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.

Silent Sitting

A narration of a recent silent sitting:

I sit, my bottom rests on a towel that lies over the sand. The instruction is to “Just Be.”

A thought sensation floats by “shouldn’t you be doing something other than this?”

I notice the sensation. Without conscious intention, a smile appears on my face.

Another sensation appears “you have other things you need to be doing.”

I notice without responding.

The thoughts linger, and that’s okay.

I notice.

The sun’s warmth is felt on my skin and gradually transitions from warm to hot.

I notice.

A bird flies overhead, so close the wind from its wings creates a breeze,

I notice.

The sound of the ocean waves gently washing up to the shore appears.

I notice.

The thoughts intensify “this is a waste of everyone’s time!”

The sensation is followed by a wave of anxiety.

The anxiety is housed within my stomach, creating a feeling as if someone is squeezing it gently.

I notice.

A thought asks “Who wastes their time sitting in silence anyways?”

Anxiety heightens.

I notice.

There is a void of thought.

I notice.

Another thought sensation appears “you overcame it! You successfully watched the thoughts pass.”

Happiness enters into the space.

I notice.

Then, there is nothing.

I notice.

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

With love and appreciation,

Candace

Releasing Distractions

2013-10-27 17.56.34

Life is full of many wonderful opportunities and possibilities but it is also full of distractions. Distractions are defined here as anything that diverts your attention from your awareness and/or your overall goals (of course with your allowance). Although distractions are apart of life, the way we cope with them makes a difference in our quality of life. Our ability to cope with distractions is reduced when we are stressed or unbalanced. When we are in harmony, distractions are apart of the dance and we can navigate them effortlessly.

Personally, I have found that the most effective way for me to cope with distractions is to improve my meditation/mindfulness practice and to detox. During a detox, I limit the amount of external distractions I allow into my experience. Additionally, I make efforts to increase the amount of silence in my daily routine. After a detox, I feel more balanced as well as an increased ability to see distractions for what they are, more effectively limiting their influence over my thoughts and actions.

Starting tomorrow through next week, I will be going on a detox from social networking and blogging. I will also be reducing the amount of time I am on the internet and phone. My intention with this detox is to focus on my awareness and my goals. I’m curious to know you all’s experience with detoxing so please feel free to share. In the meantime, I’ll see you all in a week!

Happy Holidays! Mahalo for reading! May we all experience infinite peace & blessings!

*Photo taken by Candace Thoth of a beautiful sun-kissed sky in Waikiki

Welcoming All

All experiences are welcome here,

Every single emotion that decides to appear,

Despair, joy, frustration; the door is open, come near,

Letting you in has shown me there’s nothing to fear.

1000611_10102826261181831_1008453283_nEast Coast of Oahu in 8/2013

This week I decided to increase my meditation practice both in depth and frequency. Previously, I meditated sporadically in order to attain peace, clarity, and calmness. I viewed meditation as a way to “escape” and access serenity.

After reading Taking the Leap by Pema Chödrön, my view of meditation has completely changed. Pema posits that meditation is not at all about escaping or gaining anything, instead meditation is simply about awareness. She elaborates that by having an agenda of attaining peace, we are still resisting some of our experiences. Pema emphasized the importance of dropping agendas during our meditation practice and allowing all emotions, sensations, and thoughts to arise freely. She also discussed being open to the times when our meditation makes us feel uneasy.

While I was previously allowing all experiences to come into my awareness, I noticed that for some emotions/thoughts, I would quickly find refuge in my breath by immediately diverting my attention to it. I was still avoiding the “negative” experiences because I wanted meditation to be peaceful. After reading Pema’s words,  I felt inspired to release my agenda of attaining peace during meditation and to instead fully allow all to enter my awareness without trying to escape. This has been one of the most challenging yet courageous things for me to do. There are times when I have felt completely overwhelmed by what has risen in my awareness but when I am able to stick with it without fleeing, I see that fear’s influence lessens each time.

Overall, this experience has been quite humbling and incredibly eye-opening. I am encouraged to honor our oneness on a much deeper level.

Mahalo for reading and allowing me to share! May we all experience infinite peace and blessings!