Balance, Happiness, Peace


October 2015

Finding Balance Everywhere

“In pursuit of knowledge,

every day something is added.

In the practice of the Tao,

every day something is dropped.”

Tao Te Ching 48


It’s been almost a week since I last posted! That’s mostly due to me being lazy and partly due to me not having much to say. Well I learned something more about Taoism over the last few days and that is the Yin Yang diet. Finding balance in your body through your food. It’s very interesting and I will share with you the links to some blogs I enjoyed reading on the subject at the bottom. So far I’ve learned that all foods are either Yin or Yang they can be extreme yin or extreme yang and in between as well. I have already given up alcohol and the next thing is sugars *cough* oreos *cough! I’m working on it! Anyway, it’s a very interesting subject! I also learned that people who practice Taoism can eat meat but you have to make sure it is raised properly. The negative emotions and negative energy of animals that lived their lives in cages or are taken to slaughter houses are in the food, so when you eat the food you are eating their fear. I agree and have already been one to make sure that my food is raised naturally.

I just got back from my trip to the grocery store buying yin and yang foods. It’s all very healthy natural stuff and I’m excited! The only problem is I’m not much of a cook so now I have to figure out what I am going to do with the food. If you have any suggestions please share!

Something else I just started today is downsizing. I’m starting with my wardrobe, I woke up and started going through my clothes. I have a LOT of clothes but as I went through them I realized that I actually wear pretty much everything. I have a small pile I’m going to do something with but the rest I actually wear! It’s just a start though I hope to continually downsize until I only have what I need.

“If you want to be given everything, give everything up.”

Tao Te Ching 22

IMG_20151027_171223[1]In other news the dogs and I went hiking, as usual, this week and we had fun until Toph ran off and got lost. We searched for her for a good thirty or forty minutes before finding her. I was so upset with her. They have lost hiking privileges until they can listen better so we are going back to basic training, for both of them. It’s going okay, Toph is stubborn though. Well, stubborn isn’t the right word…. she just doesn’t know anything. It’s hard for me to keep my patience but it’s good practice, I need patience.

I also want to briefly talk about my Martial Arts! In case you didn’t know I do Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi and I love it! Taoism is perfect for this and I’m excited to start bettering my martial arts through my Taoism and vice versa. I will write more about my martial arts in the coming months so please check back for that! I’m sooo excited about the start of my new journey I can’t wait to share my upcoming adventures!!!

Here are he links to the blogs I read on yin yang foods. Check it out!
Yin Yang Shopping List

Yin Yang Recipes

Yin Yang Food Chart

Also check out my Instagram for more pictures!

Lessons Learned

IMG_20151022_172750[1]The further I delve into the Tao the more the world amazes me. It seems I learn something new everyday, or at least every couple of days. Yesterday held yet another lesson for me , and it’s one that I hold dear.

The dogs and I hiked the three balds hike on Roan mountain, we finally made it all the way to the third bald it was a little over four miles round trip. The dogs were exhausted but they really enjoyed it. I had the chance to practice Tai Chi on top of a mountain today, it was hard. The ground was soft, uneven and the grass thick and tall so it grabbed your feet. It was perfect for practicing Tai Chi! While resting at the third bald and enjoying the amazing view from the top of the world a couple and their dog walked up. We had a conversation about hiking and about doing what you love. We agreed that all we wanted was to do what we loved. She said she was lucky enough to have a job she loves and is good at. That’s what I want too.

I didn’t think much of what we talked about until later that night at the Japanese Culture Society club meeting. We watched a movie called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. It was a very enjoyable documentary and it taught me even more about doing what you loved. There are a couple of things Jiro said that stuck out to me but the one that hit home is the one I want to share most. Jiro said:

“When I was in school… I was a bad kid. Later, when I was invited to give a talk at the school, I wasn’t sure if I should tell the kids that they should study hard… or that it is okay to be a rebel. I wasn’t sure what advice to give the kids. Studying hard doesn’t guarantee you will become a respectable person. Even if you’re a bad kid… there are people like me who change. I thought that would be a good lesson to teach. But if I said that bad kids can succeed later on like I did… all the kids would start misbehaving which would be a problem. Always doing what you are told doesn’t mean you’ll succeed in life.”

I am one of those people who hates studying. I’m also bad at, mostly because I usually just don’t know how to study. It’s part of why I switched my major from Exercise Science to English. I loved exercise science but it was too much work for me and IIMG_20151022_171328[1] didn’t think I would ever get what I wanted out of it. I switched and I feel much better. I don’t have to study so much and I still do well and I have time to do all of this hiking with my dogs. Anyway, I think Jiro is right. Just because you get a four year degree in college doesn’t mean you will get a good job and it doesn’t mean you’ll get a job in what you learned. If you weren’t a good kid, got bad grades or broke the rules it doesn’t mean you can’t change and be successful.

Something else he said, which I also love is:

“Once you decide on your occupation… you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success… and is the key to being regarded honorably.”

I’ve learned about how in many Asian cultures you have something you are good at or that you like and you practice that one thing for the rest of your life and you try to become the best at that one thing. Jiro shows that in the documentary and with his words. I don’t know for sure yet what it is I want to do but once I decide, that is what I will do and I will do my best to become great.

This lesson reminds me of a part of the Tao Te Chin from Seventy – Four the last verse says:

“There is always and official executioner.

If you try to take his place,

It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood.

If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter,

you will only hurt your hand.”


It’s short and sweet this time but still I learned a lot today!

Also, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is on Netflix if you are interested in watching!

Check out my Instagram for more photos from the hike! It was a beautiful day!

Resentment is heavy…..Forgiveness is a little lighter

Today was an incredible day. Nothing particularly interesting, or different happened. I took the dogs on a walk, I went to class, I went to Tai Chi. That’s it. Still, it was incredible.

Lately I have been struggling with something. Actually, not just lately but my whole life I’ve struggles with this. Forgiveness. Ever since me and my boyfriend and I broke up a couple of months ago I’ve felt nothing but resentment for him and in case you don’t know, resentment is heavy. I wasn’t sure how to explain the feeling of hating him and wishing ill upon him but then I found this story “The Tao of Forgiveness”. In just the first few paragraphs I realized what those feelings felt like. They felt heavy. Plain and simple, heavy.

You see, hating someone, wishing ill upon someone is an active process, it’s a negative 61265_1573912317569_5287127_nprocess and it’s exhausting. I have wanted nothing more than to just forgive so that I could move on, but I couldn’t figure out how. I thought maybe if he apologized I could forgive him, but it wouldn’t happen. How exactly do you forgive someone who hasn’t asked for forgiveness? I turned to the Tao Te Ching searching for the answer and this is what I found:

“After a bitter quarrel, some resentment must remain.

What can one do about it?

Therefore the sage keeps his half of the bargain

But does not exact his due.

A man of Virtue performs his part,

But a man without Virtue requires others to fulfill their obligations.

The Tao of heaven is impartial.

It stays with god men all the time.”

Tao Te Ching Seventy – Nine

This is just what I needed. Nobody is obligated to give you anything in return for what you have given them. I tried so hard to make the relationship work, to make him happy and I supported him through everything, I was always there for him but I felt like I never got any of it in return. I felt like a burden, unwanted, annoying and not needed. I guess I expected too much.

Today in one of my classes we watched the movie “Smoke Signals” it was very good and I recommend anyone to go watch it. At the end of the movie a poem about forgiveness was read and when the movie was over we had a small discussion about it and one thing someone said stuck out to me. “It shows that even forgiveness is painful. You can forgive someone but still remember the pain that someone inflicted upon you.” How does the universe know just what I need to hear?

This is why resentment is heavy and forgiveness is a little lighter. Resentment is negative and active while forgiveness is positive BUT forgiveness is still active. In the story I read “The Tao of Forgiveness” it teaches that forgiveness is something we must practice everyday. We must let go of our “inflated sense of self-importance” that way we don’t have to carry around the weight of resentment. So the questions is: How does one achieve forgiveness?

I’ve always been hotheaded and stubborn. I’m a true fire sign that’s for sure, this also means I’m great at holding grudges. I could have taken this IMG_0864one to my grave if I wanted but I didn’t want that. I wanted to be free of this burden and forgive, I just didn’t know how. Well I will tell you how. Forgiveness will come in the most unexpected way. When you are truly ready to forgive it will happen. You cannot rush nature and sometimes feeling resentment is a part of how things go and forgiveness will come as long as you actively work for it. Today I achieved forgiveness.

After Tai Chi class, which my ex boyfriend also participates in, we walked to our cars. I had heard from a mutual friend he had been having car trouble and tonight he cannot start his car. He got to class just fine but now that we were leaving the car wouldn’t start. I sat in my car listening to the car trying to start but just not working. He tried again, and again, and again, and again. I contemplated offering him a ride home. Finally I drive my car around to him and ask him if he needs a ride home. He said yes.

The gesture probably seemed small to anyone watching but to me it was much bigger. I drove home, we talked a little, he mostly talked, he thanked me then we went out separate ways. When I got into my apartment I thought about what had happened, I was proud of myself, it was such a big thing for me and then I start crying. I don’t know what brought it on. I don’t know if it was relief or sadness or what, but I cried.

I have finally forgiven. I can finally move on and put this part of my life in the past.

“Yield and Overcome.”

“Why does everyone like the Tao so much at first?

Isn’t it because you find what you seek and are forgiven when you sin?

Therefore this is the greatest treasure of the        universe.”

Tao Te Ching Sixty – Two


Here is a link to a blog that has written out the poem in “Smoke Signals”. Please take a look it also has the video so you can listen. It’s a great poem and it aided in my path to forgiveness.

How Do We Forgive Our Fathers?

Please check out my Instagram for more photos as well. Thank you for reading, this is a very personal entry and I hope somebody will benefit from reading it. If you have any questions or words of wisdom please feel free to comment!

Secret River


Today we hiked to Laurel Falls, it’s a place we go to pretty regularly but today we found two new short trails that came off of the main trail. We followed them down to the river and saw parts of the river we had never seen before. It was beautiful!

Aside from the new trail and sights we saw, when you go out hiking enough times you’re bound to have some crazy stories and meet interesting people. Well today, I met an interesting person on the trail and I’d like to share it.


On our decent to the waterfall we came across a hiker and his wolf dog. He had clearly been hiking the Appalachian Trail for a few days, the pack on his back was almost as big as he was. He called his dog to his side to keep her away from mine and immediately he starts telling me about wolf dogs. He told me about an organization that I think he called Wolf Dogs of Hell Town Buddhist-Jew. He told me about a few wolf dogs that he had in the past and about how his dog has bad allergies or mange.

The story gets weirder. He tells me that the feds are the ones that gave his dog the mange. He says, “They’ve been trying for a while now to get me off the trail. I’ve been hiking the Appalachian Trail since 2011 and the feds will try anything to get me off and now they’re attacking my dog.”

At this point I’m thinking he’s just a guy who believes in conspiracies and such, which is fine. But then he continues.

“I was in New York and there were dead animals everywhere and of course she (referring to his dog) rolls in them to get the scent. The feds planted them there. I know it. I used to live in DC and work for the government, my mom worked for the government, my dad…it’s the sad truth but there are people out there with an evil agenda. And if she’s got the mange and her fur is coming out it makes me look like a homeless man who doesn’t care about their dog. It gives me the wrong image and that’s just not true. It is what it is I guess. Anyway, they had tried to question me on a murder case a few years ago.”

At this point schizophrenia is starting to make it’s way into my mind. I get a little nervous hearing about the murder case. He keeps going though and after that it was really hard to follow him and understand him but what he said was along included: porn, selling to the adult industry. He was tempted but in the end it’s selling temptation and he couldn’t do it with a good conscience. Believe it or not I’ve been celibate for over five years now. This journey has been very spiritual for me..

That is pretty much how it went. Ha-ha. Interesting to say the least and whether or not he was a good person or not I don’t know. I tried not to judge him but I still felt uncomfortable and kept my knife out the rest of the hike. I honestly think he was harmless though. I do think something wasn’t right with him but if you’ve been in the woods for four years with just your dog I might go a little crazy too.

Most people you encounter hiking are just like you. They’re just out enjoying nature, getting some exercise, maybe they’re on a journey. I don’t know. I do my best to keep an open mind with everyone I meet. I’ve met very nice people and very weird, but still nice, people on the trail, it’s part of what makes hiking fun.

Anyway, today was fun and different. We had a nice time.

Follow me on Instagram to see more photo’s of the dogs and our hike!

Buddy says Namaste y’all!


Water flows, waterfalls


Compression/Twisting Falls is absolutely breath taking. My experience there was unlike any other I had before. I have mad respect for the power of water It’s beautiful, it flows easily, it’s gentle but the next thing you know water is roaring, it’s angry, it’s violent and above all it’s deadly. While at compression falls I felt everyone of those things coming from the waterfall. It’s a fairly large waterfall but absolutely beautiful. I sat for a good forty five minutes withmy dogs on a rock just watching the waterfall.

I have never felt the feeling of “free” before. You know when someone says, “I just feel so free!” or something along those lines? Well I had never felt that way until I  went to compression falls. I felt free! I felt completely in tune with nature and with myself. I was overjoyed and even cried (I’m such a baby). Seriously though, if you ever get the chance go see this waterfall. It’s very secluded, you have ZERO cell phone service (which isn’t really a bad thing) and the trail to get to the falls is STEEP! And I mean steep!

IMG_20151012_200910[1] IMG_20151012_201137[1]

Here (above) is Elk River falls. The hike couldn’t even be considered a hike but the falls and the river are gorgeous. This is also along the Appalachian Trail so after you see the falls you can walk a little ways down the trail to get to AT trail. I enjoyed these falls, it was calm and quiet but much busier (people wise) than Compression Falls.


Last waterfall for tonight, this is Red Fork Falls. This was a very enjoyable hike. It wasn’t too long to get to the falls but long enough to be a hike and I feel the trail ranges from easy to moderate. This waterfall is a lot of fun because it goes on for a while! You have many tiny waterfalls leading up to the big waterfall which continues to flow down into more smaller waterfalls. It’s great!

Check these places out if you enjoy waterfall hunting like I do!

For more pictures of the hike and waterfalls follow me on Instagram!

The Face Of Happiness


I’m starting this blog to share my journey with anyone interested! This will include blogs about hiking, fitness, bouldering and of course (most importantly) my pooches! Now, to introduce the star:

BUDDY! He is my four and a half year old American Foxhound. We adopted Buddy a year ago but he and I have already bonded so much! He’s my best friend, my baby my everything! He’s a great dog and companion. Of course this will also feature my newest pup Top

Toph is Rat Terrier mix, I adopted her from the shelter about two weeks ago and I have discovered I am not much of a puppy person. She’s annoying ha-ha but she’s growing on me and loves our hikes!

Anyway, more pics to come! We go hiking every week and I always get pictures. I will post some pictures of my hikes from the last couple of weeks along with newer hikes!

Follow me on Instagram for more pictures! /https://instagram.scom/jl30stmar

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