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Natural Awakenings San Diego

March 2014 Publisher Letter

Feb 28, 2014 01:50PM

Keeping happy and healthy; hiking with family on mellow Molokai Island.

Have you ever been to the Hawaiian Islands? Hawaii is one of the most magical places I’ve ever visited. Even though I’m used to the sun and surf residing in Southern California, Hawaii’s Aloha spirit welcomes you in a completely different way. The very first breath inhaled of fresh Hawaiian air fills you with that spirit, stays with you during your entire stay, and follows you back to wherever your home is.

In February, I enjoyed quality family time with my brother and sister-in-law on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai. Molokai is one of the least developed islands. It has no traffic lights and little to no restaurants, which was perfect because less is more for me. I loved the simplicity and raw nature. We found ourselves foraging as we hiked, cooking for ourselves, and shopping at the local farmers’ markets.

One of my favorite interactions with the locals was when a Hawaiian man and his young son paddled up on their stand up paddle board in the pouring rain with a net full of local fish. Being that I am a paddle boarder and yearning to meet locals to embrace the local culture, I ran up to them in the downpour as they paddled ashore. The young boy, shaking cold from riding on the bow in the rain, greeted me with a giant smile on his face. He took credit for the long paddle to the reef and successful fresh catch. That, of course, brought smiles to both me and his father, and a natural bond was formed.

My island encounters and my experiences returning home to San Diego led me to researching the suicide rate of young adults. I found it interesting that there is a significant relationship between the happiest places to live and higher rate of suicides. In a New York Times article, Dr. Stephen Wu, associate professor of economics at Hamilton College, noted that “several studies found that people react differently to low income or unemployment depending on how common it is in their community. ‘If a lot more other people around them are unemployed, it doesn’t seem so devastating,’ he said.”

This correlation helped me define garden. The Garden can be the environment we create in our own communities. If we breed commiseration, we thrive. If we educate, we provide choices. If we create stress, competition and make ego-driven decisions, we create toxicity. Wayne Dyer’s messages in his article From “Why Me?” to “Thank You!” shows how our perspectives can vary greatly within the same environment.

Plant and harvest our gardens with sharing intentions. The biggest car, the biggest house, or the biggest bank account really won’t mean much 100 years from now. Live in the now, nourish with love and peace and watch your garden flourish and provide for you and everyone around you. Synergy and peace will be the abundant crops and they will matter 100 years from now.


Elaine Russo Natural Awakenings

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