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. ūüôā

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

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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!)

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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

 

 

 

Purifying Force

A few nights ago, at¬†sunset, I taught yoga on the beach to my very dear friends.We started class, soaking our feet in the water. (Partially because of an injury to my foot. A very sharp piece of wood stabbed through my shoe and straight into my foot, two days ago, and it hurt and was beginning to look infected). We put ocean water in our mouths, to taste, to feel, to cleanse, to connect. We “washed” our bodies, rubbing magical ocean water on our arms, shoulders, face, third eye. Feeling both the vibrations of the setting sun and the rising moon, we did the first part of class,standing in the water. The waves were strong and splashed up on us, forcing us to balance¬†with strength and flexibility.¬†

There was a powerful energetic intensity to that class, it felt like a huge energetic upgrade. That sensation of floating between two magnets.Physically our practice was soft. Energetically, so strong.  The wind blew with purifying force. I felt so free, at peace, energy pulsing. We all shared wide grins. Our energy was so open, so connected. We were absorbing the magic of the sea..

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We celebrated the Full Moon in Scorpio.  Earth Day.  We went to a Drum circle, dancing with the moon as she rose over the ocean..

It seems  like most people I know are going through some heavy stuff. Emotional basket case time. Detoxing. Cleansing. Processing the reality that this life is temporary. And it goes by so fast. We are all receiving big lessons, along with subtle little messages, reminding us of our true purpose, path, mission. We are being challenged to make changes in how we live. We know there are many problems in our world right now. We have to try as hard as we can to begin to live the solution.

All that you have is your soul. ~ Tiff

 

 

 

The Swamp to The Salty Sea:Everglades National Park

Saturday morning, I woke up feeling tired. ¬† Even after a cup of ‘bullet coffee’, (coffee with butter, coconut oil, and a little cayenne pepper), I still felt low energy. Luckily, we had plans to go camping, and I knew some leisurely hiking would be the perfect cure. ¬†Nature is the best healer.

We packed up and headed out for what we thought would be a camping trip in the Everglades National Park. The drive down to the Everglades, into Homestead, is one of the most awful, depressing, (what have we done to the earth?), drives one can take. We listened to Harry Potter, and The Half Blood Prince on CD, and that made the drive much better.

Slowly the concrete nightmare, gave way to large commercial crops, and then the park entrance. Once inside the park, we entered a whole different world. ¬†Nature. Beauty. ¬†Quiet. Healing. Balance. ¬†MOSQUITOES…

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And Alligators-Such different, ancient, scary energy

The park doesn’t take reservations, and while the campgrounds are very rarely full, they were full. Booked, for the holiday weekend. Once again, as often in life, we had to be flexible, our plans were forced to change.

While swatting mosquitoes, and walking on a boardwalk over a swamp,  we all agreed we were a little bummed but not totally devastated, that our camping trip would become  a day-trip.

Winter in the Everglades, is said to be less “buggy,” but the mosquitoes were intense. ¬†Not everywhere or all the time… BUT, we could be walking quite comfortably, and out of nowhere, ¬†swarms of mosquitoes would rush out and attack us… and yes, we were all wearing repellent. We saw the sweetest (but also funniest) seeming family wearing matching mosquito suits, faces fully covered. There was a moment, where mom, dad, and kid, were all looking through there binoculars at the same time, and in the same direction, with matching clothes. ūüôā¬†

We saw Hawks and Ospreys literally EVERYWHERE. I felt the need to be very quiet and just listen and feel. As to be expected, we saw several alligators. And in Flamingo, which is the very southern part of the park, the southern tip of the Florida, we saw two manatees.   Manatees are fascinating to watch (and swim with), so gentle and magic, and very different from alligators.. ..

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Hawk Watching Over Us-Spirit Animals

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Down in Flamingo, where we saw the manatees,. there were hundreds of birds, called Black Skimmers hanging out on a pretty shoreline,  they literally skim the water when they fly, it was so beautiful to watch them. They are beautiful and VERY loud.

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Mermaid Pose By The Salty Sea

We stayed in the park exploring, until after sunset, and Florida sunsets really are beautiful.

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Driving back, that night, we snacked on gluten free and vegan (uncooked) Smores. Dark Chocolate. Mmmmmm..  I smiled, feeling so grateful to have these moments, these memories with my kids, my family, our mother Earth.

From the Swamp to The Sea, Mother Nature, You Amaze Me.~Tiff

 

 

Planting The Future

On Christmas Eve, we went to a little party at a friends house. My friend gifted our family with a giant basket of organic peppers and tomatoes. I love peppers, bell peppers, poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers etc. So good.  And these particular peppers were of the best I have ever eaten. So good in fact, that we used all the seeds we could, to start a little garden. 

If you have ever planted anything from seed, or have had a garden, you can relate to the magic, the joy, the connection we feel, day by day watching and helping plants grow. From tiny sprouts, they change, they grow, and then they become food and nourish us.

I say “Hi” to all the plants growing in the garden. ¬†(I sometimes even give them Reiki) There is this appreciation, this love. Growing our own food brings us into direct connection with it. We become more aware. Of the rain, the heat, the cold. We pay attention to the seasons, moon cycles, the temperatures..

Anyways, the day after Christmas, we started a garden.  We planted peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, pumpkin too (to name a few).

Growing from seed takes time, and it takes quite a lot of TLC, tender loving care..

My son built a little greenhouse to help the seeds grow. They were doing so well. Getting so big. Almost ready to transplant.

Yesterday morning, my son came running in, and with a concerned voice said “Mom, the peppers!?!?! ” Someone had gone into our yard, into the greenhouse, and taken all the bell peppers. Who does that???? We were all very upset. LAME. We still have quite a bit of food growing, but those peppers, well it is just a shame. I certainly hope whoever took them, planted them, and is taking good care of them. Lesson: We lost one of our baby crops. That happens. But we still have lots of food growing in the dirt. And we will plant more.

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Yogini Trees Growing Tomatoes ūüėČ

 

Both of my kids love gardening too. Such a basic, natural, and tremendously important skill.  (A skill, a wisdom, a craft, that has been forgotten, by many).. Plant change. Plant food. 

 

I guess the point is, when we become mindful of what we eat, how we live, how things grow, we become invested and connected to the process, to the Planet, and  everything changes.

Grow Food not Lawns.

Now is a good time to Plant.

~Tiff

 

Green Magic: A Sea of Veggies

We bought our first hybrid car last week, just in time to take a trip to Northern Florida. The car is not new, but it gets 55 miles to the gallon, the gas expense is low.

Anyways, every year, On New Years Eve in Gainesville, which is nearly 300 miles north, our friends have a dance party in the woods.With the new car, there was no question we would be dancing straight into the New Year. Dance is such a powerful way to heal, release, and restore. And it is so fun.  I danced for hours with both of my kids, but without a doubt, my 2 year old daughter ruled the dance floor. She has impressive dance moves and she loves it.

The friends that host this party, inspire me so much, and not just because of the booty shaking in the woods.

My friends own and operate an impressive Organic farm, called Siembra Farm. I have been to the farm many times over the years.¬†But I hadn’t been to the farm in over two years. I was shocked and super impressed by how much it has grown, and what they have going on now.

Acres of kale, collard greens, sweet potatoes, turmeric, carrots, tomatoes.. Looking out at the field, you see a sea of healthy vegetables. Mmmm

 

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Hanging out With Cody at Siembra Farm

 

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Veronica-Farmer and Awesome Yoga Teacher ‚̧

If you live near an organic farm, please support it. Many organic farms offer CSA shares.Community supported Agriculture.  Weekly boxes of fresh seasonal veggies. If you are in the Gainesville area, check out Siembra.  http://www.siembrafarm.com/

 

We left the farm with a trunk full of fresh sweet potatoes and carrots.

Eating fresh organic vegetables is a completely different experience than eating store bought and transported, non organic veggies. For example, A couple years ago, in the Azores, we had a big garden and we grew a bunch of carrots. I juiced our freshly picked organic carrots and juiced store bought carrots, just to compare. Completely different taste. Completely different feeling. Completely different!!!!!   The fresher the veggies, the better they taste, and of course more nutrients too. Woohoo! 

Everyone should have access to fresh, healthy food. Food can be medicine or poison. What we eat has a direct impact on our health and the health of our planet. Fresh, local, organic food is the way to go. The choice is up to us. Change begins with us. 

Have a Happy New Year, full of growth, positive change, and fresh veggies. ūüėČ ~Tiff

 

A Splash Of Magic

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” … Roald Dahl

The other day, I had one of those happy, healing, restorative, magical days..and I needed it.

With the encouragement of the hot sun, I jumped into the water of Sao Lourenco. I put on a mask and snorkel, and instantly saw I was surrounded by fish. I saw several small flounder, camouflaged and swimming right above the sandy bottom.. Then I saw an octopus, moving, dancing its graceful dance, from one rock to another. It was a small octopus, but beautiful and just incredible to watch. I saw a cuttlefish too. So much life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I came up, swam back over to our friends, and shouted “I saw the prettiest octopus!!!!” My sweetheart smiled and started asking questions.. My sweetheart shines so brightly whenever he is in the ocean.. ¬†He knows the rocks, the reefs, the fish.. ¬†He knows the seaweeds, the tides, the currents, the moons.. ¬†Being Portuguese, raised on an island, and raised by a fisherman, he has so much ocean knowledge.

Our friends said, “You two go snorkeling together, we will watch the baby.”¬†And with that, our underwater date began..¬†Holding hands, we swam out far into deeper water.. The colors, the plants, the fish, It was like we were surrounded by hundreds of underwater rainbows.. ¬†Schools of small fish, schools of large fish, swaying plants,urchins,anemones, coral.. ¬†we saw another octopus, A HUGE OCTOPUS!!! I don’t even know how to describe how magical it was..

We swam for a very long time, until I realized how cold I was.. my hands were numb…and they took a while to thaw out.. but I was feeling recharged, happy, blessed.

With a Splash, Ocean Yoga, Azores, Photo by Paula Botelho
With a Splash, Ocean Yoga, Azores, Photo by Paula Botelho

I have spent a lot of time in the water, snorkeling in Hawaii, Florida, The Keys, Washington, California, and even here in the Azores, but this time, this trip, well, it was something I will never forget.. It was an ocean blessing..

Enjoying the Island with our Dear Friends
Enjoying the Island with our Dear Friends

Grateful for the splash of magic.. ~Tiff