I have been in a space of huge gratitude lately. I just returned from a three week vacation, 2 weeks in Hawaii and 1 week in California visiting friends and family. It was a time of connection, reflection, miracles and completion for me. Gratitude is a daily practice for me, but gratitude coupled with full presence took it to the next level. People tend to think saying thank you is a response to only the good things happening in our lives, but on the flip side, our most challenging times in life offer the biggest gifts. Prior to leaving on my vacation I had about 3 months of intense things going on in my personal life. When times are challenging, I make gratitude a priority because I’ve found that suffering and gratitude cannot coexist in the same moment. The deeper I am, the more I find things to be grateful for.
I went on my trip with an open heart and mind. We were celebrating my mother in law’s 80th birthday. This trip was powerful for me because I hadn’t been back to the place of my birth for 9 years. I felt a sense of completion as I connected with people who had challenged me in the past and the resistance between us was replaced with love. I wanted to be fully present for every moment because in my daily life I get swept up in my to do list, walking my dog, work, and the million other details I must attend to in order to keep our lives humming along. I was very present for the people I saw, the experiences yet to unfold, and the rainbows of possibility.
On day one I saw a magnificent double rainbow in Manoa Valley where we were staying. My older son joined us on our trip. We walked across the street to the park and got on the swings under the most spectacular ancient tree. It was well over 350 years old and reminded me of the tree of life. I felt complete and the vacation had only just begun. Something happens when I’m present in my life, time stands still. I experience things in a completely different way, as if all my senses are actively processing the experience. I experience life through my third eye, no longer through one sense at a time. It’s sort of like being immersed in every aspect of an experience at once. So here I was, swinging with my beautiful son under a magnificent tree and viewing a double rainbow. It felt like magic.
How can it get any better than this I asked myself day after day, and to each request my question was answered with more abundance than I thought possible. We spent an afternoon talking and stringing plumeria leis for the party, jumped in the Hawaiian waters (which literally heal your mind, body and soul), and witnessed so many breathtaking sunsets. “But wait there’s more”, the Universe said to me. A friend from Sri Lanka happened to see I was in Hawaii and I got to sit by the infinity pool pouring into the beach in front of us catching up at her hotel for a few hours. Out at Waimea Bay when I asked, “how can it get any better than this”, a huge pod of spinner dolphins with their babies swam into the bay for almost 2 hours while my son and our friends swam out to see them up close!
We enjoyed incredible meals and connection with all the people we love. I was able to practice yoga in an outdoor pavilion with a peacock in a tree above me and surrounded by nature. Every day we were in the water I felt like parts of my soul were being washed clean and I released all the things I needed to into the ocean. I connected with a friend I hadn’t seen since high school and ironically her home was 1 block from my vacation rental! Through Facebook I saw another friend was in the islands and we were able to connect for a wonderful lunch. I realize how much I miss being in nature living in a city, I realized how much I value friendships old and new. I walked up to the Chinese cemetery in the back of the valley with sweeping views of the ocean and I honored my ancestors. My great grandparents are buried there.
I felt gratitude for all these blessings, but of course, there have been times when I have been in the deepest darkest place. This is where gratitude has literally saved me. In 2017 my son was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident. He died that day and came back. Completely immobile for a couple months he required 24 hour care and it was extremely hard on all of us. I know families have had it worse. I spent many hours focusing on what I was grateful for, somehow this tempered my suffering if only for the moment. What I experienced around that accident was incredible soul growth for me, it was also an experience with my son that allowed for healing between us to occur. It was as if that experience allowed us to complete our karmic wheel together. I can’t explain it adequately here, but it was painful both physically and emotionally and at the same time, beautiful as the healing came for him and for our relationship. Sometimes blessings come disguised as tragedy.
Everything we experience in life is a gift. It’s our perception and acceptance of things that creates harmony. Resistance creates suffering. The more open I become to what life has to offer, the more abundance I receive. I have been very intentional about maintaining my presence to all things in my life. I know that spiritual alchemy is changing the outcomes with our energy. The energy of love, the energy of faith, the energy and vibration that comes from living our highest and best life creates miracles. Thank you for being here walking beside me on this journey. I am grateful for every one of you! Namaste