Exploring Fort Bragg

near Fort Bragg on the way to Glass Beach

I am an explorer.  I need not imagine what it must have been like to be Magellan, Cabrillo or Drake.  When I visit Fort Bragg and Mendocino for the first time, it is my discovery, and I am filled with wonder anew at the beauty of the California coast.

One difference between me and the first European explorers and settlers of America is that I have no instinct or desire to claim or possess it.  Other inhabitants were here, are here.  It would never occur to me to take it or to steal treasure.

I feel gratitude for the gift and opportunity to witness the natural landscape for myself.  I tread lightly in order to leave a small footprint  as undetectable as possible.  I wish nature to remain in the care of Mother Nature, for I cannot improve upon it.  I am far from perfect, but the Earth and the Universe are perfect.

 

 

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Mendocino

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From the moment I set foot in Mendocino, I connected with the notion of a gateway or portal.

Some portals tunnel through rock. Think about how long the water persisted and slowly chewed its way.

Other portals are easy, meandering views through trees and gulches, beckoning the traveler.

All represent both rest stops and stepping stones.

Mendocino is simultaneously a destination and a gateway. Picture postcard lovely, yet not static like a photograph, it foams and swirls.

The many natural rock portals portend paths to mysterious locales unknown.

As one sails through the whitecaps into the currents, the ocean may lead to the next harbor or, who knows? All the way to China or New Zealand…

Oceanic Mendocino is life.  Each day is both a destination in and of itself, to be experienced to its fullest, and a portal to the next day.

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Riding the wave

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Sometimes I write from pain.  Sometimes I write in healing.  Sometimes I write from nothing at all.  This is about healing.

It’s like getting a bad cut and then going surfing.  One expects salt water in a wound to hurt like hell.

And, there’s the risk of getting cut again while surfing, but I push that thought away, out of my consciousness.  Fear is not going to prevent or defeat me.  The cool, enveloping water beckons.

Now, suppose I tell you that I feel like we are surfing in Magic waters?  Waters that close and salve wounds, cleanse and remove old scars.

The rush I feel is the intensity of that initial, stinging pain — partly real because of the foamy, swarming brine, but mostly the clever work of the Inner Saboteur, the devious Brain and its constructs and obstructs — quickly followed by the elation of paddling and riding in the soothing, powerful water and its curative, invigorating touch.

The lacerations mend instantly, the blisters melt, and the scabs fall away.

The question is not “Do you have any scars?”  We all have some.  The trick is, are you willing to show them?  Even if they make you feel ugly?

The paradox is that if I kept them hidden under wetsuits and wraps, I could surf and play, but I would exit the sea as the same person.

By empowering my heart to go skinny dipping, I opened myself to the healing and emerged stronger, Closer to Fine.

I peeled back the outerwear and the Under Armour and revealed a scar.  I don’t know what it looks like to you, but to me it is hideous.  I forced myself to look in the mirror and confront it.  

No one else has to look at it.  They may look or turn away.  By my nakedness I allow my vulnerability.  I’m not asking to be judged or hurt, although I have to accept those possibilities if I’m going to do this.

Thus, I leapt into the water.

And yet, the more I expose the cuts as I cut through the waves, defenseless, I learn that no one except the Saboteur is trying to harm me.

The other surfers are busy riding their own waves.  I both share the ocean with them, willingly and joyfully, and stay out of their way, yielding when they time the swells and find their space.

I’m literally and figuratively trying to ride out this wave of growth and self-discovery.

I surfed the waves and slayed a demon.  I shed that disfigured part of me much as I removed the neoprene, and I left it in the past, lying in the sand.

The new me, the now me, has evolved again and is one step closer to my higher self.

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This old 3G technology will never become obsolete.

This is my “3G” technology for the art of living.  I may find a way to enhance it — to upgrade it — but it will never fail me or go out of style:

Giving – approach each day with an attitude of Giving.  What can I do for others to help them bear their burdens?  Don’t worry about what they can do for me; in time, the Universe will provide what I need. By focusing my attention outward and staying aware of those around me, I find opportunities to give and accept beneficial Karma.

Grateful – think about what I have, not about what I don’t have.  Each day, acknowledge people for whom to be thankful.  Accept gifts and blessings that come my way, without wishing for more, and know that I am worthy to receive them.  

Graceful – Give and be Grateful with style and grace.  Do so quietly, without excess words or fanfare, wanting no reward or recognition except that which comes from within my own soul.  This is the part I have to work on.  Some days I am graceful, and some days I am incredibly awkward and childish.  True grace is difficult to master.

My journey at this point is largely about Acceptance — letting go of old, unhealthy ways of doing and thinking and discovering paths toward my higher self while acknowledging that I will never be Perfect, never master it all.  But I can try.  And I must try.

Never give up myself, being myself, reaching for my higher self.  Rely on my 3G technology.

 

 

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One

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Hiking into a mountain range, I scaled the tallest peak.

Lost in the forest, I found a tree.

Enveloped in fog, I discerned a cloud.

Blinded by light, I discovered a rainbow.

Drowning in the ocean, I learned to ride a wave.

Gazing at the night sky, a star sparkled at me.

Wading into the sea of humanity, I found many to love, but above all, one.

 

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Feeling extra grateful

Saturday morning, I woke up, got ready, and headed into SF with some friends for a nice 5-mile run with Team RWB!  Back in WC, just had time to shower, eat, and throw my bags in the car (forgetting a few things in the process) before getting a last-minute phone call and racing over to Alamo to put in a couple of hours of volunteer work.  Being ‘on call’ makes me feel good and useful!

From there I drove straight down to Santa Cruz.  First, we made our way down to the beach and walked along for a ways talking and checking out the waterfront.  I saw an otter swimming not far offshore.  Afterward, I took Erik to dinner for some tasty burgers and fries.  After gorging ourselves, we took a nice 4-mile walk through the forest.  Nice bonding time!

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I almost never watch TV, but it felt nice and comfy to laugh at some Parks & Recreation episodes, just hanging out with a few of his friends at the house.  That they accept an adult into their lair, their natural habitat, and nothing is weird about that is a rare, special feeling.

Sunday morning, Erik was still sleeping as I ate a bit and headed back into the woods to explore on my own.  I fulfilled my intention to go “off road”.  I specifically targeted a “No Trespassing” sign in order to discover what was beyond the edge of the pavement.  I chose a steep climb up a damp but not flowing creek bed.  Although the morning was cool and cloudy, I quickly removed my long-sleeve pullover as I worked up a sweat.  On the way back downhill, I literally skidded several feet at a time through poison oak and foliage and across the leaf-covered ground without falling — testing my balance for later in the day!

Walked and  chatted with three very nice friends down to a lighthouse and back, and then thankfully accepted some excellent leftovers as lunch before loading up cars and steering toward the beach.

Meeting Richard, the surf instructor, and spending 2 hours out in the waves for my first-ever surfing lesson was everything I hoped it would be and more.  Words can’t describe how great it felt to stand up on the board and skim along in front of the rushing water.  I had more solid rides than bad ones, for sure, and yes, I fell down quite a bit, but I can’t believe how well it went.  I am hooked and will definitely go again soon!

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Met up with Erik again for yummy pizza for dinner, and then we had ice cream for dessert at the house.  It was so good to spend time with him, and he was appreciative of the meals!

Does it suck to  come home and do laundry and have to go to work tomorrow?  Not at all!  I am very grateful to have a job that provides the means to enjoy a wonderful, exciting weekend.  Most of all, I am constantly thankful for my good health that enables me to do so many fun activities!

P.S. As I laid my head on my pillow last night, salt water ran out my nose.  Despite having worn ear plugs while surfing, water must have found its way into some obscure sinus cavities or my ear canals, escaping only at the end of a long, marvelously tiring day.

 

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Super Moon

August 10, 2014 — I had just finished dinner and cleaning the kitchen when I remembered tonight features the Super Moon.  Around 8 p.m. I headed over to Howe Homestead park and began trekking up to Summit Ridge to get a glimpse.  On the way, I saw a beautiful young deer on a road to my left, but it was a bit far away to get a decent photo.  In the pic below, the second white-topped fence stake from the left perfectly points at the rear end of the deer, appearing to be it’s white tail, directly in the foreground of the red car…

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I was happy to see the deer, for that has been my animal totem for some time.  I felt as though the deer was guiding me toward the moon.  My yoga instructor had told us in class this morning that the Super Moon is a great time to meditate.  For me, the combination of the deer and the moon symbolizes a portent of something to come — a sign that significant change is imminent.

Within minutes, six more deer appeared nearby!

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I also believe the deer came to say goodbye to me.  That is part of the change occurring.  I have been feeling drawn to water lately.

Yesterday I had taken a swim in the American River with some friends during a hot run.  Much of the trail went through forest. I was grateful to be close to nature; it was my intention that day.  However, despite the lovely forest and river, I did not see any birds or other animals.  I was not disappointed, but I was a bit confused.  Why was the Universe not sending me guides and messengers?  Yet, I have learned to trust my intuition and be patient.  The messages will come when they are meant to be.

I continued up the hill and watched the moon rise stunningly over the foothills of Mount Diablo.  I took many pictures, and many of them look similar to each other, so I will post just a few.

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I purposefully let my phone camera stay out of focus for this shot, because for some reason it was making the moon look even larger and rounder.

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I can’t say I know what exactly the portent is, but I’m excited for the future!

 

 

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