I’ve been on writing retreat in Hawaii. Time for some new commandments. If you aren’t aware, I sometimes-when I feel like it- create new commandments for the cities I visit.
My hope with this is I offer a remembering for myself of the place I visited-full transparency that’s what I care about most-and also offer you some kind of intention you can bring into your own experience if you visit this city or you can use hanging out in your own city too.
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO…THE COMMANDMENTS OF HILO, HAWAII
GET IT WHILST YOU CAN
Sarah is incredible. She’s a Unicorn spirit and one of my favorite yoga teachers of all time. Each morning we meet at the Lanai (outdoor porch of our retreat space) and move through a full on experience of releasing, receiving, and restoration. At the end she places cold lemon grass infused cloths over our eyes and we revel in the space her class has allowed our minds and our bodies. Often, during class, she’ll say softly in her beautiful British accent, “Get it whilst you can, this is the last one,” referring to the pose or the breath or the moment. Whatever it is doesn’t matter. The message is clear. Get it whilst you can, it might be your last of this. Stay present and in the now. This is where the transformation happens.
HOW YOU CAN USE THIS:
You don’t have to be in Hilo for this. Wherever you are today, in this moment, take a deep breath in and remind yourself to “get it whilst you can.” It’s a powerful message you can use anywhere, anytime. Though I will admit it’s much better when Sarah’s sweet, melodic voice with perfect pacing lilts the message towards your ears.
Alex is the teacher of the retreat. Brilliant, Bright, and Bubbly. She’s fond of tiny things. Tiny gestures, tiny books, tiny moments, and tiny goals. Every day when we complete our writing class she has us write down our “tiny goals” for the day. It’s been a massive help to my overzealous mind who wants to conquer the world in a day then often gets overwhelmed and does nothing instead. I’ve established a fun post-it note system that is working. Tiny goals are really a lot smaller than you could ever imagine and it’s working for me here. Tiny goal: watch some waterfalls. Pretty much can’t lose with this, especially since there is one out my bedroom window with mermaids swimming in it.
HOW YOU CAN USE THIS:
If you come to Hilo it’s pretty easy.
Tiny Goal: Go to the beach. Tiny Goal: Go to the market and see all the fun things designed by locals. Tiny Goal: Go to ‘Just Cruisin’ and get a coffee. Tiny Goal: Watch some sea turtles nosh on algae plants.
If you’re using it in your own city what I recommend is you take the biggest thing you need to accomplish for the day and see if you can break it down into 3 parts, making it a tiny goal. ie; Put on my tenny’s, step outside, go for a walk. 3 tiny goals = a big goal accomplished (getting in a movement practice) instead of one ignored.
Don’t negate the “tiny” part of this at all. Once you’re on a roll with checking boxes or moving post-it notes around you’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in a day. And if you don’t, that’s awesome too. It’s why tiny goals work so well. You don’t feel bad if they don’t get done either.
EARLY TO BED. EARLY TO RISE.
This one. Life changing for me. I’m a certified night owl. Like seriously, I have an official certification. I stay up until 2am and wake up at 9:30am-or later really. However, during this retreat we take an evening restorative yoga class with the most stupendous Sarah and then it’s off to bed for everyone. At like 9pm. Seriously??!! The thing is, when I’m not up talking with others, sitting in front of my computer, or having drinks I find it effortless to turn off the lights and go to sleep. And the amazing thing is, even without an alarm, I wake up with the sun and feel energized. I have been getting so much shit done between the hours of 6-8am (before morning yoga) than I could ever imagine. AND IT FEELS REALLY GOOD! I feel like it’s something I want to keep up when I leave here and I also have severe concerns that it’s some kind of Hawaii thing I won’t be able to do when I get back state side.
HOW YOU CAN USE THIS:
Pretty self-explanatory here. Go to bed early. Get up early. Still remains to be seen if it’s something you can do outside the magical land of Hilo. At least for me. You might already do this and kudos to you! Tell me your ways. I’ve never had such joy waking up with the sun as I do here. If you’re also a night owl like me and sleep in…maybe we need to move here. I mean, it could be a thing. For real. Let’s move here together.
TAKE WHAT YOU NEED. LEAVE THE REST.
Alex has been very clear through our entire retreat: the daily agenda is an invitation. Everything is optional and up to you if you want to participate or not. The whole thing has felt extremely accepting and welcoming and I’ve had most moments where I participated and a few where I stepped aside to take my own road. It’s been opening and expansive to use this commandment. It’s one I will take home with me and use often. Actually, daily.
HOW YOU CAN USE THIS:
Here’s what I love about this approach. Life, my friend, is an invitation. It’s actually not a requirement to live. Frankly, many people don’t live. They only survive. However, if you approach life as an invitation you can take what you need from it and leave the rest. I implore you to invite this commandment into your life, do as you wish. Take what you need from anything offered. Leave the rest.
BAK. BAK. BAK.
This commandment is mostly for my own personal memory. OMG, the funniest and most outrageously talented, amazing women are on this retreat with me. I can’t even begin and it wouldn’t matter if I tried because you’d be amiss to all the inside jokes and everything. Guess what? I’m going to anyway.
I love the Aussies here.
They are both entirely hilarious in different ways. One is thoughtful and reverent-with some swears thrown in-and quiet until the Tim Tams come out.
The other is radically funny, deviceful in her writing, and over online dating. But the best catch of all time. For real.
I love the ‘Yinz’, who’s not a ‘Yinz’ but knows all about them (I really can’t go into it here but you can check out this link if you really want to know) and everything coming out of her mouth is gut-busting. Plus I love her dad Chuck and I’ve never met him.
I love the quietly confident one. Her smile lights up the room and she just so happens to have raised crazy amounts of money for wonderful causes, written a phenomenal book, hung with Oprah, then casually mentioned it, like no big deal.
I love the skeptical, sarcastic one who has the biggest heart and covers it just enough, but once she trusts you shows her softness. And still is absolutely deadpan in her delivery. EVERY. TIME.
I love the one who is starts out reserved and then opens up quickly with appreciation seeing you so fully and sharing it with you vulnerably, beautifully. I feel seen when I spend time with her.
I love Alex, our teacher, her magic maker-everything comes out of nowhere and with no explanation-just pure magic, and the assistant to the magic maker, who is also her own brand of magic, funny, brilliant, and a talented children’s author, and finally the yoga teacher who I could gush about for days. You already read it above, ‘Get it whilst you can’.
This commandment is all about connection. Find your tribe, and vibe with them. We’re an unusual bunch brought together for a week and it’s been a fantastic journey of growth and love.
HOW YOU CAN USE THIS:
As I said above, this commandment is mostly for my sweet memory. You can’t ever live in the rubix cube that is my brain, and know why it means so much to me-don’t you hate it when people say you had to be there-but really you had to be there. Instead you can use the commandment in this way:
Be Brave. Adventurous. Kind. In your life seek to be these things and definitely seek to be around people who are these things, then you’ll for sure BAK, BAK, BAK! Do it when you visit Hilo, but mostly do it wherever you are. All of these women I’ve spent the last 7 days with are brave, adventurous and kind. It’s moved and inspired my heart deeply.
Now, just for fun ….
What was the chicken’s favorite composer?
BACH, BACH, BACH.
See. Told ya. You had to be there.
P.S. I know after reading this you want to go on the retreat too. Good news, you can! Alex is offering a retreat in January. Check out all the details here.