Are you living your life fully? By fully, I do not mean, are you staying busy? Are you living happy, healthy, loving, learning and experiencing all that is around you? I know a great man like that…my step-father. Always smiling, positive, helping others, loving, generous and compassionate. What you wouldnt know is that Harry was ill, he had COPD for at least 5 years, his lungs operating with only 24% of oxygen-making each breath was a struggle. In addition he had possible cancer and probably much we will never know. But you could never guess, he was always smiling, with a twinkle of light in his eye, and never, ever complained.
Harry passed away 2 weeks ago, and of course our whole family is devestated. He was THAT GUY, the one everyone wanted around ALWAYS. He was never negative, in any situation, he just radiated goodness and love. I cannot even count all the things I learned from him in the short time I knew him, his everyday actions and words were like attending an intense “How to live the best way” class everyday. And what I have learned is that the age old expression, life is too short, is so very true. Today we all rush through life, in our daily routines, staring at cell phones, ignoring people around us and reading/watching useless nonsense. I am not judging, as I too am guilty often of being sucked into it. But I am aware. I know who I want to be and how I want to be. I want to look other people in the eye and acknowledge them as a fellow person on this Earth living. I want to recognize the gifts and goodness in every person I meet, encourage, inspire, enlighten or just share a smile. This connection, the emotions, the love between humans is what makes us so special. And our culture is sadly moving us farther and farther away from that…Closer to disconnection. Living consciously of the traps in life, connecting daily with people keeps your heart full and open and that is a huge part of living a full life. Do all those things you have always wanted, push past fear, ignore excuses. LOVE everyone around you, not materially but with hugs and kisses and kind words and TIME. And then on that day when you leave this world, you will leave it with a smile on your face knowing you truly LIVED. Much love to you my people.
For the second summer, for various reasons, including financial ones I have lived more in nature than in any apartment, house or conventional structure. What I have learned from this has been amazing. 1. GRATITUDE As the super blessed American people that we are, many times we take our simple tasks in living for granted. When you are living out of a car, camping with no running water or showers, or toilets, you begin to realize and appreciate everytime you turn on a faucet and water comes out, even just to wash your hands. And the luxury, yes, luxury of having a toilet to go to the bathroom in. There are hundreds of thousands of people in this world that have NEVER sat on a toilet seat. Are you understanding what I am saying? Its the little things. When you live like this, you are working to live. In the mornings, you hike to go to the bathroom away from your campsite because of animals. You hike away to do your dishes because food smells draw curious bears, wolves, and other animals. We recently moved next to a river which makes dish washing easier but you still carry your dishes about 100 ft or more down to the river. In the evenings you walk around and collect firewood for the evening fire. This simple camping/living is refreshing and free. I drink my morning tea while watching the water flow over and around obstacles in the river which serves as my daily reminder about life. Flowing, like water over and around obstacles. Mornings I try to do a little fitness, 5 Tibetians or yoga to start the day. This life appeals to me and today I was wondering why. What I realized is that nature is freeing because there are no expectations of you in nature. Its a place where you can just BE. And be you. If I walked into public places in a city with my hair all crazy like it is when I wake up in the woods, people would assume I was dirty, homeless, mentally unstable or something. Its not that I value too much (or really at all) what other people think of me, but I do think we can all agree that we feel the pressure to be a certain way depending on our surroundings. I am a beach girl from Florida and I live in bathing suits and I have noticed when Im travelling through places sometimes wearing a bikini as underwear, I think, wow maybe this is not appropriate wear for inland Georgia. I still do it but I acknowledge this societal pressure I feel to be a certain way. In the forest, you can do whatever, there are no mirrors, no glass to glance into and say, ugh my hair looks bad or this dress is not flattering, there is just beauty and fresh air surrounding you, greenery, life energy, little animals, flowers and trees magnificent old trees that shelter you. If you haven’t experienced this lately, try it…its a good, free happy feeling.
I am a beach girl by nature. A true mermaid, it pains me to be away from the ocean. Although my winters are spent in the mountains of Vermont (which I adore) if the choice ever had to be made, its ocean all the way for me!! This weekend I learned a valuable lesson of appreciating magic wherever it is….
One of my bestest friends Malissa has a farm near Alma, Georgia. She has invited me countless times to visit there with her and I never have until this past weekend. The idea of leaving the ocean and timing just never allowed it to happen. But this weekend all the planets aligned and we arrived on Friday to one of the most magical places I have been. The farm has been in her family for years, it was her beautiful, sweet grandmothers home and the minute you walk in the door you can feel the love of the home. Another wonderful thing is that it feels like you walked into a time warp, with nothing changed inside the house since years ago. Its true magic. We spent our days harvesting the organic blackberries and blueberries that were ready for picking…rain or shine, we talked and picked and just enjoyed the nature we were so blessed to be a part of. I did yoga early in the mornings on the edge of a beautiful freshly plowed field surround by big trees and forest. The sound of birds, frogs from the nearby pond and just silence filled the air as I breathed in the fresh air and did my practice. The cotton and peanut plants were just breaking the soil and the endless view of farmland around you literally takes your breath away. Wide open spaces…they are the same, peaceful, calm, uplifting, inspiring…whether its the ocean, or a vast canyon, or mountains, or this beautiful farmland. All amazing…all a blessing of peace and serenity. We saw buildings that her great grandparents were born in, tobacco sheds- and found a random Georgia peach tree just waiting for us to pick it! Such rich, priceless history. I am so grateful to have been able to share this experience. And even better, after all the blueberry picking, we made delicious jam with honey (no sugar, no pectin) for my very first jam making experience…so much fun!!
This weekend make me think a lot about farmers- Salt of the Earth people that farm because it is what they do. My Grandma who is 93 was a Nebraska farmer. She tells me countless stories about hard work and sacrifice and simple living just to put food on peoples tables. They must have a connection to the Earth, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. There is no major profit in it, and its really hard work, and risky… And even worse, these days they are fighting giant corporate monsters just to grow natural food the way it always has been. (Read up on Monsanto and GMOs) Sad things are happening to small farmers.
So, that being said, please support your local farmers…if they are still willing to put in all that hard work and dedication for small rewards, they deserve our love and support. Buy LOCAL when ever you can…spend the little extra money if you have to and remind yourself that you are investing in peoples hard work and spirit…That is a valuable investment.:-)
Sunday June 23rd, the Supermoon showed itself to all of us…and it was a beautiful, amazing thing to witness. I was blessed enough to do my evening meditation under the moonlight on the beach in Florida. Its times like those that I feel closest to nature and so grateful for all of it that surrounds us. It helps me to remember what is REALLY important to me. Time. Time is important to me…if I had to choose time or lots of money I would choose time. The ability to sit, comfortably, peacefully and without that feeling that you should be doing something is so priceless (to me). So, if you have read my other posts you understand that it does require sacrifice, but the sacrifice holds great rewards. Your mind seems to calm, your body feels peaceful its hard to describe really but when you feel it, you feel it! I am digressing but trying to encourage you to TRY it. Even if its giving yourself 10 minutes of solitude time a day. TRY it. You will begin to like it..and with practice, it will grow and flourish. I promise.
So because of the Supermoon, the tides were super high and super low, which enabled the ocean to deposit a lot of garbage on the beach. As I walked down the beach to go surfing, I noticed so much garbage. It really started to make me sad. And I thought the ocean put this here, we need to pick it up before the tides take it back out…I know I don’t want to surf in water with all that in it!! So after my surf session, I grabbed a bag from my car and proceeded to walk up and down the beach collecting trash. After probably 2 hours, I had collected over 50 plastic bottlecaps, tons of cigarette butts, 7 shoes-mostly flip flops, plastic bottles, cans, kids plastic toys, socks, shirts, countless plastic bags and straws and Capri sun packages, kite strings and plastic, bags, and other trash. I passed several people who commented and asked if my bags were all trash from the beach…I said yep. But what made me a little disappointed was that no one offered to help. I didn’t mind because I was doing it for me, but I don’t understand either the lack of motivation to DO SOMETHING even if its an hour of your beach sun time… But it was a successful venture and I was able to clean up one of my favorite beaches for yesterday and that made me happy. I am not under any illusion that more trash wont come up, but yesterday, that beach was sparkly clean, and if sand could smile, it would have been smiling ear to ear! So although the trash island that you hear about in the Pacific isn’t as huge as one would think, please think about the potential of that happening in the future if we don’t limit our consumption, recycle and be mindful of our waste. Those adorable sea turtles don’t know the difference between plastic bags and their normal lunch of a jellyfish, and the colored caps trick them into thinking that its colorful marine life snacks….same with fish…so help them!!!
Creative ideas to help:
Buy a Klean Kanteen -(www.amazon.com/sports) (www.REI.com/Klean-Kanteen) they are stainless steel refillable water bottles- the insulated ones will keep your cold beverages COLD for hours on a beach, and you can save money and refill them in water fountains and restaurants…That would help eliminate extra plastic. They also can hold your hot beverages…look for the interchangeable hot/cold lids. They are by far my favorite.
Buy a Nalgene – Better for not so hot area, but it really helps you measure the amount of water you drink. Also refillable and BPA free so even if your water gets heated up, its still safe for you!
Use plastic containers for snacks instead of baggies…you will most likely not forget them, and they don’t blow away with the wind. Bonus, they are reusable!
Bring a bag and plastic gloves to the beach and make a fun adventure with your kids of cleaning up…boys especially love treasure hunts…give them a prize for most gathered or weirdest find……teach them young to protect and preserve nature. They will remember who taught them these lessons later in life. I do! Thanks Mom.
Check these peeps out…they are MOTIVATED…http://www.projectkaisei.org/goals_and_objectives.aspx and cleaning up the oceans..
As of April 1, I could be considered homeless, well, if you took away the amazing people in my life who continually open their homes to me like they are my own. Thank you Donna, Malissa, Kristi, Stacey, Mom & Gram, Dave and everyone else who has offered me a place to crash. Special thanks to God, Mother Nature, the Universe (whatever you call your Divinity) because I have found a special love for sleeping in the outdoors as much as possible. This decision was a conscious one, I like to travel and even trying to keep a “place” for security seems like a ridiculous waste of money-which I don’t have, and even if I did, I do not want to waste. Helen Keller says, “Security is illusion, it does not exist in nature. Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.” One of my all time favorite quotes that I’m sure I will reference again in another post. So, after a month of organizing my stuff and giving away a lot of unnecessary belongings. I took a deep breath and felt good about the step toward simplicity. I must thank my friends Donna, Tony, and Eddie & Betsy for allowing space in their places for the stuff I did leave behind. After sorting through years of accumulation I found myself becoming so much more aware of the word, attachment. Why do we keep the clothes that no longer fits? Or the gifts that we really don’t like or use. I found pleasure in giving, giving, giving away stuff. In fact it became fun to send random things to random friends that I thought could use or appreciate a certain item. And I hope that was a much of a blessing to them as it was to me….because it felt great, really great. Cleaning the clutter out of your life has some profound emotional impacts. For me, it seemed that it was like a snowball down a hill. I began to clean up my eating habits more, my fitness, and even more than that, my THOUGHTS. With lots of meditation and thought, I began to clean my mind and gain clarity of my path, my direction in life….my MISSION and purpose here on this Earth. I believe we all have a purpose, some of us rise, fight, work and grow to reach it, and others may never even figure out what their path is. All I know for sure is that I am aware, I am rising, I am fighting for, working and growing…..growing exponentially at this moment. And SMILING, I am really SMILING at this moment too. Nomadic life can be challenging, but with this new found organization, its been a fun adventure. (Organization greatly inspired by a very special person who came into my life a few months ago…thanks Dave:-)) This guy should be teaching people minimalism…he constantly inspires me with his ability to live happily with very little. Im still working on that…hahahaha. I have realized that you can put a small dresser in your car and have an outfit for just about anything you need on the road. I have a crate with the kitchen necessities-smoothie maker (thanks roomie Sam for forgetting that:-)), a small expresso machine, a cutting board and knife, a fork/spoon/knife, bowl, plate, & cup. Seriously its all you really need. I carry a bin of food, with rice & beans, granola bars, nuts,& dried fruit. I have a small cooler bag that I bought in Hawaii that seems to keep my fruits/veggies/drinks all good when Im going from place to place. Theres a couple of small baskets with my toiletries (I am a girl afterall) with all the things I need. I brought 2 surfboards, 4 hula hoops, a yoga mat, a djembe drum-which I really need instruction with, and my newest adventure-a Native American Flute. I have always wanted to be musical, but well, with my lack of dedication my guitar is on Craigslist if anyone is interested. I figured the flute is travel friendly, an amazing instrument related to a culture that I love and admire, and I seem to have a 2-5% natural talent with it. hahahaha. I am an air sign, and I guess a wind instrument might be well suited for me. I brought one suitcase with varied clothes (warmer hiking clothes for the Fall months, not know where I will be). It all fits pretty neatly in my Honda Element-which I LOVE!! So, there that is my lifestyle choice for now and its working out good, I’m feeling free, with unlimited possibilities and happy, and to me that is priceless.
In Florida visiting family and friends…fun times!!!! Yesterday I tried to go to the library to do some work. The public library is closed 2 full days a week with limited hours during the other days. Mc Donalds is open 365 days a year from 6am-2am – some 24 hours!! What is wrong with our country??? I understand digital books have taken over, but, seriously,I challenge you reread what I wrote and really think about what it says about our nation’s priorities.
GMO’s have been on my mind a lot lately and I do my best to encourage people to do some research on what this really means for our food supply and how its impacting our salt of the earth, hard working farmers. If you read this and do not know about Monsanto or what exactly GMOS mean, please, please, please take a few minutes off Facebook (I know Im guilty of it too) and do your own research about what is going on with this. Its really important to know what is going on globally while we are working hard with our busy lives.
But there is a bigger picture, a HUGE picture that will impact all of us.
Day 1 Preparation for Bonnie’s Arrival
Arrived in Utah, I always forget the majestic beauty here until Im flying in and the gigantic mountains appear and I am in awe of their awesomeness. Drove to Eden, and got settled in the sweet condo with views of snow covered mountains out almost every window. A quiet, off the beaten path place with smalltown charm and openness abounding…
Day 2 The Arrival Night
Bonnie arrived in the evening, and we stopped for some dinner on the way to Eden. Arrived at the condo, did some yoga before heading to bed for a good nights sleep.
Day 3 Powder Mountain and Eden
Even though the weather predicted rain, we awoke to beautiful blue skies and did some morning yoga and meditation. Got our snow gear on and headed to Powder Mountain. As we arrived the clouds were still hugging the valley and began to slowly rise as we got our riding time started. We began on the trail named Drifter so appropriate since just days before I had begun my Nomadic Summer of drifting where the wind carries me.
Bonnie was all smiles as we zoomed down runs of beautiful packed powder. Run after run we enjoyed the awesome snow and rode until the lifts closed…headed back to the condo and went to Carlos and Harleys for some delicious Mexican food for dinner…followed by some AMAZING flan for dessert. A great day!!
Day 4 Brighton, Big Cottonwood Canyon and Salt Lake City
After hearing that Brighton got 13 inches of new snow, we became powder chasers as we awoke early to trek the 2 hour drive to Big Cottonwood Canyon.
We again were blessed by sunny, blue skies and white puffy clouds as we rode some of the best snow and most challenging terrain of the trip. As always Bonnie charged the trails like a true champ and I felt myself beaming with pride that this amazing women is my student and friend! Rode a trail off a 10000 foot peak that was a cat track with a ridiculous cliff drop off the side that would have been more appropriately named Go right and visit heaven NOW! I was so excited that Bonnie just hugged the mountain and followed me down it….later in the day I pointed out the run WAYYY up there and she was shocked that she rode it! I told her that she had to write 3 Bad Ass things she did of the day before she begin to write what she need to work on. She laughed and agreed that that was definitely number one Bad Ass move of the day. After our amazing day, we found a delicious and beautiful Thai restaurant called Pawits Thai. After a yummy Thai Ice Tea we ate some great food and then made the trek back to Eden.
Day 5 SnowBasin
Awoke to snowcapped mountains tinted in pink of the sunrise. Did some yoga, had tea and breakfast and headed to Snowbasin..Site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Snowbasin was different than the other low key resorts we had visited. The chandeliers in the lodge and high class foo foo bathrooms were a surprise and made us chuckle a bit…it’s a beautiful resort…although the warm temps caused melt that kept us from the strawberry peak, we rode some amazing terrain and Bonnie did a super challenging black diamond named Pork Barrell. The gigantic rocks at the summit are an astounding sight and we were blessed to see a SunBow at the top of the mountain. Bonnie again impressed me with her dedication to riding and great skills. She followed me down runs, and even hit the jump in the terrain park twice…!! It was so much fun.
After riding we had some delicious guacamole, tomatillo salsa and queso.
Afterwards we headed to Powder Mountain for our sunset snowcat safari. Since we were the only ones booked we loaded up on the giant snowcat and off into the backcountry we went. What an amazing experience.
Through aspen groves and out to a beautiful lookout we were all smiles and grateful for the spacious beauty we were witnessing. Powder is developing some of this area in the future so we felt extra blessed to see it before that happens. Its difficult for me to understand or agree with the destruction of nature for development and money. I try to understand but I don’t. I still believe in the Native philosophy that the land does not belong to us, we belong to the land. I wish more people shared that idea. Our guide Chad was such a kind, patient, and happy hearted guy…he pretty much catered to us the whole tour…and was such fun to talk to. As if we weren’t blessed enough, on the access road down we were talking and I said, Im so thankful for tonight and this amazing sunset (when everyone was predicting cloud cover and rain)..I said to Bonnie wouldn’t it be awesome if we could see a moose too? I sang, “Come on MOOSE!” and 2 seconds later what do we see?? A baby moose on the side of the road just chilling and eating grass!! Such blessings…such gratitude…such joy!!
Headed back home, did some yoga, had tea and enjoyed our last night of the adventure.
Day 6 Indoor skydive adventure!
Awoke leisurely and did some yoga, had tea, got all our stuff packed up and headed to Ogden to do some indoor skydiving…! Bonnie was a bit nervous but her smiles emerged as she jumped into the wind tunnel with the instructor and got the feeling of skydiving with the simulator! She said it was an amazing experience and left with a DVD of the adventure and a cool Tshirt.
Stopped at Sunshine café, a small local mom and pop café and had some lunch before we put Bonnie back on the plane to Albany, NY. A great week full of fun!!!
Had a delicious breakfast of crepes and coffee at the Java Cow in downtown Park City. Then packed up and headed toward the airport, by way of the Utah Museum of Natural History. What an amazing place! If you get a chance to visit it, do it. It is on the campus of the University and it a not only an archectectural beauty but also filled with tons of history and information about the people, and the landscape wonders of Utah. Its several floors high and each floor is another level of greatness. You can learn all about the history of the Native People of the area, the Great Salt Lake, the diverse geology, and much more! The Native Peoples exhibit gives a great history of events from actual Native accounts. It is at times heartwrenching to feel that such a spiritual and wise culture has had to suffer so greatly in the name of American progress. It is very enlightening and informative. The artifacts that they display are beautfiul treasures of handicraft that reminds one of the refreshing efficient use of resources and extreme respect and love for nature.
After a great visit, we stopped and had a quick light, healthy lunch and got all settled at the airport for the journey homeward. It was blessed week, full of adventure and fun.
So, today we woke up to windy, colder, not so ideal riding conditions…so we decided to make it an adventure/exploration day to Antelope Island a beautiful island in the Great Salt Lake. Its a State Park full of beauty, animals and history about the Great Salt Lake. We drove down a long road with the lake on both sides in which the colors of the water constantly changed based on the salinity in that area. We arrived at the welcome center for Antelope Island, watched a short video about the ecosystem and headed out to explore. The beautiful grasslands moved in the breeze and we stopped for a while to observe the herds of buffalo that live on the island. It was a beautiful partly cloudy day. We did a short hike to Buffalo Point where we had an amazing 360 degree view of the lake. It was far more stunning than we had expected for the day that started out with dark clouds, wind and snow flurries.
After a day surrounded by natural beauty we had a great Mexican Food dinner in Salt Lake City and headed back to Park City. A fun filled day!!! GIving gratitude for the diversity that surrounds us.
Rose with the birds this AM and loaded up the car for our 2 hour journey to Powder Mountain! On our way saw many interesting sights like the Devils Slide a strange and interesting rock formation right off the highway. Drove through several small towns and lots of beautiful views and arrived at the hidden jewel called Powder Mountain. What a place!! Its a beast of a mountain with a humble cozy lodge, friendly small mountain charm and snow, LOTS of snow!!! Not fresh powder but groomed packed powder, all day long. We were part of about 25 people at the mountain the whole day. I couldnt help but giggle at 330pm as we were still getting fresh groomed tracks on trails. This was the day that Bonnie blew the roof off her riding. There were a few trails we kept eyeing off one of the lifts…while I try not to psych people out by telling them what rating they are, I casually pointed at the trail and said that one looks good…do you wanna try it? She said sure, so off we went…Well, you have to remember that trails look different from afar and as we approached the trail, I saw the look of apprehension creep onto Bonnies face, and I looked her straight in the eye and said, “You have totally got this, you have to turn and keep your speed under control, but you got this!!” She lightly smiled and I dropped over the top which could be called a headwall because of its steepness, and Bonnie followed me down. The trail was called Dynamite and thats what I felt like yelling as she totally BLEW this trail off the map…and by that I mean, even tho she slightly clipped a small tree, she dominated the trail like it was a green in Vermont. I was beaming with pride knowing that 8 years ago this woman was riding green trails in Vermont, slowly and carefully….and now she’s dropping headwalls in Utah. I would never reveal this beautiful womans age but lets just say some people call her Grandma…and she rips, I mean RIPS on a snowboard. Not to mention she sports one of the sickest snowboard outfits out there!! (SEE PIC) This day, with beautiful snow,fresh groomers, blue skies, white puffy clouds and a student who continues to grow and improve drastically will remain in my mind for years to come!