Gentle reminders and the spirit of aloha

Every winter our family takes a trip together in December to commemorate my in-laws’ wedding anniversary which happens to fall on Christmas Day. This year, they celebrated 50 years of marriage and we all went to Hawaii where the spirit of aloha is everywhere. One of our activities while in Kauai was a private plane tour over the island. It was one of those tiny puddle jumpers that sat six (my sister-in-law and her daughters rode in another plane) and everyone got a window seat. As we soared high above the Na’Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon, I found myself captivated as our pilot, Desi, told us stories of the Ancient Hawaiians who called many of the places below us home. I thought of the way they lived and how things as simple as fresh coconut, a rainbow after a tropical drizzle, the sound of the ocean in a conch shell, and the feel of warm sand beneath their feet were little joys to them that meant so much. I thought of how grateful and cognizant they were of these gifts.

26000907_1970385639948920_3681049406501006604_nGranted, we can’t change technology or modern science and inventions that have shaped the planet in the time since (many of them are needed and do make the world a better place), but we can still learn from the Ancient Hawaiians and their spirit of aloha. The plane ride was a gentle reminder for me that just like the deep azure waves below me, I, too, needed to “flow”. I made a conscious decision to be more mindful of my surroundings and sacred moments (yes, even after yoga class is done) and really try to not let distractions penetrate moments in which I should be more present. What does that mean? For me, it’s things like not worrying about photographing my food or even parts of a vacation for Instagram or Facebook or allowing a phone call to interrupt dinner with my family. It’s focusing on what my husband or children are saying – yes, every single world – without allowing thoughts of what item I wasn’t able to check off on my daily To Do List to nag me. It’s enjoying the scent of the neighborhood flowers on an evening walk and not obsessing over an email I sent to a client. These are just a few examples, but you get the idea.

This isn’t some sort of sanctimonious post about willing myself into always being happy. Part of being present and remembering “flow” for me will be allowing myself to feel things like grief and anger too. I don’t want to avoid or ignore these emotions because that would only amplify frustration. It’s important not to dwell on negative feelings, but I certainly don’t want to judge myself for having them either – we are all comprised of dark and light halves (yin and yang) and need to visit each of them in order to be whole.

Words like self-care and self-love seem to inhabit the lexicon of the zeitgeist right now, but the idea and behavior they encompass have been held dear since time immemorial by many cultures like the ancient Hawaiians. I realize it’s not practical to fly off to the islands every single time any of us need to unplug or decompress, but we can make an effort to tune in and focus on the NOW which may be something as elementary as not allowing ourselves to be bedeviled by worry or stress.

We need to pledge fealty to ourselves. To our wellbeing. To our own spirit of aloha.

Pandora would be pleased with any of these boxes.

It’s the holiday season so why not give yourself a gift to celebrate all the magic and fabulousness that is you? In the hustle and bustle of running around shopping for everyone on your prezzie list, it’s important to allow yourself to be pampered a bit too. Each month, you’ll get a gentle reminder of how awesome you are with a subscription to a club that delivers a little box of happiness to your door. As women, we get so caught up in making sure everyone else feels special and loved this time of year that often, we forget that we deserve to dote on ourselves a little bit too. Below, are a few of my faves.

  1. Kawaii Box – Kawaii is the perfect gift for the woman who loves a little fun kitsch in her life. Fun items from  Hello Kitty, Pikachu, Pusheen, My Melody, and the like fill the box with everything from pencils, coin purses, and mirror compacts to bracelets, travel pillows, and water bottles. Each month 8-10 handpicked items are delivered to your door.
  2. Globe In – Globe In is a great way to help on an international scale because all of the products in this club are sourced from artisans and farmers in countries around the globe. Money from your membership goes to support their livelihood. There’s different levels to choose from, but they’re all great. Some examples of items you’ll receive are handpainted mugs, organic chocolate bars, palm leaf baskets, and handblown wine glasses.
  3. Hygge – “Hygge” is the Danish word meant to acknowledge a feeling or a moment that’s extraordinarily charming or lovely. It’s become the word du jour for hip travelers and those who want to experience that state of bliss that comes naturally to Scandanavians. This club promises atmosphere and things that will make you feel cozy: candles, books, hot cocoa, cookies, etc. Delivery is twice monthly.
  4. Mindfulness Box – Need a little Zen in your life? Then this is the subscription for you. Mindfulness Box memberships are about connecting with yourself and products include a wide array of self-care lovelies like geodes, sage for smudging, candles, mala bead bracelets, affirmation cards, crystal charging plates, energy clearing sprays, Yogi tea, and books by authors like Eckhart Tolle, Brene Brown, and others.
  5. The Wordy Traveler – This club is pricier than some of the others, but totally worth it if you dream of exotic and romantic places in dreamy spaces. With this subscription, members get a new location every quarter and three books that are curated to represent the destination, an ethically sourced tea that symbolizes the region, and a custom art print to inspire their sense of wanderlust. The best part? With each membership purchase, the company donates some of the proceeds to girls and women around the world needing assistance with access to education.
  6. Love With Food – If you’ve got gluten allergies and/or prefer organic food, this is the club for you! For $19.99/month you get a box that includes gluten-free goodies and snacks that are totally organic with yummy items like pasta, tepenades, dark chocolate sea salt brittle, and banana caramel pancake batter. In addition to all the super yummy food, for every box purchased, Love With Food donates a meal to feed a hungry child.
Box Clubs _ Lipstick-Republic[pic credit: CrateJoy]