An Afternoon’s Journey

I know other parts of the country are freezing, buried under a mountain of snow, but here in SoCal, it was about seventy-five degrees and sunny (don’t hate).

It was the perfect day for a hike in the back country to inhale sandy, dirty trails and think about setting positive intentions for 2018.

We drove for a couple of hours (to a secret spot) and started walking. As the sun rose to its celestial meridian, I started shedding layers.

Does this look like it could be a Native American bedrock metate?

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Beautiful fruiting manzanita; well, I think it’s manzanita…

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We know it’s a going to be a great day when the trails are heavily strewn with coyote scat!

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And this remnant of a coyote or bobcat’s meal. Upon close inspection, it looks like part of a tail but I’m not too sure how it ended up perched on the dried grass.

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Steep and rocky.

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Stopping for a snack and water, the perfect time to touch up dry lips with a little Chanel. I’m always prepared!

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Who says leaves don’t change color in Southern California?

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There’s really nothing more soul satisfying than exerting oneself physically until you’re bone tired and then eating a huge late lunch (with french fries) and feeling zero guilt about the amount of calories consumed!

#gratitude #nature #hiking #backcountry

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Garden Treasures. Winter Gratitude.

Freshly picked gifts from Mother Earth in all the brilliant colors of the season.

Red leaf lettuce, peppery arugula, baby romaine, and baby kale fill a pristine white bowl.

Accompanied by steamed brown rice and a glass of crisp chardonnay, it’s a purely simple and fulfilling dinner.

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Bitter+Sweet

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This is how I know I had an amazingspectularawesome fun time with Angel Boy 2.0–when his playroom looks like we’re in the eye of a Category 5 hurricane.

Hurricane Theo lol.

Yes, that’s a ukelele–Theo loves music, and yes, that’s a tent. He won’t sleep in a crib and we’re exploring other options.

Since SoCal had record breaking heat, most of our time was spent at the beach or the park or in the garden.

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Or even cooking with Grandma…which actually meant he was eating all the food in the bowl as I prepared my world famous Kugel, the only time canned fruit enters this house haha.

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I hope everyone had as wonderful and exhausting Thanksgiving as we did.

Now it’s time to clean up the mess.

That’s the bittersweet part. Saying goodbye. And the silence. No squeals, no laughter, no JOY!!!

#Thankful #Grateful #Love #Family

Taking a minute to breathe before heading to the airport to claim Angel Boy 2.0. I suppose I’ll have to tote my son and DIL home too, as 20 month Theo is still too young to fly to me by himself, but they don’t really matter. HAHA. No really. They.Do.Not.Matter.

For all the years that my laser focus was directed at the original Angel Boy, I bet if he had known that the way stop me from being a drone and hovering and helicoptering was simply to procreate, he might have done it YEARS AGO.

While I sense a slight, very slight wistfulness in his voice sometimes because it’s ALL ABOUT THEO, I know he’s very proud of his accomplishment in whatever part he played in the creation of Theodore. Just to see him play with Theo brings tears to my eyes.

Did you know that AB named Theo? Years ago, he shared an experience with his best friend in Greece where they were climbing Mt. Olympus and didn’t realize how very far it was to go up and then down, a miscalculation on the part of those (then) undergrads.

I don’t remember all the details, but just as they were near exhaustion, out of nowhere, a truck appeared, stopped, and the driver took pity on them and drove them to the bottom.

As they thanked him profusely, my son asked his name. In broken English, he said he was called Theodore, which means “god’s gift”.

Apparently, that kindness stayed with my son all these years, and that’s how Theo came to be.

My break is over. I’ve already made the stuffing, apple and pumpkin pies, kugel, and fresh cranberry sauce, filled the wading pool with water, and set up a little sandbox. I wanted to get as much done as possible in advance to have more playtime for me and Mr. T, and since I make everything from scratch, it helps to prep early.

It’s going to be record breaking heat today in the 80s at the beach.

Time to go to the airport!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and I’m sure you can figure out what I’m grateful for.

Home really is where the heart is today for sure!

Shake It Off

Not the Taylor Swift tune, although it’s one of my faves, but I’m talking about shaking off the much too serious posts I’ve been writing about wetiko, death, and the dark night of the soul!

While I haven’t done a whole lot of retail therapy shopping lately unless it’s toys or clothes for a growing Angel Boy 2.0,  I’ll tell you about a heartbreakingly exquisite moment that he and I shared on a recent visit.

Picture this: he lives between Puget Sound and some MAJOR railroad tracks. The good thing is the neverending entertainment of watching boats and sunsets and moonrises and the tiny little beach that’s across the street and the less good thing is the long and loud freight trains that heavily traverse the tracks all day and all night.

However, to a little boy, choo choos are AWESOME and AMAZING ALL THE TIME, exactly like his daddy thought at that age. We often drove to the train museum at Balboa Park and rode the little train there, too.

The day I was leaving, as I was packing my suitcase, Theo came in my room and grabbed my hand. I said, “What’s up, Mr. T? I’m packing up to go home, do you want to help?”

He looked at me intently still holding my hand and pulled me to my feet. In a sweet, small voice, he whispered excitedly, “AmmahAmmah, choo choo!” and raised his arms so I could pick him up. We stood at the window and he patted my back and leaned into me as I read to him all the names on the cars and we counted them until the train passed. I counted 56 cars and never wanted to put him down. I wish there had been 10,556 more.

Time stopped for those few minutes.

Nothing else mattered.

A boy, his grandma, a shared love of trains, and the beauty of a little human whose spirit shines so brightly even at eighteen months that he already knows the meaning of life and of happiness, being fully invested in the moment, the mindfullness of joyful living that some of us seem to lose as we transition into adults.

My little buddy. Beyond adorable…THEO-dorable!

This is the Balboa Park train. Can’t wait to take 2.0 !!!

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Gratitude + Joy

I don’t often post pictures of Angel Boy 2.0 because we are all protective of his image but every single time I look at this photo, it sets my world right again, so I thought I’d share it with my friends.

With hurricanes and floods and fires and murders and other toxic disasters that seem to engulf our consciousness lately, there’s the opposite and equally powerful tug of LOVE at our hearts and minds and souls and spirits.

He’s the reason why my sun rises every single day.

Pure in his magnificence, my heart softens and melts. And heals.

Just a boy and his Peppa the Pig plate full of a lentil burger, broccoli, hummus, and tomatoes.

Pure love. We all need a big dose it right about now.

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Synchronicity

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Like autumn leaves turning color, falling to expose naked branches,  I see the green, golden, and red leafy reminders of the same word everywhere I turn.

When I was with Angel Boy 2.0, we stood in the forest and I picked up handfuls of maple leaves, tossed them high into the air and we laughed as they gently floated down around us.

“More! More!” he squealed. “AmmahAmmah, MORE!” And so I did. And the moment was even more precious as he raced away clutching one of them to keep for the walk home.

The word I see and hear everywhere is FORGIVEness.

On social media, in emails, songs I hear over and over again, in a seemingly random manner or maybe not so random, right?

And this old song, “Heart of the Matter”…is it time to pay attention, to really LISTEN to that inner voice?

Just like those maple leaves, let it go.

‘Nuff said…

 

There was that day I met His Holiness, The Dalai Lama

Remember? It was back in June. You can read all about it here:

Meeting the Dalai Lama.Thaumaturgic.
https://enchantedseashells.com/2017/06/19/meeting-the-dalai-lama-thaumaturgic/

Still thaumaturgic. Still a magical never-to-be-forgotten day. Still healing.

The rest of the story of that day goes like this…

In my thoughts and preparations prior to that amazing experience, I thought it would be an appropriate act of kindness to bring the Dalai Lama a gift.

But what is the right and perfect giftslashoffering for a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with one of the most special humans on this planet?

What do you think?

Flowers? Nope. A gift certificate to Dave & Busters? Nope. An engraved pen and pencil set? Nope again. Money? Maybe, but I don’t have any to spare, so nope.

Guess. No, come on. GUESS!

Only my DIL got it right when I asked, “well, what do you THINK I would give him?”

Give up?

OK, silly as it may sound to you, I beautifully wrapped a few of my most special seashells and a rock that looks like a whale and placed them in a brightly colored cotton gift bag.  I know it might seem childish to you, but I never really grew up, so it’s in keeping with my mental/emotional age.

When I thought about what evokes enduring purity and beauty, there is nothing more meaningful to me than seashells and rocks. (Diamonds fit into that category too, but that’s another story.)

Y’all have already seen my seashell encrusted home, right?

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Before the Dalai Lama and Ann Curry appeared on stage, I struck up a conversation with one of his emissaries/bodyguards, and told them I had a gift I hoped to present to His Holiness.  They pointed out the person I should hand it to and suggested I do it right after the interview.

However, because His Holiness spent so much time answering my question and talking to me, he exceeded the time set aside for the interview and was late getting to the open air stage at Rimac Field where 25,000 people were waiting in the heat for us to finish our conversation…

Ann Curry whisked away the Dalai Lama and there was no time to offer my little gifts to His Holiness.

However, that setback didn’t deter me…

Since I’m such a great snoop investigative journalist,  I somehow discovered where His Holiness and entourage were staying, drove there, and left my treasures with the concierge at the front desk. I included a hastily written note to thank the Dalai Lama for speaking with me for such a long time and how much I appreciated his wisdom–along with my name, address, email, and phone number.

I drove home, trying to process the intensity of that surreal and amazing experience, and thought no more about it.

Even though I personally treasure every seashell and rock (truth), I didn’t seriously think that they would actually make the journey to be received –or acknowledged–by His Holiness–I don’t have a grandiose sense of my own importance in this world.

A couple weeks later on a Saturday afternoon, my cell phone rang with an unknown number from Florida. Normally, I don’t answer a number I don’t know-there are all those annoying telemarketing calls, but this time I pressed the accept button and said hello.

Imagine my surprise when a heavily accented voice asked for me (not Princess Rosebud lol, but my other name). The voice introduced himself as the Personal Emissary for Peace to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. OH EM EFFF GEEEE!

Acting on behalf of His Holiness, the emissary was calling to thank me for my gifts and told me how much they were appreciated.

To describe my reaction succinctly. I was literally gobsmacked, And rendered pretty much speechless, which is a rare occurance.

One of the world’s most spiritual humans took the time to express GRATITUDE to me; an absolute nobody.

That’s the ultimate amazing ending to one of the most significant experiences of my entire life.

 What’s the message? What’s the lesson?

Gratitude and appreciation. If someone like the Dalai Lama can take the time and effort to acknowledge a handful of seashells and rocks, we all need to follow his example and this world will be a better place for us, our children, and grandchildren.

No, thank YOU, Your Holiness.

You restored my faith in humankind.

Namaste for reals.

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The Science of Gratitude

Counting your blessings and creating a list of things to be thankful for has a real foundation in science and might even change the way our brains work, according to a brain-scanning study in NeuroImage.

It brings us a little closer to understanding why these exercises have these effects. The results suggest that even months after a simple, short gratitude writing task, people’s brains are still wired to feel extra thankful. The implication is that gratitude tasks work, at least in part, because they have a self-perpetuating nature: The more you practice gratitude, the more attuned you are to it and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits.

Feeling grateful is very good for you.

Time and again, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can bring a range of benefits, such as feelings of increased well-being and reduced depression, that often lingers well after the exercises are finished.

Changing our neural pathways of any old tapes we run of self loathing and lack of self worth and depression with replacement thoughts of being valuable, of deserving love and respect aren’t new ideas but they’re new to ME. Louise Hay is a well-known proponent of positive self talk and affirmations.

Recently, I started sporadically attending  free Friday mediation classes at the Deepak Chopra Center in La Costa because I thought I needed a little jump start to get to the next level of peace, harmony, joy, and NAMASTE.

After one of the sessions, I purchased Deepak’s little book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. I just found a pdf of it here, if you are interested in reading it, too. It’s an easy read with valuable insights and suggestions.

I like knowing that I’m headed on a path toward increased compassion and gratitude, hoping to make the world just a little bit kinder by being more kind and grateful.

The Project of Happiness outlines seven steps toward the goal of a  joyful and fulfilled life.

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I’m grateful to all of you who read and follow my blog.

What are YOU grateful for today?

*Thanks to http://bulgariastories.com/2015/11/2612/ for JFK image

Just Sunday, that’s all…

I spent the entire day with one of my oldest friends. We had lost touch for many years but picked up the thread as if it were only hours between chats, and not the chasm of time that separated us.

It was my fault. I wasn’t there for her when she needed me. I apologized and she forgave me.

So simple. True. Honest. Authentic.

Here are three of my favorite things to celebrate and be grateful for on this kind of overcast and cloudy Sunday.

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