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

Every Moment Matters

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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.

Allowing Creativity

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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?

Life Savers

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“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!

The Journey

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There are infinite ways to embark on this life journey on earth, each of us usually choosing how to navigate based on our memories, experiences, and beliefs. Interestingly, although we often judge how others are navigating their lives, life appears to accept all of the various ways in which we choose to travel. Life doesn’t even appear to have a preference. It’s as if we are children in an art classroom, painting on a canvas while the loving art teacher happily accepts and embraces whatever and however we choose to paint. Of course there are certain outcomes based on our choices, but the teacher allows us to see that for ourselves. Today, I am grateful for this life and an opportunity to embark on this journey.

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

No Coincidences

The recent shooting of Mike Brown instantly triggered one of my most painful memories. When I was 16, a dear friend of mine was killed by an undercover police officer – he was shot in the back seven times. For many years, every time I heard about another police shooting, I would become angry, hopeless, and overwhelmed with grief. This time is different. While my heart felt heavy after hearing about Mike Brown, I ultimately had a very different reaction. I remembered that nothing that happens is a coincidence. Coincidences simply don’t happen. While things may appear to be coincidences on the surface, everything that happens has a collection of underlying circumstances that culminated to create the event. Remembering this has helped me tremendously by recognizing that all situations are opportunities to become aware of the underlying beliefs and causes that create events.

It appears that life “calls us out” and is continuously inviting us to “wake up” and see things for what they are. Life does not allow us to sweep our collective beliefs under the rug as if they aren’t there. Life will always bring to the surface the deep-seated beliefs and data that sit in our subconscious. Even our tendency to oversimplify things by trying to resolve gaping wounds by assigning blame does not work. While I empathize with reactions of anger, grief, and hopelessness, I believe one of the most empowering things we can do is view situations as an opportunity to take a look at how we are contributing. Ultimately, we are all responsible. We all contribute.

Mahalo for reading. Wishing you infinite peace and blessings!

Play

“Life is not a business, it is a play. And a play has no purpose really, it is non-purposeful. Or you can say play is its own purpose, to play is enough. Life is not reaching towards some goal, life itself is the goal. It is not evolving towards some ultimate; this very moment, here and now, life is ultimate.” -Osho

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My grandmother used to tell me “stop being so serious, just be a child,” whenever my mind would find some worrisome topic to bug her about. At the time, I didn’t take her advice because I considered myself to be “mature” and playing seemed less important than asking questions. Now, I find her advice to be one of the most profound ever given.

Lately, I have been feeling much more playful, upon “remembering” that all is well. Underneath the veil of what we “see” lies a perfect peace that is always here and now. Not only that, it becomes simultaneously humbling and comical when we realize that we really don’t know that much at all, let alone where we actually are in the grand scheme of the Universe.  This realization has helped me to lighten up a great deal and stop carrying the burden of “seeking” and trying to figure things out. How liberating it is to just enjoy “this” as it is. With a playful disposition, I find that I am more engaged, grateful, and loving, and that’s definitely something to smile about! Cheers!

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

 

Just Let Go

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

The past few weeks, more often than not, I have felt uneasy. Whenever I am reminded of love, calmness washes over me, but even those moments have been quite fleeting and have had a temporary effect. Last Wednesday, I went to an active insight meditation group and participated in something called Latihan. During the Latihan, we are instructed to freely express whatever arises, whether it be verbal sensations or other movements. Much to my surprise, almost immediately upon doing the Latihan, I received an internal message that said “LET GO!” It continued, “it is not about YOU” and lastly “surrender NOW.” The information was so clear that I had no further questions.  Suddenly, an incredible bliss took over my body and I was smiling from ear to ear. Gradually, sadness appeared, because I knew what it all meant. I had to fully let go of everything: The story of Candace, Candace’s achievements, Candace this, Candace that, needing to be in control, etc. The over-attachment and over-identification to “Candace” (also known as “me”) had to end. I knew in that moment that until I fully let go, I would continue to experience dis-ease.

While I have studied and read many essays about surrendering (my favorite is Bob O’Hearn’s essay), I realized in that moment that I had never actually surrendered, completely, there were always remnants of over-identification lingering (Knowledge means little if we are not applying it fully and consistently). This time, it was clear that not only did I need to completely surrender, but also surrendering is a continuous process that I must do moment-to-moment. Surrendering (at least in my experience) is not a one -time event, it’s something that has to be done repeatedly and consistently. Even after having such a profound experience during Latihan, the very next day, I slipped right back into my habits of feeling like I needed to have control. It wasn’t until I went to the beach (photo aboved) that I received another message similar to the first “SURRENDER!” that I let go again.

I’m reminded of a childhood moment where I was swinging upside down on the monkey bars after school and was ready to get off of them but was utterly terrified to let go. My father kept saying “just let go, Dace, just let go!” I held onto the monkey bars for dear life and suddenly “plop!” I fell to the ground. I hadn’t let go, my legs got tired and threw me from the bars. When I landed, I was shocked that my legs got so tired so quickly but more importantly because all the pain that I anticipated would come from landing wasn’t present at all. Just let go! 🙂

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

Change

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.” -Pema Chödrön 

Things come together, things fall apart, and things change. It’s one thing to know that everything changes but it’s another to truly appreciate it. There is a sense of vulnerability, humility, and gratitude that comes with truly understanding that all will change. Over the past few weeks, several areas of my life have changed quite drastically. While it would be easier and also habitual to cling to what was, I have chosen to appreciate the changes for what they are and for what they are revealing to me.

Whenever things change incongruently with our plans, the accompanying vulnerability and humility produce fear but also create a refreshing and more clear sense of reality. Any suffering that occurs as a result of these changes shows us where we need to let go and where we have been clinging to a reality that we created only in our minds. Additionally, we are being reminded to appreciate the uniqueness of every moment for the mere fact that all circumstances will eventually change forms.

If we allow it to, change reveals within us a raw vulnerability that we often try to avoid and hide most of our lives. However, if we appreciate this vulnerability and accept it openly, we create a space for true fulfillment. Our strength is in our vulnerability and it appears as though life is continuously trying to remind us of that truth.

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

With deep love and appreciation,

Candace

Paddle Board Adventures

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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