Nature, a great teacher

The crunch of multicolored leaves brought my attention to the forest floor.  The trees are in the process of pushing out a last burst of visible energy in the form of brilliantly colored leaves.  These leaves will then fall, turn brown, and disappear.  The trees are just like us, cycling through periods of life and death, shedding layers, each year growing in many ways.  And just like us, most of the growth isn’t visible; it sits just beneath the surface, brewing and waiting to burst forth like Spring buds after a long, snowy winter.  Life and death is purposeful and beautiful.  I felt comforted by this.

And, musings from last Fall:
Fall is in the Air
Summer gracefully bows to Fall, offering the last of her blossoms. Crisp white daisies signal the surrender. Fall joyfully rises to the occasion. Without ego, she signals a gradual palate change.
Farewell for now Summer greens, we gently bring you rest. Join us in the parade of color. Let us sing melodies of golden wisdom together!

When you go in Presence, you go Where you Need to go.


I took my paddle board out today.  After a stretch of rain, wind, and cold, the warmth of the October sun seemed to sooth a chill that I didn’t even know I had.  As I placed my board in the sea, I noticed how clear the water was.  Polished rocks, tiny silver minnows, and bits of seaweed graced the bottom of the bay.  I ended up here after I opened my eyes.  It was here all along, patiently awaiting my arrival.

Stroke after stroke, I became one with the water, nothing but a tiny speck in a great expanse.  I felt myself expand, connected to everything around me.  The birds as they took flight whenever I would near, the ripples of the water as I dipped my paddle in, were all impacted in some way by my actions, as tiny as they may have seemed.

I felt great joy, I knew that “this moment, this day, this life is a gift.”  My next thought was, “how do I receive it?”

I wanted to somehow share what I felt out there, that it was so special, but it would be even greater if I could share it; give the gift to someone else as well. “Honor this gift I have been given” is what I heard.

So as I retraced my steps in order to understand how I was able to receive that gift of oneness, of pure joy, I realized that it was my Presence (a state of being totally aware of the moment without judgment or projections of the past or future), that brought me there.

The most effective way I have learned to get into a state of presence, so far, is through attention to my breath.  I breathe in deeply and exhale deeply, feeling the sensations in my body at that moment.  It sounds too simple to be effective.  Yet, I have found simplicity to be profound and true.

Try noticing your breath and practice it patiently over time.  Your thoughts will begin to fade into the background, until you no longer hear them and you hear what is happening right now, in this moment.  That’s how you open yourself to the gift of Presence, of true joy.

Down the trail towards the sea

trail to the sea

I saw a red bird and a blue bird from my seat in the woods.  Exploring a new trail led me to that moment.  With patient silence, I watched and listened.  The voices of the birds grew louder, their Summer dance more evident.  Thank you for that moment.

The parallels between noticing the beauty of the birds and the beauty of my children’s first day of school (3rd, 9th, 10th), rushed into my heart.  I could see the beauty of my children’s dance; flights of independent freedom, balanced with returns to safety.  I could feel my own balance of emotion; joy in their growth, yet nostalgia for our journey together thus far.

Learning to release is not an easy task, but I reminded myself that nothing is really mine.  I am their mother and they are my children, yes.  Yet, we do not possess each other.  We share love, time and wisdom.  Remembering that, peace rushed in.

Continuing my run, I switched to a trail marked with yellow blazes.  I noticed how green my surroundings were.  From the forest floor all the way to the canopy, dense green vegetation encompassed me.  It felt safe, like I was cloaked and held gently.

As I was feeling perfect contentment, a colorful scene came into view.  Prayer flags blowing in the breeze alerted me to an altar I had never seen before.  It had been thoughtfully created and was being shared with anyone who happened to pass by while on their own way.  It was another treasure, or opportunity for pause.  I sat down.  Sweat dripped, insects buzzed.  Both gifts for practicing stillness.  Then it was time to continue. Down the trail towards the sea.alter

The dirt path gave way to sand, the blue jay and cardinal to the sea-gull, and the trees to giant rocks.  I found a spot towards a curve in the shore.  Here was a quiet cove.  The waves lapped over the smooth stones and a salty breeze tickled my face.  I stretched towards the sun soaking up its warmth all the way from my fingertips to my toes.  I sat down and closed my eyes for the third time of the

“Peace, joy, love-ahhhh.”  The phone rang.  Cross country practice ended.  The phone rang again, another child didn’t feel good about riding the bus.  Time to transition, quickly. Sprinting to the car, I practiced remembering “peace, joy, love.” It’s always there.



A chorus of birds, shock of green, forest moist with renewal after a Spring rain. Intoxicating scents filling the pores with sweetness.  Run, breathe it in through your ears, your eyes, your being.  This moment is good.Dream awhile

Squishy mud, rocks and roots. Reminders to be present. Be here, it is good.

Worries fade, time is lost beneath the canopy of protection out here. Be with it, it is so good.

Fog blanketing the sea ahead, mist hanging in the clearing.  It is safe here. Hidden from intruders. Hide here awhile, it is good.

costal fog

Treasures along the way surprise and fill the heart with joy.  As silently as they appear, they vanish.  Left with a feeling of goodness.  Pause with it, it is good.Treasure

Summer Rain

runFalls slowly at first. Light drops

Then all at once a shower

Hat removed now, releasing the

Trapped heat.

Cool pellets penetrating the scalp

Calming the mind.  Washing away the thoughts

That were once swirling.

Return, cleansed.


Morning with Brady

The big fat sun extends her powerful rays straight through the clouds, pouring warm light into the vast sea.  My son, a dimpled, sun-bleached blond, flashes his  snaggletooth smile at me from his board.  He rides the waves with ease.  The frothy whitewater carries him towards the shore. His legs propel him faster and faster, feet kicking like a duck’s, through the saline wonderland.  Roaring ocean, and chattering gulls overhead are the soundtrack to this moment.

Without effort, he makes a new friend.  A quick exchange of names, the boys are a fluid duo.  They bond over their shared joy.  I take a step back, noting the sand being pulled by the tide beneath my feet. Solid footing, yet ever-changing.  The sea reflects life.

My heart expands with each cresting wave.  Here we are free, light with the breeze, the sea carrying us higher.  The world buzzes by as we are suspended in this lightness. The beach-goers fade into the background, and all I see is a boy floating next to me.  I feel our connection, it buzzes like electricity.  A unique bond created by biology and the intangible.  That sacredness between mother and child is enhanced by our surroundings.  Nurtured by Mother Nature, we embrace this moment, absorbing her fruitful offering.


Adventure: Heeding the Call!

It’s that time again! Ashley and I are booking flights and heading west; leaving behind our sweet families and the comfort of our homes in exchange for an ultra running, road tripping, car dancing, trail exploring, friend reunion, beautiful mess of a trip!  Celebrating another year of life (30 is fantastic) and gathering steam for the next phase, we will bring our hearts and enthusiasm for this edition of AAadventure Cali style.

dirty 30

Our trip begins with an exclamation point, as usual, and will surely build like a blaring crescendo.  Here’s where this trip goes in my mind, I close my eyes and play it like a dreamscape: First and foremost, Ash and I will embrace in a big bear-style hug as we rush towards our mode of transportation.  Not so secretly, I am hoping for the super score we had last year during our Grand Canyon trip.  If you recall, we reserved a not so super economy car, yet due to our sweet southern manners and “charm,” drove off in a delicious red Jeep Wrangler.  Does lightening strike twice? Well, we will just have to find out when we step our glittery toes(presuming our toenails haven’t fallen off by then) in California.

AAadventure Jeep: Grand Canyon edition

Next, I visualize meeting, for the first time, our partner, Angie, the third A of our AAAsugar race team.  Race team, what race team? Nope, I didn’t forget to mention this. I’m making my way towards the next scene in my dreamscape, the race.  Drum roll pease!

The infamous Badwater race is branching out to the Salton Sea, and that’s where the three blonde A’s are going to work together to traverse 81 sun-baked desert miles.

81 miles of highs and lows. We will see lots of dead fish, an oversized Yeti, Palomar Mountain, and much more, all beneath a brilliant desert sky.  The sunset is sure to plaster a smile on the face of even the most uptight of racers.  And the twinkling stars will hang over our heads, reminding us to push towards the finish as we let our loud whoops and cries scare the other teams.

Yes, Badwater SS, here we come! Ready to embrace the challenge, yet do it our way. I see this grand opportunity as a fun, life-enhancing, yet not life-breaking event.  Ash, Ang (may I call you that?!), and I are going to rock BWSS next month, and I am beyond psyched to experience the parade of characters as they(we) emerge!

Gift from my Bro