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.

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.

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.

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.

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



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.

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!

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.



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.


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.



43-year Old Neena



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.

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.

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!

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?

* * * * * * * * * *

Atlantis Photo Credit
Cosmos Photo Credit



Wednesday, October 24, 2018

3 Things -- Fighting for Love

I carefully selected what I would say in this video so as not to ramble on and on. However, I do believe there is room for discussion and further exploration into each point. I have several examples from my own life that prompted this idea of "fighting for LOVE." It seems as if the entire theme of my life has been about finding romantic love and yet what I have come to realize is that all along I was searching for the courage to love myself - the good, the bad, the ugly, and most of all the beautiful.

I had a fantastic childhood. Our family unit was whole and in tact. I grew up with both parents in the home and they loved each other and loved us. My parents were so active in my every part of my life. I can't imagine not having that. They are my example of what marriage and love is supposed to be like. So when I talk about fighting for love, I see my parents who stayed together through thick and thin. When I commit, I do not take my vows lightly. I'm not going to leave or give up just because things get hard.

Have no expectations and you will never be disappointed. We all have needs and for most of us, we have this large expectation of how he or she should behave. He needs to show me more affection. He needs to buy me large gifts. He needs to make "x" amount of money. He needs to drive a certain type of car. Blah blah blah. All the materialistic things can be lost in a heartbeat. They can also be acquired in a heartbeat. But it's not your partner's "job" to give you all these things especially when you're more than capable of getting them yourself. All of the emotion and love that you require are already in you. It's not your partner's job to pull it out and if you're waiting for that then you have a lot of your own healing to do. Realize that YOU ARE ENOUGH. Any one that you commit to or have committed to is a bonus because you are already whole and complete.

Giving of your love ties in to having "no expectations." When we approach a relationship from a place of service, it changes our partner's reaction. It is not a manipulation. It shouldn't be. I don't give to get. I serve him as a token of my sincere affection. I don't give him a massage because I want one. I don't cook a meal in the hopes that he will do something for me. I do these things to demonstrate that I adore him and it comes from a genuine place in my soul. I have no attachment to the outcome. I give you this, whatever "this" is, and I have no expectation of your reaction to it. You can love it or hate it but I am not going to be attached to how you receive it.

Example: My current beau loves shrimp. When we get together we eat seafood. I made shrimp for him twice. Both times they were sauteed in butter and garlic and hot sauce. He is not a butter person. He likes his shrimp boiled and both times I forgot that key information. He ate it both times, which was selfless on his part because he didn't want to hurt my feelings. Of course my feelings would not have been hurt because I am not attached to how he receives it but he didn't know that. From both perspectives, his and mine, we were giving selflessly. Me taking the time to make the shrimp. He accepting the gift even though he knew the butter would make him sick. Make sense?

Do something this week for your mate, spouse, partner, friend WITHOUT expecting a specific reaction. Tell me how it goes.



Wednesday, October 10, 2018

3 Things: A Star Is Born

VIDEO: 3 Things - A Star Is Born

Ok. Who wants to take me to see this movie... again? 

I don't know what creates sparks between two people but I am aware enough to know that it doesn't happen with everyone, both romantically and with new friends you meet. I absolutely love that magic that happens with new love. Remembering new love fuels everything in the relationship that follows. 

The magic that happened between my current beau and I continues to push us forward. He calls it love at first sight. He said he knew there was something magical between us the minute he laid his eyes on me. And I have to concur. You can't even make up the circumstances behind our meeting. When it's time for love to walk in, it's time. 

I have never been shy about love. My heart is wide open. I don't stop myself from feeling. Does that make sense? Some people who have been hurt in the past tend to cut off their feelings. I'm not one of those. If I feel love, I move with it even against all logic. I know how to follow my heart like that. And now, more than I ever have in the past, I know how to stand on my own two feet and not worry about what people around me think about my life choices. No one has to understand me or my choices. I am the only one that has to understand it. 



Friday, October 05, 2018

Short Trip Home

I was in Hawai'i - September 23rd and I just returned yesterday. What a trip! I didn't get to hang out with everyone that I wanted to. Most of my time was spent with my nieces and nephews. I love hanging out with them. They are so smart, so brilliant, bright shining lights in my world. It's always tough to leave them but I know that I cannot build my world around them as much as I want to.

I am so grateful for everyone that made time for me. I felt so spoiled while I was there. Dates for every meal of the day... a girl could get used to that even though I am not really a breakfast eater. I mean, I like breakfast just not in the morning and definitely NOT every morning. Me and Popps did our normal hide-and-eat adventures. Tita's Grill and Zippys. That's what we do. Lei Lei's, Kula Grill, Kaneohe Pancake House, Original Pancake House, Papa Oles, and the list goes on. I put on at least ten pounds while I was home.

When I walked into my apartment last night, I was a lil choked up to be ALL.BY.MYSELF. Alone. I was writing in my journal that it was always nice to come home to someone... that someone would be waiting for me when I opened the door. What greeted me was a messy house and complete and utter silence. I came home with wayyyy more than I went with. I checked a bag and a cooler plus my carry on and I sent a very large bin of goodies on Delta Cargo. I am pretty well stocked with my goodies and I brought more of my books from home. Anyway, I was irritated that I had pulled a muscle while I was in Hawai'i and had to lug all that mess into my apartment. My cousin offered to send his sons with me to unload my bags but that just wasn't necessary.

Anyway, I miss the noise of my nieces and nephews and their constant banter. I put them in front of my camera, lights on, and mic'd up. They are such naturals in front of the camera. No shame. Wide open. Full of interesting things to say or maybe I'm just biased because I am one-proud-aunt! Whatever. I'm here in South Carolina with a purpose and I will fulfill it, God-willing.



Thursday, September 27, 2018

Goodbye Dear Friend

I heard some heartbreaking news this morning. A death of a dear friend from my high school and college years. It has me feeling some kind of way. Though I don't have all the details, the word is that he died of a heart attack. News spreads like wildfire with social media. Death from heart attacks are so sudden. You can't prepare to let go like you do with a cancer patient or any other terminal illness. With sudden deaths, you just have to let go.

We had two nicknames for each other. The first one was Blue Zebra because it was a club on Restaurant Row in Honolulu. I was with him the first time he went. There was a whole bunch of us that went together. He was fresh off a 2-year LDS mission and so brand new to the club scene. Me? I had been using my cousin's ID to get into clubs since I had turned 17. Anyway, as we walked into the club, I wanted to go to the bar side to drink. He was like, "Can you just stay here and dance?" I rolled my eyes at him and told him that there were all our other friends that he could dance with. He seemed content with that answer and I made my way to the bar. After that night, we called each other Blue Zebra. He said I was too much and I told him that he hadn't seen anything yet.

The second nickname we called each other was french fry.  And people would ask the question, "Why do we call each other French Fry?" and I would relate this story. It all started in our Macro Economics course in College. The teacher asked for a product so that we could break down all the costs associated with it. Of course, I picked french fry because it WAS and still is one of my favorite foods. Especially the crinkle cut fries. Anyway. he couldn't stop laughing at my answer -- FRENCH FRY. We spent the rest of the class listening to the teacher break down the french fry from potato spuds to distribution to McDonalds and other fast food chains. We always laughed about it when we saw each other. No one ever thought this story was particularly funny or that the french fry was funny. Who cares though? We thought it was funny.

Life is too short to be anything but happy. We get caught up in all the little details of life instead of living in the moment and in the here and now. Death has a way of reminding me about the things that really truly matter. I don't know what tomorrow brings but I will not be a prisoner of my fears. Some of my closest friends have the harshest judgments on my life and how I choose to move about in the world. And I will not be a prisoner of their judgments anymore. I will not fear the unknown or the mysteriousness of my future. There is no more time to live in fear. For right now, there is only LIFE. LIFE and LOVE. Sweet love.

I bid farewell to a dear friend. I can't believe he left in this way but I honor his light and his life. The world is a little dimmer but we will move forward and remember to hold our loved ones a little closer.



Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Falling In Love, etc.

Nature never moves in straight lines but basic human logic does. Nature creates perfect order from chaos. Human logic creates chaos from order. ~Bob Proctor

Falling in Love doesn't make sense. In my life, it never has. The chaos of falling truly, madly, deeply in love with someone always takes my breath away. I don't see all the incongruent parts that could make us fall to pieces. All I ever see is all the things that could make it work. I only see his good parts. I don't look at his past to indicate what type of future he might give me. I live in the moment. To everyone around me, this makes me foolish but I have never cared what outsiders think of my choice in who I love.

When my ex and I parted ways, for over a year all I could talk about was how I did not want to put in any time getting to know someone new. I would rather get together with an ex than try to learn someone else. That mindset has changed. What would it look like for me to go back to an ex? Like I didn't learn from the first failure? There's just too many possibilities in the world to think that going to an ex is the best route for me. I'm not saying that I couldn't or wouldn't go back to an ex. I'm saying that that is not my only option for finding a fulfilling relationship.

Long relationships and marriages go through funky periods of time when nothing seems right, everything seems wrong, and the only thing that makes sense is to leave. I don't know how to leave. I am just not that type of girl. So even if my relationship may fall into a funk, I revert back to that crazy, chaotic moment when I fell in love.... that moment when my heart chose him (whoever 'him' is). That initial magic will always make me melt and thinking of it will always bring me right back to being in love even in the midst of the worst funk. I wish that my former partners had the same resolve but they didn't and I'm not looking back anymore. I have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to.
I can't answer any of the questions that I posed on the video and I'm curious as hell to see how people respond.