Short Book Review and Tiny Home Goal Update

Hi All! It’s been a while, yet again, but I found a snippet of time just now to write :-)! I finished the book, The Beginner’s Guide to Tiny Houses, over a month ago now and have been meaning to get on here to provide a review about it while it was still fresh in my mind. Overall, it was a truly informative book in which I highly recommend to anyone looking to embark on tiny home living. On a rating of 5 being the best to 1 being poorly done, I give this book a 4 1/2. The 1/2 star is because I wanted the whole thing to be strictly about tiny homes, but they added a ton of information about schoolies (converting a school bus into a home) and other tiny-homes…such as yurts. I have mentioned this before: nothing at all against schoolie or yurts, I think they are both rad, it’s just that I have no interest in living in either of those types of homes so I ended up just having to skip through those parts.

Took me a minute (if a minute equals 3 months) to finish this book, but alas, I finally finished reading it!

The book had a lot of great information about possible places to live with a tiny home and provided many outlets in which to look for land to either rent or buy for tiny home living. There were many resources listed (especially in the back of the book) of different websites or avenues to look for where it’s possible to place your tiny home. There was also great information about what to look for in companies that build tiny homes if you are having yours built for you (which I am because let’s face it folks, if I tried to build it myself it would probably take over a decade and even then, the big bad wolf would probably still be able to blow it down).

The Beginner’s Guide to Tiny Houses also provided different ideas to consider when having your tiny home built for you, including important financial decisions to consider such as what appliances the company provides in the total price of the tiny house and what extra amenities you might need to consider buying yourself. There was also a fun quiz to take in the beginning of the book to guide you in how ready you might be to live in a tiny home, my result was “Tiny All the Way!” I’d say that was a pretty accurate result 😅.

☝️Part of the quiz that is in the book The Beginner’s Guide to Tiny Houses. It was a pretty intensive quiz (11 pages long). I felt it was very accurate if you answered the questions truthfully 😁

This is a book that I am definitely keeping on hand for the rest of my tiny home journey as I feel I’ll reference it a lot for different decisions I’ll be making along the way. I am more than halfway to my savings goal of buying my tiny house🙌and I have gotten incredibly diligent in my monthly budgeting so that if I stay the course and stick with it, I can reach my goal of buying a tiny home at some point in 2023, which is literally just around the corner.

Despite having a really strict budget in order to save up to buy a tiny home, I managed to put away a savings fund for vacations and am planning to attend a friend’s wedding on the West Coast this summer. I had an amazing coincidence come up where one of the air bnb’s that I picked out to stay at in Oregon just so happens to be a tiny home constructed by the same company that I am planning to have build mine. The owner of the Airbnb has been actively communicating with me all about her experiences with them and is super open about me asking her tons of questions, she also said she’d be happy to meet up with me when I arrive to show me the four different tiny homes she has had built by them. I’ll definitely have updates for you all after that trip and thanks for following along with me on my journey so far!🙏☺️

Feeling Hopeful

Hi All! Hope everyone is having a beautiful week wherever they may be. I wanted to give a little update since I was aiming to write in here at least a couple times per month. There isn’t huge news and my dream of owning my tiny home feels so far away, but in reality it will sneak up fast. I am fortunately in a good position right now to put much of my income into savings, so it will stack up quickly!

I have been eyeing a ton of different tiny home builders, but I have only found a couple that fit my needs. I am looking for builders that have a layout that matches my vision, are flexible with personal design requests, and are affordable. It has been difficult to find builders that match those three things, but I have found two! And out of those two, only one has been actively communicating with me, but luckily it has been the one that has felt most right for me. I am trying to stay open too, as not to put all of my tiny home dreams in one basket.

Another thing that I have been working heavily on is getting my budget in order. As long as I stick to a specific savings goal each month for one year straight, I should hopefully have enough to purchase a tiny home without needing to finance one, which is ideal for me. I have been debt-free for a year (shout out to Dave Ramsey and his whole team for inspiring me with the plethora of YouTube videos that inspired me to become debt-free!) My end goal with my tiny home is to only have the monthly expense of land to place it on.

Alongside of scouring ads online of tiny home listings, I have also been scouring ads online for tiny home communities to live in. There are a surprisingly large amount of tiny home communities, but that’s counted across the whole nation. In my state there are only two tiny home communities, one of which is three hours away from family and friends. So naturally, I contacted the closest tiny home community to friends and family; I found out that there’s a pretty long waitlist to get in it, but the lady that owns it added me on and has been super kind in all of our interactions, I’m feeling good about the community there!

Most exciting is that coming up in February I am going to a Tiny Home Festival. It will be so nice to see layouts up close and personal! I hope to connect with a builder or two as well that can dream up my vision with me. That’s all for updates though at the moment, but thanks for stopping by to read and dream along with me 🙂

Tiny Home Vision

Hi All! It has been a long time since I have touched this blog as I have had some pretty major life changes in the last couple of years, but I’m going to attempt my hand at it again! I hope that all is well with you, reader, wherever you may be.

I have recently gotten really into tiny homes. I have watched almost all of the mini-documentaries on Netflix regarding tiny homes and have watched a good chunk of YouTube videos all about tiny homes: from learning about construction of tiny homes, to learning about rules on what kind of land you can stick your tiny home on, and seeing all the different styles of tiny homes. I have scoured through dozens of online used tiny home listings. All of this obsession has truly led me to one thing and that is: my tiny home vision!

I started this blog almost ten years ago to keep track of my goal to meditate daily and then it sort of twisted and turned more into random musings. Well, now I’m gonna use this blog to keep track of and focus on my newest goal and vision: buy my own tiny home within two years! That is the goal and with previous goals and plans of mine, I always found it nice to record them somewhere like a blog, where it might inspire others who are following along and it has always helped me to reflect while on the journey and after the journey.

I have always been a minimalist and not super into materialistic things. I have even lived in a couple tiny places before: a studio called “The Treehouse Studio” in Portland, Oregon because it was literally in a studio on top of a home, nestled next to the biggest tree on the block and I also lived in a couple huts near the salty air of the Pacific Ocean while working at farms on Maui. Some might have described the spaces that I lived in claustrophobic, but they were truly everything that I needed in my day-to-day life.

There are so many things about the tiny house lifestyle that are appealing to me too. I love the idea of having a place that is easy to move with me since I can’t seem to stay in one place for too long. The simplicity of a tiny home is another draw of it; to only have to spend an hour on cleaning up my whole place sounds divine. Lower costs all around, from the actual purchase of a tiny home to the monthly utilities would feel like a big weight lifted! Only bringing into my home that which I really need and use seems appealing as well, really living and embracing minimalism.

So welcome to my newest edition of this blog! I hope to inspire and ignite others’ dreams and visions, whether that goal is to also live a tiny house lifestyle or something completely different…either way, I hope this new little project of mine inspires you too in some way. I am hoping to log-in to this blog at least a couple times out of the month with updates on where I am at with my savings and budgeting towards buying a tiny home. I also want to record any insights or new things I have learned about tiny homes. I will also give updates about whether I plan to have one custom built or buy a used one. The options feel endless right now, it’s been a while since I have felt this inspired! Until next time, take care and thanks for reading!

30 Day Detox from Social Media

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Hello my fellow blog readers!  I have been meaning to get around to sharing my experience of going thirty days without my precious Facebook and Instagram, but life has gotten pretty busy.  I have written blog posts before about going without technology, such as my 10 days at my first meditation retreat and the weekend I turned my cell phone off, but this was a unique experience in and of itself.  It made me realize how much I look at my social media sites when I feel lonely and bored. It also made me feel closer to my best friends and family members because I actually spoke to them on the phone or texted with them more than just following their social media posts.  I am sharing word for word what I wrote in my journal during the 30 days sans social media and then there is a little recap at the end. I hope that this is beneficial and inspires you in some way, that is my ultimate wish in sharing my writing ☺.

Social Media Detox from March 26-April 26, 2019.

3/26/19

I noticed my first pull toward wanting to check my Instagram as I was going on a walk with my friend (I had just posted on my Instagram that morning and wanted to check on any “likes” or “comments” that I received).

3/27/19

Already feeling a profound emptiness when I look down at my phone and there is nothing-no text messages, no phone calls, emails, and definitely nothing to scroll.  Lonely is another word that comes to my mind.  Frustration, but that might have to do with PMS, haha.

3/28/19

My first full 24 hours without social media and I honestly have this feeling of freeness that I haven’t had in a long time.  This feeling of being more of who I really am and being okay with who I am. Happiest I have felt in a long while, a stronger sense of self-esteem, more confidence than I have felt in a long while.  Really doing well with self-care too! I ran today, meditated today, wrote three full pages in my journal, I spent quality time with a buddy, talked with new people in the town I just moved to, feelings of true presence.

3/29/19

There is a serious feeling of emptiness that I feel today.  The dopamine levels in my brain feel very low with no social media to excite it.  I have been reading my online horoscope and my hormone horoscope app (an app on my phone that informs ladies what they might be feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally depending on where we are at in our cycle).  Both of these apps have been on my phone for months, but I never use them because I am usually scrolling on my social media.

I took my friend to the Amtrak this morning and as we were waiting for her train, I reallllly wanted to check my social media, I actually felt physical pangs of frustration in my chest when I realized I couldn’t scroll.   I ended up reading a book instead, which is great because I have been trying to finish the book for months.

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3/30/29

Most likely because I have had a friend visiting me for the last week (I relocated to a new city three weeks ago) and she left last night, I have felt a sense of loneliness today.  I awoke this morning to see nothing on my phone and sensed a feeling of dread/loneliness. My new job hasn’t started yet, so I have had much more free time than what I usually have.

3/31/19


I’m really feeling an emptiness today not being able to look at my social media.  I am really coming into the realization of how much I use social media as a bandage for my feeling of loneliness.  Also, I felt a little guilty today because I accidentally cheated last night when I met a new friend in town and he gave me his Instagram name, so I plugged it into Google and stalked his Instagram pictures for a few seconds until I realized that counts as being on social media.

4/1/19

My sister really triggered me this morning when I informed her about my social media fast (I explained to her how my friend changed the passwords on all my accounts) and she told me that I remind her of an alcoholic, that I sound like an addict and that she’s generally concerned for me.  It really hurt me and I told her that instead of labeling me, I need support and encouragement. I am going to take some space from her.

4/2/19

How interesting, the chapter that I’m reading in “Women Who Run with the Wolves” has a section in it labeled “ADDICTION” and I came across this great quote which resonates strongly with what I have been learning most about what’s needed with social media use: BALANCE. There’s nothing inherently wrong with social media, it’s when we become unbalanced with it that it becomes a problem.

“To alright all this, we resurrect the wild nature, over and over again, each time the balance tips too far in one direction or another.  We will know when there is reason for concern, for generally balance makes our lives larger, and imbalance makes our lives smaller.”

4/3/19

Having feelings of lightness and freedom.  I have been getting things done that I’d otherwise be sitting on if I had social media to distract me.  I have finished multiple books, got paperwork done for my move and for my new job. I also attempted to go to an open mic show at the chai shop down the street from me, but there was a sign on the door that it was canceled.  So I went home with no backup plans, but still wanting connection, so instead of going onto Facebook or Instagram, I ended up going onto my Couchsurfing profile and ended up surfing it for an hour…I totally used it as a replacement, haha, but still….generally felt good today.

4/6/19

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is at the strongest than it has ever been in my life.  I went solo-camping this weekend and ended up meeting these awesome folks; we shared drinks, a bonfire, stories, laughs, and s’mores all night.  At one point, one of the gals I met broke out her phone and had us put in our social media names into her profile so she could add us and we could all stay in touch.  I had to explain to her that she could send me the request, but that I won’t be able to accept it until April 26th due to my social media detox.  They were all fascinated and interested in my decision to detox from social media for a while.  Each one of them explained that they have been feeling the pull to get away from social media for a while as well.

4/7/19

I am realizing that social media is a big energy drain.  With all of the judging, comparing, and feeling the need to keep up with everyone.  Lately I have been feeling a lot lighter in the mind and have more energy for other things.  I have been super busy learning my job and hanging out with new friends, at one point this week I honestly forgot that social media was a thing….like, I forgot that it existed (no joke!!) until someone had mentioned it.  I honestly get stressed out when I think of re-entering the social media world.

4/8/19

Damn.  My feeling of guilt is STRONG!!  I went onto Google and looked up both my Instagram and Facebook to see if I got any new comments or like, as I was looking at my profiles, I thought to myself “You know damn well that you’re cheating from your 30-day detox right?” And then instead of beating myself up, I just observed my antics….observing without judgement.  Observing without judgement is such a powerful action, a practice that I’d like to try and do more often.  Also, I just moved to a new town a month ago and I only have a few friends here so far and to be honest…I was feeling pretty alone lately.  Anyhow, just wanted to come clean on that. Otherwise, things have been going pretty strong with the detox. I went camping, hiking, and worked this weekend.  I finished a book today, which I am pretty sure I’d still be reading for another couple of months if I was currently using my social media. I am still having this feeling of the whole world being at a party that I wasn’t invited to.

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4/15/19

Only 11 days left and I am feeling like I might stay off social media for good.  Things feel more simple, it feels like the 1990s again. The more I think about it, social media is really kind of freaky…..we stay in touch with dozens (actually more like hundreds and thousands) of people that we aren’t maybe necessarily meant to be in contact with anymore.  Also, all of the pictures are fabricated (filters, scanning through multiple pictures and finding the best one) and it’s always intended to get a bunch of likes so how real is it when we are really just trying to please people.  I dunno…just some thoughts.

The biggest takeaway that I got from doing this experiment, if you will, is that my feeling of PRESENCE with people in real life was so strong. I noticed how I was having these really lovely in-person connections with new friends and acquaintances and also my self-esteem skyrocketed!  It was such a relief to not have millions of pictures being thrown in my face of “See! THIS is what you need to be, do, and have to be better.” Instead, I was able to meditate, connect, and go within more to figure out what I was truly needing in any moment. Life became a little more real, my head hurt less from staring at a screen so much, and I really had some profound moments. 

The Power of Setting Intentions

With the April Full Moon shining brightly on top of the Steel Bridge, an iconic landmark in Portland, Oregon, my best friend and I headed down the concrete stairs that jutted from the sidewalk in front of my apartment to the rocky alcove that faced the Willamette River. The air had a simultaneous smell of recent rain and fresh magnolia flower. Each of us held a scrap of paper in our hands which had a list of all things we intended to rid ourselves of in the coming month. I lit a candle and we burned our lists into the candle fire, watching as our lists turned into ashes and flew with the wind into the river. That marked the completion of our first homemade, totally improvised Full Moon Ceremony.

I started practicing intentional ceremonies on my own just a couple months prior to this. I first became interested in intentional setting practices after researching and learning more about it over the rainy Portland winter. Linking my intention settings with the moon cycle is something a bit more new to me, but I have found it to be a very powerful practice. After having had a few ceremonies now with my best friend, I am feeling inspired to share how this practice has helped me. I intend to incorporate more of these types of ceremonies into my life and hope to inspire others to do the same.

This prior winter, my life was a bit of a dark carousel, going round and round in a cycle that wasn’t healthy for my mind, body, or soul. I had just moved back to Portland, Oregon after having moved away for about five months and had lost connection with a lot of my old friends. Going against my own morals and being misguided while on the search for trying to feel less alone, I had a couple different relationships in my life that were unhealthy. I was also living downtown in an isolated area entrenched with lots of sadness; it was not uncommon to see people dealing or shooting up drugs at the light rail stop that I waited at for my daily commute. It made me feel sad and helpless to see all of the addiction, it reminded me of how much suffering there was in the world and in my own life. The discomfort of my outer world seemed to be reflecting my inner world.

I was watching a lot of self-help videos on YouTube during the winter and in one video someone spoke of intention setting practices and how much it helped them to shift a few things in their life to more of their liking. Every night I started writing an intentional list in my journal. The list consisted of three things I intended to do the next day (e.g. tomorrow, I intend to run 3 miles along the river without stopping, I intend to stay focused with each patient I am helping at work, and I intend to meditate for 20 minutes in the morning). My nightly lists became a fun, easy opportunity to see how I could reach small feats on a daily basis. If I didn’t end up meeting one of my intentions, I wouldn’t beat myself up too much because it would always feel good that I had met the other two intentions. The “next day” lists soon turned into me listing weekly three things that I intended for the week ahead and monthly three things I intended for the month ahead.

My intention setting lists for the day, week and month ahead soon transformed. I have always been fascinated with the cycle of the moon and started collaborating my intention setting lists with moon phases. I would do a New Moon intention setting and then a Full Moon intention setting. Coordinating intention settings with the moon phases seemed to come really naturally and conveniently given that there is always one new moon and one full moon every month. In my research on intention setting ceremonies, I discovered that the New Moon is a powerful time to write out what you would like to attract since it marks the beginning of a new cycle and the Full Moon is a time to write out what you would like to release yourself from because it marks the completion of a cycle. These practices using the moon cycle have been around for ages, taken from Pagan and indigenous cultures.

I have watched a multitude of things shift and shed in my life in the last five months since starting this practice and I know that most have resulted from the power of intention setting ceremonies. I let go of the two unhealthy relationships that were in my life and am enjoying my single life, finding beauty in self-love. I have been making very healthy decisions on a daily basis due to living more intentionally. I had wrote down an intention about how I wanted to stay in and cook more in order to save more money, I have been sticking to this pretty well. I have also been good about reaching intentions of staying vigilant in my daily meditation practice, one week I reached my intention of meditating twice a day instead of once a day for one whole week.

I would love to start a community of like-minded people that participate in intentional living practices. I would be more interested in hearing from anyone that has read this far. Do you participate in any moon calendar rituals or ceremonies? Do you practice intentional-based living in your own way? Please comment below or send me a message and let me know!

Vision Quest Part Tres

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Hey all!  This is the last of my journal entries from my recent Vision Quest journey.  Before reading this blog post, I highly recommend that you first read parts Uno and Dos

Okay, well, I killed some of the morning off by making more of my little butterfly cards to give to all of my Vision Quest warriors, I did a few yoga poses, changed into warmer socks and attempted to meditate for a bit, but then the urge to pee came back.  I don’t want to give up on my Vision Quest yet, I truly do not want to, especially since there is only 24 hours to go, but this whole no-water thang has really gotten me for sure.  Maybe this is ego chattering in my mind, but I think that I have a plan here.  I’ll give it my all to finish the Quest, but come tomorrow morning, if I am still having UTI symptoms…I think it’d be best to have a small bite to eat, a SHIT TON OF WATER and then head out.  I really hate to leave before it is over, but I have had many UTIs in my time (I get 2-3 per year) and I know that it is best to get it taken care of ASAP.  I know that people might judge me for leaving early, but all I am really going to miss is the second sweat lodge ceremony and a fire-walk.

 

This is probably all a lesson in learning to take care of myself.  These people have all been wonderful, but I need to know when it is time and if I am still having UTI symptoms come tomorrow morning, then I know that it is time.  I am quite proud of myself for going this far!  I truly think that this no-water thing is what killed me.  Part of why I drink a shit ton of water all the time is to stave off the UTIs.  It’s decided though—no doubt, UTI symptoms tomorrow morning I am out of here.  I’ll talk to Linda and Gent and take off.  Honestly, it’ll be good to work on job hunting when I get back too.

 

It just hit me, I have no health insurance.  I hope to God that there is a Planned Parenthood near Salt Lake City (praying) because they have helped me with UTI symptoms in the past.  As soon as I have a job again I promise that I will give them a fatty donation.  I promise, promise, promise.

 

As much as I talk smack about civilization, I am really missing it right now.  I am very grateful for the sips that I have left of my tea.  I don’t care if I am one of the first back to base camp tomorrow morning and am considered a weakling.  Getting water and treating a UTI are pretty important things if you ask me.

 

Right now, I am grateful for the sunlight keeping me warm, I am grateful to know that this is more than half over, hehe.  I am grateful for a few sips left of tea and my art project to keep me busy.

 

This experience is really making me appreciate a lot: WATER, heavenly WATER, food, the sun, the moon (it has been amazing to have such a clear view of it from where I am sleeping.)  This experience has made me appreciate and miss my tent, hehe.

 

There have been noises throughout the night that definitely have been freaking me out, so I cough a bunch just in case it’s a big animal—hoping that helps. 

 

I am so grateful that everything worked together the way that it did, that I got to and from the Salt Lake City area from St. George safely—twice within the last week.  I am grateful to be relatively close to Salt Lake City so that I can hit up a Planned Parenthood tomorrow.

 

Water, water, more than ANYTHING else in the world, I can’t wait to drink water tomorrow morning.  Hopefully Austin will be able to drive with me tomorrow morning to make sure my car doesn’t get stuck on the janky roads on the way out of here.  I am not going to let anyone talk me out of it, I need to take care of this physical body and that means getting this UTI taken care of STAT!

 

Wednesday 9/6 (my guess is that it’s about 2:00pm)

 

I am so grateful this pen is still working.  I am in a bit of a predicament.  It has now been 48+ hours since I last ate, I tried to do my small walking loop to keep the flies off of me, but I have no more energy, I really would like to lie down on my bed area but it’s too sunny and warm in that location and nothing else looks very promising.  I only have a few sips of tea to last me until morning.  All things considered, I am surprised that I am not as crabby as I could be.  I am so grateful that this is the last night!

I don’t think that I will be the first one back to base camp tomorrow morning, that is my prediction.  There is a weird pulse going on in my belly, I haven’t a clue what that is all about.  By the way, I just wanted to mention, I have only seen 4 vehicles go by total in the last almost 48 hours (3 yesterday and 1 today.)  My mind is CHATTERING LIKE CRAZY. 

 

I have no idea what to do with myself, I have no energy to move.  I just finished all of my drawings.  What oh what does a girl do?  With where the sun is now, I am guessing it to be about 5pm.  That means just about 12 hours or so left!  Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and then a good 8 of the hours should be sleeping, yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!  So I only need to try to entertain myself for about 5 more hours haha.

 

This just came to me!  Since one of my passions is caring for other people, then I truly need to care for myself first and part of that is doing this inner work that I am doing with the Vision Quest and caring for this amazing body that does so much for me.  I will continue on my path of healthy eating, running 5-6 days out of the week, tai chi, and yoga when I get back to civilization.  It’s weird hearing no civilization right now, just a bunch of bugs buzzing around me.  I think that it’s time for another sip of tea.  You know what’s really funny?  I made little stations for myself where I am staying.  I have the station where I sleep, a drawing station, and then a station where I keep my shoes and tea.  I was going to attempt to meditate and then write down what comes up for me, but these flies are so terrible here.  I’ll try for 30 breaths at least, wish me luck!

Love,

Ilona

I am not going to lie, this sunset has no doubt been the longest in my life.  I truly feel like dying I want water so bad, what an awful feeling.  The flies won’t leave me the fuck alone.  Wasp sting, UTI!  Hey, thank goodness I haven’t been preyed upon by any large animals, I must say—gotta look at the positive side whenever possible.  I keep having flashbacks about Portland—how scattered I had gotten there, how scattered that I have felt in general over the last few years…yet here I am, still alive…I suppose there is that.  I have ultimately been blessed in so many ways, it’s unreal.

 

The sun has set, but it is still a bit warm, so I am imagining that tonight will not be as cold as all of the other nights have been, maybe?  These flies are ruthless, but I know that they will be disappearing soon as night falls.  I truly hope that I sleep through the night so that BOOM!  Morning is here.  I am still fantasizing about drinking boat-loads of water.  Come to think of it, I should probably try to go kind of slow with my water intake when I get back so as to not shock my system.  I can’t wait to get into town and contact either a Planned Parenthood in Salt Lake City or that free clinic in St. George that can maybe take in a bum such as me.

 

I definitely feel like being done with this, yo.  I am in pain in more ways than one.  I truly am going to appreciate every bite of food, every sip of water, and every conversation that I have when I get back.  This has taught me a lot FO SHO.

 

Thursday 9/7 (I am guessing with where the moon is, it’s about 3:00am?)

This has been my least favorite night.  I awoke from a dream where I was a receptionist at some lab where they were taking dead bodies into a back room, then in real life I had to pee and then I heard what sounded like multiple coyotes howling.  My stomach is growling like mad and my mouth is super dry and I keep envisioning drinking bottle of water after bottle of water.  FUCK!  The morning cannot come soon enough.

 

Thursday 9/7 (morning sunrise)

How symbolic.  I dreamt that I was peeing normally full force into a toilet, but I couldn’t turn a light on as I was peeing, it was dark (last night I was awaiting sunlight and concerned about my UTI symptoms.)  Yayyyyyyyyyy, the sun is rising and I am going to get my shit together, get back to base camp and let everyone know that I am outta here!!!!!!!!!

 

Friday 9/8

Wow, that was all a strange experience.  I was actually the last person to arrive back to base camp, hehe…I am hardcore.  This whole experience has been such a trip, I truly feel as if all of these people are a part of me.  Everyone here is so incredibly present and in the moment.  It feels really special that just 10 days ago I was helping to sand down all of these teepee poles in which we are all now sitting under for ceremony.  I drank a ton of fluids, informed Linda about my UTI symptoms in which right away she had me take specific herbal teas, drink a ton of cranberry komobucha, and had every single person in the Vision Quest be part of a healing ceremony for me….and the symptoms were gone (100% gone, as if I had taken an antibiotic) the next morning, it was completely UNREAL.

 

During our peyote ceremony, that’s when the real medicine was taken (i.e. more like what I was envisioning for peyote, a ton of hallucinations…)  At one point during ceremony, I closed my eyes and all that I could see was geometric patterns of wolves and spirals, nothing else.

 

9/9/17

Wow.  Tomorrow is officially the last day.  What a crazy ass ride.  In sooooooo many ways this was more difficult for me than a 10-day silent meditation retreat because we HAD to be open with each and every person in the Vision Quest group.  My dream in the beginning of realizing that everyone would know what I’m thinking pretty much came true.  I became intimate/vulnerable with 14 others EVERY DAY, except for the 3 days up on the hill, but even then I felt them with me.  The all-night peyote ceremony with everyone was wild.  We started it out with going around the room each holding each other’s medicine/crystals and blessing them, then we took our medicine and puked our brains out hardcore all while becoming completely open about EVERYTHING.  I told a group of 14 people some deep, dark shit before, during, and after puking my brains out.  I also listened to 14 other people’s deep and dark shit.  Each and every one of us held space and I saw everyone’s bright Spirits despite all of the fucked-up life problems that we were all sharing with each other.

 

I ended up super connecting with Brooke (who is from Sedona and used to live with a Spiritual teacher that I am a big fan of.)  It hit me that Brooke’s profile looks EXACTLY like the doctor that I used to work for, her personality matched too.  It hit me that Brooke is another teacher in my life just as that doctor was—only I learned a shit ton about herbalism, plant medicine, and native ways from Brooke instead of Western Medicine.  Brooke said something really sweet to me too during the ceremony, she goes “when I first met you, I knew.  I thought ‘this girl…she can SEE things.”  Right after she said that we both saw a shooting star in the sky as we were walking back to the teepee together.  We hugged and then each made a wish, hehe.  We stayed up all night.  I tried to sleep in the teepee, but kept seeing crazy-ass geometric patterns every time that I tried closing my eyes.  I also felt as if I was leaving my body and teleporting to other realms and dimensions.  I kept hearing the other Vision Questers talk and it hit me that they were all me and I was all them.  I started having crazy realizations about energy and how connected everything really is and how I chose this path and how all of the Vision Quest people are on the same path.  Haylee, Brooke, and I ended up being the last of the people in the teepee tending to the fire.  Gent was sleeping in the teepee and would pipe in every once in a while to the conversation us three girls were having.

rainbowsisMe and my Spirit Sisters outside of teepee ceremony.

 

Eventually I went back to my tent, but could not sleep for the life of me because when I shut my eyes I got lost in the different geometric patterns and I kept feeling as if I was going to leave my body.  Gent called for me to come out of my tent anyhow.  I got out of my tent and I had to face EVERYONE still feeling majorly tripped out.  Josh pulled out a boom box and we all started dancing for a while, but then his stereo went out and right as it went out, his wife and three children pulled up into the parking lot area of our base camp, it was as if it was all planned (the way the music stopped right as they pulled up.) 

 

I initially felt very awkward since I was still tripping and there were children running around me.  His wife and three children came in for our last ceremony which involved breath-work (basically intense meditation.)  It happened to be the ceremony that I went into my most vulnerable place ever.  It felt as if my whole body became the earth and the earth became my body.  I cried, cried, cried and others surrounded me and placed their hands gently around my neck, arms, and sides.  It felt as if I started leaving my body and I felt as if I was being re-birthed.  My eyes were shut, but I could see everyone in the room and everything in the room felt and looked like pure love.  I opened my eyes and Josh’s kids were staring at me wide-eyed with curiosity…one of them was wafting sage onto me with a feather and the other was playing a drum like a true little Medicine Woman.  It hit me that all of those tons of dreams that I had about two little blonde haired boys were THOSE two little boys, they were Josh’s boys.  I burst out crying even more, everything felt so incredibly connected it was truly unreal.  At one point, it felt as if my root chakra had a giant cord attached to the earth.

 

I would write more, but I really have to pee and brush my teeth an my tent is pretty soaked because I had no rain cover :/  Anyhow, his kids were so adorable, they kept wanting to hang out with me after the ceremony, hehe.  Despite being up for almost 36+ hours, I somehow managed to be coherent enough to play with them and converse with everyone.  This whole experience was all about facing so much of your shit because guess what?  You couldn’t run away!  And you couldn’t resort to technology because we had no service.

37410085505_cf5daf5bf8_oGent (the Medicine Man) and I helping to build the sweat lodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflecting

IMG_6499[1]Recently taken at the beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park just a couple hours from where I now live!

I didn’t intend to write a blog post today.  I actually haven’t been writing a whole lot lately, besides in my journal.  I just had a really intense moment as I hoofed it by foot over to the library this morning (I have been trying to do 1-2 days per week of no driving) and I got inspired.  The moment made me want to write it down as soon as possible before I forgot it.  I thought that this would be the perfect place to share it because I feel like someone out there needs to read it and I haven’t written a post in a while.

Lately I have been stressing out about many different things and it has no doubt been manifesting out into my physical reality.  Just lots of tough, dense, life darkness and yet on the other hand, I know that I have had so many blessings as well.  It’s just that, my monkey mind has been on full-swing and I haven’t been sticking with my meditation practice as strongly as I used to….it truly is amazing to see the difference which occurs when I don’t stick with it.  I don’t want to delve into too many of the details of what is going on in my life, but the best way to put it is that I am finally facing a ton of my crap that I can no longer run away from.

So, as I am walking to the library, with cars whizzing by me, loud sirens and car alarms going off…my mind was doing it’s wandering.  As it was wandering, it was playing out all of these different scenarios, such as “Ohhhh, maybe if I decide to take that path, that will create happiness and peace in my life, ohhhh maybe I shouldn’t have done that and then I wouldn’t have found myself in this situation, etc. etc. etc…” It was creating straight up novels based upon a future that hasn’t happened yet and the past that is no longer.  As the stories built up, the anxiety in my chest got stronger.

I turned the corner to head down the main street that gets me to the library.  Everything went quiet since it’s a residential street and it doesn’t have much traffic usually. All of a sudden, my anxiety dissipated and everything felt just like pure peace.  I looked over to my right and in someone’s house window was a message that simply stated “Enjoy the journey.”  All of my worries, all of my planning just dropped like a giant Jenga tower and again, I just felt the pure peace of the moment.  Not one minute later, I noticed a cemetery to the right of the house that I had never noticed before since I always drive to the library.

As I passed by all the tombstones, the wind gently pushed in the direction towards the library causing a chill up and down my spine. I started reading the messages on the tombstones, one in particular was a man that passed away in 2008, he was almost the exact same age as me. Further on, I kept noticing how unique and personal each tombstone was and how there were so many different ages, from a baby that had only lived a week to a man in his late 90s.  I started nearing towards the end and there was a sign that had a message on it, but it was bent and blocked by a big bush, so the only word that was visible on it was bright lettering that stated:

“NOW.”

It just seemed like a pretty clear message to me, as I was worrying the whole morning and night before. It can all end at any moment, truly, so to stay present with wherever you are is the most important.  I no longer want to dwell on past regrets as there isn’t anything that I can do regarding it, except to accept them as lessons.  I also don’t want to keep projecting a future that is yet to be, as Doris Day sang “whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see.”  While it’s good to do a little bit of planning, it’s also best to adjust to the flow and appreciate what is happening now.  I dunno, just a little musing for this Thursday morning, thanks for reading if ya have thus far.  Peace out!  🙂

Drop Pin Me!

Shortly before biking over to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, 2012.

“So where do you think you want to be dropped?!” My friend Diane asked me as she pulled her hair to the side and took a bite out of her burrito.  I looked through the restaurant’s glass window and watched as rain poured down on yet another stormy day in Portland, Oregon. Diane was referring to a game that she, our friend Tom, and I came up with one sunny afternoon when we were a bit buzzed at a brewery.  It was one of those things where you have a couple beers and you start planning a rock band with your friends, you know….one of those things that you talk about, but never actually walk about.  But it hit me that stormy afternoon as we munched on our burritos that Diane was still very serious about this.

“South America or China, although…I am really open to wherever!”  I smiled and answered.  Yes, this would become something real, I decided right then and there. Why the hell not?  What do I have to lose except for some money, but I truly believe the idea that travel is the one thing that you can spend money on in which you will grow richer.  I realized that every travel experience I have ever had made my mind, body, and soul flourish.  This experience would be no different.

 In front of Gulfoss Waterfall in Iceland, a few days before Christmas 2016

Our creation that was just buzzed talk at first has now become a website thanks to Diane and her friend: http://www.droppinme.com.  The rules are that I do not find out where I am going until I get to the airport.  Please stop by and throw down a vote for me on what country you would like me to go to. Each vote is $1 through PayPal, although, if you don’t have PayPal you can pay through “Venmo” to my friend Diane (you’ll see it at the area where you vote on the site.)  The money will go to a charity that I choose in the country in which I will be “dropped.”

The rules are, you can’t send me to a country that I have already been to. For the record, these are the countries that I have visited: Bahamas, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Poland, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, Thailand, United States, Vietnam, Virgin Islands. Also, it has to be a country that is safe enough.  My friend Diane is monitoring my votes and will give me a heads up on what kind of weather that I can expect in the country that I’ll be dropped in so that I know what kind of clothing to pack.

With friends at Phi Phi Leh Island near Phuket, Thailand.

This will be my one last hurrah this year before I start work again in Oregon in January.  I am so excited to be able to have an ultimate adventure of the unknown and to be able to help a good cause while I do it. I am thankful for any and all support.  I appreciate all of my followers on here and hope that you are enjoying your unknown adventures in wherever your journey has taken you too.  Peace out and stay tuned for my next post which will be a continuation from my Vision Quest Journey.
In my dad’s homeland of Budapest Hungary, 2011.

Gratitude in Action

“I am so incredibly grateful that you and your car got us from Portland to this trailhead safely,” my friend Mary stated.

And now it was my turn...”I am so incredibly grateful that I have a refrigerator and cupboard stocked full of healthy foods.”

Another steep part of the hike was upon us, we both went back into the solitude of our minds until we reached flat land again.

I am so grateful for the household that I live in,” Mary said.

I am so grateful that I have my health to be able to do this awesome hike,” I said.

My friend Mary and I have been on many hikes throughout the Pacific Northwest together since I started hanging out with her almost three years ago.  A few weeks ago we ventured on a hike and came up with a new way of hiking. Each time we came upon a new incline to hike up, we had to each think of something near and dear to our heart that we were grateful for and then once we reached flat land again, we’d share with each other what we were thinking. We did it in some back lands behind Silver Falls in Silverton, Oregon.  The trail had many inclinations and there were no other souls around.  I felt so light and as if my body was buzzing throughout the hike.

I have always known the power of gratitude as I have seen it work wonders in others’ lives and my own.  Meditation has helped me to further integrate into the wonderful energy of gratitude. By being so completely present in the moment, everything seems like a miracle.  Of course, the monkey mind comes back quite often (dang it, I’m still human!) But for the most part, ever since starting my meditation practice half a decade ago, everything…a spoonful of delicious soup, resting my body on a comfortable bed, or having a meaningful conversation with a dear friend  have all become moments of gold.

A couple different spiritual teachers that I have been listening to lately have inspired me to start a new daily practice, I made up my own term for it, I call it “3 and 3.”  It’s super easy, doesn’t take a lot of time and is incredibly powerful.  I either do it at night or in the morning when I’m having my coffee.  Basically, I list three things in which I am grateful for, but honestly it’s more than just listing them…I actually try to really feel how deep my gratitude is for them.  Then I list three intentions that I have for that day (or if I’m doing this at night, I list three intentions for the next day.) I have found this to be a very powerful practice because more often than not I reach almost all of those intentions that day.

If that seems like a lot of extra activity to your already packed world, maybe just try to do it for the week.  So before the week starts, list three things you intend to get done that week and three things that you are in gratitude of from the last week.  I have found that actually writing them out, with pen and paper really seems to make it happen.  Do whatever works for you yo, I just hope you do give it a shot and see for yourself!

Peace out!

Listen to Your Heart! And Woah! I did a video?!

Took a hike to one of my favorite waterfalls and decided to try and attempt something that scares the crap outta me: vlogging!  Click and watch a short 2-minute video done by a rookie.  The message is all about following the heart!