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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!IMG_2741

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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!OnAClearDay

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!CrissyandTara

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!

 

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

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! onewiththetrailtara

 

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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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!

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Malibu Hikers!

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“What do these women wish to achieve by hiking up these hills in Malibu?”

Imagine a very proper Brittish accent with a sort of chronic, cynical way of being in life asking this question, I was telling her about the out of town visitors I’ve been leading on private hikes in Malibu.

Her words and the tone of her words made me laugh very hard!

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I quickly produced an answer for her:

When you’re out in nature hiking up a hill, things get quiet.  When it’s quiet, you feel peace and more clarity than you do when you’re sitting in a house with the television and the wi fi and the phone ringing.  Not only does that technology create too much chatter, but all of those interference fields create a bit of chaos in your thinking. wififorrestconnection

The women travel here on business and want to carve out time for themselves, time to recharge and rejuvenate.  In my humble opinion, there is no better place to do that than out on the hiking trail in Malibu!

She quietly accepted that answer.

Now I say to you–any chance you get to be out in nature or out on the hiking trail, TAKE IT!  Nature is the great equalizer.IMG_0508

One of my clients was antsy to get to the climbing part of our hike.  She said that when she is challenged by a hill, epiphanies jump into her mind and she gets answers!

It’s true.  Simple and True.  Try it.

If you don’t have the confidence to follow the trail alone, please let me be your private hiking guide in Malibu.  My goal is to keep you moving in the right direction and to make sure you get the connection to nature that YOU and everybody deserves!

https://wordpress.com/pages/naturegirltara.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Envy in Malibu

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I have the privilege and honor of caring for people’s homes and animals while they are away.  One of the questions people always ask me is:

“Do you ever become jealous or envious when  caring for other people’s homes?Do you go into the comparison mode and wish you had more of this wealth and abundance.”

Am I envious? Absolutely not! Sure, there are times my mind wanders into that lower energy place of lack and feelings of unworthiness, but my work is to guide it back to the light.

Right now I feel like I’m on the set of  “Under The Tuscan Sun.”  I feel so fortunate to be in this space.  I admire the beauty of it all and I enjoy the responsibility while I’m here but I also enjoy the freedom of my regular life when I’m at home.JacksonsCastle

This will sound bazaar to most, but I never really wanted the responsibility of owning my own home.  I wanted to feel free to go anywhere in the world without being tied down by the physical responsibility of a house.  What can I say, I was young and that’s how I felt.  Now, that’s exactly where I’m at in my life today.

I live in an “out of the ordinary” environment and one of my living spaces resembles a log cabin.  Interestingly, a log cabin is also what I once dreamed of living in.IMG_0244

 Today, though, I’m here in Malibu– enjoying this blissful space and reaping the rewards within right now.  The rewards really are within! And the rewards really are right now!

 

The question really isn’t “what can I get”, the question is “what can I let”–what can I let into my soul that will bring me joy and peace and beauty and ease.  I don’t have to GET anything to feel those feelings.

Feelings transport me into  a high-flying place where bliss is all I see and hear and feel.  Beautiful chimes mixed in with the sound of real raw wind whipping through the palm trees and a fountain dripping below.  I sit and watch and feel the beauty within and there is something so simple about that. All power is in the present moment and I am anchored in the here and now.Blessings

When all is said and done, I remember my favorite quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide.”

20 Years of Epic!

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BirdsCloudsThis month marks my 20th year of mountain biking!  I’ll never forget the first time I rode up Palisades Drive on my mountain bike–my former husband was way ahead of me and all I could do in my mind was beat myself up!

“Sure, he’s way ahead of me, his father was a 9 Letterman in high school so he’s got the genes.  My father was a bowler!”  Not that there’s anything wrong with bowlers, it’s just that the sport doesn’t lend itself to huffing and puffing up a hill.

My lungs and my legs were burning–I was sweating profusely and my head felt like it was about to explode!

I did find out that Sean’s legs and lungs were burning too.   He felt pain and humiliation similar to me–his body was not functioning with ease.  It was hard!happy tara on voodoo

The good news is that today I rode up the same hill, instead of beating myself up, I was actually enjoying the ride.  My legs and lungs weren’t burning–it wasn’t easy but it was more of a pleasant ride up the hill, certainly not as bad as that first day 20 years ago!

Everything is a process.  I’ve learned how to just go with the flow and be in the middle of whatever fire may be burning.  I’ve ridden up that hill hundreds of times now and that alone takes the anxiety away.  Anything you do as a beginner, for the first time, can produce anxiety and just feel hugely hard to endure.

I caught the attention of another biker when I rode around the pole that separates  the dirt trail from the road,  “Wow, I saw you maneuver around that pole and I was very impressed,”  he said.  “I’ve been riding for a year now and I’m afraid my pedals will get all caught up and I’ll fall.”

“Ah yes, that pole,” I assured him,   “I was afraid of that pole for a very long time before I actually attempted to make my way around it.  I would get off my bike and walk the bike through and just notice how much room there was as I walked through.  Then, one day I had the guts to give it a try!”

I then shared that this month marks my 20th year riding.  “Wow, 20 years, can you give me any tips?”

I wanted to share more than a couple of tips but I also wanted to get on with my ride–two pieces of advice that worked for me–“keep your eyes on where you are wanting to go, not on the ruts because your bike will tend to follow your eyes.”  That tip works for life too!

The other tip is what one of my fellow racers told me after a race when I asked,  “how do you stay on the bike, I keep crashing?”  She said, “It’s just Time In The Saddle–you just gotta go through it, to get to it.”

I remember, at the time, I didn’t like hearing it.  I wanted to just be great now, be proficient now,  and not have to deal with the growing pains.  Now, 20 years later, I get it.  TIME IN THE SADDLE!

I continued on with my epic ride–after not being on the bike for about a month– I went a bit slower than I would normally pedal up the hills, but I was out there in the middle of all the wonder and the glory!IMG_0144a

I chose a loop that isn’t just up to the top then down, it was up then down and up and down and up some more.  Then the final descent was fast and technical and since it was a Saturday, there were lots of hikers out there, it took even more skill in handling the bike down those hills since my path was narrowed even more by the hikers!

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People have always been supportive as I ride by them UP a hill–they say things like, “wow, you’re strong,”  and their mouths drop open in awe as I fly by them DOWN the hill and there is no time to speak.

Talk about EMPOWERING!  No, I don’t ride to get their approval or their admiration, but it is kind of nice to receive.

Yes, mountain biking is one of the hardest activities I’ve ever tackled.  I remember the first time we saw someone riding up a fire road on a mountain bike, we thought, “this guy is crazy.”  Not long after that, we became crazy!

It is fun reflecting, it is fun feeling a difference from the very first time up that hill.  It is so empowering being out in the day, flying through the air with a skill that took time to develop.

If there’s something you want to take on, go for it.  You’ll be able to look back one day and remember what it took to get to where you are and you’ll feel pride, you’ll feel freedom.  We are a force of energy, we might as well use it to bring us thrill, pleasure, and joy.  Namaste’

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Hawk Feather

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So, today, I found my Hawk feather I’ve been longing for (https://naturegirltara.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/feathers-find-me/)

I was riding my mountain bike, huffing and puffing up a hill when I came upon a pile of horse shit with a very unique feather in the middle of it.photo-8

As I rode past it, I realized it was a feather I did not have yet and the last time I passed up a hawk feather, I was very upset with myself (see: https://naturegirltara.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/feathers-find-me/)

So, I turned around, got off my bike and picked the feather out of the pile of shit.

Sometimes you gotta dip into some shit in order to get the golden goods!

California Dreams–Letting Go!

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I remember my second visit to California, I was 18 years old and loving this place!  Near the end of my trip, I read some graffiti on a freeway overpass, “Tourists GO HOME”! 

I remember feeling really bad when I read it, almost like I had been personally attacked.

I couldn’t understand how someone would want me to go home.  I thought to myself, “gosh if I lived here, I would want to meet all the people that came from all over the world to visit”.  That’s just how I am, I love finding out about people.MeetupPhoto

I’m still the same way all these years later, if I meet somebody new I want to know all about them.  I’ve lived in this state for 23 years now.  I wasn’t born here, but I did live here when I was a baby and I feel as if California is in my bones.  I love this place, it is so magnificent!

Where else can you go to the beach then take a 2 to 5 hour drive and be in the mountains with snow?  Everywhere I go here, I feel at home.

California!  I’ve been up and down the coast and everywhere I go is total bliss.  It really is no wonder that people want to visit here, let alone move here.  If you knew what we had to endure in Michigan, you would have a heart and be okay with us being here.  While it is true, there are lots of people and cars, how can you blame them all?  This a a gorgeous place!

I remember one of the women at the gym complaining about all the cars flooding from the valley to go to the beach.  She said, “vals, go home, we don’t want you here”. 

It’s funny, I thought to myself, she moved here from Ontario Canada–who is she to talk?  Vals are the people who live in the San Fernando Valley.  It is a good 15-25 degrees hotter than on the beach.  Gosh, they deserve to enjoy the beach.  I can see it from both sides, though.  When I spend most of my time up and down the coast because I work in Malibu and live in Brentwood, there can be a huge amount of traffic in the summer months because of everyone flooding to the beach.  It’s all good though, we’re just enjoying where we get to live and play!IMG_0920

I enjoy where I live and play every day.  Today, as I drove the stretch of PCH that takes me to my long time place of work, The Malibu Gym, I marveled at the beauty of Point Dume’ in the distance.

Honestly, I don’t think there has been one day in the 23 years I’ve been driving that coast that I haven’t been in awe of the sight of it when I see it. IMG_0785

I do wonder, how is it possible to love a place so much?

The month of June, 2014 marks 23 years of living in California.  From the age of 10, I spent 20 years dreaming of living in California.onewiththetrailtara

Some might say it became everything I focused upon.

The DJ in the college cafeteria only had to see me and know that it was time to play my song, “California Dreamin”.  Class after class of teaching, I always ended in the relaxed visualizing mode and saw myself here, happy and vibrant!  Then, after years of postponing my move either because of school or a job or a boyfriend,  I made it happen.  I had dreamed and visualized and listened and dreamed some more and then I moved to California.

I had no car, no job, no place to live–I just had to be here once and for all.

So many dreams came true for me.  I live the lifestyle I lived when I lived in Michigan.  I lived it in my own little world there because my environment didn’t really support it.

Today, I am surrounded by health food stores, healthy restaurants,  nature abounding everywhere I turn, near perfect weather, people I adore and so much more!

I love the life I’ve created.  I ride my bike, I hike the trails, practice yoga at my choice of a plethora of studios.  I live in a neighborhood that simply must be one of the prettiest in the country. fuscia flowersAbundance surrounds me in every direction I turn.  I am worthy of it all because I brought it to life with my visions and my strong desire.

Now, after 23 years of fully embracing and loving this place, I had the thought of letting it go.

Let it go and move onto something different.  I am open to that.  Montana seems to be pulsing in my radar these days.  Colorado is another place calling to me although the thought of the Winter months don’t really appeal to me.   Hawaii could work for me.  Wyoming is a mystery to me still. Or, I could stay here and just keep living it in the blissful fashion I’ve carved out for myself.

The feeling I had, though, when I let go of the need to be here and the need to stay here was so freeing.  pacific palisades hike

By letting go, we simply surrender to either something better or keeping that which we have.  It was obvious I had been clinging to being here.  I could feel such a total sense of freedom when I just let go.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? “I am open to everything and attached to nothing”.  That sounds like a good plan.  I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer say it many years ago and until you experience it in one area of life, you won’t really know how good it feels.

I am feeling this way in several areas of life and it feels like a dream–as  good as the California dream I had all those years ago!purple passion point dume

Too Young To Learn From?

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I invited a friend to come with me to  yoga.  The teacher of the class is  20 years my junior.   When I invited him, he said,

“No, I won’t go to her class–what can I learn from her, she is too young.”the fabulous Brigitte

I sure am glad I didn’t have that attitude when I first met her years ago.  The moment I met her, I knew she was someone I wanted to spend time with–see previous post: (https://naturegirltara.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/a-magical-age-25/)

At the same time, I can understand his sentiment because I too have  held this belief at times. My belief was a bit scattered and depended on what the subject was.  Here I am, a woman who has already seen so much in life, experienced far more because of the extra years I’ve lived, yet–

I strive to find ways around that limiting belief–to stay open to as many people and paths I cross–regardless of their age.IMG_0795

Years ago even when Brigitte  had just begun teaching–I was simply going to be a support for her as a teacher. Yet, every time I attended her class, I always experienced some kind of  illumination that thrilled me.  It was always a loving, healing experience for me.  Brigitte will say a phrase that can tap you into your own spirit in an instant.  Her spirit and energy alone, are worth your time.

My personal yoga practice has been going on for about 15 years–just because someone is new to teaching doesn’t mean there aren’t  things I can learn from them!

Brigitte has been teaching for more than a few years now and as time has gone on, I see that I have learned more than I was even aware of at the time.  brigitte takes a breath

I still think about the interaction with the friend that is close to my age.  I can’t help but think of the confucius saying–“he who thinks he knows it all has a lot to learn”.  It’s not that he thinks he knows it all, it’s just that he thinks he knows more than her because she’s so much younger.

Don’t let those narrow-minded beliefs cut you off from amazing people that  just happen to be younger than you!

As I reflect on how Brigitte has affected my life, I’m pretty blown away at the things I’m doing today that she is responsible for.  She urged me to start writing this blog.  I vividly remember the day–we had just completed a gorgeous hike.  We sat together  and she helped me form my first words in my first post!  Who knows how long it would have taken me without her guidance.

When I met her, I had just ended a 20 year marriage that had me pretty darn isolated!

Brigitte has opened up my world in ways that were so necessary for my growth as a person and in my profession.   She really helped me to see the power of being involved in community and in creative collaborations of all kinds. I’ve since started my own Meetup.com hiking group and have met and remain friends with so many amazing people who I’ve met through that group.my meetup hike

Brigitte has organized and led workshops on various topics–one of my favorites was

The Artist’s Way Workshop.

A group of women met for 12 consecutive weeks practicing the  topics together as a  support system for one an other.  It was a powerful process and Brigitte is a myriad of things to me and to the people who know her–she is a nature lover, she seeks out adventure and wonder, and she is a master facilitator on so many topics regarding personal growth and finding ways to claim the life we were meant to live.  She has been invaluable to so many charities throughout Los Angeles  that empower children through creativity and the performing arts.IMG_0519

As a yoga teacher, Brigitte’s classes have always evolved.

She is the consummate professional–she has a sense about her and she knows how to address whatever your needs may be.

Emotionally, she has that same sense.  She can tap into what you may have locked away for years and get you looking at it and responding to it.

If you have the chance to attend a class here in the Santa Monica area or even travel with Brigitte to a far away yoga retreat–take it!

The chance for an intensive week of that “Gigi Yogini” energy should rock your world in ways you can’t even imagine now!brigitteandtaraTREE

 Visit http://www.GigiYogini.com for the latest schedules and updates.

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