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.

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.

Blameless Responsibility

responsibilitystory

I am continuously amazed by the mind’s craftiness and ability to create such convincing theatrics and stories. What’s more interesting is how easy it is to get swept into these stories and undoubtedly believe them to be true. Admittedly, it’s easier to be consumed by the mind’s stories because we can justify our reactive behaviors (attacks, gossiping, and judgments), relinquish our responsibility for our own inner peace, and remain the victim. Blaming others is instantly gratifying because we are allowed to cling to our comfort zones and fully convince ourselves that we were wronged.

On the other hand, taking a closer look at the mind’s stories requires taking responsibility and letting go of our justifications and excuses for reactive behaviors. It also requires questioning some of the things we have believed most of our lives, which can be frightening. In a sense, being responsible also means being vulnerable, which is a skill most of us have long forgotten how to do and yet both skills are the very things that set us free. We are bound to the vicious cycle of reactivity as long as we allow false stories to dictate our lives. The good news is that at any point, we can assume responsibility and reclaim our freedom.

Every Moment Matters

Sunset 1-10-15

Yesterday, when I snapped the photo above, a driver of a jeep (going about 35 mph) hit a cyclist. After hearing the loud noise, I turned around to see pieces of metal flying. Initially, I thought the jeep’s tire exploded but then I saw the driver and the passenger get out of the vehicle and rush to the front of the car, looking at the ground in shock. Immediately, I knew they had hit someone. My assumptions were confirmed as an ambulance arrived on the scene and the EMT workers put the cyclist on the gurney. The bike was upside down, seemingly stuck under the jeep. In just a flash (literally, a shutter flash), lives were instantly changed.

Witnessing the accident served as a reminder that every moment matters. Our lives can be taken at any time. We are not going to live in human form forever. There will be a day when our lives as we know it will cease to exist. Knowing that our time here is limited makes me incredibly appreciative of the experiences I’ve had and it also makes me more encouraged to take action on the things I want to do before passing. Our time here is precious and I choose to see that as a beautiful blessing and a loving reminder to live fully.

Please keep all those involved in the accident in your thoughts.

Reflections & Intentions

takeadeepbreathandreflect0athisisanewbeginning0aputyourworriestorest-default

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!

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.

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!

Lean In

man-372099_640

Something miraculous happens when we lean into life, openly sitting with all the sensations that enter our awareness.

We access the inherent joy of Being when we simply allow all feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations to exist in our experience without running away, avoiding, or denying their presence.

We are continuously invited to let go and choose love.

We have endless opportunities to happily coexist with all of life’s possibilities.

Will you lean in?

Family

“If you think you’re “enlightened,” go spend a week with your family.” -Ram Dass

PhotoGrid_1405213746007

*Photos of the fruit at a local farmer’s market we went to visit today

My partner and I have family visiting this weekend and thus far it has been quite comedic as well as a friendly reminder. My reflection is staring me right in the face and I get to boldly see some of the areas that were residing in my blind spot. The old thought patterns and dynamics come racing in as if they had never left, and maybe they hadn’t, which is why it’s great that they’re coming up again for me to see clearly.

These moments are such rich opportunities for fully engaging in the moment and seeing all of the memories, habits, patterns, thoughts, and emotions that have been stewing underneath the surface. They are excellent opportunities to let go and be free of reacting unconsciously. In fact, I can even have fun with it all, getting a hearty chuckle about the persistence of habitual patterns. What a reminder that family is truly here to welcome us home (to the truth).

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