in love with the process.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve definitely been in ‘production mode.’

Working on my website, organizing and planning tsoana’s details, and, of course, fulfilling ceramics orders!

One thing is for certain, and that is that I really love the process.  It’s kind of like that phrase that goes something like:  it’s all in the journey, not the destination.  While I certainly like hitting the big goals and reaching my ‘destinations,’ I also like to step back and enjoy the details in the process.  Without the process, we would lack growth and understanding.  We would lack the fine details.  Without the process, tsoana and our creations loses the love.

Without further ado, an ‘ode’ to recent process:
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Hope you’re having a great, productive week.  Let us know what you’ve been up to with the hashtag #worktoinspire !

don’t forget the simple things.

I had a really lovely weekend with my love and his mother.  We explored some of my favorite areas along the coast (Monterey, Big Sur, Carmel, & Pt. Reyes) and really just got to slow down a bit and spend some time outdoors.

It’s all quite simple.  Life is beautiful if you look for the beauty.  And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you don’t need to look very far.

kayaking @ pt. reyes

kayaking @ pt. reyes

a little about our logo.

We love that you’re following along our journey as we grow and learn (and make mistakes…always some mistakes!).

We previously posted about our name tsoana, which means sameness.  If you missed that post, click back and give it a read!

After that post, we got many questions about how our logo relates to this idea of tsoana.

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First, we wanted a simple logo.  Nothing complicated or distracting.  After drawing out several ideas, we landed on this one for its simplicity and meaning.

Tsoana means sameness, but we know that there are so many beautiful differences in people.  There is also so much that is the same.  The triangles are descending and filtering down from the top (most unique) to the single point that makes everything the same: living, breathing beings.  We are alive.  We are the same.  We have joy.  We have love.

Kao Fela Rea Tsoana.  We are all the same.  If we filter down to the most granular, we can see it.  Through the complications and differences, we can unite together in love and create anything we envision.

a journey to river’s bend.

I have been fortunate enough to learn about herbal medicine and the magic of plants from a wonderful teacher, Kami McBride.  This past weekend, our circle of plant sisters drove in from around the Bay Area to the most perfect retreat spot at River’s Bend.

to the river <3.

at river’s bend.

The part I love most about Kami’s classes is that not only do I learn so much about plants and their medicinal uses, but also, I learn about plant spirit and so much about myself.  I can really delve into what’s inside of me, in my heart, in a very safe and comfortable environment.  I can be me and I am held and protected.  We don’t have enough spaces and communities like this in the world.  We need to make them!

delicious purple sage.

delicious purple sage.

in the garden at mary pat palmer's philo school of herbal energetics.

in the garden at mary pat palmer’s philo school of herbal energetics.

bark

beautiful bark texture.

looking up

a glance toward the sky.

One idea that came out of the weekend is that we certainly need a culture shift – to one that is more loving toward humans, plants, and the earth.  One where we see the earth as a living being and treat it with kindness and respect.  In order to do that, we need some of the ‘crazy ones’ that talk to plants and share with the world.  Will that be you?!

plant altar

plant mandala in our sacred space.

garlic

garlic people!

mullein

mullein flowers saying hello.

During our final bit of time in at River’s Bend, we went on a hike through what used to be a lush redwood forest.  It is now mostly tan oak and douglas fir.  (Un-fun fact: did you know only 4% of our redwood forests still stand today?)  I found a family circle of redwoods and sat in a little nest of their dropped and browned leaves.  It was so cozy and protected and I felt so at peace.  I could have stayed there all afternoon (and beyond).  I felt as though the trees were telling me to be strong and they would be there.

st john's wort.

st john’s wort.

When I needed to go, I picked up a dried tan oak leaf and wrote the simple words ‘be strong.’  I placed it in some peeling bark on one of the trunks in the redwood family and kissed them goodbye.  I walked away.  I won’t forget.

(for more images from this beautiful journey (and others!), please visit the ‘through the lens‘ section.)

what’s in a name?

tsoana.  It’s a simple word that has a lot of meaning for me.

but it’s Possible you haven’t heard of it before (and perhaps haven’t heard about its country of origin either!).

Several years ago, I had an incredible opportunity to travel to the Kingdom of Lesotho, a mountain kingdom completely surrounded by the country of South Africa.

Me, on Thaba-Bosiu, taking it all in. Below is the Qiloane Mountain. Many say that the shape of the mountain is the origin of the iconic Basotho hat.

Me, on Thaba-Bosiu, taking it all in. Below is the Qiloane Mountain. Many say that the shape of the mountain is the origin of the iconic Basotho hat.

One of my former professors had done the Peace Corps and was stationed in Lesotho, and he often brought small groups of students back to the country he called home for two years.  During our time there, we lived in a small village and spent our days building community centers and orphanages, assisting in an HIV clinic, building playgrounds, and creating and planting garden plots.  Throughout each of the projects we worked on, we were not alone.  We worked side-by-side with the Basotho people.  We worked hard, we shared stories, we laughed, we cried.  All together.  Life in Lesotho is hard, but the people are inspiring and full of life.  They know what it means to share, to love, and to be in community.

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Lots of work to be done!

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A woman in the village of Roma stands by her home.

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An orphanage we painted after building a new playground.

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Seed beds we dug and planted.

Small helpers coming over to the site of the new community center/orphanage.

Small helpers coming over to the site of the new community center/orphanage.

Throughout the trip, one phrase kept coming up during discussions and interactions with the Basotho people around us.  That phrase was this:

Kao Fela Rea Tsoana.  We are all the Same.

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Kao Fela Rea Tsoana. We Are All the Same.

This has resonated with me ever since.  Whenever I’m upset or frustrated, happy or elated, I realize that we all share in our experiences.  My happiness is your happiness, and vice versa.  We live in this together.  We truly are one.

I took the final part of the phrase, and hold it close to my heart.  It translates to ‘sameness’ on its own.

I know some people may simply read this and think, ‘Look how naive she is.  She thinks we are all the same.’  Quite the contrary.  What’s beautiful is that we are all the same in so many ways, including that we are all different (confusing, right?).  Our uniqueness is just as incredible as the fact that we all have the same color blood running through our veins, we breathe the same air, see the same stars and moon, and can feel the same heat on our face from the shining sun.

Amazing.  We all have a sameness, and that’s what this is all about.

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One of the most beautiful places.

Soon, you can check out my ‘Through the Lens’ tab for more glimpses at my Lesotho trip and other adventures.  And if you’re feeling adventurous yourself, go visit Lesotho!  You won’t be disappointed.

Finally, if you’re feeling generous, SOS Children’s Villages, is a great organization for donations to this beautiful kingdom in the sky.

Walking softly and xox,

Leah

intentions.

Well, here I am.  This project has been a long time coming, a brain child for many, many moons.  I am excited to make it ‘real,’ to have it on the screen, and to welcome it to the world.  I’m also excited to welcome you to this little space I have created – for me and for you.

I have many intentions for this space.  First and foremost, this is a space for me.  In this hectic, chaotic world, I’d like to try to bring some organization to my photos, thoughts, inspirations, my life.  I’d like to be able to come back years from now and remember the smell of a field of wildflowers, the feel of a new bag of clay, or the happiness of a best friend’s smile by peeking at an old photo.

sunset at ocean beach

sunset @ ocean beach, sf

That’s part of why this space is here.  But, I also created this space for you, to welcome you to a part of me that I don’t share with many.  To enable me to share my work, my passions, my greatest loves with the world around me, and hopefully inspire something in people to make this beautiful world a better place.  We can each play our part, and it starts by finding purpose.

This is my journey to find mine.  I hope you’ll join me.   So please, take a look around, tell me what you think, and come back for more!