Taking Time in Georgia

Have you ever had one of those months where life just seems to be going too fast? You are so busy that you’re constantly misplacing your keys or phone, the 36 unread emails in your inbox are making you feel anxious and you know you really need to vacuum but you can’t find the time?

Life seems to be moving faster these days. Everyone is in a hurry! We rush through the grocery store to get to yoga class. We hurry on the freeway and rush our kids through multiple activities each week.  We are over scheduled and stressed and it’s starting to take a toll.

When life feels hectic and I can’t think straight, I go on a road trip. I get in the car with my guy and we explore some place new and try to unplug from the routine of our lives.

This past weekend, we headed northwest from Darien toward Madison, GA. After a little time on the road I began to relax.  I started to notice Indian Paintbrush, Wisteria and Spiderwort growing wild at the roadside. I saw tall green Pine trees and Pecan Orchards. I saw fields full of cows and banks of azaleas bursting into bloom!

Our room for the night was a small log cabin located at Crafdal farm – a 50 acre piece of land devoted to nature, gardening and animals. The yard around the cabin brimmed with Columbine, Spiderwort, Phlox and Dill. Lime green Maple trees provided privacy and a welcoming front porch invited us to sit for a while. Handmade quilts hung on the bed, the outhouse was only a few steps away and alpacas, goats and a rooster were our neighbors.

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It was perfect. It was quiet, secluded and comfortable.  It was ok to just sit in the rocking chair and read a book. I could brew a cup a tea and watch the alpacas stare back at me. I might walk around the property or take a nap. There was no rush or hurry…..at All.

It was like we stepped out of time. Because there was no “rush” or “hurry” time seemed to expand – It was as though there was MORE time than usual.

We took that time and walked around the historic town square and sat in a coffee shop listening to music. We enjoyed each other’s company. We slept curled up together against the chill. We took the time we needed to move away from the crazy, hectic, anxiousness of every day life. We took the time to sit on the front porch, not saying a word, and listen to the hummingbird zip through the nearby bushes.

We took the time to slow down in Georgia.

And my wish is for you to be able to do the same. Peace, Love, Namaste.

 

 

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What I Learned from Travel

As a child, I moved all the time. 6 months here, two years there. With my mom for awhile, and then my grandparents. I’ve lived in trailer parks and the basement of a friend’s house. I also lived in very nice suburbs and out in the middle of nowhere. I went to 8 different school from Kindergarten through graduating High School. So travel and moving was instilled in me at a young age.

By moving all the time I learned how to make friends quickly and also how to say goodbye and let go of those friends. I learned that having possessions only slowed us down. It was easier to move if you didn’t have a lot to pack. I became accustomed to giving my things away. I also didn’t have pets. You can’t have a pet if you’re living in a travel trailer in Valdez, Alaska. It’s just too small and cold.

As I grew older and got married I knew that I wanted to have kids and have a house somewhere nice where we could raise those kids. And we did that. I stayed in one place for 15 years. And even though I was stationary geographically I was always changing things around the house. Changing the furniture, changing the paint colors, changing the landscape. I had been programmed to be comfortable with change.

Changing things around the house was my way of feeling that I was having some kind of small adventure even though in my heart I wanted to provide stability for my kids because I didn’t have that in my childhood. And to this day – my children are still in that small town, in the house we raised them in. Is that a good thing? Sometimes I don’t know.

Over the course of the last five years I have been traveling – really traveling. Our first trip was a Yoga Retreat in Tulum, Mexico. It was heavenly – beautiful blue water and white sandy beaches. Fresh, healthy food, yoga every morning and long walks on the beach every day.

Then Costa Rica. Luna Lodge – a yoga retreat but this time in the jungles of the Osa Peninsula. Where Howler Monkeys wake you up every morning, the sand of the beach is black and turtles as big as dinner plates emerge from the mud when it rains!

A yoga teaching stint in Belize followed. Then Italy, Thailand, another trip to Belize, A sailing trip to the Dalmatian Islands of Croatia, Gibraltar, Spain, The Bahamas and BVI’s, the north coast of Africa and around and across the U.S a few times. It’s been a busy five years!

And what I have learned through travel is that WE ARE ALL ONE. We all want the same things. We all want to be happy, to have the freedom to live our lives in peace, to raise our families and prosper. In every place I have traveled – everyone wants to help. Locals will help you find what you are looking for. They will try to find someone who speaks English to help you and they will help you make change!!!!!

I also learned that I am a part of something much bigger than just the United States. I am a citizen of the world. I am part of the WHOLE and I am responsible for what I do. I am responsible for how I treat the environment. I am responsible for how much plastic I use and throw into the trash. I am responsible for the karmic energy I put out into the world: how I treat people, whether I create community or competition – whether I choose Love or Fear. I am responsible.

And finally traveling taught me that I am more capable that I thought. I always tell the story of traveling to Italy alone (with a tour group) but alone. And one day our leader left us in Florence with a map. We were on our own to tour the city, see what we chose and make our way through the day. And although I was a bit nervous. I did It! I even managed to get my hair cut at a salone where no one spoke English and I also got a tattoo! All without speaking Italian! It was a big moment for me. I felt grown up and capable and proud of myself.

And even though I now live in Georgia and I’m setting down roots here, I still want to make time for travel. And I want to take YOU with me. Where would you like to go? How about we go on a Yoga Retreat to Costa Rica and see what travel will teach YOU?

Time Traveling in Texas

I drove across Texas today. I was on a small two lane freeway in the hill country noticing the beautiful Live Oaks and the creamy white Limestone buildings. Big huge American and Texas flags fly over businesses and homes. My windows were open to the warm sultry air and ….BAM….suddenly I was 19 years old again living in Austin Texas…and the slide show of memories began:

Stretching pizza dough at work, hanging out by the pool, being young and happy, driving down long country roads, hanging out on 6th street just for the free happy hour buffet, watching bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge, taking sign language classes at the Texas School for the Deaf, going to the Oasis to watch the sun set, working at the library at the University of Texas, going to Barton Springs when it got REALLY hot, that one time it snowed and we stood outside staring up in amazement, meeting a guy who really made me laugh.

So many really good memories. It’s funny though I know not all of it was good. There was bad relationship stuff in there and lots and lots of stupid choices. But those things seem to just fade in the light of all the good things that happened here. It’s kind of nice when you get to look back and you can give yourself grace.

I wasn’t here all that long but it was totally worth it. All of the memories made me smile and I was with that man who really made me laugh for a long time. We made two gorgeous babies who are now grown and making memories and stupid choices of their own…..and BAM…..I’m back in the present.

And the present is good too.

 

 

Happy Tools

I’m happy most of the time. In fact, I’m so cheerful that occasionally it irritates people! I have normal emotional ups and downs but after thinking about it, I realized that I’m happy about 85% of the time. I have been really, really unhappy before though. In fact, I spent a year in clinical depression. Depression so painful that I didn’t want to breathe anymore. It was awful. So I work really hard NOT to go back there.

My favorite tool to keep me on the happy side of life is to count my blessings. I try to find at least five: I have love in my life, I have a place to live, I’m healthy, I’m doing something I really like and My kids still say, “I love you mom!” When I’m having a really rough day my list looks more like this: I’m breathing……I have gas in my car…….UMmmmmm….I have coffee…. squirrels are cute… I like the blue sky…. But at least I can still find five things!

My next best tool is to move (sometimes drag) my mind into the present moment. If I am busy worrying about something then I am NOT present. I’m really in the future making up stories about what “might” happen and then making myself sick over it. If I’m thinking about something in the past I’m not present in this moment either. When I finally bring myself to this moment I can see that everything is fine. I’m ok. Life is good and I don’t have anything to complain about.

Another tool that I use is exercise. I am a yoga instructor so I practice some kind of yoga daily. Yoga helps me get in touch with my body and my mind. It helps me “burn away the crazy” and also produces ‘Happy” endorphins in my brain! I also like to hike, ride my bike, swim or paddleboard. Any kind of exercise is helpful!

An often used tool is to talk to others about what is bothering me. It can be a professional counselor or a really good friend. But it needs to be someone I can be brutally honest with. Someone who will just listen and not judge. This person/or group of people can take some time and trial and error to find! Unburdening myself in this way takes a ton of weight off of my soul and raises my happiness level by leaps and bounds.

Hugs or hand holding is a great way to boost my happiness level. Humans are made to be in connection and communion with others. Being able to hug someone – tight, or walk around holding hands is an essential part of how we are made. If you’re not with a partner right now, go get a massage. Appropriate touch through massage can be a very worthwhile thing in your life. It is especially helpful for senior citizens who have lost their partner in life.

Going outside is probably one of the most underutilized ways to boost your happiness level! Our bodies need the vitamin D that the sun gives our skin. At least 20 minutes a day outside is recommended. I lived in Seattle for most of my life and there is not enough sunshine there but being outdoors at least gave me fresh air, green moss under my feet, huge pine trees to smell and ocean views. The sound of the waves can be a great meditation tool!

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So, if you’re feeling a little out of sorts please try one (or all) of these Happy Tools! Life is good. It’s difficult sometimes but it’s worth it. Every day.

From My Heart to Yours!

How to Drive in SoCal

Did you know that there are new driving rules?  You won’t find these rules written down in your Driver’s Hand Book or online. You have to learn these rules by driving around in Southern California. Here they are in no particular order.

*These are not real rules. Just my frustrated venting. 🙂

  1. Drive as fast as you possibly can! Pretend this 6 lane highway is a video game. You can swerve in and out of cars, you can go 80 or more and there are no consequences for your reckless behavior! While waiting at a stop light please rev your engine and then peel out and race to the next light one block up and then slam on your brakes just before the intersection!
  2. When turning a corner you may turn into ANY lane you like! Normally if you are in the far right lane and you turn right you would turn into the far right lane in the direction you are going…but NOT here! Here you can change lanes at any time during your navigation from your original street to the next one. Have cars on either side of you? Pay them no attention….just move on over whenever you feel like it!
  3. Semi Trucks can go through lights of ANY color. Green Yellow, Red…who cares? Just go. You’re so damn big no one is going to stop you or get in your way no matter how long they might have to wait. (Especially if they drive something really small like a Mini Cooper!)
  4. Turn Signal? What’s that? We don’t use blinkers here in SoCal. Blinkers are for the weak and undecided. They don’t need to know where you want to go. It’s really none of their business anyway – Just GO. No room for you between cars? Don’t worry…just squeeze yourself right in there. They’ll make room.
  5. The following rule is two inches. Grannies leave several car lengths between their car and the car in front of them. REAL SoCal drivers leave only inches between their bumper and the license plate in front of them. You should be able to see what color eyes the driver in front of you has! Maybe if you get right up on their butt they will go faster?

I’m sure there are more rules that I haven’t learned yet. I’m doing my best not to be angry when I drive but it’s a challenge! Hope you got a little chuckle out of these rules. Only three more months and I’ll be learning the Georgia State Driving Rules! Have a great day y’all!

 

I Love America.

Occasionally you have one of those moments. A moment that catches your breath and makes you stop in place. A moment that cuts through everything that is going on in your world. A moment that stops time.

The first thing I saw as I walked up into the main concourse of Grand Central Station in New York City was our American flag. It literally stopped me in my tracks. My heart caught in my chest and all of a sudden, I felt a wash of pride for our country.

I was rather surprised because I haven’t been feeling all that proud lately. I’ve been feeling rough around the edges and bruised.  I’ve started avoiding the internet and news channels. My intention is not to stick my head in the sand but to maintain my sanity.

It’s scary that we have allowed our differences to divide us so deeply. We have allowed fear and anger to separate us into warring factions. Our frustrations are being channeled into name calling and I believe we have lost sight of how great our nation truly is.

I believe that we have much more in common than we realize. And I believe we all want the same things. We want to feel safe. We want freedom to pray (or not pray) as we see fit. We want the chance to create a life of opportunity for ourselves and our children. We don’t want anyone to tell us who we can love.  And we all want to be heard.

I see us as a great big family!  And our beautiful American family was on display this weekend in New York City!  A Mennonite family in home-made dresses going to see the Statue of Liberty. An Italian man surrounded by his playing grandchildren. A born-and-bred N’Yawka holding a door for me. A man on the subway playing his guitar and singing about politics. Men in long, heavy dreads sloshing through the snow. A Jewish family riding home from a protest.

As a family it’s our responsibility to take care of each other. Sure, some of us are loud and irritating. Some of us are shy. Some of us always want to wrestle and fight….and some of us are peacemakers. We all have a place in our family. No is left out. You belong, I belong and we all have to do our part in this family so we can feel proud of what we accomplish.

This country was founded by a group of determined, intelligent bad asses who weren’t going to take no for an answer. They knew we were great before we knew it! They knew our ideals were worth fighting for. They knew that “WE the People” had strength and a common purpose. Our flag represents all of that hard work, our heritage and our history.

We may not always agree how to get there – but we will figure it out together. We have survived rough patches in the past. We have made mistakes – we all do. We have apologized. We have fought and given mercy. We are strong and mighty and have the power to kick ass.

So, today I’m proud to be an American. I still feel a bit shaky but I love us. I love who we are and who we can be. I love our beautiful land. I love our many colors but most of all I love our hearts. Because we all want what is best for us – we just sometimes disagree on what that is.

As I rode the subway out-of-town I couldn’t help but start to sing quietly that old Woody Guthrie song.

“This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.”

Happy Valentines Day America!

My Birth – DAY on the Sea.

Okay, I know, I know!!! My birthday was last month! No, I’m not trying to drag out my birthday into another month but I do have something really important I want to talk to you about. It’s Balloons.

Most of us purchase balloons for our children’s birthday or maybe even to “let go” at our wedding shower. I see them in the grocery stores, the flower shops and even at restaurants sometimes. They are everywhere – Unfortunately.

After our last sail from Catalina Island to Ventura, California I will NEVER purchase another balloon. We saw at least 15 balloons floating randomly on the surface of the ocean and were able to save only six. I will say, it kind of felt like The Universe was saying “Happy Birthday DAWN!” because I have never seen so many balloons in the water.

But balloons don’t belong in the water. Fish try to eat them, birds get the strings wrapped around their necks and choke to death. Turtles get stuck in them. This is not a happy event for them!!!!

I know balloons look pretty and I know it’s a “thing” we human do to celebrate….but I KNOW we can find something else. I know we’re smarter than this! In fact,  If you are reading this,  I’m going to ask you to be bigger than balloons. I’m going to ask you to find another way – buy a cookie or a big cardboard sign or ANYTHING.

These oceans are OURS and we have to do what we can to try to keep them clean, to keep the fish healthy and to stop polluting our fricking home!

Because this:

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Is NOT worth this:

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P.S. We found a Mylar balloon in Joshua Tree as well 😦 Below is some more info for you. Please do your part to help. Namaste.

http://balloonsblow.org/impacts-on-wildlife-and-environment/