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Removing the Pain of Sexual Assault

When I awoke, alone, and in a strange bed, I heard the shower running near me.  I looked around the room, not recognizing my surroundings. I turned my head and gazed down at my bare body to find all my clothes gone, dumped in a pile in a corner of the room as if left for the maid.

What caught my eye, were photos on a dresser nearby.  My Godzilla antennae were out. Assess your surroundings.  Get out!  The whispers came to fast and furious. Now. Move it!

I tried to rise and felt dizzy. My vision was blurred. I felt confused and nauseated. My legs refused to move, so I pulled them over to the side of the bed, placing each foot on the carpet, grabbing bed covers on either side of me for balance.

Singing commenced in the shower, emanating from an unknown baritone voice.

Could this be real?  Am I having a nightmare?

No, it was a living nightmare.

I blinked my eyes hard and focused on the subject in the photos nearby.  It was me, spread eagle out on the bed, passed out. I hurriedly looked around the room for signs of violence or liquor bottles. I felt highly intoxicated without having recalled how I got there.

My pulse was racing and blood roared in my ears. Get out! I felt like a caged animal, unable to escape.  But the images bolted me into the flight and fight mode.

I stumbled out of bed, headed towards my clothes.  But when I reached down for them, I lost my balance and crashed into the dresser, sending the lamp, toppling onto the floor. A crescendo of broken glass and bent metal resounded.

I quickly grabbed my dress and scrambled into it.  Time was running out.

I seized the photos, taken with a land camera.  I recognized its type immediately as I used such a camera to appraise real estate for clients when presenting properties for sale.

"What's going on?" a voice from the bathroom bellowed. "Hey, those are mine!  You can't take those!"

My shoes.  Where were they?  I scrambled into my dress as the bathroom door flew open to reveal a man in a white towel.   He started towards me.  Terror reigned in me like never before.  My hand reached the locked door before my feet.  I was out like a flash, charging down the hotel isle for the elevator, peeling on more clothes as I ran, barefoot.

Inside the safety of the elevator, it all came back to me.  At the job replacement agency, I had accepted an invitation to book an appointment with an inventor for a brief stint on TV. He needed a pretty girl to showcase a new gadget on the Johnny Carson Show.  I had accepted and was interviewed in an office suite in a high-rise hotel/condominium.  The setting did not set off any alarm bells.  When I was hired for the job, I remember being handed a glass of champagne.

"To celebrate," my new boss said.

No harm here, I thought. Next thing I knew – I awakened in a strange bed, naked and cold.

Rohypnol. It is known as the date rape drug ­– unknowingly to me at the time ­– is illegal in the US.  It is shipped from Mexico to US buyers.  Websites abound.  Rohypnol is a dangerous drug that causes euphoria and amnesia. It can disable a person from resisting a sexual attack or even from taking care of themselves while they are under the influence.

At the time of my sexual assault, the psychoactive drug or incapacitating agent was known to me as slipping the Mickey, except I'd only heard the term used with actresses who accuse Hollywood predators.  It is dropped into an unsuspecting victim without their knowledge, with the intent to incapacitate the victim.

Mickey ...and me.  It came to me in the elevator.

I crumpled into a mess of tears, sliding my back down against the wall of the moving elevator.  How could this have happened?  Sure, I was raised in a small town in North Carolina by helicopter parents.  I was only twenty-one years of age.  Why did I not see it coming?  I blamed myself for my naivety.

I raced back to my apartment by taxi and tried to pull myself together. I had been raped. My body ached from the pain.  Should I make a police report?  Yes.  Did I?  No.  Why not?   You know why.  And there's no excuse for it either.

The should haves, the wished I had, but didn't, still wreak havoc with me today.  I was too ashamed to make the report.  I heard the tales.

"No one will believe you," they say.  Personally, at the time of the experience, I knew four other women who were very dear to me and had endured sexual assault.  None of them had reported it to the police.  The experience can be heart wrenching.  I had no one to turn to, as I was new in Houston.  I did take one aggressive action.  It was the best I could do at the time.  I called the listing agent of the job placement agency.

"Hi Tina, how was the job interview?" the agent said when she answered the phone.  Tears rained down my face.  I shook with despair and shame. I spoke and blundered, my words crashing. I tried again.

"I was raped.  Mickey.  Don't send any more girls there," I muttered hoarsely.

"What?  NO.  Ok.  Um, you alright?"

"No," I said.  After a bit of exchange for details, all the agent wanted to know was...

"Are you going to prosecute?  You're not going to sue us, are you?" she said.

I hung up and collapsed onto my safe sofa and cried some more.

Today, thirty-seven years later, and as a mother of two grown sons, I released my book: Bluewater Walkabout: Into Africa, Finding Healing Through Travel.  It took thirty-seven years for me to begin to tell my story. The more I talk about the assault, the easier it gets.  But now everyone wants to hear.

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I endured pushback from my immediate family.  Shocking, right?  I hadn't expected it.  I was blindsided, actually.  It sent me spiraling into a depression until I realized I was hurting myself from something I did not cause.  He did it to me!  Not me to myself!

I see the same story happening all around me. My story seemed banal compared to the girls who were being daily violated at raves, pub bathrooms, musical festivals.  Most suffered physical injuries.  All suffered mental anguish. Some were dumped behind garbage bins. It was time to speak out.

How did I seek healing?

Unfortunately for me, I didn't have the money for a doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist.  The internet was not a source of reference at the time. I was unable share my feelings; I had no one to turn to.

Today, caring agencies and nonprofit organizations help girls to heal, anonymously. No one has to know.  Rape kits are passed out at the police department.  Hospitals and care givers take a sexual assault seriously.  There's no blame uttered during an exam.  Being an epidemic, rape is taken more seriously today.

After my assault, I went traveling, instead of seeking professional help, since I felt it unavailable to me.  I sought adventurous travel.  Over time, the more I traveled and the greater the journey, the faster I began to heal. When traveling in foreign countries, I saw how other women suffered compared to my inner wounds.  My problem became less significant and theirs' more urgent.

As I began to reflect and appreciate how far I had journeyed, the pain of sexual assault left me.  I began to feel normality return in Africa after learning of young girls having been kidnapped in Nigeria to become child brides for terrorists; after learning of arranged marriages in Pakistan and India where women were forced to bear children instead of experiencing love and enjoying sex; where young girls were sold on the black market as prostitutes; where 200 million African girls were circumcised when prepubescent, removing external genitalia in 27 countries.  These were all current issues, far more grave than mine.

In time, my comparison with these victims enabled me to see more clearly.  I became an activist for female assault victims.  I began to talk about my sexual attack.  Quietly, then more loudly when no one paid attention.

An excerpt from Bluewater Walkabout: Into Africa, Finding Healing Through Travel:

This wasn’t my first rape or sexual assault. A college boyfriend date raped me when I was a virgin. For a long time, I didn’t understand what making love was about since sex seemed to be equated with violence, betrayal, and fear. Later, when I married my husband, I began to learn the true meaning of love. I was brought out of the darkness and back into the light.

For nearly four decades I was too broken to tell of my trauma from sexual assault and rape—until the writing of this book. I told my best friend first, simply because she was in town and my sister wasn’t.

“Leave out the mickey and rapes. Keep it a secret,” she said.

“Why?”  I was incredulous.

“It’s tragic. I only want to read happy books.”

“Rape and sexual assault are an epidemic. According to the Dept. of Justice and the CDC, 1 in 6 women had been raped and sexually assaulted in the USA, not to mention the horrific genocide rapes occurring in the Middle East and Africa. A rape occurs every 107 seconds in the USA; 20% of college women are raped before graduation. What if my telling saves even one life? The more we talk about it, the more others can too. Our shared stories bring power to the victims.”

“It’s still too negative,” she said.

I next told a loved one. She told me of similar experiences. I was aghast. How did I not know?  We had shared our youth together. “Why didn’t you tell me when we were kids?”

“I was too ashamed,” she said. “I had no one to turn to. You know how it is. People would have said it was all my fault. I couldn’t face their betrayal.” 

I felt terrible. I should have seen her pain. I would make it up to her by being an intimate part of her adult life. I would protect her at all times. Look after her. Support her. Be more involved in her life.

I next told Amy Ferris, a memoirist, and author of Shades of Blue, at a writing conference. Grimacing, she shared a similar story. “Sexual assault predators are dirt bags,” she said.

“Castrate them all. Like other countries do,” said her friend, who was standing next to her. I laughed.

“Amen, Sister!”  We high-fived. How many more victims were amongst me?

I next asked my friend, a former military officer, if I should write about it. “No. Keep out the mickey in your book,” she said.

“Are you kidding?  Are you telling me you’ve never been harassed when you were young?  Think about what we’re covering up. It only proliferates if we don’t speak out.”

“Okay, right. Yes, put it in,” she said. Then she looked down at her napkin.

I recall wandering a railroad track at twilight one day, going somewhere, and nowhere. Depressed over my boyfriend’s sexual abuse, I was lost in despair. Dark thoughts entered my mind when I normally pushed away the darkness and rode the waves of positive belief. Even this was too much for me.

In my senior year with only one semester remaining until graduating with a high GPA, I dropped out. No one could stop me. I couldn’t run fast enough. I never looked back.

According to Mother Jones, an estimated 26,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place in the military in 2012. Only one in seven victims reported their attacks, and just one in 10 of those cases went to trial.

According to mental-health experts, the effects of military sexual trauma and sexual assault (MST) include depression, substance abuse, paranoia, and feelings of isolation.  Victims spend years drowning in shame and fear as the psychological damage silently eats away at their lives. Many frequently end up addicted to drugs and alcohol, homeless or take their own lives.

Bewildered with the various responses I received, I asked a successful business woman, VP of a wealth management firm, and a friend of mine. “What do you think about leaving the mickey out?”

“Leave it out. It’s not your job to save the world.”

Bewildered, I consulted a spiritual mentor.

“Of course. You have to leave it in! We enter this world and choose our experiences. It’s our greatest sacrifice. You must then learn how to rise above it and teach others.  Only then, will you have sought your greatest accomplishment in life,” she said. “You, indeed, will save lives.”

At least in sharing my trauma, I knew that if I told it enough times, I would no longer feel the pain and punish myself for it.

My self-discovery rang true in the end.

The more I talked, the easier it was to share.  In sharing, we empower other women to speak out.  The most recent figures point to 1 in 5 women being raped today.  The conversation needs to happen.  As we go deep in telling our story, one girls' life will be saved – saved from a drug overdose or self-destructive behavior.  The evidence is clear: Endure sexual trauma and the chances of emotional problems is assured unless help is found.

After my sexual assault, I ran and couldn't run fast enough.  I quit my job as a real estate broker, closed up my apartment, skipped town.

I landed well.  Within a month, I had met my future husband and was sailing to the Bahamas to explore hidden pirate caves, snorkel pristine reef, and embrace the good life of freedom.  We are still married today after 35-year together.  Our two sons share our family business.  I am blessed.

Adventurous travel set me free.

It will set you free too.

THE SIMPLE LIFE

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One of my greatest joys in living on a boat is sailing into port and getting to know the people who live and work in the community.  They teach me things.

Take this man in Miami for example.  I met him while waiting for a rental car pickup.  He greets me in Spanish as he drives by in a golf-cart, pulling security detail for the marina. I reply in Spanish without thinking.

“Oh, tu habla espanol!” he says.  (You speak Spanish!)

In Miami, if you want to get around and indulge in its unique culture, you have to speak Spanish.  It’s a real delight.  I feel like I’m in a foreign country without having boarded a plane.

Golfcart begins to tell me his story: How he ran away from Cuba forty years ago, brought over extended family members, and established a life for himself.

“I have a house, a job, my family.  Cuba couldn’t take care of me: no food, no housing, nada,” he says.  “America took me in.  I love America!”

Later in the day, while driving through a quaint Cuban neighborhood, the streets are empty of playing children.  It’s Saturday.  Where did they all go?  It looks liked a nuclear bomb site.  No structural damage, just psychological damage.  It is eerie.

When we reach the parts supply store, my husband Peter engages in conversation with a young Cuban father.

“Where are all the kids these days?” Peter asks.

“On their phones,” says the clerk with a grimace.  “They can’t live without them. It’s horrible.  Back in my day we played in the woods, but there’s no trees anymore.  The kids get bullied at school if they don't have fancy gadgets or cars.  I hate that.”

“I can imagine.  I grew up playing basketball in the streets,” Peter says.  “It was great fun – exercise, laughter…”

“I know.  Today, kids remain behind locked doors, lost in solitude with devices and computer games while the parents are at work.  Then we are shocked when a school shooting happens.  This is why,” says Clerk.

The man looks at Peter. “All the kids want are a phone and car when they reach high school.  ‘Must haves’, they wail.  Then all they do is stare at the phone all day, every day.  I know when it’s a Teachers Day because the streets are crowded in the middle of the afternoon.  The kids jump in their cars and drive around all day, texting.”

I ponder the impact of this digital age.  Its collateral damage are the lessening of quality time with kids.  This is why we chose to live a simple life and reared our kids on a boat.  Our two sons could handle a Hawaiian sling better than bicycle handlebars. They could spear fish from as young as six years old.  They didn’t need a car or phone.  A vhf radio was their phone-line and their friends were all around - on the beach, in the water.  A drivers license didn’t land in their hands until in they reached their mid-twenties.

Today, they are thriving adults and actually act like they like us.

When our kids adopted lives of their own, they chose the simple life: bare feet, sun and sky, board shorts, and a boat.

Beduoin Shepherd

Let us not deceive ourselves; we must elect world peace or world destruction. 

Bernard Baruch

Beduoin-Girl



I look at this stunning Bedouin girl in Palestine and my heart aches.  The plight of her people and of all people in the crisis region - including Israelis - are on a dangerous path of self-destruction and I am greatly disturbed.  For such religious states, Israel and Palestine can’t seem to find peace.  It’s all based on egos.  Egos of political leaders who are inflaming the people for their own agenda.  I could be wrong.  I am probably wrong.  Still, my heart aches for the people.  They suffer the most.

EGO = Edging God Out

When I traveled into Palestine, I felt greatly moved by the people.  Driving down a lonely road leading from the Dead Sea, we came upon Bedouin children herding a flock of sheep, crossing the road.  We pulled off to the side to let them pass.  Afterwards, the young shepherds stood sentinel on the hill that is void of life in the Negev desert.  The young girl’s orange hijab in contrast with her black abaya, set against the beige backdrop of the Negev Desert is an image I will never forget.  It moved me to tears.

The girl looked to be twelve years old and walked with a younger girl and a little boy, probably her siblings.  The Bedouin are a tribe who live in the Negev Desert in Palestine.

It is the Palestinians who are protesting against the recent events undertaken by the Israelis in the Old City of Jerusalem.  I am not happy.

If you have never been into the old walled city of Jerusalem, it is a remarkable experience to walk down narrows avenues of rock where four different sects of religion share a corner of real estate roughly the size of the Ohio State Fairgrounds sans parking area.  We traversed its entirety in under three hours.

To better understand what all the fighting is about, let me explain how the city is laid out.  The walled city is divided into four neighborhoods: Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish quarters.  (Note: I was in a state of shock at seeing how happy and cheerful the people seemed to be in contrast to the political news coming out of Israel and America at press time.)

How different are the people inside the walled city, today.

A 3rd intifada is happening in Israel.   

What are the people fighting about? A piece of real estate—the al-Aqsa mosque inside the Temple Mount compound.  The site is Islam’s 3rd holiest shrine and is sacred to Muslims because the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven in a winged horse during his miraculous Night Journey. 

The Temple Mount is built over the 2nd Jewish Temple which was destroyed by the Romans, except for one wall.  The remaining wall became the holiest site to Jews and is known as the Western Wall where Jews go to pray.  Many prayers are scripted in paper.  It is mesmerizing to see thousands of aged notes squeezed between stones in the wall, also known as the Wailing Wall.

Even though the holy sites abut, all is peaceful until Ariel Sharon enters the Temple Mount in 2000, instigating the 2nd intifada because Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount only to visit at limited times. Muslims are free to pray on Temple Mount.

The stated cause of the recent surge in attacks is the Palestinians’ belief that the Israeli government is trying to change the status quo at the holy compound where Jews are restricted from religious rites.

And yet Netanyahu repeatedly denies it.  Surely he understands that altering the fragile prayer arrangements in the al-Aqsa Mosque could result not only in a 3rd intifada but a full-blown war with the entire Muslim world.

Worse, members of Netanyahu's coalition speak of instating Jewish sovereignty and building a Third Temple.

MAMA MIA!

Uri Ariel, a minister of the Jewish Home party, visited the holy site and Both states are neglecting world peace.

There are growing concerns that the scattershot stabbings of today may become the suicide bombings of tomorrow.

      I worry about the young girl in the orange hijab and black abaya.

SIMPLY APPRECIATING

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At this time of year, I find it a good practice to recall what I am truly thankful for.

My family, of course. My friends. All my blessings bestowed upon me.

Most importantly, I am thankful for the global travel I had undertaken with our children before they left home to begin lives of their own. Travel taught them how to discover life in a new way. They discovered the world through our family travel adventures. Our travels forever transformed us all. We now look at the world and its peoples differently, having become better people because of it.

We learned the secrets of the world. At a time when no one seems to be able to figure out the secrets, I see it as evident.

LOVE.      LOVE.      LOVE.

Where did all the love go? The humanity?

Where did appreciation of our differences go instead of what religion we follow?

It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.

I thank the Universe on this special day because I learned the world as Thomas Paine viewed it.

"The world is my country, all mankind is my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”

This is what I'm talking about: An unnamed man played John Lennon's 'Imagine' for a crowd outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris - one of the locations of Friday's horrific attacks. He arrived on a bicycle and began playing. He took the crowd into a spiritual place, honoring humanity at Paris' 9/11.

Maybe we too can become more humane for those who have no homes, live in tents, are tired, poor, and disenfranchised. If we reach out to them instead of turning our backs, we win the war against everything, even daesh.


Spiritual Awareness for Adventure Travel


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Spiritual awareness books are my best friends.

Spiritual awareness books contributed to my ability to travel well. As a consequence, they are piled high on my shelf.  Then I began reading spiritual awareness books when I started traveling. Later, I met and fell in love with my current husband.  Meanwhile, we started out on a boat and still live aboard one today.  In fact, we sailed around the world with our two sons and a dog in a catamaran.  By and large, everything went wrong most of the time, and we laughed all of the way.  Incidentally, I’ve never looked back. No doubt, spiritual awareness books contributed to successful travel.

Furthermore, no matter what country you journey in, all people are loving and kind. We found that though governments are different, the people are all One.  First and foremost, we all love, work, look for pleasure in all things. Spiritual awareness books helped prepare me to always find the good in people.

In addition, religion has nothing to do with spirituality.  Whereas religion is an institutionalized version of seeing God or one’s Source, spirituality is walking with Spirit.  Presently, you know this when you travel. Spiritual awareness books train the mind and soul to work in unison.  When all else goes wrong, and you are in big trouble, ask for help and be amazed when it comes.  It’s that simple. Even so, spiritual awareness books are gifts for the soul.

As a matter of fact, others have asked me before where I go to find teachings on spirituality.  Interestingly enough, I go to the countries that practice the religions. For instance, I’ve entered mosques, Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, synagogues, churches, and Baha’i temples to understand foreign cultural beliefs better. In conclusion, my experiences in 80 different countries around the world have made a better me.

Consequently, I am happier, more secure, tuned into the Universe. Moreover, I have chosen to live in nature with my family and spiritual awareness books.

Moreover, I feel global religious teachings share common beliefs.  As a matter of fact, we just give God a different name. Similarly, war is battled between religious sects, thus countering the teachings of God in the first place. Spiritual awareness books have helped me understand the depth behind foreign religions.

Recommended Spiritual Awareness Books

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Power to Change by Marianne Williamson

Family Relationships by Marianne Williamson

Mystical Power by Marianne Williamson

Spiritual Principles by Marianne Williamson

Romantic Relationships by Marianne Williamson

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

The Age of Miracles by Marianne Williamson

The Healing of America by Marianne Williamson

Manifesting Abundance by Marianne Williamson

Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson

Handling Fear by Marianne Williamson

The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama

Plum Village Meditations by Thick Nhat Hann, Sister Jina van Hengel

Awakening to the Buddha Within: Eight Steps to Enlightenment by Lama Surya Das

Serenity Through ‘A Course in Miracles’ by Foundation for Inner Peace

The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav

Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind Body Medicine by Dr. Deepak Chopra

Yoga as a Form of Mediation by Deepak Chopra, Yogi Amrit Desai

The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents by Dr. Deepak Chopra

More Spiritual Awareness Books

The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence to Create Miracles by Deepak Chopra

The Cosmic Mind the Submanifest Order of Being by Deepak Chopra

The Deeper the Wound: Recovering the Soul in the Face of Fear and Tragedy by Dr. Deepak Chopra

Whispers: The Spirit of Now by Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Jack Canfield, Don Miquel Ruiz

Muhammad: The Story of the Last Prophet (Enlightenment Collection) by Deepak Chopra

Buddhist Monk, China

Jesus (Enlightenment Collection) by Deepak Chopra

Peace is the Way by Deepak Chopra

Living without Limits by Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer

The New Physics of Healing by Deepak Chopra

Overcoming Addiction: The Chopra Center Method for Overcoming Destructive Habits by Deepak Chopra and David Simon M.D.

Buddha (Enlightenment Collection) by Deepak Chopra

The Power of Intuition by Judith Orioff, Deepak Chopra

An Ancient Magical Prayer by Deepak Chopra, Gregg Braden

Pursuit of the Magnificent: The Divine Order of Love by Dr. John Demartini, Dr. Deepak Chopra

Everyday Immortality: A Concise Course in Spiritual Transformation by Deepak Chopra

The Spiritual Journey by Deepak Chopra, Richard Moss

How to Know God: The Soul’s Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries by Dr. Deepak Chopra

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie

Secrets of Your Own Healing Power by Dr. Wayne Dyer

The Power of Intention: Learning How to Co-create Your World Your Way by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Other Spiritual Awareness Books

Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-step Advice on Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Manifest Your Destiny: The Nine Spiritual Principles for Getting Everything You Want by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Meditations for Manifesting: Morning and Evening Meditations to Create Your Heart’s Desire by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Wisdom of the Masters by Dr. Wayne Dryer and Hay House

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Inspiration by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Four Pathways to Success: Succeed in Life Using Discipline, Wisdom, Unconditional Love, and Surrender by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Applying the 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Beach in India

Your Life Begins Now! by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Your Power to Create by Caroline Myss

The Call to Live a Symbolic Life by Caroline Myss

Intuitive Power: Your Natural Resource by Caroline Myss

Essential Guide for Healers by Caroline Myss

The Divine Matrix: Bridging Time, Space, Miracles, and Beliefby Dr. Gregg Braden

Power vs Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behaviorby Dr. David Hawkins

The Grand Design by Dr. Stephen Hawking

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams by Dr. Deepak Chopra

Popular Spiritual Awareness Books

The Power of Now: Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle

Practicing the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Become a Better You: Seven Keys to Improving Your Life Everyday by Joel Osteen

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Mind, and Matter by Bruce Lipton

Armenian Priest

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Infinite Quest: Develop Your Psychic Intuition and Take Charge of Your Life by John Edward

Unfinished Business: What the Dead Can Teach Us About Life by James Van Praagh

Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World by Harold Kushner

The Life You were Born to Live: A Guide to Finding Your Life Purpose by Dan Millman

Spiritual Awareness Books to Stretch the Soul

Ask and It is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Ester Hicks and Jerry Hicks

The Vortex: Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative Relationships by Ester Hicks and Jerry Hicks

The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings by Abraham by Ester Hicks and Jerry Hicks

The Astonishing Power of Emotions: Let Your Feelings Be Your Guide  by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks

The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent: Living the Art of Allowing by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by the Dalai Lama

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, Indonesia, and India by Elizabeth Gilbert

Samoan

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

The End of Reincarnation by Gary Renard

The Disappearance of the Universe: Straight Talk about Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Politics, Sex and the Miracles of Forgiveness by Gary Renard

Secrets of the Immortal by Gary Renard

Journey of Souls: Case Study of Life Between Lives by Michael Newton, Ph.D.

Think Big with Spiritual Awareness Books

Think and Grow Rich: The Practical Steps of Transforming Your Life into Riches by Napoleon Hill

Out on a Limb by Shirley MacLaine

Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book that Changes Lives by Dan Millman

Italy

A Separate Reality: Conversations with Don Juanby Carlos Castaneda

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow

Soul Stories by Gary Zukav

The Heart of the Soul by Gary Zukav

Heaven is Real: Lessons on Earthly Joy–What Happened after 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper, Cecil Murphey

Inside-out Wellness: The Wisdom of Mind/Body Healing by Dr. Wayne Dyer, Christiane Northrup

Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Rain Forest by Mark Plotkin

Phenomenon: Everything You Need to Know About the Paranormal by Sylvia Browne

Healing Your Body, Mind, and Soul: Learn to Reprogram Your Mind to Stay Healthy by Sylvia Browne

Tools for Life by Sylvia Browne

The Mystical Life of Jesus: An Uncommon Perspective on the Life of Christ by Sylvia Browne

Angels and Spirit Guides: How to Call in Your Angels and Guides for Help by Sylvia Browne

Prophecy: What the Future Holds for You by Sylvia Browne

Past Lives, Future Healing by Sylvia Browne

Life on the Other Side by Sylvia Browne

Insight: Case Files by the Psychic World by Sylvia Browne

Making Contact with the Other Side: How to Enhance Your Own Psychic Powers by Sylvia Browne

Spiritual Awareness Books that Grow the Mind

Many Lives, Many Master: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy that Changed Both Their Lives by Brian Weiss

When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles by Bill Johnson

Return to Wholeness: Embracing Mind, Body, and Spirit in the Face of Cancer by David Simon

Understanding Islam: An Introduction to the Muslim World by Thomas Lippman

Buddhist Worshiper, Thailand

The Places in Between by Rory Stewart

The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror by Bernard Lewis

The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban by Sarah Chayes

Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in SE Asia by Ahmed Rashid

Approval Addiction: Overcoming Your Need to Please Everyone by Joyce Meyer

Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Make Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser

Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron

A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea by Sebastien Falletti, Eunsun Kim

In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta A Ahmed

The Cooked Seed: A Memoir by Anchee Min

Foreign Spiritual Awareness Books

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout, Sara Corbett

The Favored Daughter: One Woman’s Fight to Lead Afghanistan Into the Future by Fawzia Koofi, Nadene Ghouri

Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan

Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier

How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of Terror by Reza Aslan

The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: An American Woman’s Adventures in the Oldest City on Earthby Jennifer Steil

The Story of My Life: An Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky by Farah Ahmedi, Tamim Ansary

7 Reasons Why Adventure Living is Good for Your Family


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Family adventure living is one of the hottest topics being talked about on the web.

There's something magical about embarking on a family adventure into the unknown.  You really get out to experience the world with your kids.  I call it "getting our mojo back".  For you, it could be a weekend trek into the mountains or a family bike road on rural back roads.  For us, embarking on a family adventure meant going cruising on a sailboat.

On an adventure, events can turn outlandishly funny.  The pouting child can't help but begin to see beauty in the world.  Soon enough, their renewed spirit invigorates not only their soul but the family unit too.

Check out my 7 reasons why adventure travel is good for the family.

1.  Spending time outdoors increases endorphins.  

Feel-good hormones in family adventure living, also known as endorphins, give our mood a natural boost.  These naturally occurring hormones make you feel better by helping to quell such things as pain, sadness, and lethargy.

Accordingly, if your child is acting moody and withdrawn, leave the devices at home and get outdoors.  No doubt, the fresh air and change of scenery will release a flood of endorphins, turning your child into a happy self.

He'll be laughing and smiling, feeling your attention, and relishing every minute of it.  For that reason, he might even pick you flowers.

 2.  A sense of responsibility is created.

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At a very young age, children can learn how to feel important and part of the team by working on family projects.

Consequently, don't be afraid to stretch here, afraid to allow them around chemicals.  Just keep an eye on them and educate your children on the dangers of chemicals.  We always suited up our kids with gloves and plastic working glasses or goggles to protect their eyes when painting the boat.

During our annual haul-out, the boys worked together on boat projects, side-by-side their Dad.  At the end of a project, water hose fights broke out with much hilarity.

 3. Getting a pet promotes inner love.

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Next, pets are great for kids in family adventure living.  As parents, sometimes we need to be firm in order to teach a particular principle to our child.  This may leave behind sad feelings for him. Having a dog around, enables them to get a free hug and kiss other than from just the parents.

Dogs listen.  Dogs follow.  Dogs make kids feel loved.  We went through three dogs and two cats, each one special and endearing to our hearts.

Equally important, involving the child in taking responsibility in caring for the pet promotes smiles all around, even if initial complaint rings out when starting out, in my opinion.

4.  Helping your kids make friends creates an adventure community.

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We always invited other kids to join us on outings into the rainforest or on picnics, as a matter of fact.

Consequently, every weekend when immersed in family adventure living, we held barbecues on the beach, inviting parents to bring a dish to share.  This could be in your backyard if you're not on a boat.  The weekly event enabled not only us to make new friends, but our kids as well.  Seeing them organize a game of tag or hide n' seek was a delight to watch.

As a child, I spent many evenings playing kick-the-can in the street.  Today, neighborhoods are like urban deserts - kids behind their devices and out of sight.

5.  Getting around wild animals is remarkable to a child in family adventure living.

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Also, nothing more adventurous can wow your kids than introducing them to wild animals.  In our family adventure living, our first encounter occurred one summer day with a wild dolphin.  We named her Nikki and she still comes around today, thirty-five years later.  She's had three babies since then, each one more playful than their mother.

If we were on land, we took them on early morning hikes to view elk or deer.  A feeling of awe overcame them.  Today, they respect animal rights and contribute to their cause and protection, worldwide.  We took them on a safari to learn about the big animals of Africa.

Furthermore, for Christmas one year, we celebrated by gifting a cow to a village in a Developing Nation.  Animal love, domesticated or wild, is good for the child's soul.

 6.  Reading books together start the child in early learning skills.

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In addition, we reared our kids during the beginnings of video games.  Every kid had a set but ours, it seemed.  Instead, we promoted board games, inviting other kids over to join in on a long afternoon of popcorn and games.  Not only did this save electricity, but it brought kids together, instead of creating a solitary experience.  Call me old-fashioned, but there you have it.  As far as I can see, there's enough violence in our world.  Why encourage it on an intimate level in video games your child?

At night, we read as a family, often making up our stories.  Our kids read all day on passages, and to each other.  Today, they are still best friends and united brothers, as well.

7. Creating a family sport promotes brotherhood in family adventure living.

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Our sons first starting hunting when very young.  Fishing behind the boat with just a hand line as young as three years old was rewarding for them.  Little fish were caught; no fingers pricked.

Later as a family, we snorkeled the reef, early morning, when the critters were out and exposed. Initially, they were donned in life jackets, eyeing the fish as they finned by.  But soon enough, the boys were swimming freely with a mask and snorkel, managing a Hawaiian sling more deftly than a pair of bicycle handlebars.

Pictured is their 1st lobster catch in our family adventure living. Today, the two brothers still hunt together, watching each other's back for any lurking predators.  In Bluewater Walkabout: Into Africa, I share the adventures our sons experienced together in Africa.

 

12 Reasons Why Sailing and Adventuring Couples Stay Together Longer


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Sailing couples stay together longer.  In other words, couples who leave their comfort zone, by and large, grow closer together through the experience.  Let's look at why this happens, incidentally.

Most of my long-term married friends claim that adventure travel has strongly affected their relationship in a positive manner. Consequently, they're celebrating anniversaries when other couples are breaking apart. Presumably, adventure travel has become a casualty of long work hours. Consequently, one's career has supplanted adventure travel.

In any case, think about it.  Gynecologists advise patients to take vacations to encourage pregnancy.  The old flame is ignited when a couple travels together.  Exciting new adventures fire up the relationship. For sailing couples, it's a triple fire addiction, in fact.

Furthermore, here's why sailing couples stay together longer.

1. Sailing and adventuring couples share common goals.


First and foremost, the single most important thing you can do in planning to sail together is to set goals. You do not succeed in travel by accident. Sure, luck may come your way, but good luck is not a strategy.

The best thing we ever did was circumnavigate the globe in a small sailboat with our kids.  We never looked back. In my opinion, it was life-transforming.

2. Sailing and adventuring couples understand and adjust to limitations.

Secondly, adventuring is revealing.  It brings out the best and the worst in a person.  Strengths and weaknesses are quickly discovered.  I tried to hide mine.  It didn't work.

In our case, when preparing for a hurricane, we were forced to look for ways to complement each other's characteristics. We had to mold our relationship into a working, unified team, responsive to the job at hand while adjusting our limitations.

3. Sailing and adventuring couples have better communication.


Third, couples who sail together experience fewer disagreements.  Adventuring couples have adopted methods of understanding their partner and situations, accurately.  Patience has become a virtue, as a consequence.

In addition, sailing couples tend to be more gentle and refrain from judgment. They are careful with each other's feelings, practice tenderness, and avoid embarrassing their partner in front of others. They realize they are on the same team and refuse to criticize or destroy each other.

4. Sailing and adventuring couples may have a better sexual relationship.


 

According to a survey, couples who travel together have a better sexual relationship than couples who don’t travel together, in fact.

Presently, do you want to boost your sex life?  Adventure more? According to a new study from Expedia, travel was a significant contributor to improving health, weight loss, gaining confidence, and increasing sex drive.

“Traveling can help reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In fact, as stress and anxiety decreases, mood increases—bringing many, often unexpected, positive benefits in how we perceive ourselves, motivation and productivity, and our general outlook on life,” Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, a psychologist who worked with Expedia on the study, said in a statement.

5. Sailing and adventuring couples get out of their comfort zone.


Meanwhile, as human beings, we are inherently afraid. Afraid of failure, afraid of what other people will think of us, afraid of being alone, afraid of change and the unknown, and afraid to let ourselves go and step outside of our comfortable little environment, never wanting to leave the path we’ve been told we’re “supposed” to take.

We’re told you have to do what’s best for you – but when you take a step back and think – are you actually doing it? Can you honestly say you feel like you’re the master of your own destiny, or are you riding on the coattails of faith in hopes that it will lead you in the right direction?

As a couple running from a comfort zone, the reward is greater.  You get to run together, towards something great--adventure.

6. Sailing and adventuring couples understand neither is perfect and that's okay.


Since you are together most of the time, there is a little space for ugly secrets. There are no facades. You have to appreciate your partner the way he or she is. Whether he snores or she has her underarm hair un-shaved, adventuring reveals a bunch of ugly truths. And with this, there is little or nothing to hide.

Understand that nothing is perfect forever. There are going to be disagreements. There will be times when your partner says or does something that is hurtful. The happy relationships will talk about it and work through it. The bad relationships will let it stew until it becomes an even bigger problem. It's your choice.

7. Sailing and adventuring couples practice a sense of humor.

You can’t sail together without turning up some humor here and there. There are times when things just go horribly wrong and you have to laugh about it. It could be the horrible food you just bought on the street corner, having your hotel room mixed up or losing a map… something goes wrong and it is enough to have something to laugh at, to sustain your happiness along the way.

Humor in relationships is important. Life cannot be serious all the time, and although I know that sometimes it has to be that way, no one can live like that constantly. You have to make room for a little lightheartedness if you want to have a balanced love life. Being able to laugh is healthy for everyone.

8. Sailing and adventuring couples live the romance.

Romance goes way beyond what you see on cinema screens or read in a book. As an adventuring couple, romance is lived out of spontaneity and through a state of mind. Any scene, anywhere, could sparkle another moment of beauty. It is never about the money but the experience that adventuring together brings. This is why 86% of respondents in a survey of traveling couples said that their relationship still had romance alive in it, compared to 73% of respondents who never traveled together.

9. Sailing couples live in the moment.

The greatest sign of a successful life is not your bank balance or your material possessions –not your reputation either. The greatest sign of a successful life is your ability to live in the moment and be happy.

When you’re somewhere other than home, real life seems so far away. Already the past has faded slightly with every mile you journey further away.  This happens whether in your boat, on a plane, or atop a camel.

When you’re somewhere unknown, it’s easier to feel the ground beneath your feet.  The air surrounding you is void of the monotony of daily life that often creates a numbing effect.

10. Sailing and adventuring couples have become best friends.

Sailing couples have only each other to turn to and fewer disruptions by external bodies or persons. They prefer to stick with each other through challenges and differences.  Couples who adventure together provide healthy companionship.

Peter and I have been married for thirty-eight years. We can both honestly say that we are one another’s best friends. It's fun to talk constantly together, exercise, and go on long walks, and eat almost every meal together. We just love being in each other’s company. We prefer not to travel, unless together.

11. Sailing and adventuring couples are more forgiving.

Sailing together offers room for mistakes to be made and flaws to be revealed. However, there are challenges along the way.  Couples who journey together understand the need for early forgiveness in order to move forward.

Scientists who study forgiveness have long agreed that it is one of the most important contributors to a healthy relationship. Research has even found that people who practice unconditional forgiveness are more likely to enjoy longer lives.

In addition, forgiveness is such a key component to a healthy relationship, because, let’s face it, people are not perfect. In this photo, I lost the lobster. Forgive!

12. Sailing and adventuring couples enjoy more freedom.

Furthermore, couples who have sailed together in the past relish the freedom and independence traveling provides. They find comfort in respecting each other’s solitude, privacy, and sense of presence. This provides another healthy angle to the progress of a healthy, working relationship.

Sailing together is exciting, offering reasons to always be together--through the great, the bad, and the ugly.


Beach Trash: One Turtle, Two Turtles More


Collecting beach trash is the best way I know to help save the turtles. No doubt, it's the least I can do.

I was sitting on a porch outside a shop, waiting for the owner to show, when a local wandered by and purposely dropped a large Styrofoam container at the base of a telephone pole nearby.  He casually walked on as if his littering was the most natural thing to do.

I was incredulous. First, I am an activist.  Secondly, I collect beach trash every single morning.  Bags and bags of it.  My inner soul could not ignore this brazen attack against Mother Nature. "Say, you just left something back here?" I said in my mother voice.  Surely, my mother voice would mean something.

"Not my problem," he said.  And wandered on. No doubt, I was struck mute.

By this time, I was off the porch stoop with my hands on my hips.  Calm down, Tina, I said to myself.  You are a guest in this country. Still, I was seething inside. In any case, one thing I knew for sure, I was NOT going to pick it up for him and YES, he was going to pick it up, himself.  Incidentally, but how, exactly?

I tried reverse psychology.  I'm not sure what that is exactly, but my Mom always used that line on me when she insisted on getting her way, so I thought I'd give it a go.  "Look, dude, this is your country.  You're proud of it.  You love your country. How do you think your country looks to me when I see trash littering roadsides and trash bins are RIGHT THERE?"  I shouted, pointing to the trash bin located on the other side of the street.  Did he know the bin was there?  Presumably, he was watching, but perhaps not.  Nah, probably not, since it appears he never looks for one–just drops his trash wherever he is.

"F%&& you, lady!"  Hum, this can't be good. Ultimately, I guess my tactic didn't work.  Even so, the dude kept on walking away, tossing his cigarette butt behind him as if giving me a message.

I stared at the messy Styrofoam container: a fish odor wafted, and oily liquid oozed.  Even if I wanted to pick it up, I felt revolted by it.  I seriously pondered what to do.  I moved away from gathering flies to reflect. Suddenly, the dude appeared out of nowhere and I watched. Dude walked over, picked up the Styrofoam box, crossed the street, and plopped it into the trash bin.

Whoa!  Did I just see that?  I smiled broadly, wondering what to do.  I wanted to hug the poor dude.  Really. Dude flicked his chin up and lifted his hand in a barely, discernable wave.  And smiled. I stomped my feet like a dancer in jubilation.

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For this reason, my morning routine consists of a sunrise beach walk. With earbuds, trash bag, dog, and Peter (my husband) in tow, we spread out to jog:  Peter, fast forward; me, slow behind; Bella the dog, a back-and-forth between us both. As NPR commentators debate the news, I sprint between the high and low tidal marks to collect trash.  In addition, writings on packages announce their origins: China, South America, and the Caribbean.

 


I find the most unusual items: syringes, perfume bottles, and lipstick.  Of course, eventually, you get kicked in the gut. A teddy bear near a life jacket make me cry, so I hurriedly toss them in the bag. The usual items are shoes, toothbrushes, fishing line, ropes, plastic water bottles, and buckets.  Within an hour, my bag is full, and I can't carry anymore, so I turn back.

Meanwhile, last week I filled seven bags.  My mantra is, "one turtle, two turtles, three turtles more." My motivation for this drudgery is because of the sea life.  Once you see a turtle entangled in a net or a sea-gull's beak entangled in monofilament and starving, your heart stops.  Consequently, this is my part.

Finally, so where does all the beach trash come from?  Let's break it down.

  • Storm water discharges
  • Combined sewer overflows
  • Beach visitors
  • Ships, merchant vessels, and fishermen
  • Landfills
  • Offshore oil platforms
  • Industrial activities
  • Illegal dumping


 

Eben Schwartz, of the Marine Debris Program Manager, California Coastal Commission, shares her report.

Approximately 20% of the beach trash I collect comes from ocean-based sources.

  • Commercial Fishing Vessels,
  • Cargo ships (discharge of containers and garbage)
  • Pleasure Cruise Ships



Approximately 80% comes from land-based sources:

  • Litter (pedestrians, motorists, beach goers)
  • Industrial discharges (pellets and powders)
  • Garbage management (containers, trucks, landfills)


A Gift from the Sea



Finally, when my head is down and despair fills my heart because of the sadness that beach trash brings, I am blessed with a treasure when I least expect it: a triton trumpet! Remarkably, I am flabbergasted at the gift.

The conch shell is known amongst sailors as the 'seashell-horn' or 'shell trumpet'.  When traditional craft once plied ocean waters, the triton trumpet was used as a blowing horn to announce events or the arrival of craft.

I trust when you hit the beach, you'll have a trash bag in tow and discover a treasure just waiting for... you! For instance, traveling carries that unknown event that just happens, paradoxically. From here on, you'll look at beach trash collecting differently.  All things considered, you just might walk back home with that prize in your bag! Moreover, you'll look back.

For example, adventure travel is like that–you learn as you go. For this reason, getting up close and personal to a local is always a good thing. Ultimately, you learn.

Our recent adventure travel took us into Africa.  There, we journeyed with our kids into the unknown where events went wild. The kids disappeared, a thumb was sacrificed along the way...check out the book documenting our adventures, Bluewater Walkabout: Into Africa.

My adventure book trailer takes you into Africa.  I share excerpts about Bluewater Walkabout: Into Africa in my memoir book video here.

Life Lessons Learned from the Sea

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Life lessons hit us when we least expect it.

When I first started out adventuring on boats, I was new to the sea. I bumped into things. The love of my life began asking me: "Why are you always so accident prone?" I jumped overboard a couple of times. I blamed it on my clumsiness and youth.

Then one day, I decided I needed to focus more, look at life more closely.  Concentrate.

From then on, my life seemed to change.  For one, I quit hurting and jumping overboard. I matured, noticing I didn't fret about regrets, pain, worry, and disappointments. Life needed appreciating in my mind. I saw what was happening in the NOW. Today.

Reading awareness books helped me travel with more meaningful experiences. Suddenly, my personal growth launched into depths I never knew existed within myself.  I learned to accept everything that came my way, no matter what. I quit trying to control events and instead, learned to go with the flow.

Here are my most meaningful lessons that I hope will inspire you to keep on adventuring. Reach out for more adventure – the weirder, the better!

1. Life lessons:  LIVE LIFE NOW

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We were keeping waiting for that fabulous one thing to happen in our future. So many look for a secret key to happiness. But life is now. If you don't reach for it, life will never happen. So live it.  Right now. Trust that you'll have a fabulous life.

2. Life lessons:  FEAR IS AN ILLUSION.

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When we sailed with our kids up the Red Sea in a small boat a few years ago, people were fearful for our safety. Most of the things I feared, never happened. We were never kidnapped or chased by pirates.

Storms came our way, but they were never as bad as my imagination. My fears neutralized over time.  Even if bad things happened, they were never as bad as expected. I decided my fears were worst than reality, so I stopped being fearful.


3. Life lessons:  EXPERIENCES COUNT.

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The memories from amazing experiences far outweigh material things. If you’re trying to decide between remodeling or taking a year off traveling, go on the adventure. You'll remember more than the remodeling.

4. Life lessons: TRAVEL GROWS THE MIND.

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Travel makes you more a more interesting person.  You become introspective. Differences matter little to you. You feel enlightened.  Your mind expands. Returning home, foreign cultures, lifestyles, and ideas are your favorite topics of conversation.

5. Life lessons:  CHANGE IS GOOD.

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The sea is ever changing, just as life. So, don't resist it. Remaining stagnant is in opposition to the natural order of life. Flow with change. Embrace it and regard it as an adventure. You'll like who you've become, and others will be attracted to you.

6. Life lessons:  INTUITION IS YOUR COMPASS.

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If you don't have intuition, read books on how to get it. As a matter of fact, once I tuned into my compass, fabulous events started happening to me. Also, the love of my life arrived. A great adventure unfolded.  It still is today!

7. Life lessons:  YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE.

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First, if you're a woman, chances are you've endured assault or injury in some way.  If you have, reach for adventure to heal your pain. Secondly, give yourself the gift of travel. Once you see how better off you are than others in developing countries, you'll gain perspective. Most important, you need to try it to believe it.

8. Life lessons:  RELEASE YOURSELF FROM MATERIAL GOODS.

TINA ROWING

Stuff is just stuff. For instance, have you noticed that the more material goods you own, the greater the time required in maintaining it?  Would you rather gather experiences or things? Five years from now you won't remember the new couch, but you will remember the night on the beach spent sleeping under the stars!

9. Life lessons:  RELEASE ATTACHMENTS.

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Don’t become too attached to outcomes or beliefs. Remain open to all possibilities and ideas. You will be surprised how much more there is to life when you don’t cling to the experience. Your upbringing doesn't own you. You are the creator of your destiny.

10. Life lessons:  MAKE EVERY DAY COUNT.

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Life is short. Regrettably, one day you will contract an illness, and it will be too late to live your dreams. I know because it happened to me. I write about it in my book.  Consequently, you need to be conscious of the value of every single day.

My goal is to get more folks out on the water and learning about life. If just one person goes, I'm satisfied.  Happy, even. Thrilled, really.

Shrinking My Footprint


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Practicing a low carbon footprint is easier than you might think. Everyone has a responsibility to reduce their individual carbon footprint. I encourage everyone to think about their lifestyle decisions and find ways to reduce their climate impact.

Reducing my individual carbon footprint became a personal decision when I saw American soldiers die in the Gulf Wars. Bush decided to invade Iraq in April 2001, six months before September 11th. The official reason was to improve Western access to Iraqi oil.

One might want to consider that the cause of military action had nothing to do with 9/11, the war on terrorism, the UN weapons inspections, weapons of mass destruction, Iraqi human rights or any of the factors the US government would like for us to believe are the true motives for war.

In my humble opinion, the only people who benefited from the war on Iraq were the elite wealthy oil men who financed Bush's election campaigns and others like him who had personal investments in the oil industry. Since then, oil company profits increased by fifty percent that year alone because of the war.

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To play my part in avoiding the loss of American soldiers on the battlefield in return for oil, I feel it's my duty to continue practicing a low carbon footprint. There are difficulties in managing large laundry loads aboard a small sailboat.  Fortunately, there were lots of friendly folks in town today who helped in pulling my cart of seven loads of laundry to Ms. Lee's Corner Laundromat in Georgetown, Exuma, Bahamas.

Did I mention my pinky toe was busted from a tête-à-tête with a cleat? I limped like a drunken sailor.

Joseph was on his way to work when he and his buddy passed me at 7:45  am today. "Miss Tina, that looks like a heavy load! Let me help you."

"You'll be late for work," I said.  But he would have nothing of it. He instantly passed his cell phone to his buddy, turned around, and pulled my cart the half mile to the laundromat.  My short legs could barely keep up with him as I dragged my busted foot behind me. Such is the kindness of the local islanders in Georgetown.

Also, look at my time savings at Ms. Lee's.  I arrived early where a long line of yachties stood to wait in the parking lot for the laundromat to open.  So I sat down on the curb and waited.  An hour later, I was inside with seven loads churning away in soapy suds.  By taking the lot home with me, I saved 2 hours of drying time.  I have little patience for hot dryers.  I'd rather be home doing what I love best–writing.

Let's check out my savings too.  Heavy beach towels and three sets of sheets along with personal clothing items would have cost me another $20 to dry.

I smile when I see my boat lit up in bright colors.  Tourists whizz by in their go-fast boats and stop to take a photo.  I hope I am passing on a moral inspiration by showing how I practice a low carbon footprint.

By late afternoon, my laundry is crisp and dry, ready for folding.

Who would like to come over to lend a hand and share in a bottle of wine?


© Tina Carlson-Dreffin 2015-2017