Lighthearted in Okinawa

If you read my blog last week, it was based on the premise that “You don’t have to travel the world to know the world.” I had finally come to the realization that a trip to see my family is simply not in the cards this year. That realization was heart-breaking. If you don’t know me or my family, a short synopsis is: they are my best friends. They are my business partners. They are my steady-rocks. They are my inspiration. They are my comic relief. They are brilliant, funny, and generous. We try to spend as much quality time together as we can because it is sure to be a good time.

Some oldies but goodies…family pics,

When I realized that I would not be going back to Texas, I made a conscious, deliberate effort to create AS MUCH FUN as I could by embracing the beauty of Okinawa, spending quality time with charming friends that live here, and to try to live in the moment. I am excited to share some of the fun that I had last week, and this post will also be a self-reminder of how much JOY I can create, especially when I chose to live in the moment.

Let’s start with the consistent, but really good things that I have been doing, and that I continued to do last week. I meditated. I even sat in on guided mediation and class given by one of my favorite yogis. ( I attended my spiritual study group with some of my favorite people on this island. I ran 42 miles, which is the biggest run week I have had on this island. I also enjoyed time on the beach with my guy and my pup.

Just another beautiful Sunday afternoon, on the beach out front, checking out the wildlife.

Now, let’s move on to the NEW fun that was created. I went zip-lining. I have never been sky-diving, but I would say that zip-lining is the next closest thing you can do to give you the feeling of flying. The exhilaration that you feel as you fly through the air, over the trees, getting a glimpse of what the trees look like from a different perspective is incredible. Knowing that there is no real graceful way of stopping, that you are going to end up on your tail, and knowing that everyone ends up crash landing takes some of the pressure off what is the inevitable: eventually, you have to come down. Essentially, you go from being as light-weight and graceful as you will ever be, to then landing on your backside that is neither graceful nor flattering; you quickly return to reality. The awesome thing about that is that you get to climb again; you get to strap in again, and you get to fly again. For moments in time, you are graceful, beautiful, and weightless – just flying through the air.

Left: climb, climb, climb. It is always worth the climb. Top Right: FLYINNNGGG!!! Bottom Right: fellow adventure friends who made the day so special.

I also went snorkeling with a group of friends. My guy and I snorkel, but we choose places based on convenience and based on where we can take our dog. Unfortunately, for the pup, Gorilla Chop is not a place that I would take him, so I had never been. With the invitation from my personal trainer, I joined some friends to check out a site that I had considered going to, but I had never created the time to go. It was magnificent. I know people love to see the fish. Everyone around here dreams of swimming with a turtle, but what gets me every time is the coral. I am in awe of coral. I love how it stacks on each other. There is something incredible about seeing the colors, shapes, and how it all grows perfectly, with no pattern at all, which makes it look like underwater art. Gorilla Chop has some of the best looking coral I have ever seen in one place, and the fact that we can drive up there and see it anytime makes it a place that I will definitely revisit.

Gorilla Chop Adventure Friends.
We sweat together (led by our trainer, Kellie),
and we laugh and swim together too.

Other fun included meeting up with friends to discuss our Okinawa Leadership Seminar. I love leadership. I love giving back to my community. I love knowing more about the history of the seminar. I love people’s perspective on leadership and how to effectively communicate so you can share with others. Seriously, there is nothing more fun to me than sipping coffee and chatting leadership – especially when I know that it is something we can pass on to other people. I also invited friends over to paint river-rocks because art is fun. Kids are fun. Who wouldn’t want to spend an afternoon getting messy with paint.

Left: Coffee that looks like art at Cafe Swell. Right: Some of our favorite kids who are creating art for my backyard remodel.

There have been some duty stations, where I just woke up happy, woke up immediately in gratitude, and woke up light-hearted. This has not been one of those duty stations. That being stated, I know that you can CHOOSE to be HAPPY. I also know that gratitude is a practice; it is a simple one; it is a MUST when times are good and especially when times are challenging. Now, light-heartedness…that is a tricky one. Can you just make your heart light and filled with JOY? I think you can. It may take some work. It may take some inconvenience. It may take saying “yes” to things you would not normally do, but I guarantee that you will feel light-hearted when you fly through the air, when you witness beautiful coral, when you spend time with big thinkers, when you watch kids paint, when you run long and far enough to catch the most beautiful sunrise. It is in those moments, when you forget about “all the things” and simply live in the moment, that you find your light-heartedness.

My favorite picture from a run last week.

Published by mondaymorningwithmona

I am a Texan, runner, military spouse, reader, a giver and a good friend.

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