The Gypsy and The Sorcerer

There once was an evil sorcerer, who lived in a large dark cave, on a mystical mountain, in a land far, far away.

Everyone in the region knew  that this man possessed a mysterious gift, and people traveled throughout the lands to seek his magic. But his powers fueled his ego, and he became hungry to gain more power. He wanted more followers, more gold. As his ego and lust for power grew, his true soul began to shrink, into a tiny  tightly closed, marble sized ball of energy, which settled in the bottom of his belly.  This was a powerful man, with no compassion. A master manipulator in every way. He took advantage of men, by emptying their wallets, he took advantage of women,by putting them into a trance, and entering them.

One day, a traveling gypsy came to a village, near the mountain where the Sorcerer lived. The Gypsy had her own magic and wisdom, but unlike the Evil Sorcerer, the Gypsy, had a warm heart. She smiled through her eyes. Her life had always been different. She was often “sent” places, for reasons that even she didn’t understand. She traveled by faith. Trusting  her life was being weaved together by the strings of Fate.

When the Gypsy neared the village, the Sorcerer felt her presence, her strength, her power. Wearing a dark black cloak, he set out down the mountain, to get a glimpse of this powerful Gypsy. He noticed her right away, and for the first time in a very long time, he felt a real sense of fear. He knew she had the power to destroy him.

The Gypsy felt his eyes burning on her, she looked up, stared straight in his eyes and felt his coldness. She knew right away, that this man was dangerous. Fully aware of the stare and potential threat he posed, the Gypsy felt that fate wanted her to spend some time in the village. At first, all the villagers stared at her, but one woman, walked right up to her, smiled, and held out her hand. The Gypsy instantly became friends with one of the most beautiful women in the village. The woman asked the Gypsy about her travels, her strange life, her strange stones and tarot cards.They talked and laughed and shared tea. The beautiful woman, wanting to share some knowledge, told the gypsy of the powerful Sorcerer up the mountain. She told the Gypsy stories of her visits to the powerful Sorcerer and how he chanted over her head causing her to become paralyzed. He “worked” on her, while she was unable to move, unable to speak.

The Gypsy sat quietly listening to the story. She knew fate had brought her to challenge that Sorcerer. She would spread true wisdom. She began to teach techniques of energy healing, she taught about nature magic, yoga, reiki, meditation, protection.

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The Sorcerer used black magic, to try to destroy the Gypsy. He sent curses her way, and even planted seeds of hatred in some of the villagers. The Gypsy endured accidents, misfortune, exhaustion, heartbreak, poverty, but still she continued.

At times, she felt his vampire energy trying to drink up her soul. She often saw him riding a horse by her house. He always stared at her. After a few years in the tiny village, and a few years of his attacks, the Gypsy was exhausted. Worn down, and feeling a little lost, she left the village, and continued her travels.

Time passed quickly. Four years past, and oceans apart, the Sorcerer was still sending psychic attacks. She met many shaman on her path, and they imparted wisdom and healing. During one healing session, it was revealed to her that it was the Sorcerer who was continuing to try to harm her. She worked to strengthen her protection magic and she developed a strong relationship with the angels, particularity Archangel Michael, and he shielded her from harm.

 

As the Gypsy grew in spirit, the evil Sorcerer grew old and tired. He developed a sickness in his belly.  It ravaged him. He shriveled down to bones.When he had only hours left to live, he looked back on his life with regret and sadness. All his power was gone. In a vision, The Gypsy appeared at his bedside holding a small teacup. With compassion in her eyes, she looked at the dying man, smiled, touched his arm and said, “I forgive you.” She offered him a cup of healing tea. She held the cup up to his mouth and helped him drink.  And after enjoying every sip of the special tea, he smiled at her, with warmth in his eyes, and took his last breath.

The Gypsy kissed his forehead and continued her journey.

 

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The Beauty in The Sunrise and Sunset

A few weeks ago, I taught a beach yoga class that I will never forget. A beautiful strong class.We went into a very deep meditation.  We were all blanketed in this magical feeling, and for many minutes after class officially ended, we sat silently, softly smiling, everyone feeling that ‘Yoga high’.

Well, that high ended with an accident, a horrible accident, that shocked us all, and left me confused, frazzled, and ultimately feeling very guilty. 

The ocean was wild that day and the lifeguards had put up a red flag. It was warm out, blue skies, but very rough water.

One of my students (who is also a friend, healer, and a teacher),he walked to the shoreline, and decided to dive into the water. He unknowingly dove into very shallow water and his shoulder hit the sand very hard. He came up with his arm hanging several inches lower than it should have been, and his collar bone sticking out, it was grossly out of place. It felt like this weird nightmare, caught in between these two worlds,  and I  really didn’t know what to do.

The lifeguard came over and kind of knocked us back into reality. He was grounded in the situation, and he gave us firm instructions. He also said to my student, in his macho but caring lifeguard voice ” Dude, I know you are in a lot of pain, but we saw that dive and we all thought you broke your neck. You are very lucky.” I am sure he didn’t feel very lucky. And as reality sat in, so did my guilt.

My student was rushed to the hospital, and had to have surgery. And I  kept thinking, “if he hadn’t come to my yoga class, none of this would have happened.” 

I have tried to remind myself that I didn’t instruct him to dive into that shallow water, but the guilt is still there. The concern is there. The pain is there. The memory of this beautiful man, soaking wet with a horrible injury, is still is fresh in my mind. And I have to process and work through that feeling that somehow it was my fault..

I have tried to remind myself that although this has changed his life, it likely has put his life on a track that could only open up because of this accident.   It was the tragedy of my sons seriously broken arm, that forced me to homeschool him, and ultimately allowed us to take a trip to the Azores, a trip that changed our lives, and led to the birth of my daughter. A beautiful path opened out of a very painful situation.  There is a way to look at this situation (any situation) and someday understand the reason. Because there is a reason behind everything. But just because my student will get through this doesn’t mean it isn’t insanely painful. I know it is.

Recently, I have had two very close friends experience intense tragedies, both involving death, in nightmarish ways. My heart goes out to them.

 

We all experience misfortune. And right now, in this moment, my heart goes out to anyone and everyone experiencing grief, loss, sadness, guilt, pain, or fear. Experience it. Surrender to it. Pray. Love. Forgive.

Life and death are mysterious…We can be jolted out of our bliss at any moment. In an accident or even death. Samsara.  This life is impermanent. We only have so many breaths. Everything is in a constant state of transformation. Death included.

I have been doing a meditation about death, and it is surprisingly healing. When we realize our life is impermanent,  we try to make each moment count.We live each breath.  We see the beauty in the sunrise and the sunset. 

Namaste, Tiff12248193_10204499516517914_5042567486272250404_o

 

The Little Old Man

The other day, I was at the grocery store, and a little old man caught my eye. Something about him was handsome, familiar, strange, I kept looking at him.

I wasnt sure why or what I liked about that little old man, but I made sure to take one more look as I walked out the of the store.. When I was heading to my car, he was behind me and said to me in Portuguese “You don’t know who I am, do you?” I smiled shyly and shook my head. He continued “Your Grandfather Jose da Ponte loved to sing. He could sing and sing and he played the guitar so well.” Shivers through my body.. It turns out, that I am related to that little old man, yet another relative I didnt know anything about. 

 

The Land of Strange Fairy Tales, The Azores
The Land of Strange Fairy Tales, The Azores

Weirder still was that I was getting groceries to go spend the weekend with my friend, who happens to be the granddaughter of my mothers childhood Doctor.  He was the only Dr. who lived on this island for many years. Our grandparents, long since passed, are probably laughing.. Stories, memories, connections..

I still don’t exactly understand how or why I ended up on this tiny island of 5000 people. My mother left this island when she was 16, she rarely spoke of life here, and she didn’t return until a few years ago, when a strange dream sent me here.

I grew up completely disconnected from my portuguese heritage. Now here I am on this tiny island,  with a portuguese partner,  living a life that needs to be written into a book. (If you want to support my writing, click the donate button..haha)

I am not sure what the future holds, there are real difficulties living on an island so small. But there is beauty, history, memories. There are ghosts, there is magic. And there certainly is a reason I am here.

Breathe, believe, and walk with grace and gratitude.

-Tiff

 

 

The Song Of History

Lets go back to March 21st, 1953. There was a young, strong, feisty portuguese woman in labor, about to give birth to her third child, my mother. The house was tiny, with a dirt floor. There was no electricity, no running water, and often, there was no food. Life was very hard for my mothers family and very different from anything most of us could imagine.

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Santana, Santa Maria Azores

 

My mom, spent the first 16 years of her life in a tiny village called Santana, on a tiny island called Santa Maria, in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. This is the island I now call home. My mom was one of more than a dozen children. My Grandmother was pregnant for a very large chunk of her life. I cant even imagine.

My mother and my sweetheart, share similar childhoods..they have known hunger. They both had to work at a very young age to help support their families..they both have siblings buried in the same cemetary.  Island life is different now.. but there are stories, memories, remnants…

Three years ago, I had the strange dream that commanded me to come to the Azores.. A place I knew next to nothing about. I had no idea, that following that strange dream would change my life so completely.

But it also changed my mother’s life, because once I bought the ticket to come and explore the Azores, my mother also bought a ticket, and came home to her birthplace, for the first time in 40 years.

Me and my Mom, the first day I came to this island
Me and my Mom, the first day I came to this island

 

 

 

My Mother with all of her grandchildren, on her island home...
My Mother with all of her grandchildren

Naturally, coming back to the island, brought up many memories, emotions, and tears.. but it also reconnected my mother to her roots, her story, her family. She hugged cousins she hadn´t seen in years, and reconnected with her Godmother, the first person to hold her, my grandmothers best friend (and cousin)..

Sometimes my mother cries that I live on the island where she grew up.. How did I even get here? Let alone fall in love with someone from this tiny place.. It is very strange.

My mother has now come back 3 times, every summer to experience the magic, the beauty, and the memories of her island home. I know when she is gone she misses it. The music, the malasadas, her childhood.

Today my sweetheart and I went for a hike and had a picnic lunch. I saw the village my mother grew up in, and I felt compelled to take a photo and share a little post..

Somewhere in history, my grandfather is sitting outside of a little bar in Santana, playing guitar, drinking, winking at pretty women, and laughing..

Somewhere in history, my mom, a young girl is running around, barefoot with her brothers and sisters, chewing old gum she found on the ground, eating malasadas, and running to the airport to get a glimpse of the rich americans who had a layover on this island.

Somewhere in history, my grandmother is smiling, thankful her kids have eaten, and enjoying the song my grandfather is singing.

The house my mother was born in, is still standing, fully modern, and is now owned by my sweeheart´s cousins.. (it just keeps getting weirder)..

Someday, I will write the story, and it will begin with my grandmother, my mother, me, and then my daughter..

Connections, life is weird..

My hair is standing up, chicken skin, because I just got a message from my mom (as I am finishing this post) that today, Jan 27th, is the anniversary of my grandmothers death..

Three Genertaions of Tough Portuguese Women...Alvarina, Rosa, and me.  I miss you Grandma.
Three Genertaions of Tough Portuguese Women…Alvarina, Rosa, and me. I miss you Grandma.

Share our stories.. there is beauty even in the pain.

-Tiff

 

 

B K S Iyengar, In Gratitude, I Bow To You

Yesterday a great yoga teacher, B K S Iyengar died, he was 95.  His wisdom and guidance have helped many.   His teachings have influenced my life and my yoga practice profoundly.  I don’t know where I would be, how I would function without Yoga.

“Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame.”

 

In deepest gratitude, Namaste~Yogini Tiff

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Stories of Life and Death:The Placenta

Years ago, I was living in Hawaii, finishing my last semester in College. My son and I were living with another single mom and her daughter in a tiny one bedroom apartment in Honolulu. We lived next door to a cat lady, that literally fed hundreds of stray cats. As small as our space was, we made it work. The kids had a blast. Sharing meals, rides, Reiki, dance parties, and CAKE. We really had fun, I have many fond memories of that time.

Our kids went to the same school, a Montessori based charter school on the other ‘nicer’ side of town. My son was in 1st grade at the time, and he had a teacher named Mrs K.  To be honest, at the beginning of the school year, when I found out my son was to be in Mrs. K’s class, I was scared. I had heard she was strict. And maybe in many ways she was strict, but she was the most loving woman. She loved her students, she loved the parents, she loved teaching. She taught the kids to be independent and accountable.

Anyways, after a nice winter break, I walked my son to his classroom. We were greeted by his teacher Mrs. K.  We hugged and chatted about our holidays. It was so good to see her. I had no idea it would be the last time.

A few hours later, during the middle of class, and much to the confusion of the children, she was disoriented and suddenly unable to teach. She was whisked out of the classroom and into a nearby bathroom.  The paramedics came and rushed her to the hospital.

In the afternoon, my son told me about his teacher getting ‘sick’. He asked if she would be ok. I thought, well, she is only 50 and she is Japanese, I replied ” Of course she will be fine.”

The next morning I woke up very early, and put on a hair mask. I have had very frizzy hair my whole life, and a friend had gifted me with a ‘Healing Hair Mask made with Placenta’.  My goodness, it stunk so bad. But I put it on, kept it on, made the kids some pancakes with banana and raisin faces, and we headed to school. I thought I would be right back home,so  I kept the placenta mask on my head. My thinking was,  “the longer I keep this mask on the better”. WRONG.

Anyways, as we were driving to school my son said “Mom, when you were sleeping Mrs. K came into our bedroom but she told me not to wake you up.” Half listening, I replied something like “Oh, that’s nice honey.”

I parked the car,  walked my son to his classroom, and quickly noticed a very somber energy. It was then that we learned Mrs. K  had died. I was in shock. My son was 6 years old and someone he was very close to had just died. And there I was with this nasty stinky placenta mask on my head. The school had grief counselors, but even the counselors were crying. It was so emotional. And I was in the room, sitting on the floor,  in a circle, with the parents and students, smelling so bad that I was making myself gag.  It was not a good day.

The very next day, my roommates father died suddenly. The timing was very strange. The energy was very heavy.  My roommate left the country to attend his funeral. It was extremely intense and confusing. Life. Death. Transition.

We attended Mrs. K’s funeral a week or so later. My son’s first funeral. The minister was a nightmare. He preached loudly to a full audience (mostly young children)about the importance of repenting to avoid going to hell.  As awful as the minister was, attending the funeral was a very important part of the process.

Recently, my  young niece’s gymnastics coach died in a motorcycle accident. For me, it has brought back a flood of memories of Mrs K, that time in our lives, and processing death with young children.  With my son, I feel fortunate that he had a visit from his teacher’s spirit,  I know that helped ease the pain.

Death is a part of our grand cycle. And I believe being honest with our children is very healthy. When we remember that this life is temporary, we spend our time wisely, act and react with kindness, and we never leave the house wearing a placenta hair mask.

I send out vibrations of Love and healing  to any and all who need it. ~Yogini Tiff

Goodbye to my Sweet Beautiful Sadie

7 1/2 years ago, after a ‘May Day’ school performance in Hawaii, I surprised my son with a trip to the Humane Society.  He found the perfect little puppy and we named her Sadie.

So happy together
So happy together

Like all puppies, she was a little rascal, and a pain to potty train, but she was always very loving and sweet.

As she got older, it was clear  that she was no ordinary dog. I always used to say she was a guardian angel dog. As big as she was at 75 pounds, she was the most gentle dog I have ever known. She was blind in one eye, so we often called her “Sadie the One-Eyed Wonder Dog”

Good Ol' Sadie
Good Ol’ Sadie, letting a kitten dry nurse on her
happy dog (chicken in background)
happy dog (chicken in the bushes)

She became friends with a feral chicken who became our pet, they would sit outside together and they even shared food. Sadie was awesome. We had many adventures.

Sadie lounging in the Florida Keys
Sadie lounging in the Florida Keys

A few days ago, after suffering from multiple seizures, Sadie died. She had a very aggressive brain tumor. She was in a lot of pain.

I cried until I had no more tears.

It was very painful to tell my son, who is currently covered in chicken pox and already feeling miserable.

I know I am certainly not the first to lose a much-loved dog, but my goodness, it is very painful. Our whole family loved her dearly, especially my mom, who doesn’t even like dogs.

Feeling the need to be alone, I drove up to one of my favorite spots on the island, and stared out at the ocean for a long time.

I closed my eyes and said a prayer for my sweet Sadie. Feeling a little lighter, I opened my eyes and saw a beautiful rainbow. I like to believe she sent it.

RAINBOW SENT FROM SADIE
RAINBOW SENT FROM SADIE

We never know how long we have with our loved ones. But whether we can see them or not, the love is always there.

Rest in Peace my dear friend.

~Yogini Tiff