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Where Do You Find Peace?


Embrace Every Moment


Photo I took at The Arboretum in Pasadena, CA


If you are truly living each moment fully there is no need to rush anything, you’ll never be missing out, and your life will always be abundantly enriched.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu




mountain-reflecting-in-the-lake-17965-1920x1200Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed. ~Indra Devi


Painting: Silent Wisdom by Sundara Fawn

A quiet mind married to integrity of heart is the birth of wisdom. ~Adyashanti


Me in Peru at Machu Picchu with Alpacas

In the stillness of your presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form.  You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature.  You look beyond the veil of form and separation.  This is the realization of oneness.  This is love. ~Eckhart Tolle

9290354The self must know stillness before it can discover its true song. ~Ralph Blum

bridgeThere is a presence, a silence, a stillness which is here by itself. There is no doer of it, no creator of this stillness. It is simply here in you, with you. It is the fragrance of your own self. There is nothing to do about this, it is naturally present. This fragrance of peace, this spaciousness, it is the fragrance of your own being. ~Mooji


The Cosmic Dance of Balance – Eckhart Tolle on Living with Meaning in the Digital Age

full moon in virgo 2013After a beautiful full moon last night, I am settling in to another miracle of a day today. Although it is my 40th birthday today, to me it is simply and exquisitely another magickal day in the Earth neighborhood.

The photo pictured here is what I captured last night at 7pm and when I saw it I was reminded of one of the messages from my post yesterday – Finding Your Peace: Full Moon in Virgo & Mercury Retrograde in Pisces 2013 from Cathy Pagano that it seemed to reflect beautifully:

“Full Moons are the part of the cosmic dance when things become clear—or they turn into drama, another form of definition created by unconscious acting-out.

The truth is Full Moons can indicate the dance of true partnership, where each side is seen and valued. But you have to let yourself be seen; you have to take on the Sun’s light and let the Moon speak to you of what it wants to create. Then your purpose becomes manifesting the vision. 

So take hold of your courage and dance the dance this Virgo Full Moon. Because we are being called to birth the brightest truths of our spiritual essence.” 

And a cosmic dance is what I put conscious effort towards embracing each day, even if in my own little world I’ve created. 🙂

I have actually never really deliberately celebrated my birthday in any huge way that maybe others might, that I can remember. I’ve done some things that I loved, but hadn’t ever been drawn to large gatherings. I’m not sure why other than having felt drawn to more subdued celebrations that resonate at heart, and the same holds true for this year.

I find that the more you live each day fully as the miracle and joy it is with all of your heart – dance the cosmic dance that is –  the more it demonstrates how every day is a celebration. Every day is fun and fulfilling because of integrating more of that core passion and authenticity with collective service and connection.

You’ll find yourself enlivened by regularly seeking quiet places and time where you can go within and be with yourself, free to “be” with your connection to the miracle of creation in and around you.

And as Cathy shared, that dance of true and balanced partnership you courageously embrace, will lead you to the core of your spiritual essence.

Having received some “balanced” gifts for my birthday including things at opposite spectrums like a new large computer screen and speakers, as well as flowers, crystal pendant, scented candles, an inner reflection calendar of gorgeous images and quotes, a peace cap…this reiterated the message from an Eckhart Tolle video we listened to and watched on the long drive home from Utah, which focused on daily and minute-to-minute balance that creates a deeper sense of connection and peace amidst all of the stimulation.

In the solitude of my inner silence I have found the paradise of unending Joy. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda

Zion National Park

Zion National Park, Utah

More and more I find myself spending large amounts of time in nature (whether hiking, walking on the beach, or taking trips that immerse myself in the outdoors), in quiet reflection away from external stimuli, focusing on the crystals I have on my desk, snuggling and playing with my little animal companions, and doing calming things I find fun in between my work in order to recharge, stay present and connected, and create peaceful harmony within.

The intensity of my work, although creative and healing in service, can be amplifying, not to mention the amount of time I also have to spend at the computer can be challenging, and so time to just “be” in natural ways is valuable and necessary – whether that’s literally in nature, with things of nature, or being at home with what flows through me naturally.

Just a year ago, Eckhart Tolle shared some good insights on the importance of balance to avoid potential dangers of technological advances, while chatting with Bradley Horowitz of Google. The subject of his talk is: “Living with Meaning, Purpose and Wisdom in the Digital Age.” 

He also touches on other valuable insights, but there are some good key points in his message to gain greater sense of clarity, peace, and joy of being alive in terms of this theme of creating balance in a world of expanding technology and being one with that cosmic dance within. I hope you find value in his message:

Pieces of Peace – Discharging & Recharging Your Energy with Nature & Natural Creative Self Expression

Wherefore art thou my little crystal friend?

One of my new crystals I just posted about and have been working with has decided to go off into another dimension momentarily, literally disappearing in thin air. I’m getting that she will come back when we are both ready.

A couple of days ago (and I feel it’s partially tied into her disappearance) I had another of my power surge outages, but kind of big. Sometimes my emotions, breakthroughs, and shifts affect weather and Earth conditions, and sometimes they affect power. You know just what I’m talking about if you’re reading this and nodding your head. 😉

Instantly all the power in the house went out for about 40 minutes the second a surge of intensity hit in terms of me saying inwardly, “this is not happening anymore!!!” to a situation in the past I had felt powerless to. I guess I had a little too much vehement emotion behind it. Oops!

I called the power company and they said a big incident at a substation locally had happened with power out in the whole area. Not being able to do much, I got quiet and decided it was a good time for a Reiki healing attunement to assist, knowing I have the ability to shift my experience.

The minute I centered into the attunement, the power all came back on. lol! And needless to say, so did my experience thereafter. I felt centered, balanced, and peaceful.

As I recently shared with a dear friend and client, “We are not powerless, but powerful!!”

So, I am trusting that my lovely Ice Quartz will show up too. Joy liked her as well. I had just that evening placed it on her third eye and she was absorbing her energy meditatively. I also had slept with her for the first time that night under my pillow. And the next day after having put her back where she goes during the day, she was gone.

Alongside a lot of amping up in terms of synchronous magick taking place, there have also been some more zany and powerful energy stuff going on lately indeed. I know I’m not the only one, as I have spoken with a few people experiencing similar things. All of it demonstrating our ability to affect everything around us and the importance of being mindful of what we are feeling and thinking (because it WILL manifest), knowing we are not helpless, but have the ability to change anything. It also demonstrates that nothing happens arbitrarily, as we are connected to every thread of life and experience around us, in mirror to what’s going on within us.

Even my computer has been daily absorbing tremendous energy and memory useage even when I’m doing nothing. Then it slows down or gets stuck and I have to manually go and control/alt/delete. I like to think of it as clearing and repatterning with each “End Process” I hit and a reminder to not allow over stimulus to take place so I can keep my eye on the focus of greater flow at hand.

My computer just seems to be “processing,” and “percolating” information in the ethers, just as I know I am doing in receiving and integrating  when not even conscious of it. Perhaps it is also connected to the fact my sweet little Russian Tortoise, Gaia, only hangs out at the base of the processing unit all day and night. She DOES love her binary codes and is learning to telepathically connect with me more. 😉

Needless to say this all brings me back to the consistent importance of finding the right balance, unique to each, that maintains that inner peace, or knowing how to always re-center in order to not allow over-stimuli to sneak up on us.

Nature, the natural, anything earth connected and creatively expressive of your heart authenticity will assist in making any needed energy adjustments. The more you can integrate these on a daily basis, in some form and way, you will find things to remain more level.

I’ve been noticing my spending a lot of extra snuggly connecting time with little Joy (my bunny) and was told to take out my treasures of nature connections and have them on or near me, when I’m not actually out in nature, in order to remind me of the natural processes and cycles, as well as to keep me tapped in to the root of who I am at heart. This will, and does, assist in helping to discharge and recharge.

I have an increase of energy moving through me lately and that I am channeling in my work and in the interactions with clients and others, that it has become increasingly important to find ways to maintain peaceful balance. One way is by my physically needing to retreat and be away from all external stimuli and another way is to be with nature, have it with me, or be creating naturally like a child.

I know that for me, creating and doing expressions that come from my hands in very natural ways, is a necessary component to being me, as well as to experiencing balanced health and joy. I don’t believe in there being any certain way to create from your heart. And it doesn’t have to be about you doing so as your profession, as much as it about you doing so for the greater good of your well being.

I love the times I can create like a vulnerable child, lost in my own little make-believe world where I enchant the creations and adornments I produce into life, with the vision of my heart.

Being in nature, natural, and infusing nature into my life is key for me and I know I am not alone. It’s something we all once knew how to be innately – in harmony with the Earth and cycles of Cosmic flow and life.

I was reminded to go to those places in my heart and mind, when I’m in the midst of over-energy, of my times spent on the beaches at Crystal Cove here, hiking in the hills overlooking the ocean, my snow time in nature by Lake Tahoe, and all the amazingly beautiful animal spirit guides that have been enchanting my life recently – the starfish, seagulls, pelicans, dolphins, hawks, chickadees, and owls. And specifically, I was guided back into the feeling I felt, while in Reno, as I intuitionally created nature/shaman adornments that captured the essence of all of this, as well as when I created a new painting there that was a gentle flow of the same element.

I felt like a little enchanted child in my world away from worlds and it is in that place I am able to rebalance in peaceful mindfulness of my energy flows.

hawk and seagull feather earringsAs mentioned before, I am no jewelry maker and do not intend to be, but I intuitively knew and received vision immediately upon finding them, that when I was gifted these three treasures of hawk, seagull, and a giant mussel shell that I would somehow interpret them into wearable adornments of nature art – more in the vein of a child from the ancient realms.

I did not want to do anything to take away from their natural state. I merely wanted a simple way to create them into something I could integrate into adorning myself with – reminding me of something a Mermaid or Native American Indian would have worn or created without anything overly fancy, and definitely in the vein of heart vulnerability.

In keeping “simple” it would also maintain their integrity of innately natural beauty and energy I wanted to have enhanced and threaded into my experience when worn. Plus, I would add a little “Tania-essence” integrated in. 🙂

What I created was a pendant and two earrings. All of which took no more than a half hour of child-like blissful fun.

Yes, you do have time in your life to do the things you love and want to do! 

Hawk and seagull feather earringsThe hawk earring is 9 1/2 inches long. The seagull earring is 8 inches long. I chose Swarovski crystal beads in the colors that most resonated with how they energetically make me feel, which were icy blues, pale aqua, light emerald and olive green, as well as golden yellow. I adore them and they can be worn alone or together, depending on the energy I want to embody.

The pendant I created is one that likely not many but myself would wear because it is so boldly big. I absolutely love it! It is nearly 6 1/2 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide! I have never found such a large mussel shell before and never one as gorgeously colored as this one. It was hidden under some rocks in a tide pool that normally isn’t seen, as the tide is usually out when I’m there. And it just happened to catch my eye as I walked by. The colors are so rainbow-vibrant and remind me of a peacock feather. I knew it was to be a pendant right away. It reminded me much more of an abalone shell though.

Mussel pendantWhen I found the crystals for the earrings, again, something happened to catch my eye. I saw this one large silver starfish clasp and given the magickal connection with them on the beach recently and my love for them, I knew it was for the pendant. I very much felt this pendant creation to be a mermaid/ethereal sea goddess energy embodiment and this adornment was perfect. I didn’t know how it would work, but I just knew somehow it would. I kept the shell in its natural state on the outside and to help keep the iridescent vibrancy of its coloring that shows up when it is under the water, I brushed it with linseed oil and let it dry. It now permanently has that glossy watery essence and deep coloring. The star fish clasp happened to be the exact fit to place the top of the mussel in behind it and I used a nontoxic glue to affix it permanently. It was so perfect and is my favorite magick piece to wear on a longer thick silver rope chain right at my chest.

The process of discovering, creating, and wearing these pieces of peace from nature is serenity of heart manifested. And in times of “power surges” or over-stimulation, I know I have several choices to seek solitude for rebalance either in physically going into nature, being with or wearing a piece of it, energetically supporting myself with a Reiki healing attunement, actively engaging in natural creative self expression, or tuning in to creative visualization to transport my emotions and energy into the realms of our harmonic Earth.

Mussel pendantI thought I’d add the symbolism of each of these for anyone who enjoys, much like me, the messages and medicine of these animal spirit guides.

Here is some information on the symbolism of mussels from Dreamtation:

Association: – Protection, – sometimes qualifying, sometimes protecting, – beauty of the form. Question: – Which feelings must I protect? Which structures do I appreciate?

Key words: Cover, – connection with the sea. Description: A mussel has served once a mollusc, a sea creature, as a dwelling. Mussels were estimated by people close to the earth always high and were used as devices, jewelry, in ceremonies as well as when currency. General meaning: Your connection with the sea, – your tools or useful devices, – what you estimate. Association: Female sexual organs, – any hard bowl. Transcendent meaning: A clear understanding of your own hard bowl.

Mussel pendantThe mussel can be seen as a magic symbol which rescues the strength of the transformation in itself. She owns the ability to protect, and is a sort of vessel by which she stands in respect with the female emotional side of the nature. It is a female sexual symbol whose form reminds of the Vulva. At the spiritual level the mussel in the dream is a miniature for the expiry of life and death. It is the picture of the grave from which the person will rise one day, a symbol of the fertility.

For more on starfish symbolism see: Exploring the Magick of these Star People

For more on hawk symbolism see: Hawk Spirit Symbolism

Here is some great seagull symbolism shared in Animal Totems: Dictionary of Birds by StarStuffs:

Seagulls are spiritual messengers that demonstrate that a higher communication with guides is taking place. He shows how to see above situations with a higher clarity and teaches that there are many perspectives to consider. Seagull shows a sense friendship and community and the cooperation that is needed for the whole to operate successfully. He teaches how to ride the currents of the mental, emotional and physical worlds. Are you going with the flow or fighting it? Are you cooperating with others? Are you open to your guides? Seagull can teach you many lessons of looking, living and being. It is time to listen and watch for the nuances and timing of action.

And here is some other interesting seagull symbolism:

The seagull is associated with Lir, a Sea-God in Celtic lore. Like many birds, the seagull flies between the earth and the heavens, bringing messages to mortals. Gulls are highly intelligent with a complex social structure developed partly to ward off predators. Gulls live in colonies and sometimes utilize tools. Gulls can catch a wind current and, without flapping their long, pointed wings, sustain a course that makes them appear motionless. What we like most about gulls is their gentle and quiet nature, although, when they feel threatened by a predator, members of the gull colony join forces to ‘mob’ the intruder. The gull’s highly developed social structure allows them to co-operate in this way. The larger species of gull are particularly resourceful, inquisitive and intelligent. The gull teaches us to emulate these qualities, and also how to ride the fickle currents of our emotional lives. Their message seems to be about ‘going with the flow’, since their aerobatics prove the advantage of seeking the path of least resistance. Native American cultures have made the seagull a symbol of the care-free attitude, and of versatility and freedom. Among seafarers, the seagull was thought to be the soul of a dead sailor, and for this reason it was never shot (remember what happened to the Ancient Mariner). A gull that settled on a ship’s rigging or gunwale was considered an omen for a happy journey.


Ice QuartzNeedless to say, a lot of energy is shifting, old structures are releasing, old foundations are being uprooted and slowly replaced with stronger more authentic ones, and with all of this a lot of powerful and crazy energetic things can and will take place. But there are ways you can support the shifts, regain empowerment in the process, and maintain a healthy balance of staying conscious of your energy and consciously bringing yourself in alignment with nature and the natural rhythms within.

I received a lot of insight in my short time with my Ice Quartz friend and realize for now she is where we both need her to be.

To my sweet Ice Quartz friend:  May you know how valuable the deep inner peace and wisdom you have imparted to me is, which I hold in heart as you continue your journey. I look forward to your return in divine timing. Until then, may peace be the wind under your wings.

From Sugar Apples to Shooting Stars – Peaceable Paradise Found in Grenada

View from room veranda at The Lodge, Grenada

For me, the simple things in life hold the most meaning and magick. Be it Mother Earth’s natural beauty or the wonders of the heart, it is easy to be in awe daily. Present awareness and loving openness can shift your experience into life itself being a sacred meditation simply by living it fully.

One does not need to physically journey in order to find peace, paradise, the exotic (exotic  by definition can mean 1. From another part of the world; foreign or 2. Intriguingly unusual or different; excitingly strange)… You can journey within and harness your passions to create all things from your heart, sail the ocean of your imagination, make different choices or even one new choice a day, explore a new tasty dish or recipe, feast on a luscious mango, read an explorative book, connect with and smile at someone new, listen to the bird singing outside your window, smell the flowers, plants and air on a walk in your neighborhood, take an inspiring class, create something with your hands and heart… Life has much to offer for those openly seeking.

Me at St. Margaret’s Falls

Being an adventurer by heart with an innate soul need to explore, if I’m not traveling within my inner landscape and creating or discovering the new in my immediate environment, I’m off traveling the world when I can. Not everyone has this same calling, but for me, to immerse myself in other cultures, commune with our sacred Earth, her children and wondrous mysteries, connect with my collective family, and integrate the energies to support global healing is food to my soul.

I love to share the inspirations and discoveries I have on my journeys so that others can learn, enjoy, be inspired, and perhaps make the journeys themselves one day. I have loved helping others with information on exotic travels from my own experiences and am excited to have just received word that one of the people I’ve assisted is on her way with her family in just a couple of months to my last LOVED destination, The Galapagos Islands.

I’m always guided in synchronous alignment to each of the places I have traveled, for different meanings that unravel as I follow the nudges. We all do things differently and have different trajectories and missions so how things translate are relative to each. Being very symbolic, creating my life as a work of art, and being a cosmic explorer and Earth keeper, I’m a soul that needs to integrate and cultivate that which my heart loves.

Grand Etang Forest Reserve

I am grateful to have a knack for listening to the signs and messages, which guide me to amazing journeys and experiences. Having just returned from my latest travels to Grenada, I can share that this trip was no exception to that. I tend to be attracted to the more exotic, eclectic, and unconventional places that stem from deeper reasons than mere attractive “idea.” I didn’t know anything about Grenada before being guided to it, but I’m happy to have followed the nudges to explore it nonetheless. Not only did I discover it to hold a masterpiece, vegan sanctuary, but found it to be a paradise for anyone looking to immerse in peace, nature, self-nurturing, and new, transformative adventures.

View of Port of St. George’s from the veranda as night approaches

From start to finish of this trip, magick awaited in the simple wonders that were abound. It seemed around each corner we were greeted, acknowledged, gifted, and blessed. Arriving at night, I had no expectations other than to get a good sleep in to welcome our first day. However, the cosmos sent a beautiful hello to kick start things.

As we journeyed to our home-away-from-home for the next week – The Lodge – I gazed out the window of our host’s truck and, to my joy, saw the largest shooting star like no other I have ever seen. It appeared like a huge, brilliant fiery opening/portal in the dark sky and streamed briefly into the oblivion from which it ripped through. I’m still not convinced it was actually a star. 🙂 No one, but myself saw it. Each night the stars were enchantingly clear and sparkly, sprinkled like stardust ships across the black cosmic sea. We used the “Sky Map” application and were able to easily make out all the constellations, planets and stars. Many nights were spent star gazing from the veranda and we would see one or more shooting stars consistently. It’s so beautiful to be away from light pollution so that the veil is removed and the grander picture of our Universal connection can be experienced.

Port of St. George’s, Grenada

Our new home, the only exclusively vegan accommodation in the Caribbean offering lush, organic vegan epicurean dining, sat atop Morne Jaloux overlooking the port of St. George’s (considered the most beautiful port in the Caribbean by many). I’m convinced that the rumor of The Lodge having “the best view anywhere in the Caribbean (not just Grenada), period,” (stated by German cyclists who had ventured every island in these waters) IS spot on.

The Lodge, Grenada on Morne Jaloux

The Lodge is a gorgeous, 1925-built, old sugar cane plantation that resides on beautiful, lush land with a 360 degree view! of the surrounding waters (Caribbean and Atlantic). It remains in its original state with only some renovations, additions and new roof (which was removed in one of the hurricanes – Hurricane Ivan 2004). I found the rare pitch pine ceilings and accents to be gorgeous and almost naturally, artistically etched. It has a rustic, old charm feel and literally is your home when you set roots for your visit, complete with large lounging parlor and dining area, kitchen, private dining tables and couches on the verandas and two en suite bathroom guest rooms, each with their own huge private verandas that catch both sunrises and sunsets.

Lap pool at The Lodge

Owned and run by Mark Hardy (previously with his wife Mary who is no longer with us) for 12 years, you can enjoy a carbon neutral vegan visit – they even plant a tree for each visitor who stays at The Lodge (read more at the link). There is a gorgeous 25 meter lap pool at this retreat from the “real world” that we enjoyed each morning for exercise before breakfast, which is filled with rainwater and is pH balanced with an electrolytic/saline system keeping it chemical free. There are currently two guest rooms with no tv, dvd, radio, or electric air conditioning to allow you to shut down and “be” in the natural elements. The guest room limitation adds to the exclusive and personal touch and all of the culinary meal delights are available to you morning, noon and night and can be created to support any non-animal allergy and dietary needs and restrictions. Although I don’t drink myself, Mark does have vegan wines on hand for those who do.

The Lodge, Grenada with amazing orb and energies captured

You can feel the love and devotion that has gone into creating The Lodge. Mark (and Mary while she was on Earth) truly are examples of people living their dreams and sharing their passions and loves with others in service. Everything you see, other than the natural beauty, has been created by their hands. What makes this such a unique experience is the fine details that have all gone into this work of art and the impeccable service and care that will leave you spoiled in every way. The Lodge is 100% vegan down to the products available for use and purchase, to the products used to clean sheets and towels, the organic food, and Mark’s knowledge and recommendations. The Lodge is self sufficient in fruit and create their own fruit preserves you will enjoy at breakfast with freshly made organic bread that is amazing!

Inside The Lodge, Grenada

Mark has been vegan for almost 27 years and has an eclectic knowledge and experience that you will find most enjoyable to share in conversation during your stay. He is generous, respectfully and sweetly hospitable, creative, inspirational, compassionate and simply a gentle soul. You can tell he follows his heart, gives of his gifts, and lives his dreams. He is an amazing chef who creates recipes, much like myself, by inspiration and heart. He is also a musician of many years (drummer) and has traveled much of the world. His eclectic and exotic tastes were music to my own heart. He took us on a global culinary journey each night with exotic vegan dishes that traveled the world through our tummies. Breakfasts are included and lunch and dinners are optional, but I highly recommend you embrace the options, as most everyone does that stays there, and immerse yourself in vegan bliss.

Breakfast at The Lodge, Grenada

We kept our lunches open merely because we knew we’d be out and about on daily explorations, but I would love to have sampled his two course lunch options being that the four course dinners were out of this world. We looked forward to greeting and ending the day with his wonderful offerings.

As mentioned, a brisk swim  in the lap pool was followed by 8 am breakfast (it is served 8-10 am) consisting of an organic granola, a huge bowl of fresh fruit galore, exotic fruit and coconut smoothies, fresh organic bread with their own fruit preserve Mark makes, special toasted tahini from England and organic peanut butter options, and herbal teas or organic Arabica coffee from Costa Rica.

Amazing Indonesian dish at The Lodge

Grenadian chocolate mousse at The Lodge

Dinners were served at 7 pm and included a soup, salad, main entree, and light dessert that perfectly complimented. The magick is in the perfect blend of spices and tastes that left your senses feeling whole and complete. We explored Indonesian, Moroccan, Peruvian, Japanese and other exotic creative entrees like one of our favs – deviled, spicy beets, sweet potatoes, green beans and a polenta stack infused with tapanade filling. MMMMMMM AHHMAZING! ALL OF IT! Desserts completed the meal and were perfect, light and healthy blends of exotic fruit sorbets with a finale of Grenadian chocolate mousse to put closure to our blissful week.

Sugar apple at The Lodge, Grenada

Sugar apple at The Lodge, Grenada

One of my exciting and yummy new discovery favorites was Mark’s introduction of sugar apples. We were lucky to enjoy these from a just-harvest from his land, which he announced as dessert one evening to our delight. I was grateful to receive his tree’s gift, as this truly is a special fruit. It looks somewhat like a pine cone or small grenade that you can simply open by gently pulling apart since it is so tender when ripe. The inside has little pods of sweet custard wrapped around blackish-brown seeds that you can pop in your mouth as you tenderly chew around them and enjoy it melting in your mouth. I literally licked and ate all the remaining remnants of custardy flesh from the inside after I’d finished with the custard around the seeds. YUMM! I was so excited that we decided to take home the remaining seeds in hopes to grow a tree ourselves 🙂 I’ll keep you posted.

Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed not only the accommodations, views, energy, and locally grown organic foods, but also valued our conversations with Mark, meeting and spending time with his son Mathew who helps out, and his beautiful eclectic taste in music that graced each of our candle lit dinners on the veranda. We even had a chance to catch ear of a little of his local band practicing one late afternoon in the side parlor.

Vegetable Roti, Grenada

Callaloo soup, La Sagesse Beach, Grenada

Mark generously shared the places we could find vegan food options for lunch and what to look for. We enjoyed the local organic Vegetable Roti, which was a light pastry-like wrap filled to the rim with vegetables and slightly spicy, saucy broth. It is quite a filling meal that comes in a thick, square or slightly rectangular shape. We also very much enjoyed the Callaloo soup specialty of the island – a local leaf blend soup. So delicious! All of Mark’s soups totally inspired me and with fall and winter seasons at hand, I’m looking forward to creating some yummy soups.

In the front seat of Route 3 bus, St. George’s, Grenada – the driver’s seat is on the right in Grenada

Grenada is a lovely, small, and young volcanic island of 100,000 population (60% of which are under 25) and is only 21 x 12 miles in size. Surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, it is home to a huge variety of tropical plants and 45 beaches, all of which are public. It is easy to get around on the local bus system, which is fun and a way to soak in the local energy. We quickly became “Grenadians” as we immersed in their main form of transportation. 99.9% of the time we were the only non-locals traveling their bus system, which made it that much more fun. Most tourists it seems, use taxis, but I assure you you’re missing out and can save a lot of money by using this easy system. We jumped on a couple routes a day and at a dollar a ride, it is quite efficient and a way to converse with the lovely Grenadian people. Buses are small vans that can hold upwards of 22 or so people and you just pack in, 3-4 a row and are off on the very narrow, steep streets that run throughout the island. Very much reminiscent of San Francisco and Europe.

Grenada not only shares its array of natural beauty, but also is home to the historic Georgian town of St. George’s, the Plantation Houses, Forts, and some of the oldest rum factories in the world. It has a very turbulent history filled with pain and suffering, that includes the very sad times of slavery. To understand is to truly immerse yourself and for me, I always feel that my travels help to integrate things and allow me to assist in healing on personal AND collective levels.

Grande Anse Beach, Grenada

The beaches are beautiful and the waters in the low to mid 80’s with no waves on the Caribbean side so basically you could just float and swim all day. Our timing was great, right before the high season kicked in, so the beaches were virtually private if not completely and like a “peace” of paradise heaven always, which was mirrored in having no one else at The Lodge staying at the same time either. The perfect ingredients to a week of relaxing, shutting out and down, and just receiving and recharging.

Besides all of the above mentioned blessings we experienced, here are some of the other fun highlights, memories, facts, and recommendations to help with your potential  future visit to Grenada:

Demonstration about the spices at Douglas Town Estate, Grenada

  • I learned from Mark about a plant named after me – the Tania! While Grenada is known as the Isle of Spice and is home to ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, mace, turmeric, vanilla and cocoa to name but a few, it also grows exotic vegetables like callaloo, dasheen, okra and tania! There are more spices per square mile than any other place on the planet. Grenada produces one third of the world’s nutmeg and is the second largest producer.

    Guy Fawkes celebration, Grenada – prepping the “dummy” for the parade

  • Mathew took us to experience the Guy Fawkes (or Guido Fawkes) celebration which concludes with a bonfire of a “dummy” Fawkes burning at the stake. Guy Fawkes was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. A Guy Fawkes mask is worn by V, the anarchist revolutionary who tries to convince the people to rule themselves in V for Vendetta, if you remember that movie. This day happens to be celebrated every year in Grenada on the night of November 5th (our first full day on the island), even though most of the Grenadians really no longer know what they are celebrating. It’s a long night of loud music, parading steel drum and Guy Gawkes dummy and coming together in the streets until midnight. We only explored it for about an hour just to see what it was all about.

    Me at BBC Beach, Grenada

  • We agreed with Mark that our favorite beach was BBC Beach, which is like a horseshoe shaped cove, was quiet, beautiful, and had a restaurant where they served vegetable Roti – highly recommend this beach!
  • Snorkeling Flamingo Bay with Eco Dive had beautiful reefs and tons of fish varieties that comes in second for me of all of my snorkeling experiences – nothing will top the Galapagos Islands! So this is a great place to snorkel.

    “The Vicissitudes” at the Underwater Sculpture Park

  • We learned about the Underwater Sculpture Park in Molinere Bay that is home to a collection of ecological underwater contemporary art consisting of sixty-five sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor and covering an area of 800 sq meters. This is “The Vicissitudes” pictured in the photo that honors the African Ancestors that were lost in the sea during the middle passage. It is the most recognized work in the park featuring a ring of 26 standing children, holding hands and facing outwards into the current. Definitely worth experiencing.
  • La Sagesse Beach on the Atlantic side was a beautiful private cove recommended by our amazing hiking guide, Telfor, that is home to great Callaloo soup at the beach restaurant – known to be the best on the island, but we would have to agree that Mark’s still beat it out, as good as it was 🙂
  • We discovered the grounds of Coyaba Resort, which is an all-inclusive resort on Grande Anse Beach that we intended on enjoying their beachfront grass grounds and lounge area after snorkeling and that manifested. Never hurts to ask, as the lovely security guard welcomed us in where we discovered eggplant burgers and bruschetta sandwiches. Not a bad find for vegans crashing a more generic, all-inclusive. What I loved was that no where were we pushed any processed foods or imitation “meats”. Strictly vegetable, fruits and grains, just as I like it!

    Organic cocoa galore at Douglas Town Estate, Grenada

  • We learned and of course taste-tested Grenada’s “best quality cocoa on the planet,” as it is known to be. The key being the rich volcanic soil and being 12 degrees North of the Equator. YUM! We picked up several bags of pure organic cocoa balls that can be dropped in hot water for a quick chocolaty warm, liquid treat!
  • The Arawak are the original indigenous people of Grenada, no longer on the island, as they were wiped out by the British and their diseases.

    Telfor and me in the Grand Etang Forest Reserve, Grenada

  • Hiking with Telfor Bedeau is a must-do! He is a 73+ year old hiking guide who knows every inch of Grenada and all about its flora and fauna and then some! He is more fit than any young person or group of young people put together and hiked with us in only his little yellow jelly sandals! He kayaked around the island (64 miles) alone just recently in about 17 hours if I remember correctly. He has also hiked the tallest peak 180 times and is going for 200. On each birthday he always does some remarkable feat and gets coverage on tv and radio about all that he adventures out and succeeds in doing. He reminded me so much of my French grandfather who just passed recently. It was a lovely connection to say the least. He can take you on any adventure you desire. We explored the Grand Etang Forest Reserve on foot with him, hiking the volcanic crater edge and inside the crater, as well as hiked to St. Margaret’s Falls. This was a long day from 10 am to about 5 pm of some of the most amazing hiking that was truly “natural” to the extent of Telfor bush wacking most of our way in the dense rain forests around the crater and fashioning walking sticks for us to assist in the steep mud and rock embedded earth. Again, no one else on the journey or on any of the paths, nor at the falls except for us stumbling upon a small group of very friendly military doing some maneuvers (Well at least that’s what they were supposed to be doing lol! although seemed quite content napping and talking. I can’t blame them in this paradise). Peace found in communion with nature! Telfor’s company is “Explore Grenada on Foot” and he can be reached at (473) 442-6200, or if you stay at The Lodge, simply ask Mark to hook you up.

    Dave in the Grand Etang Forest Reserve, Grenada with the military who were taking naps and hanging out

    Sensitive plant in Grand Etang Forest Reserve, Grenada – they are the lilac flowered plants that have the delicate thin almost zipper-like looking leaves on longer stems

  • I thoroughly enjoyed learning about and seeing all the different varieties of tropical plants. One of my favorite being the “sensitive” plant, as Telfor said it was called. This lovely plant interacts by sense of touch, gently coiling and folding its delicate leaves and stem when you place your finger on it.

    My Mona Monkey soul friend in Grand Etang Forest Reserve, Grenada

  • Mona Monkeys! I LOVE these little ones. These monkeys are not native to Grenada, but were transported to the island aboard slave ships from West Africa in the 18th century. I loved experiencing the monkeys on Bali, but these Mona Monkeys are completely different souls. They are unafraid, calm and gentle, and will come to you when you have a banana, from the rain forests. They are so sweet and have such soulful eyes and no qualms about you gently stroking them. Most were on their way after feeding and connecting for a bit, but one in particular was communing more. I just know I was soul connected with him, as I was so sad to leave him. I felt a piece of my heart remain with his. I was able to place my hands on him and pet him softly, or rest my hands on him giving him Reiki, rest my head on his shoulder and he would peer into my eyes and just hung out as I talked to him, even after his bananas were eaten. If not for having to leave I would have stayed with him much longer. He was the same one you will see pictured with Dave below, touching his hand in deep connection. A beautiful memory indeed.

    Mona Monkey communing with Dave in Grand Etang Forest Reserve, Grenada

  • Touring the entire island with Mandoo Tours is another highly recommended way to get in all the main highlights and also receive a plethora of knowledge. Mandoo, a former British merchant naval sailor, is the island’s activist and environmentalist that is so woven into his community, knows of world affairs and the issues most vegans are compassionate about, and assists the well-being of the children and the island, donating his time to teaching the kids in school about tourism when he is not touring. He was awarded for outstanding contribution towards the development of the tourism sector with the Pearl Independence Award, as well as awards from the Grenada Bureau of Standards and the Willie Redhead Foundation for his dedication to environmental protection issues and the observance of Standards in Grenada. We explored Concord Falls, Douglas Town Estate – an old sugar cane plantation now the largest on the island producing spices and cocoa, the oldest functioning rum distillery (1785 built) in the western hemisphere – River Antoine Estate, home to Rivers Rum, the Belmonte Estate where we enjoyed a 3 course vegan meal (concluded by vegan chocolate cake) overlooking the cocoa and spice plantation where we could see the cocoa being turned by bare foot (called trampling or dancing of the cocoa), and many other points of interest and stops along the way. We also enjoyed sampling and purchasing the famous “The Grenada Chocolate Company” chocolate. I took home 6 bars, including 100% pure organic, vegan dark chocolate! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout. I don’t recall ever having 100% proof! Mandoo is a wonderful guide host. His motto he shared with us is: Life is uncertain. Death is certain. Give it your best shot. Live your life fully. Yes sir! Mandoo holds the Grenada Board of Tourism award for winning tour guide. I can see why. He offers personalized tours and more. All information and how you can contact him for your journey in Grenada can be found here: Mandoo Tours

    River Antoine Estate, Grenada – oldest functioning rum distillery in the western hemisphere

    Belmonte Estate, Grenada – worker “trampling” the cocoa to help turn it while it sun dries

    Ethereal sunrise rainbow over Port of St. George’s, Grenada

    Mondoo and me with the Grenadines behind us – Caribbean island chain

  • And besides the amazing shooting stars, the last 5 days in a row we were greeted at sunrise with full half-circle rainbows straight in front of our veranda over the port of St George’s. The first being a double rainbow and the last accompanied by a stunning and ethereal sunrise.

My seven Andara crystals accompanied me on this journey and each day I was guided to work with one, occasionally two, that felt in alignment with the energy. I took them out on each day’s excursion and also slept with one or two under my pillow each night. I love that they are each now infused with the Caribbean sea, Atlantic Ocean, waterfall, and equatorial sun energies to bring back with me. I also love that I was able to do some crystal healing grid work by anchoring in their energies – something I do on all of my global journeys. I found it powerfully potent to also swim and hike with them in my hands. It definitely added to the entire experience and upon returning I’ve felt continuously energized.

The Lodge in Grenada is definitely a vegan haven must for exclusive, quality pampering in rustic paradise. Whether vegan or not, you will find the accommodations, food, and host to be special delicacies and gifts worth nurturing yourself with. And I know we all need some good old fashioned nurturing these days. The people of Grenada are warm and friendly, the natural beauty is inspiring, healing, grounding, and recharging.  It is one of those places and experiences that put you in touch with the simple values that rewire your priorities in life.

If you enjoy the adventure of living fully and love to travel, this is one of the places you can add to your list that can support compassionate life style needs and explorative new horizon desires. And if you’re not a traveler then perhaps my sharing will help you travel within your creative imagination, igniting a spark, and will inspire you in ways relative to your resonation to seek, put to action, and find ways to bring a bit of the “exotic” and a “peace” of paradise into your daily practice of life.

I am noticing continued themes, messages, and people I am encountering that mirror the heart of who I really am, and so the reinvention of self continues. The process is definitely a joy to witness, as I challenge myself further every day. I return with new inspirations, focuses, and clarity, as well as received the next exotic adventure to celebrate 2013 and my 40th year of this life with. 🙂

My 7 amazing Andara Crystals sparkling in the equatorial Grenadian sun

I know, for me, a renewed sense of peace, recharge, and reprogramming from my experiences (whether travel or finding the wonders in and around me), is always accompanied by majorly transformative energy that opens new doors to other realities. There are so many things I am immensely grateful for. I encourage everyone to embrace their own sense of peaceable paradise in life , however that translates for you. I know that when I’m in my day-to-day experiences, I find ways to create it in the simple things I have with me and around me. I believe that anything you can do to foster a sense of wonder and create inspiring and peaceful moments outside of your routine, can greatly benefit you.

Life is a blessing and gift and magick awaits the heart-guided explorers that live life fully. Everything is a journey of the heart and all roads lead there.

I took nearly 500 photos during this trip, so as you can imagine, it’s quite a challenge to choose which to share and so I chose those for this blog post that visually accompanied the story. I was excited to find so many amazing energies show up in the photos, including orbs, what to me look like faeries or sprites, and other ethereal presences. Always interesting to see what will appear and I’m not surprised, given the energy felt and worked with that so much did come through. If you are on Facebook, you will be able to find a bunch more of my fav and highlight photos in my album titled Grenada 2012, shortly, at my page: Tania Marie. May peace and inspiration fill your heart!

…there are times when we stop. We sit still…We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper. ~ James Carroll

Double rainbow over Port of St. George’s, Grenada from the veranda – first rainbow display of 5 days in a row

Keeping Your Glow Rather Than Burning Out

Often, I’ve been guilty in the past of  blowing myself out energetically and hence, physically, by getting myself out of balance. Then it takes time to replenish, regroup, and start anew. I’ve been known for being an extremist, although I saw it as driven passion that didn’t let anything stand in the way. There’s nothing wrong with committed drive to do what it takes to create what you desire, however when the drive exceeds the natural flow and synchronous timing that comes from the presence of being in heart and divine alignment, then chances are a burnout will take place in some way.

We all have things we feel important and called to do, yet sometimes we get in our own way and contrive timelines and “shoulds” that might otherwise be “coulds” if we lessened up on the accelerator a bit. Staying very presently aware of, and taking time to integrate, the messages and signs both your Higher Self and Universe are supporting you with, would provide a healthier approach, fresh perspectives, and perhaps bring new paths to the journey that may void some of what you deem necessities, or lead you more quickly to intended results.

There is an insatiable desire to do all and be all, rather than enjoying each moment of the journey and realizing this is not necessary. And sometimes you create blinders to any helpful signs and nudges along the way, as well as forget to ask for help, or nurture your well-being. It’s wonderful to be focused; it’s counter-productive to inflexible.

It also isn’t helpful if you are working against yourself by having one foot on both sides of the fence, believing you can do it all. It’s silly to think this doesn’t catch up with you. It creates the feeling of running in place, since every step forward feels tugged by two steps back. If you decide to create new things, then you must make peace, at the least, with the old and find a way to see it in the light of a gift that has fostered this new to birth. When you make peace within, then you have more energy at your hands to utilize for all you intend, without it being eaten up by frustrated inner turmoil. You then also are not using up all of your energy needed to create the new while shifting the old into closure.

Equally important in all of this is to find balance in your life, which at first will have to become a disciplined practice to reteach yourself how to make it natural again, and avoid extremes that can deplete you. That doesn’t mean you won’t have times when inspiration hits in bursts, but if you maintain a balanced, natural, and more nurturing daily life the rest of the time, these won’t blow you out the way they would if you didn’t. They also then become a natural alignment with the ebbs and flows of your life, rather than self-created. Eating healthy foods, combined with time in nature, gentle exercise, good sleep, quiet inner time, some light fun, spiritual stimulation, creative expression, being open to new experiences and perspectives, and practicing presence, patience, love and compassion, all will aid in keeping you glowing rather than burning out. And this results not only in raised quality of life on all levels, including longevity and youthful vigor, but will support more magic and synchronous opportunities to manifest in your life.

I can personally share that my past experiences of burn outs are just that, in the past. It has taken a lot of discipline putting to practice all that I shared above, but now my life is naturally flowing in this regard and the daily stresses I used to feel, have dissipated. Stress is an unnatural pressure we self-create. The more I have stepped into my natural flow and “beingness” I am at a soul essence level, the more peace I experience not only in my personal experience, but in relation to outside experiences as well.

All this to say, be lovingly present with yourself, as often you don’t realize the risks of setting the world on fire until you get smoke in your eyes and you’re about to crash. And there is the tendency to not pay much attention to burnouts since they aren’t always dramatic like a heart attack or life threatening disease. However, you don’t want it to get to that point, so better to take heed of the warnings. Long periods of too much overwork, overload, self-created pressures, time restraints, going against your natural inclinations and intuition, minus creating balance with the things above, is bound to lead to disastrous experiences of physical, mental and emotional burnouts.

Here are signs of a burnout and a few words from Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy:

  • Sense of complete exhaustion at the end of a long, challenging and intense project
  • Illness including a bout of flu you can’t shake to chronic fatigue syndrome and usually accompanied by depression
  • Going to bed exhausted every night and waking up tired every morning and no amount of sleep refreshes you
  • Everything becomes too much effort: combing your hair, going out to dinner, visiting friends, even going on vacation
  • You can’t believe, under any circumstances, that you’ll ever want to make love again
  • You find yourself cranky all the time, bursting into tears, or going into fits of rage at the slightest provocation
  • You dread the next phone call
  • You feel trapped and hopeless, unable to dream, experience pleasure, or find contentment
  • Neither big thrills nor little moments have the the power to move you
  • Nothing satisfies you because you haven’t a clue what’s wrong or how to fix it – because everything is wrong – because something is terribly out of whack: you
  • You feel there is not one other person on the face of the earth who can help you

And you’re right. 

When you’re suffering from burnout, you are the only person on earth who can help because you’re the only one who can make the lifestyle changes that need to be made: to call a halt, to take a slower path, to make a detour. When you have no strength left, you have no choice but to rely on the strength of a saner Power to restore you to Wholeness. In the pursuit of our souls, Spirit takes no prisoners.

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