The Way Things Flow

In January, we made another move, from the southeast coast of Florida, to the west coast of Florida.  We could have stayed where we were,  I had my awesome yoga classes, and we had our large community of friends. But the lack of wild space, and high crime rate was really weighing on me heavily.  After a horrible and frightnening experience I had in a nearby nature scrub, I had this constant nagging feeling that we needed to leave the area. (We were in the woods when we encountered a very disturbed looking man, who was pouring gasoline all over his body.  He followed us, we ran as fast as we could, I saw my life flash before my eyes.). So, anyways, our lease was over, and an opportunity came up to move to Sarasota, so we packed our bags, and headed over.  It wasnt the most exciting move of my life. Sarasota is only about 200 miles away, but it feels very different. There are more trees, more natural areas, less crime, but there is more driving, less friends, colder winters, colder water, bigger alligators… IMG_2243

 

 

My son was offered a scholarship to study ballet at Sarasota Ballet. 6 days a week, 4 hours a day, he is dancing. It is amazing how far he has come. This training has been an incredible experience for him.

When my son dances, my daughter and I walk across the street and explore the Ringling Gardens and Museum. This has been one of my favorite parts of our time here. It never gets boring. It is beautiful, peaceful, haunted. There are statues everywhere throughout the park, many of them very strange. Like the Italian Dwarf Garden. There are large trees, and an incredible playground, with the biggest and fastest slide I have ever gone on.

 

I found a nearby yoga studio to teach classes. I am grateful for the space and the students.  I am working part time at a little health food store, in the health and beauty section.  The supplement companies come to the store often and load me up with samples of their product. Through work, I have attended many trainings on natural healing, and I especially loved a training on Aryuveda. I am learning so much. I am healing.

I have no idea what the future holds. I am certain Sarasota is a temporary stop on our journey. It feels like a nice place to rest, recover, dance, hug trees, and set the plan for our next adventure.

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We never know. This is just the way things flow. ~Tiff

 

 

Onward

A friend of mine asked me to write and share about my year, this year, 2016.

To be honest, the year was full of a little bit of everything. I went to the Bahamas for the first time in my life. Camped in the Florida Keys several times. My family and I stayed at the most expensive and luxurious resort at Disney World, TWICE-(all expenses paid by Disney). I spent over a month with my family on the best road trip I have ever been on, up and down the mountains of the east coast, camping, swimming, hiking, exploring,  and spending time with old friends. We spent a week exploring NYC, while my son danced, sang, and studied on Broadway. I studied with my Spirtual Guide and Buddhist Teacher and friend. I worked fun jobs, as an art model, a yoga teacher, a chef. I choreographed, performed, danced, laughed, and smiled.

But there was other stuff too..

My mom had a stroke this year.  I saw my life flash before my eyes when my daughter and I were on a hike in the woods, and we encountered a man pouring gasoline all over his body. He followed us, we ran faster than I thought possible, jumped over a fence, called the police. Heart pounding, head spinning, I thought we would die. I will carry that memory for a very long time.  I found a loaded gun at a playground at Disney World (which was how we got the all expenses paid Disney vacation). One of my closest friends moved away. Someone had a psychotic episode at my daughters 3rd birthday party… Donald Trump was elected president. My uncle died… I could go on.. There was loss. There were tears.  There was fear.

The point is, this year had so many wonderful moments, so many wonderful memories..  but it also had so many sad and scary moments and memories too. This is life. A great big roller coaster ride,  ups and downs, fear and joy, peace and chaos, birth and death..Lessons learned…

 

And onward we go.

2017.. ~Tiff

Floating In A Sea Of…..

If you are anything like me, you are probably feeling more stressed out than normal. Reading the news is enough to make anyone depressed,afraid, and hopeless.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”-Krishnamurti

When I feel really stressed out, I know I need to spend more time in nature. It is the best way to connect to the Divine, and get a real boost of healing energy. I feel closest to God when I am camping. 🙂

We went camping in the Florida Keys this weekend. We camped at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and snorkeled pretty much all day Saturday, and all morning on Sunday.

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Snorkeling at Cannon Beach, Key Largo

Sunday afternoon, we drove further south, down to Islamorada for a picnic lunch and a swim. If you know the Florida Keys, you know in summer time, the water is warm, like a bath.  It was sunny. It was bright.It was HOT.  According to my phone it was 94 degrees but with the humidity, it felt like 110. 

At midday, the sun’s rays were extra intense,  so I found a place for us to have a picnic in the shade. I looked down at the water by the shoreline and instantly felt depressed and angry. There was garbage everywhere floating in the water. There was garbage in the bushes too.

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How is this for a Florida Keys Postcard?

There literally was trash everywhere!! But it was the only area with shade, so we sat down, made sandwiches and ate them quietly as we looked at the trash bobbing around the water.  It was hard to eat my almond butter sandwich because the garbage was so upsetting.  I kept shaking my head wondering “who does this?”  

Feeling upset and grossed out,  I walked out onto a limb of a tree and looked around. Just beyond the trash, was clear, beautiful, blue water. I saw small fish swimming around. I knew the plastic could easily end up in the belly of a sea turtle, a fish, a shark, or a bird. I argued with myself that “I didn’t create that mess, so why should I touch it or get involved”. But I realized that the tree I was standing on, also didn’t create that mess, a mess that was  choking it. The animals that live there and depend on the ocean didn’t make that mess either, but they are now forced to swim in it.. Seriously, can you imagine, floating in a sea of trash?

With that, I jumped in the knee deep water and fished out a plastic bag.  I began cleaning. My son joined in and within 20 minutes, the area was so much cleaner. It was beautiful. Amazingly, (sarcasm) there was a garbage can less that twenty feet away.

However minor our impact was, we made an impact. We felt good. We were working to heal the Earth, not harm her.

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The Tree- (After We Picked Up Garbage)

 

We jumped in the water to cleanse and cool off. And the ocean seemed to bless us with a particularly magical swimming session….

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Sea Blessings

 

I keep thinking of that experience as a big lesson. It applies to all aspects of our lives.. There are many messes in the world right now, that maybe we didn’t make, and maybe we try to argue that “it wasn’t our fault.” but regardless of who is to blame, these messes are here, and if we truly want to make changes, we have to do something.

 

I prefer floating in a healthy, happy sea ~Tiff

Wild Adventure-Grayson Highlands State Park

For the entire month of July we were on vacation.  YEAH! We camped, hiked, swam, and visited friends as we slowly made our way up to New York City and then back down again. Our whole trip was based around my son’s acceptance into an “elite” theatre  intensive with the Broadway Artists Alliance in New York City.  On this trip, we experienced the powerful magic of nature and the crazy-making magic of the city.  A little bit of everything. Perfect Gemini road trip!

One of the most beautiful places we explored on our trip is called Grayson Highlands State Park, in Southwestern Virginia. The park is home to several herds of wild ponies.

There are signs telling visitors not to pet or harass the ponies, but in all honesty, those sweet little ponies walked right up to us and forced us to pet them! We had no choice!!! (Not sure how wild they really are, but we loved them!)

ponies

 

 

The weather on the mountain is known to change very quickly, and it did. The first afternoon we were there it was warm and sunny, but by late afternoon, and with no warning, strong winds began to blow. The temperature quickly dropped from perfect to freezing, and as the wind howled, heavy rain poured out of the sky. We huddled in the tent, feeling both excited and nervous…rain began to drip into the tent. Would our tent hold up?  Thankfully the storm passed quickly but the cold stayed with us. It was so cold that we had to bundle up in our winter jackets, the only time we needed them on our trip. IMG_4122

The air was so fresh. The views so beautiful. The energy so calm but so alive. The forest speaks a language my soul remembers.

The park has several hiking trails, there are beautiful waterfalls,  and the Appalachian trail runs right through the park too.  We spent hours skipping rocks into the river. I am certain the world would be a better place if we all spent more time quietly skipping rocks. 

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If you ever find yourself in the mountains of Virginia, go to this park, it is worth it. So beautiful.

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Beautiful waterfall At Grayson Highlands State Park

Our whole trip was really magical and I will try to write soon about each place.  

Go on a WILD  adventure~Tiff

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”~John Muir

 

 

 

Yoga Dance

Dance With Yoga Asana. I choreographed and performed this a couple of days ago. It was a lot of fun and very healing. Feeling that creative energy flowing. Excited to put on a show! I hope to write and dance more soon. ❤

Tiff

Restoring Under the Hammock

Just a short drive from the overdeveloped madness of South Florida , is a state park called Highland Hammock. The drive and the surrounding town, are not spectacular, but as soon as you enter the park, you enter another world.

Highland Hammock is one of the oldest state parks in Florida. There are trails all around the park. And all of the trails are so different. So beautiful. So healing.  There are Oak trees that are estimated to be over 1000 years old. Cypress swamps, and wildlife, we saw so much  wildlife.

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Barred Owl

Some of the park feels very prehistoric. Especially the Cypress swamp. Early in the morning on a hike, I spotted a cottonmouth, a very venomous snake, swallowing a large fish. We watched in fear and amazement, as the snake unhinged its jaw, and swallowed this fish.

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Cottonmouth Eating a Fish

 

We camped in one of the primitive campsites. As the sunset, with the clear sky, and the new moon, the stars were bright and beautiful. I saw a shooting star. I made a wish.

The whole trip was so restorative. We hiked slowly on the trails. We gazed up at the stars. We hugged trees. I did Restorative yoga everyday, (which my son called “sleeping”), and we ate good nutritious food.

 

We saw deer, pigs, hawks, osprey, owls, turtles, alligators, snakes, opossums, armadillos, and even two river otters.

Being in nature is so healing. Like a soul shower. We feel balanced.

Nature is the best teacher. We can never have enough nature.

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~Tiff