Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reflecting on the Abundance in the Universe


I love the quiet of early morning, when all is still in the world. It's just me, this laptop, reflective music, and more gratitude affirmations than I could ever repeat. Yes! This morning I am so grateful for all the good things that come into my life. I am so fortunate, so blessed, so filled with a sense of purpose. With this mood, I cannot completely express what I feel and I'm reduced to quoting someone else. So, click play on the video and let the music put you in some kind of mood. Please don't ask me what she's singing about because I have no idea. However, the music is hauntingly beautiful and makes me homesick for somewhere beyond this world.

While the music is playing, read the following selections from various portions of a book that I really enjoy, written by an author that MOVES me.
Intention is endlessly abundant. There's no scarcity in the universal invisible world of Spirit. The cosmos itself is without end. How could there be an end to the universe? What would be at the end? A wall? So how thick is the wall? And what's on the other side of it? As you contemplate connecting to intention, know in your heart that any attitude you have that reflects a scarcity consciousness will hold you back. A reminder here is in order. You must match intention's attributes with your own in order to capitalize on those powers in your life.

Abundance is what God's kingdom is about. Imagine God thinking, I can't produce any more oxygen today, I'm just too tired; this universe is big enough already, I think I'll erect that wall and bring this expansion thing to a halt. Impossible! You emerged from a consciousness that was and is unlimited. So what's to prevent you from rejoining that limitless awareness in your mind and holding on to these pictures regardless of what goes before you? What prevents you is the conditioning you've been exposed to during your life, which you can change today - in the next few minutes if you so desire.

...It's all about having an inner picture of abundance, thinking in unlimited ways, being open to the guidance that intention provides when you're in a state of rapport with it -- and then being in a state of ecstatic gratitude and awe for how this whole thing works. Every time I see a coin on the street, I stop, pick it up, put it into my pocket, and say out loud, "Thank you, God, for this symbol of abundance that keeps flowing into my life." Never once have I asked, "Why only a penny, God? You know I need a lot more than that."

...If your expectations for yourself center on being normal, just getting along, fitting in, and being an ordinary person, you'll resonate to ordinary frequencies, and you'll attract more of normal and ordinary into your life. Furthermore, your impact on others as potential allies in co-creating your intentions will also revolve around ordinary. The power of intention occurs when you're synchronized with the all-creating universal force, which is anything but ordinary. This is the power that's responsible for all of creation.

Like I said, I am very grateful and very humbled today. Go ahead and purchase the book, Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer. Open your mind to a more inclusive God than the one that's wrapped around dogma. Blog about your reaction to the book. His words always makes me reflect on all the things that I need to change and points out all the things that are right in my world. Peace and love!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Email and Dad

My father has figured out how to forward emails.

I find his new skill to be endearing because my INBOX is now filled with fluffy, sentimental, feel-good stories of firemen assisting a kid dying of leukemia; funny stories about the state, beavers, and dam permits; laugh-out-loud stories about atheist's in the woods and Christian bears; yes, there's a pile of email in my INBOX from my dad. If it were from anyone else, I'd probably delete the email before reviewing it because I'm sure I've read the stories before. I can't count how many times people have sent me the same story. Yet, because they come from my father, I treat them as if they are all Hallmark cards and I tear up incessantly as I read them.

My father and I have always been really close. Even when I was doing things that were contrary to my upbringing, he was always very patient as I went through the hard stuff. His quiet wisdom still inspires me even though we are so far apart. There's just something about little girl's and their father's. There is no relationship on earth that can replace or mimic it. Sometimes I wish I never grew up. I wish that I could spend all my day's serving my parents but at some point, we all have to face the world on our own.

I will continue to open those sentimental emails. I will continue to imagine my father, sitting at the desk, reading them before he sends them to me. And I will imagine that I am right there in Hau'ula, where I wish I could spend all the days of my life.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Packing Up The Show

Of all the places in the world that I said I'd never live... husband and I will be heading there in 2 and a half months. Yes. We're packing up the show and leaving Alabama wayyyy behind us. If you had asked me a year ago where I'd be today, the answer would have never been ALABAMA, much less the next state we're headed to.

When we left Hawai'i in September, we shipped our car to Oakland, California and drove it cross-country all the way to Alabama. We drove through Nevada, headed south through Arizona and New Mexico. Crossed over the tip of Texas to Oklahoma. Spent the night in Oklahoma City. Woke up bright and early and progressed through Oklahoma, through Arkansas, Tennessee, and finally ending up in Alabama. Now, we make our way back west (I thank the Heaven's above for this kind twist of fate) to the Beehive State of Utah. I have said a million times before today that I'd NEVER, ever, under any circumstances, ever end up in Utah. And yet, I find myself excited to go there because of my utter disinterest in remaining in Alabama any longer.

I've expressed my difficulty in leaving the islands in the first place so when my husband said he can't stand Alabama, I just knew we were on the cusp of either returning to Hawai'i or moving west. Utah is a fair trade. My stepchildren live in Colorado Springs so it will be an easy commute or short flight for them to visit.

The original plan after we got to Alabama was for my husband to apply to two programs. One was the TeachAmerica program. If selected, husband would be assigned to teach at an inner-city or rural primary school with specialized needs. In return, the program wipes out all federal student loans. He was denied. I am figuring that they don't have much need for a Political Science major. They were probably looking for Education majors or Math and Science majors. The denial fits into our current plan.
The second option was to apply to a PhD program at the University of Texas at Arlington. He's a good ways into his Masters of Public Administration right now. The natural transition is to go into a PhD program to be able to teach at the college level. We're still waiting for a response on that.
What surprises me about this whole process is how emphatic my husband is about leaving Alabama. I love it that he's experienced coming back here. I know we'll never have to return to Alabama on a permanent basis, God-willing! He has gone as far as saying that Hawai'i was so much better than miserable Alabama. Of course, I agree. I think he's gotten used to the simple living in Hawai'i; the simple way people cooperatively work together rather than against each other. The idyllic paradise in the middle of the Pacific grew on him more than he thought it did. I'm almost certain that we will return to the islands when our schooling is done. Why wouldn't we want to go back? It was the Happiest State in 2009, edging out 2008's happiest state, Utah.
So, we're packing up and taking this show on the road. I'm super excited. We submit our 60-day notice to our apartment leasing office tomorrow. I've already reserved a penske truck to move our stuff back across the continent. I'm excited. Get me outta here. Scottie, BEAM ME UP!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Remembering Mishie

I remember the day she lay on the carpet, aching in her back and in her belly. She had complained about it for days, maybe even months but that day that she lay on the carpet we all knew that something was wrong. We. We were like the three musketeers. We had known each other as budding preteens, blossomed into young adults, and saw each other through very difficult times into our 20's.

In the 7th grade, she was the 'life' of math class, P.E., and the cafeteria. Mr. Takahasi, the math teacher, couldn't say a think about her antics. He laughed right along with us at all the excuses she made about why she didn't have her homework. She would pass notes in class with the express intent of the teacher intercepting them. She.Was.The.Life.Of.The.Party.

Girls camp would never be the same after her many different antics and her extreme enthusiasm for performing CPR. She said it would help her kiss better. She also walked around Girls camp with curlers in her hair. 12 years old, with so much confidence to be able to pull off curlers in her hair without worrying about people making fun of her. I am still in awe of how comfortable she was in her own skin. It was like she knew she would be here for a short time, so she made her very human experience full of LIFE. There was no time to worry about what other people thought of her. However, her one vulnerable spot was her family. She had intentions of pleasing them but she felt like she always fell short. I think she shined!

At the end of our high school years, she wow-ed the entire senior class with her daisy duke shorts and t-shirt under her graduation gown. She coupled that with a flower in her hair and flip-flops on her feet. The rest of us were laced up in our fancy suits and dresses. Very conventional! She never did conform. I'm glad she didn't.

A friend on Facebook posted a memory of her the other day, since this is the week she left this earth back in 2001. As if she were speaking to our dear departed she said, "Miss how you saw me walking on Moana street at 10AM and I didn't get home til 6AM the next morning. Got the lickings of my life but loved every minute." That was a classic "Mish" move. She just had the tendency of coming into your life and turning it upside down, in an extremely exhilirating way.

She introduced me to my first husband. I love her for that. Even if he and I didn't last very long, I'm grateful for the experience. I'm grateful that she was such a big part of my life.

What she represents for me, rather, what she could bring out of me is a complete feeling of being carefree. She never did settle down. She never bore any children yet she left tender hearts all over our community. It seemed, she always appeared in my life when things were rough. She'd show up with a big fat joint and a 40 ounce or the means to acquire said items. I suppose I have no use for those items now yet they evoke a nostalgia for those carefree days (when my morals were not exactly intact... you figure that one out).
One day she was here then four painful months later, she was gone. That aching in her stomach and back turned out to be cancer. Within two weeks, she had tumours protruding from her head. There were five of them, very large, just sticking out of her head. I couldn't bear to see her in such pain but I visited her at least a couple times a week and even spent the night, on occasion. When she went to Queens Hospital, we had a slumber party in her room. The nurses were happy to see her laughing. After her initial treatment was administered, they released her. That gave me a false sense of hope that she would get better.

She continued her treatments as an outpatient. But the treatments did not yield health. The cancer had spread to her uterus and her bones and was not retreating. The doctors outlook was grim. I knew I had to say goodbye. On a day she didn't feel weak, we took her to sing Karaoke. She loved that! As we were in our private karaoke room, we sang "That's What Friends Are For". I can't bear to sing that song, even now. It makes me miss her so much. We cried throughout the entire song.

Christmas Day of 2000, she was coming out of a coma in the hospital. Her mom told me that she hadn't been able to speak for sometime. I sat in her room with her. Just me and her. I was at the foot of her bed, crying my eyes out and trying to "let her go". That had to be one of the toughest things I've ever experienced. By New Years Eve, she had come out of the coma. When I went to see her, she was so vibrant. Not like life-of-the-party vibrant, it was something more eternal. When I walked into the room, she looked up at me and said, "Neena, they came lastnight." She told me about the angels that appeared at her window the previous night and how she heard the most beautiful music. Those were some of the last memories I have of her.

I remember the day she left this world. I was seated at my desk and, like a ton of bricks, I felt her all around me. I starting bawling at my desk. I picked up the phone to call her parents house. Her sister indeed informed me that she had faded away. It was February 10, 2001. I'm glad she visited me before she left. I'm glad she was a part of my life. I look forward to seeing her again some day.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

I'm Majoring In...

Last July I started on my undergrad degree. I've put it off for so many years. Now that I'm in full swing and in the "student" mindset, people are asking me what I'm majoring in. I always answer, "I'm not sure yet. I'm still undeclared." But I've known for quite sometime what my major would be. In fact, I've already declared it and will begin the course work in a few weeks.

I've considered a few different majors. When I first graduated from high school, I started out thinking I was going to be an English major. That desire quickly faded as soon as I attempted English 250. It wasn't the teacher that made the course off-putting. I think it was our reading selection. No, actually it wasn't that either because Dr. Peterson turned me on to The Color Purple by Alice Walker... not the movie... but the book that the movie is based on. I still have the copy of the book that I purchased for the class. My notes are still in the margins and I hold it dear to my heart.

It must be that special time in life when you're in between being a child and an adult. Every experience becomes discovery. The Color Purple (the book) engaged me like no other book had done prior, excluding The Island of the Blue Dolphins when I was in the fourth grade. The Color Purple led to the discovery of Langston Hughes and Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Zora Neale Hurston. I was absolutely head over heels in love with the Black experience. (Funny sidenote: one of my current Caucasian professors told me that it was not PC to use "Black" in referring to African-American's. I feel like it sounds more me to say "Black". I certainly don't want to offend anyone by using the term "Black". What do you think? Leave me a comment!) Anyway, enough with the nostalgic visit to semesters past. The demise of my infatuation with English, as a major, died when I miserably failed at a reaction paper I wrote about The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe.

My next consideration was something in Fine Arts. Music, maybe Visual Arts. However after my first private piano lesson, I was intimidated by the amount of time I'd have to put into changing my terrible piano playing habits that had been handed down to me from my "round-the-way" piano teachers. The instructor, bless her heart, was a little lady with the thickest glasses. Mrs. Kekauoha was very patient with me but I eventually dropped out. Next, I took a 300 level drawing course and was quickly humbled by being surrounded by the most talented artists. What I should have done was start the visual arts classes at the beginner level but the pride and arrogance of youth got the best of me and I started where I "thought" was appropriate for my skill level. I suppose it's all a part of maturing; learning that there's always someone that is more talented, more intelligent, more creative, more everything... than me!

All previous attempts at college was foiled by my inability to decide on a path. I think that has plagued my life up until a year ago. My husband has truly inspired me. He finished his undergrad in 3 years and just graduated last June. Him, being able to accomplish that in such a short period of time really transformed the way I think about school. It has changed the way I envision my life and enables me to actively pursue things that I love. Get it right though, I still don't LOVE school but it is a means to an end.

I look at my entire adult life and have observed a behavioral pattern. I seemed to have put my whole entire life on hold to support others in their endeavors. My 30's will be all about me! Yikes, I'll be 35 in August... so the second half of my 30's will be all about me. What can I say? I'm a late bloomer! I am so amazed at how much creativity enters my mind. I've had so much time in the past 4 months to just BE and to allow my creativity to come forward. It has been suppressed for so long behind the rat race necessities like... work, work, work. Nothing stifles creativity, for me, like being chained to a job.

This brings me to the point of this post. I will be majoring in Philosophy. What can be done with a Philosophy major? Well, stay tuned as I touch on my favorite philosophers.

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Color Purple Photo Credit

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Any Gift Ideas?

It's that time of year again... when Cupid breaks out his bow and arrow. I have a Valentine this year -- the same one for the last 6 years -- my husband. I have the slightest clue as to what to buy my guy for Valentine's. Does he even want a present?

What do you buy a guy for Valentine's?

Monday, February 01, 2010

What Not to Wear Therapy

This past Saturday TLC was running a What Not to Wear marathon. I DVR'd all the episodes that I didn't previously see and reviewed them later on in the evening. The premise of the show is to take a person that is fashion-challenged and make them over - new $5,000 wardrobe, hair, and makeup. I adore the hosts of the show Stacy & Clinton. Stacy reminds me of my cousin Honey Girl so she already has major brownie points with me. I remember when I lived in Kansas, I used to tune in to see Stacy because she looked like Honey Girl and I felt like I was back home again. That is the reason I became a fan of the show. Crazy but true. Clinton -- he's so fashion-savvy and soooo the guy next door. He reminds me of the character on My Best Friends Wedding, George, played by Rupert Everett. I wonder if Clinton is gay. He teeters on that fine line between being a "straight" male that has slightly fem attitude and a "straight" gay guy. Dare I google him?

Anyway, what amazes me about the whole process is how the person being made over sometimes experiences a "shift". Sometimes --no-- majority of the time, the person begins to change how they think just by overhauling the cosmetic parts of them (fashion, hair, and makeup). I wonder if this is why plastic surgery and bariatric surgery has become so trendy.

There was a moment in a particular episode that had me thinking about my own life. A Caucasian woman, age 52 from Texas donned one of her favorite outfits. Stacy and Clinton direct her to the 360 room (the room is round and the wall is all mirrors) where she talks about where she'd wear the outfit and all the reasons she loves it. She discloses that the outfit was purchased sometime in the early 80's. She absolutely adored the skirt set but any observer could see that it was not working for her. When Stacy and Clinton open the room to talk about the outfit, the first thing Clinton asks is, "What was going on in your life when you purchased this outfit?" The woman said that the early 80's was when she was the most happy she had ever been. Clinton told her that her emotional attachment to the outfit has more to do with what was going on in her life when she first began wearing the outfit and was doing nothing for her body.

In that moment, when Clinton lays out such a 'revealing revalation', I instantly think of my favorite shirt that I refuse to get rid of. I have never been able to figure out why it remains hanging in my closet. I just know that I take it with me everywhere. Normally, if I haven't worn an item in 6 months, it goes straight to the donation pile. This favorite shirt will probably never make it there unless a fashion intervention by Stacy and Clinton ambushes me.
Clinton mentioning the sentimental value reminded me of the extreme "shift" that was happening with me when I used to wear this particular shirt. The shirt was actually something I raided from a dear friend's closet. I thought it looked better on me than it did on her. She agreed and off it went with me to my house. This was happening when I was newly single, immediately after signing divorce papers. I felt pretty in that shirt and red happens to be one of my most favorite colors! So after signing divorce papers, I really began to fall in love with me. Hindsight being 20/20, I look back at that period in my life and recognize the "shift" in my mindset. I'm thinking that maybe the shirt reminds me of that "shift".

I emerged from that divorce a brand-new-me. Though I was miserably sad, I was also hopeful. I knew that I would never settle for mediocre treatment for the sake of saying, "I got a man". I would never settle for a relationship void of enduring love ever again. I would never, ever let someone walk all over my heart or shatter it in a thousand pieces. I valued me! I do believe all of 'that' is wrapped up in that one article of clothing.

Some people will never experience a "shift". They'll continue to live the same abusive day OVER AND OVER. The beautiful thing is that in every single moment, they can choose a different ending. You can choose a different beginning!

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What Not to Wear Photo Credit