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!

Releasing Expectations

“Peace doesn’t require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there.”-Byron Katie

Throughout my life, I have had incredibly high expectations for myself and others. Thoughts like “he should be doing this,””she shouldn’t have done that,” or “I can’t believe I…” used to swarm around in mind like an F-5 tornado, stirring up immense anxiety and anger. It was as though I had a script of how life “should be” and anything or anyone who was not operating consistent with my ideas was harshly judged. Of course, none of the judgments were ever communicated, I was far too quiet to share, but underneath the surface my mind was swarming with judgmental thoughts. It wasn’t until I read Byron Katie’s Loving What Is that I consciously realized just how harsh the thoughts in my head could be. More importantly, I realized that they were simply not true, which was incredibly liberating. It took some time to wrap my mind around the fact that no one could truly betray me but being able to experience and understand that concept is rewarding.

People are free to be whoever they want to be. They are free to have totally opposing views from my own, live a drastically different lifestyle from my own, and even lie, cheat, and steal. They are free to do whatever they want to do and having a running script about what they should and should not be doing does little to prevent such activities from happening. Furthermore, strictly adhering to such a script only leads to frustration and disappointment. The reality is that we are all free. Part of that freedom is that people are going to behave inconsistently with our scripts, which ultimately, is perfectly fine. How boring life would be if our script completely dictated how life flowed? Allowing people to Be is peace.

Allowing Creativity

Lone Plumeria

Creativity is abundant, it’s simply waiting for us to allow, receive, and convey its messages. Look no farther than a kindergarten playground, where youth are running around with a plethora of fascinating ideas. On the playgrounds of our youngest youth, there’s rarely a concept of a poor idea, all is allowed to be expressed, explored, and attempted. But when we look across the average lifespan, something happens as we age; we inhibit ourselves from expressing the inspiration that flows through our veins and/or we become numb to the stream of creativity, unable to easily pick up its subtle cues. With creativity so rampant, why is it that so many people seem devoid of ideas? Why is it that so many people seem to express only what others expect of them? Why is it that people have a challenging time expressing themselves authentically?

There are many theories as to why and how many of us have reached this place of being effectively “blocked,” which we will not elaborate on because the most important point is that there is a solution. The main solution is to simply Be. Whenever an idea arises within us, we can allow it to linger instead of quickly quelling it and making a list of all the reasons it won’t work. We strip the life away from ideas before they even get an opportunity to bloom, failing to realize that perhaps the small blip we initially receive is just a tiny piece of the much larger puzzle that will unveil itself later through more brainstorming and expression. Let’s allow ourselves the freedom to tap into the creativity stream without criticism, judgment, or harshness. Let’s give ideas a chance to come into fruition even if they just end up being scribble on a piece of scrap paper. Ideas are begging to come to life but they need wiling participants to take on the task of expressing them in some way. The question is, are we up for it?

A Message from the Garden

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” -George Washington Carver

This morning I went for a stroll to the post office and decided that I would bring a camera along with me. My intention was to practice creating sharper images but I walked away with so much more. As I was attempting to convey the exquisite beauty and detail of various plants and flowers, I became lost (actually found) in a world full of wonder and joy. There is a profound peace that comes from being fully present particularly when among flowers and plants. What was most exciting was how tiny details such as speckles on the leaves, indentations on the petals, and the tiny flowers blooming within the petals all became visible once I tuned into them despite never noticing them before. I was amazed that even though I have traveled the path many times, I was totally unaware of such remarkable details. When we slow down and tune in, it becomes apparent that there is so much to appreciate in this world.

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trstflower copy

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plants

Being Love

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“He kēhau ho’oma’ema’e ke aloha” is a Hawaiian proverb that translates to “Love is like a cleansing dew.”

When I remember that I am love, everything just flows. Resistance seems to dissolve effortlessly and my greatest desires appear right at my doorstep. The interchangeable flow between giving and receiving is limitless and my soul feels fully renewed and restored. My perception of life transforms from a challenging battle to a stream of tranquil peace. Tension falls away and I see the inherent beauty in all that exists. And yet, when I look before and after my remembrance, none of the external conditions have actually changed. Oh, the power of love!

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!

Free Expression

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Currently, I’m in a creative mode and millions of ideas have been floating through my head, yearning to be expressed through writing or photography. This mode is incredibly exciting because I’m in a space of openly accepting ideas and their potential. I’ve found that my level of acceptance is directly tied to the volume of creative ideas that come to me. For example, if I’m critical of the ideas that come up, writer’s block immediately ensues and my inspiration dwindles. Additionally, if I’m producing something solely for monetary gain, the project usually falls apart. I’m noticing that the production phase is an entirely different experience when I come from an attitude of creating simply because the idea wants to be expressed.

I believe when we primarily focus on the outcome of the creation, we block potential and clog the flow. The less I attach to outcomes, the more I’m able to produce and ultimately appreciate the creation. This process has reminded me of how enjoyable it is to create just as a means of expression, without tacking on an additional agenda. Similarly, it has shown me the importance of being open to receiving ideas without shutting them down before giving them life. In a sense, everything just wants to express itself.

*Image is of a lovely palm that caught my eye, Waialua, Hawaii

Lessons from the Field

“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict – alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.” -Dorothy Thompson

A few months ago, I decided to get a full-time job. This was a challenging decision for me because I already convinced myself going into it that adjusting to a corporate structure might be difficult for me (old data patterns). Nonetheless, I took the job. Immediately, I experienced the mental tension of wanting to be “free.” I didn’t like the confines on my time, needing to report, and a myriad of other things. I had been used to running my own business and working only part-time hours. Within just a week, I wanted to quit and I’m not going to lie a major part of me still does.

However, on Monday, I experienced something that I had intellectually understood long ago (it’s amazing how different an intellectual understanding is from an experiential one). The idea is that we are always right where we need to be and where we are is a perfect opportunity to give. What do I mean by this? First, I had to realize that I’m not in the wrong place. Clearly, this job is the perfect chance for me to learn how to let go of some of my old data and programming. If I simply quit out of frustration, it’s very likely that I will continue the same pattern going forward and will repeatedly find myself in similar situations. Another thing I noticed is that my mentality going into the job was solely focused on what I was going to take away from it. I wanted the job for financial stability and the opportunity to learn about business, and those were the only things I was thinking about. Not once did I consider how I could give to the job and the people I interact with there.

When I decided to focus on how I can give without putting emphasis on what I’m going to take away, I feel less tension and more appreciation. While this concept does not completely absolve my desire to quit, it does make it easier to let go of my old data and embrace opportunities to give freely. This lesson applies to other areas of my life as well. When I focus on what I’m going to take away from someone or something, I create unnecessary tension, especially if it I didn’t receive what I originally expected. Instead, I can choose to focus on what I can give and I can choose to give freely without any binding expectations (one has to wonder if we give with expectations is it truly giving anyways). And while we may ultimately decide to leave these situations, during our immediate experience, we can view them as great opportunities to learn how to let go because peace is truly accessible wherever we are.