Have you ever hugged a tree? Or been called a tree hugger as if it was something hard to understand, something that is not relatable, something strange, or even embarrassing? I know I have. Perhaps the idea to hug a tree has never even crossed your mind, but other than looking strange, you might be surprised to learn about a neat benefit associated with hugging a tree.
Hugging a tree increases levels of the hormone oxytocin. This hormone is responsible for feeling calm and emotional bonding. When hugging a tree, the hormones serotonin and dopamine make you feel happier. Sometimes when you hug a tree, it will hug you right back. We are all connected.
Why do we stray sometimes? Stray away from old proven remedies that served us well at some point. Stray away from the knowledge and the wisdom we’ve gathered without even noticing it. All of a sudden we fall off of the wagon and forget the old magick potions that made such a huge difference for us. Why I wonder? Perhaps in the midst of all that feeling better we forgot about what got us here. We no longer need it. Until that day when we start from square again and the light bulb turns back on, and miraculously… we remember. Ahhh…it’s just as wonderful and amazing as it was the first time around when we discovered all the amazing health benefits. Only this time with all that unnecessary suffering and pain in between we perhaps could have avoided have we stayed the course and not strayed. Ughhhh. Not so amazing.
Anyways, I had such a moment, such an experience just last week. It actually took outside help and someone asking me if I still do my ginger shots. In the midst of “everything” going on in my life I had stopped and no longer made and took my magick potion. What a mistake it would prove to be down the line. At least that’s what I’m feeling right now and I’ll explain in a moment.
So some had passed and I had gone without. Smarter in time and with more knowledge yet I decided to revisit my “Dragons – Breath” potion and make a new batch. At the same time I decided to add two more ingredients to the mix that would only aid and compliment the already potent mixture. On the label I proudly state that a spoonful a day keeps the doctor away and I stand behind it a 100%.
Many of you know that I recently enlisted in the help of a doctor. It’s been four years since I have seen professional help and I am not a fan of pharmaceuticals and the harsh drugs. Holistic is my approach, yet I felt that I needed something to fall back onto, at least long enough to help me tackle Germany in March, April and May until the beginning of June. So far I’ve taken a few of the harsh pills and yes they take the edge off, but I realize that it is temporary and the pain will be back. The same with the topical cream for my left knee. I put it on when I’m in pain but it hasn’t made too big of a difference. This Thursday I am scheduled for x-rays to see what’s going on in the knee and hands, besides the routine mammogram.
Today, after finishing my potion, the spoonful a day theory to keep the doctor away went out of the window and I took two big gulps. There is no such thing as overdosing and a spoonful a day merely stands for the minimum you should consume each day. I was in some pain as I got up, the “constant” but it wasn’t too bad and for the most part I was able to function. However, it was later in the day that I noticed things becoming seemingly easier and the pain subsided as well. My left knee had more flexibility and doesn’t feel like it’s bursting and exploding open as I am bending it. Mmmh… you got my attention now and the only thing different today is not the weather, not how I slept last night or anything of that matter. The only thing different is that I took a hefty dose of my magick potion and while it’s too early to tell, I am hopeful and pumped to make a difference once more and stay put and faithful to what I already know. Finger crossed and looking forward to my dose tomorrow.
Just recently I came across a little project and I am putting it to the test. For me it’s always fun, almost essential to incorporate elements from nature into my space, and this one seemed to be right up my alley. During a recent bathroom remodel this little bowl that once held Q-tips become unnecessary but too cute to throw out. it seemed perfect for this project and I can’t wait to see what and if anything will happen. I planted a pine cone and perhaps you feel intrigued enough to give it a go. Here is what to do.
Go to the woods and gather a pine cone of your liking. As you can see I went with a small one.
Put the cone in a pot so that most of it stands out.
Pour a small amount of water on it every day and be careful not to overwater as excess water makes the cones rot.
After some time, a tiny tree will appear.
Congratulations – it just started oxygen production and you have a piece of forest in your own home.
You’re doing something for nature, and you’ll see what nature does for you…
Have you heard of Moringa before? Here are 20 powerful reasons to add Moringa to your diet, I have done so in the form of a tea which is simple and easy to do. Especially now since I have booted the coffee, well mostly, and switched to a healthier alternative for me. Take a look and see if you too can benefit from Moringa.
Loaded with antioxidants
Rich in alkalinity
Detoxifies the body
Boosts the immune system
Reduces risks of disease
Normalizes blood sugar
Helps lower cholesterol
Soothes the nervous system
Promotes good eye health
Improves mental focus
Helps relief depression
Stimulates hair growth
Helps reduces wrinkles
Rejuvenates the skin
Slows the aging process
Decreases water retention
Aids in weight loss
Helps improve sex drive
*wow, truly something for everyone when it comes to this impressive list of benefits
I thought this was pretty neat as I stumbled across it. It reminded me of mindfulness and how everybody can win when we work together. We will always be stronger in numbers vs if we are alone. We will always accomplish more as a team, with many hands and a diverse background.
This picture shows a drop of water on a tree leaf. 12 ants have gathered to drink…what’s amazing is that the ants have divided themselves into four groups. This is to maintain the balance of the water drop from tilting and then falling to the ground. It is a science of ants to cooperate and divide the share of water equally among them and give everyone his right.
I am taking a little break from the personal stuff and instead I wanted to share a neat little story I just recently came across. We know that bears and other animals prepare for winter and perhaps a time of hibernation. Squirrels gather nuts and apparently Woodpeckers do the same, although they have a very unique way of storing their precious bounty. Have you ever heard a woodpecker while walking the woods? Chances are he is doing important prep-work for the upcoming winter. The above picture shows a woodpecker preparing. First he finds a dead tree and starts making holes for the acorns. Each hole is made very thoughtfully, because if the hole is large, other birds can easily steal the acorn. If the hole is narrow, the nut can break and deteriorate. By the end of summer, the woodpecker’s “jewelry” work ends. By this time the acorns ripen and take their places in the tree. The trunk of a large tree can hold about 50,000 acorns, allowing the bird a satisfying winter. Perhaps the term “busy bee” could also apply to the woodpecker, and 50K acorns is no small feat. Surely I will look at little closer the next time I encounter the sound of a woodpecker nearby. I would love to see a tree like the one in this picture, even in death and no longer alive still holding a purpose and being of service.
2021 has been a year of many different endeavors and adventures, but when it comes to hiking this is my biggest and my only one to report this year. It still seems surreal that I got to experience this place and that I made it. This is my story of what it was like.
If you follow this blog regularly, then you know that on the physical front and health wise 2021 has been a huge challenge for me. I have encountered one of the most powerful RA flare ups, which had rendered me unable to hike and accomplish normal daily tasks. For months, days were filled with pain of different levels and just walking on slightly uneven ground presented a huge challenge for me. Walking was hard, period, and I felt stiff and uncoordinated. And then came a break and I managed 2 miles and then 3 miles before the trip. Two days before the “Wave” hike I made it to 4.2 miles and 4 Miles the next trying to build up my endurance. My feet felt like they had gone through a meat grinder which didn’t help ease the anxiety I had about the hike. From the beginning on after learning that we had won the lottery and permits to hike the wave, my excitement was muffled about this rare and at times NEVER in a lifetime opportunity that I was presented with. I had my doubts that I make it, that I would be physically able to do it. I was nervous all the way up to the trailhead and beyond. 4.2 miles was the furthest I had managed so far and what was ahead of me was a 6.4 miles round trip, another 2.2 miles. I should be able to make it if I take my time I convinced myself. Too late to turn back now and I knew it was now or NEVER.
The trail started out in a wash, a dried up riverbed that can flood quickly and at any time during flash floods. These floods can occur rapidly and suddenly, carrying a wall of water, 12 ft high from storms that often occur far away. Challenge #1 keeping an eye out to not be taken by surprise or off guard should such a thing happen today. This was not the way I planned on being swept away today.
A half mile later, following the wash, a trail was leaving the riverbed, leading into a short but steep rocky climb to higher elevation. I took my time, huffed a little and thought that just recently I would have not been able to made this climb. Overall I was glad to be at higher elevations as this 12ft wall of rushing water was still in the back of my mind. What followed next was a good stretch of sandy path that was actually easy on the feet. Cinnamon loved it and pranced around with temps still on the cool side and an overcast sky. Partly cloudy was the forecast in the mid 60’s. By the end of that stretch my phone said that I had gone nearly 1.5 miles already and I felt confident that I’d make it. After all I was halfway there already while assessing my energy levels and current condition.
The sandy, soft on your feet section ended across another wash that appeared wet and just recently flooded. In front of me was a moderately to steep rock wall. “What, we have to climb this wall” is what I recall myself saying and it was in that very moment that what was described to me as an easy trail taking on a different meaning. Easy? Apparently your type of easy and mine are a lottttt different I thought. You got to be kidding me. Slow and steady does it and I climbed the wall, feeling then already that a few times I was hitting my physical limitation. Yeah it was cooler which is better for me to hike, but going from 0-100 in practically no time of adjustment was something else. This would push my limits at the end of a major RA flare. Pure adrenaline pushed me on, but this was only one way and I would have to make it back again as well. I remember fearing that I’d exhaust all of my energy, that I’d run my tank on empty, but that 6.4 miles round trip number still brought some comfort. Hopefully some time of rest would be enough to recover for the way back.
What goes up must come down and on the other side of the rock wall that I had just climbed was waiting the descend. Worse than going up for me with the arthritic knees and having to step sideways down the steep “Paul Bunyan” steps. And of course I made that as well. Further hilly stretches of ups and downs, with sand and slippery rock followed where you either follow the footsteps of others who came before you in the sand or the pictures on a map you are giving that shows landmarks along this mainly unmarked trail to the wave. 4 miles had passed, aren’t we close yet? I should have arrived already. “See the people (the tiny dots) ahead of us….that’s where we are going. “You got to be kidding” made a reappearance and by now I started to feel anger, frustration, fear, worry and doubt, all rushing in at the same time. An encouraging “I am proud of you and you are doing great” was shot down by me saying that being proud had nothing to do with this. That this was borderline stupidity, that I felt in danger, at risk of getting hurt, of doing more damage to my joints, that I had no health insurance if something did happen, and that it might was a bit much for Cinnamon to manage as well, since she had never gone this far in her little short life. Again, just like before I called for higher protection to be able to make it and to keep me safe throughout it all. This was not what I had signed up for and I felt that the decision of whether to be able to attempt that hike was taken from me and had never been mine to make. How foolish, I thought, feeling misunderstood with no clue of what I endured with this relentless disease so far this year. It’s so much more than just a little arthritis pain. It’s excruciating, debilitating to the point of that it is deforming your joints and bones. Not to mention the fatigue and all the other side affects it brings along with itself. Honestly, had I known, I most likely would have not gone, and I’m sure it was no secret even though the words were never spoken. But like always anger always passes, and in all my big achievements it was better for me not to know what was ahead of me. Perhaps I would have doubted myself, not believed in myself enough to make it, stressed myself out prematurely or what have you, despite of my strong believe that we can achieve anything if we put our mind to it.
The tiny dots ahead of us were scaling another rock wall. Steeper and more daunting yet, than the initial one and prior ones I had climbed. Between us a sand dune with deep sandy parts and another descend. Wet sand, wet and dry rock and sheer cliffs caused extra need for caution. It was slow going with one step forward and two steps back in the sandy, climbing parts. Having reached the rock wall we took a break and it was suggested that we don’t have to go any further. I was still fuming at that point, but frustration was turning into desperation, fear and another prayer. How could I have lived with that decision and the only way I would have stopped, denying myself and everyone the view of the destination would have been if I felt Cinnamon was at risk. We were so close, stopping or turning around was not optional, I would have never lived this one down. On we went to the final stretch, the final climb, dousing Cinnamon once more with water along her backside to keep her cool. The overcast sky had cleared to partly cloudy and it seemed like the temps had shot up by 20 degrees which caused part of the difficulty. Unbelievable, in November, and I can’t imagine hiking this in 100+ degrees that it easily reaches in the summer month.
The final ascend was the hardest, steep and slippery. Here I was in my new shoes, men’s walking shoes to accommodate my wider foot now that had spread out over the summer, courtesy of the RA. In my opinion the sole and profile of my shoes seemed non sufficient for such a task, too flat with not enough profile and it wasn’t proven as secure yet that they could handle such terrain. Not to mention my own ankles and agility. I don’t know how many times I thought that any minute I would roll my ankle over the uneven ground and having to walk sideways, over the angled rock. All while keeping my eyes peeled for rattlesnakes, tarantulas and scorpions.
And then we had finally made it. We had arrived at a (for me) once in a lifetime opportunity and stood at the entrance to the wave. I knew this would be my only time seeing it and that I most likely would never make it back here again. Here I was 5+ miles later with another 5+ to make it back to the trailhead, grateful and overcome by this natural beauty. How many times had I been in this position before, cursing, on the brink of wanting to give up, on the edge of tears and anger, somehow finding the courage and strength to push on and be rewarded with something that is always worthwhile in the end. You just can’t drive up to a location like this and the most stunning views require hard work to get there. Before the hike I knew and thought to myself that this adventure would definitely show me what I am made off, although deep down I already knew the answer to that. It’s amazing what we can achieve by sheer willpower, when we don’t set our own limitations and believe that anything is possible. There truly is no guts and glory in the passive, in waiting, but it is in the daily choices we make for ourselves and we are always one choice away from a completely different life.
We were able to stay a few hours and take as many pictures while enjoying as many angles of the wave as possible. In the end we had it all to ourselves which was my favorite part. Listening to the silence and feeling the magic of this place that definitely holds a healing vortex, I sat in stillness, grounding and replenishing myself for what was ahead. Eventually leaving, we allowed ourselves plenty of time to make it back with breaks and before darkness would hit. Getting back took actually a bit longer and I chalk it up to just being tired from having walked so far already. I was extra cautious to not make mistakes and get careless because of fatigue. Surprisingly my feet felt decent with the extra cushioning of the metatarsal pads I was wearing inside my roomy shoes, but they were tired to say the least. Back at the trailhead and 10+ miles later, it felt surreal that I got to see and experience this magnificent wonder. That I had made it and could mark this off of my bucket list, being given that second chance after missing my first one as I left for Germany to care for my sick mother in 2018. That I could share this adventure with someone special and that I had help and support through the sketchy parts. Surely I would have made it on my own if I had to, but it would have been far scarier, with additional time requirements shortening my stay. It will be an experience that stays with me forever and a testimony of the human spirit and making not even the sky your limit.
Now a few days later, I made two posts on social media in hiking with dogs and another group, with this very picture and a much much shortened version, basically just expressing gratefulness of being able to hike it after my major RA flare up this year. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring and support and the comments I have received. I am humbled by how many people have been touched by this story, how many still have this as a lifelong goal on their bucket list and how extremely lucky I have been to have seen it. The responses have shown me that we all are in need of a good story to motivate us and to keep us going. That we all carry each other home and that we are the co creators of our own such story. Keep shooting for the stars my friend, you have just witnessed that anything is possible.
I just can’t help myself and I have to interrupt my regular scheduled post, to bring you a little taste of “The Wave.” If you follow this blog then you know that I embarked on a huge adventure for me and here is one of my very own pictures. The full write up or write ups will follow shortly to describe this 10 mile journey round trip with all its challenges and obstacles. But what a reward and it’s definitely a magical, spiritual place. In the meantime we are homeward bound and safe and sound. Stay tuned…
It’s been a year of abstinence for me. A year that lacked the announcements of physical achievements, of climbing mountains, and exploring other never before seen trails within Mother Nature. It’s been a year of abstinence from hiking and my Camera Roll is missing the spectacular images that are added year after year, except this one. I simply wasn’t able to hike because of health reasons and a major RA flare up. Recently, my life has shown improvements with the shedding of some burdens, responsibilities, trauma bonds, wounded inner children that were integrated and healed, shadow work, adjusting to my new life, the help of new shoes and metatarsal pads, loving support within family and friends and probably even more, not listing here. I am working on gently and carefully rebuilding my strength without doing too much or causing further setbacks. It’s a delicate balance, one of which I am still an eager student to and which I still haven’t figured out completely. What seems to work one day, doesn’t the next and therefore the statement that not all days are equal still remains in effect stronger than ever. Finding out what is too much and what is not enough requires an intimate relationship between body and mind and I am listening closely and feeling with every fiber of my being. Either way, I am venturing and I am daring to take the next step.
Back in 2018 we won lottery tickets to The Wave in Arizona which is a sandstone formation in Arizona. Each day names are drawn from a lottery type system to keep traffic down and to preserve this natural phenomenon. Only 20 people are allowed to visit each day. To win requires luck with a persistence and determination to try over and over. Well, we had won, but I couldn’t go because an emergency presented itself and I booked a flight to Germany to be by Mom’s bedside. I was sad to have missed this opportunity, seeing this magnificent place of which pictures never do it justice, but I had no choice and it was neither optional, nor was it here or there not booking that flight. It was the right thing to do and I did without a question or hesitation. I just wished these dates would have not crossed. Ugghhh…Murpy’s law would have its own way.
Three years later, good things come to those who wait, or those who are patient and persistent. We won tickets once more, what are the chances? Instead of jumping up and down for joy, my excitement was initially very stifled. I didn’t think I could do it and some doubt still finds it’s way into my mind. Not going is not optional I was told as these opportunities may only come once in a lifetime, if ever. How lucky to be presented with such an opportunity for the second time around. We are embarking on a 6 day trip to visit “The Wave” and other sights within the area. Short little hikes are planned with some sightseeing directly from the car. It will be different no doubt, especially with a dog in tow and plans have to be made to visit dog friendly parks as well as accommodations. My fingers are crossed tightly that I manage somehow and I will be careful every step of the way. Hiking to and back from the wave will be my biggest distance challenge since last year and although daunting a bit, I trust to make it and keep positive. I will approach this journey with no expectations and whatever I get to see and experience will be a great gift and a bonus. If I need downtime and have to miss a day, it will be ok as well and gratefully I accept what is for me at this time. This will be my one and only adventure this year and it couldn’t be to a better place. This time of year the temperatures are comfortable for me and the sweltering heat has subsided. It’s the off season and hopefully tourism is much slower than during the summer months as well. I can’t wait to report back to you and share some of my own pictures. Our visit to this monument is scheduled for November 1st although I will be gone from October 28th through the 2nd of November. Fingers crossed all goes well. I am packed and like at any sleepover or trip my toenails are cut and other grooming rituals have commenced. Yeah don’t ask, it’s something learned from Mom as a child, something that apparently will stick with me for the rest of my life. Funny how all of this seemed to have happened on auto pilot. A given routine that doesn’t require a conscious thought or a plan, it just happens 😜.
My posts are scheduled and responses might be a little slow but what else is new and this happens even when I’m home, haha. You know I value you and I will always get back to you. Much love to all of you beautiful souls.
We woke up to the first significant winter storm. Yesterday’s rain turned into snow late in the evening and this morning we were greeted by a winter wonderland. At least a foot (12”) of snow has fallen overnight and it’s the fluffy heavy kind, perfect for building a snowman or to go sledding and get the toboggan out. Yeah, we will see about that later, but in the meantime it’s nice and cozy on the inside. Still in bed I was looking at heavy covered pine trees this morning, and the views were sheer bliss, although the trees limbs were hanging low under the heavy weight of the snow. I felt a gratitude and gratefulness to be surrounded by warmth and not having to go out in this world that looked beautiful and peaceful. Seeing and enjoying it from the inside while it’s still snowing is one thing, going out and driving in it, is another. I bet there have been accidents galore this morning on the freeways and I know that some interstates along with mountain passes have been closed due to weather. We did had a rock / landslide near the burn scars from this summer and it will take awhile to unbury the road again. This time of year and just learning about the forecast and that snow was on the way used to stress me out, especially if I had to be to work early in the morning. Now I’m blessed to enjoy the serenity of being snowed in and not having to worry about all the other less experienced drivers who speed passed me, only to end up in the ditch down the road because of going too fast.
Cinnamon however, loves it and leaped out this morning, jumping like a little goat through the snow that is belly high for her. She always did love the snow and to her it was a welcome surprise to open the door this morning and discover the white, fluffy stuff. She has tons of energy in the cooler temperatures which don’t bother her one bit and snow brings out her feisty side, which in actuality is seen daily. Snow or not, she is a happy dog with a slight identity crises believing she is human. I noticed what is probably an allergic reaction to her vaccine this morning and she has a blood filled, irritated looking bump / growth on the bottom of her chin. Of course, worried Mom, me, calls the vet right away but no appointment is available and is instructed to call again Wednesday morning for standby openings. In the meantime research suggests that it is not that uncommon for dogs to have a allergic reaction with vomiting, diarrhea, hives, rashes and face swelling to a vaccine and God knows that this little girl is super sensitive. As a home remedy I have given her some Antihistamine and hope that this blood filled zit looking nastiness will clear up and subside as nothing more than a reaction to her shots. She is eating her treats and is active which is a good thing since the article also mentions that in severe cases although rare in dogs, a anaphylactic response and even fatality can occur if not treated. You bet that my eyes are peeled to monitor this little human fur-child. In the meantime all is well and our fingers are crossed it stays this way.