Life Lessons From the Polo Field. Polo is Played for a Short Season and Therefore Every Match is Precious.

October 2, 2013 at 4:01 am (Freedom, Health, Letting go, LoVe, Polo, Relationships) (, , , , , , )

When I went on the San Diego Polo club website back in March to check on opening day I saw something I had never noticed before…Polo School.  Immediately my blood started rushing through my veins, my heart beat faster and I could hear the hooves pounding the grass beneath the ponies. What was this sensation I felt? I called and reached no one so I drove by the clubhouse one day and inquired as to when the school opened. I was told by a very nice lady that it would be soon and to call the number on the card she gave me for updates. I did check back…weekly.

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Finally opening day for Polo school. and I was out of town! I came the second week ready to play (well sort of ready anyhow). I played foot and ball and took my first lesson and it was love at first chukker. I had a great first game and signed up for more lessons that same day happily tossing my American Express card to Gillian the school goddess and coordinator.

Week two and I realized already this game was changing me at a very basic level. I was whistling during the week, happily getting my dailies accomplished and thankful I had the opportunity each week to be an athlete while riding a four legged athlete.

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Many of the people I learned to play polo with dropped out at some point and new people came to see what polo was all about. Schedules and other factors constantly changed the teams and opponents from class to class.
photo (16)Sami shown here was an early horse I rode after Chester and, often as not Sox (of unscheduled dismount during the Red Baron bash fame) and so I got a little better each week as the summer warmed up and the weeks passed. I also took riding lessons during the week near my home to strengthen my muscles and balance my seat.

There is something about understanding that this life is seasonal and the players and ponies change in time that reminds me that this is the same in my life. I must be fully present in the match in front of me. It will never be repeated. This is the game, the only one that exists in space and time…the one I am in right now on the horse I am on and with these players. Even the dirt in the arena changes as hooves stomp it down and divot holes as well as marks from hitting the ball or the dirt as happens also changes the earth upon which we ride.

The thing about polo is everybody wins. Just showing up and playing is winning. We only lose when we fail to show up and keep learning and playing and more importantly learning from our mistakes. Polo is a complex game with a zillion rules and possibilities since it is a high action contact sport. It has been referred to as “a bone crushing sport” . When we are playing even at a trot we feel the wind in our hair and picture ourselves galloping across the grass at top speed making the goal all while looking perfectly coiffed in the saddle. The more reality based version would involve massive amounts of sweat coming from deep within our cells pouring down our backs and fronts as well as near misses and unscheduled dismounts (read thumping the ground).

When I am not playing and sweating and loving every minute there is the beautiful thing called a pro match held on Sundays at clubs around the world in various seasons. Ours ended on Sunday but we went out with a bang! Eight chukkers sudden death with a tied match 11-11. The crowd was on the edge of their seats for every minute of this match as it was played full throttle as it was for the USPA Spreckles Cup. It ended as it started full energy and everything that makes polo the great and enduring sport it is.

Charity stomps the divots

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You Never Know How Amazing You Can Be Until You are Willing to Let it All Go

August 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm (Excellence in Business, Freedom, LoVe, Polo, Relationships) (, , , , , , , , )

Now let me start out by saying that I am in no way shape or form a great polo player or even an okay one. I am an amateur who has spent her Spring and Summer trying to stay on a cantering, jogging, standing, galloping, trotting, and rearing polo pony all while learning to swing a mallot and score a goal now and again while preventing others the same. Riding off versus falling off and of course no discussion of polo would be complete without a discussion on hooking. This is where you prevent your opponent from getting a good swing at a ball we both have the right to…The only sport where a woman smiles proudly when you yell at her and say she is a great hooker!

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The hook is coming from the near side and you can see the player is leaning way out to reach the other player’s mallet. Often in this situation newbies will instead just attempt to ride off the opponent and in doing so foul by being too late, and end up running over the ball and now neither has the ball.

This week was Aloha Sunday at the polo club and so my Hawaiian coach was getting ready for the festivities and we had Graham Bray as our coach…on horseback. I knew then it was going to be a full throttle growth experience and was glad I had my light breakfast. Full throttle was an understatement. Graham Bray is the #2 all time top polo player out of New Zealand…gettin’ the picture?

For starters we were banned from ride-offs for the hour and had to use anything else legal to gain control of the direction of the ball and to control our opponent.

photo (10)This is harder than it sounds. So now we have to strategize and think longer term. Like just flicking the ball away to change the direction and therefore the invisible lanes…knowing the likelihood that any given player can make that shot, hook that shot or flick it away all happens in nano seconds as you approach the situation. Are you watching your man (this is your designated opponent)? Are you covering your team mate in case it gets hooked and is left for the next rider in line?  All on horseback under the ever warming sun… Just as I was thinking a break in the shade would be in order here comes Coach Bray and he gives a little whip tap to Sami and we are off to the races “get up there and get to the wall” he shouts as I rocket across the dirt toward the fast traveling ball heading for the arena wall and past the pack of players in the middle of the field. So much for my nap in the shade! I do make the shot get us closer to goal and all while the competition was under the proverbial shade tree napping. By the time the hour was over for us Coach Bray was galloping over to the barn to ready himself for his matches and we were dripping in sweat dribbling the balls toward the gate with floppy arms and red skin and jelly legs. I stood much more in my stirrups during the match than ever thanks to my weekday equitation lessons, and my thighs can tell you all about it…

20130616_100058I was exhausted in the best possible way and learned a whole lot more about life and polo today than I knew when I awoke in the morning.

Sometimes just when you want a break is when you really are on fire and it is time to persevere and learn the lesson of hard work.

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How to be a Non Consuming Consumer…and look good doing it!

May 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm (Art, Eating Nature, Excellence in Business, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Health, Letting go, Local Made, LoVe, Polo, Remanufactured goods, Sailing, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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My own lifestyle often sparks my deepest thoughts.

I love quality well prepared food.

I love beautiful well made clothes.

I love learning new things.

J’adore bijouterie! That’s French for I LOVE jewelry (and gems).

I also love the planet and all of us on it…well most of us.

I love the creatures and the flora.

…and so I strive to live in harmony with these values. How do I do that you may wonder (work with me here I know you may not really care), well let me break it down for you.

I grow some of my organic  food such as Persian melons as they are hard to come by organic and buy at farmer’s markets organically grown and my local Windmill Farms neighborhood market. This helps limit what I buy at Bigbox inc. I like knowing my food is as fresh as I am and is employing my neighbors and compadres without coming from a hemisphere away and all the pollution that entails. I live in Southern California so we grow a ton of the food out there.

I regularly donate to the Amvets and Goodwill as well as shop there. I find some sweeet finds in USA made, Italian made and French made couture for a small fraction of what Mrs and Ms. Big buck$ paid for them and very often in near new condition. There are a zillion reasons why this is a score.

  1. I’m not paying full price.
  2. The reseller makes money to pay employees when I choose to buy there.
  3. I get to be the fashionista I was born to be…don’t judge I see you looking when I stroll by.
  4. I am not contributing to new sweat shop labor from major companies who source the cheapest available markets as well as freighters again crossing the seas leaving their oily ooze in their wake.
  5. I get to enjoy things for a season and then pass them on when I redonate them for the next lucky customer or gift them to adoring friends.

When I buy new clothes I buy from locally designed and made companies and individual designers. Here is why this is a major win/win.

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  • Locally made means more people locally working.
  • More local tax revenue.
  • I look amazingly stylish and not like everyone who bought this season’s offerings at Bigbox inc. or Massmall.
  • The clothes are designed with my specific area’s climate and lifestyle in mind…you know old school. I live in a temperate climate (or until global warming bakes us all I do) and I need cool breathable clothes for days and layers for early mornings and evenings. I live in a city on the Pacific ocean so beaches, boating, sailing, hiking in the mountains and desert and polo are all under an hour away.
  • The cost is not greater than many mainstream department store lines and yet surprise not made in a sweatshop in Bangladesh or China but here in my neck of the woods often by the designers themselves. Major win!
  • They don’t travel far at all. Often under fifteen minutes by car or 45 minutes by public transportation. Less global warming more great weather.
  • When I choose to give them to a friend or local thrift store they will be treasured as the gems they are and snapped up again by savvy shoppers.

Last year I went to a variety of sailing schools to learn to competently sail a yacht or dingy. I spent a year learning something so new to me my brain ached and so did my body after very windy days…and I love it! Joining a local sailing club affords me discounts on my zero carbon hobby and allows me the ability to take friends out for a beautiful day too.

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This year I am learning to play polo. All new rules all new whole body workout and balance work at its finest. Another green sport played outdoors with other humans and horses all working in teams and cooperating while competing and learning on a fast curve…as my coach says you only leave the field one way if you ignore the rules…in an ambulance or life flight helicopter. I always want to play another day so I catch on quick!

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  1. I want the earth to live another day too so I strive to live in a way that enhances everyone’s opportunity to live another day in peace and prosperity.
  2. Hobbies that are green enhance everyone’s enjoyment.
  3. Workouts outside don’t need well lit air conditioned gyms, with bleached infused workout towels and chemical soaps (but if that makes you happy who am I to tell you how to get your sweat on) but for me that was a toxic way to work out and caused allergic reactions to the chemical cleaners. I am a canary.
  4. I don’t need to take vitamin D supplements as the sun is abundant even in the early morning.
  5. I get to wear my cowboy boots more often without line dancing.
  6. I meet and bond with players versus being next to people at the gym.

On the bijouterie front I remanufacture jewelry here in San Diego so I’m not adding to the issues of conflict minerals and mining slavery and injustices. I buy broken stones and recut them, I buy mining cast off parcels of rock and use water and grit to cut them. I recycle silver and gold to make the settings and I take buy backs from my clients. Here is why buying from your local remanufacturer versus the HSN or QVC is a planetary win.

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  • There are no conflict diamonds or rubies unless you are referring to the fact that your aunt wanted the ring grandma gave you. Want to preserve her legacy and make sure all the cousins have something from the family jewels. Break it up and make a charm using the stones for each or make earrings. The possibilities are only as finite as your imagination.
  • No additional stress on the planet from mining.
  • No sweatshop labor to cut the gems (sweatshop in my world is me on a hot August day).
  • No sourcing through dodgy governments or buying cartels who routinely abuse their citizens and your wallet.

So I’ve probably rambled on too long so I will release you dear reader with a question.

Are there easy ways you can lower your carbon footprint while also enhancing your individual life?

I would love to hear from you.

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Art is Love Personified

March 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm (Art, Freedom, Letting go, LoVe) (, , , , , , , )

I know that is a big statement…but think about it for a minute. Art is the culmination of an artist’s lifework in the form of an expression of love for all things. Even the difficulties in an artist’s life become an important part of the work. The pain the broken heart, the joy, the growth, the disappointments all live in our work. If they don’t then it probably isn’t art but craft.

The greatest of greats have had difficult lives and at the very least challenges that would have broken people of lesser commitment to their love of their art and the driving need to communicate. people used to feel sorry for me marrying and having my first child at 17. Would I recommend this path to anyone? Never. Did it work to make me who I am today? Without a doubt many of my skills at hustle and knowing failure is not an option are directly related to knowing I had to be successful to provide for growing family. I had a loving husband who was a true partner for most of our marriage but I had bigger dreams and more courage than he had and I wasn’t about to live the life he would have settled for if he were the sole breadwinner. I put all of my sorrow, my yearnings and my love into my jewelry at every stage of my career.  I think the pure heart and soul I put into my work is what drove me to continue on as it was an outlet for all my goals, frustrations and desires as well as my expression of beauty for its own sake.

IMG_8326These earrings are rubellite and green tourmalines with citrine briolettes in 14k gold. I choose the tourmalines as these remind me of hot pink snapdragons on their green stalks and the citrines are droplets of rainwater. They make me smile and I have recreated them several times and in other color combinations reminiscent of flower colors. Hot pink rhodolite garnets with deep purple amethysts are pansies and peridot green with lemon citrines are fresh scented daffodils in early Spring.

These aquamarines remind me of a fresh spring bubbling up on the desert floor or a cloudless day in winter. The sweet delicate color allows the wearer to enjoy them with many looks and moods.
Aquamarines in 14k gold
So nothing I make is an accident or without deeper thought. Often it takes me longer to create a new line of jewels because I do reflect long before actually sitting down to the bench to create. The stone I am cutting today may end up in a piece next week or next year or be sold as a finished gemstone to another jeweler. I do what I do because I love the process and the message. Jewelry is a way for me to convey my message of sustainability and local manufacture by giving the consumer a place to begin their own conversation about their own meaning…

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Art and the Way of the Goddess

February 18, 2013 at 8:47 pm (Art, gemstones and Jewels, LoVe, Relationships) (, , , , , , , )

So in spending time inventorying my current offerings in gems and necklaces I am again renewed in my quest for beauty and uniqueness. I am happy with every single piece in my current collections and see myriad reasons to build on each of these varied themes within the vision of conversation I have begun.

Jewelry is an emotional token in a material world of a spiritual meaning. Meaning it carries with it love and faith and friendship and status and culture. Because of its ability to impact not only the wearer, but those who gaze upon it I want me mine to be about starting conversations…about love, about meaning, and the true nature of happiness. I also want it start conversations about the violence with which it is torn from the earth, shaped into something through cutting and polishing and heat, often by an exploited population using toxic methods on the land…and yet there is no denying its beauty so we must rethink how and why we make jewelry…or at least I do.ImageThis is a piece of fire agate matrix retrieved from a dump after the mine lease holder separated their highest grade fire agate rough from the mine yield. Those gems which will retrieve the highest market price will be cut to maximize their beauty and size. I on the other hand am far more interested in the story the stones seek to tell me…Imagejade necklaceThese are vintage American jade which were retrieved from a scratched and chipped antique pen holder for a wealthy man’s desktop. I made them into spikes and pendants.Image© Michael J Walters 2009These opals are from the Shewa area of Ethiopia. They were part of a parcel of samples brought to the US over a decade ago and the finest stones were sold. These had been in a plastic box for years. Some are drilled and were made into pendants on leather.

So you see I really can find a lot of beauty in what has already been deemed second class…it is all relative. I have surprised even those from whom I have bought with the grace and beauty revealed in their castoffs.

So now you know why I do what I do and with what I do it. I can be reached on occasion at ESGJewelryDesigns@gmail.com if you want to know where to purchase my jeweled art.

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You Can Change Your Life at Any Moment

February 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm (Eating Nature, Health, LoVe) (, , , , , , , , , , )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuULcVaMTf0  Yes it is a video clip but as we know I am a tech immigrant and so not fluent in the languages of inserts and tags and such. Bear with me and go see the video before reading on…

A couple of years ago I gave up wearing stilettos because I argued (with myself) I was in a different age now and should be enjoying all that earthy-fel like nothing shoes could offer…except fashion. I kept a few pair but just as reminders of a sexier time when I was given the SD once over as I would stroll in my snakeskin stiletto sandals. I remembered those days fondly as I shoved my pie hole full of bread and ice cream and pasta. Hmmmm maybe there is a relationship here?

So I began this past autumn a plan to detox, rearrange my thinking about what is actually food and step up my workouts. Funny thing happened…as I cleaned my diet and detoxed with ionic and far infrared saunas I was becoming very strong…except the days after I had enjoyed wheat products. On those days I was suffering from ever more serious asthma and anaphylaxis after my workouts. I recognized this as a side effect of cleansing my system of the evil years in which I allowed some very “foods” pass my lips.  I was also making the connection between my consumption of wheat as well as dairy. The casein was making the asthma worse on some days.  72522798-SLD-001-0032 I am not the happy 10 year old in the photo (back row right in the ruffly white blouse under the navy blue suit).  Back then I ran the canyons with my pals, ate berries and oranges and pomegranates growing in my neighborhood. My mom never bought junk food and soda was seen in machines at gas stations but rarely consumed. As I grew older and my allergies took on a life all their own I learned that certain foods actually made me sick. namely many on the school lunch menu ugghh.

This past couple of years had coincided with weight gain, muscle loss and energy loss. I was poopy tired all the time and never woke up fully refreshed all while being hungry as a bear! I now know that is my body not receiving enough nutrients and so it makes me hungry. In the meantime the errant molds, fungus etc were telling me to eat sugar and lots of it! It was as if an alien predator had invaded my ever expanding body.

Today I eat lots of raw organic and some paleo meals where I find I enjoy the flavors of fish and chicken and meat but I need a whole lot less to feel satisfied. I am a fruit junkie these days and try to keep food nearby to graze.  IMG_6267 So you can see I am wearing heels and a local designer Stacie May’s dress along with my own ESG design necklace. When I put on my favorite outfits these days I smile remembering nothing tastes as good as fit feels! A vous sante!

If I can change my diet and learn to confront my food demons I can wear high heels and enjoy the ride at 52 and beyond…

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L’Histoire de Ma Vie

February 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm (Freedom, Letting go, LoVe, Relationships, Travel, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

…or at least a very small piece of my story. Image

Once upon a time a divorcee went to University to get a degree as her children were grown (or nearly) and she decided one day that a study abroad was in order…not just any study abroad but one which involved living in a forest in the Calanques outside Marseille France.

ImageYes this is where I lived and is about a 30 minute walk from my dorm room. I did not have a car or bike and used only public transport, trains and my feet.

I think French towns and countrysides are best explored this way, but then I am probably prejudiced in this matter. I remember whining my way across twelve miles of Paris to the Louvre with a boyfriend who was hell bent on my enjoyment and exploration of Paris whether or not I was compliant. I had a map and was looking for the direct route from Morrison’s grave and he was was looking into 300 year old artist’s shop windows enjoying the journey. I obsessed on what I knew would be a heinous crowd on a beautiful Spring Saturday at the museum thus removing myself from the fact I was in the most romantic city in the world with my favorite man ever…FAIL on my part. 32wnBnyiJ7E3kTbPd-fexqU4XUS3KKjL0060

I found a patisserie with pecan tarts and grabbed (I believe it is my solemn duty to sample all things thus for all the world) one stuffing it into my bag for later.

We eventually made our way to what looked like the Tokyo railway and got in line. We squeezed down the escalator and decided to grab lunch. We were so enamored of all the choices and hungry after the French Foreign Legion training he had put me through we spent a small fortune on our feast. It was all pretty delicious and nice to sit and stop and enjoy. So I forgive him for tossing my map in the trash as I forgive myself for being so attached to it instead of just living in the moment knowing we would always find our way if we trusted and kept moving forward. C’est la Vie

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Why Does My Dog Always Know Something is Wrong Before I Do?

January 28, 2013 at 8:59 pm (Health, Letting go, LoVe) (, , , )

So recently Munchie has insisted on sleeping with me and is very courteous…now if you know Munchie you know he is a 100 lbs of Olde love but courteous mmm not so much.  He has improved his manners around the wild and woolly Miss Daisy. Munchie has not pushed me off my bed, dug his dreaming running paws into my back at 4am or otherwise given me flashbacks of sleeping with an ex!

get-attachment (1)Happiness is in fact a warm puppy.  I know when Munchie is there no one is going to try and break into my house or my room and I won’t feel the chilly breeze from my partially open window. He will have my back as I sleep.

munchie and daisyDoes he snore you ask? Oh yes he does, in fact I was dreaming a distant car was backfiring when I awoke and realized it was Munchie! Naturally his noise machine is facing my ears dans la nuit! It is still better than waking up to Daisy running around dragging a fire agate across the antique Afghani carpet she has recently wrestled with and won,dragged across the floor. Miss Daisy has eaten my Leather luggage tag, the lid on a box of displays under the bed and carved her immortality into my Victorian chair. Baddddd dogge with the carving tool teeth! Alas she is but a baby.

So back to Munchie…I digress…Munchie has really been everything that makes dogs our best friends. He is loyal and caring and pitches in when and how he can and that makes him a dogge hero. He is almost three and it has been an interesting journey from pupster Munch.

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photo (4) So it is back to work and on with the day. I have a list of things to do as big and chewy as that bone in Munchie’s mouth. One bite at a time…

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Raw Vegan Days and Dark, Organic, Fairtrade Chocolate and Blackberry Treats

January 18, 2013 at 7:45 pm (Eating Nature, Freedom, Health, Letting go, LoVe) (, , , , , )

So as I fall deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of food truth and the aging process I see all food so differently. I am in love with fresh organic real live food again…

Yesterday I dropped by a farmer’s market on my way home from a deep breathing 20 minutes on the tidepools on a gorgeous So Cali day. I was really hungry as my blueberry, hemp, blue green algae and organic naner smoothie was wearing off. I bought some red heirloom org carrots and quickly scarfed one down…woe to any rabbit who tried to take it from me. Then I found the purveyor of all org sprouts of bean and seed and grassy kinds. I grabbed a fistful of pea sprouts and dropped them on the scale. I replied no bag I’m eating them now. I handed over my $1 and enjoyed the delicious green light crunchy flavor of these baby pea sprouts. I felt their energy convert to mine and I gave thanks to all involved. Next stop org arugula to wrap around the carrots.

Ah “The Bitchin’ Sauce” lady was there. I bought a container of lemon almond and headed back to the sprouts. I grabbed a bigger wad of pea sprouts and proclaimed I would be eating these as well bu this time with the magical “Bitchin Sauce” he gave a nod of hearty approval. I felt so satisfied after that…I had even taken a stroll down the aisle where the food trucks are…The smells were nothing compared to the fresh snap of raw living from the ground. Does this mean I will never eat a ripe small farm brie again? I doubt it…but the next cheese I eat will be small batch and very high quality. Less is more, and yet the satisfaction level of a high quality treat allows us a purer enjoyment without guilt. I hope once I am detoxed that in time I can have a fresh hot baguette for my petit dejeuner next time I’m in France with some org butter. Everything in correct amounts.

When I read the Woody Harrelson would not eat the Twinkies in Zombieland I understood and just another reason to give Woody the mad props!  He is a hero of mine for many reasons.

So on that note my favorite new movie theater treat is fresh org blackberries eaten with a high quality org, FT chocolate. heaven…

I haven’t included pictures of myself on this health seeking strengthening journey because I just haven’t taken any lately…I will. Should I tag myself in my photos so no one mistakes me for a younger version of me? haha just a little detox humor…and a lovely side effect of nurturing one’s temple with food which gives life.

Namaste and may all your meals enrich you body, mind and spirit.

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What if Failure Was Not an Option?

January 15, 2013 at 7:12 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Health, Letting go, LoVe, Relationships) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

So I ask myself the other day as I registered my daughter for a four day life coaching event what would I like to do if I knew failure was not an option? What if I knew with absolute certainty that I would succeed?

1) I would love with all my heart and soul.

2) I would create what is in my heart without concerns of marketability.

3) I would travel to far away places and learn the language and carry only a backpack and not worry about the cost.

4) I would invest in companies I believe in regardless of what the financial experts say.

5) I would apply for graduate school in a foreign country.

6) I would learn to fly an airplane.

7) I would make a beautiful collection of jewels from my amazing local tourmaline collection for their pyroelectric and piezoelectric health qualities.

8) I would speak my mind.

9) I would paint everyday without thought to whether or not anyone else is interested in my art.

10) I would teach the poor and disenfranchised that they have the power to change their circumstances starting with their own limiting beliefs.

…and so it seems failure is not an option and so it is time to continue the journey. Life is a gift, give thanks daily.

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