Six Month Anniversary

SixMonthhawaii

Today marks six months since my move to Hawaii! Moving here is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Hawaii is a place for restoration, rejuvenation, and clarity. Here are three powerful life lessons I have learned since moving here:

1. Fear does not have inherent power, we allot its power. The truth is that we can choose how much influence fear has over our actions. Admittedly, I was absolutely terrified to move to Hawaii. I had no idea how I was going to afford it, where I was going to work, what I was going to do, nothing. Instead of allowing fear to make me a slave to my mind, I decided to look fear right in the face and move forward anyways. I also want to add that absolutely none of my fears have come true, not a single one. From this experience, I realized that fear does not have to stop us, ever.

 2. Be present and relax. Living here has taught me to relax. Worrying and running around in a panic are not conducive to our well-being or the well-being of those around us. Worrying is such a consuming activity that typically has no benefit. I see now more than ever that life is always on our side, if only we stop fighting it. I have learned how to embrace uncertainty and I am freely relaxing in the arms of God.  I am finally allowing my life to flow uninterrupted.

3. You can run but you can’t hide. Many people move to Hawaii to escape something whether it’s emotions, experiences, or just life itself. Admittedly, I genuinely believed that coming here would eliminate some of the things I didn’t want to address directly. But, the bottom line is that we can’t run from life. Life will continue to present the very things that we try to run from regardless of a new location. The truth is that peace comes from within us. If we are unhappy on the mainland, we will be unhappy in paradise (Hawaii). The cause of our unhappiness is that we refuse to accept life’s invitation to embrace its full range of experiences. Paradise is wherever you are, as you are right now. 

 This journey is simultaneously beautiful, frightening, and incredible. Mahalo for reading!

With deep love & appreciation,

Candace

Embracing Discomfort

“Just sitting with pain or discomfort, without trying to escape in any way, without expectation, without a goal in mind, without seeking anything – that’s the juicy place, the place of creative transformation, the place where mud turns to gold. Let discomfort reveal its deeper secrets.” -Jeff Foster

Discomfort can be transformative. I have been reminded this several times this summer, once by a dear student who gently reminded me of the importance of explaining to our class that being uncomfortable is helpful. I was pleased that she emphasized this important point because it is something we all forget too easily, particularly when we are in the middle of our distress.

As a society, I believe we are much better at attending to our physical pain than our emotional pain (although we have a difficult time “treating” both physical and emotional pain successfully). When we accidentally hurt ourselves (physically), our immediate response is to attend to the injury; we investigate the extent of the damage and describe the nature of the pain. Rarely do any of us ignore our bodies when we experience physical pain but many of us ignore our emotional pain. In fact, most times, we turn away from it, are angered/disappointed by it, and avoid it.

Just as physical pain exists in order to get our attention (and sometimes even save our lives), emotional pain serves a similar role. When we are experiencing emotional discomfort or despair, we are being called to attend. We are not being asked to ignore or push the pain away, instead we are being asked to look at it, observe it, investigate it, and work through it. Although many of us know this, we continue to avoid. When we are physically injured, pretending the pain does not exist is typically ineffective, as is the case with emotional pain.

I attribute this avoidance to being fearful and/or ashamed of our emotional pain. Emotional pain gets a really bad rep in our society and is heavily stigmatized (I highly recommend reading the book The Happiness Trap that speaks about this in great detail). Further, since it is not something that is often discussed, we are unclear about the outcome of addressing our emotional pain. What will happen to me? Will I be able to handle it if I address my emotional pain? These are common concerns many of us have related to the uncertainty of acknowledging our pain. The idea that our emotional pain will somehow engulf us until we no longer exist is a common fear. Let these fears be fears and take an honest look at the pain. We will always be afraid of what we think is in the closet until we go in there and take a thorough look.

Go into the closet and look at your emotional pain. Observe it, acknowledge it, accept it, and even embrace it. Look at it as something that is calling you back to yourself. Pain is a call to awareness, it’s there to get your attention. What is your pain telling you?

Thanks for reading. Wishing you all infinite peace!