Thursday, December 27, 2012

12/26 - 12/31  - I have arrived in San Luis Obispo - 2 hrs. north of Santa Barbara. The drive here was stunning!

 Mountains, verdant green landscape, and changing sky

I will be staying 6 nights at the San Luis Obispo hostel.  It is here where my prayer has been answered with the opportunity to do a work exchange for accommodations.  Perfect!  I imagined this and manifested it... YES!


To my great surprise, Elisa is here - my hostel mate in Flagstaff way back when. It feels wonderful to see her again for a couple nights before she heads on her way to San Francisco and then back home to Switzerland.

Last night before bed, I had inspiring chats with two ladies, Hannah and Mardy, who I'm sharing the women's dorm with. Creative exchanges and travel stories are always so invigorating!
Once again, it was a pleasure connecting with both of you.  Our discussion was right on que and meant to be! 

12/27 - So...... today was an intro to my hostel barter tasks for the next several days. Haven't done any cleaning for the last 4 months since I don't have a home to upkeep right now and haven't done much cooking either. I'm making up for it now.

This lovely hostel is located in a quiet neighborhood of lovely homes within walking distance to the main street where much is happening. Tonight I walked a few blocks with Elisa and Kurt to the Farmer's Market and bought some fresh organic veggies at much more affordable prices than I recall in CT.  Have you ever heard of an evening Farmer's Market?  I sure hadn't.  It was a good size market with several food and craft vendors lining the streets.  A community of folks listening to live music, children dancing, happy evening glow faces meandering about buying healthy produce. Wonderful food aromas filling the air.  Great way to have family fun every Thursday night.  I bought some beets with great looking tops, a sweet gold cauliflower, 3 sweet potatoes, and 9 delicious dates - a treat to share with my friends. Tomorrow is my 2nd day as Cinderella so I best get to bed for a good night's rest.

12/29 - I decided after spending so much emotional effort on trusting that I will manifest the funds required to repair my car, that I needed a break.  A time out!  So... I drove 1/2 hour up the amazing California coast on this day forecasted for rain to a mineral hot springs outdoor pool that folks at the hostel were talking about.  What?  It's only $7! was my reaction as minutes later I jumped in my car to head there.  If I judged appearance upon arriving, I would have turned immediately around to head back upon seeing the rundown looking campground, instead I decided to stay and check it out.  Despite appearance of this park, the mineral springs tub was in good condition, the perfect temperature and large enough to swim laps.  After about 1-1/2 hours of enjoyment - clouds, mist and light rain came to visit.  A little while later a downpour followed.  You would have laughed to have seen me racing out of the pool and scurrying over to the lawn chair where I left my clothes, to find them partially wet from the rainfall.  It was a challenge drying off and dressing into semi-wet clothes in the cold outdoor bathroom stall. Leaving naked would have been easier and a lot more comfortable.  Thank goodness  for my car heater and a nearby Starbucks a few miles down the road where a good ole hot Chai Latte warmed me right up.

12/30 - playing Cinderelly - barter exchange cleaning at the San Luis Obispo hostel.  Now that I know the routine, 6 hrs. of cleaning are becoming 4. Thank goodness!  Well....that's my exciting day.

12/31 - New Year's Eve Reflection
From January-mid August 2012:

*Worked full-time as a receptionist/administrative assistant at an amazing non-profit organization "High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc." in Connecticut where I met a lot of wonderful people and horses, learned a lot, gave a lot, received a lot, and shared a lot over a 10 year period.
*Lived a mere 15 min. from work down a lovely country road.
*Lived within 30 min. from my 2 sisters and 40 minutes from my parents and brother.
*Lived on the opposite coast from my son who is following his creative dreams in CA.
*Enjoyed an ample one room abode over a garage with an awesome view of stunning land in the foreground, 2 lighthouses, marsh, and river in the background - walking trails through woods, open meadow, private beach, incredible sunsets and starry nights.
*Lived a barter rental arrangement taking care of 3 mini-donkeys and a black lab for a generous husband and wife who are conscious land stewards.
*Embraced deep enduring friendships with a small precious pod of local sacred kinship soul sisters.

From mid August thru December year end:

Embraced change.
Surrendered the familiar and predictable.
Let go of a seemingly secure life.
Traded in a busy, multi-tasking life for a sweeter, slower pace.
Swapped mediocre for enriched vitality.
Listened to my heart.
Followed my spirit.
Engaged intuition.
Catapulted forward.
Trusted the unknown with faith, trust and courage.
Manifested my burning desire to travel.
Drove solo across country.
Explored my passion for new adventure.
Activated my Will.
Strengthened my confidence.
Cultivated self-reliance.
Honored my free spirit ~ Set my inner gypsy free.
Unleashed my Joy
Nourished my passion of meeting new people and new lands.
Enriched my love for the earth.
Celebrated wonder and awe.
Empowered my openness and intuition.
Dedicated myself to what matters most.
Actualized my dreams.


IT'S BEEN A GRAND YEAR
of deep gratitude
soul diving
conscious choice
wonderful surprises
and proactive purpose










12/24/12 - 12/26/12 - I spent the holiday with my friend Christina and her housemate Carol in Santa Barbara. Because it rained most of the days I visited, our sightseeing was limited to 2 afternoons.  I saw a lot in 2 days.  Stunning Santa Barbara architecture - Spanish Mexican building design with red tile roofs that I adore. Still trying to comprehend that flowers are in CA winter bloom.


The last 10 years, I've celebrated Christmas in CT with my son and loads of family fun of all ages, homemade feasting and winter wonderland weather. A traditional New England Christmas with all the trimmings.  I've never much considered myself traditional in the past, although this year I discovered that I am fond of my family's tradition and several times imagined myself there.

During my holiday visit, I attended a Santa Barbara party - not much of a party person, but went along anyway.  My favorite part of the evening was joining a small group in a back room singing a medley of songs accompanied by an excellent accordian player.  That was great fun! Did a little window shopping and strolled about in child-like wonder in awe of the festive Christmas lights.   Attended 3 uniquely glorious holiday church services, including a midnight service on Christmas Eve. Watched Christmas movies and ate dinner out at a Chinese Restaurant.  All in all a different holiday than past years.

Thank you Christina (Moon Goddess) for all the ways you extended yourself 
to ensure a wonderful visit!
 

 

 Thank you Carol for accommodating me in your sacred living space. 


As I finished writing this blog post, Spirit reminded me that this journey I am on is about the power of change, and that means exploring new experiences.  My holiday visit with Christina and Carol was just that!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

12/23/12 - A Unity Church Service in Santa Barbara lifted my Spirit this morning.  The minister's inspirational words, joyous songs, family Christmas play, and hugging the beautiful man sitting next to me was exactly what I  needed.  I am gloriously filled!

Just received a powerful reminder from my sister*friend Betty this afternoon after explaining my car repair service need saga ~ the 3 powerful P's:   Peaceful, Proactive, and Present.

Shortly afterwards sister*friend Nessa sent me a link reminding me of the value of taking time each day to go within and meditate. For years, meditation was a daily practice in my life.  Of late, I let it drift away. In times of challenge and stress, it is easy to do that.  I am making a personal decree outloud to welcome this powerful practice back. Doing so shall be the Guardian of my Peaceful, Proactive Presence. Thank you dear sisters for your mindful support!  

Beloved Blog Readers,
 I've enjoyed these past 4 months of blogging
and thank you for reading it 
and offering many supportive comments.

 I will be taking a pause from daily blogging 
and instead provide blogging updates
as I feel inspired to. 

The New Year is around the corner 
and it has come time for me to turn my attention inward.
Assessing where I am at this point in my journey
physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually
addressing my gratitude, wishes, dreams, and daily requirements
as I prepare to consciously step into the New Year
&
Our New World of 2013 


Wishing EVERYONE
a most blessed holiday
New Birth 2013! 
  
   

Friday, December 21, 2012

12/21/12 - waking up in a cozy dwelling
thankful for the blessing of sweet place
i arose feeling angst
wondering
where shall i be heading to
and overnighting next.
Deep rebirthing breaths
through the portal
of this powerful day
centered me in the gift of now
with a BIG REMINDER from spirit
to TRUST EACH MOMENT
without trying to skip ahead.
And that's that!
Clear and simple!


12/22/12 - Words of Wisdom from author John O'Donohue

  We extend you this blessing: 
 "May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder."


In the midst of trusting my reaffirming proclamation of trust.... my faith is being tested (again and again):

Just got back from an oil change at a friendly, reputable, local establishment.  Discovered that an upcoming car repair is on my agenda within the next month or two, which translates to sooner than later.  I need to replace the boots on my two front axles which are torn and will be needing new brakes.  All in all about $900. This amount is a significant balance of what is currently available in my bank account. Fear followed by practicality immediately crept in followed by the remembrance to ask universal provider for what I require and continue practicing trust. So, here I go again deep diving into prayer for a miracle manifestation to repair my home (car).  I am open to giving and  receiving.  I am open to resonant work opportunities.  This is today's mantra as I continue believing in that which I cannot see.

This afternoon, Christina & I toured downtown Santa Barbara in the rain.  Despite the soggy weather I delighted in experiencing the rich and enchanting architecture.  Stopped into a lavishly decorated Victorian restaurant for a yummy bowl of soup to warm the cool weather bones. Was invited to a movie, but decided what I most needed was to begin creating my new work.  I've talked about it long enough; it's time to actualize the ideas. With several hours of creative envisioning and writing behind me, I have made some progress tonight.  Time for sleep.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

12/20/12 - All around us are diverse energies of the holiday being expressed in a multitude of ways.  As for myself, I'm not quite in the holiday spirit and allowing this realization to be what it is. Perhaps now that I have manifested a a warm home, a sacred space, for me to stay through Christmas, with the support of generous friends; old friends, new friends, and open trusting friends I haven't met yet, I am open and ready to experience the tidings of this season. Being here with my sister*friend Christine, I imagine any moment now I shall be leaping into the joyous hoop-de-la aspect of the holidays in addition to celebrating the ancient story and tradition. 

I discovered the below words on the internet this morning.  For me they hold the key to unifying this world. The power of unity happens in a flash when we honor our chosen path and the chosen path of others in mutual measure with unconditional love and acceptance. The origin of each path is unique, wonderful and wisdom-filled.  The gift of collective Unity shall be bestowed when every personal life stream wakes up to remember, recognize and realize the preciousness of every path.  By the power of love and divine law that thought creates reality, I raise this cup of awakening elixir in my hands of gratitude... and toast for everyone breathing on this precious planet, and I drink with heaven and earth for the love of today and all the tomorrows.  So Be It ~ Amen, Awoman, Asoul!!!


Aborigines = We sing in gladness, Honoring Forever Oneness,
Agnostics = We get what we give,
Aloha Spirit = Each person is Important for Collective Existence,

Buddhism = What we give to others returns increased many times over,

Christianity = Love Your Neighbor as You Love Your Self,

Hinduism = Treat others as you would like to be treated,
Islam = Hurt No One so that No One may Hurt You,
Judaism = Thou shall Love Thy Neighbor a Thyself,
Native indigenous = What We Do To Mother Earth We Do To Ourselves,
Organic Farmers = We Reap What We Sow,
Pagan = Everything we do returns times three to You and Me,
Taoism = Our Neighbor’s loss eventually is our loss,
Wiccans = Harm None, Live Fully, for this is the Purpose of Living
*
****
*






12/19/12 -  Tonight my precious boy is off to the east coast for holiday and I will remain on the west coast.  A gracious invitation has been bestowed upon me to visit a dear friend in Santa Barbara tonight thru the 25th.  Thank you Christina (Carol & Adriana) for this blessed gift!

Heading North on Hwy. 101, the sun is bright and my heart is happily humming as I behold glistening green plush landscape, sunlight on water, ocean waves, surfers galore, magnificent mountains, palm trees of  plentiful sizes and shapes, fruit trees, blossoming shrubs and roadside farm stands ~ i feel as tho I've entered into a portal of Spring! It is all Music to my Soul ~ Oh Happy Day!

The changing landscape from the East Coast to the West Coast reminds me of the vast diversity of Earth and I'm enjoying it all!

It was my honor today to join Christina and Carol for a marvelous lunch with their artistic friends/neighbors Eva and Attila.

 
Eva & Attila ~ 
So enjoyed the scrumptious lunch
home museum tour and conversation.  
All quite fulfilling from my tummy to my soul! 
Thank you again!!!!

This lovely couple from Hungary presented a scrumptious lunch in their inspiring home ~ overlooking inspiring backyard view ~ along with inspiring conversation. When I got up from the dining room table, not only did I leave physically nourished but creatively nourished and empowered as well.  This husband and wife team are oil painters and world travelers, their passion for experiencing and expressing life to the fullest is contagious and has charged me up! 
                                                                         Thank you Eva & Attila!
Their words of wisdom:

Life is short
Don't lock yourself in a hole
Don't waste your time
Don't be afraid of anything ~ just do it! 

Following this wonderful introduction to Santa Barbara, Christina guided me through downtown Santa Barbara to the cozy studio apartment where I will be staying until the 23rd.  This sweet little space is just what I need right now.  A quiet place to just be with me for a few days.  I am singing gratitude!

Blessings to the Grace that answers my prayers!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

12/18/12 - It's been cold and rainy here in Valencia, CA (oh yeah... it's winter).  Evenso, I've had a wonderful time visiting my son ~ cooking meals, eating well, watching movies, listening to great tunes, working on creative computer projects. We love hunkering down doing things we enjoy together.

Thank you Eitra for sharing your personal space (look forward to seeing you in the New Year!)  
Thank you Kelly and kitties for sharing your home!

Eitra & Lady Charlie


Shortly after taking this photo of Eitra and Charlie, it was time for me to get on the road again.
Saying so long to my boy is never an easy thing to do.  My heart loves him SO MUCH!
The words goodbye are not fitting, and even though I say Aloha my heart knows what's coming next- time to let go and trust. Instinctively, my hands speak for my heart as I begin moving the end of my index finger, creating an imaginary drawing on the surface of my son's beautiful face:  red and white striped ribbon spiraling along his forehead and twirling into spirals along his cheeks, a christmas tree at the tip of each eye, red dots along his nose with a yellow star at the top (for many a year I drew one big red dot at the end of his nose like Rudolph), lightly brushing tiny gold and silver sparkles on his eyelids, adding two dangly golden christmas ball earrings (no gender discrimination) to remind him that he is and has always been a golden globe winner/recipient!  To top it all off  an angel's kiss in the crevice of his chin.  I often did this creative playtime ritual when Eitra was a little man just before bed. What a special moment here and now to creatively express with the power of child-like joy the forever love between a mother and child ~ so many delightful memories to spark, rekindle, and cultivate!  Pretty cool too that playtime like this requires no paints and no cleaning up. 


May all the children of the world be honored with the Power of Love
and celebrated by the Art of Pray & Play!

Monday, December 17, 2012

12/16/12 - Poem Inspired by sculpture "Exultation" by Retha Walden Gambaro


Sunday, December 16, 2012

12/15/12 -  Eitra and I took a drive north on this wet misty day to Pyramid Lake.  This lake is located in the Los Angeles and Los Padres National Forests about 60 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.  The lake's 21 miles of shoreline and 1,297 acres of surface area spread out into long, arm-like waterways and steep canyons. Here are some pics:



Friday, December 14, 2012

12/14/12 - I'm with my son in Valencia, CA!  What more is there to say besides.... 

YAY!!!

Yesterday I passed initiation driving in LA during evening rush hour. With Eitra's guiding presence, I navigated Hwy. 5 to the 405, passing the 101, the 10 and on our way back the 210, the 118 and the 14.  (all 5 lane highways!)
WHEW!  *  I DID IT!

It's a wild place here in LA
quite a contrast
from having just come from camping in the desert. 


Being with my son is a glorious reunion!
We're together through the 19th
when Eitra heads East
for holiday 
and I stay West

Where's the California sunshine?
Since I arrived 
it's been
 Rain Rain Rain
day temperature around 50
night time around 40
........Brrrrr........
  

 





 
12/11-12/13/12

On the road again... Leaving Arizona and heading to CALEEEEEFORNIA!!!!!  WOWZA! 
215 miles later, I've crossed the border at long last! Did a happy dance in my car to celebrate my having made it!  

So, here I am in Desert Center, a meeting place to connect with dear friends, Floyd & Melissa, who I haven't seen in 3-1/2 years. Floyd, Melissa and I were part of a monthly intensive higher consciousness healing group for three years when I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Going on 6 years now, my dear friends have been traveling the nomadic life, living most contently with earth and sky on various sacred lands of AZ, CA, and UT ~living very affordably/off the grid thanks to their compact trailer and the Bureau of Land Management.  I am thrilled that we have reconnected!   In 2012, Melissa and Floyd enjoyed exploring/living in 54 different locations and spent $624 on basic necessity costs.  A solar panel provides electricity and a good ole shovel is a close friend. Using the outdoors as a bathroom is more scenic than any indoor bathroom I've ever seen.  Only nomadic adventurers at heart with a focused goal on living a simple life desire to live this way.  I admire their choice!  They are living life in a way that I am considering.

Here's the town of Desert Center.  When making the arrangement with Floyd to meet here, he told me more than once that there was nothing there other than the Desert Center Cafe.  When I arrived, his words hit home.  There is nothing here.  It's desolate! The 24 hour gas station is abandoned, The cafe is even closed due to reconstruction.  The only action I saw during my 45 min. of waiting for Floyd, was the flag waving in the gentle breeze and 5 cars pulling up to the post office.  According to the post-mistress, 300 people live in this town.  WOW!


A few miles down the road from Desert Center is the area of Corn Springs.  It was an old mining town in the 30s, American Indian territory before that.  This is where I'll be camping tonight through Thursday morning.

 Floyd, Melissa and Sweet Ben

Melissa! You  make the 'bestest' salads!


 For anyone interested!
Melissa and Floyd are selling the coolest foldup 2-seater Sea Kayak
in excellent shape at an extremely affordable price!   
Will be listed on Craigslist.



More pics posted of "luscious living on the land" time
on my facebook album
entitled "Camping in Desert Center, CA"

Monday, December 10, 2012

12/10/12 -  I've deeply enjoyed my several days here at Phoenix Hostel.  Have made several friends with staff and hostel mates. We've been a family!  It's hard to leave and yet at the very same time, I'm looking forward to driving to Desert Center, CA tomorrow to camp for two nights under the quiet and vast open sky with close friends I haven't seen for a few years.  I will be stepping away from my computer during that time as there will not be internet access.  I enjoy blogging very much although I'm looking forward to not staring at a computer screen.

I'm sitting at the hostel community round table right now
with 3 wonderful guys..eating pizza, drinking wine, laughing, joking, telling stories, having fun.
My eyelids are dozing off and still I'm attempting to finish this blog post.

Before I head to bed
a
HUGE THANK YOU
goes out to
Keith (Koji), Mary and Kate
for offering such an amazing experience
here at Phoenix Hostel
 &
to all the hostel mates
 I shared this wonderful space with
Thank YOU for the many wonderful memories!

 
*** I would LOVE to come back again! ***

Blogger readers ~ if you find yourself in Phoenix
come check out this fabulous hostel:
www.phxhostel.org
HI-Phoenix Hostel and Cultural Center
12/10/12 -  Took Gwenael (hostel mate from France) to the bus station this morning.  We've been traveling together since when we met in Flagstaff hostel a couple weeks ago. Akiko left the hostel this morning and John leaves tomorrow.  Their presence is missed.  Tomorrow morning I move on as well.

Aussie hostel mate Vince and I went to the Heard Museum today.  What a fabulous place!  For more than 80 years, this museum has attracted visitors from around the globe who come to learn about the arts and cultures of the Native peoples of the Americas.

In addition to the general tour of the permanent exhibits, there was also a lecture about Geronimo and a fascinating Code Talker exhibit.  The story of the Code Talkers, the American Indian men who helped turn the tide of battle during World Wars I and II, focusing on the important role Native languages played in U.S. military efforts during the 20th century.

 2,000 yr. old handmade Pueblo cup
My heart sank in remembering these times of not so long ago.

and then my heart was uplifted again 
to see the artwork of young teenage American Indians
including this piece called "Storyteller"
- artist: age 16


Sculpture is one of my favorite mediums. I love holding clay in my hands, smelling it and forming it.  Through the years I've played a little with clay, lived with a very gifted sculptor, and modeled for sculptors  ---- always excited to visit sculpture exhibits. Was gravitated to the outdoor garden of Heard Museum where I discovered this beautiful exhibit ATTITUDES OF PRAYER by Retha Walden Gambaro.

 
First Prayer
"Acceptance" 
 
"Exultation"




12/9/12 - Barbecue night at the Phoenix hostel.

 Fun... Fun...FUN!

Thanks Keith for initiating Barbecue night!
Thanks to everyone for pitching in!
What a night!
             Yummy food 
                  story swapping
                         and laughter

A glass of wine.....and the dinner gratitude song i sang
inspired by the anticipation of reuniting with my son next week.
(my son and i used to sing this song before mealtime when he was a wee lad)

All i really need is a song in my heart
 food in my belly and love in my family. 
(words by Raffi)

 ~ A joyful simple song ~

 A few dinner pics:
Akiko teaching Kate how to count to 10 in Japanese


Another great night at Phoenix Hostel
where you wanna stay and never leave!
 

To top off the evening
Akiko gave to those of us lingering around after dinner clean up
Japanese names that she intuited in the moment.
Mine is Keiko (pronounced Kayko)
translated as ~ beautiful view ~






12/9/12 -  Off to Boyce Thompson Arboretum - world class botanical garden in Superior, AZ, one hour east of phoenix, located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert.  Hostel friends Gwenael and Akiko are joining me.  A wonderful afternoon exploring three miles of garden paths and trails winding through 392 acres of plant exhibits and striking landscapes - over 2600 different types of plants from the deserts of Australia, north and South America, southern Africa and other arid land regions from the world blending seamlessly into an incomparable natural setting, nestled along Queen Creek at the foot of Picket Post Mountain.

This arboretum opened in 1929.  It is a mecca for the study of desert plants, studied for drought resistance, potential uses as forage, medicines, perfume oil, soil binding and ornamental usage.
I'm in love with cactus and viewed numerous varieties today.




One of the many facts I learned today was that Saguaro cactus can shed more than 40 million seeds.

I would love to return to this region when Spring returns and cactus are in bloom!







  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

12/8/12 - Shopped at the local Mexican supermarket
a supreme experience
sights, sounds, smells
a colorful fiesta time
feels like i'm at a party!

Investigating vegetables and fruits
i've never seen nor heard of before.
oh so curious about
preparing and eating cactus
perhaps one of these days
i'll try it.

Lunch at a mexican cafe
veggie enchilada
YUM!
Never was a fan of mexican food in the east
I sure am here in the southwest!


 ~ TO TOP OFF THE DAY ~
3 hr. bicycle tour
 Hostel mates - Akiko, Gwenael and bicycle tour hosts: Kate & Todd

Our tour took us through the downtown Phoenix art district which 10 years ago was the hood.  The streets and alleyways are alive with a growing number of art murals/graffiti - the vision and voice of the people responding to political and civic issues.  Lots of activist energy happening here for changing times! My perspective is that Phoenix is a living example of folks coming together to create change through the power of healing/transformational art.



Thank you Kate & Todd for this fun and insightful bicycle tour.  Your combined passions for unifying people and place through your positive presence and contributing leadership for sustainable living and justice is step by step creating change.  I wholeheartedly believe that reawakening and cultivating the Renaissance Arts is Earth's new backbone for the Highest Good of the Web of life.

Our last stop on our bicycle tour was AWESOME!  In the midst of the business district suspended in the air is the below art installation.  This art piece is entitled 'She Who Learns Patience.'  While studying this piece, I began to see that its form reminds me of a combination spider's web and spiral of life. Just as spider weaves thread by thread, and just as the spiral of life ebbs and flows inwardly and outwardly, we are the dawn of a new creation. Step by step the changes that are required to return Earth to its rightful, original intent of Peace, Balance, and Justice for All is reawakening. This piece surely does speak to me of the patience required in living the artful mystery of transformation.



A couple more photos ~
My idea of playtime with the downtown business district sculptures