Sponsored by: Nancy Wong and H.T. Hayashi

January Reflections:

Having the opportunity to engage at Happiness University because of generous sponsors is a blessing in disguise.  Taking time out for myself was not part of my routine. Back in October my friend Annette invited me to my first ever Mindful Meditation class. Oh, what an evening, it felt comfortable, peaceful, rejuvenating and most importantly it resonated with my spirit. It felt like I belong.

Understanding who I am at this point in my life and having the courage to look at myself and accept the person in the mirror is just the beginning. Hoakalei is my Hawaiian name it means reflection. Knowing that I share a birthday with many people in the world yet my time of birth is what makes me unique is so simple yet mind blowing. However, it’s not all about me, everyone I come into contact with are unique individuals that each have special qualities and talents, It’s good to be around positive people striving to be better going in the same direction.

I feel like a freshman in college. Excited, anxious, fearless and overwhelmed however being seasoned in age I am cautious, nervous and strong to know that when the butterflies settle the real work is at hand. Tools to assist me on this new adventure gives direction and purpose. Holding on to material things prevent me to move forward while these items that take up space also affect every part of my being. Releasing stuff gives me freedom, clarity and order. Cleaning use to start in the center of the room but I am on a new path that cleans one corner at a time.  Although time may not permit to complete all four corners I am pleased with the corner or corners that are complete.  Just being in the space feels good and light,

“If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real” is a message shared by Alice Inoue in an online class.  This is my daily note to self with intent to list, schedule and follow through, Life is a challenge and how I participate will make the difference. I believe “everything happens for a reason” whether it makes sense at the moment or not, the experience will unfold itself and the lesson will be clear someday if not today.  Simple changes will make a big difference one day at a time. Every talk, class, guest speaker and workshop will take me closer to being my own role model. Mahalo for the opportunity!

 

February Reflections:

Clearing out a closet, space or corner is the obvious part of clutter. The visible area filled with “to do’s” that never got done. Physical clutter is just one part of the problem, the other is internal or mental clutter. This kind of junk is harder to get rid of because it is always with you until you deal with it. Taking the time to list all “to do’s”, deciding whether attention is needed immediately or later help declutter the mind. At first it may seem like it takes too much time but by actually going through the process I felt less stress and focus with the task on hand.

In Mindful Meditation we are often reminded to stay in the present. Many times our mind wanders and all kinds of thoughts pass by. If you’re not careful, your thoughts could take you off on a tangent and lead you in a direction of fear and stress. To know your mind is wandering is to recognize that you are in the present. Focusing on the intention and following through is the process. It can be a challenge at times but well worth the effort. One of the things I realized this month is that I cannot trust my mind. As part of an exercise, Dr. Chad Sato said to list 3 things I trust and 3 things I don’t trust. I never thought to put my ‘mind’ on the list of things not to trust until now. As a child I was told to trust my na‘au (my gut feeling) know what feels right in my heart and trust myself. 

Breathing is something we do everyday and whether we realize it of not it would be impossible to go without breathing for more than 5 minutes, Of course, deep sea pearl divers and others with this unique talent is an exception but for the most part we need to breathe.  In stressful situations a simple breathe is all we need.  It’s been shared that if you need to calm down physically and emotionally quickly take 7 deep breathes. By the end of the 7th breath your mind will be clear. Needless to say I am a believer of this technique, it works!

Dreams have always been fascinating to me. Trying to make sense of the unbelievable activities that happen are actually symbolic. It is the emotions that are experienced throughout the dream that brings clarification and insight. How did you feel in the dream? What was your state of mind? Obviously, what you do before you fall asleep can also affect the emotions and activities in the dream. Once you understand your dreams through an emotional perspective it changes the game. I now know that dreams tell the past and present not the future.

It is a year of change in belief, thought and perspective for me. At the end of the day, I take inventory, acknowledge the positive, and know that tomorrow will be productive. My journey is in progress and my heart is open to new ideas and teachers who are willing to help, guide and improve my quality of life. Mahalo nui Happiness U.

 

March Reflections:

Life Planning is the one class that will never end or come to an end unless I leave this world. I find it empowering to tell my story as I see it, feel it, believe it and know it to be real. The depth of emotions are not always comfortable to the process of participating in the compilation of my experiences yet I realize the more open I am the more I’ll receive. This journey has an impact on my perception of who I am, why I am here and what’s my purpose in this life at this particular time. By the end of this year, volume one will be done yet the changing me will continue to grow, experience and share many more volumes to come is my hope.

Technique is technique but intention is what matters. Learning skills like meditation, asking questions and even balloon art can make me a better person when I apply it to my life.

To take a balloon, manipulate it by twisting, folding and pulling it through while following the step by step instructions by Dr. Mark Moriwaki made the experience so fulfilling to complete a sword, flower and a hairpiece. I feel confident that I am on the right path and at the right place to rejuvenate my childlike dreams and desires with an adult voice and understanding.

“Meditation is not knowledge, it is a way of life. It is a choice to be observant of oneself, it is an experience to be still and learn from the stillness.” Max Gin has a genuine and gentle way of teaching lessons in silence. To be in the calm with a Beginner’s mind (seeing things new and fresh) and being nonjudgemental is the practice.  The test is life itself. Whether I pass the test or not is the exception not the lesson. What I gain from my experiences, challenges and triumphs will enhance my life, my reality and my existence. Life is good.

 

April Reflections:

Experiencing life in balance with good intentions and meaningful outcomes will be my continuing goal. How I challenge myself each day will determine the kind of person I choose to be. Happiness is a choice I will make daily. I will choose to be happy through my thoughts, words and actions however I am aware of the law of opposites that bring balance. Challenges bring growth and will be received as a way to strengthen my core. As I share these thoughts I am in the midst of chaos that demands my attention in which I allow some time but no more than necessary because I choose to be productive.

Emotions are raw with no filter. It is usually a one sided perception or feeling. Developing my intuition is knowing the connection between my heart and my mind, When a feeling comes about not planned but acted upon just because it felt right is the heart and mind aligning with each other. There are many examples in my life when I was moved to follow through with an action not questioning or trying to make sense of it but simply going through the motion. By doing so, my intuition brought  joy, peace and comfort to others. Today, I understand how intuition works and am grateful for it.

Physiognomy is something new I learned. By simply looking at an individual you will know what qualities are innate to them by identifying the largest part of the face.  There are three specific regions with specific qualities unique to each. A large forehead is associated with intelligence, while a large middle (brows to nose) is emotional and the nose to chin is physical. This could be helpful to see if the qualities I like in my kane are of the same and it is. However, the shortest area on a face mounts to a challenge.

Color is healing. A year ago I chose a red rouge for my new ride, Through the process of elimination and not really liking the color tone choices for my new car, I decided to go with red. I looked up the color name in the manual and it said “palatial ruby”, that resonated and off I drove in my Palatial Ruby Rouge. Just a few months after that I attended my first class at Happiness U. I have taken many classes since and am still in joy of this opportunity to grow. In the Color Me class, Alice shares that red means to move. As I reflect back ever since I got my Palatial Ruby Rouge I have been moving and changing and evolving. Mahalo Happiness U!!

 

May Reflections:

About 9 months ago, I had a terrible cough that I could not get rid of. I tried every natural cough remedy but nothing worked. It was frustrating, annoying and uncomfortable especially when trying to talk, sing or teach a hula class. I know today because of Dr. Chad Sato that my cough had to do with me not speaking my truth. Holding back my true feelings towards a responsibility I did respectfully and dutifully year after year yet it’s purpose no longer were in alignment with who I am. I’m still working on it finding the language that feels right, is honest and true.

Having an action plan means moving from where you are to where you want to be. Accepting where you are before trying to move on means you are taking a real inventory of yourself and accepting it. At first I thought it would be simple and easy to do
but actually I came to the conclusion that my reality wasn’t mine at all, it was somebody’s suggested reality that didn’t fit well with me and I kept going in circles trying to convince myself of this unrealitic goal. I got off the merry-go-round. This very action
helped me understand who I am today, accepting myself and most importantly loving myself for getting to this point.

I’ve heard this simple phrase before “change your mind” in songs, talks and even conversation but when Max Gin said it in Mindful Meditation in a form of awareness it felt like scripture. The words itself made sense but this time this common statement resonated with me and took this phrase to a powerful level. I can change my mind and change my path at the same time in a split second. I can become a better version of me by honoring myself simply by changing my mind!

Suffering is not a practice of compassion in fact it is quite the opposite. To have compassion is to understand what someone is going through without judgement. To help us understand this lesson Max Gin asked the class to say “just like me” when we were irritated, upset or confused by someone else’s actions throughout the week. By doing so, I felt the immediate response of aloha for the other person because I realized that I too am capable of these exact same acts, we were not different at all we were actually the same. I got the lesson but most of all I have an understanding for others who are “just like me”.

 

June Reflections:

An opportunity came to me merely because I was at the right place at the right time.  A community program was in need and I had the abilities to jump in and kokua, so I did. Went to a weekend workshop, got certified and was ready to teach a hypertension class utilizing hula as a form of exercise. I have taught many hula classes but this was different in that it was structured down to the minute. My portion was just one part of the whole of a study that has been in existence for 10 years. Fast forward my task is complete. The goal to help others bring down blood pressure levels while learning the hula is an overwhelming success!

My take on this experience is that the art of hula serves a new purpose for me. Having the opportunity to teach it on a different stage just opens up the curtains to incredible possibilities. High blood pressure, gout, obesity and other ailments are common in my ‘ohana because of our dietary habits. To have hula play a significant role to make change and improve health and wellness is a new and exciting path I plan to continue.

This new journey in hula is a mirror to the path I am on with Happiness U. I am growing, I am learning, I am purging, I am open to new experiences and I am good. Having a comfortable place to grow with others makes the experience far more enjoyable than if I took this journey alone, Sharing amongst strangers that become friends because of experiences creates a bond. Knowing that you are not alone on the journey makes it bearable. Having teachers with the insight and sincere intentions are a reflection of the leadership and support that makes Happiness U-nique!

 

July Reflections:

Rounding the corner heading home on this incredible journey of self growth, learning, networking and preservation brings to surface many emotions. The emotion at the top of the list is gratitude. Just a year ago, I took a fall, received news that have and will affect the rest of my life. I choose to live! I love myself enough to make changes. The next decision is to change my diet. Decisions to follow have taken me on a course in a direction that required courage, inner strength and love. I am forging forward.

As I am among friends at the closing of the original site for Happiness U, stories flow of the space which we know will be a memory in just hours. Laughter, fear, trust, hope and desire were all present as the storytellers share their memories. I am thankful that Alice had the courage to follow her evolving dream to create Happiness University. I am grateful to Erin, Valarie and the many supporters, teachers as well as members who continue to keep the dream alive. As a scholarship recipient I am filled with gratitude to be part of this Unique University. A safe haven to grow, learn and accept that my life has a purpose and I am here for a reason. To learn from others with an open heart enables me to embrace my authentic self.

Meditation is where I learn about myself. As a dancer there is always a beat, but in meditation the work is done in silence. I am grateful for the teachings of Max Gin as well as the support of his wife Rose. His simple steps and guidance are easier said then done but when followed can bring a clear understanding and awareness. Preschool hula is where I choose to teach fundamental and basic dances through storytelling and music. Creativity plays a big role in accomplishing my goals but to capture my haumana (students) I write songs that are cultural and relative about our island home. Once I present a mele (song) to the class it’s either hit or miss, either way I cannot take it personal. I am here to grow, learn and live. I am grateful!

 

August Reflections:

My thoughts begin with Rock Star Mama. An older Japanese woman whose performance may be enlightening or disgusting depending on how you perceive her performance to be. She is dressed in the style of Madonna, she dances in the style of
Madonna as well as performs as passionately as Madonna but yet she is not Madonna she is the Rock Star Mama. Her online following speaks for itself and her self-worth beams through every dance move and gesture. Yet before she enters the stage or
begins her performance I’m sure it starts with a deep intentional breath.

We breathe for many reasons whether it be conscious or unconscious we are always breathing. Breath is nutrition according to Mindful Meditation it is a need to prepare ourselves to cleanse our thoughts, bring focus and attention to the very act of breathing.
One particularly evening we practiced breathing our final breath. We were to visualize as though we were taking our last breath before leaving this existence. It was an interesting practice and I often reflect about how I would take my last breath. Since 1998 I have had three personal experiences in which I was the caregiver from the conception of illness till the last breath. At the end, they were all shallow consistent breathing until the last deep inhale. As I ponder these moments I realize I missed out on an opportunity. Three times I silently and patiently waited for the moment to arise yet when it did I held my breath and released in tears. I will not on my next moment for it will be deliberate and freeing. My plan is to take the deep breath and hold for as long as I can in silence with no particular thought or feeling suspending that moment until my release. So exhilarating that we can breathe together at the end and release at different locations.

As a child breathing had different purposes. Whether it be a deep breath before stepping on stage to dance, a quick short breath before a loud scream due to pranks or a savory breath while enjoying a tasty meal is all the same action yet the experience are all so different. We control our breath as well as our experiences so choose well and live!

The books Mindful Moments and More Mindful Moments are a breath of fresh air. Picking up these books and just randomly opening it can be a positive experience. It’s mind blowing on how that chance reading is actually an intentional message. I like that
it’s an easy read and simple thoughts that stay with me until I pick up the book again and feather the pages for another thought provoking pick me up! Other materials like the Daily Inspiring Thoughts/Guiding Principles card and Calendars are also enlightening and uplifting forms of positive reinforcement however it is best used when shared or applied. Mahalo Alice Inoue.

 

September Reflections:

September is always Aloha Week/Festival time of the year. One thing for sure patience is served, practically every appearance whether it was barefoot or in heels it required endurance, perseverance and composure. For the most part, it was mind over matter. Thanks to Vivian Best the stretches taught in Movement Strategies help me prepare and recover by using simple technique like “oops I dropped my pen” and “reaching for $1,000 dollar bills in the sky”. On the bus, between appearances I would practically have my body in a zig zag, it might sound crazy but it actually works! After long periods of time waiting, standing or sitting on a chair, just lifting my sitting bones off the chair or leaning forward with my elbows on my knees was all I needed to bring my body to a sense of relief not to mention it just felt good. The best part, others joined in the fun.

Dr. Bill Findlay creator of beliefhacker.com shared five limiting beliefs that hinder personal growth. They are as follows:
1. Impossible
2. You must be in control of everything
3. Things must stay the same
4. Need to be perfect
5. Quick fix syndrome

At one time or another each of these beliefs played roles that served it’s purpose. Filters have since been removed that made sense of these beliefs. “I got this”, delegation, change, “this is me” and time is the new tune of melody.

The wealth of knowledge available at Happiness U, the incredible instructors with their insights and experience as well as the friendships gained are priceless. There are so many parts of the whole which make up this incredible place of peace, joy and strength when applied promotes growth and self worth. I am grateful to be part of this movement and hope I too may inspire others.

 

October Reflections:

Receiving Costco Connection, the Costco members magazine can be exciting, informational and entertaining. In the November issue it reflects lessons I am learning and working on as a grateful scholarship recipient at Happiness U. In the section For Your Business editor Adrian Zackheim shares six key principles from Hem’s journey in the book “Out of the Maze” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. The principles are as follows:

1. Don’t believe everything you think.
Aliceism: Your own intuition is your best source of guidance
In a talk by Dr. Chad Sato I learn intuition is when the heart and mind connect. To believe everthing you think is just one part of the whole.

2. Old beliefs do not lead you to new beginnings.
Aliceism: Everything you are doing or not doing in your life is serving a purpose.
Change is inevitable, when you are ready make the decision.

3. You can change your mind. You can choose a new belief.
Aliceism: The more you focus on your own life. The easier your life becomes.
Make it clear, by releasing clutter, emotions and people that you have accepted where you are and what is important to you.

4. You are not your belief. You are the person who chooses yor beliefs.
Aliceism: There’s really no “right” or “wrong”, only what’s right for you.
Making choices is part of life so choose wisely. Friends and family can hurt or help you, it’s really up to you not them.

5. Let go of whatever isn’t working.
Aliceism: Nothing happens to you, everything happens for you.
All things have purpose it’s how we accept them into our lives that make the difference. Experiences whether good or bad serves purpose.

6. Look outside the maze. Consider the unlikely and explore the impossible.
Aliceism: In every situation, there is always a bigger picture to consider.
Making decisions in tunnel vision is so small and finite yet you take a step back and take another look makes you realize there’s more to it. Release the pressure, go with the flow and live!

Life is different now and I am happy for the choices I make daily. Building strength, courage and stability makes life worth living especially amongst friends at Happiness U.

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