A beautiful morning. Lake Worth Beach, with a group of beautiful friends. Connecting and healing in the ocean. Breathe in love. Breathe out gratitude.~Yogini Tiff
June 6th, the day of the Venus transit, was also my 35th birthday. (I can’t believe I am 35! How did that happen so quickly??)
Usually my birthday is pretty low-key, with a little bit of cake, a couple of friends, and a card from my son. But this year, we had a real celebration. Still on the farm (which is full of fellow Gemini’s), I woke up in the morning, enjoyed a cup of coffee, did a little yoga, and then went out to the field to harvest vegetables for CSA day.
I harvested tomatoes, squash, green beans, and eggplant. My friends were all working in the field, the kids were all playing, the dogs were smiling and dirty. Everything felt perfect. Especially the warm rain. We finished our farm work pretty quickly. And then we had raw chocolate almond butter cake and I was given one of my birthday presents….. Nature Earrings. Best gift ever. Everyone had made me a pair of earrings. So now I have the best earring collection in the world. So stylish.
Being my birthday, It was up to me to decide what we were going to do. I don’t like to be the one who decides things…but I knew I wanted to be in the woods and I knew I wanted to swim in a spring. So we packed up a picnic and went to Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Florida is known for its beaches, but these fresh water springs are a real treasure. At a constant 72 degrees, the springs are chilly and refreshing. Paradise with ice.
It had been raining, so we had the park to ourselves. Which made it even better. Two hawks flew down and perched near me and wished me a happy birthday. We had a fun picnic and drank a gallon of kombucha.
After our day at the springs, we went and had my favorite treat. Bubble Tea.
It was a beautiful day with beautiful friends. Yeah! This is already a great year! ~T
We made it to the farm. Siembra Farm in Gainesville Florida. We are camping, working, and visiting our friends who own and run an organic farm. I am in awe. FRESH FOOD! There are trees everywhere. Friends everywhere. Blueberries everywhere. Vegetables everywhere. There are ticks everywhere too. Yesterday while exploring in some thick woods, the ticks really got me. I pulled out about ten.Yuck!! Ticks love climbing up my pants and burrowing in my inner thighs.. Welcome to summer in Florida… Bugs galore!
Siembra means to sow, to plant, to grow. And I am amazed. This organic family run farm produces so much food. On our first day here, we helped gather and wash the CSA shares.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.
With a CSA, people pay a very reasonable amount for a weekly boxes of veggies. Whatever grows, is what goes in the box. Fresh, delicious, organic produce. I honestly have never seen a better CSA.
This week people got tons of greens, different types of kale, collards, arugula, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, peppers, basil, herbs, and more. If you live near Gainesville, you should support Siembra farms. Wherever you live, you should find out about CSA’s- Food Revolution!
The Siembra farm folks are the nicest people I know. They help make the world a better place. ( they have good dance moves too! )
This whole experience is a pretty incredible home school/life lesson. We are learning to farm and camping out in a magical paradise.
The kids are having a great time. They run around all day…exploring the farm, the woods, and the creek.
The dogs are having a great time.
We are all having a great time…working, eating, and exploring.
Covered in dirt, I feel blessed. ~T
Simple pleasures….warmth of the morning sun. Giant Sunflowers everywhere. Song of the birds. Buzzing of the bees. Butterflies dancing in the sky. Lizards, squirrels, my dog, and my chicken, hung out with me this morning, as I took our clothes off the clothesline. Something about the morning was blissful….I love having a clothesline.
Whenever my mom comes to visit, all she wants to do is my laundry, because she says it reminds her of growing up in the Azores. There really is something peaceful about hanging clothes. I highly recommend getting a clothesline, for many reasons (sustainable living being one of them). Although, if you live in Washington State, your clothes will probably never dry. Ha!
When my son was really young, we lived in Washington State with another single mom and her kids, and I was finishing my Associates degree. I was happy in the Northwest, but I knew I was being called back to Hawaii. I was also broke..as the single mom/college student, tends to be. But I knew somehow, I was going to move back there. I applied to the University of Hawaii. My boyfriend at the time, laughed it off, “Tiff, you don’t have any money, how are you going to move there?” My reply was “somehow, it will happen.” Anyways, my uncle who worked for Delta, gave me two buddy passes.Buddy passes are cheap tickets you can only use if there are empty seats. We drove up to the Seattle airport four days in a row, just trying to get a flight to Hawaii. They were booked. On the fifth attempt, We finally got a flight out of Seattle. We made it as far as Los Angeles… Then we waited. There were four Hawaii bound flights that day. The first three came and went. There was no room. The airport was closing for the night, my cute little baby was nursing wrapped to my body in an old purple sling (an over the shoulder baby holder). I was worried. I was exhausted. If I didn’t get on that flight, I was going to have to leave the airport, and get a hotel I couldn’t afford. I closed my eyes, and fighting off the tears, I prayed. “Universe, please help me…. if I am not supposed to move to Hawaii, I will listen, go back to Washington, and figure out something else… But, if I am supposed to follow this path, help me get on a flight!” I was 24 years old, alone with a two-year old in Los Angeles airport, late at night. I had five hundred dollars (to my name), a college acceptance letter, and a low-income housing voucher. There was one vacant seat on the plane. We waited. They called our name to the counter….We got on that flight. Thank you universe.
Anyways, within a matter of two days, I found an apartment in Honolulu, in the ghetto. Project housing. I didn’t care. I was so happy. It was a two bedroom cement block apartment, at the end of a dead-end road. I didn’t realize just how much of a ghetto it was until, I called to order pizza. I told them my address… the response was “Ooooo, we don’t drive down Kaipu’u street, too dangerous.” Seriously. But, my apartment was close to the University of Hawaii, close to Waikiki, close to a grocery store, and close to the laundromat. Which was perfect, because I didn’t have a car. And my neighbors looked out for me. There was one guy who kept everyone in line, he was a huge Samoan guy, who everyone called “The Enforcer.” He walked around the neighborhood shirtless, muscles bulging, wearing his lavalava (wrap around skirt), and an expression of “I don’t like to fight, but I will fight, and you will lose.” Luckily, he loved me and my son. Ahhh…. memories. Anyways, my apartment was on the bottom floor, and it had a tiny little patio. There was a clothesline..and a hook-up for a washer, but no washer. I remember the days of carrying my baby in a sling, and pushing his stroller piled with our clothes, as I made the trek to the laundromat. Exhausted and often hot… I would daydream of a day when I owned my very own washer. Sometimes, I would wash our clothes by hand in the bathtub, just so I could avoid the laudromat, and because I liked to hang clothes on my clothesline.
After a few months of cleaning houses (baby strapped to my back), I had enough money. We bought a used washer… it felt like heaven. So luxurious. No more laundromat! . Dreams really do come true. Ha! There is something so beautiful about clothes blowing in the wind. I look back on my life in that ghetto, and I enjoy the memories more than I can express ..
So many things on my mind, so many things to write about. But today, I wanted to share a little about my past, and the happiness that can be found in the little things… Beauty is everywhere….
Live simply, so that others may simply live.
Look around, the message should be clear: We need to change the way we live. We need to live a friendly, kind, conscious, sustainable life!We need to ”tread lightly.”
I always try to make informed compassionate decisions about the way I live, the products I use, the food I eat. My goal is to live completely off the grid. I have before, and I trust that I will again.
I used to live on a beautiful piece of property, with another family, in a really special house. Our kids would run around, catch lizards, chase the chickens, dig holes, make forts and have a good time, getting dirty. Connecting to the Earth. My friend and I enjoyed daily yoga sessions, while the kids were exploring. It was great.I have beautiful memories ……We had solar panels, well water, compost toilets (5 gallon buckets and some wood chips), chickens, a nice big garden, and a magical little house called “The Hole.”
There was an outdoor kitchen, an outdoor shower, and even a “hot tub” for relaxation and fun.
Any water we used, drained right out to the plants, so obviously, we used natural cleaning products, natural shampoos and toothpaste too. Even our urine, we would collect and use for the plants…. Bananas love pee. There are several books and websites about the benefits of urine for our gardens.
Life always changes….so after years of magic, yoga sessions, and forts, we all moved out…..we are experiencing new adventures now.. But I am happy to say, we started as two families, and now we are one family. We are all one big family. Yeah!
When we lived in Hawaii, there was a time that we lived far away from town and deep in the rainforest, at the top of Round Top Drive, on Oahu. We relied on a water catchment system to provide water. All of our water. And we never ran out. I didn’t have a kitchen up there either, so we used a camping stove…. ahh the good ol’ days.
This might sound extreme to some. My mother constantly calls me a “gypsy”. But I have to live my truth. I am most comfortable with my feet dirty and living connected.
Currently, the house we are living in now, is not completely off the grid.. Which sometimes I feel guilty about. But then I remind myself, I am taking small steps. In time it will be. It is a process. Everything is a process. Constantly evolving.
Here are some questions to think about: How much garbage do you accumulate? How much stuff do you have? How much stuff do you need? Each material thing we acquire, begins to weigh us down…. ”With each new material thing we acquire, we acquire a new worry.” And this quote, from the Dalai Lama “I’ve learned that the more possessions I acquire, the less free. I feel.”
Good quotes… think about them for a while….
If you can, please Watch the documentary Queen of the Sun, it is a beautiful film that reminds us of the interconnection and interdependence that we all share.
Here are some small steps we can all take, to tread a little lighter:
~Get cloth grocery bags
~ Start a compost….(if you live in an apartment, get a container, put your compost in it, and donate it to a friends compost pile….you are helping the earth. It is Win- win).
~Be conscious of the amount of electricity you use. Cut back! (We can all cut back!)
~ Recycle (more!)
~Get rain barrels (water your garden with the water you collect)
~ Be conscious of any purchases you make, products you buy. Support local companies, farms, people, who support and engage in healthy practices.
~Buy Organic! Commercial pesticides are poison, they pollute our bodies, our water, our earth.
~Start a garden in your backyard (or find a community garden you can use).
~Begin to build community…. a little bit of kindness will spread and travel far…
Obviously these are just a few ways, there are many, many more. Small Steps.
We have to be the change.
Tread Lightly and with love. ~tiff
One of the things I hate most, is shopping. Seriously, torture. Hate it.. And my aversion towards it keeps growing (and growing). The lights, the smells, the stuff, the crowds of people. I am getting tense just thinking about it. Breathe…. Okay, calm, continue. I haven’t been to a mall in years. I can’t. Ugh. ……
(Well, I might be being a little dramatic)
My friends help me by getting Naked! Every couple of months, my friends all get together and we have a clothing swap. It has been named THE NEKKID PARTY…. We bring our bags of unwanted clothes put them into a big pile. We set up mirrors, and hang out, trying on clothes (shy folks can try stuff on in bathroom, you don’t have to get naked!). We have a potluck, wine, and music. And I always end up leaving with more clothes than I brought. Cute stuff too.. and a lot of clothes for yoga. Whatever doesn’t get taken, gets donated to a women’s shelter, a church, thrift store, or a family. Be kind…. pass it on!
Beneifts of having a clothing swap:
Reuse… recycling our clothes is always a good thing! A fun easy way to live a more sustainable/conscious/kind life!
Forces us to go through our old clothes, and get rid of stuff… yeah get rid of clutter!
It is always fun to have a party! Good reason to get together! Yeah! Woo! Connect and build community!
So much fun wearing weird clothes!
Everybody go get naked! Be well!