Candace's Favorite Things

Thursday, July 15, 2010

From Home...Back Home

So, even though I’m jet lagged and up to my eyeballs, HERE I AM! I’m home, meaning Baltimore, at least for now. For me, oddly enough, it took just a few trips to Kona before I started calling it HOME! Many of my close friends have heard me refer it as such and, understandably, have asked why? It’s a good question. My first trip to Kona was for business. While that statement is Prime - 100% Pure, Grade “A” TRUTH, it’s always been hard for me to say Hawaii and Business in the same sentence with a straight face. I’d been to Honolulu four other times with the same organization and then, this trip to Kona. I was coaching Marathon teams that I’d motivated, trained and prepared for races in Baltimore. After all of the preparation, we’d fly them out to our race destination. I’d keep up the Tough, Motivational Coach position till they all crossed the finish line. Then after my team would go home, I’d inevitably, stay an extra day and unwind. “ALONE” ... LOVE IT THAT WAY! They’d fly me home and I’d start training another team for another race. I did the same thing in Dublin; we went there four times as well. It was a very cool time in my life. I never knew before each year’s program did their kick off event where I’d be headed. But no matter where I went, Dublin, London, etc. ... Hawaii stole my heart. The first and only year they flew me to Kona, I took my husband. I’d been been advised by a friend who knew there was a Four Season’s in Kona. She said we’d be downright ‘sinning’ not to see it, since we were going to be there. So, he may hate flying that far, but because I asked him to, my husband agreed. It’s been that way since the day we meet and it’s still that way today, an impressive 30 years later. We both consider it pure joy, to try and find what brings each other true happiness, and make it happen! We are blessed. So he came. When the race was over and my team had flown home, we took another kind of flight. We jumped a helicopter and took a three hour tour of the ENTIRE Island. After that, we transferred to the Four Season’s (for whom I have now taught several motivational, instructor workshops ...what a thrill!) Folks, my husband who considers his rocking chair and a good game a match made in Heaven, immediately decided he’d found the real Heaven on earth. It was called Kona! I had a bit of a deeper reaction early on. As I recall, I started calling it home somewhere around my 3rd or 4th trip out. The moment the aircraft makes contact with the ground, I look out the window and audibly sigh, “HOME … I’m home” and I am! At that moment I can feel my body beginning to change. It’s there where I find the fullest expression of my breath. With one single inhale, everything begins to change. I’m more fully alive. I get a chill. I know I’m there. That first breath is deeper, wider and so very rich. It’s more than just the biological exchange of gases that keeps a body alive. At that moment, I’m being filled! The locals have an explanation. They call it “The Aloha Spirit”. ME? … I call it a closer manifestation of the presence of God. For me, that’s HOME!!
As I sit and write to you now, I find it nearly incomprehensible that I’ve already been back nearly four weeks! Time can be a wicked task master! She robs so many of the beauty that exists all around us, everyday, created for us to enjoy. Its way too easy to begin to focus on keeping in step with her frenetic pace, after all … the Joneses and a myriad of their “successful friends” lace up their shoes made for success and never let her out of their sight! From dawn till night, THE RACE IS ON! There is a price for never sitting down to watch the sunset, while the rest pass us by. It’s not our debt to pay, it’s theirs. America seems practically blinded to God’s artistry in their fight just to keep up. My question is, “Keeping up with what?”
It’s funny. When I’m in Hawaii, everyone stops whatever they’re doing … every single day, even if they’ve LIVED THERE FOR DECADES, to quietly sit, just to watch yet another magnificent sunset! You’d think after a while, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all, though apparently not in their minds. After having the opportunity to visit so often, I have to agree with them. Nothing is perfect, and life is busy there too. They have to work, they have responsibilities they don’t always care to do … but it’s done with a calm, serene balance! That’s what I’m missing! In three short weeks, I’ve jumped off the beach, dusted the sand off my shoes and found myself starting to run with the pack … DARN! We are not without control in this Tyranny of the Urgent. What a lesson to be learned. It takes time to conquer AND even more than that, a heart that DESIRES to do so. I know many who don’t want to jump off the “Insanity Express”. If we train ourselves to be present, relax, breath deep and let go, we begin to Live, not just exist!
When we learn to be present, balanced and take the time to seek the Divine, it’s then that during even the most difficult of times, that we are the most teachable. Ever noticed? Well, we can be. Not all heed the call! When life throws us a wrench, that’s when class is called to order and we can get an “A” in learning what matters and what doesn’t. I LOVE and honestly cherish my Baltimore home. We just love it. We are blessed with amazing friends and a deeply close knit and loving family, which is priceless. We are thrilled when the seasons change. The magnificent fall kaleidoscope of colors, the winters white blanketing of snow, it’s all so incredible. Having said all of that, truth be told, I’m already missing my Hawaiian Ohana (family)! The Sunrise, the Sunsets, the stars that rival a Planetarium’s display on a clear night and the flowers – oh, the foliage is nothing short of FANTASTIC! These beauties blossom and bloom from every nook and cranny they can find. They are so magnificent, that even as their buds hit the ground, they appear to be crafting a never ending RED CARPET runway, so beautiful that one often feels the need to remove their shoes as not to bruise their delicate pedals. Even the smallest of creatures, the tiny geckos running here and there, can’t help but take note of the beauty of their surroundings. In reverent respect for their creator, they change color to match their picturesque surroundings. while I may not be the brightest bulb on the tree, I am wise enough to understand that every place you go has its beauty. Every place you’ll ever live has its work to be done. So what’s the difference? IF I had to choose right now, the west would win. Why? They seem to have figured something out that we’ve been missing. They are Present! Good and Bad, Pretty to see, or ugly and sad. They are Present! You know, I am happy to be back with my Baltimore Ohana as well. While it seems a bit more difficult to keep the frantic pace to a dull roar here, it can be done.
I’ve been taught more and more to be content with whatever my circumstances. I have learned this lesson by experiencing many challenging situations and overcoming them all, even coming very close to death (more than once … FOR REAL, but you’ll have to wait for the flash backs). I’m also learning more and more to live in the moment – always looking ahead with a goal. It’s a tricky balance, especially for a self-professed Type “A”, goal driven, accomplishment/adrenaline junky. It can definitely be achieved. It’s been that combination of challenges thrown in front of me and lessons learned to “get over it”, building on previous experiences OF having “gotten over it”, that have taught me to look ahead and be ready. When it starts to look like there’s a darkening on the horizon, you don’t run and hide! Instead, jump into ACTION. Plan out what you’re going to do with this new adventure and then, TAKE ACTION. The goal? To stay in the game. Life is too sweet and too short not to!
So, what was I doing between the day I got home from the surgery and that 55 miles road bike tour I took on the Kona, IRON MAN HIGHWAY nine and a half weeks later? Literally speaking … that’s next on deck and guess what ya’ll, LIFE STILL ROCKS!
I’ll be back soon. Until next time,
Candace ‘Aloha’

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