Today my thoughts focused on all of the things I was thankful for. It was a great exercise in remembering to live in the moment and make do with what is right in front of me. I have enough of everything I need, in fact, I have an abundance of some things I don’t.

I didn’t just focus on the things today, but the people in my life. I am so thankful for their friendships, companionships, and love. This raw food journey, for lack of better words right now, has been an amazing transformation of my mind, body and soul. Each day brings something new to the table, whether it is overcoming an obstacle that would have once been very difficult for me to overcome, to feeling the healthiest I have ever felt and my body getting stronger. My mind is clearer, my heart more open, and I am refreshed.

I jumped into this with both feet, but I started out slow. I started with green smoothies and took care to add new ingredients one at a time. I am now in the creative stage of my raw food preparation.. There is so much to learn, and I am amazed at what I have already retained in this short 2 months.

What came to mind most today was the abundance of love, support, self forgiveness and acceptance, friendship, companionship, knowledge, and health this lifestyle change has given me! I am so blessed!

Starting tomorrow I am going to do a watermelon fast/cleanse. I am planning on 2-3 days as long as my body allows it. I always listen to my body. I have great faith it will all be fine. So far I have had no adverse effects from my diet change! It has all been good. While I am doing my watermelon fast, I am going to work on going through the abundance within this house and figuring out what can be donated, kept or tossed.

Today I am thankful!


The Raw Of It

I have had people ask about what I am eating, why I am eating this way and what brought me to this decision. I am a newbie Raw Vegan. The decision to go down this path of nutrition stemmed from several things. The first thing I will attribute this to is my breast cancer diagnosis Dec. 2010. I was never scared about it, but I did a ton of research on what I could do to better my health and stay strong. My breast cancer was caught very early and I am so blessed for that. While seeking out the medical attention for the next steps, my intuition was telling me to research, research, research. When you get a cancer diagnosis things move very quickly, you are on the hamster wheel and sometimes wonder if you are ever getting off.

I have many blessings to count when it comes to medical care. I knew someone at the breast surgeon’s office and got right in. My surgeon is amazing. He listened to all of my concerns, and although he is mostly on the traditional medicine side, he didn’t count out my passion for being as healthy as I could. He held my hands and told me everything would be ok. He has healing hands. I trusted him pretty implicitly. I always trust myself first. After all of the tests, blood work, bone scan, genetic testing, etc. I decided I would have surgery to remove the teeny tiny piece of cancer that was inhabiting my breast. Again I trusted that he would be as noninvasive as possible. Everything I thought about him rang true. My scars are barely visible. I know the love and care he took removing the cancer helped heal me. My body is a good healer too.

After all of the tests came back from surgery, wide margins, clear lymph nodes, blood work perfect, it was time to decide what to do next. I had consultations with the radiation oncologist and the oncologist. I made friends go with me each time, sometimes when you are in the middle of it you hear what you want to hear. You need fresh ears to listen for you! Time was on my side. The cancer was out of my body and I was beginning to heal.

The radiation oncologist is another amazing human. After meeting with the oncologist the day before to discuss chemo and basically being dismissed for my beliefs and concerns and being told I would I was on the borderline for chemo,  he met with me for almost two hours, through lunch hour, addressing all of my questions and putting my mind at ease about my decision to forgo the chemo. Chemo they said would provide a very small percentage increase (this is supposed to be decrease, I think subconsciously I knew it would be an increase) in recurrence. Chemo in my opinion and my core would have destroyed a very healthy immune system, that I  know I could have never recovered from. Yes my immune system let the cancer in. There are several reasons I think this happened, I will try to discuss those in a later post.

Surgery was in January and by March I had decided to do the radiation treatments, I know my body and I was sure it could withstand it. At this point I had not changed much in my diet, but my blood work was perfect. I wasn’t eating what most people would consider unhealthy. I ate a pretty good diet, with very little meat to begin with. I go to yoga twice a week, I have an elliptical I try to get on daily.

I received 33 radiation treatments to my breast and under my arm where they removed the lymph nodes (mine was a Sentinel Node procedure). While doing radiation I met with a nutritionist and discussed my ideas, they again were kind of dismissed. I was told to avoid soy because of the estrogen enhancing effects. My breast cancer was 95% estrogen positive. My next course of treatment was deciding to take Tamoxifen or not. Tamoxifen can be a nasty drug. I made the choice to take it, with the understanding that if I did not tolerate it, I wouldn’t take it. I am not going to live a sick life just to have more time on this earth. It is quality for me..not the quantity. I am sure my family and friends were probably more upset about the cancer than I was. They then had to deal with my daily rants about not wanting to do any treatment. They were, however, loving and supporting and I know if I needed anything there would have been people lined up at the door. I live in a fantastic community, with loving, giving people, for this I am also blessed. In the end, my decisions were mine. I felt no pressure from anyone to undergo the treatments I did.

After all of the decisions were made, I decide I needed to go “home” to where I grew up. Get back to my roots. I had friends I wanted to see, my parents, my sisters, and just reconnect with my youth. The first several days my husband was there, my sisters etc. I stayed an extra week, by myself to have “me” time. It was invigorating, freeing, and a loving thing to do for myself. Before I left to go “home” I met with the surgeon, started the Tamoxifen and before he let me leave his office, he again held both of my hands and said “Natalie, this pill will not make you fat, what you put in your mouth will. You are going to have to watch what you put in your mouth in order to keep your weight on track and you may have to exercise more.” Blunt and to the point, just how I like it!!! I can’t stand the sugar-coated stuff. Again the intuition was kicking in about the way i was eating and the changes I knew I needed to make!.

The second phase started when I got home. I ran into a wonderful person from my childhood who was on the raw food journey already. I don’t know if I knew that at the time, but when I got home to FL  and we connected through Facebook, the ball started rolling for me. With his knowledge, compassion and patience I made some basic changes in my diet. The changes grew each day as I was feeling better and better!  I never did this to lose any weight, I wanted to maintain where I was and give my body optimal nutrients and health. What has happened since has been truly amazing! Some days I can’t even describe it! All for another post.

Today, I wonder sometimes why I waited so long to go down the road I have always known was right for me. I can say, where I live there aren’t many resources available, modern medicine doesn’t support the mind, body, soul connection as much as they need to. Hopefully this will shift in the future. Our society is obese, what we put in our bodies was not meant to sustain life. I believe that is why there is so much disease.

At this moment in time (for it is all we have) I have lost 15lbs, and feel amazing. The detoxing this is doing to my body also reaches my core, my soul. Some of those days can be hard, but the journey has just begun and I look forward to where it takes me next!

The Color of Love

Amazing things happen at the beach in the morning hours. The sea overnight has returned the shore to a pristine state, where previous day’s footprints were what you could see for miles. It is especially invigorating to see the sun as it comes up on the horizon, the beauty it projects across the water and the hues the rays create on the water. Astounding! Love!

Today as I meditated and then walked, I couldn’t help but see love all around me. I sat and meditated for thirty minutes. As I was settling in a couple of people walked by glancing at me. I brought no towel to sit on. I just wanted to sink into the sand. As I was centering, I noticed a man who passed me walk a few hundred yards down the beach and sit in the sand. When this man passed me, I smiled and said good morning. I couldn’t help but think, did he want to see what it looked like to sit and look out at the beauty and colors the morning was creating? He didn’t stay long, but he took a moment.

Along the walk I stopped to talk with a few different people. The first person was a gentleman who comes to the beach each morning with his three-legged black lab. They have been coming for four years. I didn’t ask how the dog came to be without a leg, I just observed the love as this man talked about his experience with this beautiful dog. The dog fetches a stick from the ocean. Simply amazing if you ask me!

Further down the beach the other direction was another woman with her dog. I passed her as I walked, and she commented that she was moving slowly this morning. When I turned around to head back to my starting point I encountered her again, this time I stopped, asked her what her dog’s name was and we struck up a conversation.  She just needed someone to listen to her, to hear what she had to say, what she was feeling. A common human desire we all have, but sometimes are afraid to open our heart to. The intimacy of listening to another person, or having another person know what we are feeling can bring on a fear of being rejected. You have to accept yourself first, before love can enter and stay.

What was really the most enlightening experience of the morning for me is that thoughts, words and descriptions came into my head in waves and then they were gone. Things that described what I was experiencing in that moment. Some of the words I wanted to remember, but they were fleeting. I guess I was in that moment and those words were meant to be left there!

As I was leaving to go back to my car I smiled and said good morning to every person I passed.

Where the shore meets the sea your footprints are washed away with every incoming wave. Your footprints are there for that moment, and then they are gone. Learn to find the colors of love in every person and every thing around you. Walk purposefully every day, smile, give love and be willing to receive it.

A Journey Revisited, but Still Relevant

These writings come from a crossroad in my life. I am not sure exactly what it was at the time, it just was. Each day we experience the choice to live in the present moment or worry about past or future conflicts . First thing in the morning, I try to be still in waking and make the choice to live for that day. Part of this ongoing process has led me to dig up some things I have written over the years and include them within this part of my journey. Would these be considered something of the past? Something to ponder, I suppose. I look it as the universe giving me a nudge in the right direction.

The Journey

 In the intricate
depths, mysteriously hiding,
Is the very person,
you are to become
Seeking life’s
momentous challenges,
opening up
the mesmerizing
whole, the sum.
The greatest obstacle you
face, is your own fear.
The gripping reality
of what living your life
Unlocking door, with keys
found all around,
in obscure places.
Senseless as it sometimes
Once on that journey
of faith and truth,
although anxious, you
may be awestruck
by the light.
Settle into living
life, and loving yourself.
Honestly assess the process.
Spread new wings and
keep your goals
in sight.
NJL 6-26-2001
Self Evaluation
The passion you have
Is only part of
what you were
positioned to
The inward you
isn’t for everyone else
to examine, judge,
and try to perceive.
Judge only yourself
through the
You may need
to modify
what you see.
Love all, “that,”
around you.
Only love,
can set your
soul and spirit
Don’t take
things so literal,
for time here is
not a perpetual
will work
wondrous miracles,
In your own life,
and that of others,
This is a
you can only make changes
for yourself
and your life’s calling.
Be keen,
own your responses,
Reacting to keep
others from falling.
NJL 6-28-2001


Serenity At The Beach

I couldn’t be more at peace than when I am at the beach. Surrounded by beauty and nature, the sounds, smells and sights are intoxicating to the soul. Three of the four elements are in one place, earth, air and water. If you want to stretch it you could make the sun the fire. Never the less, a day at the beach can reenergize your soul and uplift your spirit.

On my raw food journey, I have added going to the beach as often as I can. I think a lot can be learned communing with the elements in their purest form. So far, I have made it three days in a row. I am very blessed and extremely energized from my beach excursions. The beach lends itself to a place for mediation, exercise, socialization, and relaxation.

Raw Attributions of a Simplistic Mind

Breathe In CD2

Image via Wikipedia

An in depth examination of all that is right, brings me to the point of stagnation. Movement is impeded by acquiescence accepted. Only accepting each breathe and moment individually will ruminate the importance of now.

Existential Bravado

Sometimes I look around and wonder why all the pretension. I can’t get past the simplicity of living an authentic existence and how difficult it is to be someone you are not. Why do we try so hard to masquerade through life how we want others to perceive us instead of just being? Is it insecurity? Over-inflated ego? How much control do we have over our actions? I believe we are here to be an authentic force of energy. On the journey to authenticity hopefully we learn the lessons we were brought here to learn. They always seem to repeat themselves if they aren’t learned the first time.

Connecting with others at a high emotional level is important. As a species we avoid the true emotional connection with each other out of different fears, I suppose. When you reach an authentic connection with another person you can feel it deep in your core. Your spirit soars, your soul is on fire. I can’t imagine the joy there would be if everyone could connect with even one person and feel this kind of unconditional love.
When the fear leaves you and you are filled with love and light, the life you were meant to have here on this planet becomes visible. Simple most definitely…. easy, not so much.

Music to My Ears

8-track head cleaning cartridge tape

Image via Wikipedia

The songs I grew up with, the memories created as they played on the radio, turntable, or 8-track tape player, are some of the best windows to the days passed. A peek at how I became who I am today. Music is timeless and can set into motion a myriad of memories and emotions and does so most often in the first few bars.

Each song/piece has a unique ability to recollect a place, time period and often remind me of certain people who have left imprints on my voyage thus far. The music from my younger years lifts my spirit and always puts a smile on my face. I can always count on it to bring me joy if things are dreary.

Music is a part of everything we do. It plays as we are shopping, driving, and working. It is also incorporated in advertisements, tv shows, and movies. We listen to it when we celebrate, worship and mourn.

Today I have an iPod, iPhone, Sirius/XM radio and music channels in my cable programming. Although the media which I access music with has changed, the meanings and memories relived and newly created stay.

Music soothes my soul, energizes my spirit and bring me peace.


The Set-up

Setting up a blog is an experience in itself. From choosing a name, theme and content, every blog is as unique as its creator. Creating is the key. I found myself using not just my cognitive skills, but also the deep crevices of the imagination that are sometimes buried and covered with brain dust. The set-up will probably never be final, but always a work in progress, just as I, the creator of it, am.


Beach shoes

Image by doug88888 via Flickr

Being present in each moment is achievable when you engage the mind and breath in movement.

When we are fully present in a moment, we are aware of the inhalations and exhalations that sustain us.

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