After hitting the San Luis Obispo Farmers Market to get some food for the day, I continued my drive south to Los Angeles.
I stopped in Ventura, California to sit by the ocean and have lunch and catch up on phone calls, and decided to finally listen to the voice telling me it was time to replace my broken windshield wiper blade, which is how I ended up meeting the sweetest man in all of Ventura. This old man working at Kragen Auto Parts on Main St wanted to replace the blade for me, but I told him I'd rather he teach me how to do it so I can be self-reliant next time. (I had lived in NYC for almost a decade, so know little about cars.) It was easy, but he kindly walked me through it and asked me where I was headed, so I told him about my community building trip across the country. His eyes lit up and we started talking about trust and the universe. I gave him a bar of Fearless Chocolate as a thank you, and he told me that he would ask God to watch over me on my travels because I was doing a good thing. I'm not much for God-speak (I prefer the term universe), but he was so sincere and the kindness in his eyes shone so brightly that it forced me to remember that whatever we choose to call it, it's all the same positive energy in the end. This same topic was to resurface later in the evening...
When I finally got to LA, I headed to Pasadena for a raw food potluck at Revvell's house. It was a really great evening. For starters, Revvell's got sass! She's got a knack for finding the truth in the abundance of information that exists these days, and getting straight to the point. There were a lot of newcomers, and she was able to cut through the BS and explain raw foods to the newcomers in such a simple and concise way that anyone could relate to.
She's a powerhouse of energy, as you'll notice by listening to her her radio show, Rawkin' Radio or checking out her membership site, Let's Talk Raw, where she allows members to come up with the questions for the interviews. She's a super connector and loves to share information, and she also knows when someone needs a little push to get where they're going, as she showed by giving me my first large public speaking experience. I love talking to people, but 'public speaking' is something that I have been thinking I need to work on a lot, especially on this trip because I want to be able to speak about my past health issues and my experiences with raw foods openly, easily and confidently. I had been thinking about joining a toastmasters group, but just didn't find the time before I left, so it was nice to have someone just throw me in with no warning to get me started. Thanks, Revvell! In reality, it's pretty simple and the fear is all mental hype. After the first few seconds of nerves, I sat down and put myself at the same level so I wasn't the center of attention, and from there talking to the group felt really easy. I know it may sound silly, but sitting down instead of standing in the center made me feel more comfortable and connected with everyone, which made a difference. It felt really good to talk about this trip, my intentions, how we are all connected and how the universe conspires to give us exactly what we need when we learn to trust our instincts and listen to our inner-voice. Afterwards a lot of people came up to talk to me about what I was doing, which really re-affirmed my purpose and gave me the opportunity to connect with people one on one.
One sweet woman even came over and slipped me some money for gas to help me to my next destination. She said what I was doing was like missionary work, which made me giggle a little since I consider myself spiritual but not religious, but I guess in a sense she was right - I am definitely on a mission, and am looking to be of service and help others. It's just a different way of looking at it than I would use. We talked about religion for awhile, about how the common message is love and light, how different people see things in different ways, and how beautiful it is that we are all so unique. I asked her about her own religious choice, and she told me that she used to be Buddhist, but was doing a ceremony at the altar one day and received a sign and from then on converted to Christianity. It made me think of the guy in Ventura asking God to look after me, and their unwavering belief in what they see as a higher power. It may be different than what I believe, but it's really amazing to see people from all walks of life embracing trust and seeking to be of service. Everyone brings something to the table, and we are all able to come together. I love that.
Right before that woman came over, I had been talking to Susanna Baxter about the use of the word God, so the synchronicity was pretty astounding. Susanna is new to raw foods, but has been working with health and healing for quite some time. We talked a little bit about her practice, and how she seeks to create the bridge for people between their physical health and their mental/emotional health. She is currently offering a free e-course entitled "5 Steps to Optimal Physical Wellness." I'm looking forward to hearing what shifts occur for her on a raw diet, and how much it helps her go deeper into her healing work.
I also got to chat with Karla Christine (also known as Kira) from The Healing Boutique about her work. Karla is deeply connected to the knowledge that our souls know exactly what we need to heal and feel whole, so she works with people to help them uncover the knowledge within and listen to their inner-healer. She is also a life coach and energy healer. She has a radiant energy and warmth about her that you can't help but be drawn to.
Another great person I got to connect with was Lucy. She was the first person I spoke to when I arrived because she was so friendly and inquisitive. She's another one who seems to absorb tons of information and remember little details. I was really impressed. She was very candid speaking to me about the health problems in her family and her own raw journey. She also wowed me with this amazing kale-blood orange salad, which she was kind enough to share the recipe for:
Lucy's Kale-Blood Orange Salad
1 bunch of Kale, deveined & finely chopped
1 large Tomato, cubed
3 Blood oranges, sliced
3 gloves of Garlic, pressed or minced
2 tbsp of Almond Butter
2 tbsp of Lemon Juice
1 tbsp of Nama Shoyu (or Braggs if you use it. I personally don't.)
1 tbsp of minced Green Onion
1-2 tbsp of Raw honey (or 4 soft dates, mashed)
Mix dressing ingredients well with a fork or spoon and add kale, tomato, oranges and toss. Happy eating!
Another highlight was Tao Zheng's reality animation. Tao was observing everyone so intently, and transforming the events of the evening into these hilarious animations, like the one below:
I stayed a bit late to be of service & help clean up our potluck mess and then was off to a CS Anti-Valentine's party. I had posted a last minute couch request, and a guy named Alex called and told me to go, and that I'd be sure to find a host. I knew what he meant, because the spirit of couchsurfing is just as vibrant in SF - everyone wants to help each other and connect. So I completely trusted it, went to the party and as soon as I walked in felt at home. A circle of people drumming and playing guitar, people teaching others how to salsa, the familiar buzz of different languages co-mingling. I love that at CS events there are always a ton of different things happening in each room or each corner of a room, and everyone is from somewhere else but we all come together and it always feels like family.
I gave out tons of Love Street's Raw Chocolate Spread. While most people thought I was selling something at first, a few people actually heard the words "free" and "chocolate" and smiled and happily took it. The first person to actually ask questions was Ryan Ray. Once I found out what he did, I was not surprised that he was intrigued by what I was doing - it was in synch with his own purpose. Ryan has a show called "Wake UP! Explore your Passion" that is all about life transformation and inspiring others. Once my trip is over, I'm going to take some time to watch a few episodes and learn from all his inspiring guests.
I ended up find the most amazing host, Raquel, the amazing Brasilian. She is living in Venice Beach studying English in the middle of traveling the world. She generously opened her home up to me, and when my friend who I was going to stay with the next day got sick, she let me stay with her for a few more days. She's a lot of fun, and just a really kind hearted person looking to help people. She is what CS is all about. Since I might end up in Brasil studying permaculture after all this is done, it was great to have someone tell me about places to go and people to connect with.