Maui….My Paradise 5-26-18

I just returned from spending eight days in Maui. I spent the week with my best friend who happens to be my cousin. We had a wonderful time. It’s always fun to hang out with my cousin. We laugh, we eat, we sing….we do everything we did when we were kids. It’s so much fun.

Going to Maui was a blessing. I am so grateful for the opportunity. After all, Maui is not only my favorite place, it’s also my healing place. Something about that “Maui Vibe” always seems to offer a sense of peace and grounding for me. This trip was no different.

Since 2012, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a total of 15 weeks in Maui. What can I say, I’m truly blessed. My cousin and I spent much time exploring the island as well as enjoying some much needed bonding time on the beach. We even did reiki. We went to Napili Beach. Big Beach, Lahaina, Paia, The beach at Five Palms (my favorite beach and Hana. It was awesome. My last day I took one last walk on the beach and was blessed to see six turtles. Three of them sunbathing. Turtles supposedly represent long life and good luck. I saw six that morning.

Maui is my go to place when I find myself depressed, stressed out or even overwhelmed with this thing called life. I like to meditate on the peace of being on the beach or the sunsets Maui has to offer. My dream would be to live in Maui part time. If I could do that, I would certainly be one happy camper.

This trip to Maui marked a new beginning for me. A new start. I’ve been in a slump for the past seven years. First my dad passed away causing my life to spiral out of control. Add cancer, an abusive boyfriend, financial challenges, family issues to the mix and you have one big pot of crappy goulash. I used the time to focus on letting go, finding forgiveness, healing myself so I could finally toss that goulash that’s existed in my life and move forward.

There’s a Hawaiian bird called the Iwa. This bird is a very meaningful bird in the Polynesian culture. The Iwa is at times referred to as the “Storm Bird”. The Iwa is 43. inches long. It soars and glides gracefully with a wing span of seven feet. They often travel great distances but rarely soar further than 50 miles from land. This bird has the resilience to withstand storms in its search for food and travel great distances. They swoop down in the ocean and snatch their prey using their hook like beaks.

Polynesian fisherman look to these birds while fishing. If the Iwa is flying above them, they know they are in a fishing area. They also look for the Iwa to find their way back home when they are out at sea.

While I was battling cancer, I used to say to myself, “when I overcome this battle, I’m getting a tattoo”. Well I did just that while I was in Maui. If you have ever been to any of the Hawaiian islands you know that many Polynesians have tribal tattoos. What you may not know is the tattoos they wear proudly have meaningful significance to each person wearing them. I went to a local tattoo artist named Sampson. He’s located on Kehei Road in a small shop called Pacific Rootz. We discussed a tattoo that would hold a special meaning in my life. I opted for a small yet significant tattoo of the Iwa. Like the Iwa I have faced many “storms” these past seven years. I’ve soared great miles to find my way “back home”. The Iwa is a reminder for me that whatever life throws at me, I am resilient and will eventually find my way back. I’m at a point in my life where I’m ready to let go of my past and find my way “home” to where the good lord wants me to be. It’s my guess in a much happier space, soaring through life and living life to the fullest.

We all face hardships and trials. Some of us more than others. If you’re like me, at times I feel like God has abandoned me however I’m reminded in Mathew 6-26 that if God provides for the birds he will certainly provide for me. I hope so anyway.

Mathew 6-26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they.”

I was standing on the sand the last day of my trip enjoying the waves that would come in and cover my feet then would slowly roll back and go back to the ocean. It occurred to me as I stood on the beach that life is like the waves of the ocean. Just like the waves, trials and challenges come in and cover our feet causing us to feel like we are drowning. However, like the waves, our trials slowly but surely head back to where they came from and once again we find ourselves standing on solid ground. Maybe a little “sandy” from all the debris those “waves” left behind but we are standing nonetheless.

The trials I’ve faced these past seven years have been hard. They have caused me so much pain and suffering. I have the scars to prove it. Like the waves, I am beginning to see my feet again. I’m hopeful and I’m happy again. I’m looking forward to enjoying life until the next wave comes in. Until then, like the Iwa, I’ll soar gracefully through this thing called life and keep moving forward towards finding my place and the “home” and the solid ground or land where I need to be.

I’ll leave you today with one of my favorite Outfield tunes. “My Paradise”

Sobriety 3-8-16

March 4th was my anniversary. I have been sober for 14 years. What a 14 years it’s been!! I haven’t been feeling well and received some distressing news at my doctors appointment last Thursday but despite the news I am blessed. I got home that night and my cousin had mailed me a package. Inside were 2 beautiful, healing bracelets she had made for me, a Con Brio (SF band I love) CD, a Survivor pendant, a made in SF t-shirt to remind me of the city I miss and love so much and the most beautiful card ever. My eyes filled w tears. I was a blubbering mess at the post office. On March 4th I got to my office and I was greeted with these beautiful flowers on my desk. I was shocked. I haven’t received flowers in a very long time. They were a gift from my friend from church congratulating me on 14 years of sobriety. The flowers came w a lovely card and a beautiful message. Now as you know I’m Catholic. As a Catholic flowers are a sign of love. They are also a sign from St Therese of Lisieux, one of my favorite saints, that our prayers are being answered. Talk about bringing me hope. I have some challenges ahead but the good news is I’m sober and I’m blessed to have some wonderful people in my life. Thank you Melissa Perez. I love you so much!!! And thank you Norma Espinoza. I’m so blessed to call you my friend.  

As I look back on the past five years it’s a miracle I’ve managed to remain sober. In 2011 my dad passed away. I was devastated. Two years later I found myself in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship and I was fighting cancer. Today my life is a mess. I’m overcoming financial challenges, I’m living at home with my mother and it appears my fight with cancer continues. However, despite the challenges I’m happy to say I haven’t drowned myself at the bottom of a bottle. For that I’m so grateful that the lord continues to give me strength to overcome each day without the desire to drink. Now I’m not trying to sugar coat sobriety by insinuating it’s easy. It’s not. Every day I have to make the decision to choose life over a bottle of Chardonnay or Captain Morgan’s. Just like I have to make the decision to keep fighting this nasty disease. Life is good. It’s even better when you’re sober. So if you’re reading my blog today and you’re struggling with an addiction or just a major challenge in your life. Remember…..if I can do it, so can you. Keep up the fight. Life’s worth living. It truly is. God bless to all of you reading today. May you receive your bouquet of flowers and may it be a sign your prayers are being answered. I know I’m expecting mine!!!  May you your prayers  be answered too.