Month: June 2015

I Found Treasure!

Agate

Walking along the shores of Lake Superior, you might just find something amazing. Agates!

Little Girl's Point, Lake Superior

Last weekend I spent some time on the beach at Little Girl’s Point on Lake Superior in Michigan. This is a favorite spot for rock hunters. You’ll see miles of rounded pebbles and only 1 in 10,000 is an agate. So what is an agate and how are they formed?

 Agates are semi-precious gemstones. They were formed in the lava of a once volcanic earth. Air bubbles were trapped in this hot liquid rock and rising mineral rich water filled the air bubbles giving room for an agate to be born. This was a billion years ago, literally. These rocks were formed before the plants, before the animals, back when the atmosphere was methane and ammonia without oxygen. The moon was much closer then with a gravitational pull 100 times stronger than we know today. A 3 foot tide now would have been a 300 foot tide back then! Can you image a moon on the horizon, 100 times the present size in appearance? It was a far different world then. Continents were shifting and colliding; life was forming. 70,000 years ago, the glaciers started to move over our continent. They dug up the land and spread the agates around with their icy fingers. You can find them all over Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Lake Superior agates are known to be the oldest in the world and the most sought after.

Below you’ll see some of the stones I found last weekend at Lake Superior…

11692944_103381439976661_109550115_n agates

11119467_1033825819975512_1774936218_n11652084_1033825639975530_641323744_n 11694182_1033814323309995_903987000_n

Some of these are agates, most aren’t, but each of these stones has a story of its own. When I hold an ancient rock, I hold something older than life as we know it. Within these stones lies a living history, evidence of the early tides, volcanoes and lava floes, fossils, and mountain ranges. So next time I’m at Lake Superior, I won’t just look for agates, I’ll look at the landscape and the wonderful water, I’ll imagine what the world was like when these rocks where being formed and I’ll remember that the stones have a life of their own. If you ever decide to go rock hunting, I recommend you educate yourself before going so that you know what to look for. Check out this link for an informative website on agates in the area…http://www.superiortrails.com/rock-hound.html

I hope you find a ten pound agate!

Happy Trails,

-MJ

Vulnerability

fox_deer

Dear Friends,

I was laying in bed the other morning -manic- and I couldn’t get up. Crippled with a stream of negative thoughts that clouded my usually positive outlook, I just kept laying there, miserable. The Fox Trails just turned 1 and after promoting the book for an entire year, I’m finally realizing that it has a bunch of mistakes in it. And I’m not just talking about the many questionable choices I made during the course of the adventure, I’m also referring to missing words, a few grammatical mishaps, and a horrible font. I just sold a ton of books too so these errors are on my mind now.

I imagine the reader’s judgements; they terrify me. However, not one person has come to me after reading the book to give me a harsh review.¬† Still though, I was laying there in my bed, stressed out and worried that these errors might prevent people from seeing the beauty behind the imperfections. I was scared that the mistakes might stand out more than the truth within.

I wanted to share this vulnerability with you; I think there’s a parallel here and a metaphor for relationships. When I judge someone on their issues or their imperfections, I build a wall between us. I’ve found that when I have the courage to push passed my fears and to knock that wall down (or at least see through it), something beautiful waits for me on the other side. It’s like me looking for the perfect woman (perfect woman you say?)…if I don’t have compassion and understanding to see through what I perceive to be flaws, I won’t have relationship; I’ll be constantly searching for what’s ‘out there’ rather than engaging with what’s right here.

This doesn’t mean that we have to settle for something subpar or squint our eyes to see the potential of a situation -we can engage fully with what is, right now. To get beyond our egoic mind and our judgements, to break down the walls we build, to see through the scariness, without this approach, how many enjoyable books and beautiful people will we dismiss prematurely?

I have the gift (and the curse) of being able to share deeply without much preparation, whether that be a public presentation or some improvised music for an audience, even publishing a book. I’m honored to share that with you as a part of my process and I hope it’s encouraging… throw it out there, make some mistakes, take a chance and be real, be vulnerable, be adventurous. In the next post, I’ll be discussing the idea of Animal Guides (spirit animals) and the gifts they bring us. Until then…

Happy Trails,

-MJ

P.S. I’m currently revising The Fox Trails book 1 and I’ll be releasing an updated version with a fresh font and a thorough polish. I have a number of speaking engagements on the calendar this summer at local libraries and such. I’ll be giving readings and book signings with live music and a photographic tour of my bicycle trips.