Example: an intrepid explorer.
I am intrepid.
- JRR TOLKIEN -
In•tre•pid (adjective): Resolutely courageous; fearless; daring; bold.
Example: an intrepid explorer.
I am intrepid.
On the train to Brooklyn, NY, my brothers and I signed a petition to keep 13 Nassau County public buses in service. The woman announcing the petition was soulful and inspiring. She was fearless, standing before strangers in a train car to spark interest. She displayed her passion to protect individuals who depend on the public buses--people who need a voice. We thanked her for the commitment to helping people, and the guts she had to get in front of everyone and ask for volunteers to sign. She then stated:
Once you see everyone else as yourself, the distance between individuals evaporates.
What a beautiful statement. She was comfortable getting in front of a large group of people because she recognized they were elementally no different than herself. We are all one; we are human beings in a physical body, living in a physical world. We are interconnected on a multitude of levels, yet we are not always consciously aware of our connection. Though we each are unique, at our core we are the same. As Aldous Huxley perplexingly says in The Doors of Perception:
Within sameness there is a difference. But that difference should be different from sameness is in no wise the intention of all the Buddhas. Their intention is both totality and differentiation.
My interpretation? Everything in our world is equal. The person sitting next to us is no different than ourselves; nor is the tree, flower, ocean. Everything exists, and is therefore the same. All beings, materials, and life forms are eternally transient--they are limited in their physical existence. Yet, this sameness does not hinder the uniqueness of all life forms.
Once we awaken to the powerful, complex idea of being equal to all, the distance between ourselves and the physical world becomes infinitely smaller. We connect deeper with others, recognizing they are simply an extension of ourselves. Download and listen to this powerful track from Deepak Chopra in The Soul of Healing Affirmations:
Today, I will bond with others knowing that the other is myself in disguise.
I will let go of my separate self.
Let's connect with our world, especially with the spirit of the holidays. Embrace your web of relationships with the universe.
Being in New York with my family and close friends is fulfilling my soul with Christmas cheer. Despite the beauty of enjoying outdoor activities year-round in Florida, I craved a cool breeze and sweaters. I was turning down the AC in my apartment quite low in the last few weeks to bundle up with blankets, sweatshirts, and a hot cup of tea. Of course, in NY, there is currently a warm front that keeps temperatures from 40-60, and we may even reach a high of 70 for Christmas Day! It's still better than being blasted with humidity every morning, and I'm feeling more in the Christmas spirit.
As you may already know, I have inherited my travel bug from my family--especially my mother. With no hesitation, at 6 months, my parents took me on my first plane ride to St. Maarten. My family is passionate about worldly experiences and visiting new places. Actually, my mom got her travel agent license simply so we can get discounts when traveling. I hope she pursues a career in the area because she's simply a genius when it comes to travel planning. She's guided me with airlines, hotels, and traveling smart over the years, and I will continue learning from her.
Last year, we initiated a travel-themed Christmas tree, highlighting the different states and countries we have visited. We began collecting ornaments from previous destinations, purchasing new ones as we continued traveling, and creating our own wanderlust-inspired pieces. Instead of an angel atop the tree, my mother and I created a "Joy to the World" globe. I marvel at our hanging passports, filled with our previous destinations, and look forward to expanding our tree. There are plenty of branches left to fill with more ornaments and destinations...
Two weekends ago, I was feeling the need for a solo adventure in Florida. I've experienced a different degree of comfort in South Florida, where daily life was feeling a little monotonous, and I was craving something new. I also needed some time to think and decompress. Thus, I took a 4.5 hour road trip to Gainesville with the following missions:
I've seen photos of the various natural springs in northern Florida, and have been intrigued by their beauty. The crystal clear springs maintain a temperature of 72-degree year-round. They offer a perfect setting for kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling with up to 100 feet of visibility.
I decided upon Rainbow Springs for my ride home in order to break up the drive. I left Gainesville around 12pm after a cup of coffee and stop at Payne's Prairie, arriving at the springs around 1pm. I parked for free and walked toward the visitor center, where I paid $2 to enter the park. I was greeted by an array of workers happily lying down Christmas decorations around the grounds and patio. Then, I looked past the palm trees and paved paths to see the most beautiful water:
Wow. Just wow. Despite the occasional (relatively constant) cloud coverage, the water was always immaculately turquoise blue. I think my jaw literally dropped in awe. I've never been presented with such a sight! As I walked along the meandering path toward the swimming dock, I noticed the water's clarity.
I put on my scuba mask and dipped into the roped-off swimming section to enjoy the cool water, which felt incredibly rejuvenating. Fish of different sizes circled the floor of the spring, about 15-feet deep. Being a freshwater environment, the water felt entirely different. I drifted about for over a half hour, doing a few laps, and chatting with other swimmers.
After enjoying the expansive, other-worldly spring waters, I was directed by a fellow swimmer to walk further on a trail to find waterfalls. It suddenly seemed as if I were in the Amazon jungle, surrounded by lush leaves, moss, and waterways.
I was completely enraptured by the beauty of this place, and lingered for quite some time beneath each fall and waterway. I lost track of all time, and was deeply touched by Mother Nature's art. I even found my way to the Butterfly Garden, where various butterfly-friendly flowers attract fluttering insects. Though I only met one on my visit, it was still peaceful and enchanting.
I highly recommend a visit to Rainbow Springs.
Check out Florida State Parks' website HERE for more information and to plan your visit!
In every walk with nature, one receives more than he seeks.
It's my first holiday season being completely disconnected and distant from my close family and friends in New York. Not only does that feel odd, but the 75-85 degree weather is really making me confused.
Christmas trees and palm trees?! I'm certainly not complaining about wearing shorts (okay, the humidity COULD seriously stop). I'm also not complaining about the salt life year round (yes, did go scuba diving this weekend). However, my soul is craving a night bundled by the fireplace with hot chocolate. I am greatly looking forward to being home for the holidays to get a taste of chilly, sweater weather.
Hope you all are enjoying the holiday season!
My name is Kristen.