Weekend Coffee Share – Empowering Zen Strategies, That Sprinkles Every Day Bliss Over Your Life

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This is Shasta Dam, with Mt.Shasta in the background. We hiked the Upper Sacramento Ditch Trail last weekend, and the trail head is just behind the parking lot of the dam. It’s gorgeous out there. I love coming to the dam on a regular basis, mostly to watch the ospreys, that likes to fish there. I saw at least 20 birds of prey there last weekend. Hiking in magically beautiful places is one of my most effective strategies for a blissful zen life.

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Imagine. The power is yours. You can choose. You have a full tank of gas. Where are you going? Are you taking a scenic dirt road? Or the highway, to get where you want to go fast? This morning while I was sipping my first cup of the black magical brew, I thought about how I own the power. How I can make a choice every morning. Despite responsibilities, and personal challenges, we all have them, it is possible to choose amazing. It’s possible to choose a blissful day, every day. Even when a day doesn’t start out feeling awesomely amazing. Naturally a great cup of coffee helps a lot too 😉 How do you like yours? Perfect. 

While sipping my second cup of that magic brew, I thought about a horse trainer/mentor I worked with for several years. She recently passed away. She was a wise woman. A very wise woman. Completely, totally no-nonsense. She kicked my *ss right after my divorce. What she said made me so mad at first, but it was the best advice I ever got. As I was feeling sorry for myself one morning, she simply said; What are you choosing to do about it? Then she left the room. It took a while for it to sink in, but it changed my life. I could actually choose how to react to a situation that seemed totally unfair, and undeserved. 

Later on we had a few more conversations about the subject. She’d let me borrow some empowering books, and of course we worked with my horse. She was filming horsemanship videos of her methods (inspired by Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance, and some Pat Parelli.) My horse was in several of the videos, so we spent a lot of time together. Which I’m very grateful for. I learned a lot. In one of the books she gave me I found this inspirational quote:

Our Outer world reflects our inner commitments. If we want to know what we’re really committed to, all we have to do is look at our lives. We are, whether we are aware of it or not, always creating exactly what we are most committed to.

The choices we make are ALWAYS in alignment with our deepest commitments.

By examining what we have and what we don’t have.. we are able to uncover and see what we are TRULY committed to. – Debbie Ford

Those words became a guiding light. I started to make a list of things that meant the most to me, and compared it to what my life looked like at the time. My list did not have a whole lot to do with reality back then. I decided to do something about it. I still revisit my list once a month, and evaluate if the things on my list still are important to me, if I need to add, or withdraw things on the list. ..and then I compare the list to my reality. (It’s crucially important to be honest with yourself while doing this.) I quickly discovered that the more my list and my reality are in harmony with each other, the happier I am. I believe that the most important thing in the world is to be kind and compassionate to others, follow the golden rule, and treat them like you would like to be treated. That means that I need to treat myself right as well. Maybe I’m only talking to myself, but I think it’s a thousand times easier to be generous and kind, when I feel good. The things on my list keeps me grounded, and balanced. The list is meant to include things/activities that are a priority, and that you do on a regular (preferably daily/weekly) basis. Are you tempted to make a list? It sure does make it easier to choose amazing. 

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This is what my garden looks like now. I’ve divided my garden into two separate rooms. One for traditional gardening in the ground, organic of course. The second room is the home of my container garden. I’m planning on getting a greenhouse for my container fruit trees this fall. Spending time in my garden is one of the things I love the most. Definitely helps to keep me grounded.

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I’m 5’10, and the highest corn, growing in the best part of my garden, is as tall as I am.

 

These are some of my feel-good priorities:

  • Time with my daughter, indulging in any activity she is interested in at the moment. 
  • My horses, and my dog.
  • My garden.
  • Learning new things related to my vision. Most often related to gardening/homesteading/parenting/horses/photography.
  • Reading for fun.
  • Hiking.
  • Photography.
  • Road trips.
  • Exploring old towns.
  • Meditation.
  • Enough sleep.
  • Healthy, organic, (preferably homegrown) homemade food.  
  • Blogging.

At the moment I feel that there is a balance, and that I have made room for these important feel-good priorities on my list. They are a part of my daily, or weekly schedule. I am happy, and I know that to stay happy I need to meditate over all the things I have to be  grateful for in my life. I need to do this at least every morning. This strategy works for me. It makes me feel empowered, to choose these things that I know makes me feel good. It makes me feel strong and happy. I also know that if I get sloppy with my habits, I don’t feel very good. If I don’t go on at least one longer hike every week, I get tired. If I don’t listen to my daughter’s ideas, and indulge in something she’s interested in, I miss out. My horses makes me breath deeper, and stay in the moment. They are both doing fantastic BTW. I rode Fancy in my new dressage saddle for the first time this week, and it was a blast. I hear Ghost calling for me right now. It’s 6am, and he’s expecting his breakfast, and some grooming. (..I’ll better hurry up.) My dog, well, she’s the most loyal friend I have. My garden helps me eat healthy, and even get some exercise. I often meditate, and read in my garden. It’s peaceful. I practice my photography every day, while doing the activities I love. Do you need a refill on that coffee?

Sometimes I ask people I meet, friends, and acquaintances, about what makes them happy. Some have lots to say, which makes me happy. Others become very quiet. So tell me now, what makes you happy? What’s on your feel-good priority list? Any fun plans for the weekend? Imagine. The power is yours. You can choose. You have a full tank of gas. Where are you going?

Love,

Ms Zen

Ps. I forgot to mention I started a new part-time job last weekend, taking care of some horses at a nearby estate. I’ve been going there after finishing my own morning chores, every morning this week, and absolutely love it. The horses are well mannered. The place is gorgeous, and well kept. The owner is really nice. It doesn’t feel like work. 

Finding Zen

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The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul. 

– Alfred Austin

When I first become a single mom I realized that I had to become more creative if I wanted to live a healthy life, while still spending the majority of my time with my then unborn daughter.

I am very stubborn, and I knew deep inside of me that there must be some way to not have to work 50 hours/week for someone else, like I did at the moment. One of the changes I implemented in my life was to learn how to grow my own food. What I didn’t know was that I was going to love it so much. Gardening quickly become part of a more zen inspired lifestyle.

 

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I have always believed that you are what you eat; mind, body and soul. My ultimate dream is to have a small homestead, and be as self sufficient as possible, producing the majority of my family’s food myself. I’m working my way towards that goal, by growing as much organic produce as I can, and by continuing my learning process about how to do it (by reading, doing my own garden, and helping out at farms in my area.)

Right now I’m learning more about propagating trees. I’m homeschooling my daughter, and one of our current projects is different ways of growing a new tree from cuttings. We’re currently trying three methods, similar, with slight differences.  The purpose with this project is to see which method, of these three, that produces the strongest roots, and healthiest plant, in the shortest amount of time. You can read more about the background to the project, and the different methods here.

We worked with the most experimental method yesterday. The only one that I had never tried before. I found a video about this method of fig propagation in a plastic bottle on Youtube. I just had to try! Follow the link and watch the video. It’s a couple minutes, and pretty awesome. Basically you take a big plastic bottle, cut it open, put it around a tree branch, close it with some kind of strong tape, pour some soil in, and keep it moist.

We started the bottle a month ago. I’ve been poring some water into it every morning. I haven’t done anything else, since I started it. Yesterday I cut off the branch that the bottle was attached to, and opened it.

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I could see some roots inside of it before cutting the branch, but it was difficult to see clearly what was going on in there until I opened the bottle. I clipped the tape with some scissors. This is what I saw.

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I have never seen this much roots after only a month, with any other method.

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I planted my new tree in a pot, that I had prepared with organic potting soil. I am expecting the tree to be in shock for quiet a while, since it’s basically a branch that I cut off. With all those roots, I feel that there is a big chance that it will handle that shock. What the video didn’t tell me was, wether I should of taken the leaves off, or just kept them. I was unsure of what to do. There is obviously more work for the tree to keep the leaves. I will leave them for now, but I might carefully rip them off later, if the shock for the tree is severe. What would you have done? Leave the leaves on? Or gently take the leaves off?

The surrounding mini fig trees was cuttings, planted directly in small pots, the same day as I started the bottle fig tree. If you visited the initial post about fig tree propagation, it’s the red pots in that post. I recently repotted them in bigger pots.

It’s 6am, and I better go outside, before my horse Ghost wakes all the neighbors. He always starts calling for me at exactly 6am. It’s time to enjoy my favorite time of the day.

This is part of a Garden Galore link-up party. Feel free to join in, and get inspired! Happy Gardening !

 

Love,

Ms Zen

All-Time Favorites – A Debut Drive On The Wild Side = Highway 89

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I almost choked on my coffee this morning. I had to read the latest post published at WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge twice. They casually announced that this is the last challenge. I can see that it would be a lot of work hosting a challenge of this size, hundreds of participants weekly, but it’s WordPress we’re talking about. They should be able to handle that? Or is it about stopping leaving us wanting more? Get a huge debate going, so that their challenge get even more attention?

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This weekly photo challenge have followed me through several blogs, until I finally found my niche. I’ve posted an entry almost every week, and made many new friends through the challenge. I even mentioned it in my Purpose page for this blog. I hope they will reconsider ending this challenge. If not, Thank you WordPress for hosting it for so long. I really enjoyed it!

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Last Sunday was the first day of the season that the scenic Highway 89, through Lassen Volcanic National Park was open. Its was a grand opening. I expected nothing less. We drove up to the northern entrance, in the morning. There was a traffic jam there! It took about 30 min to get in. I’ve never experienced that before. It was well worth the wait.

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The first drive through the park for the year is always spectacular. It’s like getting reacquainted with a special, old friend. Even though I’ve been snowshoeing in the park during the winter months, I have not seen all the majestic beauty there is. I rephrase that, it is not possible to ever see it all. It would take several lifetimes.

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Sulphur Works; Lassen Volcanic National Park’s most easily accessed hydrothermal area. It features boiling mudpots and steam vents. It smells a little, but not too bad right now. Last time I passed Sulphur Works (in the photo,) everything was covered in snow. That was about a month ago.

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My daughter have a love-hate relationship to this place. She always wants to go here. She is fascinated, and disgusted at the same time. It doesn’t exactly smell like our rose garden. Lol.

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Nature is blooming right above the hydrothermal area. We decided to take a hike towards Ridge Lakes, above Sulphur Works.

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This hike is rated as hard, and it starts out going straight uphill, right from the beginning. The landscape was extremely beautiful. Like something from another galaxy.

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In the beginning it was reasonably easy to follow the trail, even though it completely lacked any kind of markers. The trail was supposed to follow the creek, so we followed the creek. There was more and more snow on the trail. After a while we took a wrong turn, and ended up hiking up to the ridge to the left, of the ridge that we were supposed to take, if we wanted to see Ridge Lakes. It might not look very steep in this photo, but believe me, it was. You had to dig your boots into the snow, and make your own stairs to get a grip, and climb up. ..and we’re talking about an elevation about 8000ft. The air is thin, and you have to take it slow. I helped my five year old quiet a bit during this stretch. Since we gotten this far, we really wanted to get to the top of that ridge above us. I can be very stubborn..and I used it to get us all up. I know for sure that the rest would of turned around if it wasn’t for me. It’s Thursday today, and I can still feel the climb in my whole body. I love that!

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On the top of the world! I love feeling alive like this. The tracks we made kind of disappears in the photo, that is how steep it was. Half of the hillside beneath me is out of the picture, even though it’s right under me. What do you say about that view?

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It was very windy at the top. I estimate it to around 25-30 mph winds. The baseball cap I was wearing to protect myself from the strong sun, blowed away. I found it later. My daughter took her off. (I know.. she’s the smart one.)

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Some more vistas from the top of this unnamed ridge.

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The grand opening of highway 89 for the season of 2018, was a day to remember a lifetime. Are you tempted to take a drive on the wild side? Conquer this stretch of highway 89? Even if you just follow the highway, and stop at the different, well marked, vista points, you’ll have an incredible experience.

Cheers to a mind-blowing last episode of The Weekly Photo Challenge!

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

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