Sponsored by: Carolyn Wong

February Reflections:

February was a month of confirmation.  When I interviewed for this six month scholarship, I wasn’t entirely certain that I would be in Hawaii for the following six months, but over the course of the month, my husband signed a contract, and our course is set!  He starts his new position on 9/1, and I will be here to write my August/Final reflection.  Taking these classes is helping me to stay anchored to my personal journey and strengths through this transition.

Rachel Macy Stafford wrote, “Remember the deepest desire of the human heart is to belong … to be welcomed … to know you are seen and worthy of kindness.”  As someone who spends much of her time cultivating possibilities for others, and helping them to sense more comfort and ease in movement, and connection in their lives, I appreciate the opportunity to be welcomed into a community of growth, happiness, and acceptance at this transitional moment for me.  This opportunity to be a part of the Happiness U community is a call to stay focused on my own happiness throughout this change process.  As my husband formulates his plan of action for life after his phD, I get to keep creating the life that I want to live, in this moment and planning for our future.

This month, I’ve made a habit of making more space for activities that help me to care for myself.  I really appreciated thinking about creating my own boundaries and rules more carefully after taking the space holding class.  I’ve made more time for classes, conversations, movement (bellydance classes and walks with friends) and even trading bodywork sessions with colleagues this month.  Taking care of myself by allowing myself the opportunity to feel inspired by others, and to just rest in someone else’s care has been such a treat this month.  Managing my energy helps me to be a better person for others.  Recognizing that I need my time to restore myself, I’ve been allowing myself the space to make social plans with people who inspire me and have been taking the time to listen for the lessons I am meant to learn from these guides.  I feel so grounded in the network of connections that is here to support me in this moment.

This month, I have also spent time reflecting on how hard the idea of loneliness is for me.  Transitions are often lonely times, and I am feeling extra grateful for opportunities to connect with others and to dream about building communities around myself after my move.  I visited a Rotary Club this past month, and love the idea of joining a community of service-driven leaders here, and then being able to transfer my membership when I move into a new community.  It feels incredibly satisfying to take an action while I’m in Honolulu to set myself up for more friendship and fellowship when I move.  I’ve had some great conversations with members of the Happiness U community this month too, and look forward to more opportunities to reflect and grow! =)


March Reflections:

Starting March off with Life Book class was such an affirming process!  WOW!  While writing my biography, I was reminded of who I am, of what brings me joy, of all the experiences that have brought me into alignment with my ideals and my passions.  This month, I started dancing again.  I have been swing dancing since the late 90s, but stopped going consistently when I was pregnant.  Since then, I average about once every few months.  During March,  I was invited to teach two workshops at Punahou School out of the blue, and I also invited friends to come out and swing dance with me who had never been before.  I was reminded that I love being a dance ambassador, and that while I’m still in Honolulu, I have the opportunity to bridge any gap that someone might feel in wanting to join the dance community.  I found it delightfully easy to be a part of a community that I no longer have any obligation toward–no organizing responsibilities, no long-term commitment, just so much love to share around a hobby that has given me direction, friendships and so many opportunities for growth.  I could just be present with the people there, embrace those that I have history with, and just enjoy the new people, music, and venue.  It was a refreshing reminder that I still love to dance, and that I still love to share this experience with others.  It gives me so much hope that when I move to Austin, I’ll find community within the dance community, and that I’ll always be able to connect to an inner sense of joy through dance, no matter how long it’s been that I’ve been away from it!

This month, I’ve spent time thinking about what makes my heart sing.  I was reminded of my Enneagram path this month through Alice’s course.  I am a 7 and have embraced the ways that my “Enthusiast” self has become more focused in recent years.  I love reflecting back on the experiences, like dancing, which have helped me to focus my life and given me direction, while also providing new and stimulating experiences.  I love being able to celebrate my energetic, multi-faceted self, and the way that I can cross fertilize and connect from diverse areas of my experiences.  Dancing is a cornerstone for me, but so is watching my daughter’s independence grow, sharing food, connecting with other women, helping others to sense possibility in their lives through movement and expanding their perspectives, and loving my husband.  I’ve felt so deeply grounded in the knowing of my purpose, and so grateful for the experiences that have allowed me to share my joy and make meaningful contributions to my community.  I’ve been more and more excited about the possibilities that Austin holds for me!

I finally had a chance to explore taking the online courses and am looking forward to delving into this format more in the next months.  Looking at my financial picture this month, it’s been such a joy to see the ways that wealth manifests in my life, even if it hasn’t always been so obvious in a financial sense.  I love thinking about being able to translate my wealth of social connections and knowledge and being able to expand that into my financial picture.  I’ve taken steps toward valuing the time that I spend organizing women’s board game nights after reflection during Life book class, and within my Feldenkrais practice, just because I was starting to feel like it was time to raise my rates, and to feel more comfortable with new rates.  There is less guilt around charging for my time, services, and the energy spent with others, and raising my rate for new clients feels right at the moment.  It feels great to acknowledge my financial picture with a deeper sense of my own worth.

Mostly, I’m excited to have my chart read my Alice!  I think I finally have a chance to learn more about that this coming month!  I also feel so much more focused on my own personal growth, and all the ways that I can use my down-time for reflection on questions from life book and from the activities from the online courses.  It’s keeping me inspired and busy in a nicely focused way!


April Reflections:

This month has been filled with learning opportunities, and I am grateful to be a scholarship recipient and to have the requirements to keep me grounded in my own personal growth.  Making space and time for Happiness U classes has shown me some pockets of time in my day where I can devote more time to learning.  I listened to a webinar where a Feldenkrais practitioner named Larry Goldfarb said that “Unless we keep learning, we are trapped in what we’ve already learned.”  This reminded me of the lessons that Alice has been sharing about how to shift paradigms.  I was invited to attend a talk given to successful entrepreneurs and could feel how small my belief system was in comparison to the others in the room.  It was eye-opening.  I’m starting to sense a new paradigm, and I’m excited to be pushing against a border in my own belief systems about my finances and how I value my time.

More and more, I’m starting to notice the quiet moments where intuition steps in and helps to guide me.  I really enjoyed learning about Intuition from Alice this month.  It helped me to make more space for quiet self-reflection and to take more notes when I hear those little inner voices.  I love the idea that listening to intuition allows me to make the right choice for my soul to evolve, instead of choosing from the fear of making the wrong choice.  I love being reminded that there is no wrong choice.  I love the reminder to ask often for signs when I have questions I am sitting with.

This month, I was invited to write a blog for a company that I adore.  While I still find myself procrastinating, I have been getting many quiet prompts in my downtime that will be the seeds of inspiration when I actually take the time to write!  Opportunities are everywhere and listening to intuition has helped guide me toward WomanSpeak.  This month, I applied and was approved as a trainee to eventually lead WomanSpeak Circles.  It feels resonant with my other interests and the signs have been steering me in this new and complementary direction!

This month, I started tackling the clutter in my purse, and found the time well-spent.  I’m feeling more focused about the connections that I would like to make, as well as the ones that I would like to maintain.  It’s helped me to be more responsive to others, and to create more opportunities for meaningful connection this month.  It was nice to be reminded that clutter causes a feeling that there are more obstacles, which can cause an energy drain and stagnation, frustration and stress.  Clearing out my purse and wallet definitely felt like a step toward freedom and organization this month!

More and more, I’ve been able to acknowledge the perfection of the moment, holding space for what feels positive and negative.  This afternoon, I was lying on a hammock, under the shade of two mango trees in a friend’s backyard and could also take in the experience of the mosquitos swarming around me.  These are precious moments — my last mango season in Hawaii for a while, and it was funny to see mangos in my friend’s rain gutter…. a Hawaii problem!  I was also able to turn a feeling of dread/embarrassment about asking to redeem a gift certificate that’s over 7 years old into an opportunity to connect with someone who I respect a great deal, and whom I now have an opportunity to learn from next week!  He could feel my enthusiasm for redeeming the certificate and I think that my passion for what he has to share also filled his spirit for the evening.  The exchange of energy was exhilarating, and in such contrast to the dread I felt before making the call.

I loved hearing Alice say “Our nature is to grow–challenge is going to come externally or internally”.  It was such a healthy reminder that challenge is part of human experience that we’re meant to experience as we grow.  One of my favorite moments from the month was bringing my daughter to a Rotary service project and after struggling with her for the first few hours to help and be involved in the project, she finally found a way to make what we were all working toward something enjoyable for herself.  She spent the rest of the afternoon working- pulling wagonloads of weeds, asking adults for help, and accomplishing LOTS.  It was amazing to see the work she was willing to put in after the initial resistance.  It was such a good reminder that my own inner toddler resists challenge in a similar way, and how impactful my focus and sense of purpose can be in guiding me toward productivity and results!


May Reflections:

Thanks for another amazing month of thoughtful opportunity.  This month, Alice read my chart, and I’ve enjoyed thinking about myself as a “hero-caregiver,” nurturing others to growth.  It was fun to acknowledge that part of me that is the “sage,” who picks up ideas and information up, owns info easily and am respected for what I know.  I have always felt that education is at the heart of change, and love seeing myself as an educator who teaches whatever I feel is important (not just reading/writing/math).  I loved the idea that i communicate and create by nature.  I also really resonated with the idea that I make safe decisions, and enjoy being different and new, while pushing against boundaries.  I also loved working with the image of Chiron too.  I have often felt that I teach from my own deep wounds and my awareness of how these wounds can be addressed.  I’m excited to have proposed a workshop at Happiness U, and am excited to teach in the space again!

This month has been a busy one of social commitments and adventures.  I’ve been amazed at my productivity this month, even though I spent much of the month avoiding doing the Avoid Distractions 101 class.  I started watching it at the beginning of the month and couldn’t inspire myself to make the lists of the tasks.  I finally decided to just keep watching the video, and to allow the information to permeate my thinking process.  More and more, I appreciate the process of reflection that Alice promotes.  I kept feeling like I “SHOULD” write up a list, but I think I was avoiding it because I didn’t want to feel the sense of obligation and dread, or to acknowledge all the things that go through my head.  I remember taking a personal development class years back and realizing that I didn’t need to do any of the things on my to-do list.  Mostly, my to-do list is to help me remember what projects I can possibly be working on.  Ultimately, I do see how I do what I want to do each day, and in each moment.  I appreciate the idea that I must have done what I needed to do, and more and more I see the importance of just being the authority in my own life.

Punch and Brunch was definitely outside of my comfort zone this month, but it is a class I am glad I showed up for.  It was a wonderful morning with friends, and I also felt like it gave me physical tools to take care of myself in case I am ever in a situation where I need to escape from a bad situation.  It was also a good reminder to put more time into exercise, which I’ve added to my calendar steadily over the course of the month, and have been feeling great about!  I appreciated how fun and safe I felt while trying out something new, and it’s a good reminder for me, as I get excited about sharing WomanSpeak with others, that public speaking is something that I want others to feel safe and have fun doing, as they push against their own limiting beliefs and fears.

I finished up this month by attending Candace’s class on Unconditional Love, which drove home the message of being an authority in one’s own life in a different way.  I loved visualizing unconditional love, and really appreciated the idea that self-love underlies all the decisions that we make about how we live our lives.  I’ve often thought about unconditional love in relationship to others, and bringing it back to myself, felt very grounding and nurturing.

I started planting a garden bed with my daughter this month.  Gardening had been at the edge of my comfort zone when I first started a school garden back in 2011, and it’s nice to feel myself doing something so familiar and grounding again.  I haven’t done any gardening since before she was born, and it felt amazing to physically weed, remove what wasn’t needed, add amendments to the soil, plant seeds for what we want to see grow, and select and plant some seedlings that we wanted to see grow.  I jumped on this opportunity to do this before we leave Hawaii and am excited to watch things grow and change up until we have to leave.  We may not get to see all the flowers bloom or be able to enjoy the veggies, but it’s a good lesson to do it anyway!


June Reflections:

Our monthly group meeting left with me with such gratitude for the people in my life.  It was such a good reminder of the preciousness of the circumstances that bring us together, and a reminder to be at peace with letting go of people as well.  For so many reasons, a move is less traumatic than the loss of death, and that perspective feels important to hold onto at this moment.  This month has been about taking advantage of opportunities to speak, to lead, to spend time with and to hold space for others.  I’ve also had more opportunities to seek support, be vulnerable and open to the mentorship and magic of my life.  My own personal development was more of the interactive variety this month.

It’s been a very inspired month for me.  This month has been ripe with new and expansive experiences that are shaping my picture of myself.  I loved Alice’s reminder to “figure out who you are based on who you want to be.”  It’s been a month of catalyzing ideas.  I taught a workshop at the Impact Hub and launched WomanSpeak.  More and more, I’m understanding the kind of woman I want to be when interacting with other women, and it’s helping me to understand my own strengths as a leader, facilitator and mentor for others.  I’ve been refining my purpose.  I’ve had more meetings, deep conversations, and connection with other women this month, and I’ve also sacrificed some personal and family time in the process.  It was meaningful to be able to offer time to others, and I know the shift to family/self is coming soon with the move, so it feels that much more important to have a clear way of communicating who I am and what I am about to others.

One of the themes that came up for me this month is support- we all need support, and we all want to feel supportive, and yet, it can be difficult to ask and receive support.  I spent this month thinking about how women need mentors, how we all need mentors, and clarifying how I could offer my own support to others in this capacity.  We all need someone who can be with us in a time of challenge, in a time of transition.  Transition is ripe with possibility, and a time when we are most likely to feel alone.  I like to be with people at these moments, when they are tackling their challenges with courage, facing possibilities with a spirit of exploration and curiosity.  I am a connector and I am loving being a facilitator for Sparked and WomanSpeak.  I delight in the conversations that come out of evenings spent sharing ideas, and love listening to women find what excites them, just before they are ready to take action on these ideas!  Allowing my love of connection to support my Feldenkrais practice in a meaningful way is my work-in-progress.

This month gave me opportunities to receive and accept support from those around me.  Our car transmission died this month, and we were blessed to have a friend who is on vacation, off-island, who was willing to lend us a car till August.  I have easily found hosts for upcoming events, and received an invitation to be part of a retreat weekend with women who inspire me.  I’ve never hosted a retreat, so I’m excited to learn from this experience.  I’ve had waves of imposter syndrome wash over me this month, and I’ve been able to sit back and ride along with it, by acknowledging and being present with it.  I appreciate the resilient acceptance of what is, that I think is building in me as a result of this scholarship experience.

I appreciate the Self-Hypnosis class that Alice taught this month.  It was fascinating to me!  I have been in a Resonance Repatterning group for many years and have used similar techniques, and never realized that they fall under the category of “Self-Hypnosis”.  It was wonderful to have more names for the tools that I’ve had in my toolkit and enjoyed playing with over the years!  I’ve been thinking a lot about paradigm shifts this month.  I feel like I’m at some new edges in my own experience, and it’s both scary and refreshing.


July Reflections:

This is the month when the move and the upcoming transition has become more real for me.  When I found out that the housing situation that I had lined up for my family had fallen through due to a fire in the home where we had planned to stay for the first three months, I immediately reached out to a woman whom I had connected with earlier in this process.  I had been on the computer using google maps street view with my husband one evening, months ago, and found a house that looked welcoming.  I had asked my husband to jot down the address, and after a handful of searches on Google and Facebook, I eventually reached out to the owner of the home for friendship.  We have similar values (she runs a foraging website and also had a booth at a farmer’s market), and she is a long-time Austin resident who often rents her home out as an airbnb.  She was working on a renovation and couldn’t offer us housing at the time, but now, the construction is complete, and she offered, so we accepted!  It’s amazing how quickly things lined up for us!  The delightful synchronicity affirms my intuition and I am grateful to trust my inner knowing.  The woman we will be living with mentioned that she wanted things to unfold “for the best for all concerned,” and it was amazing to be reminded of that phrase.

Remembering to trust the process of the unfolding is so important for me right now.  I love the feeling that everything is connected, and the feeling of fulfillment that I’ve had this month gives me so much hope for Austin.  Listening to Alice talk about the Law of Vibration reminded me of all the times I’ve made powerful transitions in my life.  This month, I’ve put more attention on adventures with friends and my daughter, as my husband has been hard at work on his dissertation and attending a conference.  I shared Sparked with a group of mothers of terminally-ill children, I invited friends to join me to explore the Food, Lodging and Hospitality Expo, I visited some of my favorite places of beauty and significance on Oahu with others (Shangrila and kayaking out to the Mokes), and had a few busy and full days with my daughter, expanding her view of the world– attending a bird rescue workshop at the Hawaiian Humane Society, Family Sunday at the Honolulu Museum of Art, and Keiki Day at Kahala Mall, where we watched a documentary about plastic straws together.

I loved learning Dr. Chad Sato’s Five Cores of Empowerment in the Body Detective class.  Starting from Awareness, moving to Acknowledging, Acceptance, Adaptation/Allowance and then Action when addressing healing in the body resonates with my own beliefs about self-healing.  Teaching Awareness Through Movement classes has helped me to support others in moving toward greater access to making changes in their own bodies and taking steps toward a more integrated and meaningful use of self.  Awareness of self is at the heart of so many impactful changes and decisions that I’ve made, and I am so grateful for the continued unfolding as I bring attention to the things I notice and care about!

Law of Relativity is really nice to keep in mind during this transition.  I often feel myself comparing my own experiences with that of others, and it’s nice to be reminded to just accept myself and others for who I am and who they are.  It’s a relief to not always feel like I need to be somewhere I’m not, and to know that my own path is unfolding with lessons that are uniquely mine to learn from.  Parenthood is definitely a place where I’ve had many opportunities to give myself compassion!  This whole moving process has made me understand that there’s so much that I haven’t dealt with, by not having moved all these years.  Allowing myself to learn from others and to accept help is key in feeling balanced, and I am working on both!

I appreciate knowing that even as I have felt stuck about how to begin again in Austin (considering options for what I want to do for meaningful work), I have allowed myself to be more patient with the process knowing that I will find answers at the right time.  This unfolding has been both more fun and more integrative than I had imagined it being.  This past month has given me opportunities to let the right words and opportunities land when they were most needed.  For instance, I appreciated the reminder to sit down and write out my bucket list–not for Hawaii, but for Austin.  It’s nice to be so explicitly intentional about what I am creating and inviting into my life.  I love being directed to thinking about what I want to experience in this lifetime.  Finishing this experience with a spirit of adventure and gratitude, as I allow myself to explore the beliefs that I’d like to let go of so that I can allow myself an even more amazing experience in Austin feels like a good place to be at the moment.


August Reflections:

The move is still incredibly daunting to me, but I’m also so grateful to have taken this time and opportunity to focus on my own life and growth through this period. A friend mentioned that she had never seen anyone approach a move with such “expansiveness.” She reflected that people usually respond to moves by pulling away from people and activities, and she admired that I had very much done the opposite of this. I’ve spent the last several months leaning in, continuing to build connections and to do what I can to make these months both meaningful and insightful to myself. Mostly, I’ve really enjoyed attending to the way that I feel about what’s happening and what I’m creating, and allowing myself the space and time to enjoy and reflect on what I’m experiencing. I’ve really appreciated taking the time for written reflections that have come out of the worksheets and notes taken at Happiness U classes, and during Life Book class. It is very rare for me to write much outside of what I post on social media, so taking the time with myself for thoughtfulness and for my own growth has felt very rewarding and like an important practice to continue to develop.

I’ve always been driven to contribute my time and energy to causes, and never had a clear focus on the issues that mattered to me the most. Environmentalism, Feminism, Animal Rights, Human Rights, Food Justice, Educational Equity, and other issues have all weighed on my heart at some point or another. At this time when climate change and the political climate leave others despairing, I feel more hope than I’ve ever felt in my life. I’m recognizing that it’s because I cultivate active hope. I’ve recognized in recent months that my deepest needs for making a difference in the world have been filled by my efforts to create communities and to support others in using their voices bravely and authentically. I’m realizing that this time spent in reflection over courses at Happiness U have spurred on my own feelings of self-acceptance.

I feel more deeply my purpose in giving a voice to what’s often left unspoken, the communication that allows us to address what is important beyond the everyday logistics of life. As I’ve reflected on my core values, it’s occurred to me how much I value time in community with others, in real life, in real time, without social media and technology getting in the way of the sharing of vulnerability and acceptance. When I think about what it takes to create the changes that I want to see in the world, I come back to the vision of helping others transition out of their sense of powerlessness and loneliness, back into community with others through the use of their embodied voices/ideas. The ripple effect of touching people’s lives through gentle guided movement, and through invitations to challenge their self-perceptions and expand their perspectives of others within a group setting that allows them the space to sense more possibility within their lives has certainly given me that much more hope and sense of my own purpose.

Mostly, I am so grateful for having had this opportunity to grow within a community. The feeling of support has been palpable, the friendships have been powerful, and the way that the Happiness U community encourages people to thrive in their lives through a deep acceptance of self has been transformative for me. Thanks Alice, Erin, Val, and all the teachers, and members for an amazing six months!


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