Hawaii called to me the same way they all do. In my quiet moments before falling asleep, during long sunset walks on the beach, and in my deepest moments of despair. Hawaii called to me like a mother telling her daughter to come home.
I’ve received this calling many times. A place draws my heart closer and in her embrace I rediscover pieces of myself I left behind. I forget so that I can remember. I get lost to find my way. I let go and I become more whole. So when I hear the calling… eventually I always go.
This past summer while watching my home in Costa Rica get increasingly developed and wondering if I’d ever be able to move on from my twin flame while living on his land, I remembered Hawaii. I wondered if she was in fact calling me home to the true place where I belonged. I fantasized about a tropical paradise where I could live in absolute peace, beauty, and tranquility, in the highest vibration of love and light.
When I returned to Seattle in August, after a very intense few months in the jungle, nursing an enormous infected burn wound, recovering my sense of safety after having my home invaded and all of my belongings taken, cleansing my body like a full time job, and healing through some of my darkest shadows, I planned to head to Hawaii. But Hawaii first guided me elsewhere, through the spirit of Aloha.
You see, I like to think that like all the greatest medicines from the vine of Ayahuasca in the jungles of the Amazon to the sacred chants of the deities of the Himalayas, Aloha will find you precisely where you are, and gradually lure you deeper and deeper into her heart until your time comes to enter her motherland.
So in September, Aloha found me in my motherland of Seattle, Washington. I was walking out of my favorite yoga class, a Bhati Inspired community flow aptly named Yoga Church by my teacher Terilyn Wire, and saw the flier: Lomi Lomi Massage and Hawaiian Spirituality Training Retreat on Orcas Island just outside of Seattle. Something in my gut said yes, and I almost always follow that feeling.
I arrived to Orcas with no expectations. In our opening circle my teacher asked us to share what brought us. I’m usually quite verbose with my words, but this time I said simply, “because I trust myself,” unsure why I was there, but certain I was meant to be. And so my words carried with them ‘Mana,’ the Hawaiian word for ‘Power.’ Not just any power, the power of pure life force energy that pulses through this entire Earth, that we can only tap into when we’re equally determined and surrendered.
Throughout the week my reason for being became clear. In our morning prayers and afternoon massage lessons, Bethany brought Hawaii to our home in Orcas. In addition to getting rubbed in coconut oil like adorable little babies all day, and dancing with our hands across bodies like the ocean waves, we lived Aloha.
I liken Aloha to Pura Vida in the sense that it encompasses an entire way of being. Aloha literally means ‘Behold the Breath of God,” quite a nice way to say ‘Hello,” but like Pura Vida it’s really a form of reverence for the gift of life. The ‘Ha’ is the breath, and the breath is the carrier of spirit. From Heaven to Earth we breathe.
Lomi Lomi massage is an embodied Hawaiian practice in restoring ‘Pono’ or balance on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual plane by delivering the body pure Aloha. Whether you’re giving or receiving a Lomi, Aloha works through you. I could see it on my teacher Bethany’s face, which glowed like a newborn baby. “It’s all the Aloha!” she replied with a smile when I asked for her secret.
I recall receiving a Lomi our second day of the training from a man in our group, and giggles erupting out from my entire body. I asked myself if it was appropriate to be turned on while receiving the massage. At the end, completely surrendered, I realized that was the first time I actually felt like I’d been made love to by a man. No fluids necessary, just pure Aloha.
Over the week I had the opportunity to massage everyone. Doing so cultivated a special kind of intimacy, ever enhanced by our sharing circles and Hawaiian rituals for honoring the divine in one another. Aloha is just another way of saying Namaste after all. Sleeping in a house all together, sharing our meals all together, enjoying magic excursions around Orcas island together, we quickly became ‘Ohana’ or family.
Perhaps most powerful of all was when we came together in sacred circle for a traditional Ho’opono’pono ritual.
If you don’t know it already, Ho’opono’pono is an ancient Hawaiian ritual for forgiveness. It’s best known these days as the mantra “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” But Ho’opono’pono was originally a form of meditation used in communities when anyone felt like they had been wronged. Ho’opono’pono kept peace and balance within the Ohana to prevent any form of emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical disease.
But see these days few people have the patience or the humility to sit in circle and right their wrongs. So Ho’opono’pono can certainly be used to heal imbalances or heaviness felt with those we’re unable to connect with physically, with global atrocities, and with any form of conflict or turmoil within ourselves.
Choosing to offer the drama to Ho’opono’pono means you’ve decided you’re ‘Pau’ or finished with it. Not that it won’t continue to release or work through you, but that you’re tired of the victim story. Which is the essence of forgiveness: you’re so tired of the drama that you finally surrender your need to be right or to blame, and in our surrender you open to the unknowable truth that nothing is to blame for anything because all is here for your perfect evolution.
As we sat in circle and took turns speaking “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you,” to whatever person, belief, drama, or perspective that confused us from seeing our divine light, tears flowed and hearts came home. While I started practicing Ho’opono’pono years ago, this circle helped me understand it on a far deeper level and I felt ready to fully commit to it as a way of life.
A core tenant in the Lomi Lomi lifestyle and Bethany’s teachings is the simple mantra, “I am enough,” that resolves essentially any form of wounding. This realization, “I am enough,” arises from an open heart that quiets the seeking mind. Lomi Lomi as a body prayer offers the receiver the understanding that they are enough. There’s no need to fix or heal in Lomi Lomi, just to remember the divine perfection that’s already there. When we understand that we are enough, we understand that all beings are enough. Otherwise known as unconditional love.
Our final day of the training we exchanged massages and I paired with the last person I had yet to work with: my roomie and soul sister Faeryn. By the end of the massage I remember feeling softer than ever, as vulnerable and fragile as a newborn baby, glowing in the sheen of coconut oil and aloha. Bethany saw me in fetal pose wrapped up in white sheets and colorful sarongs and came over and started stroking my head. Then the tears came along with the realizations. My heart opened wide to unconditional love.
I went into the bathroom to shower and took a look at myself in the mirror. “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” I started to cry and apologize to myself. In that moment I realized how my own disbelief in the truth of “I am enough,” manifested most dominantly through seeking romantic partnership. I had grown so much, empowered myself so fully, but there was still part of me dissatisfied with life and myself because “he” hadn’t arrived.
In that moment though, I knew that I was enough. I told myself “I’m sorry for searching and searching and searching for the one, when you’ve been here all along. I promise to stop cheating on you by looking for someone else to complete you.” Pau. I meant it. Finished.
That evening I danced as I often do, opening my body with my breath and the flow of music. As I dropped into the rhythm, eyes closed heart open, the visions came. First through rainbows that poured in from all directions, dancing with me playfully and making me laugh and smile. Then as I stomped my feet to the tribal rhythms, I saw my selves with my eyes closed. Every version of me. Me as a child, a teenager, a young adult, so many phases and ages. We danced and celebrated together. We celebrated our journey, every perfect divine moment of it. And one by one each of me returned to me, making me even more whole.
Fast forward three months later, back in the jungle of Costa Rica. I carried Hawaii in my heart offering Lomi Lomi massages to friends, sharing Hawaiian chants on my Jungle Goddess women’s retreat, and making Ho’opono’pono my daily ritual in my journal, aloud, and in the mirror. I started researching possibilities for spaces where I could bring my retreats to Hawaii. I announced my projected Hawaii retreat dates to my email list and got lots of interest. Friends told me I clearly BELONGED in Hawaii.
And… I felt dissatisfied with Puerto Viejo. I felt an inner struggle and restlessness amidst the stress of making huge changes in my business while being triggered by the small town drama and the guy I just could not seem to shake. I expressed it as wanting to live somewhere with a higher vibration with people in a state of greater abundance, sharing their gifts and purpose more fully with the world.
That’s when my mind turned to travel, the thing that has saved me from uncomfortable situations many times in the past. Maybe if I left I’d be free of the discomfort of passing my twin flame every time I went to town and of watching the construction workers widen the road and of wondering if or when I might be robbed again.
In my restlessness I felt an urgency that told me time was past due for going to Hawaii and that somehow all of my problems would disappear as soon as I arrived in the islands. Which of course isn’t true, but my innocent nature likes to play that game sometimes to take me on a detour that eventually brings me home to my inner fulfillment.
So I booked an inexpensive flight to Hawaii for March 7, 2018, not knowing what or why I’d be going but needing that life raft on the horizon.
Interestingly, after I booked the flight, things in my life began to rapidly change. Without taking you on the journey of another story that I’ll share another time, I will simply say that over the course of one day I completely released all of my attachments and desires that I still carried for my Costa Rican twin flame and started the sweetest, most innocent, absolutely wonderful romance with someone completely new.
This dramatic shift in energy swept away the dissatisfaction I felt towards my home, amazed that I could meet a new man so full of Aloha right in my tiny jungle and be free of my karmic past after so many years of suffering. In my mind I began to delay my plans for Hawaii and open into the possibility of what had just arrived. Hawaii could wait.
But my new romance shifted as quickly as it entered, and I rapidly found myself reliving all of the lessons of my past relationships. Essentially, it triggered my core wounds of rejection, separation, and unworthiness. I was facing it, healing with it, and more open than ever, but it was hard to say the least. I could barely get out of bed, cried whenever someone asked me how I was, and decided to put all of my work on pause as I attended to my inner crisis. Hawaii began to sound better and better, like a life raft floating just a month away.
There’s much more to this story, but for now I’ll simply say, that while I wasn’t sure I was ready to leave Puerto Viejo, Hawaii seemed like a nice break. I was ready to open my heart to somewhere new. To experience another kind of paradise. To see if I could meet people, and especially men who were walking a similar path to mine. And most of all to receive Aloha straight from the ‘Aina’ (the sacred land).
I got to Hawaii essentially out of money, behind on work, and unsure why exactly I went there. Somehow I thought I could write my book, manage The Freedom Tribe, promote my next retreat, pick back up with blogging and social media, all while exploring a new place without any sense of plan, structure, or budget.
But Hawaii had her own plan for me and all she asked me to do was allow it.
Synchronistically my Lomi Lomi teacher had already moved to the Big Island and invited me to come help out on the next training. One of the training participants picked me up from the airport and we quickly realized we were soul twins. We shared a car, sang all of the same songs, and literally read each other’s minds. We stayed with friends and had pajama dance parties in the kitchen, shared meals together, and quickly learned all of the local spots under the guidance of our Hawaiian goddess big sis.
It immediately became clear that we had entered what the Hawaiians call the ‘Pa’a’ or ‘The Now’ also known as ‘Vertical Time’ and ‘God’s Time.’ Each day felt like a lifetime and we laughed each time we realized what had transpired since… yesterday?! After a few days I accepted this wasn’t the time to focus on the linear progression of my work, this was the time to remember what brought me to Hawaii. So I surrendered to the Pa’a and I went with the flow.
In God’s time we swam with sea turtles, floated in jungle lava rock pools, chanted in the back of an underground cave, hiked down into Waipio Valley and discovered raw sacred magic, stood in the pouring rain beside the most powerful waterfall I’ve ever seen, taught a bunch of tourists at a roadside farm stand about cacao, met a giant crystal, made friends with tree cutters and took all the young coconuts we wanted, found the best Thai restaurant outside of Chiang Mai, called in the Hawaiian ancestors in the middle of a lava field under the stars, reunited with a Costa Rica soul sister at a clothing optional hippie drum circle, let ourselves become Pele and erupt like volcanoes of powerful rage, got all slathered and Lomi-ed each other like Lakshmi, surrendered so deeply into forgiveness and created vast space, reclaimed our wholeness in Pono, and got a big huge dose of Alooohhhhaaaa.
It was also cold and rainy almost every day, I froze in my tropical outfits, the beaches were covered in lava rocks or crowds of people, the cost of everything was so high I couldn’t afford to travel there independently, it was way, way, way less Hawaiian and more Americanized than I expected (HELLO it’s the USA Camille), I had to drive to get anywhere, my body felt restless without enough exercise, the vibe felt either really touristic or hippie in a weird way, I had a hard time going with the flow and not exerting my will, I missed my alone time and felt desperate to write and create, and I didn’t really feel like I was in… Hawaii.
Isn’t it interesting how you can paint something as perfect or shitty and somewhere in the wholeness of both you find truth?
Knowing my style, everyone told me… “Go to Kauai!” And actually, the Hawaii I dreamed of sounded much more like Kauai. But it was dumping rain on Kauai and the timing just didn’t seem quite right. So I checked all of the islands for the best weather. Considered Maui where another friend lives and I might find a chill little surf town. Checked in with friends on Oahu. Researched flights to Bali. An inner restlessness kept me searching searching searching.
And what was I even looking for? I’m no stranger to this dissatisfaction that keeps me moving, going, traveling, looking for the next best place. Looking back I could see how many times on past trips I rushed through, not feeling content with anywhere, hoping that by being somewhere else I’d feel the way I wanted to feel. I remembered how going somewhere else didn’t actually resolve my discomfort, if anything it amplified it.
What was the discomfort that pulled me out of the jungle this time and sent me to Hawaii? Oh, right, the discomfort of romantic rejection. Of not wanting to relax into a space where I’d be confronted with those emotions and escaping it by going somewhere new. The discomfort of the inner conflict that could not reconcile me being valid without him being wrong.
I chose that as the focus of my Ho’opono’pono while on the land in Hawaii. As I’ve learned in my own Ho’opono’pono practice, it wasn’t about resolving anything with him, but resolving what felt disharmonious within me. We came into circle and I offered my prayer.
“I’m sorry for thinking that I was supposed to somehow get it right with him. For thinking that I failed or messed it up. I’m sorry that I needed him to be bad or wrong for me to be allowed to be hurt and angry. I’m sorry that I don’t know how to resolve that contradiction. Help me.
Forgive me for thinking that how it evolved was a problem instead of perfect. Forgive me for focusing on what felt bad instead of what felt good. Forgive me for feeling it as heavy instead of light. Forgive me for trying to force it into something other than what it was meant to be. Forgive me for being afraid.
Thank you for reminding me what it’s like to love again. Thank you for showing me what I really want and deserve. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for this space and time for healing.
I love you as the radiant, alive, magical, beautiful woman that you are. I’m so glad I get to do this with you. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love you.
My urgency to escape the present moment, to NOT reside in the Pa’a, came from a feeling of lack. A feeling of “not enough” which is simply a feeling of being separate from God. The rejection I had felt from this man or the one before him or the one before him, didn’t make me separate from God. It just triggered the wound sacredly placed for my own healing.
Sitting behind me in the circle I began to feel a different kind of Ohana. All of the men of my past, sitting behind me, supporting me. And they did all support me in their own unique perfectly designed ways. All helping me become the whole woman I already am and am destined to be. I felt stronger with them there, the more I allowed them to step in, behind me, the more myself I felt. Then with my eyes closed I saw my sister Dannie like an angel holding my hand. She may have been back in Puerto Viejo, but I felt her beside me, supporting me in the loving way only she knows how.
I called in Aloha, breathing from the highest source of spirit and delivering it to the body that just wants to feel safe here on Earth, receiving the reminder “I am enough.” “I am enough.” “I am enough.” When I remember that I am enough, all is enough. This is Pono, the realization that all is as it should be.
In the Pa’a I could see that dissatisfaction only arose when I thought I was anywhere other than exactly where I was supposed to be. Dissatisfaction may have sent me to Hawaii, but I knew I had the power to feel content right here right now in Hawaii by trusting that I was exactly where I was meant to be. How could I tell my mind I didn’t need to be somewhere else? What could I do to feel safe enough to relax and slow down?
My answer surprised me… by going home. Not in that very moment, but in general. All these years I spent looking for home all across the world, failing to acknowledge the very obvious fact that I had already found my home. Somehow life blessed me by bringing me home at the very beginning of my travels. Puerto Viejo was my home. Of course. How could it not be? In six years of hopping around the globe it’s the only place on Earth I’ve found where I feel at home.
So instead of looking for something better, or forcing myself to feel at home when I don’t, why not celebrate the fact that I’m so blessed to have a place where I can walk for hours down deserted beaches, swim in the Caribbean sea with no other people around, hang out with monkeys in my garden, ride a bicycle and never drive a car, feel my absolute healthiest, get young coconuts for fifty cents a piece, have cacao ceremonies and dinner parties with the most beautiful Goddesses who just so happen to love me, and be allowed the space to offer my gifts and retreats to all those who are willing and ready?
Maybe Puerto Viejo wouldn’t be home forever and maybe this fantasy I’ve had of creating my ultimate sustainable eco-retreat center paradise on a wilderness beach in Kauai with the man of my dreams who adores me fully is in fact my destiny. But right here, right now, in linear time, Man’s time, it’s not yet the time. And how or why is that future vision any better than this present?
Rather than rushing to get to the ultimate vision, what if I could just savor the sweetness of being in the Pa’a, the now? There’s no rush on this journey of my life. And right now, I have all that I need in Puerto Viejo.
With that realization I suddenly felt so free. Like I released this pressure to make every place I traveled to my home. If I acknowledged that Puerto Viejo already had everything that I wanted, I could travel simply for the fun, for the expansion. I didn’t need to find a more beautiful beach (impossible I’ve discovered) or a more aligned community or a more exciting lifestyle. I could appreciate each and every destination for its true uniqueness knowing that I had a home waiting for me.
Experiencing more uniqueness and expanding my perspective was truly what sent me traveling. Not a quest for another Puerto Viejo, a discovery of something totally new. My intention is always to let the special secrets of another magical land make me more whole.
Simply by remembering what my intentions were for coming to Hawaii in the first place, I was able to relax into the Pa’a, rather than feel restless in searching for home. I reflected on the months prior when I took the Lomi training, booked the flight, and finally decided to get on the airplane. My intention for coming to the Big Island was to see if I could find a very special spot there to lead a retreat, to connect with Ohana, to deepen my Lomi practice, to see if I could find home, and to crack open to Ho’opono’pono.
In a matter of two weeks I had fulfilled all of these intentions. I decided that the Big Island wasn’t my style and to return to Kauai to look for a retreat space when it would be better weather and I had the money to do it my way. I connected with Ohana every single day of my trip and learned to be less individualistic, not easy for me but a good practice. I got to spend a whole week with my Lomi teacher and receive even more wisdom than before. I came to the obvious realization that I already had a home. And while I left before the Ho’opono’pono workshop I had originally wanted to attend, I remembered Uncle Harry’s wise words that my Lomi teacher shared with us again and again, “There’s always another way to do everything.”
For now, my other way is to carry Ho’opono’pono in my heart, and to allow the wise secrets of Aloha to continue to reveal themselves in their own perfect timing.
I’m sorry for any time I’ve seen myself, my family, my friends, my lovers, my teachers, my sisters, my brothers, my community, the creatures, the elements, the land, as anything other than Enough.
Forgive me for ever wishing that life were different than it is right here right now. Forgive me for thinking that I’m supposed to get it right instead of acknowledging that everything is right now.
Thank you for always, always, always, giving me exactly what I need, even if I don’t always like it.
Thank you for never giving up on me.
I love you.
That is all that ever was and ever will be true.
Wisdom inspired by my teacher/sister/friend Bethany Boulger, The Wise Secrets of Aloha by Uncle Harry Uhane, the 4th Gene Key of Forgiveness, the Hawaiian ancestors, the Halau, my selves, and pure Aloha.