Tag Archives: Nature

Freedom looks different to each person

9 Feb

“Freedom is a pretty strange thing. Once you’ve experienced it, it remains in your heart and no one can take it away.” – Chinese Artist Ai Wei Wei

Across the world there is a multitude of confines that place limitations on our bodies and our expression bc of political, patriarchal, and/or corrupt reasons. I simply don’t want to talk about that right now. It is my responsibility to acknowledge that it exists. It is your responsibility to understand the many ways in which it happens everyday, almost everywhere.

I relate to Ai Wei Wei’s expression, not in a political sense, but in a spiritual sense. The first thing that came to mind when I heard this was the way in which i have felt the most free when I am out in nature. If you have the opportunity to leave the city and visit a forest, a mountain, a river, or a cliff overlooking the ocean, then you know that the fresh air you breath satisfies more than your lungs. There is calmness in the mind from a walk into a damp forest that crosses a creek whose running water makes that mellow melody of water over rocks and pebbles. That moment when you decide to take off your shoes and let your feet touch the cold water is freedom.


I have been fortunate to travel, backpack, snorkel, hike volcanoes, and make my own fires for warmth. I have tasted sweet, clear running water from rivers that fill as the sun melts the snow on the mountain i can point to. I’ve been tumbled and lifted, cradled and cleansed by ocean waves that make me feel weightless. I have felt powerful in my arrival to lost lakes and morning dawns after the pain and struggle of mile long uphill terrains. I have felt freedom this way.

Having found freedom in nature is the reason why my spirit always feels a sense of deprivation when my body resides in the city. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. When I was in high school i wouldn’t ditch to go smoke or drink at some kick back, i would jump fences and go boogie boarding at the beach. I would go swimming or visit the Friendship Bell in San Pedro and look out to Catalina Island. This innate necessity for freedom is probably what led me to go to college in Santa Cruz. I escaped South Central at 18 to fall in love with a redwood forest.

I’m going to leave this city… again and again. I really will. Im always planning my escape. When I finish grad school I am going to live some place tucked between hills and ocean. I will have trails and bike paths that cross rivers and hot springs. I am going to find my piece of freedom outside of this city.

Until then… I suppose i will “vacation” in far away lands, “retreat” to local mountain sides, and keep on hiking the local trails of Eaton Canyon and smog filled Griffith Park.

Full Cirle

29 Aug

Circles are made to create unity. Circles and cycles mark the movement of the stars, the Earth and the Universe. Seasons and blessings come in cirles. And we live the sacred circle of life.

Visiting Medicine Wheel: Sacred Circle

In June of 2010 I was in Cypress Park holding my first Solo Exhibition of my art-work. Exactly one year later, a full circle was marked. I was in Cypress Park again, at Nightingale Middle School, directly across the street from the art space where my solo happened. This time, I was introducing myself to the parents and the youth I was going to embark on a journey with for the summer. Previous to this day, tt had been unclear whether or not I would be a camp counselor. The position i applied for was denied to me, but I did not realize the true blessings behind the change in positions. My ancestors and Creator was in the process of answering my prayers and they made the switches to place me as a counselor with high school students returning for their second year of leadership development in Wyoming. Instead of being stationed at a camp site, I was going to hike over 50+ miles at Big Horn National Park with 2 different groups of young womyn from Los Angeles.

C5 Dollz on our hardest day of hiking!

Trek Counselors and Guides at 9810

Photographs and words could not describe the magic and the blessings of the sights and sounds I experienced. I made friendships with trek guides from New Jersey, Maryland, Texas, Ohia, and Cali. I made strong bonds with high schools students spread through out Los Angeles, from Huntington Park to South Central, to Northridge. I taught, I learned, I cried, I laughed, I climbed, and I swam, but what I did most was thank Creator everyday for the beauty before me. Whether it was mountain peaks and Lost Lakes or the youth and their everlasting sillyness, everything and everyone shared a beautiful spirit.

My own spirit felt like it was glowing.

Finding Lost Lake

Everything was so clear out in the mountains. Everything was true and rich; every color, every sound, every bloom. During my first trek, i saw many caterpillars and by the time i returned for my second trek, I saw countless butterflies. I swam in rivers  and drank water from them, knowing and seeing the direct source of the water I was surrounded by was an amazing blessing. 

In nature, everything is purposeful. Every leaf, every wind, every thunderstorm, and every bird singing serves a magical purpose of life and spirit. Having been back in the city for a few weeks now, I notice the noise, the confusion, and the empytness in people’s souls. This man made reality is harsh. It is not an easy one to live by day to day.

When I was in the mountains, i would go scouting for trails through forests and mountains I had never seen before. I would come across animals and rivers and never once was I afraid. I felt free and beautiful. The other day, I walked from 3rd Street to 7th Street in Downtown L.A., and men would stop there cars to honk or ask me where I was headed. Men would stare at every crosswalk and I walked with my head held high, but my spirit was sad for the level of disrespect I was receiving. I reminded myself that I have felt this vulnerability and uncomfortableness before. And healing is also a never ending cycle. 

I thank Creator and the ancestors for placing me in the mountains this summer and allowing my spirit to heal, grow, and evolve. Inspired from nature, I too seek my true purpose. I know that working with youth is my path. 

My first session with the Frig Friggies at Lily Lake

Transformation: Who we were when we entered the mountains is not who we are after climbing out.

2011 & Colorado

24 Jan

Catching the sight of prairies and mountains

Now that we have entered 2011, i feel that we are actually living the 21st Century. We are a whole decade into it. YAY! This year feels like a great refreshing beginning that is filled with many opportunities to explore and follow thru on. 2010 was challenging and heavy at times but i’d like to believe that was all in preparation for the great potential we now have as we attain to reach our goals and priorities.

I started this year by traveling to Colorado. I always want to leave the country but traveling within is also a great blessing with many surprises. Colorado was very beautiful, super chill, and nice. It was beautiful because of the snow, the mountains, the air, the prairies, the sky, the rock formations, the trees, and the birds. Everything in nature was beautiful and gorgeous. It was chill and chilly, i’ve never been in such cold temperature. But i realized that being cold is a state of mind … and it also depends on proper clothing attire. I didn’t realize that there’s a whole industry around making clothes and sportswear to keep bodies warm. It should have been common sense, but in my defense, Im a Cali city girl. Its warm year round. Sure it rains and it feels cold, but it’s winter now and its almost 80 degrees outside.

Colorado was also nice. People were nice. Coming from L.A. i was on heightened awareness mode. In other words, i was looking around, waiting for someone to trip on me, or give me a weird look, be disrespectful, or not want to take my order at a restaurant. It might be an L.A. thing or a person of color thing. Traveling to the west side places me on that mode, so when traveling out of my comfort zone, i was just waiting and wondering for something to occur. It’s happened before. But in Colorado, no one was tripping and neither was i. People were friendly and they’re acknowledging of your being. Wow. I went to the grocery store and people were aware of one another, couples were shopping, people would say excuse me in a gentle way, and make eye contact with one another. Im sorry to say that in Los Angeles, that is not the culture amongst strangers….

My friend Karinna whom we stayed with while in Co. said it best, “People here make time for each other”. In L.A., people dont have time for one another. I dont know how many times ive scheduled hanging out with my friends 3 weeks in advance. As a spiritual being trying to have a human experience, living in a city can be problematic. Our interactions can be mechanical, rushed, or stressful. It is challenging, but eventually you find love and make friends and community in this city.

All in all, i want to keep getting to know other parts of the States. I’d like to visit my friend in New York. I’d like to see more of California, its a beautiful coastal state and im very lucky to live here. (despite my rantings, more on living and loving in L.A. in the next blog). Im excited for 2011, and after only a couple of weeks into it, im having to remind myself the purpose for this year: Finding my balance and harmonizing with life. Its time i get back in sync with my path, my creativity, my health, my spirit, and the cosmos.