I Didn’t Talk for 10 Days, and I loved it!

When I received an invitation to attend Quepasana — a ten day silent meditation course practicing the meditation style of vipassana — I knew by the tears that began streaming down my cheeks and the fire in my belly that I had to be there.

The course is completely volunteer led, financially supported by donations and the founder Jorge Yant. This means that attending is completely free. All you have to do is commit to show up and follow the rules, which include handing in all electronics as well as practicing noble silence for ten days.

Jorge Yant, photo by Carli Grau

Noble silence is the practice of pretending as if you are completely alone even if you are surrounded by 50 other people. All speech among guests is forbidden. Eye contact is discouraged. If you have a need then you can write a note to one of the course leaders and they in turn may allow you to speak with them.

Despite working my way through anxiety the days leading up to my arrival, when I made it to the Quepasana property I was greeted with so much warmth that I immediately felt safe. The first day was spent settling in and getting to know the people I would be sharing the next 10 days with. After lunch we had our first meditation and I found my nerves relax as I had begun tapping into the peaceful place inside of me.

My days began at 4:30am, awoke from a dream state by the ritualistic bell ringing throughout the property. I slept in a large canvas tent on a cozy air mattress, sitting atop the hill in a lightly wooded area. While the stars were at their brightest I made my way to the Shala for some awakening yoga and then our first hour of seated meditation. A couple times I saw the moon set over the ocean like a salmon colored orb sinking beneath the horizon. One morning I paused before entering the Shala to look up at the heavens and saw a shooting star, giving me a little boost of strength for that day.

After morning meditation I typically scrambled to get dressed for the beach and then quickly ate breakfast so I made it to the truck in time to climb in the back with a dozen other silent people. I carried the meditative state in my heart as I became one with the morning wind on my face. No matter how dry my towel felt in the midday sun of yesterday it still felt moist and cold around my shoulders from spending a night in the tent with me on tropical Maui, a long way from my desert home.

A trip to Little Beach where we run naked into the waves is not typical of a traditional vipassana course, yet I certainly was grateful for the intimate connection to the clear blue waters and smooth sand. The sun began to peek over the trees and I floated, one with the elements. There were a couple days when I skipped the beach trip and went back to bed instead, those days were deeply divine as well. Rest is powerful work.

In the afternoons we had yin yoga. Yin yoga was a precious deviation from sitting upright. With peaceful and uplifting music holding us in our poses I let go on cellular level. When the Shala grew so hot that almost thought I couldn’t bear it it was then that I would hear the continuous spray of the yin angels coming closer to me. I felt so thankful to receive a refreshing spray of water and cooling essential oils on my skin. Other times the servers would assist me in a pose or offer massage and energy work. The love I felt from their hands would make me melt into tears; my eye pillow often had two round wet spots when I took it off to switch poses.

Early afternoon was the time of day we most often were gifted with rain. The slow pitter patters would tap on the tent roof and soon a downpour would come to wash away what had surfaced in my heart. the coolness that came from the rain was welcome, and I would slip into a place of completely letting go.

Quepasana November 2019

Being so in my own world despite being around many people revealed to me how much of my story is projection. Thoughts can sway from love to judgment in an instant, wether towards myself or others, and in a moment I can switch right back. Meditation is the practice of coming back to center. I will sway, that is the beauty of life, and still I return to center again and again.

Many different emotions came up during the ten days, and I found that I had not much else to do than sit with and feel everything that came up. Traumas from years ago resurfaced like crashing waves onto my shore. Other times tears bubbled over me during a sit and I let my body rock with the storm, finding comfort in the sweet rhythm.

Now that I have been home for a couple weeks I can see which changes have stuck. Particularly with my emotions it seems that I feel them in a deeper place, which allows them to be safely looked at and felt. I feel a sensitivity from all parts of myself have increased, creating a gentle approach to life. Walls that I had become so used to melted in the safe arms of Quepasana and now I can move freely.

I have known for a while the power of meditation, and have benefitted from it greatly. This experience was a high dose of meditation medicine. It is really special to have a place to go where I can be taken care of while I do the magical work of being present with myself.

I am lit up with passion for this work and so I am launching a 30 day meditation course to help us create and support a regular meditation practice. Learn more here.

You Have Been Let Go

Yes. The position is no longer needed at this time…

Worrying about what other people think, take the day off.

Being bothered by other people’s process, you don’t have to think about it anymore.

Letting concerns for how other people feel take up your time and energy, clock out.

It isn’t your job anymore, think about what you can do with all your spare time now! The ease of letting your mind wander, coming up with creative and funny ideas.

You get to enjoy being yourself, doing things that make you happy and shine.

Now you have the energy to notice the beauty of life around you. Nature is singing, slow down and you can hear it.

You might find that since retiring from your old job that your relationships are more fulfilling, and you might even care to listen deeper.

You don’t have to make up a story about anything. Now you get to relax and let your own purpose develop naturally.

Congratulations on your new life!✨

3 Things to do in Tucson

So you are visiting Tucson for the weekend and want to know the must-sees in town. Here is a list of three things to do to make your stay special.

1. Nature. Head up Mount Lemmon on East Catalina Highway to witness the amazing tall pine trees and Mountain views. Visit Rose Canyon Lake for a chance to experience water in the desert. You might even want to spend the night at the Rose Canyon Campground to enjoy a bonfire at one of their well maintained campsites. Stop at Windy Point for the climactic sunset and view of the city lights.

2. Saint Philips Square Farmers Market is an excellent place to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning sampling local foods, perusing fresh vegetables, and shopping local handcrafted goods. Sit by a fountain and enjoy a tamale or vegan bbq sandwich or just people and dog watch.

3. Dance. Move your body to the waves of 5 Rhythms at one of the weekend freestyle dance classes held at the Square Dance Center, 613 East Delano Street. Surrounded by community and no talking on the dance floor creates an environment of free expression and release as well as an excellent workout. Dances are held Friday nights at 7:30 and Sunday mornings at 10:30.

Whatever you choose to do in Tucson, welcome to our city!🌵

I Made It to Tucson

I bet some of you wondered where the heck I have been. Traveling across the country was way more intense than I expected. There was a lot of shedding and growth that I had to go through to get here, and with all the bumps in the road I decided to take a lot of space from social media and blogging.

I will catch you up on what happened along the way in the coming days, but for now I am excited to announce that I am now settled in my new home!

Tucson Arizona is the place James and I decided to live. The constant sunshine and vibrant way of life feels comfortable and healing. Being surrounded by mountains and national parks means we can go hiking at any time! The views are breathtaking, especially during golden hour right before sunset when the mountains look purple and pink.

We are currently renting a house in a cute neighborhood right near a small park. Every morning I see my neighbors walk or bike by with their dogs and children and it makes me feel safe to have this community around me. After living in an RV for two months it is so nice to have space to move around and a kitchen to cook in, a backyard to hang around in our hammocks, and a real bed to stretch out in. The cats are happy to have more room to run around and outdoor space to feel wild in.

Tucson is home to a wide variety of food and restaurants which keeps me entertained. My recent accomplishment of becoming a yelp elite for 2017 gives me a purpose to my hobby of checking in, posting pictures and leaving reviews.

One of things I was most excited to do once settled was start gardening again. I am so thankful to have a raised bed in the backyard and lots of space to experiment with. Currently I am growing strawberries, silver mint, tomatillos, tomatoes, cabbage, brussel sprouts, two kinds of lettuce, two kinds of kale, lavender, parsley, Serrano peppers, and a dwarf pomegranate tree. I also received a huge box worth of aloe from a generous craigslist connection. My travel herb garden that came with me from CT is still producing basil and oregano. I have a compost bin working its magic to supplement the soil and I fell in love with the nursery and garden center called Green Things here in town.

That’s all for now, check back soon!

Unifier 2017

Unifier.

Home.

Freedom.

Love.

Two years ago I went out on a limb attending Unifier festival, a first of many experiences. I met my husband while canoeing to Blueberry Island. *romantic sigh*

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Unifier 2017 was a unique experience, more of a roots gathering than a festival. The event was intimately capped at 500 guests and was held at a smaller location, a one time decision while leadership finalized the purchase of Timber Trails in Tolland Massachusetts, Unifier’s now permanent land!

The limited guests meant that the consistent most core group of Unifier family was present. As if our gathering wasn’t sweet enough, this year there was a new closeness. I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with some of my favorite people! 

Since James and I and cats arrived via RV we did not camp but instead set up a space for our hammocks by the pond and used it to recharge, relax, and meet with friends.


The grounds were well kept and spotted with beautiful flower gardens and wooded areas. A beaver lived in the pond and would spend its days swimming around collecting rocks and sticks

 

The music was amazing, my faves were Kai Altair and Moon Hooch. Whether bopping with vendors or sneaking a dip in the pond, hearing the music echo over the land is my favorite part of festivals.

Shout out to Unalome Designs for having amazing hemp naturally dyed clothing. Your clothes are comfy and sexy, keep it coming.

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Hemp top by Unalome Designs
Hosting in the RV was quite fun as many of our friends wanted to come play with the cats and check out our mini home. James loves to cook for people so we walked around with a plate of tempeh dogs at one point.

And finally, one of the best surprises of all was playing with baby ducks. Yes, only at unifier.💛

#Firefly2017

This year we decided to go to Firefly on Friday and Sunday with Saturday being a rest day at the campground.

We arrived later in the day on Friday just as Weezer was finishing their set. I was surprised by how old they seemed as I had a reality check about the passing of time (okay). It was nice to hear their classic songs as everyone easily sang along.

Next Benny Benassi wowed us with his famous beats as we bounced under the colorful lights and giant balloons (obsessed).

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The next band was 21 Pilots. They put on a show of red white and black colors with loud shocking noises, twice what sounded like gunshots. Although I enjoyed hearing their music, I thought that they could improve their live performance skills and I thought the gunshot noises were unnecessary and could trigger someone, not cool. 

We finished up the night bopping to Flume. James did a tour of the food booths before we headed back to camp for the night. 

We returned again on Sunday for our favorite artist, Nahko and Medicine for the People. 

While waiting for Nahko to finish his sound check we watched tweets scroll by on the giant screen. I figured I would tweet something, even though they were mostly showing tweets from the day before, and guess what: they showed my tweet. I did not get a picture of the screen as it went by quickly and I spent most of the time trying to tell the guy behind us that he was on the screen too. 

 

Nahko played twice at Firefly this year. The first show was mid day on the Backyard stage. James and I knew we wanted to be front and center. With the sun blazing we rocked out to the medicine.

The evening show was a more acoustic set at the intimate treehouse stage. We had a laid back spot this time just chilling next to a tree.

We had the honor of visiting with our friend Max Ribner, the trumpet player for Nahko’s band, and he had a chance to meet James’ parents. We took a photo, still trying to get my paws on it. 

Finally we ended with a great show from Muse. They were professionals at live performance and keeping the flow going between songs with riffs and solos. The crowd really showed up for them and even still there was plenty of room on the lawn to sit close to the main stage. 

All in love I had a lovely time at Firefly festival. I’m not sure if I would go again unless my favorite artist were there, not because it was unpleasant but I tend to prefer more intentional gatherings with less garbage on the ground. 

Assateague Island

Upon reaching Assateague Island National Seashore, we drove straight for the dump station to clear our septic line. We are no longer using the original toilet due to the way it turns waste into toxic waste as oppose to what we prefer turning our waste into: usable compost. Along with the septic flush we also added fresh water to our tank. As we began to pull away from the dump station, the seemingly inevitable happened: we ran out of gas.

Our gas gauge is perhaps not broken beyond repair but it certainly not working. Because of this we are learning how much gas the tank can hold and for how many miles it will last us. We get between 7-8 miles to the gallon with our Jamboree.

So with an empty tank and AAA on the way, I decided to jump into the bay side to cool off. It was absolutely beautiful! The water was very warm and quite shallow. There were a few families around, not too many to seem busy but it was nice to feel sort of a safe vibe.

While I went swimming James prepared lunch. Waiting for help wasn’t so bad since we had activities to keep us busy. By the time we were filled up with gas and then settled in our parking spot everything for lunch had been prepped and just had to be cooked and assembled.

James cooking in the kitchen while I relax 
After lunch we headed to the ocean side of the island for a different experience. The ocean is only visible once crossing over the dunes, and the water is much cooler. The waves are significantly larger and the water becomes deeper much quicker. The day we went there were some people but it was not crowded.

One of the most amazing things about Assateague is the wild horses. Very rarely in the wild can you find horses like this. They walk among the campers and visitors and although it isn’t recommended to approach them, they may approach you. Here is a link to a video of them! 

Lake St George Maine

Although I rarely seek to travel North, when invited to a cabin in Maine for the weekend with friends I had to say yes. This was my first time entering into the land of lakes and loons, Maine’s native noisy bird.


After brunch in the cozy town of Belfast I went for a canoe ride with James. Paddling around the tiny islands and exploring the open waters is one of my favorite things to do.


We cooked over an open flame with a rigged grill system. Working together as a team we had one person fanning the flames, another cooking the food, as I happily watched with a baby on my lap. While we were cooking the sun set over the lake and it began to rain. The sky dripped with warm colors over the treescape. When the rains became to heavy and the impromptu tarp lean-to no longer sufficed, we gathered in the cabin by the warmth of the wood stove.

As I journey further south and chase the sun I doubt I will enter the state of Maine for a while. The experience that I had will carry me for a long time.❤️

It’s a Jamboree!

I am happy to announce my dream come true ’88 Fleetwood Jamboree! James and I with our four cats will take this motorhome across the country to the southwest where we will start our new home. Plans of permaculture and farming and community have us itching for the sunshine ☀️ 

Coming to us from Massachusetts with 74,000 miles, two new batteries, and a freshly tuned up generator, here it is::

How to Easily Make Money Online

Hi, so as some of you know, I love to travel. Living life on the road brings me so much happiness, but being away from a consistent jobs requires new strategies for making money. So I turned to the internet to learn about online income. I am amazed at what I found!

Did you know that you can make money while doing what you already do? I found Ebates, this website that offers up to 40% cash back on common purchases, for FREE. This means that for clicking a button, I can receive a check or PayPal deposit for hardly any effort!

Hotel rooms, flights, clothing, makeup, amazon.com, electronics, movies and more can all give you cash back if you go through Ebates. They have a long list of retailers they work with, even my pet supplies will now earn me cash.

Here is a video that explains how simple it is to get cash back through Ebates::

As you can see it is so easy and well worth signing up. Here is how:

Step 1) Join @ Ebates.com

Step 2) Click the Join Now button at the top of the page

Step 3) Enter my referral email kosmicrockstar@gmail.com 

Now you have $10 as a welcome bonus just for signing up!

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 Ebates also has a free cash back button for your computer browser and a free app so whether you are on a computer or mobile device remember to check Ebates next time you make a purchase.

I am already making money, I didn’t think it would be so simple. Here is the proof:


Thank you for reading and happy travels! 😊