August book selection: Everything Happens For A Reason by Mira Kirshenbaum

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

On my journey to “living my best life now”, as said by Oprah, I am attempting to incorporate a monthly book selection into this blog. Please note that I said ATTEMPT. I will do my best, but not sure how long I can keep it going. My life changes quick, so please watch me for the changes.

Lately, I have had the feeling that God has been telling me to go right,  and I keep making that sharp left. Somehow going to left seems so much more exciting than going right, so I pick my way. Of course it never works out, it’s not the right way, it is a dead-end. As always God  brings back to the start of the path, I don’t get lost , I don’t get in trouble. He allows me another chance to follow him, infinite chances to go right. I listened to God, and when he spoke, he brought me to a book, a book that will forever change the way I look at life.

This month’s book selection is,  Everything Happens for a Reason: Finding the true meaning of events in our lives, by Mira Kirshenbaum. While reflecting on past events in my life, changes that have been made, I once struggled to find meaning in them. I had a bad habit of feeling sorry for myself, hating the world that I was in, just hoping for something better that never came. I would wonder, why do certain things happen the way they do? Why do some events turn out bad, and why can’t things just go the way I want them to. I wanted perfection from life. Who am I kidding? Life doesn’t work that way.  The odds are not always in my favor, and every event is not going to always have a happy ending. In life bad things happen. Bad things happen to everyone, the good that comes out of those bad events are the reason why they had to happen.

Through her writing, Kirshenbaum points out  that there are ten main reasons why these bad events take place in our lives. Through each chapter she thoroughly explains each of these ten reasons, she conveys real life examples from people to make sense of  the true meaning as to why certain events may occur in life. Kirshenbaum is able to help  the reader reflect on his or her own life events, and find a way to make that event fit into one of these reasons. This book opens the reader up to deep self-reflection,  possibly gaining closure and moving forward from events that appear damaging to our lives. Kirshenbaum writes in a way that enhances a positive overtone for negative events. This book portrays the message that life does get better! People are resilient and if we are just able to bounce back, bounce back quick,  and look for true meaning, our lives will be better than we have ever imagined. Kirshenbaum does an excellent job of making the reader feel at home within the book, and brings the message that life does not just happen to happen. Life really does happen for a reason.

The Ten Meanings of the Events in Our Lives, by Mira Kirshenbaum

1. To help you feel at home in the world

2. To help you totally accept yourself

3. To show you that you can let go of fear

4. To bring you to the place where you can feel forgiveness

5. To help you uncover your true hidden talent

6. To give you want you need to find true love

7. To help you become stronger

8. To help you discover the play in life

9. To show you how to live with a sense of mission

10. To help you become a truly good person.

My challenge to you is to sit and reflect on the negative events of your life, if you feel you know the reason why they happened, great! You are one step ahead. If not, if you continue to feel sad, wonder “what if”, or have trouble moving on think of the meaning behind this event. How has it changed you? Can anything positive come from this negative event? Look within your inner self for the reason, trust me it is there.

If you have time read, Everything Happens For A Reason by, Mira Kirshenbaum.

*Positive energy, Positive thoughts, Positive experiences!

Life and its uncertainty: What’s next?

I am back in New York this week. Yeah I know it seems like I was just here, what can I say I like to travel. Unfortunately traveling is   expensive 😦 so, I can not always do it as much as I would like. However, I must always find the time and money to return to my home state. When I come back to the big city it feels like I never left. The city looks the same, smells the same, and still has that same city feel that says welcome to New York! New York will always be my home. It is familiar to me. A city of memories. Good and bad, each memory will always have a special place in my life. New York is full of experiences, and those experiences have made me the person I am today. As always, mentally I do have to adjust to the mainland. I have to constantly remember that there is no spirit of Aloha over here. Put on your best New York attitude and keep it moving! In New York I have to remind myself to slow down, take a moment, and continue to enjoy life.

I must say I love summer in New York. With the heat and humidity, it really does feel like hell on earth, and you may melt if you stay outside too long, but in my mind there is nothing like a New York summer. So I am glad that I have the opportunity to be in the city right in the heart of summer, ideally I want to go to summer stage this weekend, or a street fair in the village. If you haven’t experienced a New York summer, trust me it is something you must do. At least once in your life. Don’t worry about the heat too much, just drink lots of water! 🙂

Since I have been back on the mainland I have been thinking, I am ready for my next power move! My next life changing moment. I have ambition to do better, reach for something higher and I want that next opportunity to again set myself in a new life position. The problem: I haven’t really grasped in my mind what my next power move will look like. Such as what do I want to do next? Where do I want to live? What do I want to experience? Or more importantly, where does God need me to be? I have asked God, what’s next? Where do I go? What am I supposed to do now? Still waiting for those answers. I know they will come in time, so I will wait patiently until it is time to make that power move.

When I am on the mainland, it does not feel like I really live in Hawaii. For some reason it feels like life on the island is a big dream, and suddenly I have woke up back in my bed, in my house, with my family. Yet, I know I will return, and my reality is my island life. I feel like one girl, living in two different worlds. I wonder if I can connect them somehow. Maybe that is what God needs me too figure out next. How can I connect both my worlds, to make one reality. The reality that is essentially my life. Challenging? Maybe, but I know I can do it. Once I have that figured out, then maybe I will be ready to make my next power move. And trust me, the next move will defiantly be a life changing moment.

The Hawaiian Language: More than just Aloha and Mahalo

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I am coming up on my two year mark of living on the island. It still seems exciting yet unreal. Originally I was only supposed to be here for one year, or at least that was all the time I was allowed by my friends to leave the east coast. But coming up on two years is also exciting because I feel I am now able to absorb the Hawaiian culture. I am super stoked because I have finally developed an understanding of the key words of the  Hawaiian language.

It may seem strange to those of you living on the mainland, but really there are Hawaiian words (much more than Aloha, and Mahalo) that I had to learn in order to understand a simple conversation. And now that I am able to follow without hesitation, it makes some conversations so much easier. You may not hear me speak these words naturally, but at least I know what they mean.

One of the first facts that I learned when I moved to the island was that the Hawaiian language only has 13 letters. I quickly realized this to be true when I couldn’t pronounce most of the street names. And although I still cannot pronounce many of the street names, I can at least do a better job in trying to figure it out how it should be properly said. So with each day there is a little bit more progress, and each day a step closer to not sounding like a mainland idiot.

In case you were wondering the 13 letters of the Hawaiian alphabet are A, E, H, I K, L, M, N, O, P, U and W.  You know which words are native Hawaiian because these are the letters that are used over and over within one word (words that can be pretty long).

Since I work with a lot of local families it helps to actually understand some of the Hawaiian language. Some days it can feel like I live in another country, I learn words by putting them together within the context of a sentence. Hey now that I think about it maybe I can move to Spain or Italy, and still be able to make a way for myself.

I have complied a list of the top Hawaiian words that I have found are common to come across. Now if you come on vacation and stay in Waikiki, you may never ever hear these words. But if  you decide to venture out to lets say ummmm…Waianae, yeah you will hear these words and a lot more.

What you already know:

Aloha- Hello, Goodbye

Mahalo- Thank you

What you may want to know to heighten your Hawaiian experience:

Aina- Land, earth

Hanai-Adopted, or brought into the family

Hapai- Pregnant

Haole- Caucasian person

Hapa- Mixed race person

Kama`aina- Native-Hawaiian or long-time resident

Makai-  Ocean Side

Mauka- Mountain Side

Pau- Done, Finished

Pupu- Appetizer

Puka- Hole

Wahine- Woman

Kane- Man

Other small helpful hints: Children refer to any adult as Aunty or Uncle, it is just respect so don’t get alarmed. You will hear the term “Bruh” a lot and,  if you get mad at someone while driving, or if  you cut someone off just throw up the “shaka” it makes everything better. Last but not least the phrase “Da Kine” apparently has no real meaning, but goes for anything (yeah I still don’t understand that one).

The list goes on and on, these are just a few words to give you are head start so you don’t appear as a lost tourist once you arrive at the airport.

If you are interested about coming to Hawaii, visiting or moving to the island, check out:

Hawaiian Dictionary: Hawaiian-English, English-Hawaiian

Hawaiian Dictionary: Hawaiian-English, English-Hawaiian

Mary Kawena Pukui (Author), Samuel H. Elbert (Author)

In Hawaii they like and put a ring on it!

I have realized something about Hawaii that is not so apparent in NY or at least not in such high numbers. Girls in their mid 20’s and early 30’s are married! Yes they have husbands and kids to match. By the tender age of 23 a local girl may be married and have at least 1 but maybe 2 kids! Even girls who look like they are still in high school have rings on their fingers. Rings, rings, everywhere! And here I am the lonely girl from NY, approaching 30 with no ring. Is there something wrong with me? Heck No, at least I don’t think so. But to the older local women, I know it leaves them to wonder why?

When I go to the nail salon to get my nails done and my eyebrows waxed the little Asian lady who is always so very nice to me, asks me the same questions each time. Did you work today? and Are you married? My answers, yes and no respectively. Next comes, why you not married, you are so pretty, and getting older. I guess my job is no longer important at that point. Well it is good to know that I’m pretty, but I guess the closer you get to approaching 30 the less likely the chances you will get a man to marry you. Is that true? Maybe not, but on this island I am starting to think that is a truth.

Apparently the culture of marriage so different in Hawaii. In NY it is a social norm to be in your 20’s or 30’s and not married. It’s a time to have fun with your girls and talk about your dates. You have a job, your own money, and have the chance to develop into a strong independent woman.  You don’t feel like the single girl leper who is about to die alone. In NY you get the chance to play your own rendition of sex and the city with your girlfriends, with everyone having their own version of the infamous Mr. Big.  Conversation is enlightened by the bad dates you go on, and the cute guys you meet on the train. Not the cute thing your toddler did today and how your husband is driving you crazy.

I haven’t really been able to pinpoint why the girls in Hawaii get married so young but I guess it just goes with the environment and the culture. I have Hawaiian  friends who were married at 18, 19, or sometime in their early 20’s, and have really big kids to match. So here I am floating around in life like a nomad, and these girls have families to take care. Believe me I DO NOT want to switch places with them for a second. I know some girls who are divorced by 30, and have to take care of their kids, and do not have much of a social life. Leaves little time for fun. In NY women has a sense of independence, they set goals, dream about influential careers, and want to be the woman in control. In NY girls are more likely to follow a path of doing well in college and moving up the corporate ladder. They play with the big boys, and that focused drive leaves you to put marriage on the back burner. Woman of the big city are on a path to being at the head of the board room and set themselves up so they do not have to rely on a man. The rush to build a family, and have the man go to work while babies are made is not so apparent.

So what is it. Why do girls in Hawaii seem to live with their boyfriends and get married before they have had any chance for independence. Does that really work? I can’t speak on another person’s happiness because they seem happy to me. Maybe self exploration and independence is not as important for some people as it was for me. And if it works go with it! Having a long happy marriage is never a bad thing in life. It also seems to be a generational thing on the island also, parents are young, grandparents are also young. I guess that’s good so they can help you take care of your children. When looking at military wives some of them are also very young to.  And may I just add from the ones I met they seem to be just a bit unsure of themselves. Who can blame them, when you are 20 what do you really know about life, although you may think you know it all you really are just starting to build a sense of identity.

When I look back on myself and the relationships I was in when I was in my late teens and early 20’s , I am extremely happy and overjoyed that I did not get married at that age. Not because they were bad relationships, but because I was so not ready to be a wife. A marriage is a serious commitment, and if I could not understand what it means to be a wife, and for a man to be a husband then I know I would eventually not be happy. People change, good people grow, and learn from life, they learn together, they learn as individuals. They learn to have a sense of understanding, and continuous growth together that is necessary to make a good marriage. But first you need to know your self as an individual and love your independent self without your other half. This will lead you to better appreciate your half of the relationship, and give the most unconditional love to the other half of your relationship.

Before I learned to be independent on my own, and could stand alone, I admit, I would have been a horrible wife! I would have been defined solely as a man’s wife and not as a woman who is amazing and the perfect complement to her husband. My sense of identity would have been non existant because it would have never had a chance to fully develop on its own. And the worst part is I know that I would be left with the feeling of “what if”. So do I think as I approach 30 my chances of finding a husband will decrease, maybe. But that is only because I will be able to weed out the men with a strong sense of insecurity about having a woman who does not need him, but is willing to work with him. I will weed out the men who have fear the confidence and  success of a woman, and are challenged by a woman expressing valid opinions. I don’t mind though because, that will leave me with a man who is confident enough to be part of a team, who has an intellectual mind, and who can keep me on my toes because together our bond will be so strong that it will create a force that will not be matched.

My Mr. Nice Guy

I think I may have met someone. Yeah someone who has boyfriend potential. Checking his stats he has boyfriend potential, and so far, so good, so he may be the one. Or least the one who can hang around the longest for right now. Going down my check list he meets most of the qualifications to pass through to the next level of building a deeper relationship. He has a college degree, he can talk in complete sentences (don’t ask, but yeah that seems to be a missing trait in men), he is very outgoing, down to try anything new, is in to living life, and he is cute. He is an all around wholesome nice guy.

Uh oh!!!! I said it! He is a NICE GUY. Ok ladies now let’s admit it, we are secretly attracted to the bad boy. The bad boy has a certain I don’t give a fuck attitude about him that makes us want him. The bad boy who is no good for you,  the guy that makes you wonder why he doesn’t call you back, or why he is not giving you attention all the time. When he does give us attention it comes in little spurts, but we eat it up, and want more. The bad boys are the ones who get the girls. Sometimes they are sweethearts, other times they are complete jerks. But they find a balance in their attitude that leaves girls wanting more. The bad boy can be broke with no job, and find a woman to let him live on her couch. He has game, and also has two, three, or more chicks all at the same time. People ask me what type of guy I like, my response, the cute jerk! I don’t like the extreme bad boy because I personally find his sense of arrogance annoying, but I like the slight bad boy. He is nice at times, jerky at other times, but he is so damn cute which in my mind cancels out his annoying pompous cocky attitude. I know he will protect me when needed, and his swag is so on point that he has every other girl wanting him too (which sucks!!!). But that is my cute jerk.

So as I get older, lets try something new. The Nice guy, the guy I would normally shoot right to the friend zone. My new nice guy is a sweetheart, really a sweetheart. He doesn’t do extreme chivalry but that’s ok because I don’t like that anyway. But he does the little things. Such as, wanting to hold my hand when we walk down the block, or walk on the beach and just talk. He refuses to let me see him as a friend so for now he says we are companions.

The problem: He is in the military and is going to be deployed for six months. I feel like I am holding back, and can’t get too attached to him because, I know soon he will be gone and I will miss him. I don’t want to miss anyone. I am so over missing people. I missed my ex boyfriend for so long, now that I am done with that, I am just not in the mood to miss anyone else. I want someone who is here. Who is with me, and who is not going to leave. So although I can see myself really falling for Mr. nice guy, now is not the time. It seems like for me, timing is always wrong, and I just patiently wait for timing to be right. Wait and wait for that day when it is the right place, the right moment, the right time.

Mr. nice guy is in the Marines.  Now my personal opinion, don’t date military men. They have a certain element of crazy about them. But he doesn’t come off as crazy, or at least I haven’t seen his side of crazy. He talks to me, he communicates well, we laugh together, and we can enjoy each other’s company. For Valentine’s day he took me to see Brian McKnight, it was wonderful!  A magical moment that would make two people fall in love. Ok I did not fall in love with Mr. nice guy just yet, but it did make me appreciate his company more. I have a sense of comfort when I am around him that I haven’t had in a long time, and it’s just nice to relax in his presence. He thinks I am beautiful no matter what I look like, and he is impressed by me just being myself. Wow what a breath of fresh air!

So hopefully all will continue to go well with my newly found nice guy, and I will keep you updated on our progress. Maybe his six month deployment won’t be so bad and we can start a real relationship. We will see with time, but hey if all goes well maybe I will be willing to give up my single girl lifestyle for an even better relationship lifestyle!

Want to meet new people?

In case you ever wanted to move to a new place, on the other side of the world, but fear that you won’t know anyone and be all alone, here are some tips for you to meet people. No matter where you decide to live or visit in the world there are always people around. So there will always be someone for you to talk to and new friends to be made. Don’t be shy. People don’t know you, so they have no expectations of you. Everyday is a new chance to make a first impression all over again. So I advise you to take it and run with it. Bring out your inner extrovert and enjoy life with the people who are around you. I have learned that people come from so many different places in life, and with each new person brings a whole new experience!

I think the greatest website to get out and meet new people is meetup.com. Meet up groups are a great way to find activities that you like, and also meet people who like to do those same activities as you. In Hawaii there are so many different types of meet up groups. My personal favorites are the ones for hiking, fitness, and project singles. These groups give me the chance to see so much of the island and meet really cool people while doing it.

The island of Oahu is filled with so many exciting activities, so since I came here without knowing anyone, I had to find a way to meet people do explore the island with me. And it has truly been an amazing experience. I have been hiking on so many trails that I would never have the opportunity to see as a tourist. I have climbed to the top of summits that overlook entire sides of the island, and I must add that the view is spectacular.  Through meet up I have been able to find groups who work out on the beach, and beach body coaches who help me to continue to reach my fitness goals. Yup, I have to keep my body in shape since its summer year round

Project singles gives me a way to meet other single professionals as myself, and even if I am not attracted to any of the males in the group there is always a cool activity to have a good time at. Meet up groups are great for meeting like minded people, people who are open to culture, to experience, and they are filled with a wealth of knowledge. Many of the people I have met have traveled to many places in the world, and have done great things in their lives. So why not give it try, it never hurts to go out and make a new friend!