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.


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.


  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.

Get Your Brave [Bot] On.

#weneeddiversebooks #bravebot #RebeccaVillarreal #cucalacas

Pick one thing!

Pick one thing!

Pick one thing!

It’s so hard, but I will try to focus on one tool that stuck with me from last week. I had a life-changing experience at The World Domination Summit (WDS). It’s taking every fiber of my being to share the energy in bits, because there was so much to take home for my mind, heart and soul.

WDS is the brainchild of author Chris Guillebeau. I can’t wait for his latest book, The Happiness of Pursuit, to to be released on September 9. Over the course of ten years, Chris has traveled to every single country in the world. After 9/11, he wanted to “do something.” So in time, he launched the World Domination Summit. He invited people to Portland to answer the question: “How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” With the core values of adventure, service and community, I joined 3,000 people at WDS, now in its fourth year. Chris doesn’t take a salary for the event and though there are a few staff members, the summit wouldn’t exist without the corps of amazing volunteers who truly wanted to be there. I’ve never felt so much love and commitment to service in one room.

I will tell you that as a human vessel, I was moved more than I’ve ever been moved in my life. Don’t I look like I’m about to explode with joy? Dominate the world? I intentionally took plenty of time alone when not in sessions to come down off of the excitement and soul-moving stories and insights. If you like TED Talks, this was like TED on steroids while being surrounded by some of the most kind and interesting people from around the world. I met scientists, software designers, day traders, writers, artists, musicians and world leaders. And when I say world leaders, I mean ordinary people taking small and big steps every day to change the world.

World Domination Summit #WDS2014  Armosa Studios

(Photo credit: Armosa Studios)

So here’s my one thing I’ll share today: Gary Hirsh launched Bot Joy to help people feel brave. One eleven-year-old girl with diabetes used her Brave Bot to inject her arm with insulin before every meal. She’s gone through several bots because she rubs them again and again, wearing the paint off. The impetus for this project is based upon Gary’s childhood memories of waking up with nightmares of monsters. His dad encouraged him to draw and name the monsters during their 3:00am kitchen table sessions. Years later, Brave Bots were born. At WDS, Gary asked, “What’s one brave thing you’ve done?” Stop and think about it. Brave things can come in small packages. Your answers might surprise you. He also asked,

What’s one brave thing you want to do, but haven’t?”

One of my favorite answers (from Gary’s friend) was:

“Write a book. What if it sucks? What if I get lost in the middle and can’t find my way out? What if nobody cares? What if it’s not funny? What if it’s not smart? What if it’s not truthful? What if it is? (And which is worse?) What if my mom reads it and makes that pursed-lip face and then has no comment beyond pointing out a grammatical error on page 47?”

Okay folks, so here’s my brave thing I want to do but haven’t:

I am taking some time off from working on my novel, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón, A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food and Friendship. I decided to move publication to 2015. And for the very driven Rebecca, this takes courage. I am choosing to slow down so I can stay healthy while working and enjoying life with family and friends. This is a brave step in staying whole.

Here’s the other brave part: at the top of this post, I’m hanging with my bot. And for the first time, I’ve unveiled the cover of my novel just for you, dear readers! Isn’t it beautiful? I love, love, love it! Alvaro Villanueva of Bookish Design created it.

This makes it real, folks. As if it wasn’t already.

So what’s one brave thing you want to do, but haven’t?

To experience more of Gary Hirsch’s presentation at WDS, click here.

To see my fellow WDSers activating their bots, click here.

To steal Gary’s idea and make your own bot (really, he wants to you to), click here.

Sending you love and bravery, every single day from me and my bot, Olympia. (I just named her that.)