I’m an Arizona native and, I have to say, I have NEVER seen the wildflowers decorate the desert like they did this spring! They were everywhere and it was wondrous!
It made me stop and think. Has there never been an Arizona spring so grand or did I just completely miss it? I can’t help but wonder. Because, as I said, I’ve lived here all of my life and, for most of my life, I’ve hated it! I couldn’t stand the desert, the cactus, the heat (still not a fan), the dirt, the stucco houses, the city... I couldn’t wait to get away to some other greener, cooler, more glorious state with trees that change colors and houses that deliver character and charm. I spent my life dreaming of living somewhere else and I missed the magnificence that was right here in front of me. This state is absolutely gorgeous! There is no place quite like it and I just never saw it!
Do you do that? Do you miss the gloriousness that is right before your eyes because you’re too busy imagining life’s greener pastures? Do you focus on what could be instead of bathing in what is? I can think of so many instances where I’ve done this in my life. Why do we do that to ourselves?
And, how ironic that it took a time in my life where I’d hit absolute rock bottom to start seeing the blessings before me. It took rock bottom for me to change my perspective. I was left with no choice but to start looking at things in a new light. So, I spent a great deal of time training my brain to see the positive, to be grateful for each day and to look for all the wonderful things that were going unnoticed.
A change in perspective has transformed me. I started focusing on the here and now and I took on an attitude of gratitude. It has changed everything, including how I feel about my native state. And, trust me, I never thought my opinion of Arizona could change. I’ve heard so many people talk about Arizona and all of its splendor and I really thought they were crazy! I just couldn’t see it. I took it for granted. But now, I’m like a newborn seeing this state, this life, for the first time.
So I have to ask you, what splendor is right before your eyes that is going unnoticed? What are you missing? All you have to do is look for it…it’s there! Trust me!
Looking for wildflowers? Many have already come and gone. But some are still hanging on in this heat just a little while longer… And there are still plenty of beautiful cactus blooms yet to see. I’ve chased wildflowers in places all over Arizona like: Peridot, White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Canyon Lake, Pleasant Lake, Bartlett Lake, Saguaro Lake, Black Canyon Trail, Daisy Mountain, Spur Cross Ranch, Silly Mountain, Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, and Superstition Wilderness. What are you waiting for?
It's February, the perfect month to focus on Love and all that it is! Because what you focus on grows, right? So, I started a "Love is..." collage in the heart of my home, my kitchen, and I have a stack of hearts and a marker on my table so that we can add to the collage everyday! Because love is everywhere! It is a beautiful morning sunrise, a peaceful hike through the snow on a Saturday afternoon, kitty snuggles, and waking up to homemade chai biscotti that my daughter baked for me!
Join me! Tell me what "love is" to you!
I don’t have many memories from my childhood …but one that stands out for me is a memory from when I was about 9 or 10 years old and a cat was hit by a car in front of my house. Thankfully, I can’t remember every detail. But this is what I do remember…I remember seeing the cat in the road dragging her back legs behind her, circling and panting in the street. I remember many of our neighbors standing out in their front yards watching. I remember my moment of confusion as I tried to figure out how a person could hit and injure an animal and just keep driving and I remember wondering why no one was doing anything to help her. In that moment, it became very apparent that I had to do something because no one else was going to. I remember running from house to house trying to figure out if anyone knew who this cat belonged to…no one did… I remember devising a plan with my dad to take this helpless kitty in for veterinary attention. I remember picking this scared fur baby up out of the street and getting smeared with her blood. I remember trying to calm this precious girl while I held her in my lap. I remember arriving at the shelter where people told us they would do all they could to save her…
This morning, this story came to mind and as I have learned to do, I reflected on why. It became clear to me that the reason was my grief over America’s current state. America is the cat dragging her back half behind her and I want/need to do all that I can to lend a hand. America is in disrepair and I won’t take a bystander’s role. I can’t sit idly by and wait for someone else to take charge or speak up. I can’t sit around thinking it’s not my problem…it doesn’t affect me. What affects one affects ALL! I truly believe that’s why Trump is in office. There is always a reason for everything and Trump taking office is our wake-up call. He is serving as our catalyst for change. His role? To steer us away from our state of inaction and complacency. We have to get involved and fight like hell for all that we hold dear in our hearts. Nothing will improve, nothing will change if we stand by and wait for someone else to take the initiative!
There’s a 4 mile dirt road to Barnhardt Trail that after rain and snow turns into a bit of a mud bog. We braved the muddy trek to the trailhead in Payson, Arizona last weekend and my car has been sloughing mud ever since. Over the last week, I've been discovering chunks of dirt in my driveway and I hear it rattle off while I drive. I LOVE it! To me it is a metaphor for my hiking adventures…I get out there in the beauty of nature and with every step I take, the stress sheds off like the mud from my wheel wells and under carriage!
Hiking is my drug of choice! It is my miracle cure for all that ails me. I get out in nature and I’m instantly connected to Mother Earth and all who inhabit it. I make an effortless transition from my head to my heart and my anxiety and worries disappear. I find myself, my beauty, my greatness. I connect with the beautiful soul that I am and I remember the great capacity I have for love.
Some of my favorite places to hike in Arizona are West Fork Trail in Sedona, Barnhardt Trail, Horton Creek Trail, and Tonto Natural Bridge in Payson, Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, Sabino Canyon in Tucson, and Ramsey Canyon Preserve Hereford.
Focus on the Good!
WE the People
Yesterday I marched! What an incredible feeling to come together with like-minded individuals to let our voices be heard. What an amazing energy we shared. Then to get online and see the millions of men, women, and children around the world, all 7 continents, who marched in solidarity. It had healing powers!
We marched in peace with nothing but love for ALL of our fellow humans. We marched to say We the people of the United States…WE the people, ALL of the people…every man, woman, and child…black, white, brown, lesbian, gay, Muslim, or disabled.
I love that we are a country where everyone is so different! That is what makes AMERICA GREAT! I choose love! Love is what will change the world! We are all in this together! It is not us/them. It is US/WE! We are Americans! We are Great! Love one another. Be the change.
We are going to be okay, my friends. But we have to keep this energy alive. We have to continue to fight for what we know in our hearts is right and just. Love wins and together we rise!!!
January 16th, 2017
"It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality...This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren't going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality." ~Martin Luther King, Jr., A Christmas Sermon on Peace, 1967
Sleepless in Arizona
I’ve been on winter break and being away from my regular schedule has wreaked havoc on my slumber! I am definitely one of those people who needs plenty of shut-eye to be a happy human! Anyone who knows me well can attest to this fact! I’m a teacher and I work with a room full of little people every day. This requires a great attitude and a lot of patience, something I’m unable to provide without a proper night sleep! So, upon returning to work, I decided I needed to get back on track or make some adjustments to my usual routine. I began doing some research (Yes, I do like to research! Perhaps I missed my calling!). What I found isn’t anything I didn’t already know but every now and then I need a good reminder and maybe you do too! There were definitely some areas of self-care that had gone by the wayside! Here are just a few tips on getting better sleep to start the new year out rested and ready to take on the world!
National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Electronics in the Bedroom: Why it’s necessary to Turn Off Before You Tuck In. Retrieved January 12, 2017 from the National Sleep Foundation website: https://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/electronics-the-bedroom
Mayo Clinic. (n.d.) Sleep Tips: 7 Steps to Better Sleep. Retrieved January 12, 2017 from the Mayo Clinic website: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379
Hendrick, Bill. (n.d.) Exercise Helps You Sleep: Regular Aerobic Exercise May Help Insomniacs By Bill Hendrick. Retrieved January 12, 2017 from the WebMD website: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20100917/exercise-helps-you-sleep#1
Altshul, Sara, (2011, November 3). Lavender – The Sweet Scent of Sleep: Whiff lavender for a more restful slumber. Retrieved January 10, 2017 from the Prevention website: http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/natural-remedies/how-lavender-can-help-you-sleep
The Dr. Oz Show. (2012, September 24). Fact Sheet: Melatonin. Retrieved January 10, 2017 from the Dr. Oz Show website: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/fact-sheet-melatonin
The Perfect Tattoo
So, a few years back in the middle of my “storm”, I got a tattoo… I gave it a lot of thought because, well, it was going to be permanent. It would be a sunflower because sunflowers represent happiness for me… It would have a bee flying into the sunflower to exemplify the obvious, Be Happy! I wanted my sunflower to be a hybrid of a sunflower and lotus flower. I love lotus flowers…out of the murky water grows this magnificent blossom! And…I wanted there to be an Om symbol incorporated in there somewhere – very yogi. Oh, and I wanted it to be small.
I met with the tattoo artist and we talked about my ideas while he created a rough sketch. When I left, I was satisfied with the design. But when I arrived for my tattoo, he’d come up with something entirely different and much larger than we’d discussed. Well, I was, I’ll admit, a little freaked out, but then I realized that it would be the perfect tattoo, a theme for my life going forward!
Because, divorce was certainly not what I’d imagined for my life. Meet high school sweetheart, check. Fall in love, check. Go to college and get a degree, check. Get married, check. Get a Job, check. Buy a home, check. Have kids, check, check. That’s how it’s supposed to go, right? It’s the natural progression. But Divorce, not a part of the plan. So, the tattoo was perfect, not at all what I had planned for or expected, but absolutely perfect nonetheless! Because life doesn’t always work out the way you imagine. There are NO guarantees.
We all have our own path with detours along the way and I’m discovering that it’s the detours that give us strength and build our character…make us who we are meant to be. Divorce is one of those detours and I am left to figure out where I want to go from here. And the good albeit terrifying news is that there’s no road map. I get to create my own!
Lisa is a teacher, mother, yogi, lover of life, and collector of experiences. Her motto: Life is what you make of it. So, do what you love and enjoy every minute! She’s on a journey of self-discovery and believes it’s important to write and share her story as a way of healing herself and others.