichicago.com. 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.