Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Fabulous Fiji!

Makaira Resort, Taveuni, Fiji

Fabulous Fiji!

I bought myself a ticket to paradise. It started last spring. I just couldn't face the idea of turning 60 alone. Widowed. Unemployed. Single. Despite my success as a public speaker, change leader and so so writer, I really don't like the focus of attention to be on moi. I hate it. So when my friend Edie called, as she sometimes does, asking if I could come with her to Fiji in February...I said "No" at first. How could an Unemployed Widow go on a trip of a lifetime to Fiji!?? I had two weeks to decide because airfare was "cheaper", and was actually reading The Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes at the time. She shares her inner struggle: 

"Whatever that spark is that makes each one of us alive and unique… mine has gone. Stolen like the paintings on the wall. The flickering flame response for lighting me up from the inside, making me glow, keeping me warm… my candle had been blown out. I was shut down. I was tired. I was afraid. Small. Quiet." 

So, I called Edie back and said "YES! Yes to Fiji for my 60th!!! Wooo Hoooo. Then, I called all my family and close friends, and asked them..."Instead of buying me any gifts -- a bday card, a stamp for my bday card, breakfast, lunch or dinner, a bottle of wine, a cup of coffee, a sparkler for my bday next January...please put whatever cash you would spend on my bday event in an envelope to help reimburse me for my expenses for my trip!" 

View from the plane to Taveuni, Fiji - LOVE!

Shonda shares "Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.

Since I was paying for a high dollar ticket, I didn't want to just stay in Taveuni for a week, so I stayed at the Wyndham WorldMark timeshare in Nadi, which I bought with my Stewart stock when I lost my job. I wanted to see what travel alone would be like. I have been on many business trips alone and a few weekend getaways or retreats, but never several days alone on an island. It was exciting and terrifying. I felt I was taking my widow members with me. I would relax on the beach with them, I would share my meals with them, I would have a glass of wine on the terrace with them. It was wonderful, actually, and I did survive. I was brave and bold!  I went to classes, and hiked, and swam and read. There was a part of me that had imagined going out to dinner and being picked up by a romantic gentleman that took me dancing on the beach in the moonlight... I'll be honest; that never happened! I got up early and stayed outside until it was just too warm, then I came in and studied and napped, and went back out at dusk to watch the fire torches being lite and then cooked my healthy dinner. I have to say sometimes it was lonely too. I missed companionship and sometimes even got a bit bored. But overall, I had a blast! Me, myself and I - we got along just fine. I survived, enjoyed and learned to relax in the newness of the feeling. 

After a few days, I flew to Taveuni to meet my friend, Edie. Nadi is a big city, the capital, with AC and lots of tourist niceties. Taveuni is a smaller island with no electricity (we had power at our resort) one road, and people live in small huts or concrete homes with no furniture or running water...A very unique place filled with wonderful, faithful, happy people. If I had enough money, I would have everyone in the world go to Taveuni for a week. The world would be a better place. They have so much to share we could all learn from!

Yellow Fin Tuna Fishing with Captain John
(Also our Chef!) and Edie! Every been?!!
We went tuna fishing, we shopped (and bought) pearls - (ask to see my "golden" pearl!), we swam, we ate, we hiked. We read. I spent time each morning on the "visioning bed" at the Point where legend has it God passes over to grant your prayers. I made my petitions and prayers; for peace, for wellness, for courage, for help to move forward in my new voice without any doubt or fear. I asked for strength to tug and pull free from the self-imposed cocoon I have been enveloped in for too long so I can emerge to be the Butterfly I was born to be. 

Brene Brown shares in her book, The Gift of Imperfection, that: "Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow; a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each of them -- We can only Love others as much as we Love ourselves."

Beach of Worldmark Resort, Nadi, Fiji
I read Matthew Kelly's The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion & Purpose while I was in Fiji. It is the foundation of my new 2 H.O.P.E Again Retreat series. Matthew wrote this book when he was 24 years old, just out of college. This book changed my life at 60! He shares some amazing insights: "Following your star is about discovering who you are and what you are capable of. Following your star is about learning to be yourself. You must be prepared to dare to be different in a word where uniformity is safe and rewarded. Search yourself. Discover something deed with that is yours and no one else's. Uncover your uniqueness. Your chance at greatness in intrinsically linked to being yourself. Become a champion of selfhood and you will meet with unimaged success."

Spa Burro, Makaira Resort, Taviuni, Fiji

Carolyn Moor, our Founder of Modern Widows Club, once shared a photo of a stack of books she has enjoyed to heal herself. One of them was The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer. He shares: “There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it. Only you can take inner freedom away from yourself, or give it to yourself. Nobody else can.”

I think I went to Fiji to find myself. Being away from "home" and my daily routine and schedule, responsibilities and timelines, and deadlines helped me really detach, analyze, relax and begin again. I feel I am reborn - more focused on being the brand new me I have been wanting to become. She's been with me this whole entire time, waiting to emerge and grow and stretch to new heights. 

"Our Beach" just below Makari, with Captain John's boat 
No matter where your journey leads you, don't be afraid to go. Go and let go. It's time to evolve into all that you were meant to be. Don't be afraid. Let go of FEAR. Be who you are and all you were meant to be. If you don't, not only do you miss out on your best life ever, we miss out on the unique gifts you are to share with us. You were born for all of us. And if you don't share your unique gifts and talents, we miss out. We need you to be you in all your glory

Oceanside, Wyndham WorldMark Resort, Nadi, Fiji

Accept my challenge to steal away and do something YOU long for. Remember, I went to Fiji: I did it for me, but I want it for you. You define your own "Fiji" - You can do anything you put your mind to. My favorite Pablo Picasso quotes says, "All you can imagine is Real", and I believe! It is always about Commitment & Decision. That is what I have learned and that is what I teach. You must be willing to take a chance to make a choice to make a change. 

I leave you with one of my very favorite poems, given to me by my sister in law, Leslie. I found it while I was decluttering, but I am becoming "Her" for the first time now...

Finding Her Here by Jayne Relaford Brown

I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted,

grey at the temples,

soft body, delighted,

cracked up by life

with a laugh that’s known bitter,

but, past it, got better,

knows she’s a survivor—
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep
         weathered basket.
I am becoming the woman I’ve longed for,
the motherly lover
with arms strong and tender,
the growing-up daughter
who blushes surprises.
I am becoming full moons
        and sunrises.
I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass,
who knows she’s sufficient,
knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
yet not at all scarce—
who knows she is plenty,
        plenty to share.