Two years ago we packed most of what we owned into four suitcases, boarded a plane headed for the middle of the Pacific and embraced a life of eternal summer. Although we encounter subtle cues of seasons changing, it’s different than I expected and different than I have ever experienced before. Years can pass more quickly here in Hawai’i. There aren’t dramatic shifts that remind you of a season coming or going. Time is more fluid and elusive. These past couple years have rushed by in a warm, humid haze that has been a breath of fresh air for my soul.
Growing up in Utah, we had four beautiful seasons, every year. Most years, our winter seemed to take up the longest portion of the year, much to my dismay. You see, I want to love winter, but the cold isn’t quite my love language. Instead, my heart beckons: give me warmth, give me light. Nevertheless, I was very used to the seasons. The excitement at the first signs of spring. The long days of summer, where the light of the day trickles far into the night. The crisp fall air with those vibrant, warm hues painting the mountainsides scarlet. These were things I was used to, loved and may have taken for granted. I don’t quite ache for my home state yet, although I do take note of the differences, the things I miss and the beautiful patterns of each place.
If you would have told me five years ago that I would be residing in Hawai’i; living, loving + working full-time alongside my partner Aaron
; creating + doing what I love each day in 2017 – I would have laughed
you out the door, unaware of what was to come. Living in this place always seemed like a dream, not a reality within grasp. I have always set my goals high, worked hard and dreamed big but it’s still hard to fathom how things will look in the future sometimes.
Once we committed to making this dream a reality, it took some planning and a big leap of faith. Now that we’re here, life seems so different than before. We have adapted to new normals, welcomed in new experiences and challenged the idea of home. Living in Hawai’i has been wildly
inspiring for me personally and professionally. My creativity feels like it reignited when we moved down here. I imagine you are reading this thinking ‘Of course it did. Hawai’i inspires everyone. It’s such a beautiful place!’
But for me, it’s much more than that. Hawai’i is a really sacred and special place. It felt like home to me before moving here (read this piece on my blog
to know what I mean). There is a calming, healing mana (energy) here which has been such an honor to experience and create from.
For the first few months of living here, I was constantly beckoned to the beach to play in the waves, to explore the different climates of the island (there are thirteen), to soak up the sun and to take in this new life. It was incredibly freeing. I would ditch my cell phone at the house, not feeling the inherent need to capture everything like you do on vacation. I was happy to work in the morning or late evening, escaping the routine of working all day to get out and play. It was beautiful nearly every day, so I felt like I was doing myself a disservice if I stayed inside. It was just so captivating out there!
Then, slowly, guilt began to creep in. I started to feel like taking time away from work to play was irresponsible. That I wasn’t grinding hard enough. That I needed to focus (even though work was going as well as ever). The messages we often get fed as entrepreneurs is to hustle, to constantly be on it, to keep growing your business at the fastest rate possible. With these messages in my head, I felt like giving into this summer-all-year-round lifestyle made me unprofessional.
We stopped going on adventures multiple times per week as we had been. We started making home our office more than going to the local coffee shops to work. I was able to hunker down, we wrote and published our book, we were getting a lot accomplished. It felt like I was checking things off a list: Productive, check! Professional, check! Diligent, check!
Little by little, I started feeling less inspired, tethered to my inbox, my creativity dwindling; trapped almost. I wondered, Is it worth it to live here if we don’t get out and experience it the way we enjoy? Although I know that punching the clock at the ‘appropriate’ hours and having a strict routine can be a good thing, I also want to live this life. I want to enjoy each year, month and week intentionally. The reason I work for myself is to be able to create and connect on my own terms, in my own time. When I give myself the freedom and space to immerse myself in this incredible place, I naturally want to create more photos, to write more and am more passionate and excited when I’m meeting with my clients. This was my wake up call.
This might just be a natural ebb and flow of a creative who works without the structure of a corporate company. Creating strict boundaries to function a certain way – putting each puzzle piece in place. Only to end up shaking the table, sending all the pieces flying, soon after. I’m sure I’ll experience it many times over throughout my lifetime. But right now, at this moment? I’m digging into the importance of honoring the present. Doing what feels right – even if it’s not everyone’s norm.
Living in this vacation destination, where it is warm and tropical and unlike anything I’ve lived in before, I have learned an extremely important lesson: it will get done. Whatever that ‘it’ is in your life, you will get it done. If you’re determined and hard working, you can accomplish it. You don’t have to be hard on yourself, let guilt seep into your thoughts, to shame yourself into thinking your work is your sole purpose. Don’t sacrifice your playfulness, your experiences or your youth trying to live inside the constructs of what ‘professional’ looks like. If you’re a professional, then that will come through no matter what your day looks like.
Taking this leap of faith, moving to a place my heart feels at home – it has made all the difference. There are so many lessons to be learned. I don’t believe I’ve ever felt this aware, this alive. I feel more in tune with my surroundings, more inspired, more alert. I chose to release the guilt and to embrace my days; working to live, not living to work. I am releasing the expectations I’ve placed upon myself and instead am working with focus and giving myself freedom with my time when I’m not fully engaged in a project.
If this speaks straight to your heart, here are a few things I hope for you to take away from reading this today. . .
“Find a place that rejuvenates your heart.
Honor each season.
Be fully engaged in life.
Allow your experiences to inspire your work.
A HUGE thank you to Elana for joining us this month as our June contributor. I asked her to share how living in a place of eternal summer has deeply affected her work. Though I am a seasonal person, others find inspiration from other life rhythms and that was why I wanted to share about her choice to move to Hawai’i and chase days full of sunlight, beaches, and adventure have made all the difference.
If you love this piece from her make sure you check out her Instagram, Blog, Consulting Business, and Twitter. She is a bright light on the internet and she felt the perfect person to share this month of light with.