Driving along the scenic ocean highway, taking my girls to school this morning, “Eye of the Tiger” suddenly came on the radio. It wasn’t long before my girls and I were dancing to the beat of one of my all-time favorites. I wished my girls a great day as they departed from the jeep, feeling rejuvinated and ready to take on the day. What was it about this song that brought “life” to my family, I wondered? I thought of the movie, “Rocky,” where I first heard this song as a kid and how I associated it with Rocky’s greatness. I recalled growing up in the small town of Homedale, Idaho, listening to our High School Band play this song during games when it seemed our teams could use a little extra Imotivation. I considered how Rocky Balboa or anyone “great” only gets that way through hard work, persistence, and determination. “Fall down seven times, stand up eight” truly is the key to success in anything. Which brought me back to my life here in Hawaii. I pulled up “Eye of the Tiger” again on my phone and reflected further upon how life in Hawaii has forced personal growth and strength upon my own family. In doing so, I concluded the following:
1. Hawaii Pushes You….HARD!
Upon arriving in Hawaii, I truly was like a baby, taking in the new splendor all around me. My family had some money saved and I did not have to work for the time-being. Life was good and I felt “high” on life. I was able to focus on nothing but my family and enjoying my surroundings. I did this with joy and gratitude. In turn, good people flooded into my life. I made the most beautiful, kind, and loving friends. I felt on top of the world and it seemed I could only attract and manifest good things. But, the months rolled by. My family got into more of a routine as the school year continued and I often found myself “too busy” to visit with my new friends or take time at the beach. Although, I still recognized the beauty around me, I was not seeing it the way I had before. Instead, I began to focus more on my thoughts. I found myself worrying about the long-term consequences of my unemployment. I felt fear for the first time since our move. Consequently, depression and anxiety slowly began to set in. Knowing my energy was bad, I withdrew from my friends and family and became more fearful. Finances grew less abundant. At one point, when we were forced to move, I mustered just enough energy to ensure we were not homeless, then slipped back into my bubble, feeling helpless and worthless at times. My circumstances were reflecting the energy I was putting out and I knew I must change it to receive the life I truly wanted.
I was no longer a baby. I was a toddler fumbling, falling, and trying to express and understand my own emotions. Torn between what I believed I wanted and what my higher understanding told me I needed. I wanted to lie there and feel sorry for myself. But, my greater voice had no sympathy. Instead, I knew I must get up, dust myself off, and continue forward. Over and over again, this island has forced my family and I to get up. So many falls, but so many lessons learned along the way. Growing pains hurt, but they always result in a greater version of ourselves.
2. Accept Who You are and Love that Person
Pele is considered the creator of these islands. Some may believe she is a myth, but I believe she lives on the Big Island and is wise and powerful. Many have stories of their encounters with her. Her power is not taken lightly. She is a role model of self-love. She IS this island and, those who do not love her as she loves herself, do not fare well here. It is for this reason that I believe Pele “speaks” to me. She speaks more powerfully when I am willing to listen. It was during a time of mediation, when my mind was still, that I recognized my self-destruction was the reason for the “suffering” I was experiencing in my personal life. Although I had attempted to blame my childhood, my parents, my husband, and even my own children for my mental anguish, I have come to recognize that only I have control over my thoughts and, ultimately, the outcome of my life. Following this recognition, I began to notice how frequently I told myself I was “unworthy.” I wondered, would a wise and beautiful Goddess, such as Pele, call herself “unworthy”? Would she appreciate someone who is blessed enough to live on HER creation call themselves “unworthy”? Of course not. So, I replaced this attitude with thoughts of determination, growth, and prosperity. I resolved to blossom into the most beautiful version of me possible.
I can assure you that I am not the only person on this island who has experienced this awakening. Pele seems to instill this understanding into all who live here. Spend some time on the island and take a close look at it’s people. You will witness some of the most beautiful, creative, and loving souls on the planet. People who express themselves through dress, art, design, music, poetry…and the list goes on. People who are not afraid to be themselves completely and fully. Would these people be able to express themselves and love so freely had they not learned to embrace themselves? Of course not. Just like every bird, flower, and tree on this island, Pele works diligently to ensure that every life form here blossoms into something beautiful. As a good friend stated, this place is a “training ground.” Living here is most certainly not for the weak, but those who make it receive treasures beyond measure.
3. Hawaii Allows for Glimpses of Heaven
I do not believe heaven is a place. To me, heaven is a higher dimension of awareness. A connection with love and all that is beautiful on a level much deeper than our human understanding. We knew heaven well before we arrived on this earth and we will know it in all of it’s glory again someday. But, is there a way to access heaven without leaving your flesh behind? Hawaii is teaching me that there is a way to do this. No, it is not found on these islands. But it is because of these islands that I have finally learned to access it.
Even though this island has knocked me down over and over again, it has also been there to lift me back up every time. This sometimes happens in the form of a phone call from a friend, the home I desperately wanted becoming a reality, or an awareness. One of my greatest awarenesses in Hawaii thus far is that heaven is another dimension we are always dancing with. The dance can be beautiful if we open our minds and hearts to all that life offers freely and abundantly. This only requires us to exist, to enjoy, and to feel gratitude. In doing so, we will have access to all that is beautiful. Some call this “heaven.” It is only when we try to take the lead in this dance that problems arise. There is already a leader…the all encompassing greater power that we are and have always been connected to. This energy is the perfect dance partner, if we allow it to guide us effortlessly. Living in this way, filled with peace, faith, joy, and harmony with the universe, Hawaii has helped me to understand that heaven is much more than a place.
4. The Island Provides
Pele provides abundance to all inhabitants of her island. The land, water, sky, sunsets, and all of her creatures are the most beautiful in the world. I am learning that receiving this abundance is up to me. Whether we are born here or re-born here, residents are tested before they can have full access to Pele’s offerings. She will continue to push, over and over again. At times, I believe I have actually heard her speak the words, “You want this? Prove it!” In order to live here, I believe people must prove their worth. In return, they will receive treasures beyond measure in the form of wisdom, strength, and abundance. I am still young here. I still have so much to learn. This has been a slow learning process for me, but I have determined that, yes, I do want it. Yes, I am willing to learn. And, yes, I will keep getting up. Like Rocky Balboa, proving to himself that he had it in him and getting stronger along the way. “Eye of the Tiger,” bring it!