A couple of months deep into the traumatic grief of my father’s death of his own volition, I felt so lost and directionless. My heart was broken and my grief was inescapable. I was exhausted, drained, miserable and stuck. I did not know how to shift it; it felt so raw and intense. Waves of sadness engulfed me and spat me out bruised and battered. I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, my heart beating wildly and unable to get back to sleep. I could barely function and I was running on empty.
My dear friend, Christina Clinton, encouraged me to join her on a trip to Maui, she was enrolled in a 12 month all women entrepreneurial mastermind program and her cohort was meeting up there. She had planned to stay on a few extra days before and after her event and would love my company. I thought about it and realised that taking a restorative grief vacation might do me the world of good.
I had never been to Hawaii and it was on my bucket list. The island of Maui sounded appealing from the little I knew; friends had been there and raved about it. I felt something inexplicable resonate at my heart level when I thought about going there. So, I said yes and booked my trip to arrive at the beginning of April 2016. I started to feel better about having something to look forward to and something to carry me through the dark winter months. I planned on taking it really easy, nurturing my body and soul with healthy food, beach walks, yoga and a sun lounger.
I felt grateful to have this opportunity to get away from my exhausting day to day routine and give myself some much-needed time out. I didn’t care how much it cost or how far I was travelling. I loved going somewhere new and even if it was expensive, I knew that it would be money well spent. To say I was unprepared for my trip would be an understatement. I didn’t do any online research on places to go or sights to see. I figured that as my energy was so depleted, I wouldn’t be up for much and I didn’t have any motivation to search. I booked the airport pick up as the extent of my planning.
I left New York on a cold dark morning and arrived to a welcomed warm breeze of a tropical island. A live Hawaiian band played in the arrival’s hall, I was in dream land! I found my driver and proceeded to Wailea to check into my hotel. The welcome at the hotel was equally impressive. I received the traditional greeting of a Hawaiian Lei. With the beautiful garland of flowers strung around my neck, I immediately started to relax. Despite the long distance travelled and the time shift,I felt more awake than I had done in a long time. I met up with Christina who traveled separately and we started to explore what the hotel had to offer. Just being there, close to the ocean, was so wonderful. My heart expanded with gratitude. My senses were waking up from a deep sleep. I wondered what the stay would have in store.
My days were filled with soul stirring conversations over a relaxing breakfast, super food smoothies, ocean views, yoga on the lawn, light reading lounging by the pool, browsing the hotel store, appointments at the spa and trips to the beach. This was a million miles from the stressful life I had vacated from. I soon started to feel the effects of rest and relaxation on my body. My mind continued to whirl but at a slower pace. I found myself drawn into mindful moments of taking in the sights, smells and sounds of Maui.
Maui is magical, I felt the benefits of its healing powers. I tuned into a higher vibrational energy. I asked Christina if she could feel it too. She explained that Maui was a deeply spiritual place, abundant with sacred healing lands from its indigenous tribes of Aboriginal Polynesian people. Known locally as Mother Maui, due to the loving energy and feminine force that surrounds the island. At the top of the imposing Volcano crater, Haleakala, the energetic frequency matches the Schumann Resonance at 7.8 cycles per second, the same resonance of our hearts. Wow, without even knowing it, I had traveled to the perfect place, to recover my broken heart. Maui, has the perfect energy for all your soul needs.
Soon Christina was off to another side of the island to participate in her female entrepreneur mastermind event, part of her own soul searching journey to figure out her purpose. Listening to her was so inspiring. I benefitted hugely from the conversations we had at that time. Christina encouraged me to tune into the super power of wisdom of my intuition to guide me to what I needed. Since then Christina has set up her own business, check out her offerings www.leadwithintuition.com
Left alone, I felt relaxed and comfortable to continue my healing path and try following my intuition. The hotel offered a program of wellness activities and therapies. The schedule included morning meditation, I was drawn to try it out, my only hesitation was it clashed with morning yoga and I didn’t want to miss that.
One morning en route to yoga I decided to grab a coffee from the station in the lobby, finding it already empty I was advised that there was another one close by. Really needing my caffeine fix, I ventured down an unfamiliar hallway. While pouring my coffee I peered into an unlit room next door, where a couple of people had gathered. A lady beckoned me inside, she said welcome to meditation class, you are just on time. Caught off guard, I rolled with it and ventured in. The teacher asked the group if anyone had experience meditating before, we all affirmed it was our first time. Relieved to be in a group of novice meditators, I turned my attention to the explanation on how to meditate.
The technique sounded relatively easy to grasp. Focus on my inhalation and exhalation. When my mind tries to draw me into thought, recognise this trap, let the thoughts go and return to focus on the rhythm of the breath. Keep this cycle going, recognise my mind gets distracted with thoughts, release the thoughts without judgement, and return to the breath. I opened myself to the experience. I sat up straight in my chair, relaxed my body and took a deep breath. The teacher began to guide us through the technique. Moments passed and I mastered the rhythm of my breath, I welcomed the release of any kind of thought and kept the cycle going.
As my mind emptied out of the constant stream of thoughts, I began to experience an expansiveness I never known before. Replacing the thoughts was a visual light show of a myriad of colours swirling before my eyes. I don’t know how to explain it, it felt light and freeing to experience. I didn’t try to analyse what it was, rather I just surrendered to the experience and stayed grounded by the constant cycle of my inhale and exhale. Before I knew it, the teacher brought me back to the room and I opened my eyes. I felt calm, centred, wonderful and renewed. I had connected to a part of me that I didn’t even know existed. I felt a sense of ecstasy that was unfamiliar to me. The teacher queried how the experience had been for us sitting for 30 minutes. Wow I said out loud, it didn’t feel like any measure of time I had ever experienced, in fact it felt timeless to me.
I felt a stunned silence in the room and the look of disbelief on the faces of the other participants in the class. They shared their discomfort in sitting for so long and every minute felt like an hour. Based on the feedback from the teacher, their experience was much a more normal reaction for beginners, than the one I had expressed. I felt like I had been gifted the keys to a parallel universe where my grief didn’t exist. I marvelled at how I had stumbled into the room to have an amazing meditative experience and by doing so, answered the call of my soul.
Looking back from years of being a regular meditator ever since, nothing can compare to that experience, I sense it was a combination of a deep need to break from the depressive grief invading my mind and the euphoria of feeling a connection to the bigger consciousness. It was my first experience of feeling this connection. I was uplifted to an amazing vibrational energy that came through in a dimension of colour. The visual sensation of glorious colour broke the gulf of darkness inside my mind. It was truly spectacular.
After the class I hung on to exchange my experience with the teacher, I revealed I was here on a grief vacation and that those 30 minutes had given me a much-needed respite from my mental overload and heartache. She introduced herself as Dr Debra Greene and shared a brochure on Inner Clarity one on one sessions. An integrative balancing method that uses energy kinesiology to pinpoint hidden core beliefs and a variety of energy-based techniques to facilitate lasting improvements. Curiosity came alive in me at the moment. It sounded like the radical treatment I needed to meet my grief head on. I proceeded to make an appointment for the next day.
During the Inner Clarity session with Dr Debra Greene we performed a mind body enquiry to uncover some insights into what my brain was thinking and how my body reacted. It was truly fascinating to me. I learnt that not only was I dealing with the pain of loss of my beloved father but I was suffering from my own remorse of not recognising he was at the end of his life. I had not detected it and I felt that I should have been more present to what he was going through. I carried the burden of remorse and the shame of guilt. Through the inner clarity enquiry, I realised that my Dad deliberately concealed his intention and that there wasn’t any clue to detect. His interest was to spare his pain from his family. The liberation from the release of emotions I had been holding onto was immense. I could recognise that my remorse and shame were self-destructive and at odds with what my heart truly felt. I believed that my dad knew he could count on me to be there for him, he just chose not to burden me.
Although I still felt heartbroken about losing my dad, I felt an inner clarity and peace that I had not felt previously. I realised that my journey to overcome the depths of grief was now not as overwhelming. I was fascinated by the wisdom of my body and that I could trust it was a complete revelation to me. My energy was revitalised. There was so much more I wanted to know so I decided then and there to commit to learning more in the mind body field. I bought Debra’s book on Endless Energy and later on enrolled in her Energy Mastery online course. For more information on Dr Debra Greene’s practice checkout www.yourenergymatters.com
For the remainder of my stay in Maui I felt more in tune with myself than ever before in my life. My soul felt uplifted by the ocean breeze while walking on the beach, the magical powers of Maui were at play. On one of those walks I stopped at the hotel kiosk on the beach to grab an ice coffee. I chatted to the friendly server, who loved my Irish accent. She told me all about her recent trip to Ireland. I commended her on her itinerary as she clearly had covered many not to be missed sights in a short period. She explained she had an Irish colleague who had advised her on where to go. Eager to tell her colleague about meeting an Irish guest, she requested the name of the place in Ireland where I came from. I wrote down the name of my hometown in Ireland and went on my way smiling at the lovely interaction I had just experienced.
I found a spot on the beach to sit and watch the waves while enjoying my coffee, I was enthralled in the relaxing rhythm of the tide when I heard my name being called. I looked up and saw a red-haired lady approaching me on the beach, waving to me. I stood up and walked towards her. This was the Irish colleague that worked in the hotel. She introduced herself as Lorraine McCarthy, Senior Sales Manager at the resort. I loved how friendly the staff at this hotel are. Next I discovered not only was she Irish but she was from my hometown! We had gone to the same school at the same time, she was a couple of years below me and was in the same class as my cousin. My mind was blown away. We chatted for a few delightful minutes about our shared connection to a small town in the Irish midlands and then she had to get back to work.
I walked back to my spot absolutely stunned by what had just happened, the synchronicity was incredible. Here in Maui in the middle of the Pacific Ocean I had encountered a lovely lady from my home town and made a wonderful connection. In that moment I recognised that this was a sign from the universe reassuring me that I could find my way forward. No matter what I had in front of me I could rely on myself to navigate the way By tuning into my inner wisdom and trusting in the power of the universe to show me signs. When I got back to my room, I discovered a gift from Lorraine. Her kindness and generosity really touched my soul.
By the time Christina came back from her workshop, she was pleasantly surprised to see a shift in me, it was visibly apparent, I had regained some of my lost vitality. I recounted what had happened over the last few days. We decided to go on a tour called the Road to Hana, a 64-mile road trip offering many scenic views of Maui’s northern coastline, rainforests, black-sand beaches, waterfalls and lush, tropical vegetation. The concierge recommended a tour with Blue Soul Maui, a private adventure company that advertised an unforgettable Maui adventure. We both loved the name of the company and proceeded to book the tour and experience a wondrous journey into the magnificence of nature.
The breath-taking vistas have stayed with me ever since, the jaw dropping coastal cliffs reminded me of the Cliffs of Moher back home. These random reminders of Ireland during my trip to Maui made me ponder on the connections we all share to the universal forces as mankind. The renowned expression that it is a small world resonated with me. Commonly used when you have encountered the same people, events, or situations in an unexpected place or you have discovered that someone knows a person you also know.
My grief vacation to Maui turned out to not only transform my healing process, it opened up a portal to the universal connection of life, I encountered many fated meetings with people that restored my faith in the wonders and magic of life. It encouraged my curiosity to continue Soul Searching. This led me to many more amazing life events on my journey to discover my life’s purpose. More to come on that in future blog posts. To quote a renowned Buddhism saying ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’. I will be eternally grateful to both Christina and Dr Debra Greene for the role they played as teachers in my soul-searching journey.