The year 2018 was a big one for me. I was newly divorced and still growing into a more empowered version of myself.
In order to keep this post relatively short and without turning it into an autobiography, let’s just say I had no idea who I was. I grew up in a home where narcissism ran rampant. Codependency was the name of the game when it came to life in my childhood, which followed me well into my 30s.
I got married without any sense of who I really was and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that I was extraordinarily unhappy with myself. I met the person who I have labeled as my twin flame in the year 2015, and that meeting was the initial spark that set my soul ablaze.
I spent the next few years trying on different and varied versions of myself. I wore all kinds of different hats (metaphorically speaking, of course) and tried out new and colorful ways of self-expression. To say that I was making up for the child within that was not encouraged to become her own person is an understatement. It was around this time I stopped talking to many of my family members, and I distanced myself from everything and everyone who tried to tell me who I was so that I could have the space and the silence to determine my authenticity for myself.
Breaking up with codependency is no easy task. It takes a lot of courage, and it feels unsafe to the one who is not used to self-validation and self-acceptance. Many of my family members had some negative things to say about it because it felt uncomfortable to them as well, but I needed to figure me out. It felt as though I was walking around with all this stuff that did not belong to me—from the stories that were handed down to me, to the items within my home.
In August of 2018, I had sold all of my belongings and went to Maui on a wing and a prayer. I stayed in a tent in the middle of the jungle during a three-month work trade, learned some valuable lessons, and was blessed with some of the deepest healing I’d ever received.
Moving to Hawaii was a dream I’d had for many years—namely the Big Island; how I ended up in Maui still baffles me a bit, but I did.
It is said that the Hawaiian Islands are so powerful that you must be prepared to deal with anything that might remain hidden within yourself.
In my experience, if you go there with the intention of healing, it is healing you’ll receive. It is also my experience that healing is messy. Maui was no exception to this rule.
Here are just three of the things that this beautiful island taught me:
We don’t need much to be happy.
I used to think that the latest and greatest items or clothing would make me happy. During my marriage, I remember having all of this beautiful stuff filling our home, but none of it made me any happier. Sometimes I am blown away when I look at all of the stuff people have in their homes taking up space. I understand it—truly; but I will never be able to put into words the gratification that comes with emptying out one’s life and really looking within, without all the stuff clouding one’s vision.
Not having much of anything frees the mind of stories that no longer fit, and it unties us from the past version of ourselves. It allows us to stand fully naked in front of ourselves and embrace the flawed, messy version of us that we otherwise try to conceal under the guise of a perfect and carefully decorated home.
Living in a tent with a small bed and a dresser helped me understand that what others deem as a necessity is merely a story and that happiness and more stuff are not mutually exclusive.
Our outward reality reflects our inner landscape.
Maui taught me so much about what was still lurking around in my subconscious. The man that I was doing the work trade for was operating from the energy of not enough and lack. Given that I firmly believe that life will constantly reflect back to us what remains hidden within ourselves, this one was a doozy!
Maybe some of you can relate, but I grew up believing that I was not enough and that I had to perform well in order to be of value in this world. Some kids are taught that they are loveable just because they are—because they exist. I was taught that I was loveable if I did everything right, and even that was sometimes called into question. So this lesson showed up as the person in charge of the work trade, where it felt like everything I did was wrong somehow and he was never happy with anything.
Did I see my own darkness like a big, brilliant mirror in front of me? You bet! Believe it or not, that lesson would not be fully resolved for some time after I left the island, but I digress.
Maui showed me that our inner landscape is reflected outwardly. Look around you. What does your home look like? What about your car? Do you have space to breathe or do you feel like there is never enough? Do you constantly want more or are you happy and grateful for what you have? How do you take care of yourself? Do you remind yourself that you are enough or are you always comparing yourself to strangers on the Internet? What you see around you is but a reflection of what is happening within you.
Trust and surrender is everything.
Hitchhiking is probably one of the most common modes of transportation in Hawaii. Since I was in the middle of the jungle with no car, I had to learn how to trust that I could get around the island and that what I needed would be given to me.
For someone who always felt the need to control in order to feel safe, this was a big lesson for me, but here is what I learned: when I was hyper-focused on, “what if it doesn’t work out,” I was immediately taken out of flow state and it was harder to find someone who would give me a ride. When I trusted that everything would work in my favor, it very often did, and my needs were taken care of with no problems.
Such is life.
Maui taught me the beauty in surrender and trust—that we are all divinely guided and always protected—without question. Most of us are just too caught up and focused on what could go wrong that what we fear is what ends up happening.
Take me, for instance; I went to Maui not expecting to return and in-end, came back to the town I was living in before I left. This time, however, I had a much better sense of who I was and what I wanted for my life.
Maui ripped out some weeds that were still crowding my internal landscape and blessed me with some of the most luscious and incredible fruits I could have ever imagined.
I’m not suggesting to do as I did and drastically uproot your life in order to figure yourself out, but I am suggesting to empty out where you can in order to become a more evolved version of you.
I am suggesting trusting more and worrying less, and I’m suggesting finding ways to cultivate happiness within you.
After all, there will never be another you on planet Earth, so why not make it count?