Traveling through the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway
Ever feel like you just need to get away? Like you're going to go crazy if you don't put some time aside for JUST YOU?
Well, that's what happened to me! Life happens. We get overwhelmed by daily life requirements - chores, the job (or jobs), kids, bills, taxes, cats, dogs, blogs ... blah blah blah ... GIVE ME A . FREAKING . BREAK!
Ha ha! Can you feel the intensity? That's how bad I needed to get out of my comfort zone and go connect with nature.
By getting away, I was able to be with my thoughts, my silence, my quiet and think outside of the box -- become creative about how I would take my business to the next level, and sort out so many other things that were weighing on my mind.
I had been contemplating it for a while, but was too chicken to actually get out there and get moving, so when my niece told me she would adopt our little rescue kitten, Paragon, I toyed with the idea of driving from South Florida up to Massachusetts.
So what did I do? I put my four-legged companion, Kahawa -- aka "Puppy" and Paragon in my car and started driving north!
Traveling with Pets
Okay, so traveling with animals is fairly easy but there are a few things to keep in mind before you drive long distance with your four-legged companion:
Five Ways Solitude Is Beneficial
There you have it! So, take some time for yourself on a regular basis.
Get to know yourself -- find the places that are still hurting and are asking to be healed within you.
You will discover a beautiful labyrinth of uncharted territory and you will find that there is so much more hidden within that the world around you could benefit from.
SIX BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN NEW ENGLAND
“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can and as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river… Open your mind, get up off the couch. Move.”
The following blog post is written by my wonderful friend, Lauren. You can check out her adventures on her website: lyricallauren.com
Travel is one of the best experiences anyone can have, regardless of their age, gender or socioeconomic group.
Obtaining new experiences and visiting new places opens your eyes to a world you may have never even known existed.
Many people think that they need to leave the country to be true travelers, but the truth is, you simply need to leave your house.
The United States has a wide variety of amazing destinations just waiting to be explored.
Below, we will touch upon some of the more popular travel destinations by region, beginning with New England.
Visiting New England
1. Acadia National Park: While the state of Maine is absolutely gorgeous unto itself, Acadia is located right next to the popular tourist town Bar Harbor.
This provides you with the chance to stroll along the beach and take in some of the more touristy areas before escaping into natural scenery that is nothing short of breathtaking.
Be sure to get up early and drive up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain to witness one of the most spectacular sunrises you will ever see in your life!
The operative word here is to arrive early, as space at the summit fills up quickly, especially in the summertime!
2. Boston: The capital city of Massachusetts, this is a place that is rich in history.
If you do nothing else in Boston, be sure to make time to walk at least the majority of the Freedom Trail, a nearly 8 mile, very easy trek that leads to right past some of the most historical places in all of New England!
Follow the yellow line embedded into the side walk to stand on the very same spot where the first shots of the American Revolution were fired, visit the iconic Faneuil Hall, or take a stroll to the harbor where the Boston Tea Party unfolded so many years ago.
For sports fans, you simply cannot do better than to take in a Boston Red Socks game at Fenway Park!
3. Cape Cod: Also located in Massachusetts, this is perhaps the most famous beach town in all of New England!
With a plethora of beaches, gorgeous boardwalks and some of the freshest seafood you will find anywhere, this is a great spot for families and couples alike!
4. Burlington: A relatively small city nestled against the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont, Burlington is an awesome spot to visit to truly get a taste of Vermont culture.
Be sure to take an afternoon to wander up and down Church Street, an open-air pedestrian market that boasts a number of excellent selections for dining before headed down to the lake front to sample a frozen concoction at the historic Shanty by the Shore!
Just a short drive away, you will find the incredible Shelburne Museum, along with the Vermont Teddy Bear Company and of course, the Ben and Jerry’s Factory!
5. Mystic: A beautiful seaside town located in Connecticut, you can visit the Mystic Seaport to be transported back into time as you wander through a living museum that allows you to experience the day to day life of sailors back more than a hundred years ago!
There is also an absolutely phenomenon aquarium here, complete with penguins and even a rather friendly Beluga whale!
6. The Kancamagus Highway: Be sure to fuel up before embarking on this nearly 35-mile long drive through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, as there is literally nothing between the starting point in Conway and the end in Lincoln.
This means no gas stations, no restaurants, no bathrooms, and no cell service.
What you will find, however, is turn after turn off paved road that affords you with spectacular views of the White Mountains.
There are plentiful opportunities to leave your vehicle and explore various lookout points, or if you are feeling very adventurous, take one of the many day hikes located in this area!
WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY IN A RELATIONSHIP?
***Warning: the following post includes F-bombs and such.
How Relationships Mirror Inner Turmoil
A friend of mine asked me — what is the difference between:
I live by the concept of the latter: "it is necessary to create a space where people feel safe" -- not, it is "my responsibility to make someone feel safe in a relationship".
Apparently I had not made them feel safe in our relationship.
These two things are not a play on words.
They are vastly different, in my opinion.
The first puts the responsibility and burden on someone to ‘force the other’ or ‘coerce the other’ to “feel a certain way”. As though I am responsible for HOW they "respond to my actions".
The second focuses more on “what CAN I do” to create a safe haven for someone to feel safe to be their authentic self.
I prefer to not use “make someone”.
It feels like "manipulating the way a person feels." A person chooses to "feel" a certain way. If I slapped your face by surprise, did I make you angry or feel a certain emotion? Or is your response your choice - even though I may have influenced it?
If you chose to slap me back; did I make you? Or did you you chose to react that way?
Ya, I could understand me slapping you bringing about (kind of like a trigger of sorts), feelings of mixed emotions, rage or hurt - but how you respond is entirely your choice.
You could chose to retaliate or, see it from a completely different perspective and be calm and walk away ... etc...
Who knows? I would probably slap you back -- because that is where I am at in my human consciousness.
Either way, it makes sense to me that our outer relationships have a lot to do with our own inner relationship. How do we really view ourselves? This is not a black and white view - but like I said, it makes sense.
HOW TO HAVE A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
(there are experts on this topic, you know? ...)
A lot of you don’t know about this situation; but when my eldest son was around eight years old, he decided he wanted to live with his dad.
I fought this for the first few years. My reasoning: "he is my son - he SHOULD live with me too".
"I am his mother. WHY is this happening? He needs me."
I panicked “how do I keep him” and not “lose him to his father”? HA HA HA -- leggit feelings and thoughts!
Then I spoke with a friend of mine who lives in France - who was having similar issues with her son of the same age.
She encouraged me to allow my son to chose. She helped me to see that, “that is what love does”.
LOVE ALLOWS FOR SPACE. LOVE DOESN'T PUT A TIME LIMIT ON HOW LONG ANOTHER PERSON NEEDS TO MAKE SENSE OF THINGS.
It was so difficult. There was a fear of rejection that was taking over. EGO was really hurt and wanted to play into that "victim mentality".
It is not about “how much I give…” - it is about the freedom you allow someone the space to sort things out.
I decided it would be best for my son — and for me, to allow him that space — how-EVER FUCKING long it took!
For all I knew, he might not ever want to come live with me and might decide when he was in his forties to have a relationship with me.
I wasn't giving up on our relationship. I wasn't "taking away the safe haven, that is very natural for me to create and keep for my loved ones".
I was simply looking at the situation objectively and realizing that my son really needed to feel like he was in control of how close he would let me get to his tender heart. I learned that it is more important when you love someone, to take a step back and allow things to flow as the should.
If I acted out of fear or hurt, I would have probably ended up hurting us both and pushing him away even further.
As Mooji says, “relationship is not something to keep. It’s to be enjoyed out of your freshness; and in your strength you will find that everything becomes more pure”.
He goes on to say “everything wants to be with you when you are empty of intention …too much intention creates ‘TENSION’”.
This has been an ongoing lesson in my life. There is a lot of pain and trauma stuck on our cells - 'our pain body' (as Eckhart Tolle refers to it) - starts crying out “pay attention to me”. It then goes on further to demand, "make me feel a certain way, in our relationship".
I'm sorry, but I don't buy into that.
Is it my responsibility to hold a sacred, caring space? -- DAMN right it is! I accept that responsibility and have never shunned it.
But, if I'm doing the best I possibly can - while you're not exactly being the perfect example yourself, and you are failing to see my efforts, it is completely absurd to expect me to have that responsibility.
I am NOT responsible for the lenses in your eyes and how you view reality. That is your story.
I could tell you until you are blue in the face, how much you mean to me and in my own love language, do my best to love you - but if you have your own limiting beliefs that have triggered your pain body to react because it is deeply hurting, there is NO freaking way I am going to convince you of my devotion and love.
You will continue to see things through your pain.
This is the moment, I feel where - we can really tune in and observe:
You see, what my son taught me and continues to teach me - is that LOVE (how I understand it) is unconditional.
LOVE is freeing.
LOVE holds space.
Guess what? A few months ago, my son started coming around more often.
I thought I had LOST a lot of time. Yah, granted …sometimes a few days will go by and he gets taller.
But there is this sweetness and tenderness between us - regardless of our own emotional issues. We are going through the process of healing — but, as we continue to be present to each other, our relationship deepens.
It's not always peaches and cream (if you like that kind of thing) or a "bed of roses" or in my case, "chocolate cake".
I have no expectation of his devotion to me as my son. I allow him to be.
He has slapped me in the face before and told me “FUCK YOU, I HATE YOU, I WISH YOU WERE DEAD…” and I in the past, have not been the most patient mother. I have retaliated in punishing him more harshly than I would in my current awareness.
I could have said, "How could you? You are my son! You're supposed to respect and honor me. After all those months I carried you and labored in delivery, all those years I took care of you ... blah blah blah".
The pain was real. Sometimes it comes back and hits really hard.
But what does un-fucking-conditional love do?
[By the way, if you're judging me for over using the F-word, you should have paid attention to my warning. It actually feels liberating to use that word. Oh, sorry - did I MAKE you feel uncomfortable?
OR, was it your pre-programmed judgment and feelings about the word?]
Back to LOVE ... WHAT DOES UNCONDITIONAL LOVE DO?
It does NOT have expectations. Love is the gift that gives without expecting anything back.
If I was continually hurting someone and they were loving on me all the time, it would make total sense to walk away from the relationship and keep your distance.
Love allows for someone to take the time to make sense of things. Love also looks at our own actions and how we contributed to someone needing space.
My son - he knows he can come back to me any time. Not because I MADE him feel that way. Rather, because time and space has allowed and encouraged him to take that step.
But if he doesn't believe me when I show him I love him and his pain body is blinding his perspective, there really is no way to convince him.
Yes, it helps that I also create a “safe place” for him. I can’t force him though, to see things through my point of view.
I can only do my part.
We create stories. We have our own stories and project them onto others and then get hurt, expecting the other person to be the bigger one.
I do this too. But that is just my pain body telling me that something within me, needs MY attention and is asking to become aligned with Source.
I see you, I honor you and I love you.
Lately I've been drawn to shamanism in a very deep way. When I say lately, I mean -- the last two to three years.
What is Shamanism?
It's an ancient way of life practiced by many cultures all over the world. It goes back thousands of years.
To me, shamanism means: connecting and being in communion with our source (which includes nature, animals etc.); basically encompassing the unseen aspect of what drives life.
I remember being about 14 - 16 years of age and being a "New Born-Again Christian" and being somewhat drawn to shamanism, even though I looked down upon it with judgment.
You see, as a Christian - shamanism didn't coincide with biblical teachings. So, I shunned it -- even though it beguiled me.
My journey as a Christian is part of my story. I embrace and I am proud to share it.
Christianity for me, was my hiding place. It was my place to go for protection and belonging. It brought about healing in different ways ... However, it had many contradictions that came along with its biblical background/teachings.
From the age of fourteen to 36 (ish), I studied the bible as intricately as possible. As I got older, the paradoxes in the Bible began to make me question it's infallibility.
Some things just didn't match up! I will write another post some day about that.
Once again, shamanism reappeared into my life. I was becoming more and more drawn to it because it didn't have any conditions attached to it.
I started to see the parts of me that I had shunned and put away, or had neglected to care for. I started embracing my shadows.
What I once saw as deep flaws, I started to actually pay attention to and allow that "hurt part" of me to tell its story.
I also started seeing people who really pissed me off in a different light. In the past as a Christian, it would be "Oh, I love that person because they are a creation of God".
This time, it was more like "that person is just another version of me". There was no separation except two different bodies.
If you want to know more, check out my shamanic journey post. I talked about my first journey with my beautiful friend Jaes Seiss. By the way, I am reading her book "Awakening Darkness" and it is just riveting!
Jaes then invited me to join her and a few other women to a Sacred Sisterhood Rites of Passage circle. Here we honored the directions of the medicine wheel:
North - represented by the hummingbird. This was a time to create healing for ancestors and your connection or lack of connection with them.
West - represented by the jaguar. We went through our own death rites and shed/released what was holding us back; preparing a place for the new.
South - represented by the serpent. Here, we re-kindled our passion, purpose and joy in life.
East - represented by the condor. We renewed our innocence and awakened the creative spark in us by going on a birth star journey, re-visited our visions and activated our prayer arrows (mission/desires for this life journey).
HOW CAN WE HEAL THROUGH OUR ANCESTORS?
WOO! Don't get me started!
I realized that there is a lot of pain passed down from generation to generation. I also have been learning that pain is only a messenger that comes to show us where we are not aligned (in the wise words of my friend Kevin Walton).
There is A LOT of pain in every family. I won't go through the stories of the pain that has been passed down through my own family.
Pain gets trapped in our cells. Seriously.
Science supports this theory that emotional trauma is passed down our blood lines. You can read this article here.
I will share however, that one of the ways I've been healing is through honoring my ancestors. In our medicine wheel of the north - where we honored our ancestors, I took the time to honor all the women in my ancestral line - even a few generations back). I did also honor my dad.
I made a decision to bring any pain/trauma that has not been dealt with to the forefront. I became a voice for my ancestors. There was a lot of crying and emotional release.
This is still happening today. I am aware of it when someone or something triggers me. Instead of ignoring it, I will pay attention to it.
There are different ways of healing emotional trauma passed down through lineage:
Then there is DANCING! Which is basically "artistic expression".
Psychology Today has a cool article on healing trauma through dance: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/make-your-life-blessing/201610/the-power-dance-work-trauma -- and I quote:
"Dance organizes life in societies and cells in the body. It celebrates weddings, harvests, seasons, and can bring strength and comfort in times of grief."
Before I start dancing, I am not always in the mood for dancing. I may be exhausted or just dealing with emotional baggage collected throughout my day.
Something really magical happens though when I put on some music. Especially music that is African influenced. Being from Africa and all...
So today, my friend Jeni-Lee told me that I need to listen to this song and dance to it.
I was already in a dancing mood today, so without hesitation I pumped the volume and started to move.
Friends like Jeni are awesome fire kindlers! Thank you, my dear!
Here I am below releasing trauma in my cells! Oh what a joyous and sweaty time!
My message to you... dance! Even if you can't move your legs, dance where you are... your body loves movement!
WHAT TO DO WHEN AN IGUANA GETS STUCK
We moved to this beautiful townhouse on a lake. I immediately fell in love with this place and knew this is where I would be happy. The universe opened up the way and boom!
The kids and dogs love jumping off the dock and swimming in the refreshing cool water.
No, there are no alligators - the lake is man made from a quarry and has no canals linking the lake to the everglades.
Anyways, iguanas love to spend time on the deck lazing in the sunshine and then taking a cool dip into the lake etc.
Our dog Bella also loves to do this. Sometimes though, she isn't allowed to because we have to constantly monitor her etc. So we put up this dog gate/fence to keep her from getting out.
Well, this iguana must have been startled by the dogs that when it tried to run away, it got stuck.
I had a video of the iguana stuck, but it never showed it actually getting away (long story).
So anyways, I had to use some olive oil. I must admit, I was a bit nervous. I didn't to get whacked by its powerful tail or get scratched by it's scary looking claws.
Okay, I know you see the two dogs in the video. They actually didn't try to hurt the little bugger. They were curious though and kept smelling the little guy and at some point, licking the delicious olive oil off of him. No, I don't know if it was a male iguana.
I ended up having to use crowbar action with a hammer, to pull the wires apart. Then I had to tilt that heavy cage by maneuvering in such a way that it didn't crush the iguana and get the section he was stuck in, into the water.
After a few wiggly movements - thanks to the olive oil and the water - he slipped out and swam away to freedom!
Yes, I admit I shed a few tears of joy and relief.
Could this be iguana spirit medicine? I don't know.
WHAT DOES IGUANA TEACH US?
The iguana reminds me:
I hope that helped you! Have an amazing day!
DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
It's been a while! No worries ... everything happens at the right time. This song - "what's up" by Four Non Blondes has always had such a profound effect on me. I can truly relate and emote it because it speaks about out our society and life.
That's the not the reason for this blog post. This post is about "doing what you love". The last few months have been very emotional for me - going through the dermoid cyst situation followed by the ovary removal surgery and then recovering after that.
One of my greatest loves is singing! After surgery, I had to regain my abdominal strength and diaphragm "oomph" - sometimes, I would become so depressed because what I wanted to express wasn't coming out the way I was used to.
Everything however, happens at the right time. Patience is truly a virtue. When you truly love something, it WILL, in due time develop as it should.
I still feel like I have some ways to go ... but this is a start and it's my "come back".
I hope you enjoyed it!
p.s. You can head over to our website: Organic Parlour to check us out for more about "South Florida Musicians".
WHY HAVING A DOG IS HEALTHY
Seven years ago today, Kahawa came into my life. She's my "liberation" puppy. She represents "freedom of choice" to me as an adult.
Kahawa means coffee, for those of you wondering - in Swahili (my native tongue). You can read more here. I love coffee and her fur is the same color of how I like my coffee!
I was in a relationship where I didn't "feel" I had much say. Some of you may interject because you think you know what my life was like - since you were with me every waking hour and moment 🤣.
This post is NOT about shaming anybody. It's sharing MY experience as I feel there are many who might be experiencing what i did and this might shed light or give encouragement.
We both had our own issues/hurt/pain to deal with and didn't KNOW how to treat the other accordingly - or rather, or rather "speak their love language". YES, I take responsibility for my part. This relationship was one my best teachers, in showing me that I didn't love myself enough.
I was told that I'm "impulsive". Yes, maybe I was - and sometimes, still am! Well, I'm still learning what it is to be a human, as I come from Spirit - the "unseen world".
One of the things I came into this world is my love for animals - especially a strong bond with dogs and cats. So for a few years of wanting a dog (since as a child, I grew up with and was always surrounded by about 8 dogs), I was told "no". I did receive two kittens two years prior to Kahawa - after 8 years of begging for a pet; in an effort to save our relationship. I could be wrong about the motives - but that's the message I got.
Nearing the end of this relationship, I took a bold step (knowing I had no financial way of providing for a dog - let alone three kids), and adopted my puppy! I don't regret this decision at all.
Kahawa is my spirit animal and one of my soul mates (this is my interpretation). She is my friend, child, guide (for she reflects my inner state). She is a beautiful loyal companion, guard, playmate, and quiet listener (when I really need it). She's also super boisterous and full of life! She gets along well with pretty much everybody and other animals.
At one point in my life when Kahawa was about two years old, I had to to give her away temporarily to two amazing people: Amanda and Dan. I was going through a very difficult time - a house eviction, and I couldn't have any of my animals. Thankfully, another friend took the cats and guinea pig, Winter. We were all reunited in about six months after that.
TOP REASONS TO GET YOUR KID A DOG
You're probably still wanting to know the top reasons for having a dog. Here you go:
I can go on and on ... but I'm sure you're already convinced just by looking into Kahawa's (Aka - Puppy's) eyes!
Here's to "Puppy" - I would adopt you over and over again. I love you Kahawa! Here's to many more years with us!
UPDATE ON MY CYSTECTOMY HEALING JOURNEY
*Disclaimer: I don't claim to be a writer. I am better at singing and dancing. I just like sharing!
HEALING FROM AN
The swelling has gone down considerably. I miss having "harder abs" (insert monkey face with hands over mouth emoji here) - but once my insides are completely healed, I'm going to start getting toned again!
Maybe this time, I can have some kind of a "six-pack". WOO HOO!
Either way, I'm on the mend and I'm excited that I will be able to move more freely in my artistic expression.
I started following a few Holistic Doctors on instagram about a year ago or so.
I began my new "vegan" or shall I say, "plant based" journey at the beginning of 2018. First, I stopped eating chicken and red meat and then transitioned to not eating seafood.
This new journey brought with it a deeper interest in holistic medicine, which is how I found these awesome doctors!
As some of you may know, my mother is a Leukemia survivor. She was diagnosed in 2006, two weeks after my dad passed away unexpectedly.
Dr. Jess MD
One of my fave go-to IG doctors! She is full of knowledge and comes across as very personable. I love how she interacts with her followers!
Dr. Fiona McCulloch is a Toronto Naturopath with over 17 years of experience in PCOS, Thyroid and Hormonal issues.
She is a huge advocate of natural medicine therapies and is an advisor to Open Source Health, which is geared toward women's health.
Welcome to my personal blog. This blog is going to be filled with everything magickal. Even the grimy stuff of life.
For even in grime and dirt, do you find true gems.