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. 😉

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

3 Lessons Learned from Owning a Business

I officially launched my business in December of 2013, and since then, I have learned three valuable lessons:

1) Our “spiritual work” can be done from right where we are, there is no need to go anywhere else. Previously, I contemplated becoming a nun because I believed that being in a monastic environment would help me “awaken” faster. The truth is that right where we are is the best place for us to be. We are exactly where we are for a reason and it is in fact the perfect place for our “spiritual work.” Additionally, it is not so much that we need to learn anything as it is more about remembering what we know deep within, which is who we are and who we are not. We can learn just as much in our current environment than we can by running off to a monastery. The teacher is life itself, regardless of where we are.

Owning a business has taught me how to surrender to what is and to completely open my heart. These are the very lessons I hoped to learn by going off to a monastery, and to my surprise, I learned them right in the heart of a metropolis. Every situation, every place, every person we encounter is apart of the spiritual process, we are truly right where we need to be.

2) Fear in and of itself is not a problem, allowing it to paralyze us is. A dear friend of mine, Rosetta Thurman, recently said “Do it scared!” and I completely agree. Fear may be present in our awareness but we give it permission to debilitate us. Fear is just a sensation that comes and goes, there is no need to cling to it or assign it value and power. Let fear do its own thing and we can still do ours. There have been numerous occasions where had I listened to fear, I would have sabotaged amazing business opportunities that were presented to me. After observing fear for what it is, it becomes much easier to proceed despite its presence.

3) Any sentence that has the word “should” in it, is not based in reality. The word “should” moves us further away from acceptance. When we spend time seriously contemplating the “shoulds,” we create more distress because nothing “should” be any different from how it is now. When we acknowledge, accept, and appreciate where we are, we recognize that “should” is not a useful term. Running a business has helped me eliminate the word “should” from my vocabulary and replace it with words that are present-focused and/or active.

The moral of this story is that life offers lessons everywhere. Every situation is a call to awareness, a call to come home. Before running off to somewhere other than “here,” open your eyes to the richness that exists right where you are.

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

With love & appreciation,

Candace

Paddle Board Adventures

559937_10202562952107808_1476453599_n

I had my very first paddle boarding lesson on Monday and I walked away with some interesting insights and a nice tan too! The first insight is that paddle boarding is an incredibly relaxing activity but it does require you to utilize your balancing and coordination skills. Standing up and paddling is very different from kneeling and paddling! Standing up requires more core strength, balance, and coordination whereas kneeling is mostly about coordination. Another insight I had is that we never need to panic. There were three times when I had difficulty turning left so I found myself being carried by the current to a ledge full of people waiting to go on a boat cruise. Instead of fighting the current, I decided to go with it and used it to help me turn right and make a full circle. Going with the current is so much easier than fighting it!

The most salient observation I had was the discrepancy between how many people were on the beach versus how many were in the water. There were probably a couple hundred people on the beach but I noticed that there were only about twenty of us in the water. I wondered why there weren’t that many people in the water? Although there are many reasons this may have happened, the question particularly peaked my interest when a couple came by and asked us about paddle boarding, said that they wanted to do it, but expressed hesitation. This made me wonder how many of us want to do things but never get around to doing them? How many of us decide to stay on the beach our whole lives and never explore the water? Life is meant to be explored, dive in and enjoy the adventure!

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

With love & appreciation,

Candace

*Photo credit: Amanda Dela Cruz