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!

Blameless Responsibility

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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.

Family

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

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*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!

Freedom

“Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice… No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

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Recently, I took up a part-time job at a women’s prison and was immediately reminded that true freedom can neither be granted nor taken away. We are all free. Some of the inmates of this particular prison seemed more free than people out in the community. The truth is that the only prison that exists is the prison of the mind, when we believe in its illusions and traps. Isn’t it so liberating that the only one who can take our freedom away is ourselves? We are the only one who can truly rob ourselves of being free!

Years ago, I would not have agreed with this post. I would have said that freedom can be taken away, just like it is in slavery and human trafficking. While it certainly does appear that freedom in a physical sense can be taken away, our true freedom cannot be, and how wonderful that is! I reflect on Harriet Tubman and her decision to physically free herself and thousands of others. Because Ancestor Harriet realized that she was inherently free already, she was able to cultivate the strength to physically free herself. And that’s where it begins. When we know that we are free regardless of our circumstances, we make choices and actions that allow us to both endure and go beyond physical restrictions on freedom. This type of knowing allows us to be in physical bondage but still have peace of mind and it also allows us to actualize the inner strength to reclaim our power from anyone who has ever physically enslaved us. We are all free. 

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

No Worries

“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”” -Oprah

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A lovely day at Waimanalo Beach on 3/4/14

A popular phrase you’ll hear on the island is “no worries,” especially in response to I’m sorry. I absolutely love this phrase because it reflects a sense of forgiveness and a relaxed attitude. Forgiveness has been a huge part of my journey. Learning how to forgive and let go of my worries has been essential in regards to my well-being. There is never any need to hold a grudge or to hold resentment. When we are resentful, we are bound to that particular situation and/or person; in essence, we are slaves to the past. Being able to let go and forgive is a form of freedom. Everything that happens in our lives is an opportunity for us to choose love, express gratitude, and release our stuck points.

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

With deep love & appreciation,

Candace

Naked

“To be able to stand naked (figuratively and literally) and completely vulnerable yet fully secure in oneself is true freedom.” -Candace Thoth

73938-sea-and-beach-beach-freedomImage courtesy of Stuffpoint.com

On a philosophical level it’s easy to say we are not our hair, our bodies or our skin but the society we live in reinforces a different message. According to our society, not only does our physical appearance have significant implications, it is also ranked based on standards of a supposed ideal image of beauty. Internalizing society’s messages about beauty can create significant distress and anxiety regardless of whether you fit the ideal description of attractiveness.

Most of the individuals I have worked with have had challenges related to their physical appearance. I too have had my difficulties. For many years, I struggled to leave the house without makeup. When going to the gym or the grocery store, I always made sure to put on makeup. I wanted to hide the discoloration on my face and all other marks I deemed as imperfections. I was aware that the makeup was clogging my pores and creating more acne but I didn’t care, I didn’t want anyone to see what was underneath the mask. The compliments I got from people made it even more challenging to let go of wearing makeup. I was attached to the mask and false image I created.

After deep self-exploration, I gained understanding of the personal meaning around hiding behind makeup. In August, after I decided to cut my hair as a symbol of liberation from my hair, I also found myself no longer wanting or even feeling like I needed to wear makeup. I no longer needed to hide. These past few months are the first time since my pre-teen years that I feel fully secure in how I look naturally but perhaps more importantly with who I am at the core. Now, more often than not I find myself freely leaving the house sans makeup and when I do wear makeup it’s for fun not to hide. I am free!

Embracing our natural physical appearance may be challenging but it is on the path to freedom. Exploring the barriers that prevent us from appreciating our physical appearance may guide us to the deeper conflicts going on underneath the surface. Additionally, as we each begin to move towards acceptance, we can create a society in which everyone feels beautiful. I do not feel it is sufficient to minimize our physical appearance by emphasizing that we are spirits, instead I propose that we honor and celebrate physical appearance in all of its unique expressions.

Self-Reflective Questions:

  • What are your beliefs about physical appearance? (e.g., is physical appearance important, what are the implications of physical appearance, etc)
  • When did you develop these aforementioned beliefs about physical appearance?
  • What is the source of your beliefs about physical appearance?  (e.g., television, magazines, parents, friends, etc)
  • How much does your own physical appearance impact your thoughts/feelings about yourself?
  • How do your thoughts about your physical appearance impact your actions and activities?
  • How are your thoughts about your physical appearance related to other areas in your life? (e.g., for me, wearing makeup was a way to hide which I later discovered I was doing in other areas of my life)
  • How much time do you allocate towards worrying/thinking about your physical appearance?
  • When was the last time you felt truly comfortable with your physical appearance?
  • What barriers interfere with accepting your physical appearance?
  • How would your life be different if you embraced your physical appearance?
  • What are some ways to increase your comfort and acceptance of your physical appearance?

Mahalo for reading! May we all experience infinite peace and blessings~

Let Go

“Learn to let go without struggle, simply let go, to be just as you are – no holding on, no attachment, free.” Ajahn Chah

During the preparation for my move to Hawai’i, I have given away most of my material possessions. My goal is to ship my car and bring only two suitcases worth of items (e.g., clothing, books, etc). Week by week, I have donated or given away almost everything. First, I began by giving away clothes that had not seen the light of day in months or years. It was not too difficult to part with such items as they seemingly had little relevance plus it was exciting to use the conveniently located clothing donation drop-boxes all over town. Then, I started giving away books that I felt I no longer needed. I never realized just how many books I had until I started giving them away.

As I continued the process, I gave away all of my furniture and paintings. I was deeply connected to many of my paintings and had a hard time parting with them. The same was true for some of my favorite winter outfits for which I had a special love. In a matter of weeks, 90% of my clothing, furniture, books, and paintings were gone. All gone.

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Giving away my material possessions has been symbolic of my spiritual journey in that it’s not until you let go that you realize what truly matters. Having a lot of baggage and being attached to it prevented me from realizing that I had the ability live without it. I was so used to holding on to certain labels and stories about myself that I blocked my ability to live freely. I was living within the constraints of the stories, limiting my opportunities. We often hold onto things because we are afraid that without them, something will be lost. The reality is that what truly matters can never be lost. Letting go both physically (material possessions) and spiritually (releasing stories) has opened the door to a freedom that was ever-present but was blocked by attachment. Letting go has revealed amazing possibilities that would not have otherwise been discovered. I encourage you all to look in your closet and see what you can let go of, it will be liberating and helpful to others who may need your items. Let go and be free.

Wishing you all infinite peace!