BY JLF Sullivan
I started off my 2023 with the realization that this year I will turn 40. While this number can be intimidating, I feel like it is also a great motivator for change. Eastern astrology speaks of ten year cycles in one’s life, with the culmination of 3 ten year cycles often leading to a deeper understanding of oneself. From this deeper understanding, many changes tend to happen that will greatly affect the remainder of our ten year cycles. With this in mind, I have decided to dedicate my time in 2023 to embracing the ending of this cycle and making healthful changes on both an inner and outer level.
Simply put-I want to live longer, and with that, my first goal is to move more every day. Studies have shown how tremendously helpful walking is to our overall health and well being. Even though I spend most of my day chasing after my young children, I know walking more in nature will benefit me in the long run. My goal this year is to visit new hiking trails and places of intrigue around Hawai’i and film them to share with others on my social media. The video below is one I took last month traveling to Ka Lae, the southernmost tip of hawai'i Island, searching for a birthing chair of the first Queens.
What’s more, I also will be stepping up my foraging game. For those of you who don’t already know, I love foraging wild food. It is something I have learned to do all over the world and something I am slowly passing along to my children. This year I have decided to include more Raw Vegan recipes and meals into my weekly routine. While I do like eating meat, I always find my body works more efficiently and feels more alive when I eat plant based.
I found a great website and APP called Savage Kitchen which shows how to transform the invasive weeds of Hawai’i into useful, sustainable food products. Not only does this kind of foraging help cut the cost of groceries, but it brings back into the body many essential nutrients that we are not getting from over-farmed soil or processed foods. I plan to also share videos of my foraging adventures and recipes that I find work best.
Around my yard I have made numerous containers from the lava rock, mulch and compost. In them I am growing tomatoes, basil, eggplants, strawberries, dill, lemongrass, pineapples, papaya, mint, and lilikoi (passionfruit). Learning how to grow food in a seaside desert has been a new experience for me. My previous home was in a similar tropical vibe, but there was lots of rain (too much) and I never had to worry about keeping my plants moist. Here in West Hawai’i, water is scarce and averages less than 28 inches a year. With no county water connection available to many neighborhoods, including mine, water is precious. Growing food on my homestead needs to make sense when it comes to water scarcity, so I try to only grow varieties that are heat and drought tolerant.
Besides building my new vegetable beds and a new fire pit, we recently painted and screened in our outdoor kitchen. I have been busy hanging drywall in the interior of our beach cottage and a new custom built bunk bed for the kids was handcrafted by my partner Stephen.
We have been working hard to get our deck painted and finished. After a few months of working on this project, I was lucky to have Stephen build a porch swing out of spare cedar scraps we had lying around.
Now I have a beautiful place to sit, enjoy the sunset, and reflect on my day. Which conveniently leads me to…
As someone who has spent many years gaining and losing hundreds of pounds, I have always recognized that with physical outer change must come inner change. The crash diets just don’t cut it for me anymore, no matter how much they promise instant results. Plus, for many who have never had to diet, you might be surprised to learn that people treat you differently when you lose weight, as if suddenly you have more value because there is less of you. Embarking on change is not as easy and straightforward as you would think it is. Empowering yourself to think and react differently to old unhealthy patterns is something I am finding incredibly useful.
For example, in the past, I would look at water as a means of hydration and for flushing toxins from my system. But now I see it as so much more. My friend, fellow QHHT practitioner Martin Rivera, sent me a study that talked of Dr. Masaru Emoto and his experiments on water molecules. In Dr. Emoto’s research he found that water that was held by those who thought positive thoughts and was later frozen, had ice crystals with beautiful, intricate patterns of divine symmetry. Water that was held with negative thoughts in mind, the ice crystals were malformed. Rivera suggested to me that everyday, before I drink my water, to take a moment and focus some positivity on it, and then hydrate. Perhaps it has no effect on my body, but I do enjoy the moment I now take for myself to just enjoy and feel good for the sake of doing so.
Meditation is something I have grown very fond of over the past few years, but with young children there is not always the opportunity for solitude. Another great share from Rivera was to begin and end my day with these statements of gratitude, especially while I am still in the inbetween state as we awake and fall asleep. Each day, before I check my phone or worry about something that will probably work itself out, I say as I wake up:
"I'm thankful for having a warm bed to sleep in.
- for a house that provides me shelter
- I'm grateful for sharing time with my spouse, who supports me on my journey.
- I'm thankful for having a beautiful family, who are part of me and I'm part of them.
- I'm grateful for having a warm meal and the pure and crystalline water that provides me with health and energy. Thank you Universe for living this experience and sharing with my loved ones because every day I'm feeling better than yesterday. Thank you"
Then, at night, I close out my day by saying to myself:
“I am going to close my day by forgiving because I'm at peace with myself.
I'm grateful for having a job and having a warm bed and all my loved ones .
Thank you Universe for having this experience and I'm at peace with myself because I love myself, I respect myself. I'm committed to being a better person and I feel healthy every day. Thank you.”
I know it does not seem like much, and at first I really fought doing this for some reason, but all in all, this has really been a game changer for me. Taking the moment to just be grateful, thankful, even when you don’t feel like things are going the way you want them to, has changed my perspective and opened my eyes to new possibilities for what the next 3 cycles of ten might look like for me. This appreciation to a higher level of universal energy has helped me understand how in control we are of what we manifest in our lives, whether we like it or not. And as I continue my 2023 journey in improving my overall health and self- sufficiency, I look forward to sharing with you in December what I have learned and what these simple changes have amounted to for me.