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?

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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.

 

 

My favorite Eats in NW Washington State.

There’s just nothing like going back home after a long absence. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest so I get all exited and start making lists of things I want to do and people I want to see. But inevitably my list ends up being a bunch of places where I want to eat!  So here is my list of places that you absolutely MUST go if you ever visit the north-west corner of Washington state.

Bow, WA – The Breadfarm. This tiny place is the bakery to end all bakeries. They make THE BEST sourdough bread around and OMG the cookies are amazing! It’s a little off the beaten path but it is SOOOO wort the effort to go check it out. Be sure to bring cash because they don’t accept credit cards. They also go to most of the local farmer’s markets so you may be able to find them that way also. What i like to get here is a big box…then I start picking cookies that look good to me. Cookies for breakfast even? You betcha!

Mount Vernon – Skagit Valley Food Co-op. The Co-op is Ahhhhmazing! It is an organic grocery store that sells everything from produce to essential oils. They have a shop upstairs where you can buy jewelry and kitchen gadgets but their deli is what always gets me! The food is fabulous and good for you too! They have a hot table full of yummy goodness, desserts, a salad bar and cold case full of prepared foods. They also pull a mean shot of coffee.  My favorite thing is the coconut cuban rice pudding. Try it, you won’t be sorry!

Anacortes – The Store This little shop at the top of Anacortes is a big surprise! It doesn’t look like a whole lot from the outside but boy do they deliver! The sell wine and other various sundries and also have a small cafe where they serve coffee and snacks. But where you will find the line of people is at the bakery counter where you can buy humongous muffins that will leave you wanting more and more and more! My must haves are the coconut muffins or a bag of mini macaroons!

Anacortes – Gere A Deli This place is an Absolute MUST. The decor is vintage and the food is fabulous. EVERY single time I go to Gere A Deli I get the Reuben. It’s hot and a little spicy and they use this sweet mustard that just makes my mouth drool even thinking about it! My second favorite is their Clam Chowder that is served on Friday. But if you want some you better get there early because it sells fast!

Seattle – Little Water Cantina This place is a little slice of Mexico right in the heart of Seattle. They are located on Eastlake Boulevard just south of the University of Washington on the east side of Lake Union. There is seating outside that overlooks the boats and they have monthly live music during the summer. I tell people about this place all the time! The MUST HAVES are their margaritas (one kicks my butt) the homemade guacamole and chips and the Posole. The posole is so good that it makes ME – a confirmed poor cook want to learn how to make it!

Seattle – Ivars If you grew up in Seattle you know all about this place. It’s the best. It’s the one place that my Dad absolutely HAS to visit when he comes to town.  It’s entirely nostalgic and brings back tons of memories of eating outside with my grandparents and feeding the seagulls my uneaten french fries. There are several Ivars locations but I recommend the one on the Seattle waterfront.

So there you go, the best eats from a girl born and raised in Seattle. Enjoy!

A Journey to Liking Myself

Ten years ago I couldn’t stand to be alone. My kids were 10 and 12 and when they were in school I would go walking or shopping or call my mom. I didn’t like to spend time by myself. And if I WAS alone I had the TV playing or music on but never, ever just quiet.

Why would a person NOT like spending time alone? I mean really? When I am alone I can eat whatever I want without anyone looking at me funny. I can watch crappy, sentimental TV or dance around my house naked. It’s pure freedom!

I think the honest answer is that I didn’t like myself very much. I had everything a girl could want: A husband who supported me, two kids, a couple of dogs, the white picket fence. But I just wasn’t happy.  I was fat and lonely and the negative voice inside my head was loud and opinionated. She kept telling me what I “should” be doing. She yelled that I “needed to” be the perfect wife, mom and home-maker. I could never measure up.

I also didn’t know who I really was. I was just going along in life but I wasn’t really engaged. I was busy trying to be who I thought other people wanted me to be. I gave someone else all the credit for the good stuff and blamed myself for all the bad stuff.

Today I’m a hot mess. I’m a glitter-filled, bundle of energy and joy, who can’t wait to get up in the morning and encourage, uplift and sparkle on everyone I meet. I LOVE life and all of it’s possibilities. I can’t wait to find out what good stuff each day is going to bring and what I will learn from it.

But how did I get from there to here? That’s a really good question. It was a really long process. I started by taking care of myself. I used to be last on the list and that’s not a recipe for success. So step one was that I moved myself to the top of the list and started exercising and eating better.

Step two was that I started listening to the smaller voice that whispers inside of me instead of the loud, bitchy voice. And know what? The quiet voice had the best answers:

Go take a long, hot bath, It’s ok to take care of yourself for a change.

If you don’t want to do something say NO – don’t just say yes because you think people will judge you.

Start speaking your truth. If people really love you they will listen.

Stop apologizing for things you’re not really sorry for or things that you didn’t do.

It’s ok NOT to be friends with people you really don’t like.

Forgive yourself – yes, even the really crappy stuff you did.

Step three involved a lot of self inquiry. I asked myself really deep questions about what I believe, how I want to live my life and whether it was ok to be miserable all the time or make some changes that would lift me up. I had to examine everything that I had held true for over 40 years and come up with answers that truly reflect ME.

I wish I could have liked myself more earlier. It would have saved me a lot of time. But that’s what life is all about right? I am learning lessons along the way? Sharing those lessons with others? Being REAL and Sharing the uncomfortable stuff because we ALL have crap we deal with.

I hope if you’re suffering today with not really liking yourself that you can find some small thing about yourself to appreciate. That you can find a way to start taking care of yourself because NOT liking yourself is very lonely and it affects all of the people in your life.

I can’t wait to see you fall in love with yourself! You can do it!

Hugs, Dawn

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!

 

Trying On Guard!

I get sick EVERY time I fly. It never fails. With the enclosed space, the re-circulated air and 150 bodies – some of which are carrying nasty bacteria – I’m usually a goner. Within a few days of flying my throat gets itchy, my eyes water, I start sneezing and the misery sets in.

About a month ago I had a flight planned from California to New York for Valentines weekend. My boyfriend was being trained for a new job and he wanted to show me the big city! The problem was that he had been sick for a few days and I was really dreading coming down with his bug.

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(That’s me in the middle being overrun by two BIG guys on either side!)

As a Yoga Instructor and Health/Wellness Advocate I always try to use products that are holistic and pure which is getting more difficult these days. I don’t like it when I buy cough drops and there are ingredients that I can’t pronounce on the label! I want to use products that are pure and simple and effective! It’s the same principle as clean eating – no chemicals, no by-products and simple ingredients please.

So I decided to try something new. I bought some On Guard from a friend of mine. On Guard is an essential oil that you can use topically or take internally to boost your immune system and I was willing to try anything!

During the trip I used On Guard like perfume. I dotted a little under each ear, on my wrists and at the base of my neck. I used one or two drops each application. My boyfriend and I hadn’t seen each other for far too long and with the extra incentive of Valentines Day I knew there would be at least some Kissing!!!! 🙂

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(Proof of kissing.)

The trip was wonderful. I loved touring New York City even with the rain and snow. Even my flights went smoothly – which is a feat when flying all the way across the country! I returned home and began waiting to see if the sniffles would set it……and I waited……and waited……and waited…and almost a month later I still haven’t been sick!

So, if you’re like me and you are prone to picking up every sniffle going around, if you work in a school or daycare environment, If you are a nurse, If you fly a lot, If you have kids who get sick often, give On Guard a try. It worked better than I imagined. It’s the newest item in my arsenal of Good Stuff!

If you are interested in learning more about On Guard or any of the other doTerra products please visit my website and have a look! If you find something you like, you can have your choices shipped directly to your home! There are several On Guard products that can be used in your laundry, to sanitize your kitchen or even brush your teeth!

https://www.mydoterra.com/dawnjex/#/

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!