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. 😉 ~Tiff

 

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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

 

Fisheating Creek, Stress Melting Magic

My daughter turned two last week and to celebrate, not only did we have a fun little birthday party, but we also spent two days camping and canoeing at a place called Fisheating creek.

Mother and Daughter: Nature Witches
Mother and Daughter: Nature Witches under a magical Oak Tree

Fisheating creek is about two hours northwest of where we live, and it is truly a wild and sacred place.  This time of year, the creek is high, and I mean really high. I didn’t know what to do when we arrived and the trail I usually take was completely underwater. In my mind, I had planned out that we would be camping under some oak trees way down the trail. Well, this knee-deep water covering the trail, told me that sometimes plans change.

Anyways, it took a little while to figure out what to do..I have been camping many times at fisheating creek, but never at this time of year.  This place has seasons, wet season and a dry season, and coming out at this time of year is a completely different experience.. In summer and fall, the water levels are high, sometimes extremely high, and the mosquitos, are everywhere. So are the alligators. In winter and early spring, the water level is much lower.. the mosquitos aren’t nearly as bad, and the alligators, on colder days you wont even see them.

We walked around, swatting mosquitoes, right away we saw a huge alligator and a huge black snake slither right in front of us.. My sweetheart was a little freaked out, I know he was wondering “why are we here, this wild swamp is insane.” My daughter stepped on a fire ant mound. Actually we all did. And getting bit by those tiny ants is awful. Ant bites burn and sting and hurt and itch!! It seemed like the camping trip was going to be rough..

During that time, we got a phone call from some friends who said they wanted to come and camp with us.. They were on their way.

The beauty and magic of the Cyprus Swamp
The beauty and magic of the Cypress Swamp

Then we ran into a man who has a small cabin out on the creek. I had met him a few times in the past, but this trip was the first time we really talked. He is close to my age, a real country boy with a strong southern drawl, and big pick up truck.. but he is a man full of surprises, and he loves the land. To him, the swamp is home.  The trees, the animals. He offered to show us some good places to camp, and invited us to camp right on his land… We went exploring with him, he had lots of stories and wisdom to share. He talked to us for hours about the seasons, the animals, and he invited us to go canoeing with him. AWESOME.

Our perfect campsite
Our perfect campsite

Anyways, our friends arrived and soon after, the rain began. We all ran to our cars, and took shelter as thunder roared overhead. We hung out in the safety of our cars until the thunderstorm passed.. and once safe, we made a fire. Although it was dark, it was hot outside. We didn’t need a fire to stay warm. But I needed a fire for my spirit. Feeling the energy, I danced around the fire. It was so hot, it was like a sweat lodge!

Dancing around the fire
Dancing around the fire

We sat around the fire, occasionally swatting mosquitoes, talking story, until our eyelids became heavy.

We woke up as the sun was rising and went on a walk… The land, the colors, the sounds, the smells, everything was so beautiful.

Group Photounder an Oal Tree (with a strange purple light)
Group Photo under an Oak Tree (with a strange purple light)

Then we went on a very long canoe trip out to a place called Paradise Lake. I saw some of the biggest alligators I have ever seen. And there were a few times, when they were a little too close to the canoe. Heart pounding.. but for the most part, alligators stay away from people.

Canoe trip to Paradise Lake
Canoe trip to Paradise Lake

My spirit felt happy.  And as muddy as I was, my body felt cleansed. My Energy light.

The camping trip was completely different from what I had imagined. And even better.

Fisheating Creek, Stress Melting Magic~Tiff

Those Bumps in The Road

Well, we have been back in Florida for a couple of weeks now, and life has been about as weird as ever. Maybe weirder.

We started off by staying at a friend’s house, a very fancy home on Palm Beach island. This island is the complete opposite of Santa Maria!!! Palm Beach is known for its mansions, celebrities, and wealth. Donald Trump (who better not become president!!) lives on the island,and my ex-husband grew up on the island too.   Some people envy the super rich, but life has shown me that “with each new material thing we acquire, we acquire a new worry.”~Dalai Lama 

Lifestyles of the Happy Gypsy
Lifestyles of the Happy Gypsy

For me, the island is a place that is both beautiful and creepy. So much wealth and power concentrated in one tiny area, while so many people around the world struggle and live in poverty.  I have never lived anywhere where the grocery store has valet parking.  Hmmm.

But, regardless of my mixed feelings of Palm Beach island, I was grateful to be staying near the beach and grateful  for the quietness the island provides, and really grateful for the pool and the hot tub!

Path to the Pool
Path to the Pool

The beach on the island really is magical. We saw sharks and manta rays, schools of fish, and sea turtle nests everywhere. I will cherish those mornings and evenings on the beach, forever.

Palm Beach Island
Palm Beach Island

Anyways, we began to settle in, my son is so happy to be performing again! He started an art internship and online school. My daughter loves the beach, the warm water, and all her baby friends. I started teaching yoga, and I accepted a job at a health food store. We were really getting  into the groove of sunny South Florida living.

Super fun Playdates
Super fun Playdates

So things were flowing along nicely, until a few days ago. BUMP.

First, the car I was driving, that belongs to the woman who owns the palm beach mansion, well, it started smoking in the middle of a busy road. It was stressful to say the least, especially because it looked like the car was on fire, but even more stressful was realizing it needed major repairs and it would be impossible to live on that island without a car.There are no buses on the island and it is pretty far away from all our friends and the theatre. Time to move.

Moving off the island really was no problem.  We have a huge community of friends and we quickly made the transition back to ‘normal person’ land.  Right now, we are living with some friends, the same house where I lived when my daughter was born, the last house I lived in before leaving the country. And we are in the same bedroom. (And this house has a pool too, so, woohoo!)

The big bump in the road came a few days later.

I was in the car with a dear friend of mine, sitting in the backseat, next to my daughter. We were stopped at a stoplight, talking, and laughing, when all the sudden a large SUV slammed into us. He hit us on the right rear of the van, then scraped along the side, sped up, and quickly drove away. A hit and run.

We were absolutely in shock. Shaken up, scared, and in pain.

After the police came, we went to the Dr. We were there for many hours. After a few x-rays and exams, I was told I had severe whiplash and would need at least a few months of therapy. I was told “No yoga!” I was also told “No picking up the baby and no driving.”  UGH!

To be honest, 4 days later, I am still in a tremendous amount of pain. I literally can barely move my head, and there is fear and frustration that comes with that.  But my daughter did not get injured and for this I am extremely grateful. And I know that slowly, I will regain use of my neck.

I can look at this situation, this pain in the neck, from a place of anger and fear, which doesn’t feel good, or I can count my blessings, and look at this situation from a place of gratitude, which feels a whole lot better.

We all have unexpected bumps in the road, and some of them are scary and painful. Deep down, I see this bump as an opportunity for great spiritual growth.

To all of you in my life who have offered love and support, I am so grateful..

X~Tiff

Guided Visualization and Relaxation For Healing And Purification

A couple of weeks ago, while driving home, my daughter in a deep sleep, a strange feeling flooded through me, and I pulled to the side of the road, closed my eyes, and recorded this visualization and relaxation.

I hope it brings you healing and peace.

With love, Yogini Tiff