Monday, April 28, 2008

Blogger Posts Can Now Be Scheduled (Sort Of, But Not Really)

I just heard that Blogger posts can now be scheduled. When you're done composing your post, look in the lower left hand corner, above "Publish Post". You'll see "Post Options". There you can schedule posts for any time in the future. I used to do this with my old blog and loved it. I used to post clear through my vacations, instead of leaving a long gap of no posts. Admittedly, those posts would have to be timeless---things like quotes and musings---and comments wouldn't be responded to promptly, but I like having this feature.

It's pretty good since Blogger is free, don't you think?

UPDATE: At the present time, this feature doesn't really work. As Chani wrote in the comments, it simply posts your post right away but stamps it with a future date and/or time. I'll change this if/when it ever works the way it is supposed to!!

At A Loss for Words...

Kristine, Carla, Lisa, ...and me.

Writer's block. In my case, it's because I care so darn much about what I'm writing about. I want to do a good job---a great job. Today I plunged in and actually worked for most of the maybe my days of "block" are gone. I surely hope so.

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Being Light

"...If you knew how important you are, you would shatter into a million pieces and just be light..."---Byron Katie via Martha Beck in "Steering by Starlight"

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Sacred Life Sunday: Too Tired to Blog :)

Another Sacred Life Sunday. I don't know what to blog about today but I want to blog and stay in touch with everyone.

It was so great to hear from Kelly with all of her new life changes. And Angela's back! So is Claire! I miss Lori-Lyn's videos, don't you? Did you see Rick reading his poem this week? A bagillion other things going on to. I want to stay in touch.

My life feels like it's in an uproar. I'm very, very tired. I'm having my thyroid checked this week. SO TIRED. Little piddley things have been distracting me from book writing (the Moku'ula book) as well as big things.

The land immediately surrounding our home is going to be up for sale. If we don't buy it then it could be developed. It feels like such an inappropriate time to be borrowing even more money and to be buying more land here instead of something in Hawaii. On the other hand, if we don't buy it, we could be (and probably will be) not in the forest any more. We'll be in a development. And our house could be worth far less. And even more importantly, we'll have an urban lifestyle, which defeats the whole purpose of having a house in the forest. So LoveHubbie and I have been talking about how to do this. I suppose it's never a bad time to buy land (if you can afford it, and we're not sure of that either). On the other hand, my heart is in Hawaii and this is one more tie, one more commitment to the mainland that I don't know that I'm ready to make.

We don't own our own driveway. We have to maintain it, but we actually just have an easement so that we can access our house from the road. Few would buy this precious land to keep the trees; economically, it only makes sense to spend the money if you're going to develop it, or for us---to protect the value and surroundings of our home.

There are things we can't see. Like that perhaps the value of land here will skyrocket and then we'll be able to sell it and afford Hawaii. Or an infinite number of other scenarios. I've been having nightmares about it, just because it's a big committment.

And at the same time on an entirely different note, LoveHubbie is willing for me to go back to Maui to work intensively on the book. If I can get enough done here to make it worth my while. There is so much history to research, so much language to decipher, so many stories to learn of. And each day it seems like the urgencies of the day have prevented my getting to what I want to do most. I feel defeated and like I've accomplished nothing except surviving the day.

So I decided that I'm going to limit my outside activities to one day a week. Right now they're spread all over the place because my schedule is so "flexible". It's time that I really get serious about what I'm wanting to do. Or I will never get it done; I'll be always treading water and swimming in someone else's sea.

Gotta get some energy here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday Thinking Out Loud in Response to Your Comments

Indeed, I have the most thoughtful and wise blog readers in the blogosphere! I took all of my comments from yesterday and just really let them simmer. They were my quiet time today. I decided to make a blog post about them today and respond to them here instead of in the comment section.

Chani, whose post started off this discussion, shared details of her personal situation. We are similar in ages (I'm 50, Chani) and I have also had a challenging personal life for many years. I have also lived an amazing, joy-filled, and grounded life for periods of time when I've lived in a place and in a culture congruent with my values (Hawaii). I struggle to recreate much of that here.

It's interesting that peace can be so place-based. I know that I can find peace at other times, but it takes great work and inspiration; in Hawaii it was there by default. I am touched that you wish more for me; honestly, I wish more for myself as well. I feel the same way about you and have grown much from our parallel journeys.

Kate I gives some perspective. I agree with you, Kate, that we are all doing what is right for us, the best we can, right now. This could change at any time. I, too, wonder if accepting people as they are is the same as having low expectations of people.

I love people who expect the best from everyone. They expect wonderful things to happen and they do. Not in a striving, driving way but in a simple way. I think this is far to be preferred over expecting nothing (which is what I do). There is some kind of balance between the two, some kind of dance, a way that is more positive than what I'm doing that results in more positive results. A way that I suspect wouldn't leave me with so much of the low moods. It is this dance that I'm thinking I would like to learn to do.

Maybe you're right, Kate, and the answer is to expect the best and accept the reality. What if it was "expect the best and love the reality"? Now this feels right. Because even if people treat you poorly, you can learn from this, grow from this, and move onward and upward. This is also pretty idealistic. And I'm not sure it's human to love love love poor treatment. So maybe graciously acceptance is even better. And realistic.

I really appreciate what you say Kate about there being no right or wrong way to heal. And that we need a strong core of self-love to even really see others as they are. I'm taking all of these things to heart.

Self-love is not my strong suit.

But I can keep working on this!

Jessie, I miss you, too, dear. Every single day we need to practice being brave. The days that I don't I regress. We learned how to Be Brave together! You are off on your life being brave...and floundering here. Trying...up and down...all I lack is that strong core of self-love and self-belief that Kate I wrote about. I can do this though. I am learning to do this with baby steps.

I like what you wrote about your dad. It's a tough, tough decision to know when estrangement is best, or walking away, separation (in the case of marriage), or just limiting contact (say to emails). I think it depends upon what we need to heal. And upon how destructive the person is. How much support we have. So many factors.

You help keep me brave, too, Jessie. You all do, actually. I've never felt like I've had support before for being my best self, for being brave, for "living big" instead of "playing small" until this past year or so in my life. Thank God for each of you. If you're reading this, I thank the Universe for you.

Rick. I love your description of me keeping my house closed until I see the light of someone who comes with love. You got it. That's it.

We do all feel the same way. We're all in this together.

And on hurt versus suffering. The stories we tell ourselves and what we place our attention on. So important to how we experience our day.

Patti, I love your quoting Eileen about how expectations are just premeditated resentments. It's funny, because from your blog I'd have no idea that you'd ever had serious challenges in your past. You seem very, very grounded and it is encouraging to me that you've come so far to live a fairly drama-free life.

You're right about my shaky central core of self-love. Very shaky. But getting stronger.

Thank you all for your continuing encouragement and thoughtful musings on my post. I am blessed, not least by having very wise and loving blog friends. Today, I feel Grateful!

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark, editted several different ways by Me

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: What Makes Life Worth Living?

This blog post was prompted by Thailand Chani's post here, and by her response to my comment. My comment was this:
[...I have very very low expectations about everyone. I've been through a lot. I expect little to nothing from others, and feel as though I must depend upon myself---just me---and no one else. It's a hard and cold attitude, but one that helps me to cope.

Then, if someone does respond lovingly, I'm delighted. If they show integrity, I'm pleasingly surprised. If they seem to care, I'm thrilled.

I'm pretty cynical, and don't expect much from people, period.

I would like to have other people that I can reliably depend upon, but at this point in my life I'm slow to trust, even slower to believe in anyone, especially any group of people (which just multiplies the probability of being let down). Even Hawaiians. Anyone.

I'm not suggesting that you be like me (because I don't even know if it's healthy), but just letting you know how I cope with the frustration and hurt...]

Her response was this:
[Olivia, I can understand how living in this place.. and with this way of life.. it could become necessary to adopt that attitude. I seem to be congenitally incapable of it. A life like that, to me, simply isn't worth living.]

So then I started to wonder, why I feel my life is so worth living. Because I do! True, I do feel depressed. A lot. I don't know---I have a sort of acceptance of this depressed state, because basically I feel so fortunate, blessed, and happier than I've ever been in my whole life (note: I've had a pretty crummy life until the last 8.5 years or so).

Although I am depressed, I'm not miserable at all. Just tired a whole lot, withdrawn (very, very withdrawn---very withdrawn!), lonely (except for my online life), and sad. Maybe I just have to feel and process years of troubled feelings and this will take some time. It's only recently that I've started to feel my feelings instead of to run from them. I feel very accepting of my life and my situation. Grateful for it even. Full of gratitude for all of the many blessings in my life.

Even the challenging things in my life I believe are here to teach me something. There are lessons that I need to learn. Not that I can't change them, of course. But that if I choose to accept them, or if I can't change them right now, then my task is to learn from them what I need to so that my difficult times are not repeated over and over and over again---a problem for me when I was younger.

As far as other people go, I really do expect very little from either individuals or groups. This is based upon experience, upon years of being hurt and of expecting from people what I just don't think they can give. Even basic things like integrity, honesty, respect, totally common courtesy, and more. I no longer believe, even for things like this from those who profess to love me.

So now I prefer to think of love as something that I give, not something that I get. For me, this makes life worth living. And then sometimes, often even...well, truthfully, much of the time, I get even more back than I've given. This really makes life great. But I don't expect it.

Except with animals, of course :) That's a story for another time.

If someone is very toxic, honestly, I'll remove them from my life, and I've been criticized strongly for this. I'm estranged from my family of origin for this very reason. I will try for twenty or thirty years, but then eventually, say after 42 years, I'll give up and establish a relationship of estrangement. This allows me to work out forgiveness and to love those (in a far-off way) I'm estranged from. I explained to my father once that sometimes it is only possible to love and forgive someone from afar, when you are safe. Sometimes you just need to be safe. At least I do. This decision about my bio-family has helped me to make huge strides in my physical health. It's also partially responsible for my recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome (8.5 years ago).

As I told Chani, I don't know if this attitude I have is particularly healthy. It does seem a little cold. And I've been told it's hard. Right now it works for me. I'm open to better ways of living, though...really open.

It's Wellness Wednesday, and for now this attitude makes my life not just worth living, but possible to live. And thrive. It keeps me going.

What do you think? What makes your life worth living? If no one truly truly loves you in the way you need it or want it are you content to love others and spread kindness and goodness and blessings and love to those who are in your life or whose path you will cross today? Should you be content with that? Let me know what you think.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Commenting on Blogs

This post is prompted by a private correspondence I had with someone regarding commenting on people's blogs. It made me think.

If you read my blog and have ever commented on my blog I read yours. Every day.

Well, sometimes I accumulate them, but I read every post. I rarely comment, though. Most of the time I have a hard time knowing what to say. Many posts are consistently profound and deeply moving---I'm thinking here of Jessie, Kelly, Kate I, and Rick. Most of the time the only thing I can think of to say is "Wow!!" but that makes a lousy comment. Or "I wish I could write like that!" or "You're amazing, how did you get those feelings into those words?"---which also don't make the best comments.

Anyway, most of the time when I DO comment, it's because:
(1) I care about the person and want them to know this, and/or
(2) I can actually think of something concrete to say about the post that seems helpful.

If I DON'T comment, it's because:
(1) The post was uninteresting (not uninteresting in general, just to me---like if it was about sports or gardening) or trivial (by this I mean something that is interesting, but doesn't really solicit any kind of comment, but more of a "" type response), or more likely,
(2) The post was so profound I can't think of what to say! Everything I could possibly write seems so mundane.

You gals/guys are the best blogging community, so supportive.

Sometimes I can't think of anything to blog about, like yesterday---Sacred Sunday. A friend of mine stopped by who is probably getting divorced from a total-assholesque-but-still-loved-by-us-in-a-way spouse. You surely know people like this. LoveHubbie and I grieved a bit for both of them. I was creatively empty and tired and unable to blog, especially about gratitude. I had a killer migraine and felt tired and heavy and discouraged. My weekend of fun had gradually deteriorated and I just felt lost. So I was silent here.

But it doesn't mean that each of you don't touch me every day. And that I'm not uplifted by your triumphs and your struggles and your creative expressions. I so am. Each and every one.

~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark, editting by Me

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: More Perseverance

Sometimes I think that there is great courage in keeping on. Simply keeping on when you'd rather just give up.

Today I was going to blog about "Perseverance" until I saw that I already had. Still, I think it's a good idea, one that we all can be reminded of (including me).

I've been a little slack with Wellness Wednesdays lately. Hopefully now I'm back in the groove.

It also feels really good to be caught up in blogging. That way there is no backlog, and I can share whatever is there for the day.

One thing I forgot to tell you about was my passport. I had tried and tried to get it for two years, and had all kinds of problems because I'd changed my first name, middle name, and last name over the years (some multiple times). I ended up with a request for testimonies from people who had been present at my birth AND who knew me by my current name---which one! I was pretty frustrated!

A few weeks before I went to Hawaii I just decided to sit down and document every single little change---every jot and tittle---and to write a note in red ink explaining in detail what that change was, labelling EVERYTHING along with pertinent documentation, of course. I kept thinking that there was a person in Charleston, WV (where US passports are processed) behind this whole process who would get my portfolio, read it, and understand that I wasn't a terrorist, but simply a person who had done all the right things but who had gotten lost in the system. I took inspiration from Kikipotamus who is a real person in the insurance industry trying to help others!

Here is a video of my portfolio. It's pretty funny (just over two minutes, blurred to protect my privacy!):

Well, I got my portfolio fed-ex-ed back to me post haste along with my passport the day before we left for Hawaii! It ended up that my passport was vital for me to have, too, because my driver's license had expired about six months before and I didn't know. So on the trip I fell back upon my passport. And I fell back upon the Person Behind the Passport, a clerical person who read my portfolio and who understood that I wasn't a person trying to evade the law, but just someone who had had quite a few adventures in the area of name changes.

So it worked...a testimony to perseverance...

If we persevere, we're bound to become well. Or weller than we'd be if we hadn't. Keep on keeping on!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Humuhumunukunukuapua'a Chase

In this 50 second video, LoveHubbie spots a humuhumunukunukuapua'a (which is Hawaii's state fish) after about 22 second and begins to chase it. The humuhumunukunukuapua'a gets away. You can see how beautiful it is. At the very end of the video there is a whale sound. The whole video is pretty peaceful, maybe because of the rhythmic breathing sounds and the blissful pictures of the underwater world that this morning made me forget my troubles.

~Underwater video by LoveHubbie

Monday, April 14, 2008

News about Moku'ula

I have some news about my trip to Maui that I've been waiting a while to share. I think that in the beginning I was so honored and amazed that I wondered if this project was even truly real! My second week in Maui seems in some ways like a dream, a wonderful dream that was actually real.

During my second week there I visited an organization called "Friends of Moku'ula" that was responsible for an incredible walking tour I'd been on 18 months or so before. I hadn't been able to forget about Moku'ula since I'd heard about it and wanted to visit the main offices and become a "Friend".

While there, my vision for Moku'ula was re-ignited. I visited with Akoni Akana, an inspired kumu, Hawaiian cultural expert, and the Executive Director of the Friends of Moku'ula. Moku'ula is a sacred site to the people of Hawaii; it was the spiritual and political center of the Hawaiian Kingdom for hundreds of years. Due to years of cultural upheaval and the influence of missionaries, Moku'ula fell into disrepair and neglect. In the early 1900's it was even covered over and became a baseball field.

Interestingly, the covering over of Moku'ula preserved it.

Now, there is a grassroots effort to restore Moku'ula to the glory it once held and still holds in the hearts of many who love Hawaii. Akoni Akana has a vision for Moku'ula that will restore this vital archaeological site to its former significance, complete with a royal residence, auxillary buildings, a mausoleum, a pond fed by underground springs, educational historical and cultural exhibits, and and more. Even more important than the physical significance and restoration is the spiritual significance of Moku'ula. It symbolizes many Hawaiian values that were suppressed and that unknowing but effectively predatory visitors attempted to stamp out, but that live on nevertheless.

Akoni Akana asked me to help him to tell the story of Moku'ula. I am now writing a book with him about Moku'ula that will be for visitors and tourists and others, to help them to understand the power and significance of Moku'ula. It will tell the stories about Moku'ula that are so important, and that are on the verge of becoming forgotten.

We hope that the restoration of Moku'ula will accelerate as more and more people understand the importance of this vital historic site to the Hawaiian people. Non-Hawaiians too can benefit enormously from learning about and incorporating into their own world-view vital Hawaiian values, such as Lokahi (oneness), Malama (caring for), Pono (Balance), and so much more.

I am very, very honored and blessed to be involved in this project. Although I'll be putting my novel on the back burner for a while, in a way I won't, as the project will assist in my understanding of the Hawaiian people, language, and values in a way that will dramatically enrich my novel; my novel takes place in Maui, of course :)

This brings me one step closer to my dream of living in Maui, and gives me ties to loved ones there in Lahaina. It is more than a project for is my heart.

~Pictures by LoveHubbie Mark (except for pictures of Akoni Akana...not sure where I found them...if you know, please let me know)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Food and Fun

It is truly a blessing to have enough food to eat, let alone to enjoy tasty and special food. So I am twice blessed. Especially lately!

Last weekend LoveHubbie and I took off just to have fun. We went to Seattle (90 minutes north) to the market and just tooled around all Sunday:

Then we ate at an amazing restaurant called Impromptu. It is owned by the husband of one of my favorite bloggers, Shauna Ahern, who also wrote the outstanding book "Gluten-Free Girl":

Below is my crab, avocado and mango salad:

And here is my entree: red snapper with mushrooms and scalloped potatoes:

Absolutely. Stunning. Food.

This weekend we had lots of fun also. Pictures to follow. Sometimes you're just too busy having fun to blog :) In my case, not often enough!

And for your enjoyment, a short video (2:23):

~Photos and Videos by LoveHubbie Mark

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tribute to Izzy

I saw this today on Amazon Daily's Blog and just had to repeat it here at the happyluau. You'll be familiar with the song, an Adaptation of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". You've heard it on movies, television shows, commercials, and more. You may not know that it is performed by Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole. Enjoy a five minute break with this tribute to IZ and the beautiful music and images!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Whale Songs

Ok, so I'm a day late and a dollar short, but I have a good reason, which I'll tell you about later. This has to be the most humbling video I've ever posted, but I'm posting it despite that because of the beautiful whale songs that LoveHubbie picked up while he was filming me underwater.

Now...the irony doesn't escape me. Ok, LoveHubbie says it's not irony, but serendipity. Above all, it's whale songs, the only video we caught that had their voices on it.

Let me say that I am happy with my body, although it's larger than I would like. I just really, really wanted you to hear the whale songs and to see how we inadvertently pick up wonderful things we so don't expect.


This video is only 21 seconds long, so listen closely for the whale songs from Maui---the humpback whales.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More Eavesdropping---"Not a Neanderthal"!

Here is a humorous video that LoveHubbie took at another sunset in Maui during which I marvel that he knows what "Namaste" means...LoveHubbie is a recovering fundamentalist Christian with a busy and important job who nevertheless has listened to something I've said over the last eight plus years we've been married. I'm amazed!

Apologies in advance to enlightened male happyluau readers Rick, Sylvain, and Scott! And of course to all of the other males who read this blog...we judge you as unevolved in some ways, but deep down we know it's just due to our unwillingness and/or inability to look beyond appearances to see you as the glorious beings you truly are.

This video is 1:27:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Eavesdropping at Sunset

Each evening in Maui we watched the sun set. In this video you get to hear our (mine & LoveHubbie's) intimate conversation, which is addressed to you in parts. This was the first video we made at sunset and I didn't realize how LoveHubbie's camera picked up the sounds so well :)

The people in front of us are strangers, just watching the show with us!

It is 1:32:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Maui Meditation

At 2:51 this video includes glimpses of whale watching, a beautiful butterfly, kiawe trees, koi and their waterfalls, the view from our room---both the ocean and the mountains, ocean sounds, a heart made of ti leaves on the beach, and more. It is somewhat meditative, like the end of the television show, "CBS Sunday Morning". I hope you like it. I took the clips to share with you :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Coming Home From Maui Part Two

This video is a continuation from is 1:48 long:

I sort of leave you hanging here, but I'm telling a story---a mo'olelo---and I'm building up to something here in the next several days. You'll see. It's sort of a surprise. I know it was for me :)