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Making Room in Your Heart for Gratitude

meal for blog Karolina Grabowska

Photo courtesy of Karolina Grabowska

 

As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, we are prompted to consider the parts of our lives that we feel grateful to experience. We call to mind our family, our friends, a full belly, as well as all the gifts and opportunities that have come our way.

This reflection helps us to recognize that we all have full lives. Those lives have brought us many memories to fill our hearts. Some of these memories make us smile or laugh, because a loved one shared a precious moment with us. Other memories are heavier, those stories of our lives that took a turn in a different direction than we had hoped. These heavy stories can stay in our hearts for many years, blocking our ability to feel the fun and warmth of new experiences.

Fortunately, we are able to release these heavy stories. In the same way that we clean our houses, we need to tend to our hearts, to sweep them clean and to discard what we no longer need to carry. Clearing out our hearts makes room for gratitude to happen. Doing so starts by acknowledging which heavy stories we are carrying. As that story surfaces, we can identify why the story is stuck in our hearts. Once the sticking point is found, there is an opportunity to make peace with the painful memory, to set it free, and to make room to feel thankful for the good things in our lives. Perhaps you even have an empathic friend to hold your hand as you let go of the old and invite the new.

Make room in your heart before the holiday season so that when you sit down at a table with your family and friends, you will feel the gentle expansion of gratitude in your chest with each laugh, each bite of food, and every warm embrace.

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Insights from Hurricane Lane

 

Nasa Hurricane Lane

NASA’s satellite image of Category 5 Hurricane Lane.

The news said that Hurricane Lane was different than other storms, because it was heading straight towards Hawaii. When the winds reached 160 mph, they spoke about this Category 5 hurricane as if it was the next storm of the century.

Lane National Hurricane Center 1
Image provided by the National Hurricane Center

When the storm hit the Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawaii, I saw this rainbow at Haleiwa Beach Park on the then sunny island of Oahu. I wondered, “Is this the calm before the storm?”

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As the east coast of the Big Island was flooded with over a foot of water, they closed the schools in Maui County and on Oahu. Officials feared the worst case scenario, that Hurricane Lane would be the next Hurricane Iniki that made landfall on Kauai in 1992.

As we prepared for the impending storm, it became clear to me what was within my personal power to change and what about my situation was out of my control. I could stock up my food and water supplies. I could drive carefully and treat other people with respect. We could all help each other if we were in need.

But, I couldn’t stop Hurricane Lane from coming to Hawaii. Nor could I prevent the storm from damaging property or taking the lives of my fellow Hawaii residents. The storm was more powerful than all of us.

Hurricane Lane did flood the east coast of the Big Island where the active volcano has recently made the news. I’ve lived their before and remember how flooding happened a few times a year. Our hearts go out to people who live there, a place where the land is still forming and the storms visit frequently. Maui experienced high winds, downed power lines and brush fires. Fortunately there were no casualties on these islands.

The storm moved away from Oahu without causing flooding or wind damage. Our position in the chain of 8 Hawaiian Islands had protected us in 2 ways. The first way was that the 2 mountains of the Big Island acted as a partial storm shield for the islands west of it. The other protecting force was the wind sheer just south of Oahu that eventually weakened the Category 5 hurricane down to a tropical storm by the time it came within a 120 miles of Oahu.

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It was a remarkable experience to be shielded from such a massive storm by these natural elements. The same underground lava that still pours on the Big Island made all 8 of the Hawaiian Islands. Even though we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Oahu is protected by forces of nature that we have no control over. It made me feel gratitude that some kind of benevolent force had protected Oahu from Hurricane Lane.

I know from personal experience that it isn’t easy to live by that storm shield on the Hilo side of the Big Island. My prayers continue for those impacted by the flooding.


Oahu has remained remarkably safe throughout the hurricane season. It is an ideal place to experience a personalized healing retreat in an energy rich environment. For more information on healing retreats, please visit Personal Retreats in Hawaii

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Riding the Waves of Life

It’s during times of uncertainty that Life asks us to move out of our comfort zone in order to grow. But because these moments happen beyond our control, it can bring up a lot of fear. That fear interrupts our ability to trust that Life is taking care of us and that everything will be OK. Financial ups and downs, arguments with friends or loved ones, and bad news can bring up waves of emotions that shake us. It often happens without us immediately knowing why Life is shaking us up.

When this fear first arrives, we may feel too disturbed to trust the way our lives are heading. We can’t immediately see the solution, so we go on high alert and worry about what might happen next. If the waves have rocked us for a long time, doubt about things getting better can arise. How do we ride these waves?

kamana on a wave

As vulnerable as we can feel during money struggles, relationship shifts, and work challenges, we often don’t recognize our innate strength to weather the storm. Are you giving yourself enough credit for your resourcefulness and resiliency? Have you navigated such waves in the past? Did you emerge from those past trials as a stronger person who has clarity on how to change their life? When the waves hit us hard, it’s time to remember how adaptable we can be.

Before you can see the bigger picture that shows us the long term benefits of your struggles, it is necessary to remember how past challenges awakened our empowerment. When you struggle to see our inner strength, spending time with a supporter who sees how capable you are can bring you back to center. From that balance point of self confidence, you can recognize your ability to ride the waves to shore, on your way to solid ground again.

 

 

I’m passionate about surfing. It’s a metaphor for navigating the waves of Life. Each time I paddle out, I don’t know what the conditions of the ocean will be. In the video below, I was face with waves that were as tall as me. They were powerful and they moved fast. Each wave challenged me to rise to the occasion as I raced across the waters of Oahu. Fear became exhilaration, as I caught the waves and had some great rides.

Try Surfing for yourself as part of your Personal Hawaii Healing Retreat. Find out more here.

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Lava in Hawaii: A Path Through Crisis Emerges

walloflavaJust a few miles away from my old neighborhood on the Big Island of Hawaii, two new fissures crack the surface of the earth and ooze molten lava. So far, 35 structures have burned to the ground and several roads have been blocked by tarry black barricades. These fissures spit yellow and orange magma onto the nearby trees. They catch fire too, making the air smell like a gritty barbecue of roasting rotten eggs. The continued expansion of the lava implored Hawaii to declare a State of Emergency.

In times of crisis, we get tunnel vision that makes us focus on what can potentially harm us. We worry about how bad it can get. We move fast in hopes that we can stay ahead of the fallout that can happen during a crisis. When lava is engulfing your home, it is hard to believe that anything good can come from this disaster. The lava is burning away what is familiar and this can be scary.

But if we take a breath, if we take one step back, it is possible to see crisis in a new light. Going through a crisis is not the worst thing that can happen to us. Enduring the crisis alone is worse than going through it with support. The catastrophes of our lives have a way of breaking down our resistance to asking for help.

The first lesson crisis teaches us is to receive help from others. Aid often comes in ways we didn’t expect. On the Big Island of Hawaii, people are already rescuing each others’ pets who are trapped by the edge of the lava. My friend recently rescued two cats and hopes to find their owners. Clothes and food drives have come together locally. As people from the mainland U.S. and other nations watch the volcano eruption on the news, they have already begun donating to the Red Cross for disaster relief.

If we take two steps back, we realize that a devastating crisis brings us new opportunities that we wouldn’t have been able to receive in the comfort zone of our daily routines. Seeing people in need may inspire us to help others by becoming a community leader. The loss of a home may give us the motivation to accept a new position in a new place that may bring us unexpected friendships, partnerships, and career advancement. People who we haven’t talked to in years may suddenly reconnect with you. These unanticipated gifts are often inspired by struggle.

When we are stuck in a comfortable routine, we miss the opportunities that reside just outside of our comfort zone. As I talk to those who are directly impacted by the evacuation on the Big Island, they are all grateful to be alive, no matter what physical possession they may have lost. So far, there have been no deaths from the eruption of the volcano.

If we take a few more steps back from lava destruction, we can realize that these beautiful Hawaiian Islands were all formed by volcanoes, all of them connected to the same stream of magma beneath us. Big Island alone was formed by 5 volcanoes, of which only Kilauea is the last remaining active volcano is all of Hawaii. It is true that lava has destroyed homes and this loss is felt by the families directly affected. They are in our hearts and prayers. But the lava is the raw creative force that is still creating the island. Nature is just doing what is has been doing for nearly 500,000 years as it continues to make the Big Island such a fertile paradise. This is how the island grows.

As we watch the disaster of Hawaii unfold, it reminds us that we are not alone when we also go through a crisis. The most challenging moments of our lives invite support, if we share what we are going through with others.  Without revealing your struggle, others won’t know to help. You don’t have to endure your crisis alone.

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Personal Retreats in Hawaii

kahala beach palm tree

Imagine yourself creating a personally meaningful shrine in your hotel room or vacation home on the island of Oahu. This shrine calls forth your hidden strengths and your ability to manifest the life that you have been longing to live. It becomes the symbolic reminder that life has so much more to offer you when you step into your personal power.

In front of the shrine, you share about the hardships and burdens which have been blocking you from feeling the fulfillment in your daily life. While you release the emotions about these struggles, the friend that you brought is holding your hand in loving support. You ask yourself: “Why did I have to go through this hardship?” This process washes away the burdens you have been carrying and the gifts from the struggle are finally revealed. At the end of the process, I hold up a mirror so that you can see, firsthand, your newfound strength.

After the work for the day is done, you walk to the beach and plunge into the warm turquoise waters of Hawaii. The ocean pulls the pain away from you and reinvigorates your body with liquid celebration. The sight of palm trees and green mountains, the smell of tropical flowers, and the rolling sound of the ocean waves clear your senses so that you can truly remember how sweet life can be. You sleep that night feeling understood and replenished in a way that your busy life doesn’t normally allow.

Personal retreats in Hawaii are a powerful and enjoyable way to clear away the old and invite a fresh perspective into your life. What better place to shed the rough past and to remember the feeling of mother nature’s gentle embrace than Hawaii? This healing can happen if you make your self care a priority. Then you will see why many of my clients make an annual journey to Hawaii to renew themselves.

For more information visit: Hawaii Retreats or call 646 296-2194 to set up a free 30 minute planning meeting.

man on chair at beach

 

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