I survived the ROAD TO HANA

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What I have learned on my spiritual journey is that “God’s timing is perfect.” I trust that when God closes a door at a particular time, it is for my highest & greatest good. I may not understand why or I may not even like it, but I have learned to “accept what is” and not question it. I love this quote from AA Big Book – “Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems. When I cannot accept every person, place and thing as it is, including my alcoholism, I will not have peace.”

Many people who visit Maui have heard about the “Road to Hana” and want to experience it. Some love it and some hate it. It is beautiful, but the roads are very windy and sometimes there is only one lane to travel. When they finally get to Hana, they often feel disappointed because there is nothing much in Hana to see. It is the journey to Hana that is what is magnificent. It is majestic and magical with the lush green foliage and forests with bamboo trees, huge mountains, beautiful flowers, waterfalls, cliffs that overlook the ocean, black and red sand beaches. It really feels like you are in another world and it could be called “Heavenly Hana.”

Hana is on the other side of the island of Maui and I had not been there in almost 4 years since I have lived here. It’s not that I haven’t tried to go there, because I have. Two years ago, my friend, Catherine, and I planned a trip to Hana for our birthdays, but I hurt my back and the trip was cancelled. Last year, my friend, Kati & I planned a trip to Hana, but for some reason, never made it. Kati and Catherine have been to Hana many times and both wanted me to experience its majesty and beauty.

Last week Catherine, Kati and I went to Hana and we had an amazing and powerful time together. I had 2 experienced “guides” to show me all the “secret” breathtaking places that most tourists don’t even know about. As we started our drive to Hana, we were graced with two beautiful rainbows in the sky. As we sat having our breakfast overlooking the ocean, we spotted a whale breaching. This was our first whale sighting this season, which we were thrilled about. We went into a lava tube which is a cave that formed from the volcano thousands of years ago. We walked on black and red sand beaches and visited the 7 sacred pools.

Now that I’ve experienced the journey to Hana and its beauty and magnificence, it’s hard to believe that I had never been there before, until now. Again, God’s perfect timing. As I thought about my experience, I realized there is always “MORE” that God wants to give us and show us. There is always more beauty and magic and love to be experienced when we are open and ready to receive it. The key for me is to be grateful and accept exactly what I have and where I am in my life, trusting that God knows what is best for me as I daily “let go and let God.” A heart that is grateful and open attracts more good into its life and doors open at the right time when you trust. I didn’t feel like I was “missing anything” by not visiting Hana sooner than I did because I was happy and content with what I had in my life.

My life has been enhanced, deepened and broadened by this experience to Hana in many ways. On a personal note, I was able to take care of myself and love myself by not people pleasing, knowing my limitations and setting boundaries. Kati and Catherine are experienced hikers and love to hike. I am not a hiker, (don’t even like hiking), but was willing to do my best and go along with them. I was really proud of myself because I stretched myself by going down deep cliffs along the ocean side and walking up steep hills through the woods. I prayed all along the way asking for strength and protection because it was wet and slippery in many places.

When my knee started to hurt, I knew I needed to tell my friends that I would not be going any further into the forest to see the bamboo trees. I could have pushed myself and ignored the pain in my knee or I could have been honest and risked their disapproval. I knew they would be disappointed because they were really looking forward to me experiencing the bamboo trees, but I also knew they would honor and respect my decision not to go any further. I chose to be honest and tell them the truth because I knew my limitations and it didn’t matter what they thought of me. In the past, my ego might have said, “Don’t look weak, don’t disappoint them, keep pushing, don’t be a wimp.” But, today it is more important that I love and honor myself than being a people pleaser. It all worked out perfectly and, of course, they were wonderful. On the way back down the steep hill, Catherine said, “It would be great, Pat, if you had a walking stick to help support your knee.” A couple of minutes later, a man walked by with a walking stick and Catherine asked where he got it. He said, “Here you can have this one.” Wow, of course, Catherine handed it to me. God always provides when we ask, we shall receive.

I have found as I’m sure many of you have, that sometimes on life’s journey when I kept my attention on the goal, I missed the incredible opportunities that were actually the gifts along the journey. I wonder how much of the journey I missed while working long and hard to reach all of my goals. I believe that we make the best decisions we can at the time according to where our consciousness is. Now I am learning to find value in the journey by living in the moment.

It was fear and worry that kept me from living in the moment and the NOW. This is different from keeping my eye on the goal and what I want to accomplish in my life. When I lived my life in fear and worry, I felt a sense of control (which is an illusion) because I thought that the “fearful thoughts” were real. This created a constant negative energy and tension that supported my lack of trust. Although I was on a faith journey, my faith didn’t provide me with the tools I needed to live in the moment.

One of the difficulties I experienced in my life was that I had many unanswered questions about God and my faith. My religion taught me to obey rules and commandments and if I didn’t do that, I would be punished and I had to do penance. I had trusted God, done everything my religion had required of me and I still felt abandoned. I said” if trusting in God got me to this point in my life “screw it” I’m better off on my own.

During the years of suffering and pain, I wasn’t able to see it as part of my spiritual journey. I was angry at God and blamed God for things happening in my life that I didn’t like. I was trying to do everything right and couldn’t understand why everything turned to dust. I felt like a rudderless boat bobbing in the ocean. Little did I know God was giving me the opportunity for a whole new different walk in faith, where all my questions are addressed and answered.

As I am practicing living in the moment, I don’t have a sense of control. Therefore, I don’t have confidence in myself to make the decisions that I had when I lived in fear and worry. I sometimes feel frustrated because this is a new practice for me and I don’t fully understand it yet, although it feels right and the more I live in the moment, the more peaceful and relaxed I feel. That is what letting go is all about for me because I am learning to trust. The more I allow myself to seek awareness and consciousness, the more confidence I have in my ability to trust in the energy and light of love.

In retrospect and looking back over my life’s journey, I always had a sense that there was MORE and that I could have it all. Today, years later on my faith journey, I have it all. If I had not traveled the journey I did, I would not be where I am today and have the consciousness that I have.

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

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