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

 

 

 

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

 

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.

 

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..

Balanced~Tiff

 

Power Packed A+ Lentils

We brought back pounds of sweet potatoes and carrots from our friends Organic farm in Gainesville. Yesterday I made the most delicious soup, totally worth sharing.

Give this recipe a try. It takes just a few minutes to prepare. Simple, Delicious, and Power packed with Goodness. 

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 medium sized Sweet Potatoes (peeled)Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber, potassium, several B vitamins, and many of vitamins and minerals.

1 Large Onion mincedOnions boost immune stystem, and help regulate blood sugar, and have anti inflammatory properties. 

5 cloves of GarlicHigh in Maganese and B 6, and more.. Full of Antioxidants. Garlic has long been used as a potent medicine. Fights infection, lowers blood pressure, helps detoxify heavy metals, helps balance cholestoral levels, and much more. 

1  1/2 cups of Red Lentils (Rinsed)-High in protein, fiber, folate, calcium and iron. 

6 Thinly sliced pieces of Ginger (take the ginger out before serving)-Well known for easing nausea and digestive issues, ginger also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties 

1 tablespoon finely minced Fresh Turmeric-Very Powerful Antioxidant and also anti-inflammatory

2 large Carrots- High in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, full of antioxidants, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals. 

2-3 teaspoons Pink Himalayan salt (add more if desired)-Promotes healthy PH balance and contains over 80 trace elements.

3 tablespoons Organic Butter or Ghee-Perfect balance of omega 3 and 6 and also contains high amounts of vitamin A

Sprinkle of Red pepper flakes-Contains Capsicum which fights inflammation and helps alleviate nerve pain. 

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Combine everything, except the butter, in a large pot filled with water. Less water for thicker lentils, more water for more of a liquid soup. Bring to Boil. Lower the heat and allow to cook for 45 minutes and then add the butter or ghee. Cook for another 15-20 minutes.. And ENJOY. Simple, Healthy, Delicious. Power Packed A+ lentils.

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 Every couple of days, I make a big pot of lentils, split peas, or beans.. It is easy, inexpensive, and nutritious and it lasts for several meals!!!

Happy Healing~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