Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Connected Preparation




I am aging.
You are aging.
We are all aging and there's one guarantee in life - we are all going to die eventually.

The older I get, the more it becomes a reality and that my youthful thoughts of living forever young are fading. I still feel young but I know that I'm no spring chicken. I still feel the invincibility of youth but the reality is that Father Time is ticking away.

I cherish all the connections I have made in my lifetime with friends and family. At some point, our friends play a larger role in our lives because we actually get to pick our friends. Whereas, we don't really have a choice with our family.

So, moving forward, I know I need to reach out to my friends and family more often. I need to make it a point to call for no other reason than to say hello and connect. There are very few that I trust to share the intimate details of my life for fear of judgement. I don't really care to hear EVERYONE's opinion on my life. And yet my life is an open book if you ask me the right questions. (I don't volunteer just any kind of information.)

Being connected and feeling connected is an important component in my life. Even with the thousands of miles between my immediate family and I, I still feel so connected to them and involved in their comings and goings. My nieces and nephews are my heart and my soul and I believe that connection that I have with them is because of my deep, unconditional love for them. Perhaps I can incorporate that unconditional love approach to all of the people I am connected to you.

I don't know.

What I do know is that we all need to get connected -- to our friends and family, to our innermost desires, and to what is most authentic to us.


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FOLLOW ME



Monday, December 10, 2018

Best Christmas Ever



It was Christmas 1995 or maybe 1996. It was 1996. Definitely.

I married my first husband January 4th, 1997. For Pacific Island girls in my era, marriage was the only way out of the house. So I was excited to make my way in the world with my first love. A month before the wedding, with the excitement of becoming a new bride and all the butterflies I felt surrounding the love adventure I was about to embark on, I was feeling the Christmas spirit.

My little sisters down the road came over and we started talking about "Ding Dong Ditch," although I think we called it something else. We would make all sorts of homemade baked goods and give it to families in the neighborhood that had large families to feed. We would place the goodies on their porch, knock on the door or ring their bell, then run. We were very much feeling the spirit of giving, the spirit of Christmas. We made our list of the baked goods we would make and decided on homemade cookies, rice crispie treats, and cupcakes. We sourced our ingredients and started baking.

The TV was playing a Christmas special with beautiful music and we were having a good time. Laughing. Baking. Eating. Singing. The lights from our Christmas tree cast a soft glow in the living room and the lights that my father hung on the eaves of the house streamed into the living room and kitchen. There was a slight frost in the air with the temperatures dipping into the upper 60's, which is cold for Hawai'i. While the goodies cooled off, we made homemade gift tags. I'm artsy fartsy like that and my little sisters from down the road are always DOWN for whatever. In the midst of our laughing and singing along to the Christmas special, we hear a knock at the door.

Nobody we know would knock on the door. Most people we know will walk right into the house, not needing or waiting for an invitation. So it was odd that there was someone knocking at our door. Because of the cold temperatures, we had the heavy door closed when normally the screen door would suffice. When I opened the door, there was a Caucasian gentleman standing there. Dark hair. Round glasses. Red Santa hat on. Cardigan and khakis. I had never seen this man before in my life. He smiled really big when I opened the door.

He asked me, "Is this the home of ((insert my moms name))?"

I replied, "Yes. Do you need something?"

He handed an envelope to me and asked me to give it to her.

I said, "Okay," and took the envelope.

"Hold on," I told him, as I ran to get a box of macadamia nut chocolates under the tree that my mom had wrapped for occasions like this.

He took the box and walked down the driveway. I closed the door and took the envelope to my mother, who was sitting with my father in their bedroom.

I went back to preparing the gift packages for the families we selected. The laughing, the singing, the preparing continued. My mother came out of the room with a stern look on her face.

"Where did this envelope come from?" my mother asked.

I explained what happened and described the guy. She walked to the door and looked up and down the street. I was worried. Why was she so concerned?

"Is something wrong, mom?" Mom had tears in her eyes.
"There is $250 cash in this envelope."

All of us started tearing up as she explained how she had to choose between paying the electric or buying groceries for Christmas and New Years. I had been so caught up with thinking all about me in the preceding months with my wedding and the fairytale I thought I was going to live out. It never even crossed my mind about the struggles of my parents, who both lost their jobs within months of each other. My tears were about feeling regret and shame for having only thought about me all these months. I hadn't contributed to my wedding or anything and I just thought how selfish I had been. With one act, a gift from a stranger, I was brought to my knees and reminded to think outside of myself. I was glad that we were baking and preparing small, little gifts for other people in the area. In some way, I was just like the santa-guy that had delivered that envelope.

That was the best Christmas ever. Since then, Christmas is about everyone else especially the children. It is a time to remind them of the abundance of God's universe. It's a time to foster imagination and the magic of believing. The only thing that brings me joy at Christmas is the ability I have to give whatever I can. I still love cards especially when they are handwritten but other than that, Christmas is a time to create memories. I love the lights, the sounds, the music, the feeling in the air, the decorations. But this season is about love. Merry Christmas!



Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Journal Writing Fanatic - 3 TIPS




What I enjoy the most about Journal Writing is going back to read what was going on in my life years ago. I cringe at some of the stuff I wrote. Perhaps it's the subjects I opt to write about or it's the conversational, informal language that I use that makes me cringe. Either way, it's fun to go back and read and compare how I wrote in the past to how I write in the here and now. Maybe when I'm 60 looking back at the stuff I'm writing in my 40's I will cringe about it too. My life is in the pages of all of my journals. As I age, I get more real and honest. I am firmly coming in to being my most authentic. I want to be remembered as this woman I am today because I can feel my wings stretching from the cocoon that I was ensnared in and all I want to do is fly.

Real words on real pages that are not stuck in some electronic cloud is what will last through the ages. Wouldn't it be a wonderful gift for your posterity. The idea of being forever remembered in the pages that I write makes me immortal and I love that idea. I want that for everyone that reads this.
Here are three tips to get started on your journaling.

START SOMEWHERE
Many people attempt writing in a journal. You have probably wrote one or two entries and then gave up and that journal is left sitting, untouched. So if you still have that journal or that notebook or composition book, pull it out and let's start again. You have to start somewhere! So even if the last entry was made 5 years ago, start again.

USE PROMPTS
Remember in grade school and maybe even high school, the "slam" book or "slang" book? In the book, each page had a question. Each line on each page was reserved for the same person. For instance, page one would be, What is your full name? If you used line 12 to answer, you were line 12 on every page. Think of those questions and use it as the catalyst for your journaling. You can also google "writing prompts." There are tons of questions you can find on the internet to help move this journaling thing along.

START SIMPLE
The best tip, though, is to START SIMPLE. Don't overcomplicate things. If writing is not your thing then make lists. If you just want to sketch then do that. If you want to make collages then do that. The best journals are a mix of everything - writing, lists, art, cutouts and keepsakes. Just START!

The idea is to preserve a moment in time. Writing in a journal does just that. Let me know how it goes.

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FOLLOW ME







Monday, December 03, 2018

Writer's Prompt: 3 Things




The bold face print is the topic. What follows are the three answers. If you keep a journal, write it in your journal. If you blog, post it. If you don't do either, each topic is a great way to break the ice with new people you meet. There's nothing like having something prepared to talk about and ask when you're around people you've never met.

Three Names I Go By:
1. Babe -- I don't think my popps has ever used my given name. LOL
2. Neena / Neeroc -- Neena started out as Neeroc, which is my given name backwards. A friend shortened it to NEENA and the rest is history.
3. Reen -- shortened given name

Three Screen Names I Have:
1. NeenaLove
2. LoveNeenaLove -- as in the way I end a written letter...
Love,
NeenaLove
3. hula_heffa -- this was the yahoo days. I don't even know if that username still works.

Three Things I Like About Myself:
1. My heart -- my parents gifted me a generous heart by their example and how they love/d everybody
2. My brains -- sometimes my brain is a little too strong and it talks me out of doing really big and risky things that can work out;
3. My talents -- because my brain is so active and complex, I learn things relatively quickly. I am really gifted with my hands. I like to DIY anything and everything. Photography. Floral Arranging. Graphic Design. I will try anything once.

Three Things I DisLike About Myself:
1. Sometimes my self-confidence takes a beating when I fail at something. Then my friends and family build me up again.
2. I get distracted easily. I don't even have to explain that.
3. Either I OVERTHINK something or I do the exact opposite and go wherever the wind blows. The freespirit part... I love that about me. The overthinking... not so much!

Three Parts Of My Heritage:
1. Hawaiian
2. Samoan
3. LOVE, sweet Love

Three Things That Scare Me:
1. Growing old alone
2. Dying alone
3. Dying with my dreams still in me, unrealized.

Three Everyday Essentials:
1. Coffee
2. A shower in the morning and in the evening
3. Sad but true... social media

Three Things I'm Wearing Right Now:
1. A warm, tiger print robe
2. Socks
3. Underwear

Three Of My Favorite Artists at the Moment:
1. Kem -- so much of his music speaks to me; the lyrics and his unique voice
2. Raheem Devaughn -- his stuff just doesn't get old
3. Jaheim -- I still love all of his music all these years later

Three of my Favorite Songs at the Moment:
1. Promise to Love -- Kem
2. Ridiculous -- Raheem Devaughn
3. In My Hands -- Jaheim

Three New Things I Want to do in the Next Year:
1. Kick the 9-5 for entrepreneurship -- take the risk and make it happen!
2. Reduce personal debt
3. Finish my first and second novel

Three Things I Want in a Relationship:
1. True companionship -- have fun together, love hard, play hard
2. True partnership -- collaborate on building an empire
3. Quality Time -- more time together

Three Things I Can't Do:
1. Whisper -- anyone who knows me in real time knows this is the God's honest truth.
2. Make a good pie crust, yet
3. I never give up. I can't!

Three Hobbies:
1. Floral everything
2. DIY everything -- I used to love refinishing furniture
3. Graphic Design

Three Things I Wanna Do Really Badly Right Now:
1. Drive two hours south for some Quality Time with my boo
2. Watch a really good Christmas movie -- one that I've never seen before
3. Splurge at Michael's -- a craft store -- so I can finish up my tree

Three Places I've Never Been to that I'd Like to Visit:
1. Thailand -- hopefully with my Popps. He has so much stories from his days during the Vietnam war. He was stationed there with the United States Air Force. It would be nice to go back there with him.
2. Samoa -- wish my mom was here so I could go there with her.
3. China -- again, with my Popps. Walk the Great Wall of China.

Three Things I Want to do Before I Die:
1. Be a millionaire
2. Make a difference in the world
3. Forgive and be forgiven


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FOLLOW ME



Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Love the One You're With



I have a dear friend that I cut ties with 13 months ago. I miss him immensely. Cutting off communication with him left a gaping hole in my life as I'm sure it did his as well. We would spend hours and hours on the phone talking about everything and nothing, talking about what we could have been if circumstances in our separate lives were different, talking about when we were young and spry, talking about sex and love and soul mates, marriage, companionship.

He crosses my mind often. Flashes of recent memories that we created will pop up in my head while I'm in the midst of doing something else. No doubt, our friendship/relationship will span several lifetimes and probably through eternity. We have always said that to each other - that we would find each other in every lifetime. This lifetime just wasn't the right one for us. Regardless of all of that, I miss him in the here and now.

THE ONE
Life circumstances bar us from continuing whatever it was we were doing.
What were we doing?
Talking?
Missing each other?
I wonder sometimes why we spend so much of our lives searching to love and be loved from everyone except the one that could actually be "the one." I know that this search for "the one" has governed my entire adult life. I read a meme on Facebook that said,
You will stumble upon someone who will start a fire in you that cannot die.
However, the saddest, most awful truth you will ever come to find -
is they are not always with whom we spend our lives.
But nothing that is outside of your reach is worth trading in what you have right now. If you're bored in your relationship or just tired of the same ole grind, work through it. Overcome your feelings of disappointment and search for "the one" inside of you and then commit to making your relationship work. The old adage, "I can do bad all by myself," holds true but it can be such a lonely existence so don't give up on what you have in your life now.

HERE AND NOW
He said that he was coming for me in THIS lifetime and yet we are aging and I don't want to waste time waiting on things to be different or wishing for more ideal circumstances. So I have moved on. No waiting for the past to catch up with me. No waiting for future possibilities. I am living in the here and now. I have always imagined that I would grow old and die along side the love of my life. I never thought, for one minute, that I would be single at this age. Do I think of this friend that I thought was "the one"? Often! Do I wish things were different? Often! But I cannot let those feelings hold me back from being happy in the here and now. And even if the here and now gets a little lonely and I feel like I'm treading water all alone, I know that there is a purpose for this season in my life. I don't know what it is except that I have found so much strength in myself to be out here alone.

LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH
So whatever the circumstances of your life. If you are in a relationship, be committed. Love the one you're with. Remember all the things that brought you together and nurture it. Don't look for escape. Instead, find your peace in what you have and let go of the idea of "the one."

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FOLLOW ME



Wednesday, November 21, 2018

4th Thursday in November




I was absolutely EXHAUSTED from my drive up from South Carolina to Maryland. No time to do my regular video podcast. This is what I came up with. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Everybody Should Have a Divorce Party!



Two years ago I received my walking papers from my ex.

In an effort to boost my spirits and to push me to see the positive things about divorce, my dear friends threw me a Divorce Party. This was actually the third divorce party. The first one was with my cousins at Haleiwa Joes at Haiku Gardens in Kaneohe and then we moved the party to Ohana's in Temple Valley. That was a blast! The second one was in Maryland. So DP #3 (divorce party) started out on a catamaran off Waikiki Beach, right in front of Duke's Bar and Grill. We are regulars on the sunset sail. But this sunset sail was different.

LET GO
My heart was so broken. I could not imagine why my ex would throw away such a significant portion of our lives. Thoughts of him with other women invaded my mind. Thoughts of me being alone, growing old alone, dying alone caused weeks of sleepless nights. I was feeling unattractive and unwanted and all of it was driving me crazy. I had to let it all go. I had to let go of the expectations that I had assumed. I had to move forward and not turn back. So this sunset sail was big for me. It was a significant event where I had made up in my mind that I was going to let go of all of the coulda-woulda-shoulda of how my life was supposed to be.

SETTING SUN and RISING MOON
It was just me and my baby brother on that sunset sail with a bunch of strangers. Everyone else that was coming to DP #3 had missed the sail. I was kind of relieved that they didn't make it because I really needed the time to be in my thoughts, by myself, letting go. My brother cozied up with two girls that were checking him out. And I sat alone on the deck of the catamaran watching the sun set over the ocean horizon. The sun's eventual disappearance symbolized, for me, that a chapter of my life was ending. Simultaneously, I watched the full moon rising over Diamond Head. There couldn't have been a more perfect time to be on the catamaran seeing a chapter of my life end with the setting sun and to realize that a new era was beginning with the rising moon. And no matter how dim the light of the moon was against the darkness of night, it was still illuminating my world.

DIVORCE DECREE
I had received the final divorce decree on what would have been our 13th wedding anniversary. It was like a final slap in my face. DP #3 was the perfect solution for dealing with the conundrum that was my life. And why not? Why not have a divorce party? Why not celebrate everything that was right about me? Celebrate everything that I was freeing myself from. Celebrate the bright road ahead that meant I could do anything in the whole wide world. I could go anywhere. I could do anything without asking anyone for permission. And though I was so uncomfortable being alone again, I had no choice but to move forward.

WHAT DO I WANT?
Has it been roses and daisies since those DP's? Absolutely not. In fact, it has been tough. Suddenly, all I have to think about is me. All of my life has been spent worrying about everyone else's needs. Worried about my mother's harsh criticism. Worried about my husband and how to properly support him. Worried about my job and making sure that I was in line with the strict code of conduct. Worried about everything and everyone but me. And now, in my loneliness, I had to actually think about what I wanted out of life. So, the past two years have been about that. Who am I and what do I want? I see so clearly the life that I want, the abundance I want to enjoy, the love and romance that I want, and I'm ready for all of it. I will not wallow in self-pity thinking of all the ways my life is not what I want it to be. No. I am ready. Here I am, a butterfly emerging from my cocoon.

Ride with me as I ride this rising star. #NeenaLoveRises #iStillBelieveInLove




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FOLLOW ME



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Alice Walker Meet and Greet



I spent last evening at a meet and greet with Alice Walker. It was very nice. I am so glad I went. It was right after work and I was lazy to go but I pushed past my laziness and went.

DISTRACTIONS
She dropped many nuggets of wisdom throughout her lecture. Her commentary on society, especially here in the United States, was refreshing to hear. She said that we live in a culture that wants us to be distracted. Television literally PROGRAMS you to be distracted. It moves you all the way off your authentic path. I have to be in the mood to watch TV otherwise I rather be reading or writing. Living alone, the TV serves as company mostly. I like to hear the noise when I'm moving about my apartment. I never did sign up for cable. I'm content to have the basic stuff. I love to be in my own thoughts, in my mind creating. TV is just a distraction!

CONNECTING
Something else she mentioned is that she has always written since she was a child. I certainly know all about that. I look at the volumes of books that I have written - journals of my life - and I am floored that I have that many thoughts in my head. And I lost the journals from my childhood and my teen years. I also lost a poetry book in high school. Someone stole it. I had penned some of the most beautiful poetry in it. I wish I could get those words and thoughts back. Ms. Walker said that she wrote/writes as a way to connect to "the whole," as she calls it. She said that all art does that. We want to be transformed by artistic impressions. Art is an attempt to connect. I certainly agree with that. When I am moved by beautiful music, I go with it. When I look at beautiful pieces of art, it evokes deep emotion. I want my writing to do the same. I want it always to lead someone home.

Anyway, I am going to spend the rest of my week devouring an Alice Walker novel or two. I also have these writing exercises to do that will help me get out of this writing funk that I've been in.

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FOLLOW ME



Sunday, November 11, 2018

Letter to My 13-Year Old Self




When I look back at my 7th grade picture in my school yearbook, I want to croak. The wildly, tight curly hair. The zits on my forehead. Strange body. Uneven skin tone. I cringe when I look at pictures from back then. I felt so awkward and ugly that I hid from the camera the following year. In fact, it was like I didn't exist because there was NOT ONE picture of me in the school year book.

My feelings were so delicate, so sensitive when I was young. Stupid boys said mean things to me and it stuck to me. I used to wonder why anyone would say something so mean when I felt like I was such a nice person. Oh well -- all water under the bridge now and I am still a nice person.

As is typical with pre-teen girls, or maybe it was just me, I was discovering those weird feelings in my belly when it came to the opposite-sex. Every guy had suddenly become so interesting. Well, that's not entirely true because I actually had a lot of male friends. But I definitely felt unbelievable attraction to the ones that I didn't see as just friends. But it wasn't in the stars to be "liked" by boys in high school. No boyfriends to speak of. No romantic trysts. First kiss wasn't until I was 17 and it was not ideal. (That should be another writer's prompt.) I don't think I missed out on anything though. I always had dates to all the special events. I never went with the same guy to anything from Winterball and banquets to Prom. And no awkward meetings when I see friends from high school now and that's a plus.

Anyway -- this letter is the result of 30 years of living outside of the bubble of high school. The letter started out so much longer. This is the way condensed version. I stuck to the essentials. When I look at that picture of 13-year old me... see below... I look exactly the same except 30 years older. And I feel fabulous about 43-year old me. When you feel good, you look good.


***** LETTER TO MY 13-YEAR OLD SELF *****


Dear 13-Year Old Neena,

Don't pay attention to any of the ugliness that people tell you. All that matters is that you are a child of the Most High.

You are sunbeams and fairy tales.
You are joy and happiness.
You are beautiful in spite of what people say.
You are gorgeous!

And when you're 43 and flawless, the guys that called you ugly will beg you for just a little bit of your time. They will send you letters they wish they had sent when they were busy calling you ugly. Don't worry your pretty little self about any of it. Even if you don't feel beautiful now, you will blossom in your own time.

You are so incredibly smart and kind.
You are so very talented and full of life energy.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what you think of yourself. So build up your own self-worth in your mind and in your heart. All those boys don't even matter. You got this.

I.LOVE.YOU.

Always,

43-year Old Neena



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FOLLOW ME



Wednesday, November 07, 2018

What Do You Believe



When someone asks me, "What do you believe?"
It usually follows a discussion on something wildly controversial.

Do you believe in ALIENS?
Do you think there are mysteries behind the symbols on the U.S. currency?
Was there a place called ATLANTIS?
Do you think there are real PSYCHICS?
Is there one God or many different GODS?
Does the Bermuda Triangle exist?
Do you believe in REINCARNATION?
Is karma real?       Do you believe in ghosts?
Is it possible to bend time and space?

I'm sure you get the picture... the list of questions could go on and on. What I can say about MY BELIEFS is that it is so very open to possibility. All things are possible! What we experience in this earthly existence is but a small fraction in comparison to the mysteries of the universe. I have a magnet on the refrigerator that simply states: BELIEVE. This truly is the basis of all knowledge. You must BELIEVE!

At the foundation of My Belief System is that positive forces have one source -- God. Anything else is the absence of God. I would like to always be on the positive end of the spectrum... distributing light, love, knowlege, and truth.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Though I'd like to say that I live for the here and now.... what would probably be more accurate is that I'm excited about what happens next. What happens when my physical body ceases to exist? As I age and progress in my earthly development, what will happen when my heart stops beating and my brain stops working? We have all experienced the loss of a loved one. I love imagining reuniting with each and every one of them. Oh how I miss my grandmothers. (I have never known any of my grandfathers, they all died when my parents were children.) I miss my cousin Jason who was like a lightbulb inside a dark room. His charisma was infectious. I miss my dear, departed friend Michele (pronounced Me-sha-lay). Her humour is what I miss in my day-to-day. My Belief System includes the possibility, the ability, the reality that I will meet them again.

COMPASSION
My intention, in dealing with people, animals, the earth, nature, etc. is to feel total compassion. Can I hurt any of these things if I feel compassion for him/her/it? Compassion can be equated with pure-love-energy. It sounds whacky but it actually goes back to a more ancient way of thinking.... a very Eastern philosophy of caring for nature and loving all living things. All of Asia (including India) practice reverence for nature. Native American tribes, Polynesian's, Hindu's, etc. All honor the bounty of the earth and express gratitude for the abundance of resources available to man. I think it is beautiful and is so much a part of who I am. This world is so beautiful. The least I can do is help to care for it the way I would like to be cared for. To love humanity and each individual soul. We are all children of our Creator!

CREATED TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE "LIGHT"
I believe that we are all here to do magnificent things. We are an extension of God and should rise to meet the expectation. It's tough to have such a lofty BELIEF SYSTEM and fall short of it on the daily. However, I want my expectations to be something I must strive for rather than something that comes with ease. I am reminded of the story about the butterfly in the cocoon. The butterfly receives strength in its wings by pushing against the cocoon and attempting to break through it. A person observing this may slit open the cocoon to assist the butterfly but this act would, in fact, cripple the butterfly and render its wings useless. We are all created to do significant things that will contribute to the "light",  to the positivity in the universe.

In reading over what free-flowed from my mind, to my fingertips, through the keyboard. My conscious mind is in agreement. These are my basic beliefs (along with what I said on my video):
~God is the founder of positive vibes.
~I live to prepare for the next life. ("Prepare to meet God")
~Compassion/ Unconditional Love for all of God's creations is something I would like to practice in all my actions.
~We are born to testify of God by contributing to the "light" in the universe.

What do you believe?




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Atlantis Photo Credit
Cosmos Photo Credit

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