During this time of year, I often find myself reflecting on how I’ve spent my time so far. Whether it’s reminiscing on memories or mistakes, it never fails that I take a moment for some introspection. This year feels a little different though. I was telling a friend the other day that the end of 2018 sort of feels like a prerequisite course for 2019. I find Life presenting me with situations that I’ve been in before, no doubt to see if I respond in the same way. It feels almost like I’m living in an ironic simulation of a video game. Scenarios and tests present themselves and I have to do my best at discerning how to get past each level without losing a life and repeating it again. I think this realization is preparing me for a new path of self awareness and evolution. My feeling is that if we can be aware enough to see what the Universe throws our way and connect the dots to solve the algorithm differently, maybe we can finally enter a new era of our lives. This got me to thinking about how to break the cycles, patterns, and habits I hold onto in my life.
I think habits are the “easiest” to start with, because the key to that level is purely mental strength and self discipline. Sometimes it’s putting yourself in a place where the habit cannot exist. They say it takes 28 days to form a new habit and I contest that you can break one in less time than that. I used to LOVE hot cheetoes, like "any time of day scarf a whole bag", love hot cheetoes. I used to crave them constantly and I would eat at least one bag a day. I once had a friend buy me 24 bags of hot cheetoes as a birthday present. I was a kid in the damn ball pit at McDonald’s. It was everything. But then, I went to Spain. That August of 2017, I searched high and low but there were no hot cheetoes to be found in any part of Spain I was visiting. For 21 days, I lived without my beloved spicy companions and eased the pain with Iberico ham and glasses of house Rioja. Guess what happened? I came back and my beloved spicy companions had turned into little red devils. They did not taste or feel the same nor did they make me feel the same. My body self adjusted while I was away and the cravings subsided. My bag per day habit has turned into a "only if I have to go inside to pay for gas” habit. Even then, it usually won’t transpire into anything because without giving y’all too many details - my body just CAN’T handle it anymore. I can only imagine how much money I’ve saved cutting out my snack attack. Starbucks, you’re next.
The more challenging beast is cyclical behaviors or behavioral patterns. How many times has life presented us with the same test twice? In my life, I know it’s been more than one time. And I’m usually really solid about learning each lesson. But sometimes I have to bang my head into the door more than twice and typically if I do, a romantic relationship is involved. Love is my downfall every time, at least I’m learning to be self aware. Let me tell y’all two stories, both of which happened within a year of each other and then I’ll tell you how I’m gonna beat this damn level. Earlier this year, I took my first solo adventure to Australia. But, it didn’t begin as a solo adventure, I was supposed to be someone’s wedding date only to be uninvited a month before the wedding. Shitty huh? Yeah, I thought so too. But, after spending $1000 on my flight and taking the time off of work, I decided I was going to go anyway. It turned out to be one of the most inspiring and empowering trips of my life. I actually prefer solo travel to group travel now. Fast forward to two weeks ago - different partner, similar storyline. Hawaii was supposed to be a #baecation and it still kinda was, I’M FOREVER BAE. Things got really gnarly with my partner right before we were meant to leave and I decided to still go it alone. Guess what happened? It turned out to be one of the most inspiring and empowering trips of my life. I still prefer solo travel to group travel. But, obviously, that isn’t the point. I don’t need a third experience of a man leaving me at the terminal, baggage in hand, to see the cycle at play here. I may be fabricating a tash. It wasn’t actually that dramatic either time, but nonetheless upsetting.
So, how am I going to break this cycle? Well, for starters I’m gonna slow down and breathe. No more big trips with people I haven’t been with for at least one year’s time unless it’s all expenses paid on their dime, because sheesh. Secondarily, I know my heart. I forgive people far too easily, often times with only a promise of what is to come and I’m back in that thing like I never left. I can’t allow myself the comfort of falling back into things, be it a friendship or a partnership, with people who disregard my time and happiness. I made a note in my phone one day while I was at the beach that reads "I need to be setting boundaries with relationships the same as I do with my work.” I’m such a boss with my work, negotiating my terms with no shame and walking away if I don’t get what I need. We have to be that bold in our personal endeavors too. We are all human. People fight, people argue, people make choices that they regret. I have and you have too. I don’t expect perfection, and I’m sure that would be boring for me anyway. But, I have to be the boss of my heart space now. Boundaries, time, and big actions that signify change are the only moniker that will allow these people to remain in my life. And if we extend beyond that, the next foul ball is an automatic out.
I have a friend who is an energy worker. Her advice to me was you only need one small difference in your actions to change what has always been a cycle in your life. I’ve tossed my glitch into the Matrix, so now we’re gonna sit back and watch. Universe, I am trying to level the f*** up; can you hear me?! If you have read this far, I know you are too. We can all think of the big habits that we need to break and cycles that keep showing up. Start small and practice awareness. If something shows up recognize it for what it is and then make your action plan. Make a list of two or three small things that you’d like to change and start you’re day to day journey. Maybe you have a friend who you can confide in with a daily text to hold you accountable. Maybe you document your experiences in a journal. A small win will make you feel committed to tackling the bigger challenges. Evolve or repeat, the choice is yours.
Love, light, and lion vibes,
I promised you guys a tandem post recapping my favorite parts of my Hawaiian adventure on Oahu. I’ll start with the basics. This was my third time to Oahu and every time it gets better for me. If you’re a first timer, spend a day at Waikiki but by no means should you spend your whole trip there. Waikiki is NOT an authentic representation of Hawaii. Rent a car and get lost on the island. There is so much beauty to be found when you wander. This trip I spent my time between Laie, Kenoehe, and Kaimuki. I drove my car and stopped off at a handful of places, both in between and out of the way. Here’s my top 5 highlight reel:
Laie - East Side, on the way to North Shore
Very sleepy beach town with a mostly Mormon population so almost everything is closed on Sunday, which I personally loved. I had to rent an AirBNB as there aren’t any “resort” options in this area. I also grocery shopped and cooked for myself. This was the perfect start to my trip. My mornings were spent with a cup of tea, nestled in front of my tiny slice of private beach watching the sunrise. If you like fishing, there were several groups of locals out this way doing that also.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck - North Shore
Shrimp trucks galore on the North Shore. I’ve been to Romy's. I’ve been to a couple of the smaller trucks, like Fumi’s. But, for me, Giovanni's wins my vote and my belly each time. There are two locations on the North Shore. This trip, I went to the one in Haliewa. They open at 10:30, but I highly advise you to get there before that and bring cash. I got in line at 10:45 and waited for 40 minutes. But, I would do it over again for that succulent, garlicky goodness. I prefer Giovanni’s because in addition to their decadent sauce, they do a pretty great job of cleaning the shrimp and taking the heads off. If this doesn’t bother you, then venture on.
Sandy Beach - Past Hanauma Bay
I found this gem after the parking to Hanauma Bay was full before noon and I didn’t have the patience to combat the rush. I just kept driving for about a mile and came to a beautiful lookout. Past the lookout was the turn in for Sandy. My favorite perks of this beach - the parking, the views, and chatting with the local surfers. I’m a sun bunny, so I really only get in to wet my body when I get too hot. This is not the beach for you to swim at, unless you’re a local or Michael Phelps.
SALT - Kakaako
This is the cutest area ever. It reminds me of Venice Beach in Hawaii. There are tons of places to try within SALT, but I ate at Fish with my friend Tammy and it did not disappoint! Fresh seafood in a new, hip, open air restaurant. The freshest, most crispy fish tacos I’ve ever had. There was no hassle with parking, both with garage and street options. Following your lunch, be sure to walk around the neighborhood and get some photos with all of the beautiful street art murals.
Diamond Head Hike - Diamond Head
I only like hiking if it’s not too strenuous. I love the outdoors, but I’m working my body out day after day dancing, I don’t need the help on my off time. This hike was perfect for me and I did it in Vans. There are spots to stop off on the way and take photos, but my advice is to gun it for the top. There’s space to sit and geek out if you feel adventurous enough. It’s an epic view, and especially if you go right before sunset. I’m sure sunset is beautiful too, but probably crowded. As I got to the top, with Tammy as my guide, a dragonfly flew past me. At that very time I was originally supposed to be getting a tattoo of a dragonfly at a shop in Kaneohe, but Tammy was able to meet unexpectedly last minute. Dragonflies symbolize change, transformation, poise & power, and self realization. I got my tattoo the next day and Diamond Head will always be the force I thank for that.
California wildfires are wreaking havoc, again. Today the air quality in San Francisco went from "unhealthy" to "very unhealthy" and it got me thinking about the parallels in my life that haven't exactly been a breathe of fresh air. I'm more than aware and grateful for my blessings, so have no fear because this isn't a rant. It's merely a story about introspection and self realization.
Between heartache and burnout, the last three months have been exhausting and I'll admit to feeling very emotionally suffocated. I love my job, I love my students, and I love the life I've built for myself but I have noticed as of late how I feel plagued by physical and creative burnout. For the last six years, I've worked very hard to build my business and sustain my life in San Francisco, often working 12 hour days and taking only one day per week to myself. The city has become a grim reflection of what it used to be and most of us find the disparity in wealth forcing us to work our fingers to the bone and then the bone into dust. On the flip side of that, the dating scene amongst Bay Area millennials is so disheartening. I've been single-ish since 2015, given a couple of situationships here and there, because thats all most of us really allow ourselves to commit to in 2018. The only emotion I have left is AHHHHHHHH! I refuse to use Tinder, Bumble, or the beyond and when I do meet someone I enjoy spending time with, it's often very short lived. This breeds a lingering feeling of loneliness and thoughts of "what if" for even the most independent or self assured in the bunch. Some of you reading this may have a similar story. So, what can we do when this happens?
If you're anything like me, you leap to fix it. I don't know how to sit around and wallow in my misery, so I make changes. The most immediate change I've been able to make is setting boundaries with my work. I set a schedule that I can manage and no longer overextend my hours to meet the needs of my clients. I schedule breaks from social media, for self care, and for fun. And I've started adding passion projects into my everyday mix, like working on this blog and a newly started apprenticeship for energy modalities & Reiki I. I recently listened to a master class on "resting" that provided scientific evidence on how true rest breeds way for more productivity. I also read an article about an artist who takes a break every seven years to reinvigorate his passion, then my friend Giulia told me that "sabbatical" means "every seven years". While I'm about six months shy, mine begins on February 2nd, 2019. I will be leaving San Francisco for a while to allow myself true creative replenishment and rejuvenation. My first "soul journey" will be a six month adventure to live in Europe that culminates with a trip to Mother Africa. I'm feeling inspired, excited, anxious, and so many other emotions. But ultimately in the present, I'm much calmer with my new chapter on the horizon which gives me continued confidence to balance my life in the present.
Maybe your "breath of fresh air" doesn't need to be as extreme as mine, but you still need one. I encourage you to sample the air quality in your heart and soul. Can you breathe okay? If not, what do you need? You are the only one who can create change in your life, make a list of what purity feels like to you.
I like meditation and I like crystals. If you don't know about the metaphysical properties of crystals, that's okay. I like to think of them like trees; here long before us, full of Mother Nature's healing spirit, and packed with vibrational wisdom. Meditation is the practice of finding stillness so that you may hear the answers that are already inside of you. Maybe this births a new idea, a realization, or in some cases a mystic connection. The art of meditation is actually in having no expectations and just building the practice. In any instance where I correlate personal experience to a blog post, I will suggest crystals that have personally helped me tap into what I need surrounding the particular topic discussed. It's merely a suggestion, you don't have to actually do anything with it. With that being said, Amethyst and Carnelian have both been so crucial during recent meditations in helping me to figure this all out.
Amethyst aids in balance, greater understanding, protection, and overall healing.
Carnelian aids in courage, motivation, confidence, and creativity.
Breathe easy, my friends.
Love, light, and lion vibes.
Hey, again. It's Shonna.
I'm one part dance diva, one part sunbeam, and one part lioness. This blog is a highlight reel of my favorite moments, my travels, my dance classes, and my spiritual journey. It is a place for me to express, share, and heal. Through my journey, I hope to inspire, create, and spread happiness. I truly enjoy making others feel good - about themselves, about their circumstances, about life in general. With any dash of hope, maybe you can feel that way too.