Dancing With My Shadow

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It is a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” ~Pema Chodron

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Balance between light and darkness. When the shadow self comes to visit, don’t fight it, invite it, learn, dance..




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. 🙂 

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.. ..

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.

Mermaid Pose By The Salty Sea

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


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



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

Following Our Lead

This morning, my daughter and I were lazily resting on the couch, reading a picture book. When we turned to a  page about fruit, there was a picture of an avocado. I said “avocado”, and right away, my daughter sat up excitedly. She put her fingers on the picture of the avocado, and started rubbing. I looked at her with curiosity. After she rubbed her fingers on the picture, she put her hands on her face and started softly rubbing the skin under her eyes, pretending she was rubbing avocado on her face, while saying a blissful “Ahhhh.”

My sweet little Dancing Moonbeam
My sweet little Dancing Moonbeam

Without ever intentionally teaching her this, she learned. Nearly every time we eat avocado, I use the leftover avocado, and rub it softly on my face, and often, i quietly sigh a happy “Ahhhhh”.

There are many things that I do regularly, that my daughter copies, including yoga, dancing, and stopping to smell nearly every flower.. It is so cute. But there are things i do, i hope she never copies.. 🙂 

With our children, we have an opportunity, a responsibility, to teach them well, they often follow our lead.

“We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

Creating a better world is up to us-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


Performing Through The Years-The ‘Gore’geous ‘Gore’skis

There were three of us. My sister Karla, my cousin Jennifer, and I. When we were kids, nearly every weekend for many years, we got together and rehearsed at my grandmothers house.  Our dads sat around the living room eating Doritos, drinking Pepsi, and watching tv. Our moms often sat around the kitchen table, laughing and swapping stories about life, sharing a special bond by being married to a “Gore.” My dad is the oldest of 6. All men. All tall. All Grumbly (but soft under the grumbles). All the kids, there were many of us, would run around, sneak into my grandmas pantry,and load up on sweets.

For the three of us, collectively known as the ‘Gore’geous ‘Gore’skis, our weekly trip to grandmas, was rehearsal time. The garage was our rehearsal space. During rehearsal, all the other kids were strictly forbidden to enter. We had a little ‘jam-box’, a small selection of cassette tapes (remember those?) we would pick a song and choreograph. Play, rewind.. play, rewind. 😉  I remember rehearsing and performing to Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’ most vividly. When I think back on that time, I can’t help but smile.  3 ‘Gore’geous performers.

Even at home, my sister and I spent a lot of time making up dances.. And we were brilliant!!  We had a really spectacular ‘bunk-bed dance performance’ to Cheap Trick’s version of ‘Don’t be Cruel’…But without a doubt, one of the most brilliant dances we ever made up, possibly the most amazing dance ever created, was to Phil Collins Sussudio’. Oh..oh..  The dance moves, the half shirts,  the memories.  Haha.

My sister and I were in ‘real’ performances together too. The Tempest, the Wizard of Oz, Carousel, The Nutcracker, and more.  I am certain our energy is still floating around at the Washington Center of Performing Arts.

In college I danced and performed a few times, Hula, Modern dance,  and even a Javanese dance performance.. But it wasn’t until I was in my early thirties that I really started creating and performing again.

Performing, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.... so much fun!
Front and Center Performing, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat…. so much fun!
Swamptown, 'Sister Rivalry'
Swamptown, ‘Sister Rivalry’ Nice Boots!
I had the honor of working as a choreographer, teaching kids to dance and perform.. My kids, in dressing room, getting ready for their show.. ALL SMILES!
I had the honor of working as a choreographer 3 years in a row, teaching kids to dance and perform.. My kids, in the dressing room, getting ready for their show..
The Tango- Those Cannan Days, my dance partner is extremely talented...
The Tango- Those Cannan Days, my dance partner is extremely talented… Lake Worth Playhouse

The last time I performed (with an audience) was when I was pregnant with little Luna.  And it was so special. A group of talented friends all worked together and created a dance piece. Blackbird singing in the dead of night.. 

The other day as I was listening to music and cleaning the kitchen, I felt a surge of creative energy. I put down the dish sponge and began to dance. Inspired, I choreographed a short dance piece. It felt so good.

Stir the cauldron, CREATE magic.

Whether in a garage, the kitchen, or on the stage, ‘Find your bliss and go there often‘.