Hop on the horse of emotion alongside inspirational American adventurer, philosopher and jeweler, Claudia LaGuardia on her quest for higher learning, Sag-style!
Throughout my life I have always been the adventurous type who would go for a walk in the forest by herself or save up every extra penny in college while eating beans and rice for months on end in order to make it to Europe for a month during the summer. People always ask how I had the courage to do these things, and whether or not I'm scared of what might happen on my adventures and I tell them that I'm lucky. The truth is that I work hard for things to work out the way I'd like, and I always have a long list of goals to accomplish on my “list of things to do before I die,” from skydiving to eating chocolate covered grasshoppers at a fancy restaurant. I am always working on achieving something and things usually manifest because of this strong, focused intent.
Right now my boyfriend Gregor and I are hitchhiking across the country. He is the photographer and navigator and I have dubbed myself the jeweler, explorer, and philosopher. We sell our wares on street corners and trail heads in order to continue on this epic journey. Today we are in Cortez, Colorado at a The Spruce Tree Coffeehouse where he is nose deep in a book about Ayurveda and I am finishing up my homework for the two online courses I am taking.
What's Your Name Sailor - hemp necklace
I am a Sagittarius and it is kind of funny how well I fit into that category; always looking for new adventures and hungry for the wisdom contained within the tree of life. I am very open minded and am willing to listen to anyone despite our differences. Although I may not agree with someone's opinions I love learning about why they think the way they do and what life experiences may have led them to those conclusions. I am a student of human thought and behavior and try to look at challenges to my way and view of life as reasons to question my own motives. Recently I was introduced to Dr. David Hawkin's “Map of Consciousness” and as it was explained to me, all of us have the ability to rise past our current state on this map and even achieve enlightenment in this lifetime. We can find where we fall on this map by using a pendulum or simply by asking ourselves how we feel about life most of the time and making an estimate of where we fall on the map. One idea which struck me recently was that although it is great to try to climb as high as we can on the ladder of consciousness through meditation, mindfulness, and movement (eg. Yoga or Tai chi) not only for our own benefit, but also for the benefit of the people who may encounter us, it is also important to notice what triggers us to feel shame, desire, apathy, guilt, fear, anger, grief, pride, and any of the other emotions below the 200 level. All of us experience these feelings at some point or another during our lifetimes and it is important to objectively observe what it is that causes us to feel these emotions in order to ride the horse of emotion instead of getting dragged along the ground as it runs away with us trailing behind.
As a jeweler I find that I like using bright colors and making jewelry out of found or bartered items. Throughout our travels I have bartered jewelry, beads, stones, patches and clothing for pieces to make jewelry with. I am often just given things such as old pieces of jewelry that people no longer want or I find treasures like pieces of jade or rocks with holes made by ocean water while walking down the coast. I love taking old pieces and giving them a new life through my jewelry. For instance, while in Morro Bay I was given a necklace made of pieces of abalone shell. The necklace would have been perfect for a mermaid, but was a bit gaudy for my friend so I took it apart and used some of the shells to make a pair of earrings, incorporating pearls to go with the sea-like feel. Each piece of jewelry has a story behind its creation, from the gold findings I received in trade for a strand of amethyst chips at the “Spirit Garden” in Big Sur to the hematite necklace I was given by a friend in Tempe, Arizona, which was promptly taken apart and reconstructed as a pair of earrings and a choker.
Hitchhiking around the country throughout the past eight months has been an incredible experience that has led me to learn more about myself. I am blessed to be able to have this experience. One of the things I have learned throughout this journey is the power of intent and how important it is to have a positive outlook on life. I really believe that if you are in a positive mood you will attract like-minded people and if you are in a bad mood you will likewise attract people with the same mindset. No one wants to pick up an angry hitchhiker, nor should they, and no hitchhiker wants to be picked up by an angry driver. Another thing that I've learned is the power of a smile. Even if someone doesn't pick you up hitchhiking, a smile can do wonders for their day and make them rethink their judgments or even just infect them with love and cause them to smile at the next person they see, restarting the cycle.
Adventures in Aventurine
As far as jewelry goes I'm going to continue making bright, eccentric pieces along with up-cycled treasures. Yesterday I bought some turquoise beads from a shop in Colorado. It excites me how inexpensive turquoise is here as compared to my home back in Maine where we have more amethyst and quartz. I love finding the local stones in each state and passing along those deals to my customers on the other side of the country. I hope to be able to continue to travel for decades to come and collect small treasures to pass on to others throughout my journeys.
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