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Time In The Saddle–25 years!

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I remember the first time I saw someone riding their bike up a dirt trail, I thought they were crazy, “who would want to do that?”

A few years later, I was crazy because I wanted to do that! This year marks 25 years Mountain Biking in The Santa Monica Mountains!

The very first ride was on borrowed bikes. We didn’t know how to change a flat and we certainly didn’t have the tools to do it.

After 3 flats in one day and driving back and forth to the bike shop, we finally finished our first ride. It was Sycamore Canyon in Pt. Mugu State Park—a trail system that goes from the Pacific Ocean all the way to The Conejo Valley–a vast amount of space, deep with connector trails, singeltrack trails, and wide fire roads.

You can spend a whole day here!

Oh the places we’ve been able to see! (naturegirltara.com)

I’ll never forget my first year of riding, I entered the California Mountain Bike Challenge. There were 7 races throughout the State and I just kept crashing! I was a good climber but I didn’t have any racing experience and I wasn’t real polished in my technical skills on the downhills.  I have many scars to prove it!

I asked my competitor, “how do you stay on your bike, I keep crashing!” Her reply has been a theme for my life ever since. She said, “IT’S JUST TIME IN THE SADDLE.”

Time In The Saddle! naturegirltara.com

IT’S JUST TIME IN THE SADDLE!

Apparently, she had been riding for six years and was racing in the beginner category (not cool). She knew from experience that it’s not easy for anyone who takes on Mountain Biking as a sport.

I wanted to be great NOW and not have to go through the process of riding more to be great! Alas, everything in life is a process, time in the saddle. I learned to embrace the sentiment.

It was never an easy sport. There were days we would ride up Puerco Canyon in Malibu–it was steep! We would throw our bikes down sweating profusely, swearing!

It’s true, everything is a process. So going through it is a necessity in order to embrace it and maintain it.

Thank you for the light that shines behind me!

I came in third overall in that California Mountain Bike Challenge (1995) and I realized that I am not a competitive racer girl!  From then on,  I vowed to ride for the JOY of it!

Yep, sure enough it did take some time in the saddle. Even for the JOY of it!

So many aspects of riding has evolved for me — I can now change a flat…anywhere, anytime.

I took the time to learn how to change a flat instead of waiting for some guy to cross my path and fix it for me!  

That, alone, was a major challenge.  A couple of the guys were just so insistent that they change my flat.  I had to be really forceful and firm, “I learned how to change flats and now I have to practice.  PLEASE, let me change my own flat!!!”

Years later, I was able to help two men on the side of Pacific Coast Highway who had a flat and were unprepared. Clearly, they were in the place I was all those years ago when I knew nothing and was not prepared to fix a flat on my own. It felt good to give back!

Today I rode on the same trail system where I rode frequently back in the day. A smile was pasted on my face!

There’s something about it, when you get up there and there is no one around, sounds of bees, birds and trees blowing in the wind. It is certainly a meditative, transformative experience. Being out in the day and feeling all the joys of life in nature!

My ego is no longer involved. I’m not out to prove anything. If I’m feeling unsure about descending a new trail, I easily step off my pedals and walk down the trail. On a good day though, I’m quite competent! I can fly down most trails and I can pedal up any trail.

Mountain biking is my friend but I had to take the time to nurture that friendship. I couldn’t just start out being competent, I had to earn it.

The same is true with any physical practice you take on. Yoga is my friend as well, it pulls me into the present moment, just like being out on the trail.

If you suffer from being in your head too much and most of your friends are busy or far away (like mine), take on an activity that fills you up with joy and a sense of empowerment.

I believe our bodies are our best friends. Sometimes we put them last in line but your body is your friend. Feed it with activities that nourish you.

My friends, when I do get to interact with them, feel like these physical forces. They are a force of validation and aliveness. I’ve never been the friend who has to have somebody with me for exercise, so glad because without my physical practices, I’d be very alone since most of them are far far away!

I am so grateful for my physical friends and that I’ve taken the time and YEARS to nurture the physical practices that make me feel ALIVE even without them. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

Today June 9, 2019–Trailer Canyon in Pacific Palisades , CA

Life Doesn’t Have To Look A Certain Way!

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This is about as close as I’ll ever get to motherhood.  I knew from a young age, deep within my soul, I should never have kids.  Not sure why, it was just a VERY STRONG KNOWING. 

It’s the first thing I’ve known FOR SURE, an intuitive knowing that I did not question.

Every mom I’ve ever known seems like a hero to me.

I am in awe of what you mom’s represent to me. I tell every mother who is expecting a child, “you are the most powerful force on the planet!”

To me, a mother is a superhero! It is flabbergasting to me what you do!

As for my mom, she had 5 children with my father and she had the strength to leave him when I was a baby (I was the youngest).

He was a womanizer.  He needed a lot of attention from women. Year after year, she tried to get past one infidelity after another then, one day,  made the decision to stay gone from him for good.

Back in the early 60s, nobody got divorced. She put up her boundaries for respect. I love that about her. She was a pioneer in getting a divorce! There was such a sense of shame surrounding divorce.

Not my mom, she chose to feel good about herself again and take back her power.

I’ve always looked at her life and thought how out of the ordinary it was that she was never with another man again.  

My judgment was, “oh that’s so sad.” Women are still made to feel a sense of shame about being alone and not in a relationship, as if there’s something so unnatural and wrong about it.

She was 30 years old and never had another relationship.  I saw it as sad then but now I see it as more of a gift.  Being in relationship with ourselves is a powerful gift!

Most long time married people have never really felt it, the long bouts of alone time. It is wonderful. Most people who live alone are depicted as being sad and pathetic, all alone, how awful. That’s just not always the case!

There are millions of people who have happy and fulfilling lives without a partner. The judgment needs to be tempered and tamed.

One of my 83 year old clients has been widowed for 13 years. It took her a good 5 years to adjust to living and being alone. Now, though, she is clear that she would rather live alone than live with a man.

She has a new boyfriend who is newly widowed and he wants to sell his house and he wants them to live together. She doesn’t want to do it. She doesn’t want to go through that time of adjusting to another person in her space.

She loves her time alone.

I get it. I’m in the same boat.

I have become like my mother. It took 58 years for me but there is something so freeing and joyous about being alone with myself and loving it!

To all those who think it HAS TO LOOK A CERTAIN WAY, please back yourself off and make your own life better.   Stop pressuring people to be in a relationship when they are happy about not being in one.  

Not everyone has to look the same as everyone else!

So on this Mother’s Day, I sing praises to my mom for showing me that life doesn’t have to look a certain way. Most people’s lives look similar, that doesn’t mean that is the only way life should look!

Not everyone has to get back out in the world and hook up with another person to be happy. We can be happy living alone and on our own. Truly, we can!

My mom has created a family that goes on and on. She has Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren and that is JOY personified.. She is well-read and wise, always an ear of kindness and compassion to those in need emotionally. She is a beautifully designed woman full of qualities and traits that are rare in this world.

I am grateful for the example mom set for me, my life is very out of the ordinary.

Growing up, my friends would say, “your mom is cool.”

She will be 88 this November.  Oh, that’s interesting, she has lived 58 years on her own without a man and I am 58 years old now.  

Even if I live the next 30 years without a man in my life ever again,  I will know it is my choice and it is okay.  I am the source of my happiness and I am enough.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom and thank you for showing me who you are. Life doesn’t look the same for every person and that is a relief to me. Phew!

27 Years of Living and Learning in Los Angeles !

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June marks 27 years living in California.

Here are 27 things I have learned about living in Los Angeles after  27 years of living here:

1)  I really don’t have to fit in with the crowd here–NOR do I want to!

2)  In time, everyone talks like a “Californian.”  We say things like, “yeah, traffic was so great today–I took the 405 to the 101 then down Kanan to PCH into Malibu, then back up Malibu Canyon to the 101 to the 405 and home–I flew the whole time!” We actually don’t say this very often, it’s usually, “the 405 sucked today!”  I feel sorry for anyone who has to get on it every day. 

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3)  There  are so many natural places to play, it’s not just a cement jungle!  There are the San Gabriel’s, the Santa Susana’s and my stomping grounds, the Santa Monica Mountains.  Hike, Bike, PLAY! 

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4)  When I go to Beverly Hills, I feel like a fish out of water!  There are oversized lips and boobs and the gaudiest cars and stores and everyone WANTS you to see them.  It just feels odd.

5)  My environment caters to my healthy lifestyle–everywhere I go! Health food stores, restaurants, markets, healthy pharmacies, juice bars, and yoga studios abound!
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6)  Meetup.com inspires me in more ways than just meeting people.  Meeting people is easy because there are a lot of people and there are a lot of people wanting to meet people! 

my meetup hike

7)  Riding my bike along the 22 mile ocean bike path from Pacific Palisades to Palos Verdes has been a dream of mine since I was 10- pure joy and exhilarating beauty!
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8)  Yes, you CAN find lots of places to ride horses and yes your childhood dreams can come true and yes you could live on a private horse ranch and learn more than you could ever imagine about horses–I did!
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9)  Yes, you can go to the beach in the morning and be on the ski slopes by afternoon!  Road trips up North are my favorite–the whole of this state thrills me!  The hike/climb up to Half Dome in Yosemite is a major highlight!

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10)  Rainy days are embraced and cherished, they provide a much-needed break from all the sunshine!

11)  Malibu really does feel like a small town.  It is as beautiful as you might imagine.  Malibu is where my soul resides, it is my Shangri-La! 
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12)  I love the endless choice of yoga studios in Santa Monica–The Mecca of Yoga.  I’ve learned from many teachers and they’ve all been in Santa Monica.  I know how fortunate I am to live HERE.   I can’t imagine my life without my yoga practice!

13)  People who live in affluence are not as you imagine–most I have met, anyway, are the real deal– lovely and generous and some of the nicest people in my sphere.  To judge anyone for any reason is the most limiting activity there is!

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Classy Cat!

14)  Even though this is a big city with lots of people, sometimes a person can feel very alone.  Other times, it is so small and I run into people I know all over the place!

15)  Driving in traffic can be beautiful, honestly!  I see massive amounts of beauty from high atop the freeway overpasses.  And no, traffic doesn’t only happen in Los Angeles, traffic happens in every city!  I love my electric car,  it actually gains miles on the battery while in traffic instead of sucking up gas!
StarTara

16) I love being by the beach and feeling the cool of the ocean air.  Just as much, I love being over the hill in the Valley at night, the breeze is warm and balmy and there is no need for sweaters or jackets!

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17)  Not driving my car and riding my bike to work is freedom!

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18)  Yes, you can enjoy going to museums–my favorite is  just across the canyon–The J. Paul Getty museum off the busiest freeway–the 405!  I have a confession to make though, once I took a friend there and we didn’t even go inside and look at the art.  We stayed outside looking at the gardens and the views of the city!  The art IS amazing though, so hard to comprehend the precision and talent that exists in all of us.

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19)  I have made more friends here than anywhere I’ve ever lived. 

20)  The free concerts on the Santa Monica Pier in the summertime FEEL really good.  To be out in the night-time ocean air listening to music and meeting new people is my kind of night!

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21)   There are farmers markets everyday of the week all year round in my town and surrounding towns.  That is such a gift!

22)  In all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve not taken one day for granted.  I love where I live and have lived and I’m so glad I made the bold move out here those 27 years ago.

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23)  Again, I say, “fitting in”  is not an option for me here.  Authenticity does exist and only we can choose it for ourselves.  The alternative is working really hard to look good to all the people around you.  Ugh,  as Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide!”

24) Take time to play, it is the secret to perpetual youth!
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25) Maintain a high energetic vibration and if for some reason it feels weak and vulnerable, get the negative people out of your life.  Your vibration needs to be the dominant one.

26)  When life beats you up a bit, remember, you are growing and expanding because of it!
CaveTara

27)  Cutting people OUT of our lives is a necessity.  You don’t have to be NICE to everyone, make your boundaries strong!