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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
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Time To Embrace My Wrinkles

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Hey, Happy Earth Day! As I stand here in front of the Mountain Lilac, I am learning to embrace my wrinkles!  I’m sure this will not be a popular trend but I’ve never gone along with the trends easily.

I feel like we are all so obsessed with beauty and perfection. Every time we look in the mirror and judge ourselves for having real wrinkles, it feels like little bits of self-hatred and it feels so wrong.

We’re all scrambling around trying to get rid of the ugliness, the imperfections. Serums and creams and fillers and facelifts. Oh how we have gone astray.

I think we are mostly filling ourselves with self-hatred, trying everything to get rid of the imperfections, or what we’ve been hypnotized to think are imperfections! It’s really rather absurd when you stand back and look at it.

Yes, fillers make the skin look smooth and pretty and it is tempting, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Mostly because of vanity, again. I’m afraid it wouldn’t look natural and I wouldn’t want people judging me based on my fake face.

Vanity vanity vanity, any way you look at it. We’re all so physically focused. I want a new focus!

I’m tired of all the little pieces of hate I throw at myself. I’m sure I’m not alone here?

Basically the wrinkles are little traces of time written on my face and I have lived 58 years so far and that is a lot to be grateful for!

No, it won’t be easy to get unhypnotized because it’s a lifetime of societal pressures and hypnotisms.

But hey.

How about we get out and be part of nature more often. The more we see beauty out there, the more we’ll see beauty in here. Mind training with Nature!

So here, on this Earth Day, I choose to embrace my wrinkles. For each wrinkle I focus on, I will recycle a nugget, a memory that makes that wrinkle worthy! Wrinkles are signs of worthiness! Yes! Go ahead, zoom in and check them out!

#wrinkles #worthiness #worthy #nature #beauty #embrace #society #hypnotized #imperfection #imperfections

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!
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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!

aglow at the gazebo

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!

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:

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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. 

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.

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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.

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!

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! (Well, now it’s 25 years)!

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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!

EagleRock

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!

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