Sunday, September 12, 2010

82 and Sunny

Oh Friends! It's been a while...and I'm happy to say I'm back to it. I feel inspired and ready to share again. This blog, although small, has surely surprised me. I didn't realize how much fun I would have writing it, how cathartic the process, or how many people would actually follow (and enjoy!). I am starting a new path tomorrow, and have made a choice to try and write everyday. I like the way it makes me feel, think, see the world. It makes my eyes wider and my mind open. I have no idea where this writing will take me. If nothing more than a vehicle to ride on through this transition into my new life, then perfect.

I am so pleased with the path I am on. I am excited every day, I feel very lucky to be here. There will be time in my life when routine will be my routine. And I hope I'm at a place that I can enjoy that with a smile, knowing I am supposed to be right there at that very moment. Over the last few weeks, I have really made a commitment to myself. It started with more of a light bulb moment, actually. Sometimes that is how it works, and lately, I've been at a few turning points punctuated with these light bulbs. The most recent, is my new mantra. And yes, I have a mantra. I'm moving to Hawaii and have a mantra. The last ten months have been the best of my life. How is that possible amidst such chaos? I think and think and think about how great my world has been. And the common denomination boils down to this: I took control of my happiness. I did everything that works for me, weeded my garden, and put my happiness first. I realized that it is no one's responsibility except my own. Now I know that is far from profound, but sometimes its easy to forget that it is our job. Only our job. It would be selfish to expect anyone else to put my happiness first, I suppose. So I promised myself that I will do everything to make myself happy. Really happy. I want to live far from mediocrity. It's all about choices and I choose being happy. Sometimes the jump is scary, but the other side is so much better. And I'm happy to be moving and trying on a new life. See how it fits. I want to make the most out of my existence. Now that is not to say bad weather doesn't roll through- thunder through sometimes- but I strive for 82 and sunny (with low humidity, preferably).

So tomorrow, it's time to jump.
Three flights, two layovers and a complete day of traveling new life begins.

Aloha Friends!

[Thinks that made me smile today: Beautiful babies playing in the pool, starting a new journal, finding inspiration.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Playing Tourist


Another weekend has come and gone, and just like the last, it was filled to the brim. We found ourselves all over the island, snapping photos along the way. Dinner and drinks in Waikiki, The Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery, the Pali Lookout, Valley of the Temples, and the North Shore at Haleiwa Beach for a surf lesson and some paddle boarding. Life is soooo good, friends!

Sometimes it seems there are not enough adjectives to describe the natural beauty that abounds on the island. The Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery is at the top of a ridge, overlooking Honolulu and Waikiki. The view is outrageous, with Diamondhead sitting proudly off to the left, keeping watch, and the bright blue waters fitting snugly underneath the horizon, wrapping the coastline. Contradicting the busy city below, the cemetery is a place of serenity and peace, birds singing an endless tribute to lost loved ones. Gnarled arthritic trees seem to bow in gratitude, flowering bushes offering their delicate blooms as gifts to the souls of the deceased.

The Valley of the Temples was next, and inside this memorial park under the protection of the strong Pali Mountains, lies a Buddhist temple. A replica of a 900 year old Japanese temple, housing a magnificent 18 foot gold leafed Buddha. The ceiling is hand carved, and the entire building was constructed without the use of nails. What an amazing feat! Humbled by its grandness and beauty, you can't help but feel the spirituality resonating in the air. The enormous coy beg at the surface of the pond as tourists toss out feed, their reds, oranges and golds exchanging places, swirling about. A handsome black swan delicately drifts between little turtles pushing their way through the water. Tiny pink blossoms decorate the ground like confetti, hibiscus float the surface like jewelry.

I have taken so many beautiful pictures, it's hard to decide which ones to post. I try so hard to share with you the magnitude of the beauty here. The vibrancy of the colors around the island are hypnotizing, the sweet smell of flowers, intoxicating. I breathe the beauty into my body and mind, and feel as if it is painting the endless walls of my soul. I move slowly these days, taking in every inch, cataloging each detail. I carry you all in my heart and am thankful for this opportunity to share my journey with all of you. Mahalo!

[Things that made me smile today: My private tour of the USS Arizona Memorial on Pearl Harbor, playing tourist with my aunt, hitting a few buckets of balls at the driving range.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Aloha friends!

Well it is day ten in paradise, and each proves to be just as spectacular as the last, discovering something new at every turn. Yesterday was yet another beautiful day, and I once again hit the beach with my book and journal.

I tried a new spot out, one with endless privacy and shore as far as the eye can see. To the left you can see it wrap around as far as Honolulu, dotting the coast with its white, sparkling buildings. The waves were immense, thundering on the shore...back and and out...inhaling and exhaling. It felt like the earth was breathing. And all by myself, sitting on my blanket, I felt so connected to the rhythm of the ocean. It drew me in, as if to say 'Come, let me wash over you.' I sat at the water's edge, letting the waves crash right into me, over me, lifting me up and then gently setting me back down. I felt cleansed, baptised..the strong waves pulling away the guilt, embarrassment, heartache I had been carrying around for the last year. It left me feeling open, warm, free, and filled with an overwhelming sense of forgiveness, love, and peace. The sun slowly lowering itself in the sky, the breeze gently playing in the background, warming and cooling my golden skin right on cue.

I am so blessed to be here, to do the work that I needed to do on myself. To be able to just BE. I feel strong, satisfied, fulfilled. I haven't worn makeup in 5 days...I feel confident and beautiful, comfortable in my own skin. Beauty and happiness is everywhere here. Just this morning while I was running, I discovered a sea turtle on the beach! He was big and beautiful, laying on the warm sand, soaking in the sun. We could be great friends...I've been doing nothing but that since I've been here!

Happy Weekend!
Love to you all,
[Things that made me smile today: The sea turtle, Jamba Juice smoothies, happy hour tonight with friends.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The North Shore


From time to time, I get an overwhelming sensation of gratitude. It flushes over me like a gust of wind, flowing down my body. To have this opportunity, to minimize worry, stress, obligation, and maximize pleasure, peace, joy is amazing. To focus on myself, listen to my body, and quiet my mind. I go hours and hours without speaking, just observing, reflecting on the beauty that surrounds me. When the wind blows, the palm branches gently rub against one another creating a beautiful white noise, relaxing my mind. Birds sing back and forth, children laugh, waves lap the shore. My mind dances from place to place, never really resting too long on one thing.

Exploring this island is on the top of my to-do list, so I packed a lunch and headed for the North Shore. It is a string of sleepy surf towns laced up the coast, lined with surf boards, shrimp shacks, and surf shops. In the winter, the waves are extraordinary, left only for extremists and professionals. But this time of year they are quiet and subdued, perfect for the rest of us. I drove up route 83 around the northern tip of the island. The two lane road echoed the shore most of the hour and a half drive, with beach access every half a mile or so. Tiny parking lots opened to white sand and aquamarine waters, each one more beautiful than the next. I stumbled across a humpback whale sancuary in PuPukea Beach Park, where from December to May they mate, calve and nurse. But now it is a divinely shallow, protected area perfect for exploration. The rocks that dot the floor and hug the pool are extremely sharp and jagged, in beautiful contrast with the soft white sand surrounding them.

Every few miles, I pull over and capture more and more beauty. It takes me all afternoon to wind up and around the North Shore, and over 400 pictures later, I begin to head back. The island music is intoxicating, singing of love and happiness. The salty air and island sun wrap around me like a blanket, so warm and satisfying, flooding my mind with only one word. GRATITUDE.

Warmest Aloha!


[Things that made me smile today: Finding the whale sanctuary, catching up with a dear friend, driving with the windows down.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A view from the top

What a weekend!

We packed in as much as possible it seems. Two micro breweries, the Dole Pineapple Plantation, the North Shore/Haleiwa Art Festival, the Ukulele Festival, and a hike in Hawaii Kai. I've been getting up at sunrise each day, and am thoroughly exhausted by the evening!

Sunday was one of those days where you slip from one great activity to the next, blessed with beautiful weather and fabulous company. We started the day by stopping at Libby Manapua Shop in Honolulu on our way to Hawaii Kai to meet up for our hike. My aunt has been raving about manapua since I landed, so we grabbed a dozen for breakfast. They are softball sized steamed dough stuffed with the most delicious pork filling. The dough is chewy and airy; the filling, sweet and savory. I'm a believer. And officially hooked.

The hike we took was nothing short of amazing. We winded up this small private road, headed for the peak. To the right of the path was acres of charred vegetation, the tragic result of a stray firework on the fourth of July. The fire came within feet of the beautiful million dollar homes on the ledge, the smell of smoke still lingering in the air as a vivid reminder. New growth has already begun, and the path was decorated with beautifully unique plants, punching color up the trail (as if to say "C'mon, this way!"). The higher we climbed, the more amazing the view. Toward the very top, the inclined increased drastically, but the reward, oh the reward...worth every huff and puff for sure. As far as the eye can see, varying shades of turquoise, from cobalts to emeralds, seemingly pulled from God's fantastic crayon box. The creamy shoreline, navy mountains, and hazy grey islands stretched out along the horizon, the reef freckling the shore below our feet. The wind was strong but appreciated, as the strength of the sun seemed even stronger from where we stood. Mesmerized at the endless beauty, our silence was interrupted only by the occasional punctuation of "wow!" or "amazing!"

After a morning of such beauty (and calorie burning!), it was decided that a beer was in order, so we headed to the Kona Brewery for a Wailua Wheat beer. It is brewed with passion fruit, generous amounts of wheat and Hallertau hops, and was the perfect reward.

The 40th Anniversary Ukulele Festival was next on our agenda, so we headed to Waikiki (and for the record, it's pronounced "ook-a-lay-lee," not "yoo-ka-lay-lee"). What a treat it was to listen to the performers from our blanket in the park. There was a winding little stream that decorated the pavilion like a necklace, with coral hibiscus flowers gently floating by from the light breeze. Redheaded cardinals danced on the shore, iridescent dragonflies chased one another, white doves zigzagged from tree to tree. The Famosa trees' vibrant green umbrella punched against the bright blue sky, contrasting like black and white. The smell of malasadas (sugar dusted fried dough) wrapped around the park, music swirled around and children danced with such inhibition, as only children can. The sheer delight and pride of the crowd was palatable. I left feeling pleasantly sleepy and completely satisfied, lulled by the beautiful sounds of the ukulele and the warmth of the sun.

[Things that made me smile this weekend: Eggs Benedict and Amaretto orange juice on the lanai, meeting new friends, booking our trip to see the lava flow on the big island.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blue Lagoon(s)


This morning I was up with the sunrise again, and although I've never been an early riser, so far the jetlag/time change is working out in my favor. Because, as you can see, the sunrises are beyond worthy of the early start. Since the beginning of my stay, there has been heavy cloud cover each morning over the mountain range above Honolulu, and has been a treat to see how the sun will dance its way out from behind it. Yesterday there was a firey fusia burning from the inside of the clouds, as if the sun was preparing something extra special for the day. This morning was more monocromatic with its silvers, slates, and greys; beautifully different, but equally stunning. The rays reached down so far out of the sky, like spot lights, leaving you wondering if you could reach out and actually touch them.

After starting my day with such intensity, it felt great to bypass the coffee (who needs it here, really?) and head over to KoOlina Bay. It is a quick ride down the highway, no more than two or three songs on the radio, at best. It is a community of resorts, townhomes and timeshares laced along a series of four lagoons. There is a path that echoes the shore, buffered by manicured lawns, palm trees, and flowering bushes. It is the most beautiful place, to date, that I have had the joy of lacing up my running shoes and exploring. So after grabbing some cardio around the four lagoons, I slipped into my bathing suit and went for a dip in the clear turquiose waters. There is not a better motivation to workout than that, my friends. And promptly after my swim, it was back to my delicious vacation read--'Eat, Pray, Love' (quite the appropriate selection, you think?).
I'm already feeling a shift in myself...I feel like I can breathe this beautiful air into my lungs deeper than I ever thought possible. When I close my eyes, I can feel it travel down my shoulders, arms, legs, swirling around my core like a hug. With each exhale I shed a tiny piece of me that I don't need, leaving behind the person I was, and rebuilding the me I want to be...
Warmest Aloha!
[Things that made me smile today: Watching children play in the lagoon, drinking a Guinness (or two!) as I write this, listening to island music as I drive around by myself.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Whistlin' Dixie

Aloha Friends!

After a loooong day of being in the air, I'm here! I am still trying to wrap my head around this whole experience...but for now I'm on a moment to moment basis. My aunt met me at the airport with a beautiful lei of fresh flowers. Gorgeous fusias, creams, violets, indigos, corals; and the sweet and heavenly, I never want to take it off. Now that's an official Hawaiian aloha!

There is so much beauty here. My senses are alive, my mind is clear, and my heart is open. I watched the sunrise this morning and it was nothing short of amazing. When I was imagining what it would be like, I had a sense that I would feel my grandmother out here. She passed away four years ago. I feel her presence from time to time, especially in times of need. I asked for her guidance the night I decided to move out, and she answered me. I was falling apart in the courtroom the day of my divorce, and she sent me a sign to give me strength. Yesterday I was panicing on my flight from Detroit to Los Angeles, and she was there too. We were behind by about 45 minutes, and I was afraid I was going to miss my connection to Honolulu. Luckily, my departure gate was two gates from where we landed. What are the chances in such a HUGE airport? I boarded the plane, found my seat, and settled in. All of a sudden, I was wrapped in the scent of her perfume. Good ol' Dixie! It felt like the warmest, most delicious hug, gently reminding me that she was watching over me the whole time...and to RELAX! What a way to start my journey in paradise...

(As Dixie always said)
"Make it a good day, Hun!"


Taken from the upper lanai off my aunt's
bedroom at 6am this morning! Enjoy!

[Things that made me smile (so far) today: Watching the sunrise, eating breakfast and writing on the lanai...