The Three Best Ways to See Kauai

The Three Best Ways to See Kauai

Growing up, most of my adventures were neatly contained within the pages of the books I loved so desperately.  I easily devoured a book a day during summer vacations, loading up my little wagon with fourteen books from the mobile library to make sure I had enough to last me until its next visit to the local grocery store parking lot.

And when I ran out of books, my imagination easily took over where the books left off.

I grew up a military brat, so every couple of years we had a new home in a new state.  This constant state of flux birthed a wanderlust deep in my soul.  As an adult, I chose to grow deep roots in my beloved adopted hometown, and satisfy my wanderlust by traveling as often as I can.

Most of our trips are little weekenders to places we can get to in a few hours.  But last September, I spent two gloriously exhausting weeks on Kauai, Hawaii with my beau. He was raised on Kauai, and gave me the kind of insider’s view that most tourists, (or haoles,) never get to experience.

Plumeria ReginaMaeWrites.jpgKauai is aptly named the Garden Island.  I discovered that plumeria isn’t just a lotion sold at Bath and Body Works, but beautiful trees loaded with bright, cheery blossoms.  Awapuhi isn’t just a shampoo, but glorious white or pink flowers that grow wild along winding, dirt roads.  Driving around Kauai feels like driving around a movie set, as if the trees, bushes and flowers had been arranged just perfectly for the next scene.

Four-Wheel Drive

Many of Kauai’s exquisitely pristine locations are most easily accessible by four-wheel drive.

Kauai Mahaulepu Beach ReginaMaeWritesOne of those places is Mahaulepu Beach.  The road to Mahaulepu is a bumpy, minimally-maintained dirt cane field road that had historically been used by the sugar plantations.  After the sugar plantations stopped operations, there was little economic benefit to maintaining the road to Mahaulepu beyond the last golf course.  Even with four-wheel drive,  it is a slow, harrowing trek.

Hawaiian Monk Seal ReginaMaeWrites.jpgBut once you get there?  Then it’s just you, a local Hawaiian family picnicking and fishing, and a couple of kite surfers.  Oh, and if you’re lucky, you might see a baby Hawaiian monk seal taking a nap on the beach. 

One of my favorite spots on the island is Queen’s Pond in the Polihali State Park on the Na Poli Coast.  Queen’s Pond is a shallow, sandy-bottomed pool surrounded by a reef.  The reef makes it the only calm spot on the insanely wild Polihali beach.  Like Mahaulepu, it is located at the end of a bumpy, dirt road (about five miles long), and then down the sandy Polihali beach. 

Although the dirt road is in better condition than the road to Mahaulepu, because of the recent rainy season, the four-wheel drive made taking on the dirt road much more realistic.  It also allowed us the flexibility of driving across the sand to Queen’s Pond, after consulting with a local bruddah about how much air to take out of our tires.  (About half, if you’re curious.)

Catamaran Tour

My second favorite way to see Kauai is on a catamaran tour.  Capt. Andy’s has been providing catamaran tours of the exquisite Na Pali Coast since 1980, and was a natural choice for us because my beau’s sister, (who met us on Kauai), worked for Capt. Andy’s in the days before she had a husband and babies.

Na Pali Coast ReginaMaeWrites.jpgThe catamaran tours cover either the Na Pali coast on the north side of the island or Poipu Beach on the south side of the island, depending on the season.  We were lucky enough to hit the end of the summer season before the ferocity of the winter waves shut down the Na Pali coast tours.  There are no roads that lead to the Na Pali coast.  The only way to get there is on foot by way of the Kalalau Trail, which was named by Backpacker.com as one of America’s ten most dangerous trails.  For the average tourist like me, that just isn’t a possibility.  But, a catamaran tour is a most excellent way of witnessing the untouched beauty of the Na Pali coast.

Helicopter Tour

Waterfall Kauai ReginaMaeWritesMy favorite way to experience the vast lushness of the island of Kauai is a helicopter tour.  Although I spent the last thirty years swearing I would never go up in a helicopter, we decided that my birthday present would be just that.

Uncle John, the barefoot pilot with Sunshine Helicopter Tours, flies a helicopter like he was born in one, and his buttery-smooth voice filled our ears with stories of Kauai for the entire tour.  They call him the Hawaiian Morgan Freeman.

My beau is the ultimate outdoorsman who walked the length and depth of the island when he lived there. And he still saw parts of Kauai that he had never seen before.  One of the most amazing sites on the tour is the Manawaiopuna Falls, which most people would recognize from the movie Jurassic Park.  Our trip was right after a particularly rainy season, and we saw more waterfalls than I could count. 

I quite literally held my cell phone under my arm, pointed it out the window, and sporadically snapped the shutter to take pictures.  And somehow ended up with the most incredible pictures of our entire two-week trip.

Our time on Kauai was simply magical, and we are already planning our next trip and new ways to experience its majesty. 

Horseback riding? 

Kayaking with the whales? 

Skydiving?  

I can’t wait to find out!

Ever Upward Regina Mae

My Fairy Daemon

My Fairy Daemon

The first time I read about the concept of a daemon or genius was in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic Ms. Gilbert, (or my BFF Liz, as I like to think of her), originally spoke about the concept of a daemon or genius in her TED Talk, “Your Elusive Creative Genius”, way back in 2009. (Watch it here.  Seriously, it’s required watching for any creative.)  But in the synchronous nature of the universe, lessons don’t come to us until we are both ready for them and actually need them.  I wasn’t writing back in 2009.  I was just getting divorced, running my law practice, raising my children and trying to survive, truthfully.  Thinking back to that time, I don’t think I’d even heard of TED, and didn’t have the time or energy to write anything that wasn’t required for my day job.

My BFF Liz shares with us that in ancient Greece and Rome, people didn’t believe that they were geniuses.  Instead, they believed that they had a genius, as it was called in Latin, or a daemon, as it was called in Greece.  Their daemon or genius was an entity completely separate from the artist.  Muse is the word that I was more familiar with before reading Big Magic or listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk.

Since reading Big Magic and watching “Your Elusive Creative Genius”, I’ve also heard my girl-crush Danielle LaPorte talk about daemons in session one of the Fire Starter Sessions, which I have now listened to an embarrassing number of times because I keep making other people listen to it with me.

In the way of the Law of Attraction, now that I’ve been opened up to the concept of a daemon or genius, they seem to be everywhere.

As I sit in my front yard, in front of my fire pit with my She Shed behind me and my water fountain burbling in the yard, I am obsessing about my daemon today.

My daemon or genius is a fairy-like creature who flitters about on glittering, gem-colored wings.  When I listen carefully, she fills my head with fantastical thoughts and stories.  She is generously visual, creating entire worlds of sparkling blue water and white sandy beaches or lush mountain streams and roaring waterfalls, all in my head.  If nothing distracts me between the time she draws these scenes until my fingers can reach a keyboard, the pictures flow into words until they cover the screen. 

I find her in the stillness of a walk along the causeway, or in front of the fire pit with the water fountain burbling and birds twittering, or sitting in the sun room with my little Yorkie snuggled by my thigh.

She likes Hawaiian musicians like Olomana and Hapa. But she adores classical piano music, which I found out quite by accident one weekend when I told my beau that I really, truly needed to write.  He put classical piano music on Pandora, left me in peace, and the words flowed.  The next day, he did it again with the same generous results.

My fairy genius will show up in a thunder storm or on a sunshiney day, as long as I am warm and dry.  She loves moving water in all its forms:  rivers and streams, water fountains, rain storms.

When I am trying to lure her out to play with me, I turn Pandora on the Classical Solo Piano Radio station. If I’m sitting outside, I freshen the water in the water fountain and turn it on.  If I’m inside, I turn on the diffuser with lavender essential oil.

My-Fairy-Daemon-ReginaMaeWrites.PNGAnd then I sit in front of my computer and type.  Sometimes, I type the words, “I don’t know what to type.”  Sometimes, I type those words over and over again.  Always, eventually, if I sit still long enough and lose myself in the magic of the music and the scent of wood smoke in the fire pit or lavender oil in the diffuser, the words will come.  My fairy daemon has something to say, and once she is sure I am serious, she tells me the message of the day.

Peace is necessary for my fairy genius to show up.  But solitude isn’t.  She’s delivered some of her best work with my beau sitting next to me, either watching a movie or playing on his fancy “computer phone” or chatting away to me about something I can’t hear because I’m listening to my fairy genius.

My fairy genius is even more skittish than I am, and discord chases her away.  Discordant classical music full of minor keys that sound like funereal tomes cause her to skitter away as quickly and efficiently as sharp words  thrown like knives between my beau and me.

The more I get to know my fairy genius, and the more she gets to know me, the more elegantly we work together.  I know now that when I am depressed, she won’t come visiting.  When I am angry or stressed, she stays away.  But when I sit with my face lifted toward the sun, close my eyes and sink into Beethovan’s Piano Sonata No. 14, she sits next to me, her head on my shoulder, and whispers fantasies into my ear.

She is instrumental in my Year of Big Magic, and is busy spinning the stories which are slowly becoming the Kirk’s Bluff Trilogy.  I am busy listening to her, listening for her, and creating conditions that will draw her closer to me.

Since I wrote my memoir, I’ve had friends and family members ask me, “How do you write a book?”  The simplest answer is you write.  As the author L.K. McCall told me, it’s all about “Ass in Chair Time.  You sit at the computer screen, or grab a pen and a pad of paper, and put words down.  But, of course, if it were really that simple, everybody would have written a book by now.

My-Fairy-Genius-ReginaMaeWrites.PNGSo maybe the advice should be get to know your daemon or genius.  Talk to him.  Lure her to you.  And when he talks back, when she whispers in your ear, listen.

One author I know says his guardian angel, (which is how he thinks of his muse), smells like strawberries.  Another says hers smells like lavender.  She asked me what mine smells like, and I’m not really sure.  But, incense seems like a good guess since it’s always burning when I’m creating.

If you are a creative, do you believe in a genius or daemon?  If you do, how do you nurture your genius?  How do you feed your daemon?

I’d love to hear your stories, my friend.  Tell me how you create.

Until next time, keep your hearts and eyes,

Ever Upward,

Regina Mae

 

What Will It Take For You To Stay

My darling, has anyone ever asked you what would it take for you to leave?

What would it take for you to leave your job?  Or your relationship?  What would it take for you to leave life as you know it?  Your career, your marriage, your house of worship?  What would it take for you to leave…fill in the blank.

It’s a viable question.  Knowing the answer can be an important step in deciding when to transition to the next place in your life.

But, my darling, maybe the better question isn’t what would it take for you to leave, but what will it take for you to stay.  What do you have to feel to stay where you are today?

Joy?

Peace?

Security?

Excitement?

How do you want to be treated in order to stay where you are?

With respect?  Kindness?

you-are-the-only-one.PNG
You are the only one who gets to decide your right answer, because you are the only one who has to live your one  and only, true and precious, life.

Do you like the challenge of an uphill, mountainous climb?  Or prefer a smooth, easy walk on the beach?

Do you want to be joyful and happy?  Or do you thrive on conflict?

When you get up in the morning, what propels you forward?

reframe-the-questionsMaybe it’s time to reframe the questions we ask ourselves and each other.  

Believers of the Law of Attraction posit that what you think is what you attract.  If you focus on negative thoughts or beliefs, Law of Attraction says you will attract negative events to your life. Conversely, if you focus on positive thoughts or beliefs, that is what will manifest in your life.

If you don’t necessarily believe in the Law of Attraction, then consider the concept of self-fulfilling prophecies.  This concept, which dates back to Ancient Greece and Ancient India, states that belief in a statement changes our behavior in ways that we make the statement come true.

Let that sink in for a moment.  If we believe a statement, we will subconsciously change our behavior in ways that will make the statement come true.

Have you ever known someone who says things like, “I always get the short end of the stick,” or “Nothing ever goes my way.”

Have you ever known them to be wrong?

Have you ever known someone who says things like, “I always get good parking spots,” and sure enough, they always do?

Open your mind, my darling, and consider this. If you say, out loud or even only to yourself, “I’m leaving this job if my boss yells at me one more time,” then you might just be inviting your boss to yell at you.

If you say, out loud or even just to yourself, “I’m leaving the next time my lover insults me,” maybe that’s exactly the self-fulfilling prophecy that will bring it about.

But maybe if you align your thoughts with what you want to happen, as opposed to what you want to avoid, just maybe that is what you will attract to yourself.

Try saying this, “I will stay at my job as long as I am treated with respect and fairly compensated.”

“I will stay at my job as long as I am mentally stimulated.”

“I will stay at my job if I get promoted within the next six months.”

Or how about these mantras.

“I will stay with my lover as long as I feel cherished and adored.”

“I will stay in my marriage as long as I feel loved and respected.”

One of two things are bound to happen.  Either what you have stated will happen, thus proving the law of attraction.

Or those things won’t happen, and you will know that it is time to move along, to the next job or the next lover.

If you get fixed in your mind exactly how you want to feel, or how you want to be treated; if you settle on how you want to vibrate in this glorious universe we call home, then you will know what you need to do if you don’t feel that way.

What will it take for you to stay?

For me, it is joy and contentment, respect and love, with a generous dollop of excitement and adventure.  If those things fade away, then it’s time for a new career, or a new hobby, new friends or a new relationship.

But that’s just my answer.  Tell me about yours.  What will it take for you to stay?

Ever Upward Regina Mae

My Year of Big Magic

Hello, darlings.

Every year, I choose a word or phrase to set my intention for the year. In the past, I’ve had a Year of Balance, a Year of Yes, and even a Year of Bad Decisions, (which, quite frankly, turned out just fine and took a lot of the pressure off of my constant desire for perfect decisions). I struggled through them of December looking for a word for this year.  And then it happened. I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book Big Magic. And just like that, I knew I’d found a winner.

My-Year-Of-Big-Magic

And so it is that Twenty Sixteen has become my Year of Big Magic, or in twitter-speak, my #YearofBigMagic.  This is my year to live as creatively as possible.

There are exciting things on the horizon, and I’m tickled to have you along for the ride.

I finished writing my memoir, Adventures in Dating, last year, and I am determined to have it published this year. With help from the ever-talented and strategically-connected Rockelle Henderson at Rock Inked, Inc., I am exploring traditional publishing. At the same time, I am open to adding the title “Indie Author” to my list of mad skills. I’m throwing it all out to the universe and waiting to see what comes back.

I am writing a romantic suspense trilogy, (which might actually be women’s fiction – this genre business can be pretty confusing), which tells the story of three best friends who face some of life’s toughest crises, and with the help and love of friends and family, they find second chances and lasting love. And really, isn’t that what we all want? Second chances and lasting love?  Let’s hear it for Happily Ever Afters!

I’m learning everything I can from my amazingly insightful and ever-encouraging life coach Sarah Mastriani-Levi of Mannafest Living. Sarah and I have a fun chat about the simple changes we mapped out in my quest for Big Magic on her podcast, appropriately named Simple Change. Grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine and listen along.

The only thing I love more than writing is reading, and I’m going to spend the year talking to authors and seeing what they have to say about the writing process. What works for them? What have they tried that didn’t work? Did they go Traditional or Indie? For me, I always want to know two things: why did you do something and how did it work out for you? And because I love sharing my favorite authors with my friends, I’m going to give away copies of their books, too. (Sneak preview – the first author interview will be with L.K. McCall who published Sway of the Siren in 2015.)

In addition to the trilogy and this blog, I’m exploring other ways to share some of the fantastic things I’m learning along the way about better ways to love and to write. What do you like best?  Ebooks?  Webinars?  Podcasts?

It’s going to be a helluva ride! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

In the meantime, keep your thoughts,

 

Ever Upward Regina Mae

Snoopy-typing