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?

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!

The Universe’s Answer is YES

What do you do when the Universe offers you everything you’ve been working toward? For me it looked like dancing around in my living room and pumping my fist in the air while I yelled, “Yes, yes, YES!!!!” really loudly!

It started six years ago when I set some BIG changes in motion. My marriage was coming to end, I had attained a very unhealthy weight and I knew I had to change my life. Eventually, the divorce ensued. I started practicing yoga and the weight came off!

Because I loved Yoga so much I set my intention to become a yoga teacher. I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to pay for my training but I courageously put down my deposit and found that the rest of the money showed up little by little just when I needed it. A similar experience followed with a yoga retreat to Costa Rica.

That’s when I learned that the Universe’s answer is YES! If you want something, ASK for it and then WORK toward it. Don’t just sit on your bum with your hands extended waiting for the goods to drop into your hands. You have to help! You have to put energy in to get something out!

Eventually, I starting telling the Universe that I wanted to own a studio.  I even flew from Seattle to Florida to look at a yoga studio that was for sale. But that place didn’t feel quite right. So I waited and kept practicing and  teaching. I worked and educated myself and dreamt of what I wanted a studio to be.

Recently I went back to school to become a Licensed Massage Therapist – another skill to add to my resume. Then I told a few friends that I was planning to move to Georgia in July – checking in to see if they would maybe have some work for me….and the Universe had a great big YES for me.

Neely Hunter, the owner of Balance Wellness Studio offered me a partnership in her business! Balance couldn’t be more perfect. It is a holistic wellness center that offers massage, reflexology, acupuncture, community meditation and education, Feldenkrais, yoga, barre & Pilates. It’s a cooperative community of wellness professionals and It’s exactly what I would have built on my own!

The Universe’s answer is YES. It may not happen overnight. It might take 6 years. It might take a lot of hard work on your part to be ready for what the Universe has in store for you. Don’t give up hope. Keep moving in the direction of your dreams. The perfect place is out there waiting for you!

You can learn a little bit more about My Yoga Story here. 🙂

Peace, Love & Namaste.

Wild Carrot Herbals – You gotta try this!

I’ve been on a crusade lately. I want to eat food that is fresh from the garden or farmer’s market. I want to use Essential Oils as natural remedies for health and skin care and I want to use products for my body that are a combination of all things good: fresh, healthy, holistic and clean. And Wild Carrot Herbals is all of the above!

I first became acquainted with this company a few years ago while working in a yoga studio in Stanwood, WA. I fell in love with the Wild Rose Eye Cream and also their “Lord, my hands are so dry!” lotion.

So I looked them up online and found out that they offer a Sampler Pack by mail. For only $5 I received this great packet of trial size products.

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In it I found good things like Luminous Lemon & Lavender Eye Brightening Cream and Gaia Goo Healing Salve (say what?) Borage Butter Cream (sounds like a dessert) and even Hemorrhoid Healing Salve – glad I don’t need that today. LOL.

Every email I received was signed with “Love and Blessings” from the owner and I found myself looking forward to checking my email to see what I would find there – THAT doesn’t happen very often with companies that email me – how about you?

In the world of Sacred Commerce they are doing everything right. They are a small family owned company in rural Oregon. Their packaging is made from recycled materials. They make everything from scratch and package it in small batches. Everything has an expiration date – because it’s FRESH and organic.

But more than anything I love this company because of the way they make me feel. I feel like I am a valued customer and that I am furthering the ethics that I choose to live by….by working with them…..AND that’s the kind of company I want to purchase from.

Why the name Wild Carrot?

from their website:

“According to the ‘Flower Essence Repertory’, by Patricia Kaminsky and Richard Katz, Queen Anne’s Lace flower essence harmonizes both ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ energies, so that one can stay connected with the Earth, yet also be emotionally clear and objective in one’s spiritual insight and vision. The Queen Anne’s Lace flower (aka Wild Carrot) helps to ground and stabilize, as well as to refine and sensitize the soul’s ‘clear-seeing.’

See you way clear to the Wild Carrot Herbals company. I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Peace, Love & Namaste – from Dawn.

Choose Love over Fear

We have a decision to make in every interaction that we have in life and it’s simple. You can choose Love or you can choose Fear. If someone gets in your face and is belligerent, you can choose to smack them upside the head OR you can choose to let it flow off your back and say a silent prayer for them. When someone cuts you off in traffic you can flip them the bird OR you can choose to believe that they may have an emergency to get to. And if things just don’t seem to be going your way you can give up OR you can choose to believe that something better is on it way!

I know it seems like a small choice. It is. But if you consistenly choose Love over Fear your life will be a whole hell of a lot happier and easier.  But what does each word mean? What does Love encompass (besides the obvious) and what does Fear stand for?

Love = Happiness, Hope, Faith, Trust, Forgiveness, Looking for the Silver Lining, Believing it will get better, Taking care of our self, Believing the best of others, Letting people in front of you in line, Giving, Sharing, Talking to the Homeless, Holding the door open, saying YES when appropriate, Calling your mother, Believing in Abundance, Helping others, Believing in yourself and rooting yourself on with “I got this!”

Fear = Jealousy, Anger, Throwing a fit, Creating drama, Gossip, Pouting, Dishonesty, Being negative, Scarcity, Us vs. Them thinking, Isolation, Perfectionism, Addiction, Not being your real self, Worry, Selfishness (not self-care), “I can’t”, Thinking you are better than anyone else, Hoarding, And I’m going to add Depression because I’ve been deep in it and I know how fearful I was.

These lists are not complete by any means. They are just what I could come up with quickly off the top of my head.  When you are in the moment to choose, you’ll know which category you’ve chosen. Just remember that saying “no” to others can mean saying “yes” to yourself and that is definitely choosing LOVE. And there is a difference between taking care of yourself and being constantly self centered – which is not choosing love.

No matter what, it’s always a good idea to stop, breathe and think before reacting. Our life and our world is a reflection of our actions but none of us are perfect. We won’t always make the right choice. So if you mess up, choose Love and forgive yourself and move on!

Move Toward What is Light

I got some great advice the other day. And it came from someone I don’t even know. He’s a self-help guru from Los Angeles that I found out about on the Internet! Now I normally don’t go looking for a lot of help online unless I’m really down. But what he had to say landed in my brain with a, “Oh yeah!” And just like that I was hooked.

He said lots of great things but the thing that hit home was, “Move away from what feels heavy and move towards things that feel light.” Easy right? So, why have I never thought of it this way before? I’ve said, “If it isnt’ a HELL YES, then it’s a NO.” That’s a pretty good one and I’ve also said, “What’s meant to be will be.” Isn’t that a song from the 50’s or something? LOL…..

But FEELING how your body reacts to a situation or a question is easy for me. Do I want to travel around the world – Hell Yes! Excitement, My face smiles – hence lightness!!!!! Do I want to stop going to school and do it right now? Ummmmm no….concern, worry, lots of questions….hence a heavy feeling. See it’s easy! Give it a try!

Yeah….right now….ask yourself a question and see how your tummy feels….does your heart drop? Or do you start to worry about it? Or does it make you get all squirmy feeling and excited??????

I hope it works for you too. Sometimes all we need is a new tool to help us figure things out. Because we commit ourselves to things that we really don’t want to do ….because we get shamed into it, or our mom makes us feel guilty, or we just feel societal pressure…the reasons are never-ending really. And the truth is we shouldn’t do that.

Stick with your gut – your inner Guru. It will give you an honest answer if you listen. Try it out this week and let me know if it works for you!

Now you’ll have to excuse me because I’m feeling like it would be a very good idea to go spend some time walking in nature!!!!!

Being Still and Quiet

Today I tried something totally different. I did my yoga practice in the quiet. Usually I play music – anything that fits my mood. Sometimes I listen to mellow stuff like Norah Jones and some days I rock out with Pink and Christina. But today, for some reason as I entered my yoga room the idea came to me to just be quiet.

Now, for those of you who know me, you know that being quiet and still is a real challenge for me! I have an opinion on just about everything and I’m not shy about sharing. And stillness is challenging for me.  Yin is not my favorite class because I want to MOVE, sweat, get my heart beating and burn calories.

So as I began to move I was surprised by how lovely the quiet was. My window was open a bit so I could hear the birds waking up and chirping hello to each other. I could hear cars making their way into the beehive. An owl hooted low and mellow…and I could hear my breath.

When is the last time you heard your breath during practice? And I don’t mean….”pant, pant, huff and puff Yeah of course I hear my breath!” I mean a slow measured inhale and exhale with each move….keeping the focus internal. REALLY taking time to hold each pose for 5 slow breaths.. holding the pose in stillness for longer than usual..tuning in to the muscles being used and making any small adjustments that are needed.

Of course, I wasn’t able to stay focussed the whole time. My mind did wander a bit…mostly to YOU. Whenever I practice I’m always thinking about what I will share with you. What is it that I learned today that I can tell you about? What message does the Spirit have for us? So YOU were right there with me this morning!

We are so busy in our every day lives. We spend a lot of time distracting ourselves. TV, cell phones, music, books, magazines…conversations….None of these things are bad in and of themselves but when was the last time you were just quiet and still? When is the last time you connected to the voice within? When is the last time you listened to your heart and heard your breath?

Krishnamacharya said, “Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.