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!)

ponies

 

 

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

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

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 😉

 

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

 

Strength Through Devotion

I woke up this morning to the sound of trees being chopped down. The land across the street is being clear cut to make way for a large Wellington mini Mansion. We have seen hawks and turtles, foxes and possums, owls and ospreys. Where will they go?

I don’t often write about all the sad and awful things that are happening in our world right now. Wars, mass shootings, environmental destruction,  anger, poverty, racism, and hate. But just because I don’t write about it doesn’t mean I don’t think about it, or feel it.. Because trust me, as an empath, I feel it. There is so much chaos right now that it is hard  not to feel crazy. I think we all do. How do we heal?

 

For me, even 10 minutes of yoga, deep breathing, a few juicy asanas, single pointed focus, can shift my mood and perspective, drastically!  I can transform from a place of hopelessness and fear, to a place of strength and healing. Through breathing and being mindful. This is why I practice yoga. This is why I teach yoga, even though truth be told, anyone who teaches yoga knows, you have to do it because you love it. And I do love it. It is through inner healing, realization,  and wisdom that we can create change. Sometimes while we are deep in the surrender of savasana, we truly feel and understand that all things connect.

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Putting down the shovel, for a little Asana Time

We are at a crossroads. Strange and intense times and energy. Times of transformation.  We can’t just talk about the problems, we have to start living the solution. How do we want to transform? What do we want to transform into?

My suggestion is that we tap into our higher wisdom, and transform through love, compassion, and forgiveness.

Wishing all of us a heart healing day. ~Tiff

 

 

 

Take a Hike

I woke up this morning, slowly stretched my body awake, and realized I had a large twig tangled in my hair. My legs are all scratched up and my feet are sore. But I feel good. Two days of pretty intense hiking, snorkeling, and blackberry picking.

On Saturday, we woke early, headed to the other side of the island, ready to rough it and climb down a very steep mountain, to some old abandoned vineyards, situated right next to the beautiful Azorean sea. It was apparent right away, that we were the first people in a very long time to make the hike. What used to be a small trail was now heavily overgrown with cane and blackberries.. but we continued.

The old abandoned Vineyard, we hiked all the way from the top of the mountain!
The old abandoned Vineyard

After what felt like a very long time of really rough and steep hiking, we made it to the vineyards, and peaked inside a small and long abandoned home. Part of the roof had collapsed, but there was one room that still had a roof. We went inside and checked it out. It still had some old furnishings, a reminder of how life used to be. Inside a little drawer, I saw a magazine from 1959 perfectly in tact,  It was a “dirty” magazine.. so I didn’t take any photos.. HA!

Inside the old abandoned Azorean home
Inside the old abandoned Azorean home

The ocean was rough, wild, and beautiful. We had a relaxing picnic.. but I kept looking up at the top of the mountain and DREADING our return hike.  It was steep, it was exhausting, it was hot. But it was fun. ADVENTURE! I found a lot of wild oregano.. and of course we stuffed ourselves with blackberries.

Happy with My Wild Oregano
Happy with My Wild Oregano
My teenage son, happy hiker
My teenage son, happy hiker

Yesterday we headed to a different side of the island, hiked down to some deep and beautiful tide pools and enjoyed some really good snorkeling.

Exploring the tide pools with my daughter... so much life.
Exploring the tide pools with my daughter… so much life.
Blackberries
Blackberry picking 

There were so many blackberries on the hike, so on the way back up the mountain, we filled up my daughters beach bucket with berries. I also picked some wild mint.. And last night we enjoyed blackberry cobbler, drank mint tea, and put aloe vera all over our scratched up legs..

Take a Hike, and I mean that in a good way! HA! ~Tiff

Blackberries! Mmmmm
Blackberries! Mmmmm