Happy Global Love Day!

GlobalLoveDay2015

Happy Global Love Day! Let us celebrate twelve years of recognizing May 1 as a “symbolic day of unconditional love.” As you enjoy this day, please reflect on the six tenets of Global Love Day, created by Harold W. Becker & The Love Foundation:

We are one humanity on this planet.
All life is interconnected and interdependent.
All share in the Universal bond of love.
Love begins with self acceptance and forgiveness.
With respect and compassion we embrace diversity.
Together we make a difference through love.

This is an opportunity to embody love and share your light with the world. Feel free to make a love pledge and spread love by using the hashtag #globalloveday. For more information about Global Love Day, visit http://globalloveday.org

With deepest love & gratitude,

Candace

Ever-present Light

Light

Sunrise on April 1, 2015 on Sandy Beach

We live in a world full of illusions, which if taken too seriously, contribute to suffering and the forgetting of knowledge that comes naturally. One such illusion is the idea that the sun goes down and rises up again each day. Many believe that the sun is actually going down and “taking a break” for the night hours until the morning. This is an illusion. The sun knows no such thing as a “break,” it is always shining brightly regardless of what’s going on in our atmosphere or where we are as we orbit around it. No matter what, the sun shines.

In moments when we forget the sun is always shining, we believe we are alone, left to suffer. We even begin to believe the sun has abandoned us altogether. We personalize its decision to leave and lose hope on our journey, choosing to merely exist instead of enjoying our lives. But the reality is that the sun is shining, it is always shining. The light is here, now. And even though most of us know the appearance of the sun rising and setting is an illusion, we tend to forget the illusions related to other matters. The truth is, we have the ability to stop getting trapped in illusions and allowing them to dictate our quality of life. We can choose to play in the illusions, which is actually quite enjoyable or simply recognize them for what they are and continue to enjoy our lives while having a deep knowing of what is true.

Illness as a Blessing

For the past week, I had been feeling pretty ill. It was quite an eye-opening experience for many reasons, the primary being that I hadn’t felt sick in years. In a very grandiose way, I had convinced myself that I could never get sick. Thankfully, I was humbled, and I was able to have an opportunity to learn so much from this most recent episode of illness. Here are some of the lessons I learned:

  1. Acceptance is the easiest way to live. While it’s one thing to know this intellectually, it’s transformational to experience it. When we are in a state of acceptance, we allow life to carry us instead of trying to swim against the current. I noticed when I first felt symptoms, I was trying to deny them. Although I intellectually knew the importance of acceptance, it was hard for me to actually carry out the practice of acceptance in regards to my health. We fear accepting things because we believe that contentment will lead to complacency; however, that does not have to be the case. Acceptance allows us to fully immerse ourselves in the present moment so that we can make the most appropriate choice based on where we are right now. It is through such a deep level of acceptance that we are able to experience quite profound moments and shifts.
  2. Be at peace with doing nothing. There’s a societal expectation that we always ought to be doing something and that we should always be busy. Do, do do, go, go, go. We fear taking a break because we feel like we’ll never catch up on our to do list. The truth is that our to-do list can wait and possibly be tossed out ;-). Life does not have to be about checking off items on our to-do list, instead it can be about enjoying the process of simply living and being. We can enjoy moments where we do absolutely nothing, and we can feel guilt-free about those moments.
  3. Sometimes we don’t need to know why. Curiosity without attachment to an answer can be a fun pursuit but when we are obsessed with finding answers, we can become stressed. I wanted to know why I was sick, what was my body trying to tell me? Instead of being unattached, I was determined to uncover why. But the why wasn’t entirely clear and fortunately, it became comical because I realized finding the answer why wasn’t what was important. What was important was my need to rest and do nothing, not to continue to run around searching for answers. The obsession with finding answers can drive us crazy. Whenever the pursuit of the why is no longer fun, we have lost touch with the truth.

All this to say, I feel much better now and I can laugh at the experience. We become so engulfed in the need to know why, the effort to stay busy, and the fight against what is. We make life much more complicated than it really is despite our inner knowing that life is so very simple. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to get sick so that we can be reminded of the truth. 😉

Intentions and Behaviors

Turtle Bay is one of the spots we love to visit.

Turtle Bay is one of the spots my love and I enjoy visiting.

How often do we look to see whether our behaviors are in alignment with our intentions? Although I used to say that my relationship with my partner was my number one priority, energetically and behaviorally, my priority was work and my business. More often than not, I allowed work to consume the majority of my time and energy throughout each day. I would even allow work to be the dominating topic during conversations with my partner, until one day I realized, it simply didn’t feel good nor did it make sense. If I’m claiming that my relationship with my partner is my number one priority, then why was so little of my energy going to our relationship?

I was out of alignment. My intention was to make my relationship number one but that intention did not find its way down to my behaviors, at least not until things began to feel bad. And that’s how it sometimes goes with us humans, it’s not until we suffer that we really start to become conscious of what’s going on, which is why I believe, pain is a gift. The pain led me to wake up and see the disconnect between my intention and behaviors. Once I became aware and was able to feel the consequences of my choices, I was then able to truly make my relationship a priority in my life.

The truth is intention is not enough, our actions must match. Many times, we do not realize that we’re saying one thing but doing another. Fortunately, I no longer take for granted my partner’s loving and patient attitude, and I recognize that it is my responsibility to walk my talk.

Mahalo for reading! May you experience infinite peace and blessings!

Spreading Aloha Through Photography

As a child, I was interested in photography because my father was a photographer and he had a makeshift darkroom in our basement. My interest drastically dwindled during my high school years as spending time with friends and going to the mall seemed more important. During college, a flame reignited, prompting me to buy a digital camera to document “major” moments in my life but once it broke, I stopped taking photos altogether. Then, I moved to Hawai’i and my partner graciously allowed me to use his camera, which changed everything. Currently, I take hundreds of photos each week, exploring the island and sharing these wonderful moments with the world.

Photography has become a meditation for me, a way to be in the moment while also attempting to convey the magnificence of a blip in time. Photography has made me pay attention to things I have often overlooked, like a bee landing on a flower and the droplets of rain that remain on a leaf long after the rain has stopped. I am fully present when I take photos and more engaged with nature. I am able to recognize the intricacies and complexity of nature while also appreciating its simplicity and peace.

Yesterday, when I was sharing photos of my trip to Kaua’i, I realized that photography is more than just a meditation, it’s also a way to spread Aloha. Through sharing my photographs, I am able to spread the love that courses through my veins with each of you. I am able to express my gratitude for nature. Additionally, I am able to expose people to sites they may have overlooked or have never experienced. The opportunity to share the beauty of Hawai’i is an honor and a privilege of a lifetime.

Mahalo for reading! Please enjoy the photos below:

Sunset 2-28-15

Tantalus Palms

Bee

Rays Through the Clouds

For more photos, please visit my online gallery.

Pilgrimage to Kaua’i

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon on February 27, 2015

Two years ago during a meditation, I saw a beautiful vision of the Nā Pali coast line on Kaua’i. At the time, I had never even heard of Kaua’i nor did I understand the vision, all I knew was I wanted to visit. Upon moving to Hawai’i and conducting more research, I learned that Kaua’i is considered “The Womb of the Earth,” and it is believed that it’s a portal that souls pass through before attaching to a body. Fortunately, I was able to make the pilgrimage to Kaua’i on Friday and it was absolutely life-changing. Here are just a few of the lessons that came up during my visit:

  1. Unplug completely. I intended to work one hour the morning of my trip. I wanted to respond to a few e-mails and post the daily quote to my business’ social media pages but Kaua’i had other ideas in mind. On the island, my phone had limited service and minimal internet access. The lesson was that I needed to unplug completely and be fully present. Sometimes the things we think we need to do right away don’t actually need to be done at that particular moment.
  2. Put it in perspective. Having the opportunity to look at the breathtaking views of Waimea Canyon (photoed above) had a huge impact on me. As I stood there admiring the magnificence of the site, my worries seemingly dissolved. In fact, I couldn’t even remember what I was concerned about earlier in the week. Most of the things we worry about simply don’t deserve our attention nor are they truly relevant in the grand scheme of life. A simple exercise of “putting it in perspective” can help us prevent unnecessary suffering.
  3. Life is dynamic, responsive, and interactive. Life responds to us. At first, that may seem obvious or ridiculous (depending on your beliefs) but when you recognize it happening in the moment, it’s miraculous. Prior to visiting, I set the intention to see five rainbows on Kaua’i. Within the first hour, I saw four rainbows. I also concluded early on that I probably wouldn’t be able to see the Nā Pali coast this visit and made peace with that conclusion. To my surprise, we found an unexpected path that would allow us to see the Nā Pali yet when we arrived, it was completely foggy. I deeply believe that we see what we expect to see. When we expect something, we are going to actively look for supporting evidence to confirm our expectations.
  4. There is always something to appreciate about where we are right now. There was a time when I believed I wanted to live on Kaua’i. I wanted to live away from the city in a more secluded area. However, my visit gave me a deeper appreciation of O’ahu and the convenience of city life. Instead of striving to be somewhere else, sometimes it’s helpful to first take a moment to deeply appreciate where we are right now.
  5. Trust. I went to Kaua’i without a plan (except to work the first hour, and we see how that plan went, ha!) and it ended up being an amazing trip. Historically, I meticulously planned my trips in an effort to make efficient use of time, which now seems mostly unnecessary. I was only on Kaua’i for a short time yet I felt like I was there for a week. Everything was perfect even though it was unplanned. There is so much peace related to trusting the process and going with the flow.

These are just a few of the lessons that came up during my pilgrimage to Kaua’i. What a truly magnificent place! Below is a Kauaian sunset captured on February 27. Mahalo for reading!

Kauaian Sunset

Reflections & Intentions

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As 2015 rapidly approaches, I’ve taken the past month to reflect on 2014 and set my intentions for the new year. Here are some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned over the past year:

1. Trust the process and most importantly trust myself. Most of the time, my intuition is spot on about what I need to do. Despite knowing this, there have been many times this year where I have talked my way out of listening to my intuition, particularly in regards to my business. I find that it is easy to succumb to doubtful thoughts when it comes to the Aloha Center. I convince myself that people do not really need healing and perhaps by having a business in the personal development industry, I am contributing to the problem. On one hand, that is absolutely true, at the core, we are all perfectly fine, and our greatest challenge is that we have simply forgotten who we truly are and confused our identities with this temporary existence. However, on the other hand, it is incredibly helpful to have supportive individuals along the way who can be hold up the mirror so that we can see ourselves clearly. Although I believe that our spirit does not need development, navigating the world with the temporary identities we choose to create can be challenging particularly if we have forgotten who we truly are.

Our suffering is unnecessary and many go through this life feeling stuck. As such, my original vision for the Aloha Center was to provide a supportive space and to serve as a reminder of who we are and what matters most in life (love). As we come to the end of 2014, I recognize the value in the services I provide and intend to go forward with my original vision, no longer allowing doubts to cloud my vision.

2. Enjoy the process. This year, I learned the importance of enjoying the process instead of focusing purely on the outcome. Racing to accomplish achievement after achievement is not for me. While it may work for some, I prefer taking time to enjoy the steps along the way during my attempts to achieve a particular goal. Life feels much more fulfilling when I  embrace the moments along the way on the path to an “achievement.”

3. Balance surrendering versus being proactive. There are definitely some things we simply must surrender to while there are other circumstances in which being proactive and selective makes more sense. Being selective about how and where I choose to direct my energy and attention has been incredibly helpful. Remembering that I do have the power to shift my attention and redirect my energy has greatly enhanced my experiences and made me feel less like a leaf in a stream and more like a paddler in a stream, who can elect to go with the flow of the stream but can also choose to paddle at will. Discernment of when to surrender is perhaps the most important component of this lesson.

Here are some of my intentions for 2015:

1. Recognize when I’m allowing doubts and fears to dictate my actions. The mind is such a crafty instrument that I usually don’t recognize when I’m allowing my fears to take over until I’m knee-deep in my thoughts. I intend to be more vigilant and do more check-ins throughout the day. I notice that this happens most when I’m not grounded, so more mindfulness throughout the day will likely help with this.

2. Be open to receiving. I realized this year that I struggle with receiving, particularly financially. I intend to stop sabotaging my financial success by being open to receiving and by unpacking my beliefs and programming about money, which really is just energy.

3. Align my actions with my intentions. I have such great intentions yet sometimes I notice my behavior is not in alignment with my intentions. This is particularly salient during interactions with my wonderful partner. One question that has helped me tremendously is “how do I want my partner to feel?” Remembering this question in the moment helps me to respond genuinely and lovingly as opposed to reactionary. Although this is directly related to my first intention, it deserves its own number because my relationships are such a high priority in my life.

4. Know that every moment is a new beginning. While these year reviews are helpful, the reality is we always have an opportunity to start again every moment. We can reset at any time.

Thank you for taking the time to read my reflections and intentions. I’m wishing you a joyous, prosperous, and love-filled 2015! May you and your loved ones experience peace and infinite blessings!

Top 10 Things to Do on O’ahu

My mother came to visit me here in Hawai’i this past week and we had a great time! As I was showing her around the island, I thought about my top 10 favorite things to do on O’ahu.

  1. Visit the Bishop Museum. Don’t walk, run to the Bishop Museum in order to learn about Hawaiian history and culture. It is so essential to have a context and understanding of how things came to be the way that they are today. The museum gives you a deep appreciation for Hawaiian culture and the land. Photoed below are Charles & Bernice Bishop

The Bishops

2. Embrace the beauty at Ka’ena Point, the farthest western point of the island. It is said that Ka’ena Point is where souls leave this earth. Ka’ena point is also stunningly beautiful. The views are breath-taking and surreal.

Ka'ena Point

3. Watch the sunrise from Sandy Beach. The sunrise from Sandy Beach is absolutely incredible. There really are no words to describe it. This is an amazing way to start your morning.

Sunrise

4. Watch the sunset from any unobstructed location. On a daily basis, O’ahu is a great place for witnessing epic sunsets from almost any west-facing location on the island as long as the view is unobstructed.

Sailboat Sunset

5. Grab some shave ice from Kokonuts. The best shave ice on the island is offered by Kokonuts Shave Ice & Snacks in Hawaii Kai. It’s definitely worth it!

Shave Ice

6. Visit the beaches in Kailua. The beaches and ocean views in Kailua are absolutely beautiful and perfect for swimming.

Kailua

7. Order malasadas from Leonard’s. Malasadas are incredibly tasty Portuguese doughnuts. The best place to get malasadas is from Leonard’s!

Leonard's

8. Visit Waimanalo Beach. Waimanalo Beach is my favorite beach in the world. It offers a sense of tranquility and peace that is unmatched. All of your senses will be delighted, from the feel of the uniquely soft sand between your toes to the surround sound of the ocean waves gently washing up to the shore.

Waimanalo

9. Keep your eyes open for rainbows. Rainbows are literally everywhere on O’ahu but you must be open to seeing them in order to spot them before they disappear.

Rainbow

10. Hike the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail. This hike is great for beginners and offers exquisite views. Be sure to do this hike in the morning in order to stay cool.

Makapuu View

Makapuu

 11. Drive or hike up Tantalus. I know I said top 10 things but one more won’t hurt! Mount Tantalus offers breath-taking views of Honolulu and beautiful scenery throughout the drive or hike to its peak. Just a note, Tantalus is an advanced hike so please make sure you’re adequately prepared, otherwise, the drive is a nice substitute.

Tantalus Pt II

Although these 11 things are each uniquely wonderful, the most important thing to do here is just relax and take in the beauty of the island. O’ahu is an amazing place and it will lead you right where you need to be. Aloha!

Life Savers

lifesaver

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.” -Eckhart Tolle

Traveling through this life journey can present us with many challenges as we peel away the layers of baggage and data we have stored. Letting go of the baggage and releasing the need to cling to our safety nets can leave us feeling vulnerable and fearful but fortunately for us, we are supported throughout this process. The speed bumps we hit in life are guides, reminding us to slow down and really look at who we are. The situations we label as challenging are actually calls to awareness, showing us where we are still clinging and resistant. In hindsight, we are often able to appreciate such moments and recognize how they presented themselves precisely at the “right time.”

When we recognize these so-called challenging moments for exactly what they are, the invaluable opportunity to free ourselves from erroneous beliefs unfolds. As we let go of these beliefs, we are able to lighten up our load and travel more fearlessly through this life. Perhaps if we must label these situations, we can label them “life savers.” ☺

Happy travels!