Thoughts on a Hunter’s Moon

This evening as the full moon in Aries approaches, I am thinking about Love.  I am thinking about all the love I have had and lost.  The love around me.  The love within me.

Have you ever been in love?  What was it like?

Have you ever loved someone so much you could feel it in all of the molecules and cells in your body?   Or have you looked deep into someone’s eyes–so deep–that it feels like you sit down in their soul–as if sinking into the shape of the most comfortable chair designed just for you?

And if you have felt like that, was the feeling reciprocated, or otherwise, validated?

This year, I have learned a lot about love.  I have learned that just when I think I have discovered a sense of knowing and depth, it turns out I don’t really know anything at all.  I’m still trying to make sense of many aspects, but love is a never-ending notion that continuously evolves.  Just like us.

It changes.  It doesn’t make sense.  It makes us happy.  It makes us sad.  It makes us stronger by sometimes actually breaking us down, by destroying us.  Love is cruel.  It stops for no one.  It does what it wants.

Falling in love.  Do most people really fall?  Do they go into the depths of spirituality and oneness that transcends anything that made sense before?

When you really, truly, and deeply love someone, places and spaces that you never knew existed in your body and soul get touched.  Awakened.  Remembered.

Love is memory.  Love is recognition.  Love is uncountable definitions, sometimes unimaginable, and always surprising. . .either in the ways that it lifts you to the highest heights or tortures you in the darkest of depths.

When you go deep into those spaces and places that you never knew existed they can also become new places for someone to carve wounds.  Deep wounds.  So deep previous lifetimes are scarred.  So deep you beg for a rebirth.  So deep you can’t believe that everything you once thought was the truest TRUTH is all just undiscovered lies.

So, how do we survive love when it goes wrong?  How do we pick up the pieces of our heart and soul that become shattered by previous notions and beliefs denied, no longer recognized!?

And then ultimately, how do we love again? Love our self, love the notion of love, emanate love, live and breathe love.  And why is it that some of us can do it again and again and others close themselves off because they can’t bear the repetitive possibility of such a loss?

I had an interesting conversation at the bar last night with a friend.  He mentioned that if we removed this very notion–or the desire–to have love, or be in love, then life would be much easier.  I processed his ideology and immediately rejected it.  We can’t un-know things, so how can one experience and then choose to delete?  How?

No matter how deceiving, hurtful, manipulating, abusive, selfish, or mean people can be I will always get up, dust off my heart, and give it all I’ve got again and again.  I cannot think of a world with that part removed.  If I did that, I wouldn’t exist, because I AM love.  I am the depths, the emotions, the feelings, the possibilities, the beauty, the never-ending journey.

In case you couldn’t tell, I am a hopeless romantic.  I don’t know how to be any other way.  Tonight makes me think of one of my most favorite songs in the whole wide world by the one and only Joni Mitchell.  In the song, “A Case of You,” she says,

“I remember that time that you told me, you said
Love is touching souls
Surely you touched mine ’cause
Part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time.

Oh, you are in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter
And you taste so sweet, oh
I could drink a case of you, darling,
And I would still be on my feet.”

Joni always has a way with words, doesn’t she?  So many of her songs are about all the idiosyncrasies of love.  The good, the bad, the ugly. . .the triumphs, tribulations. . .and it is all beautiful and sad and so many things combined into a crazy concoction that makes the world and our minds and our hearts go ’round.

Love.

On this full moon, I will set the intention to LOVE.  Love myself like I never have before, love the people around me, and even love the people who have hurt me. . .because maybe they are the people who need to be loved the most.

In essence, the love tonight on this full moon in Aries is transformation.  It is evolution.  It is growth of consciousness.  It is a new beginning.  May we all open our hearts to the love within and also out there in that big, but tiny, universe.

Remember, YOU are the universe and you are LOVE!  <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m back. . .I think

Welp, it’s been a year, hasn’t it?!

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to come back to this site, or to writing, or maybe even, to myself.

Yeahhh.

I didn’t know if I was going to come back to myself.

It’s been one heck of a year.

I’ve been like Alice lost in wonderland.  Lost in the wonderland of my mind, lost in the wonderland of my soul,  and in the wonderland of the universe.  MY universe.  And it has been a journey.

“Whoooo Arrrrrrrre Youuuuuu?” says the caterpillar.  His voice and question repeats in my mind like the soundtrack to this elusive consciousness of mine.

How many times do we have to go through the looking glass to find and understand all the tiny facets of our complicated souls?!

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I suppose the amount of visits isn’t the point, really, but that we keep the Journey Of Self going.  We keep moving and shaking and grooving, and sometimes, even breaking.  Breaking to the point of no return, or wait, of new construction.  New dreams.  New ways of being.

Obviously, this is not my first rodeo in wonderland.  I mean, I’ve lived enough decades to know the rabbit hole exists and the questions are always illuminating.  Maybe it’s my mermaid nature.  Fluidity to a downfall–so easily swept away with all the currents and tides in life.  Maybe, though, it’s just the human condition.

If there’s one thing I DO know (besides being a mermaid, of course), I definitely know that I am a writer.  I know that when I design patterns of words I feel better.

So, here I am. . .moving and shaking and grooving to the beats of this thing we call life.

Lately, I’ve been stuck on a song.  Does that ever happen to you?  I discovered it at random and the lyrics just went ZING in the crevices of my soul.  The words and thoughts are put together as if they came from my very own lips, I swear.  It’s a song called ‘Alaska’ by Maggie Rogers and it goes like this. . .

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Poetry has held me in its arms since I was a little girl.  Words said in such ways that paint pictures and feelings and so many emotions like deep reflections of the self totally make me stop everything and ground.

There have been many times in my life where I couldn’t process a situation and I just needed to “walk it off.”  Exercise is a great stress reliever, but there’s something about walking specifically when I’m upset that really burns it off.  With every step, the pain, or frustration, or sadness just melts away.  “And I walked off you.  And I walked off an old me.”

The imagery in the opening words of the song are so vast and serene.  It makes it seem like this situation needed a really, really, really, long walk.  And I get that.  Too much.  Footsteps shedding away old layers of time and self like a snake crawling out of its old skin.  These notions are like soul recognition, and I dare say, damn good imagery.  I can see every line so clearly.

But the line that really got me, the line that sealed the deal. . .

“Cut my hair so I could rock back and forth without thinking of you.”

In my early twenties, I had a moment in the shower where I felt so frustrated with my current situation that I wanted to just shave my head.  Like, do something drastic, instantly changing.  Hair stores so much information.  It absorbs the surroundings, it grows from your thoughts, and it defines uncountable notions.

Cutting off hair is like cutting off old energy, old memories.  Maybe the length of hair reminds you of the place someone used to touch your back, or how it felt while dancing, the thing that was admired, or the way you define yourself.

“Rocking back and forth” has connotations similar to this, but it also expresses deep emotion, perhaps even, a sort of despair that is so visceral and utterly, passionately tangible.  In those dark moments before a rebirth of consciousness, we return to the womb.

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I won’t bore you with the countless experiences and situations that I’ve had to walk off in the past year, or in my life so far, but I have deep respect for space and air to breathe when the time comes.

“You and I, there’s air in between.”

That’s how I feel about wonderland now.  The rabbit hole of my mind.  The situations.  The thoughts.  The feelings.  The memories.  There’s air in between.  There’s space for me to process, to reflect, to let go, and to think about what the caterpillar says while I’m above ground.

Like finally coming up for a breath of air after dwelling in the bottom of the sea. . .as mermaids do.

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Anjuna, Goa Tales #15–Monsoon 101: Pros and Cons

The monsoon season is finally here.  It’s wet, it’s unforgiving, and some days, I don’t think I’ll see a dry day ever again.  Heh.  It might sound funny to you, but I assure you your giggles are misconceived pleasantries, or my way with words is too good.

If we’re lucky, we get a day of sun, but mostly, it just rains all day long.  Just recently, we had two full weeks of nothing but rain.  I swear my anxiety grew with all the mold in my house. . .and on my precious clothes. . .and possibly in my brain, provoking some stir-crazy thoughts.  I just keep reminding myself to. . .be one with the mold, make friends with the mold, love the mold. . .because until the monsoon goes away, that green stuff that grows faster than I ever could imagine, is our seasonal best friend.  Loving the tropics.

Travelers beware: I wouldn’t recommend visiting Southern India June-September unless you want to play in the rain and make friends with mold, too.  If you’re looking for good places to visit, go to the North.  A lot of people spend this time in the Himalayas or places like Rajasthan and Varanasi.  Take my advice, dude.

For fun, I’ve been making a list of the good and the bad.  Since I don’t want to end this post with sarcastic complaints, I’ll start with the Cons first.

Monsoon Cons

  • Don’t do laundry!  Nothing dries–EVER!
    • I’ve dared to do laundry a few times and have only been tortured for DAYS as I pray the electricity won’t go out and my clothes can somehow dry underneath our exhausted fans. . .before the tenacious mold gets comfy again.
    • To counteract this issue: just wear the same thing over and over.
  • It’s all about the CROCS!
    • Now, I’ve never been a fan of the funny rubber shoes, but I have quickly figured out that in the monsoon season, these types of shoes are like gold.  They can get wet and they don’t slip.
  • Power cuts
    • Yep, that’s right, no electricity.  That means no fans, which really puts a “damper”on many things.  It goes out at least once a day and when you least expect it to.
  • Did I mention the MOLD?!
    • If it rains for days, you can actually stare at an object, and I swear, watch the mold grow right before your very own eyes.  Science geeks, you’d be in heaven, maybe.  For the rest of us, it’s a nightmare. . .especially for that sweet pair of suede boots. 20160625_110530
  • Flies
    • Huh? Flies? Yes.  I never thought flies would come around in such rainy weather, but they’re here in full force, and I think they all take refuge in our house.  They’re even the friendly kind that don’t mind walking on your face.  They, like the cows in India, have no shame.
  • Leaking windows
    • Yeahhhh. . . .this is a fun one that keeps us quite busy.  I’m officially a professional now at squeezing out towels.  We’ve even developed a super efficient system to squeeze out the most amount of water.

Monsoon Pros– YAY!

  • Mango season
    • If you’re a mango lover, you can’t beat the taste of this time of year.  Wow.  Mangoes never tasted sooooo good.  I’ve been baking, making smoothies, and eating as many as I can get my hands on.  20160627_161641
  • Everything is super GREEN and LUSH
    • In the other seasons, Anjuna is a red dirt dusty kind of place, but now, the jungle reigns.  Haha.  Dang, my puns are getting good.
    • I’ve been documenting the green growth on the field behind our house. . .
  • Clean Air
    • Along with the lushness that is happily invading our surroundings, all the rain makes the air so fresh and clean.  When it’s not monsoon, the roads get dusty and you can feel a difference in the air.
  • Cooler temperatures
    • Usually, it’s about 93 degrees every single day (or, 33/34 celsius).  Now, the average day time temperature is in the mid 80’s  (mid 20’s celsius), which is a nice break from the unrelenting heat.
  • Peacocks
    • Peacocks are always around in India–being the national bird and all–but right now, they are roaming around in herds and it’s amazing how high they can fly.  Did you know peacocks can fly?

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  • Nap time
    • Orion and Shanti have no problem sleeping the rainy days away.  I’m trying to learn how they ignore the flies for a good nap, but most living things in India can sleep in any position, at any time, no matter what.  These two are no exception.
  • Frogs
    • At night, the frogs sing.  They have this interesting noise that sounds like a smattering of single claps.  It’s definitely a foreign frog song to me.
  • Ocean song
    • I can hear the roaring ocean as if it is right next to our house.  It’s pretty cool to hear the crashing waves all the time now, but when you get close to the waters’ edge, the sea looks like it’s in emotional turmoil–churning up the sea bed into a crazy mixture of unknown murkiness.  I managed to score this shot on a calm day.

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After living a decade in Seattle, the “rainy” city, I have been officially schooled on what real rain can be like.  Some days it rains so hard here, there’s a wall of whiteness everywhere. . .almost fog ‘ish. . . but instead it’s like the rain drops fall down so hard and so fast they draw lines in the air.  Crazy stuff.

Other than that, the Chill Inn is pretty quiet in the off season.  There’s been a random trickle of lost travelers (who obviously didn’t realize it was the “OFF” season) and we’ve been having many communal dinners with people from all over the world.

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Anjuna, Goa Tales #14–An Expat remembers Prince

A few days ago, I was sitting at my kitchen counter hunched over with tears spilling down my face.  My maid, Geeta, walked in and immediately asked if I was okay.  She doesn’t speak English so it was very hard to convey why I was upset or even what it was about.  I tried several words before I found two that she understood and ended up mumbling through my sobs and tears “music. . . . .finished.”  She still had no idea what I meant, but this is it. . .

I was only 4 years old when Purple Rain came out, but thanks to all the Gods known to humans, I grew up in a family that praised music, praised talent, praised adventurous creativity and spirit, and praised that little purple man called Prince.  Memories of my childhood are laden with dance parties and movie nights where we watched and loved every sweet beat and revolutionary ruffle.

At that age, I didn’t really know the affect it would have on me three decades later.  I was just integrated into a world of never ending happiness where my Dad and I relentlessly watched Purple Rain like we were at the First Avenue Club, in the crowd, inspired and enamored by every wink, and kink, and riff like it was the first time every time.  We’d talk about the outfits, the guitar licks, the dance moves, and the chicks.  I even mastered the hand signals for “I Would Die For You” with such finesse and style that even Prince might’ve thought I was cool.

In my teens, I remember when he changed his name to a symbol.  It was weird, I guess, but it didn’t matter to me.  Those of us who loved him didn’t care what it said on the packaging.  It couldn’t erase all the years he showed us to love ourselves with reckless abandon no matter what outfit we wore.  It just gave all the skeptics something to get a head trip about.  Who dares to defy the boxes we all live in?  Who dares to challenge what we think is important in this life or what should matter?  Prince, that’s who!

It wasn’t until I saw him live for the first time that I understood what I lived and breathed for my whole life as the moxie in my soul.  In August, 2004, in Detroit, I went with my mom to his show.  We had eighth row floor seats in a massive stadium.

The stage had a solitary, white, swivel chair that he sat in while chatting to everyone.  I don’t remember what he said, exactly, but I remember that his energy commanded nothing but love.  He was bashful, silly, funny, sexy, witty, and as he swiveled in that chair, I thought that he was made up of the kind of magic that could make anyone of any age fall in love with him.  And I don’t mean in a sexual way.  I mean in a spiritual/guru/god kind of way.  Like Amma gives hugs, Prince performed, and when he sang “Purple Rain” we were all baptized together–dipped in a deep, purple pool of love and acceptance.

That was the first time I saw him.  He even had Morris Day from The Time join the stage.  The experience gave us all a glimpse of what that First Avenue Club would’ve been like, and I’d be lying if I said it was anything other than fucking awesome.  At the end of the show, we even got the Musicology album for free.

Prince treated his fans like royalty and he always had the most talented musicians on stage.  As if the mere presence of that magical man wasn’t enough, he’d throw in other people like the cherry on top of the purple sundae.  Shelia E, Morris Day, Larry Graham, Maceo Parker. . .not to mention uncountable talented female musicians and dancers on every tour over the years.  Prince’s stage was an open space for expression and he was a gracious host to artistic dreaming.   

As a promise to the universe, and myself, I ended up seeing Prince three more times.  Each time I got the jitters while getting dressed for the show.  It’s hard to pick an outfit suitable for a Prince, but he inspired all of us to adorn ourselves for the occasion.  Three more times I learned how amazing it is to be a woman, to be different, to be fearless and creative, to not care what other people think.  Three more times I felt like the luckiest person in the world to witness such an immense force of love.

Prince was a soldier of love.

It’s been six days since he left this Earth.  I have to admit, it’s been hard, real hard.  I wake up in the morning hoping to hear that it’s all a big, stupid rumor.  I guess my heart just doesn’t want to believe in this tragic loss.

Sure, I didn’t really know Prince.  But I grieve for the part of myself that he reflected.  I know I’m not the only one.  Letting him go means WE  have to do the work now.  We have to be a little more fierce, more daring, more fun, more creative, and true to ourselves.  And we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.  So, let’s do this thang.  Prince wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Hey, look me over,
Tell me do u like what u see?
Hey, I ain’t got no money,
But honey I’m rich on personality
Hey, check it all out,
Baby I know what it’s all about
Before the night is through
U will see my point of view
Even if I have 2 scream and shout
Baby I’m a star!”  –Prince
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anjuna, Goa Tales #13–The Canine Revolution of Running in India

When I arrived in Goa, I spent the first few weeks in Anjuna calculating the daunting mission of obstacles out on the open roads.  The cows, the goats, the cars, and those dang dogs that everyone warned me about.  Going for a walk or a run meant that I had to face the great wonder of Mother India.  I had to face the elements, and fear, but most of all, I had to face myself.  People told me, “Be careful.  The dogs will chase you,” or, “Good luck with running.  No one does that here,” or, “Make sure to take a stick.”  If it wasn’t instilling fear of the animals, it was put on the heat, or the sun, or just an arbitrary feeling of disdain.  Countless negative remarks on how the idea of running in such surroundings was, for lack of a better word, crazy.

That was 6 months ago.

Now when I leave my house at 7:30am to hit the road, I am not a victim of unknown elements, I am a victor of my own universe.  Those scary, “rabid” dogs have turned into daily cuddles.  Those cows that originally chased me have become blessings, and the faces I pass along my route have become familiar smiles that make my day.

It’s funny, really, that the dogs here are all bark and no bite.  I’ve figured out that they’re just alarm systems for the house or business.  They bark and the owners know someone is around.  Fair enough.  That means, they’re really good at their jobs.  Might is right, like when driving.  India teaches me to be assertive, and the dogs do, too.  If you let the dogs boss you around, they surely will.  The same goes for everything else in India.

India tips:  1. Personal Space is a luxury.  2. Assertiveness is a necessity.

I’m still getting to know the dogs on my little street, but once I hit the main road, I find these two sillies. . .

They are my new friends, and until I find their owners, I just call them both sweet pea.  The most common name for dogs around here is Blacky, so that’s a good bet, but these two are just too sweet to be called something that common.  They run towards me with wagging tails when they see me coming down the road.  Sometimes they even fight over who gets cuddles first and I don’t mind at all.

Around the bend from my two sweet peas, there’s a whole turf of older dogs.  They’ve got scars, cataracts, and grumpy barks, but they don’t even move from their curled up positions on the side of the road.  I’m sure, like the rest of us, they just want to be heard or noticed.

In this group, Gabby sits quietly with kind eyes and she waits for belly rubs. . .

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I’ve also become the Mother Teresa of goats.  Heh.  Near the soccer field I used as my initial running track, there’s a whole herd of awesome goats.  Since it’s been so hot, the ground is pretty scorched and all the green leaves are hard to reach.  This is when I take a water break and pick 14 big, green leaves and give each goat a delicious present.

They were a little freaked out the first time I did it, but now I think they’re getting used to salad delivery.  It makes me feel so happy to see them so happy, and I have a little peace in my heart knowing it’s one less bit of garbage they have to digest.

Running on the Anjuna streets promises beautiful and interesting views.  There’s the dude who hits golf balls into the soccer field abyss.  There’s the old lady dressed in her very best–like she’s on her way to church every day.  She nods at me as she walks by and she seems to be another kind of sweet pea.  There’s countless parents shuttling kids to school, and there’s always a dose of that mystical man, Jesus. . .  20160329_080000

At certain junctions where groups of men hang around–drinking chai, napping on bikes–every once in awhile, one of them will yell out, “One more round?”  I do 2 laps on my route and I think it’s so funny the village counts with me.

These are some fun buildings along my path. . .

And this is my favorite hippie cow. . .adorned with love beads. . .

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Domino’s Pizza has a shop here, which I’m not too sure about, especially when I get to see the aftermath of their success. . .

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Yuck, right?!  Coming from the birth place of this monopoly, I cringe when I see the waste in such a beautiful place.  Thank goddess there’s so many beautiful views to make up for this mess.

The “main road” is a hodgepodge of sights. . . including one of my two favorite dog friends, Bingo.

Bingo barked at me countless times before I knew his name.  Now, I think he was just barking for attention.  He gives hi-fives and loves being adored.  I’ve never seen him unchained, which is a bummer, but he seems happy, regardless.  I thoroughly enjoy his playful energy.

On the home stretch of my run, I get cuddles from my most favorite Anjuna dog friend, Blacky.  She’s so loving and friendly. . .a true lady!

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By the time I get home, I am drenched with sweat and good vibes, and am ready to take on the rest of the day.  My morning run is a constant lesson in growth, a daily dose of love, and a way to make my little universe collide with everyone else.  It’s truly Goan Good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anjuna, Goa Tales #7–Ping Pong’s Legendary Hippie Walk

Okay, okay, so there’s beach stuff here, and parties, and the usual “vacation” amenities and things to do. . . but what other stuff is there?  If you’re the kind of person who loves a good hike with stunning views and serendipitous company, then Ping Pong’s legendary hippie walk is the THING to do.  It’s a hike from Anjuna to Baga, which is less than 5 miles by how the crow flies, and 2 hours on the rugged, scenic path we walked instead.

Did I say Ping Pong? Yes, I did.  Ping Pong and Coco are my new technicolor friends.  They live down the street from us and we get to experience their magic from time to time.  Besides the legendary hike, Ping Pong hosts several live jam open mic nights at different bars in Anjuna. . .some of them with views of the ocean, some with delicious organic food.  If Ping Pong and Coco are there, you can be sure you’ve found the right moment.

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They have been coming to Anjuna for decades and host this legendary walk 2 times a season for free. . . anything extra you’ll have to haggle for!  The hike starts near the Chill-Inn and Roadhouse Hostel and Ping-Pong takes you down pathways that wind between old Portuguese homes, mango trees, and then up and over a small “mountain” that overlooks all of Anjuna and the mystical Arabian Sea.

We had around 13 people in our friendly group from multiple countries, spanning many ages, all from different walks of life. . .

The view from the top was amazing.  Most of Anjuna isn’t visible underneath the palm tree canopy.  It still looks like a plot of remote jungle resting near the sea. . .hard to imagine all the happenings under the green.

On the other side of the hill, you can see Baga in the distance and it looks like Cancun compared to our peaceful little Anjuna village.  Making the trek down was steep but with epic views of beauty.

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If you find yourself in the area sometime, I suggest you check out this hike.  It’s a great way to meet new people, hosted by some of the coolest cartoons I know, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!  xo

Anjuna, Goa Tales #3–Something to fantasize

I know there’s a lot of you out there approaching winter.  Summer has become a distant memory and forgotten warm clothes have been resurrected.  For some of you, panic filled thoughts enter your mind like an old friend knocking on the door out of the blue. . .wondering when you’ll see the sun again, how much snow may fall, and how you manage to stay in a place that gets so effen cold. . . Every.  Single. Year.

And then, visions of warmer places become salvation.  You start to fantasize about being on a beach, drinking cocktails, swimming in the warm sea, and taking a break from the marshmallow jackets and freezing nights.

Even if you’re the type who loves winter, I’m thinking of you now, too.

I went on a walk last night and saw so many magical views, I thought I’d tantalize your mind a bit.  If you need some winter salvation, inspiration, or a new dream to dream, here’s some good ideas. . .

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The ocean is calling you……..

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Whether it is the actual ocean, or just something that makes you happy, know that it IS whispering…..and you should listen.

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After my walk, I got blessed by the setting sun. . .

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“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.  Hold fast to dreams, For when dreams go, Life is a barren field, Frozen with snow.” (Langston Hughes)

All of these views are from walking around Anjuna.  Happy dreaming everyone!