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California Dreams Come True

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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.  It’s not wonder I do what I do.  I lead hikes for people from all over the world.  Some come through Cliffside Malibu, a premier drug & alcohol treatment center.  People from all over the world visit and I get to find out about them!

I’ve lived in this state for 27 years now and I feel as if I was born here.  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!taraonpaseo

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 21 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, 2013 marks 22 years of living in California.  From the age of 10, I spent 20 years dreaming of living in California.

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 lived on a private horse ranch and attended horse clinics to learn how to be confident in riding and dealing with horses–my childhood dream come true!

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.

pacific palisades hike

It’s fun to see where we’ve come from where we once were.  I’m so grateful I had that California dream  all those years ago!purple passion point dume

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STREET Smarts–Detroit Taught Me Well

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Today,  I am feeling very appreciative of my mom and the freedom she graced upon her kids.  She gave us so much space and exposed us to more than the average person, I’m sure of it now.

When I was a young girl, we would go and visit my Grandma and Grandpa in the Cass Corridor, Downtown Detroit area.   The Cass Corridor is where the riots broke out in the heart of Detroit in 1963.

It was a real raw city, indeed. 

My Grandpa would walk us to the park downtown where we would feed the pigeons.  He was in a very sick phase of his life, and there were many times that he would have to lay down on the side of the street and take a nap.

My sister, Valorie,  and I were about 8 and 10 years old.  We would just sort of linger there while grandpa napped.  We were harassed by all sorts of people.

We learned the subtle art of knowing when to speak and when not to pay any attention.  There is a huge difference. 

If you look someone in the eye that should not be looked in the eye, you learn quickly what you did wrong.  When you ignore someone that you should have spoken to, you learn quickly what you should have done.  Trust me, it’s a big deal.

Most of the people I know are afraid of going to areas that seem unsafe.  Quite frankly, most people just don’t go.  When I was  a teenager and driving, I would drive my friends to downtown Detroit.  There were some amazing ethnic festivals at The Hart Plaza down on the riverfront.   Talk about a place to party and meet people from all over the metropolitan area, this was it.

If my friend’s parents knew they were down there, they would have thrown a fit!

To me, being downtown was not a big deal and it was not dangerous.  My Mom worked downtown all of my young years, my Grandparents lived downtown, and it was part of my vibe.   

If you aren’t exposed to the diversity at a young age, when will you be?

That, I believe, is the problem with most people who are filled with fear about going to certain neighborhoods.  If they’ve never had any experience carrying themselves down a city street, you’d better believe they’re going to show it. 

Body language and posture is everything. 

If you have no confidence, it will show and you will be an easy victim if anyone were interested.

Just the other day, I was in an area in Los Angeles that I would not necessarily  choose to go to.  I had bought a Living Social deal and I wasn’t sure of the area it was in.  Sure enough, as I drove toward the address, things weren’t looking all that fabulous.

It was a run down neighborhood and the people were definitely diverse and,  in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “not that there’s anything wrong with that”.

I had a voucher and it expired TODAY.  Since I was juice fasting, I was going to get my full supply for the day and take them to go–all juice.  As I handed the cashier my voucher to pay, he announced that it was dine in only.

Shoot, I had no choice so I decided to sit there and drink a couple hours away.  I needed my computer which was in my car.

I walked to my car, which incidently had my bicycle on top of it, and grabbed my laptop and walked back.

There were people of all sorts out there.  Some in their yard, some on the street, some lingering in the old garage business on the corner.

They were diverse and it did feel like I was on the streets of Detroit from my childhood. 

The beautiful thing, though, was that  they were not at all offended by my presence.  The tough chick walking by was one of those you just don’t engage.  The older woman, who seemed a bit out of sorts and maybe a little intoxicated,  was pleasant and a simple smile worked with her.

All I can say is, I am so appreciative of my upbringing and the example my mom set for me.

I appreciate her for exposing me to all the neighborhoods, not just the suburbs. 

Fear just wasn’t present in my body when I was out there.  All was well.

I guess if you are already an adult and you  weren’t prepared to navigate in such neighborhoods, you probably should stay out of bounds until you learn the art of posture.  Or, come with me and you’ll be fine.

All is well and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood–wherever it is!

Diary of A Massage Therapist

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I feel fortunate to have learned the skill of giving massage.  I am a nurturing,  compassionate person so being a massage therapist is in sync with those natural qualities.

I am so very impressed with people who trust enough.

When you think about it, a perfect stranger is entrusting their body to me, another perfect stranger–that’s a big deal!

 I don’t take it lightly when someone trusts me to put my hands on them in a loving, non-judgmental way.

There is something so blissful about getting a massage.  When it feels good and you relax, time is non-existent and you drift into a place of peace and deep euphoria.  In the same way, there is so much beauty for me to observe someone getting a massage.

At times, lately, I feel as if I get to see God while giving massages. 

God is the place in each and every one of us where we are happy, content, compassionate,  and love ourselves.  To me, God is a place where there is no stress, no rush, no worry, no inhibition.  It is a place where we just trust and allow.  We know that all is well in this moment.

Today,  I had a client return for a second massage.  The first massage was somewhat forced, his wife bought him a gift certificate and he didn’t really want to come.

At the end of the massage he said, “I knew I was stressed out, but I had no idea there was so much stress in my body”.

So today after arriving, he said that people in his life commented on his appearance the day after his massage–that he looked 10 years younger.

He felt it too. 

He woke up in the middle of that night and was sweating profusely, obviously his body was letting go of all the stress that had built up.  “I honestly think you saved my life”, he said.

Comments like that make my day worth living–give me a little more impetus to keep on healing.   “You have healing hands”, “You have great energy”, “I am so relaxed”, “How do you know the right places to focus in on”?

The comments are great and keep me motivated and they all come from the place of perfection-God.

One sentiment I always incorporate into every massage is my Namaste’ greeting.  I say it quietly to myself but I see their face and their essence receiving the truth, love, and peace I wish for them.

Namaste’:  I honor the place in you where the entire Universe dwells–the place where there is truth, love, peace, health, and abundance.  When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are ONE.

I feel fortune in my awareness.  I am a massage therapist and I see God with every massage I give!

In The Vortex

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What happens when you lock your keys in the car?  Do you get stressed and mad or do you stay calm and know that there is an answer that may come without having to deal with calling AAA?

My friend and I had driven 45 minutes to ride a new trail in Malibu on our mountain bikes.

We were enjoying the morning, getting our bikes ready and our gear together when the wind blew my door shut.

Unfortunately, I had pressed the lock button and my car key was in my camelback which was on the front seat.  Hmmm, my trunk was still open though.  We looked and sure enough there was a latch that when depressed may open through to the back seat.

While my friend pushed and pressed and prodded, she could not get that trap door to open.  This was all after fishing through all the ingredients in my trunk.  I store lots in my trunk!  She asked me to help push so we both dove head first into my trunk while our butts were the only visible part of our bodies–we were pushing together and still to no avail.

I had to laugh, really hard. Here we were,  butts to the world,  and I imagined what it would be like if someone were to pull up on that scene! 

We then called over two guys who were also in the process of getting on their bikes.  They tried as they might but also with no luck.  Even though the sun was beating down and we couldn’t just get on our bikes and ride because all my hydration was locked in my car, we laughed and just relaxed about our conundrum!  Somehow we just knew there was a way into the car without having to go through the drama of calling AAA.

As I sorted through the trunk gear hoping to find a wire hanger, I found a 6 pronged pants hanger made out of thick plastic.  I held it up and we both laughed because that certainly wouldn’t be maneuverable enough to open the lock from outside.

Well now wait a minute…I noticed each level clasped together and if it clasped together it must clasp apart.

I unclasped one of the rows and marched over to the passenger door which had the window cracked.  It was so darn easy, I stuck the plastic down the cracked window, pushed on the lock and it was open!

The moral of the story for me was…it is what it is and if you stress about it, that won’t help.  We were relaxed and having fun.

We both seemed to trust that there would be an answer and together with that mindset, we made what looked like a “no way” situation into a “not a problem” situation.

Lately, it seems like all cooperative components come to my rescue. 

I like the way it feels to trust that everything will always work out. 

Life is good and I just feel like getting out there and living it more fully!!!