It was a cold, brisk morning in Astoria, Queens. I left my NYC apartment 20 minutes late, wearing my long black wool coat to stay warm in the 20 degree weather. The coat made me look like a Rabbi. I hustled to the subway stop, trying to make up time. My commute to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was 45 minutes on a good day.
As I huffed up the subway stairs to the elevated train platform, I spilled my hot coffee on my black leather gloves. It burned, then it felt good just before the icy wind chilled my wet hand. When I finally plopped down in the subway car, I was grateful to get a seat.
I looked at my reflection in the shiny steel of the subway car and noticed deep grooves beneath my eyes. My face was pale and I looked depleted. Luckily, everyone else in the subway car looked the same way, so I blended. My chapped lips eagerly sipped the hot coffee, revealing my caffeine addiction. Getting up in the morning had become impossible without my a hot cup of joe.
The advertisements in the subway car showed photos of far off white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. Even in the summertime, the beaches of Long Island did not look that pretty. It made me yearn to be in the warm sun and to feel flower scented breezes touch my face. I had no clue that I was catching a glimpse of my future travels.
Seven years later, I came to Oahu for my birthday to visit a good friend Kimo. He was a Native Hawaiian lei maker with a bubbly laugh. At the airport, Kimo placed a puakenikeni lei around my neck. The remarkably scented flowers were grown in his yard in Kaneohe. When he took me to Kailua Beach, I felt a rush of mana, that vital life force of Hawaii, filling every cell of my body. The ocean water cleansed me, wiping away the dirty subway cars and the bad attitudes of people stuck in traffic. My body was like a race car engine that had been driven so hard that exhaust steamed from my pores when the waves hit me. The surge of mana from the land, water, and flowers replenished my body and lifted my spirits.
I did not know that life could feel this good. It showed me how I had forgotten how to receive life’s bounty. Growing up in the New York City area, I had not experienced this intense rejuvenation that made the insides of my bones tingle with joy. Every tropical flower reminded me of the abundance of life. Each time I breathed, I was renewed.
After my birthday experience, I learned how to rejuvenate myself. The visit had such a powerful impact on me that I moved to Hawaii! Since my move, I had become a trusted guide for weary travelers who want to experience the miraculous revitalization that I received in Hawaii. I welcome people with leis. I guide newcomers to the beautiful, high energy places which refuel their tired bones. I help them remember how generous life can really be.
Hawaii has taught me to generously share what I have discovered, as I will do at my workshop Reclaiming Your Vitality in Maui on May 15th-18th at Lemuria Maui. My workshop will give you a chance to revitalize using the 4 elements of Hawaii: earth, ocean, wind, and the fire of passionate empathy. Participate in an ocean cleansing ceremony to cleanse your heart and mind of toxic feelings. Refresh your ability to connect with other people in a safe environment. Explore Hawaii Teachings around healing, forgiveness, and celebration. Value yourself, by giving yourself the gift of this luscious sanctuary.