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The Lion's Share
by Lee Ann Monat

A few years ago I decided to really start living my life...break out of all the "shoulds" and really find out who I am
and what this life holds for me
(instead of who or what I thought other people think I am). The main focus of my life
these days is to follow my bliss and see where it takes me.

I've decided to treat life as a journey instead of a destination and the benefits have been better than I could have dreamed of.
The results have been quite magical! I've discovered a love of cooking, herbal medicine, knitting, photography, music,
Scotland and writing. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut and assume that's just the way life is...but life is what you make of
it...wherever you are or choose to be.
By sharing my journey, it is my hope that I might inspire others to do the same! Whether it's spending an evening cooking in
the kitchen with an iPod (and singing along), a gorgeous evening out with friends or a trip to Scotland...navigating our lives
can be a wonder-full adventure.

I invite you to follow my journey on my blog, "The Lion's Share", where I will be posting regularly during my travels
(both near and far).  Tune in next week right here at
The New York Optimist for a special report just for the fabulous
Optimist readers!  

Lee Ann

The Lion's Share for 10/21-28

I come to you all today from the center of a pre-travel storm. "To Do" lists and mild anxiety about missed flights
are swirling about me like a glittery tornado of bliss...
and I am very excited as to where it will all take me.This
Thursday I'm returning to Scotland! My first week will be on Iona, which is a gorgeous island in the Hebrides. I'll be taking
part in a workshop devoted to Celtic Spirituality and then I will spend some quality time in Edinburgh. That's the plan,
anyway...I suppose anything can happen! Scotland came into my life in a totally random way. I had read the "Outlander"
series by Diana Gabaldon (which is set partially in Scotland) and the descriptions intrigued me.  I visited for the first time in
2004 (a few months after my Father had passed away).  The second I stepped off the bus in Edinburgh I felt at home.  It
was a wonderful time and I felt incredibly connected to the country as well as my Father's spirit.  I returned in August 2008
to celebrate my 30th birthday...and it was just as I'd left it.  I can't wait to get back under that beautiful sky and immerse
myself in a Scottish Fall!  

See you from Scotland!!!

Lee Ann Monat is a creative dreamer specializing in knitting, experimenting in the kitchen, enjoying music, loving
Scotland, while photographing and writing about it all.
 It's her belief that life should be like a vacation ("work" and all)
and she's currently working on making that happen.  

Hungry for more?  Check out these links for more of Lee Ann's blogs and creative and healthy living work...

My Food & Thoughts Blog:

My Art & Photography:

Natural Health and Wellness:

All images and writing copyright Lee Ann Monat 2009
Lee Ann Monat is Brought to you By:

Heidi Russell

fine art photographer ~ independant curator ~ indie publisher ~ international creative collaborator

Heidi Russell is a self-taught fine art photographer based in New York City.  Ms. Russell is inspired by the amazing
connections one is able to discover, explore, and nurture in the world around us.  She seeks to connect with positive,
open-minded, foreward-thinking individuals to foster creative discourse to promote the betterment of our individual lives and
the world as a village.  Thru discovering and linking our individual passions, we can learn to live our passions each and every
day, collaboratively bringing understanding, peace, sustainable development, and enlightened engagement throughout the

Ms. Russell is honored to bring to you arists from around the world who help brighten this engagement.

Enjoy!!!  Join the discourse!!
As promised my Optimists, greetings from Scotland!!
She welcomed me with bigger, outstretched arms than I could have even hoped for...and was struck with such
a sense of was superb!

The past two times I was in Scotland I kept thinking, "I can't believe I'm here!" and this time...all I can think, with
peace in my heart, is "How can I not be here..." It's simple.  I am reminded of a phrase from the book that brought me
here the first time...(The "Outlander" Series by Diana Gabaldon)...I'm paraphrasing since I don't have the books beside
me...but it's something to the effect reach a moment when you realize that everything is possible...and
therefore, nothing is necessary.

I have had a lot of moments like that in this country. It is exactly where I want to be

Time expands here...I can feel it and am filling it with so much love and meaningful energy.

So much to experience, and I am grateful to be here at this moment, to be able to share my journey with you!
Be well.  See you next week!!!
xo Lee Ann
Scotland, 2009

I spent two weeks in Scotland this time around (I visited for the first, fateful, time in 2004).  

This year's trip took me to Iona for the first time! I attended a retreat/workshop titled, Matter Matters: A Celtic Perspective with J.
Philip Newell and Neil Harvey at The St. Columba Hotel.
It was a wonderful time spent with delightful people hosted by a lovely hotel (how many different accolades can I fit into one
sentence?). We sang, hiked, took a dip in the ocean, shared meals, stories, tears and laughter. As new friends, we experienced looking
to the heart of life and spent the week, to use one of Philip's book titles, "Listening for the Heartbeat of God."  And let me tell you...on
Iona, it's very easy to hear it beating.

I've always considered myself a spiritual, not religious, person.  The discovery of J. Philip Newell's books and the introduction to the
ideas of Celtic Spirituality has been a wonderful revelation.  I'm very new to this whole world, but very eager to keep learning.

I spent my second week in Edinburgh, a city that I love.  Ironically, this was my down time.  I had returned from Iona on Halloween,
just in time to watch the Samhuinn Fire Festival magically roll down the Royal Mile, and spent the rest of the week wandering,
meditating and writing. For me, Edinburgh is the best of both worlds. I could enjoy breakfast in a cafe in town...then 20 minutes later
be on my way up to the top of Arthur's Seat...then meet friends for a pint at the end of the day.  It was such a delicious balance!

I have begun a wonderful love affair with Scotland over the past 5 years and I look forward to my next adventure, whatever it may be.

(please check out my main blog The Lion's Share for more info on the two weeks).