Cleansing

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My husband Mike and I are attending a class on Native Hawaiian healing, or Lā’au Lapa’au. The theme of the class is cleansing. This has got me thinking about cleansing. While the class is focused on cleansing the physical body, I’ve been thinking about cleansing some other things. My home for one, but really I’ve been thinking about cleansing my negative thoughts.

I don’t know about you but I have been my own worst enemy. I have big dreams, I work hard, I love people hard and I take risks. But then I tend to have these really horrible thoughts. For example, I spent several hours writing my last blog post (First Step). As I got ready to publish it, the thoughts that went through my head went something like this: ” No one is going to read this.” ” This isn’t good enough.” “There are a billion other blogs that are better than mine. Why do I do this? Who do I think I am?”

That is so fucked up.

I know in my heart that I am no better or worse than anyone else. But, for some reason, I tend to beat myself up. And I need to stop that shit right now. If you’re anything like me, than you need to stop beating yourself up too. It is time for a mind cleanse. For the next several days I am going to really pay attention to my thinking. Every time I have a negative thought about myself I am going to sweep that crap right out of my mind and replace it with something positive: something I’m good at, something that I’m grateful for, etc. I am going to focus on lifting myself up because, let’s face it, most of us, myself included, have spent the majority of our lives tearing ourselves down.

When you want to build something, you have to do it one stone at a time, one, shovel-full at a time, one step at a time. This week, I am going to take the first step of building my authentic self one thought at a time.

Will you join me?

Wellness

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What does wellness mean to you? If you’re like many people, you believe that wellness is being fit; that is, you see wellness as needing to go to the gym and work out and run marathons and be buff and look good in your bathing suit. If that’s the case, I’ve got news for you…wellness is not the same as fitness. You can be fit and still be extremely unwell. You can also be well but not be fit. They are not the same thing.

Wellness is making choices that lead to a healthy and fulfilling life. To me wellness means feeling good in your own body, and with who you are. It encompasses your mind, body, spirit and emotions. It can also include your community and family; it is difficult to find wellness when you live in a family or community that is chaotic and unhealthy. Wellness is similar to peace in that it is freedom from disruption within your body, mind or spirit. Wellness means that everything in your life is working harmoniously together for the good of your higher self.

I think most of us spend a good portion of our lives seeking this kind of wellness. And if we don’t, we end up desperately searching for it after being diagnosed with some type of catastrophic illness. I’m a lifer when it comes to learning about and seeking wellness- I remember being unusually curious about it at an early age. I grew up on a small farm where my mom had many gardens. One of these gardens was an herb garden and I remember her pointing out different plants to me and telling me about the ways people used to use the plants for healing. I began reading books about herbal medicine when I was in middle school and books about Earth healing and Wiccan spirituality when I was in college. To me it made such complete sense that people would use nature to bring their bodies, minds and spirits back into balance.

I fell away from these types of healing when I got married and started a family because, although I knew that things like herbal medicine, Wicca and Earth healing are inherently good, they were misunderstood and shunned  by the people who I was around at the time (and continue to be so by many people). But everything comes full circle in life. The things that we are drawn to as children are often things that we are called to teach about later in our lives. I now have a business teaching people about using essential oils as natural tools to support wellness and I often find myself presented with new opportunities to learn about other forms of natural healing. Life is so interesting!

My husband and I were recently invited to participate in a series of classes that teach about Lā’au Lapa’au, or traditional Native Hawaiian healing. The class has just begun I am already inspired to learn, write and share about wellness and healing. To me, being a part of that class is just a reminder from The Universe that learning and sharing about wellness is something I’m meant to do. I hope that you will join me here at The Aloha Lounge over the next several weeks as I share with you some of what I’ve learned and am continuing to learn about wellness.  It is my prayer that the practices I share with you here, will help to transform your life and will put you on a path towards health and wellness. I look forward to journeying along this path with you.

With much aloha,

Shelly

Fraud

I am a fraud

I am a fraud. On the exterior I am all love and light and namaste but on the inside there is darkness. There is self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness. There are thoughts of “I’m not good enough” ringing through my mind like church bells to mark the passing of time. The books I read talk about the power of changing your thoughts; words and thoughts hold mana, spiritual energy, that can affect your entire world. I know this is true; I’ve seen the power that changing my belief system has had on my own life, but there is still that tiny bit of darkness that grabs me by the throat at times and won’t let go.

In the book, Love Is Letting Go of Fear, Third Edition by Gerald Jampolsky, Lesson 3 in his Lessons for Personal Transformation says, ” I am never upset for the reason I think.”  The lesson is this: We think that our feelings are caused by what’s going on around us, but in fact what we see and experience is determined by the thoughts and beliefs in our mind. I think about this every time I get upset.

I’ll give you an example. Today I was upset because my business is not growing at the pace which I had anticipated. I’ve been working harder than ever and have had one of the lowest months in awhile. When I mentioned to my husband that I was feeling sad about this, I felt that he blamed me. I became even more upset and started to cry. I knew I needed some time to think so I took my dog for a walk with tears streaming down my face.

As we walked along I thought about why I was really upset. My whole life I have struggled with feeling unsupported, unworthy and alone. I suffered abuse as a child which was ignored and allowed to continue; I was in an emotionally abusive marriage where I was often left feeling unworthy, unsupported and alone; After my divorce I was a single mom and pretty much had to do everything myself. So this situation today reminded me of all that. I felt alone and unsupported. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and I was getting crushed beneath it. But I recognize that those situations from my past are not only different from today’s situation, but they are over. This helped me to disassociate from my current feelings of disappointment and lack of support. I decided to see things differently (Lesson 12 in the book).

So, rather than feeling unsupported I am thinking of how I can offer support to others (Lesson 1: All I give is given to myself). Rather than feeling alone I am thinking about how I can encourage team bonding. Rather than blaming myself for things I can’t control (the past, other people, etc.) I am dreaming up ways to reach out and teach and help and inspire others to have a life filled with abundance, wellness and joy. I am writing down all the things I am grateful for and all the goals I’m looking forward to achieving. I am letting go of a past that no longer serves me and living in a present where I am loved, supported and worthy. I am consciously choosing the light and letting go of the darkness.

Maybe I’m not a fraud after all. Maybe I’m just human.

Get Your Chakra On

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Chakra is a Sanskrit word which means a point of energy or power. You have many energy points or centers in your body but there are seven primary chakras that are referred to most often. These are referred to by both their location and by the order of ascent in your body. The higher upwards you travel, the higher the number of the chakra. They are generally described as spinning wheels or vortices of light.

If your chakras are spinning well, they are considered “open” and you’re healthy. When the energy in your chakra slows down or stops, it is considered “closed” or “blocked” and you may show signs of illness in that area. Eventually the whole system suffers as all of the energy in our bodies is connected.

Here’s a quick overview of the 7 chakras:
1st: Root Chakra- This is at the base of your spine, deep within your pelvic area. Many times in yoga this chakra is referred to when discussing “grounding” as it regulates your ability to collect energy from the earth. The colors associated with this chakra are red, black and brown (earthy tones).

2nd: Sacral Chakra- This is in your lower abdomen and sacral area. Many people hold onto pain in this area resulting in lower back pain. Second chakra issues tend to pertain to your community and your perceived place within it, as well as issues of security and safety. It is associated with the color orange.

3rd: Solar Chakra- In your solar plexus, your third chakra carries fireenergy, and is the center of your will and direction. It is associated with the color yellow or light green.

4th: Heart Chakra- In the middle of your chest at heart level, this chakra houses your intent to love and acces unconditional love. It is associated with both pink and green (pink for love and green for healing).

5th: Throat Chakra- This chakra is centered above your clavicle bone in your throat, and houses your intent to create and manifest your dreams as well as to speak your truth. It is associated with a clear bright blue color.

6th: Third-Eye Chakra- This is located about an inch above the bridge of your nose between the eyebrows. It is your highest creative energy center, where your spirit meets creativity. It is associated with the color violet or indigo.

7th: Crown Chakra- This chakra is on the top of your head near where your soft spot was as an infant. It is where you have the intent to receive wisdom and receive your Qi from the universe. It is linked with the color white.

There are many, many essential oils that can help with chakra health. I will be posting some over the next few days on my Instagram feed (follow me @thealohalounge) but you can always GTS (Google That Shit) and find a TON of ideas! Haha

Namaste oily peeps!

Vibes=Vibrational Energy (It’s a Thing)

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Places of worship tend to have calm, peaceful energy.

You’ve heard people talking about “vibes” at one time or another I’m sure. “She has good vibes,” “He has bad vibes”… it really is a thing. Vibes=Vibrational Energy or the frequency at which the energy of a “thing” vibrates (I just have to mention that there really is no such thing as good or bad vibes; it’s all just energy. It’s just our perception that we put on things that makes it good or bad to us). Just to recap… Vibrational energy (or vibes) is the frequency at which a substance is vibrating. And we, at some level, can sense this.

Have you ever been in a certain space and felt calm? Or in another space you feel energized? That is vibrational energy that your body is sensing. Higher vibrational levels can make you feel uplifted while lower ones can have a calming effect. The same with certain foods, or thoughts, or pretty much anything else.

Okey doke… so we’re all clear now- everything is made up of energy and that energy vibrates at different frequencies. These frequencies are measured in megahertz. Just like everything else, essential oils also have vibrational frequencies. Higher frequencies are helpful for emotional work while lower frequencies are beneficial for physical healing. I’m still figuring all this out but I thought it would be fun to take you all along on my super nerdy energy journey. Sound like a plan???

Here we go…

To get you started here’s a quote by Gary Young, founder of Young Living Essential Oils: “Clinical research shows that essential oils have the highest frequency of any natural substance known to man, creating an environment in which disease, bacteria, virus, fungus, etc., cannot live. I believe that the chemistry and frequencies of essential oils have the ability to help man maintain the optimal frequency to the extent that disease cannot exist.”

Want to learn more?
Check out this article about the vibrational frequencies of essential oils. Prepare to have your mind blown.

http://www.biospiritual-energy-healing.com/vibrational-frequency.html

Want to get started using essential oils? Join our oily ohana and have an instant support group of likeminded, healthy people. Check out our About Young Living page to find out how to join us on our journey towards health and wellness.

Revolution

Most people like food. Pretty much everyone I know eats on a daily basis. So you would think that people would be more interested in their food, specifically what they’re eating, how it was produced and where it comes from. But clearly people are not that interested because the situation with food is clearly out of control. It’s pretty obvious by what’s on the grocery store shelves; most people happily spend their money on processed and genetically modified foods without giving it a second thought.  The problem is immense and dangerous and out of control. This quote from John Robbins, author, activist and humanitarian sums it up.

Our food chain is in crisis. Big agribusiness has made profits more important than your health- more important than the environment-more important than your right to know how your food is produced.

To me this is beyond disturbing. Because I cannot for the life of me understand how or why this happened. And I really can’t even begin to wrap my head around the idea of how to fix it. Except we must. We must fix it and soon because our very existence depends upon it being fixed. This is the stuff that only a revolution will fix so we must, all of us, become revolutionaries. We must revolt against the status quo of factory farmed, genetically modified, cruelly raised, earth destroying and chemically altered food that most of us consume on a daily basis. How do we do this? We make choices that support change by refusing to give our money to companies that put profits above what’s right. Read my husband Mike Spencer’s blog to learn the power of a boycott.

taroOn a recent visit to Kauai we had the great fortune to visit a lo’i kalo (taro farm) run by Kaina Makua and his nonprofit Kumano i ke Ala. It’s so remote that to get there you either have to walk across a swinging bridge or drive your truck across the river- there’s no road that crosses the river to the property. But it’s beautiful, peaceful and sustainable. It’s also free from genetic modification. We spoke with Kaina for some time about his vision to grow taro on a small scale and to provide unpasteurized poi and other taro products through their partner business Aloha Āina Poi Co. He spoke of his dreams and his hard work and the community he is building there. He told us that the water from the river near his farm is being diverted and that the river is flowing less and less over time.

This taro farm is a reminder of the roots of Hawaii; a place that was, not so long ago, free from contamination. The Hawaiian people had one of the most sustainable food systems ever developed, the ahupua’a. The water was channeled from the mountain to the taro fields. It would then drain to the fish pond and out to sea leaving in its path food for everyone. Then the colonizers came and diverted the water for sugarcane and greed and began the process of stripping the people not only of their water and land, but of their culture and dignity as well. It is the same story told too many times in too many different settings. I’m sure you’ve heard the story before. If not in the context of the Hawaiian people, then certainly in the context of Native Americans or Mauri or Aboriginal or indigenous people everywhere. The story always ends the same… greed wins and everyone else loses.

Now we have a chance to write a new story. We can do this by being mindful of who and what we support with our dollar. We can buy food from small farms with big missions like Kaina’s. We can grow our own food. We can tell our friends and families to do the same. We can make a difference in the small things we do each day because the small things done by the many will be greater than the big things done by the few. We can be like David, who with his tiny stone, defeated the giant. We can and we must. Our entire existence and the existence of our future generations depend upon it.

As we stood in the lo’i kalo speaking with Kaina that day about why he was growing his taro there in that remote and beautiful place I was reminded of this quote I had read some time ago…

In our society growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest. One that can-and will-overturn the corporate powers that be. By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do the one thing most essential to change the world. We change ourselves.(author unknown)

I pulled up the quote on my phone and gave it to Kaina to read. He was thoughtful for a moment and said, “I don’t know about all that activism stuff… I just like to grow food.”

 

Support Kaina’s mission by shopping at Aloha Aina Poi Co (website for the nonprofit Kumano i ke Ala is being developed and will be available soon).

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My husband Mike (far left) standing next to Kaina with the crew of taro lovers.

Inner Peace

I’ve recently added meditation to my daily routine. I’m not gonna lie. ..That shit is hard. I’m told it gets easier, but I have to say that every time I sit down and start to quiet my mind, all these thoughts about how much crap I need to get done start to bubble up and stress me out. Or else I fall asleep. So ya. I need to keep working on it.

I know these thoughts are coming up because of my false beliefs and fears. Most likely something I have stuck in my head is I need to do everything myself. In fact I know that thought is stuck in there. And I need to get it out. Because really, it’s impossible to do everything yourself. Having been a single mom for 16 years, I pretty much had to do everything. By myself. At least that’s what I thought at the time and so I continued to perpetuate that thinking (and still perpetuate it and let it stress me out). But I’m ready to give up that thinking. Right here. Right now. Because it’s untrue. And it is limiting.

My mantra for today is I am a magnet for miracles. Real miracles are shifts in our thinking that free us from our past fear-based thinking and turn us towards love and abundance. It’s not always easy, just like forgiving isn’t easy, but it’s possible if the desire and intent are there. The first step is being aware of your thoughts because thoughts are fucking sneaky. They creep in there and become so habitual that you feel as if you can’t control them. That’s called anxiety. And it sucks.

But the truth is that the only thing that you can control is your own thinking. And that is awesome news because when you control how you look at things, you control your perception and that means that you control your reality. So today begin your journey towards inner peace by realizing that whatever it is that is stressing you out, or making you feel less than awesome, is something that you can change just by changing your own mind. Set that intention and work until you achieve it. That’s the key though. You can’t just set your intention and then go watch TV. You have to work to achieve it. You have to sit through those meditations and consciously work on changing your negative thinking patterns. You need to rid yourself of toxic people and emotions. You need to do whatever it is that you need to do: ask for help, pray, read a book, say a mantra, use some essential oils or crystals, whatever resonates within you to do. I’m not saying it’s easy. But if you truly want it, you will be willing to put in the work and it will happen. Today we can all be magnets for miracles.

Now get to work.

Aloha pumehana

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Yes you are Unicat. Yes you are.

Forgiveness

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On the path to  self love and inner peace there are many road blocks. The biggest one for many people is forgiveness. There is a mistaken belief that forgiving someone means that what they did was ok. But forgiveness is more about yourself than it is about the other person. It means that, regardless of what someone did to you (or what you did that you need to forgive yourself for), YOU are ok. You are who you have always been; who you always will be. It is connecting with your soul and realizing that, despite whatever horrors you may have endured, you are whole and you are at peace.

I am finding myself fascinated with many things about the Hawaiian culture. While I am only beginning my studies, I am already enamored with the wisdom and simplicity of the spiritual teachings. It is like finding pieces to a puzzle that you’ve been trying to put together your entire life. Let’s take forgiveness as an example…

In Hawaiian, the term hala is used to describe an act of wrong doing committed by or against another. Moke Kupihea, in his book The Cry of the Huna says,

A hala was an act that bound the wrongdoer to the person against whom the wrong was committed. It was said that, on the one hand, wrongdoers are bound by the fault they have committed and, on the other hand, those who have been wronged hold the cord that binds the wrongdoer. One, it was said, is the debtor, the other, the person or persons indebted to. The hala, then, is the debt that lies between them. It was the belief of the people of old that if those who hold the invisible cord do not desire to relax it but continue to bear the wrong in mind, or in its active state of wrongfulness, then they are said to “hold fast the fault,” ho’o hala hala.

He then goes on to describe how a wrong can spread generationally and “can travel into future generations of a family, a people or even a nation if such is the vastness of the fault.” This can only make people dissatisfied and prone to violence. It is as if they are strangling on the cord of the hala.

It is impossible to be at peace and to hold a grudge at the same time. No matter how vast are the wrongs committed against you, to hold onto them means to continue to suffer. To feel that you need to wait until someone apologizes or offers reparations is to basically put your own wellbeing on hold. If you’re hoping for reparations, you can still have that after forgiveness has occurred. In fact, it is more likely that the person who wronged you will offer up reparations if you come to them from a place of forgiveness and peace than of accusation and blame. No need to wait. The time for forgiveness is today because, let’s face it… shit happens. Bad, unthinkable, horrific shit sometimes, sadly happens. To everyone. But it doesn’t need to cause endless suffering.

I know you’re probably saying to yourself right now, “She doesn’t know me. She doesn’t know how crazy hateful my childhood was. She doesn’t know about how my step dad sexually abused me for years… ” Or maybe your saying, “Ya, but you don’t know the horrible things I’ve done in my life. I’ve done and said unspeakable things.” You’re right. I don’t know what happened in your past. But I know what happened in mine and believe me, it was pretty fucked up. So fucked up in fact that I had to go to hypnotherapy because I had repressed the worst of the fuckedupness (yes I just made that word up). So if I can learn how to forgive that crazy ass shit, then you can too. Because to not forgive it, is to have your life permanently tainted by it forever.

Now I’m in no way saying that forgiveness is easy. It is hard as hell. But it is possible. For me, it helps to be in a calm, meditative state. I am a big fan of using essential oils to help uplift my emotions so I apply that shit all over (I’m not even kidding right now). Be sure to use the highest quality oils (I use Young Living) or else you’re not doing yourself any favors. Next I envision the person who wronged me standing in front of me. I imagine telling that person what he or she did that hurt me and how it affected me. I then say to that person, “I forgive you. I release you. And I set you free. You are free and I am free.” I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I have to do this repeatedly. Whenever I feel anger or thoughts about whatever negative thing happened bubbling up, I just repeat this process.

You, today, right now, have the opportunity to free yourself from whatever perceived wrongs (no matter how horrific) happened in your past. I guarantee you that you can do it and that you are going to feel so much lighter for having let go of that horrendous burden. Forgiveness needs to take place in the present so that healing can occur in the future. What are you waiting for?

Aloha nui loa

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Dogs always forgive themselves.

Back in The D

Sometimes you don’t realize how much you’ve missed something until you have it back. That is the thought that has struck me these past few days.

Mike and I arrived in Detroit this past weekend. We’re here for about a week to do some business. As we prepared for our trip, I found myself not wanting to leave Hawaii. I’m beginning to find my way there and I’m afraid to lose momentum. I finally made my first friend outside of Mike’s circle of friends and family. I found my way to a coffee shop without getting lost. I actually had a suggestion when Mike asked me where I wanted to go eat lunch. Not to mention the weather! I knew it would be cold in Detroit, maybe rainy. We’re leaving sunny and 82 degrees for that? I missed the people in my hometown but not the place.

But now we’re back. I drive down the streets I’ve known my whole life and I feel at home. I know where I’m going without having to keep the mountain in perspective to help me navigate (good thing too because there are no mountains here). Ask me where I want to go eat lunch and a dozen places pop into my mind; none of which serve plate lunches. The leaves turning yellow and red and bronze remind me that it is indeed fall. So different from my new home. This is what I’m used to. This feels like home.

But Hawaii feels like home now too. I wake up in the morning here in Detroit and look around for our dogs. It takes me a few moments before I remember they’re far away… in our other home. I wonder how Mike’s mom is feeling today but I can’t call her now because it’s 4am there. I ask someone, “You’re all pau?” They look at me strangely. I rephrase, “I mean, you’re all done?” My  Detroit “home” has been taken over by my adult daughter. She’s removed pictures, changed things around, made it her home. I feel like a visitor in my own house. It’s all so strange.

So I ask myself, “What’s the lesson here?” That’s what I do anytime something feels off. Whenever I’m annoyed at a friend, or unsettled, or just feel like something isn’t right, I think, What is it that God is trying to teach me now? Maybe it’s that there is always something to miss when you move from an old home to a new one. Maybe it’s because Mike and I have work to do in Hawaii and we are being called to be there. Or possibly it’s just that my heart needs to grow big enough to call the whole world my home and just be at home wherever I find myself. It could be any of these things and more.

For now, I will just enjoy being where I am. I’ll treasure this moment in this place. I’ll savor today and everyday wherever I find myself.

Lesson learned.