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A constant state of change.....

Colleen Hannegan

Today I splashed in the pool with two teenage nieces. We listened to Jack Johnson on my iPhone as we laid out and worked on tans. They made me laugh. I felt so happy. And in touch with some very special feelings of summer joy that have eluded me for some time.

No one's fault but mine.

I've been so busy being a grown up that I'd temporarily forgotten all I know about my fun inner girl and how she always waits and waits and waits for me to let go. So that she can show me the way to happiness. The read deal happiness. The kind that has no age, no time limit, no deadline. The Divine Happiness that knows Play is what we are here to do. It really is ALL a game.

So today, Lina and Raina reminded their Aunt Colleen that joy is best shared and happiness has nothing whatsoever to do with Doing........ it's all about BEing.

Happiness is a state of Being.

I have decided to move there.  Permanently.

 

Can you ever be 100% anything?

Colleen Hannegan

Doubt and me are frequent walking companions. My morning power walks in nature (sometimes I walk on concrete but prefer dirt), is my time for solo mind chatter. No human to dicuss my life with, no feedback from a sympathizer (girlfriend, boyfriend, sister, daughter), just me and SHE and doubt. I refer to the Greater Power than me, as SHE.

I find it's the best way to question everything. Oftentimes I talk it all out loud. Other times I'm just thinking, thinking, thinking. It may sound much like whining, (it could be), or praying, (help me help me help me,) but mostly I've started to become AWARE of how much of my early morning outdoor ramblings are doubt-based. 

So let's back up sixty minutes. When my sleeping mind transforms back to a waking mind and 5 a.m. stirs my soul. And my first thoughts are all about LOVE and healing and my deepest desires to connect with WOW POWER and G-D and the UNIVERSE. And I feel it from the soles of my feet  traveling up and through all parts of me.  And I know PEACE and faith and hope and the pure  deliciousness of being human and part of all creation. And I know how to receive it and spread it outward to my loved ones. Yeah, I know that's alot before breakfast.  But I've learned through the years, that I received a big dose of DIVINE KNOWING the day I was born. Lucky me. 

So here I am out on my walks, and I'm all about the doubt, 'bout the doubt, no kidding, I'm all about the doubt, 'bout the doubt. And I wonder why am I not 100% LOVE POWER AND ABSOLUTE SURENESS all the time, especially when my first thoughts are so juicy positive and powerful?  I don't know. All the time. 

So I decided to allow myself to doubt out loud as I start on my walks, but when it's time to turn and head back, I have to SHUT UP and LISTEN. What I've learned is, it's positively okay to be doubtful and look at the negative side of life and to vent and wonder and wrestle with my choices. It's part of my human experience. As long as I allow equal time for quiet trust, faithful reflection and acceptance. The listening is soooo rewarding.

By the time I get home it always feels like my daily doubt got left behind out there and recycled into something much more useful.

If it only lasts 24 hours, that's okay. Doubt and me go way back, but making friends with her has most definitely lightened my load over the years.

 

Freedom in Giving Up

Colleen Hannegan

The idea of surrender is always a tough pill to swallow for me. My (sometimes) huge ego always makes a stand for having things my way. Everything. That is, when I'm not in touch with my Inner Girl who knows to trust LOVE. The LOVE that oversees and cares for and gently guides me and everyone around me in the best direction when I listen. To the quiet. It's the only way I can hear Her reasssure me that I'm so LOVED that if I would continue to surrender to the FLOW of things, all my needs will be met. In fact I already possess all the gifts and talents I need to move forward....IF....I surrender to not ALWAYS having my way. That requires trust in powers bigger than myself and yet knowing all that power is within me. 

I just need to let go and F.L.O.W.

Foundation of LOVE. Leadership by LOVE. Organization by LOVE. And the Wonder of LOVE.

Freedom from freedumb. A daily process.

 

Ride with care, please.

Colleen Hannegan

A letter to the Stewards of the Orange County Parks

Yesterday, on Sunday January 4th, during one of my frequent hikes into Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness park, my daughter and I along with an elder couple hiking near us were accosted by a group of 100-200 aggressive mountain bikers as we were heading down a rather narrow section of the Wood Canyon trail. They were racing up the hill across the entire path and running everyone off the trail. We were very close to being hit. Other riders not in this group and runners and hikers were all forced into nearby bushes.

For the ten years I have enjoyed the beauty and restorative experience of hiking and riding my own mountain bike into ”Aliso”, there have been an occasional errant biker. But the majority of the experience has always been considerate and careful riders sharing the trails. 

But yesterday, Rock and Road cyclery hosted an A1 event in the park that included motosport riders, professional racing mountain bike riders and 200 of their customers to race and basically tear up the trail and everyone in their way. No courtesy shown, no patience with hikers, rude remarks from riders when we asked them to stay on one side. It was a free-for-all that left us all feeling sick that OC Parks had allowed a mob-mentality to unleash itself on our beloved park.

 The OC Parks Vision Statement is to “Preserve Orange County’s Parks in perpetuity for the recreation, education, and inspiration of ALL visitors.”

“As a steward of significant natural and cultural resources, Orange County Parks manages and operates a system of regional parks, beaches, harbors, trails and historic sites that are places of recreation and enduring value.”

The sacred space that is our community park system is a gift to our community I value a great deal. It is not a racetrack! I so love my wilderness park at Aliso and the positive healing and joy I’ve discovered biking and hiking in the park, that I wrote a book to share with the world about the healing power and joy there is for all if they will step off the sidewalk and onto a wilderness trail.  

As a professional speaker on the subject of healing in the outdoors, and how being in nature provides better health and happiness,  I teach others to seek peace and healing in the outdoors; in the wilderness. I am a member of the North American Chapter of the International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine and a teacher of Shin-rin Yoku, the Japanese term for healing in the outdoors.

Well, yesterday we were mowed down on that wilderness trail by a mob, who should have never been allowed to have that large a number of aggressive racers on the trail on a very busy Sunday morning. There  were no signs posted that we would be walking right into the eye of a storm of riders. It created a very hazardous situation.

This is no place for that kind of event. This is a preserved space for respectful and careful guests who will do their part to preserve our wild, not rip it up and upset this precious and delicate eco-system.

Who will care for all we’ve saved in the wild if OC Parks, the steward who represents the people, does not?

No more racing! No more large crowds of bikers! Set a limit to the size of riding groups on weekends! No more Sunday events that crowd out everyone else on the most active day of the week!

SAVE OUR PARKS FOR ALL!!

A wilderness loving guest.

 

End of something, start of something.....else!

Colleen Hannegan

Three more days to wrestle with the final resolutions I made 362 days ago. To tell the truth, I don't remember what they were. If I wrote them down, I don't know where January's journal is. Nor do I care. I woke up this morning and didn't want to get out of bed. Once your feet hit the floor and your toes slip into your slippers, you're committed. You've left cozy dream land and all those fluffy warm blankets and soothing pillows  that keep you floating away from reality and you're instantly adrift instead, into the cold morning air, and your worrisome waking mind; oh what a bitch she is if I don't rein her in!

Today she won. All of me. She claimed me at the pre-dawn glow when I daily mind-wrestle the holy and the unholy. One second I'm feeling dejected and worrisome, disappointed with all that IS, the next moment, I'm in awe of the swirling LOVE I feel when I'm in that just awakening state of bliss. Or blah. I have to deliberately reach out for bliss because blah is always sooo demanding of my thoughts! 

This morning I slipped into blah, big time. Maybe I was due for a sloppy morning cry. Maybe it was  plain and simple exhaustion at calling to mind 362 days of trying my best to progress! Maybe it was all that sugar I've been enjoying since Thanksgiving! But I confess, I didn't resist. I let her have her way and I wailed outloud to the FP (field of potentiality as author Pam Grout likes to call it.) I still call it The Great Listener, God, sometimes Goddess, sometimes Great Spirit, sometimes Universe, sometimes Me. That force of Energy that I know is ever present and ever listening and always waiting for my instructions. I moaned and groaned and had a pity parade for what didn't make sense, what was slow in coming (in my humble opinion) and what I'd lost and wished I still had, and I wailed about the picture in front of me that just didn't seem right!! And I'm tired, I cried! I've done the work, passed the tests, made the grade....haven't I??? 

All my assorted works-in-progress lay waiting for me on my desk, like a taskmaster. All that self-promoting I should be doing. All that social media fan-fare that would bring the results I'm hoping for. All that big smiling, happy facing, "because I'm happy" dancing I should be throwing myself into after my high-energy protein shake and one hour fitness routine that keeps me on top of the pile!  Ugh. Today, double ugh.

No. No. No. I climbed out of my blanket hideout, slipped on my painting clothes from yesterday and prepared the kitchen for it's final coat.  I turned on Pandora and lined up new music by Xavier Rudd, Iron and Wine, Ben Howard and Ali Farka Toure and of course, some Bruno Mars. Awesome new tunes. I cranked up the heat and pointed my paint brush towards finish.

Ending a year is as great a plan as beginning a new one. No matter what humble job lays before you, moving forward is all that matters. To measure ones' own progress is to always fall short. To leave the test results to the Higher Power that knows you and loves you so completely it makes your head spin is a nicer way to treat oneself. Nobody is as hard on me as me. My Bigger Self loves me; adores me, even when I whine.

As I held my brush firmly, and committed it to a fine job of keeping within the lines and making my kitchen shine, I felt a new dance flowing in from my feet to the top of me. 

Today would be a paint day, a music day, a day to say no to obligations, and say yes to an easy completion. As the second coat dried, I took an hour spin on my bike into the waiting wilderness park. Bright sun, crisp fresh air and blue overhead cleared my murky mind and grey spirit.  

Painting complete. Kitchen re-assembled.

Inspired to make dinner, I  prepared a killer rib-eye steak with super-yummy garlic mashed potatoes and stir fry veggies for my sweetheart when he got home from work. T'was a successful day afterall. 

It's so easy to flow and so difficult to force life.  Maybe this should be my new year commitment to self. May the FLOW be with me. And make dinner for someone I LOVE.

More often.

 

Super-Yummy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Peel ten small red potatoes. Cut into quarters. Boil until soft, about 15 min. Drain. Add 3 TBL butter and a 1/4-1/2 cup half and half. Add a heaping teas. of crushed garlic ( I buy mine in a jar, thank you Trade Joes).  Mash to music. 

Enjoy. And may your New Years joy-producing resolves be a whole lot more fun than any difficult resolutions you had in mind!

 

From a 1915 New Year's Postcard . 

From a 1915 New Year's Postcard .