Dear Dana: Why Did You Move to Kaua’i?

Well, thank you for asking, reader! I am eager to tell you all about it.

So, as many of you know if you follow me on Instagram or listen to my podcast, I recently moved (permanently!) to the island of Kaua’i. This decision came after months and months of careful deliberation.

Leaving Half Moon Bay

I loved where I had lived before in Half Moon Bay. The community was small and intimate, I had many good friends and clients nearby, my kids grew up and went to school there. It was my home, without a shadow of a doubt (despite growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin).

But as time went on, I realized that even though I loved where I lived, there was still too much of the stereotypical “rat race” from Silicon Valley seeping into the everyday life there. I felt pressured to always be working, to always be growing my business, even when my passions and interests were starting to shift. (To any of my clients reading this: Don’t worry! I am not planning THAT big of a career change. But do stay tuned for some really exciting stuff!)

This was a strange realization for a workaholic, let me tell you. But I didn’t see a way out. If I wasn’t living this life, what kind of life would I be living?

I had already shifted my key priorities and passions over 4 years in order to ensure my own optimal joy, productivity, and value. But I could feel another shift brewing…

Then it hit me, during a frequent vacation to Kaua’i. I felt at peace here, like I had the freedom and liberty to do with my time as I pleased. I was free of “shoulds” and guilt. My work-life integrated experiment had finally paid off.

So, I set my mind to it. There was nothing else to be done. I was going to live here and make the experiment a reality.

Communicating this to my family was a shock to their system to say the very least. Me, who had operated more or less the same way for years, was going to uproot everything and move us to the

next adventure, with my husband’s buy-in and

ultimately partnership, to Kaua’i. But I had to do it, reader. For my mental health and my happiness, let alone my overly smoke-filled lungs year after year as the fire seasons of the coastal bay area became worse. I was over the edge contemplating living through another season. This was a non-negotiable for me.

I am beyond thankful that, after the shock wore off, my family understood that I needed to do this. And that my husband, high-schooler daughter, and surrogate mother agreed to move with me.

I have been here since April and the amount of healing I have experienced, heart, mind, and soul, has been staggering. Here, “on island” as the locals say, time moves at a slower, more relaxed pace; harmonizing with the natural beauty of the island.

And the community of people here is welcoming and friendly. Everyone I have met has made me feel like family from the moment I set foot in my new house. The Spirit of Aloha is so strong and so vibrant. It is a joy to be allowed to be a part of it.

The Spirit of Aloha

Speaking of The Spirit of Aloha, I had not truly understood it before I moved here, thinking, like probably many of you, that it was just a greeting. But I now know that it is the fundamental idea on which the Hawaiians operate. It is the euphonic orchestration of mind and heart within a person. It is a grounding force that allows a person to love themselves, and as a result, love others. And because you love others, you understand that each and every living thing – whether that is a person, an animal, or a plant – is vital and to be respected in the force that is “life.”

The Legend of the Lehua Flower

Let me give you an example. It is a story about the Lehua flower that was told to me by my new friend, Kauilani, when she performed a song for the inaugural episode of my radio show. The legend goes like this:

One day, the goddess Pele met a handsome warrior named Ohia. She fell in love with him and asked him to marry her. But Ohia refused her. He already had a love, the beautiful Lehua. Pele, angered by Ohia’s rejection, turned him into a twisted tree.

Lehua was heartbroken. She begged the gods to intervene. They would not go against Pele, but felt the young woman’s anguish and thought it an injustice for the lovers to be separated. So, they turned Lehua into a bright red flower, forever to bloom on the Ohia tree.

This is why you should take care before you pick a Lehua flower. For if you do, you will separate the lovers. And in their anguish they will shed tears, resulting in rain.

Other than this being a lovely tale, it is an example of the weaving way that Hawaiians view the world. Everything is connected and to be respected. You would not separate lovers without cause, so you do not idly pluck a flower from the Ohia tree. Their form does not dictate their importance. A tree and a flower are just as sacred as a person.

Kindness is King

I find this interconnected way of thinking to be a resuscitation of something that I feel was forgotten where I grew up and lived throughout my life. And that is, simply, to be kind and treat everyone, whether or not you like them, agree with them, etc., with respect. Every person is deserving of warmth and compassion without the need for reciprocation. Simply because they are living beings.

My family and I are still in the midst of getting settled in, and, at times, it seems there will be no end to the cardboard boxes that have made my house into an obstacle course. But one thing is definitely true, Kaua’i is home.

With Kindness,