As a single mom, everything is my responsibility. There have been times when I have felt so worn down and crippled by exhaustion, that the tears start falling and keep falling for hours. I know I have narrowly avoided several potential nervous breakdowns. (Yoga and meditation help, and so do big hugs, and dance parties.) But the truth is, being a single mom is hard. And any single mom deserves respect and needs support.
Anyways, I could write, and write, and write about all the hardships I have dealt with as a single mom. My son’s dad, has not helped at all. There is no anger about this. Just sadness.. And acceptance. In the past 5 years, I have received a grand total of 58 dollars in child support. There have been some real struggles. There have been some deep wounds. But this is life. Life presents all of us with both challenges and blessings..
And in terms of blessings, without a doubt, my son has been the biggest blessing in my life.
For the last 13 years, my life has been a constant adventure with my kid. I was pretty young when I had him, so in many ways, we have grown up together (and we continue to grow). Luckily, my son has the adventurous adaptable gypsy spirit (just like me). So, we have had a lot of fun. We have lived all over the place. And experienced so much. I am amazed at all we have done together.
My son really is magical. And I am not just saying this because I am his mom. If you know my son, you know what I say is true. He is mature, loving, thoughtful, intelligent, and handsome. Even when he was very young, you could see and feel wisdom radiating from his big brown eyes. Often, I think he teaches me more than I teach him. And in terms of maturity, without a doubt, he is far more mature than I am. My Buddhist teacher told me “Marlin is not a normal child, he is a very special being.” I know what my teacher says is true. My kid has special gifts (aka-magic).
It is certainly his heart and warm caring behavior that are most important to me, but he is also one of the most talented artists I have ever known. He is a self-taught visual artist, and although born left-handed (like his dad), he has developed the ability to draw equally well with both his left and right hands.
He is also a talented performer.And an amazing singer. Marlin caught the ‘acting bug’ at a young age and has already been in 15 plays. In fact, right now he is rehearsing for a solo he will sing on Saturday Feb 9th, for a fancy Gala honoring the famous Burt Reynolds.I am so proud of him.
Like I said, our life has been an adventure. Sometimes good, sometimes difficult..Never normal, but always with love.
Cheers to the amazing Marlin. And a big warm “Thank you” to everyone who has helped along our journey. I am truly grateful.
Have a great day.. ~Yogini Tiff
This is just a quick post I wanted to share with you all.My friends and I love yoga.. so I put together a little video set to the music of Vaisnava.. (Vaisnava is a talented musician and he also happens to be my little brother).. strange I know, a yoga teacher with a brother who makes really awesome yoga music.. Life! Please watch, listen, breathe and enjoy.
Let me start by saying, I screw up all the time, I get moody, insecure, depressed, just like everyone else. I get annoyed with people, I judge people, i judge myself, just like everyone else. Of course I try to be a good person, but sometimes I am not as good as I should be, again, just like everyone else.. Blame it on food, the moon, the planets, hormones, other people, or negative energy. But whatever the cause, it doesn’t feel good to be angry or sad. It certainly doesn’t feel good to suffer.
Despite my flaws, or perhaps because of them, I have developed a very close relationship with a Tibetan Buddhist Lama. Geshe Tenzin Tamding. I have written about him before. He is my friend, and my spiritual guide. (His main temple is in Spain, but he has over 25 Temples throughout the world.)
Anyways, through destiny, we met about a year and a half ago. My time with him, was life changing. He is the most loving person I have ever met. He radiates with kindness, wisdom, and love. He honestly glows with bright light.
When I have questions, I ask him.Even across the world, he always knows when I am hitting a low point, because it is during those times when he sends me a message out of the blue, either in an email- like when i got back from the Azores“I am always sending you and Marlin love”, or sometimes when I meditate, I see him or feel him. When I am scared, I recite mantras he taught me. I guess in a way, we have the typical “Master-student” relationship. He has a special relationship with my son too. In fact, my son made him a painting about a year ago, and it is now hanging up in one of Geshe-la’s temples in Spain.
Well, luckily, Geshe-la is back in South Florida for a few days ( he must have known I needed some guidance-ha!). He gave a lecture in Delray Beach about the process of death, bardo, and rebirth. I was nervous about the topic, but it was surprisingly comforting. And something I needed to learn about. Something we all need to learn about and come to terms with.
After the lecture, my son and I had the extra honor of joining a small group of his students, for retreat. We stayed in a beautiful house that belongs to a dear friend of mine, in Wellington Florida. The house is surrounded by woods, and near a beautiful pond. Our time was spent with meditations, chanting, studying, good food, slow walks, a short fast, and deep laughter. We slept on the floor. No internet, no cell phones, no tv, no music. No make up, no jewelry, no perfume. It was calm, quiet, and very peaceful.
The experience was amazing. And it was also overwhelming (a lot to process). I had never done anything like it before. I am still kind of floating in a daze. That could be from our fast. We just finished this morning. I was so hungry last night.
Yesterday, during retreat, Geshe-la and I went for a walk. Just the two of us. We walked slowly. We talked. I told him about my problems, my questions, and my fears. I told him about my Portuguese sweetheart. And I told him how much wine I drank in the Azores. He laughed. He loves me unconditionally. He LOVES unconditionally.
We stood quietly together at a small pond. He gently put his hand on my shoulder and said “You have a very big heart, and you help many people.” and suddenly, I knew (regardless of struggles) that I am on the path that I am meant to travel. It was such a beautiful moment.
In these few days I have learned and grown so much. I know I still have so much to learn. But the seeds have been planted.
I feel honored to have such a wise teacher and friend to help guide me. Thank you so much Geshe-la. And thank you so much to my dear friend Jian.
Now I am going to go eat a huge meal! HA!
Have a beautiful day. Namaste~Tiff
“As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery… we have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness.”~Dalai Lama
This is a a guided relaxation I made with the musician Vaisnava. The photos are all from my 6 months living in Atlantis (Santa Maria).
I hope you enjoy. Relax and be well.
Following a bizarre dream, my son and I and spent 6 months on the most beautiful island in the world, Santa Maria, Azores. Our time there was magical. And Strange. I met new friends, new family, new love. I was surrounded by nature, mountains, forests, and the ocean.. my kind of paradise. Leaving was very painful. I cried many tears.
When our plane descended into Fort Lauderdale, I looked out the window, my stomach was in knots. South Florida is so overdeveloped.. and flat.
We were greeted and “bear hugged” by our close friends, and while I was genuinely happy to see my friends, I struggled to speak. I struggled to smile. My mind kept asking me “What are you doing here?!?”
I was in a daze for several days. Exhausted, heartbroken, confused. My body was very tense. I kept waking up at 3am. My heart longed to go back to Santa Maria. All I wanted was to sit at the Cais (the Port), laugh with my cousin, hug my sweetheart, eat Sao Jorge cheese and Portuguese bread (with piri piri), and of course drink wine. Vinho Abafado being my favorite.
I felt the heaviness of depression begin to set in. I tried to mask my depression with smiles..but it was there. I had a friend from out-of-town come and visit, so right away, life in florida included good friends, dance parties, bon fires, music playing, song writing, bike rides, yoga , theatre, the ocean, and good food..But there was an emptiness. A deep longing for my Azorean life. Reminds me of Brigadoon.
And then, one day, I took a road trip, across the state to my sister’s house. I stopped at Myakka River State Park, (nature is the best therapy), and I went for a hike. I found the most beautiful oak tree, and felt compelled to sit under it, and meditate. Instantly, I knew I was healing. The voice of wisdom came to me, “This is your path. Live in the present moment. Live with gratitude. Trust, you are being guided.”
With a smile, I opened my eyes, and really looked at the beauty of my surroundings..I could feel it.
Florida is beautiful. The swamps, the ocean, the forests, the islands. And the weather in wintertime, is amazing!!!
There is a reason I am here. Teaching yoga, sharing Reiki, making music, working on my garden, and being an awesome mom (well, trying to be).
And, I am officiating a wedding ceremony in February.
I guess the reason I felt compelled to write today, is this–We have to remember to live! Life changes, situations change, we all go through both painful and wonderful experiences. Just Breathe. Wherever you are, You can find your center.
Every time I start to feel that longing for Santa Maria, I remind myself to live with gratitude. And then I ask my friend to take me sailing! HA!
Live. Love. And always be open to Adventure.. ~Yogini Tiff
I can’t believe it has been a month since I have posted. I think about writing a lot, and I have so many stories I want write about.. But I have had some sort of writers block…hmm..
Anyways, I am going to try to give it a shot, and share our latest adventures here in Atlantis…
Living in the Azores is like a dream. Winter is here. It is very different from summer. It rains a lot. The wind is strong. The ocean is raw, alive and roaring. .
I spend so much time at the ocean. Sometimes I take my ukulele.. sometimes I meditate. Sometimes I just walk.I breathe. So healing.
In the mornings, I wake up, drink coffee, and eat bread (The Portuguese make the best bread in the world)..I laugh with my cousin. I look out at the ocean and up into the hills. Valverde (the green valley) is a beautiful place to live.The energy is so different here. I move slowly. I clean up puppy poop. My son does his school online through Florida Virtual School.. But we all know his real schooling is through life. This experience. We are living in a new country, learning a new language, a new culture. New and old family. Our Roots.We speak using a combination of Portuguese and English. We learn. We grow.
Santa Maria is a small island. 5000 people. From the highest point on the island, called Pico Alto, one can see the entire island. All the way around. And it is beautiful. The ocean seems to go on forever.
The only real traffic here is from cows. Very different from life in South Florida.
This island doesn’t have an operating movie theater. It also doesn’t have a McDonald’s. No Wal-Mart. No freeways. No crime.. (well, very little). People work hard and help each other. We celebrate. We hang a lot of clothes and we eat a lot of potatoes. Our family always makes sure we are stocked with crates of them….onions too.. People really depend on their gardens.
With winter here, It gets dark earlier. Earlier hikes. More layers of clothes. More time indoors. Dinner parties. Baptisms. Birthdays. Festivals. Fado music. Beekeeping. Herbs. We go dancing at a little dance club in Sao Pedro called Chamine.. We play guitar and sing. We drink wine. A lot. We eat a lot of chestnuts. We indulge and laugh. We do meditation and Reiki.. We all feel change. I attuned two powerful women into Reiki practitioners.. They were already healers.. BUT NOW…
This journey has also brought me the magic of romance. Heart Chakra is open..Romance is alive in the Azores…Love comes to us in many forms…
Winter is here. The water is cold. We hike. We sing. We live. This is yoga .. Being in the present moment.
Enjoy the sunstreaks..~tiff
A few days before I left the United States, I went to the music store with my sister, to buy a case for my ukulele.. I told her, ” I really want to learn some Portuguese songs while i am on this trip! ” In my mind, I visualized myself sitting alone, in a field in the Azores, trying to figure out lyrics, pronunciation, and chords to some simple Portuguese songs.
I had no idea that fate would introduce me to the talented (and really cool), Roberto Freitas!!
Roberto is in a band called Ronda da Madrugada.. They are well-known. And they are good. Amazing in fact.
When they play here , the crowd goes wild. So much pride and love for this place, this culture, and this music…
Roberto and I have some interesting connections.. both of our Grandfathers, lived in the tiny village of Santana, and they both played guitar (they were legends here).. I laughed and told Roberto, that our Grandpas were probably sitting together on a cloud, smiling, singing along with us, laughing about our connection, and wishing they could have a drink!! HA!
Roberto’s cousin also happens to be my Portuguese sweetheart. LIFE!
Roberto left his 12 string guitar at my house, and told me to practice. 12 Strings! I have enough trouble with 4 strings- haha!! Slowly, I am learning the chords and songs.. The music is beautiful… Music is magic.. Especially in Portuguese.
If you have been following my adventure at all, you know that this trip has been magical, since the beginning. This land. My roots. My life will never be the same. Especially now that I can play Portuguese music! Ha! xx~Tiff
One more song, to make you smile…