Always carry a bikini in your purse

Featured

Photograph of a TheBus 40' Gillig Phantom bus ...

TheBus in Honolulu near the intersection of Beretania and Bishop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I can breathe. At least until tomorrow. I flew last night to Oahu for my second MPJE exam in a week. Last Saturday, I took the one for New Mexico, and today I took the one for Washington state. It all started out on a positive note…..

I arrived at Honolulu International Airport in the afternoon, with my purse and briefcase on wheels. I was spending the night, but I figured I didn’t need a full change of clothes….just a couple shirts and a bikini folded into my purse. Always be prepared! Walking up to the bus stop, I spotted a man I work with on a project. I use that phrase loosely, since I didn’t even remember his name. He was fiddling with his iPhone. “Aloha,” to which his reply was, “The bus comes at 5:51.” It seems he found some cool way of tracking the buses on his phone.

As luck would have it, we sat next to each other on the bus, across from two military boys who had evidently not been whooped into shape enough during boot camp. These boys were straight from the midwest, had never been on a city bus, were probably excited about the nightlife in Waikiki,

and were loud and obnoxious. Eight-year-old boys on a big field trip, but with tons of testosterone.

I reintroduced myself to the “bus keeper,” and we talked the best we could given the ruckus around us about a grant just released by CMS, and somehow about the school his son goes to. It’s for dyslexic and/or gifted children. In fact, he moved to Oahu so his son could go there, but he works all week on Maui while his wife stays on Oahu. Now, that’s Dad of the Year, in my books! He said a few times that “it’s really expensive.”

It’s called Assets, and I intend to look into it. While I want to stay on Maui, the prospect of a job is slim to none. My daughter is highly gifted and the typical underachiever.  Not only did he (his name is Tony) turn me on to a grant and Assets, he also turned me on to a website for tracking the buses on Oahu. If you Google “the bus”, you will find the website. The buses each have gps on them, so you can find out real time how far they are from you.

Next adventure, the hotel. I had no idea where I was staying, but I knew it was in the outskirts of Waikiki….Equus, boutique hotel. Hmmm.. The front desk seemed nice enough, with a waterfall audible in the background. The desk clerk gave me my key, said to head back out and around the building to the high rise in the back. He pointed to the security code for the building and told me I was on floor 26. Whoa! 26?! I have been on Maui too long. I did what he said, but was a bit confused. High rise doesn’t sound “boutique” to me.

Western Sushi found at Wegmans Supermarket

I found my room, and it was a tiny condo with kitchenette. The bed was a Murphy, and I almost tripped on it trying to walk by, given the 12 inches of clearance between it and the wall. It wasn’t beautiful, but it had a stove, so I could boil water for my Throat tea, and it had a great view of the city. Sushi sounded good for dinner, so I searched Places on my phone and decided to head toward Waikiki a block or so.

When I found the building, there wasn’t the sushi restaurant I found, but something much better! It was Aloha Sushi, with everything to go. Hot dog! I was in business! One spicy ahi and some poke nigiri, all wrapped up, and I headed back for my last study session.

I set up my computer so I could face the city lights and the ocean and got situated with notes and sushi. Suddenly, fireworks went off right in front of me!  Boom! Boom! I had my very own show for 3-5 minutes. Honestly, the timing couldn’t be better, and I took it as a good sign.

I had a hard time falling asleep that night. Spinning in my mind were all kinds of business ideas. The whole plan was laid out, and I battled whether to get up and write it down or stay in my meditative state and hope that I would both fall asleep and remember everything the next day. I decided to stay in bed, but I might as well have gotten up.

The room next to me housed some young, rowdy females up for a good time, and they traipsed in and out of their room every few minutes. They were obviously drunk by the fact they were practically yelling to each other in the linoleum hallway that was ten feet long from the elevator to both of our doors. I cracked my door and grunted “some people are trying to sleep,” which they ignored. A call to security seemed to work, or they were just too busy praying to the porcelain god or passed out. Regardless, I finally got about 4 hours of sleep.

“Yes, but how did the test go?” you ask. Well, I made it there early, was finishing my second pint of coffee and feeling the haze lift.

Regular Starbucks Coffee tumbler, as sold in 2...

Regular Starbucks Coffee tumbler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I felt okay going into it, really (that’s what they all say). Plus, I had locker #3 (my lucky number), and then I was seated at desk #3. That just had to be a good sign! Fourty questions into the 90 question exam, I realized I was almost on time (meaning I had no grace time), and that I clearly didn’t study well enough for this one OR the last one. About 1/3 of the questions warranted a WTF?! from me. I honestly don’t know how they come up with these scenarios.

I left the test center last week feeling like most people leave. “No way I passed that exam.” After today, I left feeling completely dejected, so I did what any girl would do. I went to Ala Moana Shopping Center and bought myself some perfume.

Then, I headed to the beach, plopped down my briefcase and purse, changed into my bikini, and got me the first dose of sun in two weeks. After timing myself and flipping like bacon, I rocked a few downward dogs, pigeons and headstands.

Back to the mall for some shoes on clearance (not much makes a girl happier when she is down). I managed to catch my flight on time, where I wrote down some great notes about what I needed to do this next week. Now, here I am, sitting on my lanai with twinkling lights above me, a glass of wine to my right, a soft tropical breeze, and this hacking cough I can’t get rid of.  Tomorrow is a little “me time” before I catch up on the rest of my life….

Whales and Dolphins Playing at Sea, And Inviting Us To Join

I truly lead a charmed life. I was helping a friend out with a retreat he coordinated, and we had about 15 or so people out on kayaks and SUP boards the other day. Most of these people were not experienced in the water, so it was good that the water was mellow. The wind was blowing us south though, so our fearless leader set us off in a northerly direction so that we would not have to fight the wind coming back in. Not only was that smart, but it happened to put us RIGHT near a mama humpback whale and her baby. I couldn’t believe how close we were, at times they surprised us about 10 yards away.

I was mesmerized, as you can imagine, paddling along on my beat up rental SUP board. At one point, they hadn’t come up for a bit, and I noticed for the first time that scattered throughout the choppy water were large circles of smooth, calm water. Wherever they surfaced, they left behind a beautiful circle of calmness. Then, I sensed to turn left when others turned right, and they surfaced very close to me. I began to paddle alongside them, traveling about the same pace. It was playful, and I felt just like a kid….romping around with the whales. Eventually, they went down, so we all paused, and I looked back toward Molokini Crater, where I thought I saw snorkelers. It seemed awfully far out for snorkelers, and then I noticed more and more black spots coming out of the water. It turned out to be dolphins! Lots of dolphins. They were to our left, behind, and in front of us. they were so playful, and it was evident they were playing with the whales that day. The whole sea was at play! As soon as I realized we were encircled by the dolphins, I turned left, and there was a breach maybe 50 yards away. Amazing! It was as if the dolphins and whales were working together. “Okay, we’re going to gather the people in while you get ready. When we signal, jump!”

The magic of Maui never ceases to amaze me. We are truly students here, with nature our teacher.

I Am Transparent

I received a friend request on couchsurfing.org from someone here on Maui. I hadn’t been on there in a while, so I decided to check in on my profile and see if it needed updating. It was great to see all of the friendly reviews from people I have hosted. I forgot how many people had stayed here! What I love are some of the things I wrote when I made the profile back in May of 2011. It’s good to know I am consistent. It’s good to know I have made some progress toward my mission…..Here are some snippets:

Current Mission: To find a way to free myself in order to follow my dreams

Personal Description: I am what you see, but oh so much more. I am transparent, how else is there to be?

Philosophy: My goal in helping others is to help others help themselves. Also, truth in all interactions, which starts with yourself. The most beautiful things in life are free, but not something you can own

Types of People I enjoy: REAL, meaning down to earth, humble, truthful, respectful, open minded

Surreality

What do vivid dreams mean? I went to TEDxMaui tonight, and I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Jacob Lieberman. He spoke with such clarity, both calm and passionate at the same time. He talked about a dream he had where he could see himself sleeping and he then saw every detail of a speech he was to give a year later. The speech happened just like in his dream, without his intervention.

It was timely, considering the night before, I had one of the weirdest dream nights ever. I was sleeping with my partner, but I remember several instances of interacting with him, and I couldn’t tell if they were real or not. Even upon waking, I couldn’t remember what was real. This is why. At one point, I was lying on my back, and he put his hand gently on the crown of my head. Under his touch, my head became hot, my mind envisioning scarlet red. I felt myself relaxing into the sensation, and then he gently put one finger on the back of my head, just behind and below the crown. I can’t describe the energy shift, but I saw the room, and I saw the glowing outline of a white flower in my field of vision. At the same time, I froze.  I went from blissful relaxation to utter panic. I couldn’t inhale, and I couldn’t move. Inside, I was crying “Help me! Help me! Oh God, please help me!”, but no movement of my body, my arms, nor my lungs to be able to say anything. Meanwhile, this white flower is forever in my vision, which couldn’t change. My eyes couldn’t move. NOTHING in my body responded to my mental orders. It lasted what seemed like an eternity. HELPLESS, lying right next to someone who had no idea what was happening, and I couldn’t move my hand the few inches it would have taken to grab his attention. HELPLESS. I was suffocating. When I thought I would pass out from lack of oxygen or outright fear, I gasped and my whole body shuddered. I felt such relief to be able to breathe, that I didn’t dwell on it. I was just so happy to be able to move and feel my lungs fill with air. I literally shook it off, and continued on my dreams, or maybe it was reality. I don’t even know if me sitting up and looking at the clock was real or not. I asked my partner the next morning if he put his hand on my head, which he said he did, but he didn’t remember me shaking my head or gasping. That sensation, that flower, the room was all too real. The panic, the inability to breathe, the absolute shudder of my soul as I was somehow released from the prison of paralysis sticks with me. It was too real.

Underwater Reverie

I want to share a recent and magical snorkeling experience. Even though I have been on the islands for 15 months now, I have only snorkeled a dozen times, if that. My friend recently took me to a new beach where the reef is amazing, and there are turtles everywhere. I didn’t get very far that day, but I went again alone and swam a long distance. My new fins made it so easy!

Some of the highlights of my swim:

*right away, I was above a large turtle, who seemed to notice and disregard me. I tried diving down toward it, but I am still working on diving down and decompressing. I followed it for awhile, then headed on my merry way

*I tried diving down several times, some times inadvertently as I directed myself down toward fish. One time, I was able to decompress a bit, and I was amazed at how easy it was that time to hold my breath. I was so enthralled by all of the life around me, the sound of the whales singing, and the serenity of it all, that I just didn’t think about breathing.

* I swam quite a way out, noticing the vast field of coral, sand, some debris from boats I assume. Suddenly, I noticed small, luminescent “spots” all

around me. Talk about being brought out of your reverie and into the immediate. They looked like little jellyfish or something. My first thought was panic, but then realized I was surrounded and felt just fine. They reminded me of what I found one night on the beach, except that they looked like little pairs of eyes, surrounded by a small network of fibers, gently coalesced into an orb. I stopped and so did time. The sun’s rays were shining down and through the water, highlighting my white hands and lighting up the purple glitter on my nails. And the world around me was surrounded by these minute creatures (I can’t seem to find a picture online that matches, although you can buy a plush doll), seemingly looking at me and glowing pulsingly, as if smiling. Maybe it was “sea sparkle“?

* I continued swimming, but then worked my way back toward the rock, where I figured there would be more coral, and possibly a cave my friend mentioned. The cliff dropped off right into the ocean at this point, so I was quite close at times to the coral, which came up to the surface in areas. A few turtles drifted by below me, and then I found myself surrounded by multiple schools of fish. Below me was a school of narrow, yellow fish, several inches long. They were lined up side by side, facing each other, almost as if they were in a class. Maybe fish do yoga too! Maybe it was fish tantra. Then, above and to my left, a disjointed conglomeration of quite large, dark fish swam by, seemingly unaware of my existence. They were huge! I mean, for the novice, who doesn’t go into the deep sea to dive, they were impressive. One would have fed 3-4 people heartily, I would guess. I wish I knew the fish here. Actually, here is a beautiful site for Hawaiian nature. Earlier in my swim I saw some large puffer fish as well, although they were not disturbed. I was fine with that.

I headed back, brought my head up above this magical world, and kept that serenity and awe with me the rest of the day.

Twas

I ran.

Without a Garmin.

And

It was good.

I swam.

With fins.

And

Got a cramp.

That was not good.

What is the Spirit of Maui?

Deutsch: Sonnenuntergang bei Kihei (Maui/Hawaii)

Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

How would you describe or define the Maui Spirit?

We all know Maui is special and attracts many amazing people.

So, tell me please, how do you describe (in one sentence or one word) the island of Maui, no ka oi?

Growing fins

Sunday, I fell in love with snorkeling. I had been at home working on material for a grant for a couple days and hadn’t been outside and hadn’t been moving. My friend Kevin came down south to my side of the island, and even though it was after noon, the water was calm and so was the wind. I had a new snorkel set and wasn’t sure how it would do, but it worked fine. It was nice to wear a new set of goggles, and Kevin put in anti-fog before we started. The fins had the adjustable back straps, which I don’t like because they slip, but WOW, was it good to have some Zoom! Those things gave me some real push, which helped me get away from the reef a couple of times. Kevin found an arch, and dove down and through it. I hadn’t dove before, so it was good to watch him. Then, he saw a big honu, and he sidled up right to it and swam with it. He found another later, and dove down to that one, but it zoomed off. I was a bit concerned about diving, since I have had problems with my ears in the past, but I tried a couple of times without too much difficulty. Everything was so clear, and I not only saw TONS of fish and beautiful reef, but I saw three large honu, saw my first whale of the season, and I could hear the whales singing. Winter is magical on Maui!

Now that I have a good snorkel set and I feel comfortable out there, I am going to get out much, much more.

333/333- Coming Full Circle

With the final post of my 333 project coming up, I clicked through each and every post and was surprised at the evolution of my posts, and of my life, my focus. While riding my bike that week, I thought of all that has happened over the past two years since I started the project, and I had the complete blog all in my head. It was fabulous (or so I thought at least), but once I stopped spinning, the thoughts stopped flowing, and it wasn’t long before they trickled away. I have bits and pieces in my mind, and I scribbled down some thoughts while with a friend, but I can’t find that paper. C’est la vie. Let’s see what happens.

Beginning

I should probably talk again about what the 333 project was based on. Many friends of mine were doing 365 projects, where you post a pic a day. I liked the idea, but missed the start of the year, so I decided I could do a 333 project based on that many days in the year left, as well as 3 being my favorite number. My posts had to do with the numbers 3, 6, or 9 either literally or figuratively. If you want a quick background, please read my post HERE about the significance of the numbers. I highly recommend this, or the rest won’t make sense.

Middle

Reflecting on the number 3, and how it has played in my life since February, 2010, I see many births, beginnings, creation. Some of them were wonderful, some of them very painful. Many of them came out of loss and death, which is embodied in the number 9.

My project itself was born out of the ending of a very special relationship, which led me to focus in more on myself and start fresh and redefine myself. (Let me just add that going back and reading my old blogs is a trip!)  Here is when I made the commitment to myself.

10-17-09 symbolized for me a new beginning in my relationships with Myself and everyone I interact with. It symbolized a letting go of destructive views and behaviors and an embracing of a life based first and foremost on love.

And during my project, an old love was being rekindled and fostered. In fact, it was our third time dating since we we were 15. Heck, we even fell in love in our 15th year (1 + 5=6). Don’t they say third time is a charm?

I experienced the death of two family members, the cancellation of a very exciting trip to Nice, and received notice that I had not matched for a pharmacy residency all within two months.  The death of my grandmother brought together 3 generations of women, which was a beautiful reconnection. We all shared our love (6) while we mourned the loss of our matron (9), and this allowed us to move on and start again (3). My daughter’s father came back in the picture after 11 years, which was, and is, bittersweet. I finished up ten years of college upon graduating with my Doctor of Pharmacy, and I moved with my daughter to Maui, an island way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Talk about a big change! I was again ready to treat myself better. The relationship I had been in all this time ended, and I found myself feeling strong, but a bit lost. I started and ended a pharmacy residency, and now I am starting my own business. I also have reached a new phase in my life, which is only just beginning to unfold.

Now is when I wonder if I do a timeline or go through each category? Everything ties into itself, with 3, 6 and 9 working together in a cycle. So, I think I will just work on reflection, rather than recounting things. Let’s start with today…..

12/18/11

Reading “The Wisdom of Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutras” by Ravi Ravindra, I found myself with a deeper understanding than in prior times. Before I could comprehend the philosophy of it, but now I can say that I have embodied just the beginnings of some of the first chapters.

I feel that I have learned to let go of a lot and flow more with the cycle of death and birth, and I have accomplished this through love. When I made that commitment to myself in October of 2009 (see above), it was powerful. It started with loving myself. I had to learn to love myself first and forgive myself for any mistakes I had made. Flowing with love requires letting go of attachments. In the yoga sutras, vairagya is the concept of non-attachment and brings freedom from personal desire. “This includes desire for salvation or enlightenment, as well as the desire for great knowledge or wonderful experiences.” My journey in love and relationships has led me to deal with my attachments to certain things, and to realize the pain these attachments cause. One by one, I identify an attachment, dive into it to find the root, and pull the plug, letting the pool drain away. My motivation for this self-reflection has been freedom from the pain that I knew I was causing myself. Yet, it has taken me on a path much wider and more beautiful than I imagined, for I never viewed the path, never projected what I thought it would be like. I was going into the unknown, and I simply knew it would be better than what I had been experiencing. Life has shown me that I can’t know the future, and to project actually prevents me from experiencing the Real, which may be oh so much nicer than what I can imagine.

In the book, vairagya is “freedom from myself, the self which is constituted by all my past actions, fears, desires, ambitions. It is a dying to myself.” I feel that is what I am working toward. I was a dancer. I still am, but not in action. To call myself a dancer is to identify with certain ways of being. After 10 years of college and several years of triathlon, I have realized that movement is what moves me. It’s all a dance, an internal dance with one’s self. It is a constant meeting of doubts and insecurities, and ideally a spinning away of those feelings and thoughts, leading to a lightness, an elevation of spirit within. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of the beauty of the lifting of the soul in movement. There, right there, is an attachment to past feelings, and that’s okay, for now.

From the book on dying to myself:

“We are like

A bird in a cage.

It’s door wide open.

With no practice in flying,

sitting in the cage,

composing an ode

To freedom.”

How sad to have the ability to fly, but be so settled in what we DO know that we never try.

I have always felt there is something very powerful within me, a certain “greatness”. I never dared to say this to anyone, for it may come across as pompous. This quote from Krishnamurti, one of my favorites, explains what I have sensed all my life but denied until recently.

“To be absolutely nothing is to be beyond measure.” (Journal, p. 73)

To be empty is to be full. When you let go of what you “know”, you make room for the Real. When riding my bike that day that I planned this post, I had a feeling of being a channel of positive energy. What you put out in the world comes back to you, and what you put out in the world comes from others. When you channel positive energy, you are simply a receiver. Love moves through you. It is no longer just from you to others. It is boundless, for you accept love from others and give it freely. Like the torus, it is a constant flow, and the more you are empty and can let go of attachment to love and what you “know” love to be, the more love you have in your life. I had a day recently where the love was running so freely through me, that everything glowed. Everything was vibrant and beautiful, and my skin prickled with calm excitement. I was an open channel and would have kissed any of my dear friends and let them know how beautiful they are.

The End? No, for that is only the opening for another beginning……

“To be absolutely nothing is to be beyond measure.”

By letting go of the image I had built of myself in others’ eyes, and letting go of what I thought I once was, I am allowing myself to be me, truly me. I have been taking more yoga and putting my bike aside, for my body and mind are wanting more movement. I recently decided I want to dance again, to try any and all movement possibilities available to me. Right when I decided that, I was told of a dance class being offered just one night by some women from Phoenix. It was three classes rolled into one: classical jazz, hip-hop, and modern/contemporary. I was ecstatic to realize that my body was strong enough (thank you yoga!) to fully express and go into the movements with conviction. My training did not fail me. It’s all there. All those years of sweat, tears, dedication, and LOVE of movement are in my cells, in my heart. My energy level was so high afterward, I can’t describe the joy I felt to dance again, to truly move through the space within me and within the room. I had ideas of what I would like to do with my experience, which I will save for later.

Right now, I am letting go so that I can fly. I am learning to trust myself and let myself fly. No longer composing that ode to freedom. The door is wide open, and with the new year, I am taking that leap of faith into the beautiful unknown. Like my friend TJ Frank said, “In Faith, No Fear”.

Moon Smiling Down and the Ground Shining Up

I just had an amazing few hours with inspirational people. My friend Celeste had a house-warming party, which I knew would be full of awesome people and fun activities. Last time I was there, it was a woman-only gathering, but this time three-legged people were allowed. We brought out the hula hoops, and that was a blast! You could definitely tell right away who had danced before and who hadn’t. The conversation was great, as always, but especially since most people there were spiritually minded folk. At some point, we took part of the gathering to the beach, which was only across the street and through a little path. As Celeste and I walked along the dark path in our light-colored little dresses, I told her I felt like she, Kisha and I are like nymphs, and she immediately grabbed my hand and started skipping forward. She is like the playmate I have been missing since childhood.

What a sight to behold!  A tree arched across our view of the moonlit ocean ahead of us, and as we drew nearer, the crescent moon peered out. It was illuminated at the bottom, and looked just like a cheshire cat’s smile. The path led right up to the water’s edge, and the moon’s path of light. The ocean was calm, the waves gently lapping, and I stood with my arms cradled behind my head, taking in the stars and the feel of warm ocean at my feet, and the coarse slipperiness of the seaweed as it flowed over and around my foot, then back again into the water with the retreating of each wave.

Then, I looked down and somehow saw what looked like a little light in the sand. I thought it might just be a reflection off some glass or something, but I bent down to look closer. I swept my finger gently across this little glow that was no bigger than a few grains of sand. It seemed brighter each time I stroked it. I felt like a kid, holding this unknown beauty of nature, careful with it but curious enough to scoop it into my palm. As it sat there, the light subsided, so I stroked it and it lit again. In fact, at one point, it was pulsing, and I actually saw the light course in a circle along the outside of this little creature. I showed it to friends to make sure I wasn’t seeing things or tripping on the kombucha I drank earlier. They were amazed as well, and one of the guys said that when he lived on Molokai, they called those New Moon and they were everywhere in the water at night. You need absolute darkness to see it glow, so New Moon makes sense to me. I looked up ocean phosphorescence on Google and found this website. I couldn’t find the pdf it referenced, but I then looked at dinoflagellates, and it seems that I was holding a tiny sea creature that was most definitely responding to my touch. My guess is that I was holding a Noctiluca scintillans unica (see picture). Magical!

Noctiluca scintillans unica