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9 Tips For Navigating the Road to Hāna

9 Tips For Navigating the Road to Hāna

Driving the Back Road to Hāna

What road are you traveling down? This could be a literal or figurative question. Today I want to share with you a road I recently conquered and hope to do again some day. Ready for a road trip? Let’s go on a drive to Hāna…

First off, what and where is Hāna? Hāna is a very, very small town on the eastern end of Maui, Hawaii. Call me naïve, but I didn’t even now it existed until I got TO the island. I ventured down to Maui to visit a college bestie who has lived there for several years, currently in Lāhainā. Being caught up in my own world here in Dallas with life and work, I didn’t pay much attention to my friend’s home down there, but wow, did Maui immediately get my attention, especially on this adventure.

Hāna has maintained an isolated, ‘small town’ feel for basically its entire existence. It’s no wonder it’s not easy to get to. My mom owned a travel agency throughout the 80’s and early 90’s and said that to get clients of hers to Hāna back then, she would schedule a helicopter ride for them from Kahului. She said there was a “winding road that no one wanted to drive or take the time to do.” I can understand that now; in 2016 it’s definitely not a road for everyone: blind corners on every turn, dozens of one-lane bridges all the while you’re driving on the edge of a cliff. Some of it is not even paved. You can see mailboxes on the side of the road and you know that up in the green Amazonian-like hillsides, people are living and existing in this quiet, serene and secluded area. Peaceful is an understatement. Oh, and there’s only one resort in Hāna to choose from.

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All this to say: there’s only one back road to Hāna. This is the more adventurous route starting from “upcountry.” If you’ve gone all the way to Maui you might as well get full use out of your rental car and do this. Snag the front seat, make sure you trust your driver, down some Dramamine and have your camera ready. While you’re en route, here are some of the gems my local friend had us stop at along the way…enjoy!

Stop #1: Grandma’s Coffee House – Get the entire loaf of banana chocolate chip bread. Believe me when I say, “It’s not like regular banana bread!” Even though it’s only about 45 more miles to Hāna, it’s going to take you a while and you’ll want a snack!

Stop #2: Ulupalakua Ranch Store – Where a little bit of the Wild West meets Maui. If you’re hungry, get a grass-fed burger (apparently the best on the island according to my friend and other locals) or if you’re a tourist like me, get some of the goat’s milk caramel sauce and homemade hot sauce with locally grown ingredients. Oh, and mini jellies too.

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Stop #3: Friends of St. Joseph-Kaupo – This is actually a spontaneous stop. You really can’t miss it – a beautiful, old white church overlooking the ocean that looks nearly deserted. We pulled over and got out to explore. Founded in 1862 it only has several services per year now, but the grounds are maintained. Wow, if this place could talk… lots of history to observe there.

Stop #3: Hiked Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls + 7 Sacred Pools – This is where you pay the parking fee and get to hike through a bamboo forest to an iconic Maui waterfall. Yes, you read that right. Then, if they’ve had rain recently (unfortunately for us, they hadn’t – sad!), you head back down to the 7 Sacred Pools – where you can swim.

Stop #4: Chow Wagon (Hawaiian food truck!) – There are a decent amount of food trucks to choose from – we really wanted Thai (because Hāna is THE place for Thai), but they were already closed when we rolled into town around 3pm. However, Chows did not disappoint! We had the ‘catch of the day’ and delicious veggies!

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Stop #5: Hāna Farms– What’s not to love here? On Friday/Saturday nights they have farm-to-table organic wood fired pizza being served. Since we had already chowed at Chows, we didn’t partake but I did end up with some organic cacao nibs and a coconut face serum infused with Maui coffee, vanilla and fruit seed oil! Glowing skin here I come!

Stop #6: Overlook at Wailua Valley State Wayside – You’ll come around a sharp curve at mile marker #18 and this view will knock your socks off. You’ll be looking at the most beautifully green valley stretching to the ocean with mountains behind you. We met a local walking his dog who lived in town. He said about 3-4 families have occupied the town for several generations. They are all fisherman, farmers, etc. It’s gotten a lot smaller with more of the children growing up and moving away for other opportunities. There are two churches you can see in the valley below – legend has it that during a storm in the 1800’s a bunch of white coral was washed ashore to build one of the churches that is still stark white to this day. He considers it “the most Hawaiian part of the island” due to its remoteness, small town and secluded vibe.

Stop #6: Coconut Glen’s Ice Cream – This is a few miles outside of Hāna heading north. Don’t miss it. Best. Ice Cream. Ever. There’s more than coconut and we even met Coconut Glen himself as well as his new puppy.

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Stop #7: Sunset at Ho’okipa Beach Park – A beautiful beach with a perfect sunset as we watched storm clouds roll in.

Stop #8: Thai Spice, Paia – If you can’t get Thai in Hāna, wait until you get to this place in Paia – delicious spring rolls, pad thai and curry! It’s small, so be patient or get it to go.

Stop #9: Your bed. Trust me, you’ll be ready for sleep after this long, beautiful, winding road of a day!

Don’t miss this adventure on your next trip to Maui. Start comparing fares to get you there and before you know it, you’ll be hiking to waterfalls, sipping on Maui coffee and basking in the green, lush Amazonian surroundings.

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How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

His motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • He riles up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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