Enliven Your Life With Everyday Awareness: Hawai’i Reminiscings 1

Living on the Big Island of Hawai’i in several different large communities, ecovillages and cohousing environments, I learned firsthand the values of service, shared responsibilities and compromise. I learned, too, how to integrate my spirit into everyday tasks, bringing greater and more habitual gratitude and reverence into my daily life. Living this way continues to bring me less anxiety and attachments and an intensified sense of self-awareness. Here are a few examples of how you can bring more awareness into your everyday tasks…


My very first trip to Waipi’o Valley


Before each decent into the Big Island’s Waipi’o Valley, a culturally and politically sacred site full of rivers, natural waterfalls and farmlands, my friends and I would add a small offering to Gaia or Mother Earth on an altar made from a tree stump. This offering made our visit to the Valley more meaningful and allowed us to better appreciate its abundant passionfruit, mangoes and noni fruit.

C is for Coconuts! Blessed be!

S is for Sam; C is for Coconuts! Blessed be!

Whether you are farming for yourself or wildcrafting, make it customary to give thanks to either the harvested plant itself or to Gaia. Deposit a small offering such as seeds or fruit at the base of the harvested plant and say a short prayer like:

“I offer my thanks to Mother Gaia for allowing me this small gift.”

By thanking in this way, we are reminded and respectful of the greater, interconnected community of life.


Baking was a sacred ritual at PeleAina, the artist ecovillage I lived in for a few months in Kurtistown, Hawai’i. For a truly blessed baking experience, be sure to start with top quality ingredients – homegrown or organic are always best. Try not to bake when you are anxious or under stress; always do so with a sense of love and ease and be aware of the energy you are transferring into your food. Gently fold ingredients together instead of stirring them harshly.

"Love bread" made in a ramshackle oven

“Love bread” made in a ramshackle oven, but full of intention

If you’d like, set an intention such as:

“May this food fill the bellies of those that I love with nourishment and contentment.”


Baking and eating went together at PeleAina, where our household hosted a weekly “activation” potluck for our friends and greater community. After all of the guests had gathered together, we formed a large circle and our community leader, Jeffree, led a general blessing. We then went around the circle one by one, introducing ourselves and describing the dish we brought and any significance the dish had to us, being sure to mention the dietary restrictions it accommodated, like being dairy-free, vegetarian or raw. As a group, we chose a “sacred sound” to meditate on for a few breaths: Sometimes it was simple, like “om,” and other times it was silly, like “cow.” We each chose our favorite inversion to perform, then sat quietly together for a two-minute silent meditation. Finally, we filled our plates, eating in a more relaxed, more aware state.

One of many fire-y potlucks

One of many fire-y potlucks

Make your own mealtime ritual: Create your own blessing, choose a sacred sound and pause for a brief inversion or meditation before eating.

Enliven your simple, daily tasks like these with greater awareness and see if your moods, like mine, begin to balance and your stresses, soften.

Please comment below with your experiences!

“On Wildcrafting.” Moonwatcher’s Encyclopedia of Herbs. 26 Oct. 2007. http://www.nyctophilia.net/plants/wildcrafting.htm Accessed 4 Feb. 2013.

Wigington, Patti. “What is Wildcrafting?” About.com. http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/herbalism/p/Wildcrafting.htm Accessed 4 Feb. 2013.

*Originally posted on the Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing Blog

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Filed under Food, Friends, Fun, Health, Images, Inspiration, Personal, Photos by Ashlee, Travel

4 responses to “Enliven Your Life With Everyday Awareness: Hawai’i Reminiscings 1

  1. Mark Davis

    Good ideas! I’ve started a mindfulness meditation class and right away we were given ‘markers'; daily activities to do with full attention, starting with brushing teeth. It’s amazing the amount of mind-clutter that can be bypassed with simple attention, but the small rituals and observations you describe must be powerful catalysts for even more.

  2. Aloha, lady!
    A nice reminder to appreciate things that you have in front of you– not just the things that you want or are lost/over with. :)

    Also, I gotta say, I have made some of the most amazing foods when I cook under stress. Not the stress of the cooking itself, but the stress of my silly day, shoved into one big delicious cathartic nightmare :) lol Puts MY mind-clutter into something super beautiful and yummy!

    PS that cake looks bomb :)

    • ALOHA, Sam! The stress food you’re talking about sounds more like exciting, enlivening food! And the picture is actually of “love bread,” made with some serious intentions :)

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