aloha every day

aloha every day

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fearing Fear

I've been thinking a lot this summer about:

I was a fearsome child.
Afraid of dogs.
Afraid of aliens.
Afraid of racoons.
Afraid of horses.
Afraid of intruders.

These childhood fears were not just worries.
They were
stop me in my steps,
frozen solid,
deer in headlights

As I've grown up I've found ways to cope with most of those fears.
I've also gained some others (although I believe them to be redirected emotional trauma.)
Fear has always been a part of my life.
Truthfully, I think it is a part of everyone's life, whether or not they admit it.
BUT (there's always a butt),
Fear can be healthy, or devastating.
My fears?
They fall towards the latter.

I've heard that some wise man said to "stare fear in the face."
Some other wise man said, "There's nothing to fear but fear itself."
this summer I decided to conquer some of those fears.
 I'm TIRED of living in fear.

Step 1: Dogs.
This summer, I am working at an animal shelter.
Those of you who know me from childhood are probably (nah, you ARE) LAUGHING...out loud.
This job was offered to me by a dear friend as a way to make some summer money and to help cover her position at the shelter while she was away on vacay.
So I'm there.
Now...I'm working at a kid's camp within the shelter.
I'm still petting dogs, 
holding dogs on leashes,
monitoring kids while in dog kennels...etc.
Fear of dogs? What fear of dogs?
I've realized that what I really fear is the unexpected.
The "what ifs" of the so-called fear.
Fear of dogs?
I'm not scared of the animal.
I fear the bite that might.
I fear not knowing what to do if it jumps up on me.

With that in mind,
I remind myself to stay peaceful in the moment.
I remind myself that the dog is another living being who simply wants what I want:
Attention, Love, Food
I can still have a fear of dogs, just a healthy fear in knowing that we don't speak the same language, and that (at times) they may use biting, etc. to communicate if provoked.

So here I am, conquering fears.
Up next?
Who knows?
I'm just done with fear...

And so I feel it to be appropriate to end this post with a quote (and I love a good quote) by Marianne Williamson.
It may be cliche,
but I happen to love these poetic words.
As you read it,
think about what you fear.
Is it a healthy fear?
Or is it debilitating.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nuevo Mexico

Last week I went to New Mexico...
...where I was raised...
...where I met some of the most wonderful people in my life...
...which has the most spectacular food on the planet...
...where the skies are larger than life... 
...where I didn't appreciate fully until this trip.

For most who have moved away from the city in which they were raised, the common sentiment is: 
"How did I come out of this place?"
Perhaps I have been shaped by the experiences in and cultures of the places to which I have traveled.
Perhaps I never actually related to the culture in which I grew up.
Perhaps time away from a place (or person for that matter) yields a fresh perspective..."fresh eyes"  fully appreciate the present...view, person, taste, smell...

Growing up, I thought it was "cool" to be from New Mexico.
People in other states had many questions for us, such as, 
"Do you speak English there?"
"Is it an ACTUAL state?"
"Do you live in a teepee?"
Smart Americans.
Once, while visiting Washington D.C.,
I was in a gift shop in Monticello.
I tried to pay with a traveler's cheque...
and was initially denied the use of such payment from a country outside of the U.S.
Another time, at an Office Max in Honolulu,
I was told that they couldn't call me on my cell phone because the area code (my cell is still 505...haha) was from outside of the country.
Despite these seeming ignorances,
I have always felt very novel having originated in the 
Land of Enchantment.
Another commonly shared sentiment of travelers is:
"The place I grew up was a great place to grow up, 
and a fun place to visit, 
I'd rather not live there now."

I relate
my curiosity and adventurous spirit
are everlasting,
and predictable. 
I moved to Arizona for college, 
and to Hawai'i shortly thereafter...
always in search of a new frontier.
I recently had an urge to return to my "homeland." ;)
I had been away for long enough that the separation gave way to that aforementioned curiosity,
and I wanted to adventure back
into my childhood,
into my memories,
into that land that I no longer claimed to be home.

So I packed my guitar and a duffle and headed out!
First stop?
Camping with my dad.
We hadn't done that since I was in middle school.
We are great camping buddies.
Note the flaming marshmallow above...
he and I are the ONLY 2 people I have YET to meet that like to char the mallow before adding the graham.
We played guitar, sang out loud, hiked the surrounding forests,
and just flat out
reconnected... each other... nature... ourselves...

I took this self portrait 
as I was enjoying the warmth of the morning sun,
 playing music to soothe my soul,
 completely at peace with who I was at that moment...
...a girl who grew up in New Mexico...
...the 47th state in the United States of America...
I promise it is.

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness."
-John Keats

I happen to really like the number 8.
I like that, when you trace it, it never ends.
I like that if you flip it on its side, 
it becomes the sign of infinity...
the infinite thoughts in our minds...
the infinite scope of the universe...
the infinite places to visit on this planet.
I found this number 8 tree!
Officially in love.
With a tree.
In NM. 
One of the United States.

We also went to a winery close to the campground.
I'm one for a good glass of wine.
Or 2. 
I'll stop there.
I'm also a sucker for an old truck.
Paint this guy sea green?
I'd take it in a heartbeat!
Sorry 2006 Ford Ranger,
how I've loved thee,
but you are not nearly as stylish,
as smooth,
as cunning,
as this old truck.
"Age is just a number.  It's totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine." 
-Joan Collins

I also explored many a wooded area, 
found this little stream,
and acted like a little kid...
trampsing across fallen logs,
running through piled pine needles,
bending down low to observe the fairies in the tall grass.

This is where the Queen of the Forest is supposed to stand...
so I stood there. 

This is the post office in the little town surrounding the campground.
Better not ship your IKEA bedroom set there... 

I also captured many, many views of the NM landscape.
These views are in my memory,
somewhere in a far back drawer,
for which I have lost the key.
Luckily, I now have an excellent camera, 
and a refreshed perspective...

What is a trip to ABQ without a stop at Hanselmann's pottery in Corrales?
No one works here.
He makes the pottery,
puts it on the shelf,
leaves the doors unlocked,
and trusts a whole bunch that people will follow the rules posted on the computer paper scotch taped to the shelf.
I like to go there
I like to feel trusted.
Bonus: The pottery is well-priced and beautiful! we're on to the wonderful friends I saw while there.
I hadn't seen this kiddo since he was THREE!
What a terrific kid!
Nicole and I have been best buds for well over 10 years.
This was our first time REALLY connecting in many years...
and as good friendships always do,
it seemed like no time had passed.
I serendipitously "ran into" Mahad...another of my great friends from high school who I hadn't seen or connected with in ages.
I can say "ages" now, because I am officially not in my 20's anymore.
Again, like no time had passed, we reconnected...thanks in large part to the fate of running "smack dab" into each other.

I also had the pleasure of seeing a few other friends and their beautiful families,
and for some strange reason,
didn't end up with pictures of them.

I do have some on my phone camera.
I just haven't figured out how to upload them.
Did I mention I'm no longer in my 20's?
Technology is not so easy for us geezers, okay? 

just figured it out...days are the phone camera pics:
 Did you know a dog can photo bomb??  It can at Candice's house!

 This is my lovely friend from childhood.  We hadn't seen each other in 12 YEARS prior to this day.
(pictures taken by the aspiring photog, Esme)

And so ended a wonderful trip back "home."
I look back and see the beautiful smiles of those I love,
smell the unmistakable scent of the pines trees,
hear the wind as a crazy storm blows through,
and feel the heat of the sun, never too hot.

 Mahalo, Thank you, Gracias
for reconnecting me to that back drawer of memories that has been locked up for WAY TOO MANY years.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

O'ahu Beaches

Continuing on my "O'ahu Favorites" journey, 
I've come to beaches.
Oh, O'ahu beaches!

O'ahu and Kaua'i have the BEST beaches because
 the "younger" islands (those closer to the hot spot, like the Big Island)
have more fresh volcanic activity and are covered in more hardened lava that has yet to break down in to sand.

O'ahu and Kaua'i are old. ;)
That means...LOVELY BEACHES!

Here are my O'ahu favorites (I'll have another string of posts for Kaua'i):

1. Waimanalo Bay
This is where we were married 
(actually our ceremony was at Waimanalo Beach Park, which is different than Waimanalo Bay....I happen to like the BAY better for beachin' it)
The water is GORGEOUS!
The most SCENIC O'ahu beach, in my humble opinion.
Lots of parking, bathrooms, a few picnic tables...plenty space to spread out.
Disclaimer: Not a good beach on a windy day, though, or on a high jellyfish warning day.

2. Kalama Beach Park
Everyone FLOCKS to Kailua Beach Park and to Lanikai Beach...
just down the street...
is Kalamas.
So be it!
Go to Kailua and Lanikai (which doesn't have bathrooms, btw)!
Kalamas is a little known (I know...I probably shouldn't be posting it, then)
GORGEOUS stretch of beach in Kailua. 
Disclaimer: Not a lot of parking in the main lot, but there is plenty parking in the surrounding neighborhoods
(just don't park too close to a stop sign, like I did, or expect a parking ticket!).

3. China Man's Hat (Mokoli'i)/Kualoa Park:
China Man's Hat is the island off in the distance...and the park/beach area is called Kualoa Park.
Rarely EVER have I seen it crowded, and it is BEAUTIFUL!
Lots of parking, BBQ grills, picnic tables, grass AND sand, bathrooms...great for a family beach day!
Disclaimer: Not the best beach for swimming.

4. Mokuleia
O'ahu is FAMOUS for the North Shore.
Pipeline...amazing in December/January for surf watching.
Sunset Beach...classic.
If you want to experience the N. Shore beaches (and you should), here is a great website:
However, if you keep driving west past hit Mokuleia...beautiful, untouched paradise!
(Also the location where "Lost" was filmed...)
 Disclaimer: There are no restaurants/shops nearby.  Also can be a "localized" area...just be respectful.

5. Ka Iwi Shoreline
This is my absolute FAVORITE place ON THE ISLAND.
In fact, Ka Iwi has its own post on my blog:
 It is a place to EXPLORE! There are tide pools and little dirt trails next to the ocean.
Disclaimer: This is not a beach for swimming or getting in the ocean...period. Parking is tricky: Driving on Kalanianaole heading towards Makapu'u, there is a dirt parking lot just after Kealahou St.

Those are my FAVORITES! 
There are more "touristy" beaches on O'ahu...
...ALOT of them...
but I don't recommend them if you want a real Hawai'i experience.