Don’t Get Lost in the Sauce

Whenever I go on vacation I come back refreshed and ready to take on the world in a whole different light. The Hawaiian way of life is something to be emulated, something we can all learn from. The people of Hawaii (both native and immigrant) know how to really rejoice in the beauty of simply being alive. Everyone’s step is a little bit lighter and smile a little bit brighter. Maybe it’s the year round sunshine. Maybe it’s the cultural and deep familial connection amongst the community.

But it’s something we can all stand to learn from, it’s something we all need to adopt into our own way of life.

I know it’s not easy – and of course when things are generally more mellow and go with the flow you’re going to be more relaxed and happier. And I know it can be easy to lose yourself when your day to day means you have so many various demands.

Especially when being a woman, a woman of colour – can sometimes mean you have to be a jack of all trades. It’s expected for you to cook, clean, tend to the children, engage in extra-curricular activities (for both you and the kids), and have a career as well – all while keeping your family and husband’s family happy.

Some people do it all, and make it look easy too. But if you’re like me, (and the majority) – then sometimes it can just become all too much and you have to know when and where to dial back.

First and foremost, learn what bits of yourself you’re willing to give, and what pieces to keep to yourself. If your life situation is that of having high familial obligations (you’re a wife, mother, daughter, and daughter-in-law) then by definition you are more what they need to be, and less of what you need to be for yourself. But you can still hold on to what makes you you and check all the boxes of what’s required of you.

Take time out of each day to just meditate. To dwell on where you’re at in life, and where you want to be. If it doesn’t add up, if you’re not happy with things – then begin to make small, subtle changes that’ll take you the direction you want to go.

For example, if you feel you’re constantly devoting most of you time to making others happy, begin allocating certain times throughout the day to do what makes YOU happy. Read, write, take a bath, or just be still, but just BE in the way that makes YOU happy, not anyone else.

Second, be aware of what makes you tick. A series of events or actions that irritate you or cause frustration on the daily will eventually add up and contribute to the essence of your vibe. You put out what you receive and vice versa. So if there’s things that bother you in your life – change them. Don’t let them take over the forefront of your mind; and turn you into this scary angry moMster.

For me, messiness grinds my gears. I literally can’t breathe in a dirty house. If the jackets, shoes, and bags aren’t tucked away – my muscles tense, my eyebrow furrows, and I just can’t hear my own thoughts or breathe easy.

So what do I do? I clean. I get up everyday and tidy up and put things in their place because I find when my mind races, my hands move just as quick – and to begin my day with the accomplishment of cleaning and setting things right – helps me feel like I CAN control my environment and how I allow it to make me feel.

Third – go easy on yourself and keep perspective. I used to have this knee jerk reaction of getting way too wrapped up in the fine print. I focused so much on the here and now that I forgot that life is forever changing. And if you don’t stop to take a step back and examine things from a different perspective you’ll never actually get anywhere.

Sometimes I get frustrated with the smallest thing, my daughter didn’t finish her bottle – well you know what she’ll drink more the next time around. My son watched way too much tv today – it’s okay we’ll have a park date tomorrow. My husband has to cancel or reschedule our plans – that’ll just make our time spent together all that much more meaningful.

There’s always a way to look at things in a more positive light – if you just allow yourself to draw back from the details, you’ll be able to see the big picture in all its glory.

Life’s short. Put yourself, your kids, and what makes you happy first. Leave your doubts and worries behind. Feel the moment but don’t let it consume you. And last but not least – don’t let the opinion of others dictate how you see yourself. Any time is the perfect time to change things up – all you have to do is decide when enough is enough and that you won’t be a victim of your circumstances anymore. Let go of what’s holding you back and get where you want to be because there’s no better time than right now to actually start living.

Perhaps then we can bring that Maui sun into our life even on the rainiest of days.

What really happens in Vegas

Typically just the word VEGAS strikes excitement and churns blurry memories of table dances and strong drinks in people. But today news headlines were splattered with the event of an individual plowing over tourists on a busy part of “the strip” in this infamous party city.

It immediately made me recall the moment the bubble of vegas fun was burst for me. When the whirlwind merry-go-round of fun was abruptly put to a stop. It was a couple years back when I was there celebrating the momentous occasion of finally turning twenty-one.

My sister, cousins, and I all had our party dresses, hair teased in every which way, and makeup caked on as perfect as could be when a disgruntled cab driver decided to tell us the real truth about America’s playground.

When we sat in the cab he asked us “where to?” We responded with giddy excitement that we wanted to check out the brand new hotel Cosmopolitan and all it had to offer.

“Oh that death trap.” He responded completely deadpan with a snarl.

“What do you mean, death trap?” We all asked in unison.

“Of course you girls have no idea what people go through to create this momentous landmarks for you foreigners to enjoy. Do you have any idea how many poor men lost their lives in that place? They fell straight down the elevator shaft, dozens of them, but don’t worry your pretty little heads about it you girls go have a great time.”

It put a damper on everyone’s mood but the rest of our trip carried on as planned and we never really discussed that off-beat eerie cab ride again.

But that’s when I started to notice what was behind of the curtain of that place. Despite the buzz of happiness of all those visiting, and the glisten of the sparkling lights of the city, those who work through blood, sweat, and tears to run the place really seem quite miserable.

It’s not just Las Vegas that carries this bipolar energy. It’s pretty much any luxury place where we westerners go to unwind. I couldn’t help but see it on my honeymoon in St. Lucia. The complete contrast of those visiting to those living just above the poverty line holding the whole place up.

It just isn’t fair. Why should outsiders enjoy the magic of a place and those residing there be living day to day on the edge of existence?

It sure didn’t sit right with me then. And now that I’ve drawn your attention to it I hope I didn’t completely ruin the facade of escapism for you but rather bring to light the awareness that not everything is always as it seems. And when a place seems too good to be true – it usually is.

So we must wonder what led that woman to senselessly drive into a group of innocents? Had the Vegas disparity of reality finally taken it’s toll?

One can only be aware of such issues and be kind to everyone you pass on your travels. For you never know if the only reason you’re able to enjoy yourself is on the coattails of their misery.